September 2011

Shoppers Start Your Engines: 5 Quick Holiday Shopping Tips

I’ve written many, many posts on affordable holidays and holiday shopping. Why I even compiled an entire e-book on the topic. But, if you’re revving up for a big shop, here are my five quick tips for keeping your holiday shopping affordable. Carry Your List with You at ALL Times Put your Christmas gift list in your wallet or purse so it’s ready whenever you spy a potential gift. Consult your list…
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That Makes Me Stabby: House-Hunting

As you know, my husband and I are looking for our first house. Right now is a tricky time to buy, especially in the Los Angeles market. If you’re in the market or thinking about it, it’s not a bad time to buy. Just be prepared for the frustrations, and probably to get a little bit stabby. Skittish Lenders Every week, some new development crops up to make…
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What Do You Think About Shrinking Groceries?

Unless you grow all your own food, you’ve probably noticed that our groceries are shrinking, but the prices aren’t. I’m not thrilled by this development. What’s the cause of this phenomenon and what can you do about it? The Shrinking Groceries Phenomenon Products have shrunk in the past. I noticed that Starkist tuna shrank from 7 ounces to 6.5 ounces a couple years ago. That wasn’t too big…
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My New Top 5 Budget Busters

Two years ago, I posted my top 5 budget busters. Now my life has changed a lot, so I’ve got a mostly new set of budget busters. House Want to blow your budget fast? Buy a house. On top of the tens of thousands we spent buying the house (in the form of the down payment), we’ve also bought paint, furniture, and home maintenance tools. So far we’ve managed to…
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Frugal Bargains for Earth Day – at the Carnivals

Aren’t frugal bargains the best kind? And no, not all bargains are frugal. If you don’t need the item, then the bargain is a waste of money. For this and other lessons, please turn to this week’s blog carnival roundup. First, the Carnival of Personal Finance #201 hosted by Mighty Bargain Hunter. In addition to my post about combining finances after a wedding, I also recommend Free From Broke’s post about money conversations you…
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New Strategies for Using Double Coupons

Several weeks ago, I went to Ralphs to use my double coupons on a big purchase. When I got to the register, I learned that their double coupon program had been deeply cut, and I spent $10 more than planned. In light of double coupon program cutbacks, here are new strategies for using your double coupons, or making better use of non-doubled coupons. Recent Cutbacks in Double Coupons…
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That DOESN’T Make Me Stabby: Mandated Free Credit Scores

Finally, the US consumer is close to winning one. The US Senate has just passed an amendment that would give consumers free access to their credit scores under certain circumstances, such as denial of a loan or a job due to your credit score. (This is currently the law for credit reports.) If passed by the House, it would go into law as part of the Wall Street reform package.…
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Due Date Chasing Is Not Budgeting

Recently someone told me about his budgeting method: he finds out that latest he can pay a bill without incurring a late fee and then mails the payment just in time. For some bills, this is normal because you incur a late fee the day after it’s due. (Hi, credit cards.) With other bills, you might not get a late fee until 15 days after the due date,…
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