Are You Wasting Your Money?

In this day and age, perhaps more than ever, spending your money wisely is essential to keeping you and your family financially healthy. If you’re like me, you probably plan a budget and think about your big purchases long and hard before you spend any hard-earned money. You probably don’t think you waste your money, but sometimes our everyday habits leak money without our even realizing it.

Are You Wasting Your Money?

Are you wasting money? Take a look at this list to figure out what ways your money may be disappearing right out of your pocket. Continue reading

OMG, I Can’t Pay My Bills!

Maybe you’re in your twenties and you’ve been out and about enjoying life. You socialize with your friends most nights and you finally got that apartment you always wanted even though it cost just a little more than you wanted to pay. You have a job, but it’s not the one you really wanted. It’s a paycheck and some experience, but you really want something better. And now this…you realize that you just can’t pay all your expenses each month and you’re in big trouble! Trust me on this: you’re not alone. Many young people (and even not so young people) start out with the idea that everything will just fall into place once they’re on their own. They’re all about the fun of independence, their first apartment and job, and what seems to be a great adventure with sunshine and happiness ahead. But, the reality is you never had to manage your own money before. Mom and Dad probably helped you quite a bit and if a shortfall ever arose, well they put a bandaid on it with a loan or a gift. There’s nothing to be ashamed of here. It’s part of growing up and now that you are an adult, you need to figure it out on your own!

OMG I Can't Pay My Bills

So you can’t pay your bills…what can you do? Continue reading

The Simple Truth About Retailers’ Integrity

After 40+ years of working in the retail world, and even more years as an astute shopper, I think I know that the intention of almost every retail establishment is very clear. Their goals are very simple. They want to make a profit (yes, it’s not a dirty word!) and to make you a happy, satisfied customer so that you will return again and tell your friends to do the same. There are “rules” to be followed in many cases (they’re also known as consumer protection laws), but mostly it’s a common sense approach to resolving issues and shopping mistakes.

The Simple Truth About Retailers' Integrity

As upfront as that sounds, things do occur that can prevent such simple goals from being achieved. What happens in reality often leaves a bad taste in the shopper’s mouth and prevents the goal of mutual satisfaction from occurring. Why? Well again, it’s not complicated. Sometimes an honest mistake is made by a store and its employees. Other times, it’s the chain of command and the retail staff feels the need to protect the store from being taken advantage of by customers (and that does happen sometimes), which can lead to tension and customers leaving unhappy. Here are some real life situations I’ve experienced and what I did to resolve them from both sides of the shopping transaction. Continue reading

Save on Energy Costs and Save Our Planet Too

Now that summer is upon us, and the days are getting warmer and warmer, the air conditioning is already starting to crank up. That’s why it’s that time again to look at ways to save money off your monthly utility bills.

Save on Energy Costs and Save Our Planet Too

I know saving on energy costs isn’t the sexiest money saving technique, but it can never be a bad idea to remind us all that we spend an ever-increasing amount on our utilities and appliances that “burn” our dollars almost constantly. In addition, saving energy will help in saving our planet by using less, polluting less, and keeping our own personal carbon footprint on the smaller side. That’s important to me and my personal philosophy to do so for the benefit of future generations. Continue reading

Invest Like You’re Cooking Barbecue

Many people don’t know a lot about investing, and so they’re afraid to start. This can have a significant impact on your retirement savings and the growth of your wealth. Learning the basics of investing isn’t that difficult, and in fact, it’s a bit like cooking good barbecue. What? Yes, you read that right. Before you write me off as crazy, follow along and I’ll explain how a good basic investing strategy is like cooking good barbecue (with the disclaimer that I’m neither a barbecue nor an investment expert). Invest Like You're Cooking Barbecue   Despite my northern roots, I love good barbecue just as much as the next person. Brisket, ribs, pork butt, chicken…it’s all good. So last week, when the country pork ribs were on sale at the supermarket, I picked up a few pounds and my mouth started to water for dinnertime to arrive. While they were cooking, I had time to think over the process and how similar it can be to investing, and so here I present for your reading consumption: how to invest like you’re cooking barbecue. Continue reading

5 Smart Money Choices for New Grads

We all have decisions we make every day and we seem to survive just fine with the vast majority of them, even when we are young or inexperienced. We can usually decide how to spend our free time and what to have for lunch and dinner without much difficulty, despite the number of choices out there. There’s very little stress involved and any choice we make won’t affect our lives too much (barring some foolish behaviors like excess drinking or drug use).

5 Smart Money Choices for New Grads

But when it comes to financial matters and money choices, it’s a whole different ballgame. These decisions can be very tough, especially for new college graduates who have little or no experience in making them, and can cause heavy-duty, brain-busting stress. Especially because the money habits we start as young adults can have benefits, or consequences, far into our futures. Continue reading

A Roadmap to Happiness, Success, and Financial Health

The following blog post is part of the The Road to Financial Wellness Blog Tour.
Over a period of 30 days, the Phroogal team will go to 30 locations to raise
awareness about financial empowerment. Today they will be in Elizabeth, NJ!
Our goal is to help people learn about money by starting the conversation.
We understand  that local conversations can help bring
about national awareness.

I worked for forty-five years in the business world before I began writing this blog in my retirement. That’s how long it took me to put together, in a simple way, how you can achieve happiness, success, and financial health in your life by focusing on a road to that very goal. By avoiding many of the mistakes I, and many others, have made over the years, you can improve your chances of feeling that feeling that makes you a success.

A Roadmap to Happiness, Success, and Financial Health

It seems like most of us work very long, hard hours, making personal sacrifices in the hope that we will make more money and get promotions. Despite doing that, most of us aren’t really happy in our current situation. We want more, but we don’t seem to know how to get there. A big part of the equations is that we think that being financially successful makes us happy, and that monetary wealth guarantees we will have it all. Continue reading

Fun Things To Do This Summer With The Kids (or Grandkids)

We’re just about to reach the possibly best, or maybe the worst, 10 weeks of the year: school is out for summer! You now have the extra responsibility/privilege of entertaining the kids (or grandkids) for the summer, while still maintaining your sanity. While everyone around you observes how your cup is about to overflow with all that excitement, you are looking for “the way” to do fun things this summer without spending a lot. The bad news is that you may not be able to afford full summer day or overnight camp, so you may have to be inventive to get through this time of year without leaving your children parked in front of a TV or other bit of technology.

Fun Things To Do This Summer With The Kids

The good news is that there are dozens of programs and events in your own neighborhoods to get the job done and add a real flavor of learning and knowledge to the kids’ summer vacation. All you need to do is check your local newspaper, town website, or other local resource to see what’s coming up. Continue reading

Is Your Emergency Fund Big Enough?

It’s Murphy’s Law: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Now it might not be as bad as all that, but you never know when a crisis will hit out of the blue. And that’s why having an emergency fund is so important. Typical personal finance advice says to save approximately 3 to 6 month’s worth of expenses in an emergency fund to deal with life’s unexpected expenses. But how many people actually keep that much sitting around? Most people have some consumer debt, so if they’re focused on their finances at all, they’re typically saving up a minimal emergency fund (like $500-$1,000), and then spending the rest on paying down their bills. That seems reasonable, after all the interest you’re likely paying on your consumer debt usually far outweighs the measly 1% interest you’d be lucky to get on your savings (if you can even find 1%). But is your emergency fund big enough to save you? When it comes to emergency savings, size matters.

Is Your Emergency Fund Big Enough?
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