All of us think from time to time that we’ll just never get out from under our money issues. We look at our 30 year mortgages and see that we still owe thousands and thousands, our car payments never seem to end, and every month we may struggle to stay “in the black” because of habits we developed years ago of buying with credit or impulse buying. But there are a huge number of simple ways to save money in the short and long term.
Since saving money is my “mantra” as well as the purpose of this blog, let’s examine some ways you can increase your net income and save on your tax bill for 2014 and beyond. It’s really important to start now to review all the opportunities for saving money, since in most cases (for non-business), December 31st is the deadline for adjustments that you will report by tax day next April. If you itemize your deductions, many of these listed should be familiar.
Personal finance is about money, but more importantly, it’s personal. We each have our own financial history, motivations, values, goals, and circumstances. Today I’d like to tell you a bit about me personally, about why saving money is so important to me, and how that influences my finances as well as this blog.
I grew up in Philadelphia many long years ago. While my family didn’t have a lot, I was fortunate that we had enough. Both my parents worked, and with my mother as the shopper of the house, I learned that stretching your money as far as possible was important. Continue reading
When you decide that buying a car is right for you, one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is whether to buy a new or used vehicle. It’s an important decision because, let’s face it, other than buying a home, a car is probably one of the bigger purchases you’ll make in your lifetime. And it’s something that, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be doing many times over the years. So making the right choice for your situation and your budget can be crucial to your financial health.
If you’ve ever stopped to think about it, we plan and eat about 1,095 meals every year. That’s a lot of decisions! But what if you could narrow that down to 52? When meals aren’t planned, chances are high that we’ll eat something more expensive and less healthy. Weekly meal planning is a great way to get organized, eat healthier, avoid wasting food, and save money. While it takes a few minutes of planning each week, the results are worth it. By creating a master menu to choose from and seeing what inexpensive ingredients are on hand, it’s easy to plan your way to savings.
When you’re young, single and healthy, your mortality (and therefore life insurance) is something you rarely think about. After finishing school, you usually focus on your employment and career, perhaps marriage and family, rather than what may be a basic cornerstone of your financial plan. However, life insurance is something you should review, even at an early age. It can be more affordable, provide protection for loved ones and against debt, as well as provide a safety net as you grow older and have serious needs for your own spouse and children.
In a culture where we learn to keep our finances private, money and relationships can be a difficult subject. While money is one of the topics a couple is most likely to fight about, 42% of couples in a recent survey by Country Financial did not discuss their finances before marriage. When you begin a relationship, you get to know someone and slowly (or perhaps immediately) decide that what you have together will lead to a shared future. Part of getting to know each other should be your goals and dreams, and by extension, how you plan to get there, that is, your financial personality. Here’s more on the who, when, what, where, how and why of discussing money in a relationship:
Let’s face it: the winter holidays are closing in on us at a furious pace, with holiday shopping starting in stores before we even reach Halloween. But it’s the end of October and we have about 8 weeks to plan, execute and deliver our 2014 festivities if we haven’t started yet…and many of us haven’t!
With finances always at the front of our minds, we sometimes forget that traditions, thoughts and memories are what the holidays are all about. The gifts, while always appreciated, should only be a part of the events, not the whole thing. That’s why I’ve come up with a few suggestions that can ease the pain on your finances and still mean a fulfilling family time for your holidays this year. Continue reading
Lots of people are looking for an easy way to make home-cooked meals that are healthier and save time and money…and slow cooker meals (aka crockpot meals) are a great answer. My wife and I have used our slow cooker for years, both at home and when bringing a dish to a party. Some of our tastiest meals came from the slow cooker, and we’re always trying new recipes.
A big part of savings that I write about each week, whether it’s in your supermarket savings or elsewhere, all contributes and shapes your financial destiny, and a budget is an important part of that.
If you wonder why I harp on budgeting, savings, and proper planning to insure you always have the ability to meet your expenses, I will admit there was a time when I didn’t plan well and save properly. I thought, “No problem, I always earn more each year, I’m young and healthy, and I have really good credit.” While that was true then, it’s not quite the same now. Today I have learned (the hard way, unfortunately) that earning potential is much more challenging. Age and health sneak up on you and planning your expenses and discretionary spending variables in detail (and yes, updating them) is truly essential.