While winter is at its height here in New Jersey, I can’t help but think about vacationing somewhere warm and tropical. Vacationing is something I really enjoy, just like most people who like to get away from it all. You could just sit home and relax, away from your job, and enjoy your own backyard. You could take a stroll in the park and admire the flowers, but I much prefer travelling and seeing the sights as well as going to places I have never been before. And one way to do that is timeshare vacations.
The truth is I’m not going to paint a rosy picture about timeshares for you. They aren’t for everyone and depending on whom you talk with, they can be anything from fabulous to warning, warning, stay far, far away! Continue reading
While most people thinking about hearts right now are considering Valentine’s Day, they may not realize that February is actually American Heart Month. As a heart disease survivor, I learned about heart health the hard way by losing it and having to make up for lost time to get it back in shape (a process that I’m still working on). Taking care of your heart is just like saving money: it’s much easier to do a little bit regularly when you’re young, than to have to do a lot when you’re older to catch up. And taking care of your heart health will save you money, protecting you against costly doctor and hospital visits, expensive maintenance medications, and potential loss of income. Not to mention, it could save your life!
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., as well as a major cause of disability. But there’s a lot we can do to prevent it and treat it. Continue reading
While Valentine’s Day (or Frugaltine’s Day if you will) usually grabs all the headlines in February, winter savings discounts have been trending up over recent years making Presidents’ Day now the best time to buy on many items and categories for the month, and even for the year! Last year revealed the biggest discounts ever on winter apparel, going as high as 85% off original prices, including stacking coupons, loyalty discounts, and BOGO’s. While you should never buy something just because it’s on sale, or worse, just because the retailer says it’s a good deal, if you’re looking for certain items, you’ll want to pay attention to the Presidents’ Day sales.
Presidents’ Day not only held offered amazing savings at retail stores, but online shopping as well, which most everyone believes culminates with the best savings on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Continue reading
I write about savings on this blog because saving money is very important to my wife and me. I enjoy the challenges of bargain hunting and knowing and feeling that I got a very good deal, if not the best deal available. But I also know that not everyone views a bargain in terms of dollars and cents.
Remember this rule of thumb above all else:
“A bargain isn’t a bargain if you don’t need it and won’t use it!”
I’m sure if you check in your closets you will find some things you have purchased because it was such a deal, but has never, ever been used. These purchases will probably wind up as a bargain to someone else at your next yard sale.
Your satisfaction with a bargain may depend on what kind of shopper you are. Over my years in retail, I have found that people can be divided into a couple different types of shoppers. Continue reading
You remember Saint Frugaltine, don’t you? Patron saint of those who wish to save money while remaining romantic? Well, Saint Frugaltine’s day is coming up soon and those of us who wish to celebrate have some planning to do.
Now if you’re one of those people who don’t celebrate, who think it’s all part of a grand conspiracy to get you to spend more money, let me ask you this: if how much you spend (if anything at all) is up to you, what’s so wrong with celebrating love on just one day a year? It doesn’t even have to be romantic love (singles, I’m looking at you!), it can be family love, friend love, pet love, hobby love or whatever kind of love you value in your life. If you do nothing else for Saint Frugaltine’s day, at least spend a moment of gratitude for the love that you have. You’ll instantly feel richer.
If you want to celebrate, let’s look at some of the ways you can remain true to your budget while displaying your passion for your love.
There may come a time when you face a situation when you need money that is above and beyond your emergency funds. We may all face them at some point, whether it’s a medical emergency, car or house situation, or perhaps something with the kids like a huge tuition bill or family issue you need to help solve. What can you do? There are several solutions, but today I’d like to address a common but often misunderstood one, the home equity line of credit, or HELOC.
First, let’s talk about home equity. The equity is the difference between what you owe on your home to pay off any mortgage and the current market value of your home. For example: Continue reading
Unless you live in an urban area with ample public transportation, having a car or truck is practically a necessity. And if you own a car or truck, having some car insurance is a necessity by law here in the United States. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, in 2012 the average cost of auto insurance was $815. My home state of New Jersey was the most expensive with a whopping average of $1,220. While you can’t avoid paying for it, there are ways to save on car insurance premiums and shrink your bill.
So many of us live our lives in debt. We see most people around us living in debt. We have mortgages, car payments, student loans, credit card debt, and we keep on charging more. As we make minimum payments (maybe a bit more, or even a bit less), we expect to have debt…forever. But it doesn’t have to be that way. For many of us, what it takes is a change in mindset and a willingness to start paying off debt now.
That change in mindset isn’t always a small thing, but it can be a revelation. Most of us can live off less than we can earn, and some of that difference can pay down our debt. #DebtIsNotForever. When you begin to think about getting out of debt, can you imagine what your life would be like without seeing interest on your credit cards each month? Without getting a mortgage or car payment bill? What could you be doing with all that money…Living out your dreams? Retiring early? Funding your children’s education? Remodeling your home? Travelling? Starting your own business? Donating to charity?
As 2014 quickly comes to an end, we should all take a moment to count our blessings, learn our lessons, and take stock of what we experienced. I look back on a year that started with lows and ended with things in a much better place. My health has greatly improved, my finances have made steady progress and I am happy to continue writing this blog. I am grateful for all these things and more, but I particularly want to thank you for reading along as my blog has taken shape over these past 8 months. Hopefully 2014 turned out to be a good year for you as well.
My wife and I have finished evaluating the details of our 2014 finances and adjusting our budget for 2015. We’ve also spent time setting our goals for next year and creating detailed plans to achieve them. If you haven’t done these yet, it’s not too late! Really!!
Be safe as you celebrate the ringing in of the new year, and have a joyous and prosperous 2015!
It’s that time again, when the year is drawing to a close and we begin to think about the better versions of our lives that we want for the future. And so we make new year’s resolutions as people have done since ancient times. These days we resolve to lose weight, to eat better and exercise more, to save money, to get out of debt, to drink less or to quit smoking, and just maybe to actually be a more loving person. But how resolved are we if these resolutions are infamous for being broken?
In a recent article, Money suggests that people making financial resolutions fared better than with other types of resolutions and that’s a start. But instead of just making resolutions, what if we made goals backed up by a plan? Continue reading