Back to Work After 30 Years

I ran to Wal-Mart yesterday to pick up a few things I needed for dinner and had the strangest checkout line experience. The lady in front of me turns around and insists that my husband buy me a bracelet. When he says he isn't going to be buying me a bracelet she says "Well, you must not be married then!" I informed her that we are indeed married and she puts her finger in my face and exclaims something to the effect of "I've been married for 35 years! Never Again!" Then she puts her finger in my husband's face and yells "NEVER AGAIN!!" Um... ok? Read more »

Goals Review

Can you believe that we are almost through the first quarter of 2012?! Insane. I feel like it just got started. I wanted to go through the goals I set up for this year and see how I'm doing so far. Below are the goals I had laid out and then I will give my progress in red. Work Set up a designated work area. I've been working a lot more in the office. Work only in work area. FAIL! While I've been working in the office a lot I've been working on the couch a lot too. I need to limit this. I've noticed I get very annoyed with my family when I'm trying to work in the living space. It's not their fault. I just need to get up and go into the office. Read more »

An Act of Kindness

Several years ago my friend and I tried to go to the zoo. Tried, as in, attempted but was unsuccessful. The plan was that me, my friend, and 5 children under the age of 6 would go to the zoo for super cheap because my friend had season passes. Sounds perfect! Before we even left the house I could tell my friend was having a bad day. Just one of those days where you wonder why you ever thought having children was a good idea. Read more »

10 Things on Which to Never Spend Money

There are so many good things on which to spend money. Here's a list of things to avoid! Extendend Warranties: Just say no. Extended warranties are a numbers game, and those numbers favor the seller. If you are really that concerned that your new purchase is going to break then you shouldn't be buying it. Save your money. If you want to have some fun when the clerk asks you if you would like the warranty respond by asking "Why, is this product no good? Is it going to break? Oh well, maybe I shouldn't buy it at all then." Read more »

How To Ask For Help

Asking for what you want is critical to meeting your goals, but it's a surprisingly difficult thing to do. I know I struggle with it all the time. When I ask someone for help I worry that I'm bothering them, or taking advantage of them. What's weird is that I don't worry they will say "No". I'm actually more worried that they will say "Yes"! If they agree to help me I worry they won't follow through or they are secretly mad at me for "making" them help. The reality is that no one gets anything done alone. We all need help. Read more »

Lists Save Time, Money, and Stress

I love lists! I make lists for everything, from to do lists, to bucket lists, to what to watch on TV lists. But where my finances are concerned I like my shopping lists best. I rarely go shopping without a list. Why? Because shopping lists save you time, money, and stress. Shopping lists save money. I consider making a shopping list kind of like shopping from home. You take a look around and decide what you need. You can make your shopping decisions without the glitz and glamour of the store. There is no wandering around the store to see if there is anything else you need. Read more »

Make Sure Your Budget is Realistic

Budgeting is one of the most important things you can do to build wealth. A budget is used to set up how you are going to make the most of your money. You can make sure that you use your money in a way that is in line with your priorities. It’s all about control. The most important part of a budget is for it to be realistic. Budget guidelines are great, but you aren't expected to fit your life into someone else's box. A budget that isn't using real life numbers is doomed to fail. Read more »

The First Step in Combining Finances

Discussing, setting, and reaching goals together builds trust and unity in a relationship. Having different goals and working against each other breaks down trust and fosters a feeling of "yours and mine" rather than "ours". That is why I'm a huge proponent of combined finances for married couples. I do not suggest combining finances when you are not married, but once you are legally married then your partners actions affect you even if you have a "yours and mine" accounting method. Read more »

Just say “No” to Refund Anticipation Loans

Refund anticipation loans are loans given to you by the company that did your taxes in return for signing over your tax return. They give you a check, or prepaid debit card, and you sign over your refund to them. So you get cash right now, they get your refund later. I totally see why they are tempting. You are sitting there getting your taxes done. Mr. Tax Guy says you will be getting a $3,000 return. Yay! He then asks for his fee of $150. Boo! Read more »

Make Your Own Credit Card

I often meet with clients who are using credit cards to fund their daily life. With no money in savings credit cards have come through for them time and time again in emergencies. Their reluctance to get off credit is understandable. It's their friend. They know they can count on it. It's possible they have never had money is savings, credit has been their life line since they can remember. Credit is their crutch. Read more »

Accountability is the Secret of Success

I was checking out at a store the other day and the checkout person was complaining to a co-worker that she couldn't meet her metrics. She was blaming the customers. She said she couldn't meet the handle time per order because customers took too long with their coupons. I wanted to interrupt and ask if other cashiers also get customers with coupons. I'm sure they do. I highly doubt that she is just that unlucky and gets all the slow coupon-ers that come through the store. I wanted to say "The metrics aren't the problem here." Read more »

The Magic Teddy Bear; When Money Finally Clicked for My Daughter

I've struggled to get my daughter interested in money. She's 10 years old which should be plenty old enough to "get " money but for whatever reason she just didn't. She didn't care to earn it or spend it. I've tried all the tricks to get her interested. I give her spending money to spend when we are on vacation. Nothing. I pay her for chores. Nothing. The kicker is that she will do the chores but then doesn't even care to get paid! We have a chore chart on the fridge and after a chore is done the kids have to mark it off. Then once a week we pay them for the chores they have done. I know my daughter does her chores but she never has any marks on the paper and therefore doesn't get paid. Meanwhile my 5 year old son is all about checking off his chores and getting his allowance. Read more »

One Crazy Budget

I know of a family who has the following budget. Income: $21,700 Expenses: $38,200 New Credit Card Debt from 2011: $16,500 Total Credit Card Debt: $142,710 Included in their expenses is $394 to charity and $7,930 in medical expenses. They also support both sets of grandparents which costs approximately $7,010 per year. Both sets of grandparents helped out a great deal financially in the past and did so expecting to be taken care of in their old age. One set is wealthy and one set couldn't survive without the extra income. Read more »

New Year’s Annual Review

I thought I'd take you through my annual reveiw and hopefully inspire you to do one too; and if you are really feeling inspired feel free to share yours with the group. The exercise starts with two questions. •What went well this year? •What did not go well this year? What went well this year? I started my site, Money Talks. I'm happy with the progress my blog has made. I've met a ton of amazing people and went to the Financial Bloggers Conference, which was a total blast. I exceeded my very modest income goal this year and we avoided any major financial set backs. This allowed us to pay down debt and save more than I had been planning on. Read more »