I’m a part-time freelance writer and full-time stay-at-home mom. I write to supplement our income and pay off our debt faster. A few months ago, I decided I’d increase my earnings and took on a few more writing commitments. I increased my earnings significantly, but I also increased my time commitment.

While the extra money was nice, was it worth it?

The High Cost of Working More

Isn’t it bizarre that earning more money can end up costing more money?

On the small scale, since I was spending several more hours per day writing articles, I ended up cooking less, cleaning less, spending less time with my daughter, etc. The result was that we ended up paying more money for fast food and took more last-minute and pricey trips to the grocery store (since I didn’t organize my meals). I ended up running the washing machine twice for one load because I’d forget I’d started a load the day before. The list goes on. [ continue reading... ]

Is Amazon Prime Worth It?

by Jessica Sommerfield · 2 comments

We’ve been Amazon Prime members for the last few years, and for the most part, it’s made financial sense for us. We make plenty of purchases on Amazon, and when Christmas time comes, the two-day free shipping it includes is amazing for last-minute shopping.

At $79 per year (under $7 a month), Prime is reasonable for anyone who would ordinarily spend that much per month on shipping costs — especially because membership includes thousands of free streaming media titles (similar to Netflix) and roughly 500,000 free Kindle ebooks. So if you shop on Amazon frequently, enjoy streaming media, and read a lot of books, this is a good deal.

But back in March, Amazon announced it’s raising its Prime rate to $99 per year, which is an additional $20. That’s about $8.25 per month. Since Amazon is eager to maintain its massive Prime customer base, it’s added a new benefit: Prime Music. Similar to Pandora One and Spotify Premium, Prime Music will allow users to listen to one million song titles, arrange playlists, or access pre-set playlists completely ad-free. [ continue reading... ]

More and more people are using credit and debit cards for rewards, insurance, and convenience. Another MoneyNing blogger even asked if carrying large amounts of cash was outdated.

But to me, cash is still king.

I should qualify my statement, since I do pay all my monthly bills electronically. What I’m really talking about is our discretionary spending. In our budget, discretionary/entertainment spending is just another bill — which we pay weekly by withdrawing our allocated amount from the ATM each Friday afternoon.

My wallet is fat and my smile wide; the bulge in my back pocket is a constant reminder that my finances will stay on track because I’m using cash. [ continue reading... ]

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with clothing for most of my life. In my younger years, I used to love clothes. I’d buy whatever struck my fancy, regardless of the cost.

As I got older, I started wearing jeans, t-shirts, and boots. I never shopped for new clothes, and had no desire to. The thought of spending my hard-earned money on new clothes was repulsive. Then I got a job as an insurance agent and had to start dressing more professionally. At first, leaving my comfy jeans and t-shirts was awkward — but after a while, I began to gain a sense of confidence from wearing nicer clothes.

From that moment on, I realized something: wearing the right type of clothing can positively impact your life. When you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, it shows. Your confidence increases, and other people start to look at you in a different light.

Even though I’ve now realized how impactful the right type of clothing can be to your confidence and career, I still avoid spending a lot of money on it.

Instead, I’ve found several ways to have an amazing wardrobe without breaking the bank:

[ continue reading... ]

One of the things I’ve wanted to do for a long time is start a dividend portfolio. I like the idea of building a dividend portfolio that can (eventually) provide me with a revenue stream and increase my income diversity.

However, one of the challenges to dividend investing is the fact that dividends build up slowly. You only receive a few cents per share, so it can be discouraging if you start out with a small amount of shares.

During the past year, though, I’ve been part of an investing challenge. Along with several other bloggers, I’m seeing what I can do with $1,000. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to get a start on my dividend investing portfolio — so my entire $1,000 went into dividend paying investments. [ continue reading... ]

Have you ever spent hours working on your finances and spending plan, only to come up short month after month?

Following a budget isn’t as simple as it seems; if it were, everyone would have one and live within their means. The key to developing a workable spending plan is identifying and eliminating the loopholes that are hindering you.

Here are some minor mistakes that may be destroying your budget:

6 Common Budget Mistakes

1. You don’t list goals

When starting out, it’s extremely difficult to stay on track if you have nothing to look forward to. There’s no logic to conforming to a spending plan without any real objectives. Following a spending plan without working towards any financial goals is the equivalent of taking a slew of college courses without intending to actually graduate. Get out a piece of paper and write down your financial goals — stat. [ continue reading... ]