How’s your health? Not your physical fitness, but your financial well-being. For most of us, how much we earn tells us how we’re “feeling” financially. But your income is only one part of the equation. How much of your income do you actually keep? Not very much, I’ll bet. Your income is low, you say; you’ve got bills to pay. Gas prices are sky-high, grocery costs are through the roof—who can possibly save?
My answer: You can. Here are simple things you can do today to get going:
SELL OUT. Go through every cupboard, closet and drawer. If you aren’t using it regularly, get rid of it on eBay or have the mother of all yard sales. A typical sale could raise $500 or more when you start to unload your white elephants. There! You’ve cleaned out the house and you’ve got a pile of cash to show for it. Continue reading
Do you have any idea how much money you spend each month to feed your family? Even if you think you know, you may be shocked to learn the truth.
Recently I heard from a reader in Ohio who decided to keep track of how much she spent on food for one entire month. She was all but speechless when she told me it came to more than $850. On food. Now, had she planned to spend that much as part of a carefully charted budget, that would be one thing. But this is the same person who’d told me previously that she thought that number was more like $450 “at the most.”
It’s no secret that food costs are skyrocketing. Every week I am amazed if not worried. While we can’t control the cost of food, we can control the ways that we spend our food dollars.
There’s more at play that just the cost of food. There’s the time required to track sales, shop carefully then prepare and cook our meals. I don’t know about you, but I need all the help I can get. I rely on multiple sources, but probably none as much as the online menu planning service, eMeals.com. This is simply genius. Here’s how it works: Continue reading
A recent column on the proper storage for fresh fruits and vegetables generated a lot of great reader feedback—plus dozens of new tips and tricks to make all grocery items last longer. I love this stuff so much I must admit to being slightly compulsive–gathering, testing and assessing techniques. Here are a few of my new favorites:
BERRIES: Are you familiar with that sick feeling that comes when you notice that the berries you bought yesterday are already showing signs of mold and turning brown? Here’s the remedy: As soon as you bring them into the kitchen prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider) and ten parts water. Give berries a bath in the mixture. Swirl them around a bit the gently drain, rinse, and place in the refrigerator. Don’t worry. The solution is so weak you will not taste the vinegar. This treatment should give your strawberries an additional two weeks of useful life and raspberries a week or more. Vinegar retards the grow of bacteria that causes berries to spoil so quickly.
POTATOES: To keep potatoes from growing big ugly sprouts before you have time to use them up, store them with a couple of apples. For some reason, that really works to halt the sprouting. Continue reading
Over the past months, I’ve been sharing an overview of my basic money rules. There are seven of them and today we look at the last one. Rule 7 insures you have a safety net when borrowing money.
It is unrealistic to flat-out ban borrowing money from our lives. I am grateful for a home mortgage. Without it, my husband and I would not have had a prayer of owning our home. And I don’t believe that financing an automobile is evil or that all student debt is toxic.
Borrowing money and the debt that creates should be taken on rarely, and then dealt with swiftly. Debt should be a means to an end. Borrowing money is a financial tool that improves your life if dealt with intelligently, not emotionally.
The rule is to borrow only what you know you can repay. When I use the word “know,” I do not mean with-absolute-certainty-beyond-a-reasonable-doubt know. I mean to know as in having a reasonable certainty based on credible information. Continue reading