When I first starting being more conscious about saving money, one of the first things I tried to do was stop going to Starbucks. It seemed a little ridiculous to be spending so much on a cup of coffee when I could easily make it at home.

Unfortunately though, my efforts didn’t work out very well. I was able to avoid all Starbucks (not easy in NYC!) for about a week and then immediately went back to my old ways.

For me, coffee every morning is essential. It helps me get my day started off right. And I just really enjoy a Starbucks latte. Yes, it’s probably better for my wallet to avoid it altogether. But coffee is my spending vice and one luxury I fit into my budget.

However, a daily trip to Starbucks can get quite expensive. As I tried to minimize my spending and still fit in a cup of coffee, I discovered some great money-saving hacks that can help you at Starbucks, too.

[ continue reading… ]

As I’m walking around my home I can tell it’s early summertime. Between the natural deposits from the muddy shoes of a Midwest spring, having over a hundred people walking through my home for a party over Memorial Day weekend, and just life with two teenagers, and two cats, there are many visible spots in our carpets.

Every spring and fall I make an assessment of our carpets and plan to have them shampooed and cleaned. I choose from three different options and always compare them for the best price and service.

[ continue reading… ]

One of my favorite strategies for saving money on baby items is to buy items slightly used. In fact, most of the time, I buy a gently used baby toy, baby equipment, or clothing, use it, then sell it for a small profit.

Since babies tend to grow out of their clothes and toys, it makes sense to avoid buying everything new at a retail store. However, there are baby things you should not buy used. Here are a few baby items that should always be bought new.

[ continue reading… ]

Apprenticeships have been around for as long as skilled trades. Traditionally, apprenticeships have been geared toward fields like mechanics, construction, electrical, and engineering, all of which require hands-on training. In the face of skyrocketing unemployment and student loan debt, this fact may be changing for good.

The United States is surprisingly behind the trend toward apprenticeship-based training in expanded fields as European countries like Germany and the U.K. are already way ahead in the game.

So why has it taken so long for the U.S. to jump on the apprenticeship bandwagon? The biggest reason, in my opinion, is the cultural value placed on 4-year degrees from a traditional college or university.

[ continue reading… ]

One of the great satisfactions of achieving financial success is the knowledge that you can provide opportunities to your children that you never had. But leaving them a large fortune can be a double-edged sword. It’s a cliché that the children of self-made men and women have no respect for the value of dollar — but it’s a stereotype that seems to be based in human nature.

These concerns are the reason why many magnates, including Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, won’t leave their vast wealth to family. As Buffett famously put it in 1986, the perfect inheritance is “enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.”

[ continue reading… ]

Are you thinking of buying a house sometime soon? Or how about refinancing your student loans? If you’re thinking of doing either, there’s a number you should know aside from the all-important credit score.

It’s your debt-to-income ratio, and it could get in the way of you being able to buy your first home, or refinance your student loans. How?

Your debt-to-income ratio is used in a variety of situations to determine your level of risk as a borrower. If your debt-to-income ratio is too high, your opportunities to make a big purchase (like getting approved for a mortgage) may be limited.

[ continue reading… ]