minimalist christmas
Minimalism as a counter-cultural movement has been increasing in recent years. Perhaps you’ve jumped on the minimalist bandwagon and are happily downsizing, reducing your consumerism, and creating less waste – all of which gift you with more time and energy to enjoy the most meaningful things in life.

But now it’s time for Christmas.

If you’ve recently begun converting to a more minimalist lifestyle, the holidays present a formidable challenge in the form of traditions, ‘obligatory’ shopping, and avoiding hurt feelings.

The core values of the holiday season – giving, expressing love, cherishing faith, and spending time with family and friends – can still be enjoyed as a minimalist, but the more visible elements of consumerism, debt, waste, excessive marketing, and the accumulation of useless possessions are in direct opposition to its key principles.

How do you enjoy the core values of Christmas without succumbing to all the rest? Here’s how to have yourself a minimalist little Christmas.
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Many people tend to focus too much on upfront costs, and not enough on the long term costs sometimes. Cheaping out right now could actually end up costing you quite a bit. Sure, you want to save money and look for the best value for your dollar. But if you are too cheap, you could end up paying more in the long run. Here are 4 ways being too cheap could cost you big:

1. Postponing Maintenance

Many people postpone the maintenance on different items, or pay for cheap half-measures to “get by.” It’s important to understand, though, that this can be a costly mistake. If you fail to properly maintain your car, it will be prone to bigger and bigger — and more expensive — problems down the road. The same is true of maintaining your home, major appliances and other items. Spend a little more up front to properly care for your things, and they will last longer and cost you less in the long run.
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blown budget

Have you ever had a week (or maybe two) when your spending got out of hand? My last two weeks have been like that.

I had major family obligations to deal with, I started helping more at my dad’s business, and I took on another small freelance job — all within the same week. Life got crazy.

Needless to say, I let overwhelm take over, and my money pretty much flew out the window.

When it comes to budgeting, falling off track is a common problem. Here’s how I’ve recovered from my overspend, and how you can do the same: [ continue reading… ]

cheap children's toys

I’m going to make a confession here. My house is full of toys that don’t get played with very often. Between my five boys, a mountain of toys comes in every Christmas and birthday. While they do appreciate every toy when they open it, only a few are actually played with more than once or twice.

Over the years, I learned to be more savvy with my choices through experiences with toys that prove to be a good value for the money. Here are a few suggestions to help you spend your toy dollars wisely.
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how to buy and sell on craigslist

The internet has changed the way business is done. Though selling items used to be performed mostly in person, now anyone can put their items up for sale on the internet. And among those sites, Craigslist is king — if you want to buy or sell something locally, Craigslist is the place to go. Making it work for you can be easy if you follow these tips.

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self-employed taxes
Becoming your own boss can be a dream come true. You don’t have to answer to an unreasonable supervisor, you can set your own hours, and you can focus your energies on things that really matter to you.

But then there’s the IRS, because handling taxes when you work for yourself can be a big headache.

Here are some of the tax challenges you might have to face when you start a career as a freelancer, independent contractor or small business owner:
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