radishes
It’s no secret that growing even a small vegetable and herb garden saves money on grocery bills through the spring and summer months (and, if you preserve them, through the fall and winter, as well). What’s not as well-known is the expense of putting one in. For me, gardening always seemed like an inexpensive hobby. After all, it’s just plants, dirt, water and sunshine, right? Until I got started, I didn’t realize how much all these ‘natural’ things can cost (except the sunshine… that’s still free unless you have to create your own). With that in mind, here are a few ways to save money while planting a spring garden.

1. Early Preparation: Start Your Own Seeds Indoor

Back in the days before you could just buy a packet of seeds or flat of seedlings from the garden center, gardeners saved their own seeds from the previous season and started them inside so they’d be ready to plant once the soil was ready. Anyone can do this. Seeds aren’t that expensive, but you’ll save plenty of money on plants.
[ continue reading… ]

snowball
Mathematically, it’s obvious that paying off loans with the highest interests rate first makes the most financial sense but as you may know, some financial experts promote “paying off the smallest loans first”. Why do they do that? Let’s take a look today.

Smallest Loan First

The smallest loans first method is simple. Instead of paying off debt with the highest interest rates (ie, the ones with the least favorable terms), you put that aside and list out all your debt sorted by the amount owed. Then, you pay the minimum payment of all your loans each month and pile all other available income for debt repayment into the loan with the smallest amount outstanding. Once the first debt is repaid, you try to repay the second smallest debt you owe and so on.

The argument for this approach is that eliminating bills are so satisfying it will be easier to stay on track with the overall debt repayment plan. The positive and quick feedback will have a great impact on your commitment to repaying your debt and will overcome the increase in interests that you need to pay.
[ continue reading… ]

summer
Consumers go out in full force every summer, with barbecues, vacations, beach trips and more. After all, the season of summer is an exciting time reconnecting with family, getting outside, and creating memories. Many people end up busting the budget during these few months, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are 5 items to avoid splurging on this summer season.

Airline Tickets

Historically, the best time to purchase airfare is during the off-season (October thru April). Unfortunately, airline companies know the demand is high during the summer season, and they jack up the price accordingly. That family reunion has to happen at some point, so sometimes it’s impossible to avoid the spending. But if you’re only a 6-8 hour drive away, consider making a fun road trip out of it instead.
[ continue reading… ]

directionsWe all need a little help sometimes when it comes to our finances, and getting the right financial advice can make a big difference in your long-term financial success.

But how do you find the right financial advice for you? Here are a few areas where help is available.

Self-Learning: Blogs and Books

One way to start finding the right financial advice for you is to start with self-learning. The Internet is full of blogs about finances (including this one). There are also plenty of books and other publications that tackle money issues. You can find valuable information when you educate yourself about how money works.
[ continue reading… ]

get out of debtDave Ramsey is a sensation in the world of personal finance. He may even be the most popular financial guru of our time. He has had several TV shows, he’s a best selling author, he’s created classes which are now taught all across the country, and he has his own radio show too. When a man has these kind of credentials, we must all see if his advice is right for us.

I first heard of Dave Ramsey from my parents. They were about to enroll in his series of in-person classes called ‘Financial Peace University’, where there would be live instruction at their church each week for about 3 months. The classes were about everything from creating an emergency fund to paying for the children’s college education.

The course also came with a series of CDs to listen to on your own. Mom and I took a road trip from Nebraska to Arizona one time, and the CDs were in the car so I figured I’d listen. I got hooked on Dave then.
[ continue reading… ]

american flag
We all know that Memorial Day isn’t just about sales, but you have to admit retailers have done a pretty thorough job of conditioning us to associate summer’s first holiday with a major sale event. Although we obviously shouldn’t plan commemorative ceremonies and family gatherings around our favorite retailers’ events, there’s no harm in taking advantage of them if it’s in the budget. Below you’ll find the scoop on which items will be featuring the deepest discounts, along with strategies for shopping savvy and saving even more.
[ continue reading… ]