kids playing bubbles
Once you trade up, you are never going back.

Lifestyle inflation is a real phenomenon that I’ve surprisingly seldom talked about. Basically, it refers to the strikingly true fact that most people increase their spending as their income increases no matter how much or how little they earn.

Stepping up the standard of living ladder is fun but it absolutely sucks for people who have to scale back. Now that we are expecting our first child, we should not only think about the danger of our own inflation bubble but also of our children’s. My parents always reminded me that they were very happy making their own games with paper. In fact, they said it was one of the happiest times of their lives. But in this day and age of Nintendo Wiis and Sony Playstations, kids would look at you like you are crazy if you even hint at playing those paper games. It’s not that the games of old are no good. It’s just that they are used to much more complication toys.
[ continue reading… ]

car accident
Car insurance. Whether you hate it or love it, the expense is a pretty much a must. While you might not have a choice about paying this monthly bill, you can reduce the costs to fit your budget better. Here are a few ways to save money on your car insurance premium.

1. Switch Around Drivers

There could be a big price difference by switching which driver drives which car. For example, I had a ding on my driving history from too many tickets in 2009. This negatively affected the cost of my husband and my insurance even three years after the tickets. One thing that helped save us about $15 per month was to simply switch which driver drove what car with the insurance company. Since I was considered the “bad driver,” sticking me with the older car that was paid off ended up costing a little less. This small change saved us about $150 a year.

Simply call your car insurance company to make sure you are getting all of the discounts necessary. Just ask them to see if your price goes down if you switch the driver’s main car. You might be surprised. Even a few dollars’ difference can add up over time.
[ continue reading… ]

student loan debt
We all know that paying for a higher education is more difficult than in the past because the cost of education is on the rise. As a result, there is a chance that you might need to get student loans to pay for your education. After all, sometimes there are college funding gaps even after you save money for college, get a job, and apply for scholarships.

Getting a student loan doesn’t have to be the end of your finances as you know it though. Here are a few tips so you don’t end up like those featured horror student loan stories.
[ continue reading… ]

for rent
Craigslist. It’s really the only good place to find a cheap place to live. There are many “roommate finder” websites but the options there are few and far between unless you live in a highly populated area. But everyone knows Craigslist, and you can find a ton of very cheap places to live by flipping through the rooms & shares section of your local Craigslist.

What is the ‘rooms & shares’ section of Craigslist? It’s where people go to find roommates. Most often, it’s homeowners looking for roommates. They list whether it’s a private room, has a private bath, what the parking situation is like, price, etc. Usually you get to live in the house just like it’s yours but you don’t have any of the responsibilities of being the homeowner.

I’ve lived in two different homes that I found via this method. They both turned out really great, but it took a lot of savvy shopping before I found the right place. Because honestly… most listings are from weirdos. There’s some seriously odd listings on Craigslist. Use your imagination. But if you’re willing to parse through and weed out the weird ones, then Craigslist is definitely the best place to find a cheap place to live.
[ continue reading… ]

one income
A financial survey from 2015 showed that 46% of U.S. households are dual-income. The key reason this is becoming the norm is obvious: we think we ‘need’ more money. With a higher cost of living, a questionable economy, and an uncertain stock market, it’s no wonder many couples believe two full-time incomes are necessary these days.

If we took a closer look at an average family’s income, bills, and spending habits, we’d frequently find that the way these incomes are being used isn’t necessary or financially advantageous. Instead of increasing our financial security, additional income often becomes an excuse to increase our standard of living – a sneaky phenomenon called lifestyle inflation. Americans are particularly bad at saving money — about 25% of us don’t have any savings at all, and roughly half of us haven’t saved anything for retirement.

You might think you can’t afford to if you’re living off two incomes and still can’t seem to save money. You would be wrong in most cases, though. Many families are finding new financial freedom by constraining their budget to just one of their incomes. The transition may be hard, but the financial pay-off can be tremendous. Here are five reasons dual-income families should live off one income and ‘bank’ the second.
[ continue reading… ]

friends
Our habits may be based on our core principles, but the surrounding elements will often change them on a daily basis. Be it frugality, way of life or our morals, people around us slowly change our behaviors in a big way.

When we were young, our parents help shape our values by setting examples. Once school started, we start learning from our friends and classmates. Then as we grow older, the sum of our experiences act as the ultimate trial and error experiment that forms our habits.
[ continue reading… ]