“Back to School” Make Every Dollar Count

As much as we wish to preserve their innocence and keep them young forever, kids grow up before our eyes and their expenses often grow with them. “Back to school” season is upon us and added expenses ranging from new clothes, supplies for the classroom and extracurricular activities can throw a monkey wrench in your finances if you are not prepared. The National Retail Federation’s 2012 Back-to-School spending survey found that the average person with kids in grades K-12 will spend $688.62 on their children, up from $603.63 last year. If you have school age children, “back to school” can […] Read more »

Financial Lessons: I learned It by Watching You

The 1980’s anti-drug public service announcement where a father finds his son’s drug stash and confronts him, only to learn the horrid truth, “I learned it by watching you.” Some things never change and the depths of your parental influence run greater than you may think. Your kids are watching your every move, even how you manage money. Every moment can present a learning opportunity. Think about the typical week… Monday: You are dropping your child off at school and they remind you they don’t have any money in their lunch account. You respond with an off-handed, “I’ll just wait […] Read more »

Impulse Buys Make You Feel Good, But At What Price?

According to the 2012 Shopper Engagement Study, we as consumers make grocery shopping decisions in the store at a rate of 76%, causing us to spend more than originally intended. Even with the best laid plans, coupons, shopping circulars, and a specific list statistics show we are drawn to spend more. Research shows tough current economic conditions cause us to “splurge” at the grocery store for psychological reasons we don’t even realize at the time. As I pondered that thought I realized even someone who considers themselves financially savvy like me can be a victim. Reasons why we fail… Marketers […] Read more »

Get Your Kids to Read and Save!

As a mother of an almost nine year old, I face many challenges when it comes to these two topics; reading and saving. While my son is all for reading the types of things he likes to read, they are not always what I would consider “educational”. These days he is only interested in reading “Captain Underpants”. Last summer it was the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series. My goal is to expand his reading horizons this summer with something other than cartoon and stick figure drawing comics. I have a confession to make… Sometimes I resort to bribery to […] Read more »

2012 Meets the 1950’s

Today’s stage is set for the I Love Lucy show. A devoted wife and mother Lucy didn’t work but depended on Ricky, her star performer husband to bring home the bacon. Lucy longed for the chance to be a star and if she were here today maybe even a credit card. The sad truth is that she wouldn’t be able to get one. Why? Well because of the Credit CARD Act of 2009. The act which was meant to protect people has put stay at home mom’s at arm’s length from applying for credit. In an effort to help students […] Read more »

Survive Wedding Season Debt Free

I have surpassed the threshold of having multiple friends I grew up, or went to school with (making us all about the same age) getting married in what seemed like—all at once. There was a span of about three years where I attended, or was in fifteen weddings—the expenses crushed my finances. I never calculated the actual amount I spent, the shock may have given me a heart attack, but I would venture to guess I spent an average of $750 for each of the 5 weddings I was in and roughly $200 for those I attended, making the total over […] Read more »

Youth Sports: Are They Worth the Expense?

My son has been involved in youth sports since he was three. We have run the gamut; gymnastics, karate, soccer, wrestling, lacrosse, and football. My initial goal in exposing him to youth sports was to have him expend some of his little boy energy in a way that was safe and fun for him. Little did I know the love for competition would blossom at such a young age; he is addicted… to thrill of practice, games, and being a winner. For those of you that don’t know me, I am a divorced single mom and my son is a […] Read more »

Failing Financial Literacy?

Financial Literacy Month is a great time to take a look at how we are doing when it comes to making the grade with our financial knowledge. Millions of Americans are failing miserably and among them, are college students. With little financial finesse and the freedom to make their own decisions many are starting their financial lives in need of debt help. Researchers from five American universities recently conducted a survey on credit card debt and financial literacy among college students and released the results in April just in time for Financial Literacy Month. The findings confirm that our youth […] Read more »

Turn the Tables on Your Debt to Savings Ratio

Recent years have been tough on everyone; unemployment, the mortgage debacle, and rising costs on everything from food to gas have caused many of us to re-evaluate our budgets and learn to cut back. One in four Americans has more debt than savings. A recent survey by Bankrate.com found that 25 percent of Americans have more credit card debt than they have in emergency savings. Yikes, that is definitely a scary statistic. But, you don’t have to let it happen to you! While credit card debt may take some time to get out of there are lots of things you […] Read more »

Uncle Sam Wants to Know: Did You Have Debt Forgiven?

April 15th is right around the corner and that means, it’s time to pay up. For many Americans 2011 was another year of unemployment, rising costs, and underwater mortgages. In fact according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Americans owe a combined $11.5 trillion on credit cards, car loans, mortgages and other consumer debt. So in a desperate attempt to keep their finances afloat many have turned to settling their debts. Settling a debt is certainly damaging to your credit, but to make matters worse, Uncle Sam wants his take as well. If you have a debt forgiven […] Read more »

Battle of the Sexes, Over Debt?

In today’s world women are no longer “just staying home” to raise their children. I say “just staying home” as anyone that is a stay at home parent knows that raising children is one of the most difficult jobs you will ever have. Many women are both working full-time and raising their children out of necessity for their family. Whether you are married with kids, divorced with kids or widowed with kids it’s a tough dual role to play, for either parent. As a divorced single mom I know the challenges of going it alone and the debt that goes […] Read more »

Does Your Demographic Decide How You Pay Bills?

The times, they are changing; life is very different for today’s youth, otherwise known as Millennial’s. Their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents lived in a seemingly different world; one without smart phones, laptop computers, and online bill pay. Those of you born into Generation X, Baby Boomer, or Silent Generation know what I mean. You did not grow up with today’s available technology and skepticism may be keeping you from hopping aboard the technology train. You paid bills your bills the old fashioned way with a checkbook, envelope, and a stamp. But is there more to how you pay your […] Read more »

The Lost Subject: Personal Finance

Were you taught about money and personal finance when you were in school? I wasn’t. Even today personal finance is not taught in most schools or considered a curriculum requirement for college students. How do we expect today’s youth to stop the vicious cycle of debt if we don’t teach them how? The latest report from the Federal Reserve shows that consumers are still using their credit cards in a big way; revolving credit, which is made up primarily of credit card debt rose to $801.0 billion. It’s obvious the cycle continues as millions of Americans rack up debt and […] Read more »

Surprise, Your Credit Report Stinks

Credit reports are a funny thing that even the most seasoned of financial experts have trouble understanding. With all of the “myths” and “misconceptions” about credit scores swirling around it can be difficult to decipher myth from the real truth. Recently my friend went to a car dealership in search of a new vehicle to replace their old vehicle. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the money saved up to purchase the vehicle (I advised paying cash makes the most financial senseJ), and were going to have to finance the vehicle. When applying for any loan or line of credit you are […] Read more »