Gift giving is fun, that is until you realize you need a lot more cash for the season. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to show your loved ones that you care, but it may require a bit more time and creativity to do so.

I love giving gifts, but I’m also very practical and hate to give gifts just for the sake of doing so. I want to give gifts that are meaningful and don’t collect dust.

Seriously, I am the type of person that thinks giving a Costco-size package of toilet paper is a much better gift option than a cheap trinket you put on a bookcase. I’m sure not many of you will agree with me, but here are some other more affordable and practical last-minute gift ideas.

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Have you ever seen people who have financial freedom and thought to yourself, “I want to be able to live like that, too”? For most of us, the mental picture of financial freedom looks like someone who spends what they want when they want to, without concern about whether they will be able to afford it.

While having more than enough income and control of your expenses are definitely worthy financial goals, how do you define the point at which you’ve “achieved financial freedom”?

Are you chasing after an elusive dollar amount in your bank account, online savings account, investments, or retirement fund? What does financial freedom look like for you?

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Receipts are a topic of controversy in my home. They take up spaces in our pockets, purses, wallets, and you can never find the exact one you need (until months later of course). In other words, the little scraps of paper are a scourge in the side of clutter-haters everywhere.

Within minutes of walking through our front door I decide whether to keep a receipt or dispose of it. Grocery receipts are automatically tossed, clothes are looked over one more time to ensure they are satisfactory, and any major purchase with a warranty has the receipt filed away in a fire-resistant box.

How long are you supposed to keep receipts? Is it worth the extra time and energy to save them for future use? Which ones are worth keeping and which ones can be tossed?

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Looking at your finances and figuring out how to manage multiple financial priorities can feel like you’re running in circles. How can you pay off debt and save for retirement? How can you pay for your child’s education and invest in your own future?

It’s tough to manage all your short, medium, and long-term financial goals at once. On one hand, focusing on one thing can lead to burnout and also leave you financially vulnerable. On the other hand, spreading your finances too thin to focus on all your goals isn’t very effective either.

If you’re trying to find balance in your financial life, here are some tips to manage multiple financial priorities without letting your big goals suffer.

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For the first time ever, my husband and I have full benefits through his work. As we looked over our health insurance options, we discussed the premium/deductible tradeoff. We’ve had a high-deductible plan for years, mainly because that was the only way to keep health insurance costs reasonable when buying as an individual.

But, thanks to my husband’s awesome benefits package, we briefly considered choosing a plan with a higher premium, but a much, much lower deductible.

In the end, though, we decided that a high-deductible plan was still the best financial move for us, since we can save money on the premiums and put those savings in a Health Savings Account for further tax benefit, and future investment growth.

It looks as though we are not alone in our assessment of the situation.

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Planning for your financial future as a couple isn’t something you should tackle alone. You and your spouse each have a valuable voice in the success (or demise) of your finances. But talking money usually causes arguments and discord even in the sturdiest of marriages.

So how do you and your spouse get on the same page while financial planning? Money’s not something everyone agrees on because it’s personal, and comes with all kinds of personal beliefs and learned behaviors (from our parents, teachers, and society).

In order to create a smart and success financial plan, that not only allows you to both survive and thrive, ask each other these four questions.

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