Budgeting

It’s Time to Set Your Christmas Budget

So last week we set our Thanksgiving budgets and made Thanksgiving travel arrangements. Today it’s time to spend a few minutes thinking about Christmas. In case you doubt that the holiday season is upon us, a few stores have already set out their Christmas displays. No, it’s not time to go tree shopping, but you should set a budget, make a list of gift recipients, and look into travel arrangements,…
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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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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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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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Adjusting Budget Priorities

As I’ve mentioned several times, my husband and I built up a sizable emergency fund before he went on disability. While on disability, we’ve been down some from our usual income, so we’re not increasing the emergency fund, but we have been continuing our tax set asides. When this plumbing emergency developed, we had the cash, but also had to readjust our spending plans for three sofas and sliding doors. Why…
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Arepas: Cheap, Filling, Easy Comfort Food

Gluten-Free Girl posted complete instructions for arepas a few months ago. This was the first I’d heard of them, but they’re South American corn cakes. They’re super-easy to make, very filling, and very cheap. How to Make Arepas For complete instructions, see the GFG post with pictures. Here’s a quick rundown: Ingredients: 2 cups harina P.A.N. or masarepa (not masa harina) 1 teaspoon oil 1 teaspoon salt 2 ½ cups…
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Leave Slack or Have a Budget?

Last week I read a post in Wise Bread that left me confused. The author argued that you don’t need to make a budget, you just need to “leave a little slack,” by which he meant underspend. His argument was that you can’t be prepared for life’s little emergencies if you budget every penny, because you don’t have flexibility. I think this argument is a willful misunderstanding of…
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Homeowner Help: Home Depot vs. Lowe’s

I don’t think I’ve spent as much time visiting hardware stores as I have in the last eight months. Our local hardware store is an Ace, which we use for small parts and screws. It’s a bit pricier than the big box stores, but it’s also only a half mile from our house. We also do some garden shopping at OSH. However, our main hardware stores are Home…
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Don’t Bust Your Budget: Remember Key Budget Items

If you’ve recently determined that you need to create a budget so you can better control your money flow, or you’ve been forced to create a budget due to credit reductions, then this may be one of the most important bits of advice you read. Budget Standards Most people look at one or two months of spending when creating a budget. That’s fine for regular expenses like fuel, child care,…
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Savings Account Interest vs. Convenience

This weekend, my husband and I mapped out our cash flow for the rest of the year. I noticed that he wasn’t scheduling our usual monthly transfers to savings, but was instead letting the money pile up in the checking account. That started a debate about whether it was better to leave the money in the checking account for convenience, or better to transfer it to savings to earn a…
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