It seems like everyone wants to be a minimalist these days. In the past few years, the “hot” New Year’s resolution is not to get fit but to live with less. The Tiny House movement has inspired many of us to appreciate what we have, and be happy with less.

When this trend first started catching on, I was skeptical. Being a minimalist made me think of the “extreme cheapskate” style of living. Sure, I would love to learn to be happy with less stuff but I wasn’t ready to go cold turkey.

However, the more and more I’ve learned about minimalism, the more I’ve embraced it. The idea of letting go of material needs, being more productive and, best of all, spending less money appeals to almost everyone.

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Up until our late 20’s, my husband and I didn’t think much about retirement at all. We were far too busy being 20-somethings – too busy hosting dinner parties with our friends and planning weekend getaways and pool parties. We never looked much further into the future than a month or two, or past whenever our next vacation or relaxing weekend was on the agenda. And why should we? We were in our 20’s, after all, and middle age and retirement seemed like a lifetime away.

But then we had our first daughter, Lydia Rose, and our entire world changed. Almost overnight, we had something to plan for – something to protect. Out of love, we did what most parents do; we bought life insurance to make sure she would be okay if something were to happen and started a college fund for our tiny surgeon, lawyer, or day trader in the making.

We also got serious about retirement because we wanted to take care of our precious child – not the other way around. Fortunately, time was on our side, so we progressed slowly to the point where we could max out retirement accounts and save lump sums for college, all while prepaying our mortgage on a monthly basis.

And by the time our second child came along, we were painfully aware that we were responsible for the outcome of our lives, financially and otherwise. We knew that we needed to take control of our financial situation – because no one would do it for us. We also learned that we had the power to make a positive change for the future; we only needed to seize it.
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A very common issue with couple finances is that both spouses are not on the same page. Money stresses are all around us, and it’s all too easy for these to seep into our marriages and ruin relationships.

Is your financial committment on the rocks with your spouse? Here are three money-related problems that burden a marriage, and how to overcome them.

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In an attempt to make college (which is an essential step for most young adults entering the career field) more affordable for everyone, President Obama recently announced his proposal of joint federal and state-funded community college tuition.

While the details are still under wraps,  the program is loosely based on a current program in Tennessee that requires students to meet minimum GPAs and fulfill community involvement hours. While this could create better opportunities for students burdened with loan debt, it would also mean further government spending (read: more tax dollar spending).

Could paying for students’ tuition at a community college really help them graduate with a four-year degree and find well-paying, stable jobs?

While considering this question, let’s discuss the advantages and potential disadvantages of attending a community college versus a university.

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Why do we find the act of saving money so hard? In a world where everything can be done online, it takes almost zero effort to type a few numbers, click the mouse a few times, and transfer money to your savings account.

It’s sad but true that some of us need the physical act of saving money to be even more effortless than that. One way to accomplish this goal is to use the round-up method. It isn’t new, maybe you’ve heard of it, or even tried it.

Here’s how it works.

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Everyone deserves to be pampered once in a while. Self-care and relaxation are a key part to rejuvenating our often over-worked selves. But let’s face it; luxuries often come at a hefty price, making them seemingly out-of-reach for most of us. Or if they are in reach, they will take a serious bite out of our budgets.

Don’t let this small roadblock hinder you from enjoying the little luxuries you so deserve. I’ve found a few ways to indulge for less.

So, if you want to live the good life without shelling out hundreds of dollars, use these tips to take care of yourself and save money.

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