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.
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
As I mentioned in my blogiversary post, I’m going to be involved in some new opportunities to expand my connections and this blog. This week marks the beginning of two of those activities, and I’d like to share some details with you.
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.
I have spent most of my adult life working in and around the retail world. Over the years I have seen many changes such as the consolidation of many of the department store names of the 1970’s through the 2000’s, and all of the technology that helps to control inventory, track sales, and speed services, among many other changes. But one thing hasn’t ever changed in all my years in this business, and that’s the desire that all shoppers have to get a great deal on whatever they buy!
You can often scour the ads and find “sales”, special values, price breaks, etc. But do you always feel like you got the best deal? Continue reading
Working out…some of us love it, some of us hate it, but almost all of us need to do it in order to stay fit despite our increasingly sedentary lives. Not only does it affect our weight and our health, but those in turn can affect our self-image, confidence, and possibilities for success in our lives.
When I was a teenager, I spent almost every day biking, playing baseball, and generally running around and playing a variety of sports. Continue reading
Saving money and cutting your expenses are great ways to help manage your money, but they’re only one half of the equation. Increase your income at the same time and you’ll meet your financial goals even faster. Of course you can pick up a side hustle to add money to your pocket, but getting a raise or a promotion at your main career means making more for the time you’re already spending on the job. And the majority of us want to be successful at what we do and maximize our opportunities to earn promotions and more pay.
I’ve had a long career in management, and I can testify that those who get promoted are not always the best at what they do. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t aspire to do the best you can by working hard and training in new skills, but there are also other, more simple, ways you can help to advance your career. Continue reading
Most of the time, when people want to save more and spend less, they try to reduce or eliminate their extra spending. And this is a really important part of living below your means, saving money, and reaching your financial goals. But sometimes, just delaying your spending is enough to make an important difference.
However, delaying your spending can also be a bad idea. In fact, sometimes it’s a really, really bad idea. If you have a medical issue, or if your car or home needs a repair, waiting can be a huge mistake. Your problem can escalate from a small, manageable issue into a large, expensive one. Plus those issues can multiply and affect your income (missing work due to an unreliable car or an illness) and now putting that spending off will cost you big time.
But if you’re thinking of spending on a purchase, whether it’s something big (like a home or a car), medium (like a laptop or smartphone) or even something small, there are several useful reasons to delay your spending. Continue reading
Well, who would have believed it? Some 70 posts and a year have just gone by in a flash. Just a year ago I was looking for something to do and keep busy in my newly retired life and little did I know then that this blog would grow into what it now has become! Originally a once-a-week project, it now is published twice weekly, usually on Tuesdays and Fridays. It continued to evolve into an interesting, personally rewarding, and hopefully beneficial endeavor.
The original concept here was to write about my experiences and recommendations in retail shopping and saving money, Continue reading
In this blog I have written about many ways to save at the supermarket. You should be consistently diligent and anything but lazy to make sure you’re getting the best deals every time you shop. The truth is no matter where you do your grocery shopping, the fundamentals never change and the things you need to do to save are the same everywhere you may go.
Some supermarkets have the reputation of having lower prices while some are proudly “upscale” and “quality” focused, but in the end they all use the same tactics to increase their sales and you should always pay attention to those details. Here are the best ways to defend your grocery budget against the supermarket strategies of the 21st century. Continue reading
It’s a popular time of year for home sales, with many people looking for a new place to live, and open house signs dotting the neighborhood each weekend. Once you’ve narrowed down the area you want to live, the next big question is whether you should rent or buy. Many people point to home ownership as the American dream where you can build equity rather than renting which is considered “throwing your money away”. But financially, it doesn’t always make sense to buy over renting, and there’s often more than just financial considerations to take into account.
So, rent versus buy? The answer is: it depends. Continue reading