early bird finances
There’s a reason many people quote the saying “the early bird gets the worm”. In the world of personal finance, getting a jump on the day can mean saving money and time, which often saves you even more money.

Let’s look today at how doing a few things in the morning rather than afternoon or evening could literally save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.

[ continue reading… ]

save money on consumables

Moving from a rural, small-town area to a decent-sized city near a major metropolis will definitely mean a higher cost of living — especially when it comes to your rent or mortgage payment. What I’ve discovered, however, is that it doesn’t necessarily require a higher cost of living across the board. 

If you know how to budget and shop smart, you won’t have to spend that much more than you did before. While saving money might take a little more focus than it did before, it’s still highly achievable.

Here are three tips for saving money on consumables when moving to a large city.

[ continue reading… ]

money date nights
With our hectic lifestyles, many modern couples find that having a weekly or monthly date night is a good way to relax, check in with each other, and spend some undivided attention on their relationship.

It might sound strange to apply this principle to your ‘relationship’ with your checking account and stack of bills, but oddly enough, a lot of people say it helps them adjust the way they approach the dreaded task of spending time with their finances.

To see how it might work, let’s apply the principles of date nights to routine money tasks:

[ continue reading… ]

teenager gifts
I’m a budget driven person. That personality trait kicks into high gear as my wife and I decide what gifts will be wrapped and given to our kids. The two criteria I have for the gifts for my two children are that they have an equal number of gifts, and that their cost come in under budget.

My wife, on the other hand, has other ideas. She has visions of the kids coming down the stairs on Christmas morning to find a tree with a pile of presents spilling out from under it. She has dreams of passing out gift after gift while our children futilely try to guess what is in each wrapped box.

My wife’s perfect gift is even harder to achieve when teenagers are involved. Both my kids are teenagers, who’s preferences seem to change daily. So how can a parent get the perfect gift for the hard-to-shop teenager and stay on budget?

If you are expecting this same problem this year, here’s a list of five last minute inexpensive gifts that any teenager would love to open:
[ continue reading… ]

entertaining on a budget

Regular get-togethers at various local restaurants with friends was killing our monthly budget. Not only was the price of gas rising, but restaurants were responding to the economic downturn by raising menu prices as well. And as a former waitress, I always felt compelled to leave a 20-30% tip whenever possible.

Soon, it was usual fare to drop $25 for a snack or dessert and $60 for a meal with the gang. I didn’t want to skip out on spending time with some of my favorite people, but this habit was making us all digestively miserable and soaking up all our funds.

Here’s how we solved the dilemma.

[ continue reading… ]

I have really bad luck at weddings. I’m talking freaky bad luck. Let me explain.

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore, Dorothy

At my own wedding, a tornado took the roof of the church one month before the blessed day was to take place — and after the invitations were mailed.

Sorry About Your Shoes… and Your Honeymoon

For my best friend’s wedding, I picked up a nasty virus in nursing school that hit the day of the wedding. I spent the morning in the bride’s bathroom, vomited twice while getting dressed, and snuck off immediately after the nuptials to curl up in a corner and sleep. (The groom’s sister got sick later that night and, to my horror, the groom came down with the same bug on his honeymoon!)

But it gets worse.
[ continue reading… ]