Money and Finance Articles

Learn to live a life of financial freedom and browse money-saving tips and tricks to stretch your dollar further than ever before. Browse dozens of great articles, hundreds of tips, and full tutorials to take control of your pocketbook!

From Simple Tips to Develop a Saver’s Attitude to understanding the difference between Paying Down or Paying Ahead to understanding When and Why to Give your Kids an Allowance, we have articles covering every money and finance question you have!

You can do it, we can help, and it starts with the articles here!

Life’s Money Rules – Rule 6: Manage Your Credit

I’ll admit it. Rule six in my book, 7 Money Rules for Life: How to Take Control of Your Financial Future is not my favorite of the seven rules. Honestly, I would much rather change “Manage Your Credit” to “Death to Credit, Live on Cash” and be done with it. But unless we can figure out how to turn back the clock a half century or so, that would be unwise—even foolish.

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That leaves us with two choices. One, we can ignore the matter of consumer credit and just hope for the best (not a very good option). Or, two, we can take full responsibility for maintaining an excellent credit rating for the purpose of saving money and improving our financial intelligence and our effectiveness as money managers. We must opt for the latter because your credit rating plays a very important role in your financial health.

Rule six in its entirety reads, “Manage your credit rating to achieve a high level of creditworthiness.” Read this rule again, paying close attention to the words “credit rating” and “creditworthiness.” This rule does not mean going into debt, creating debt or taking on huge sums of available credit. Read more

Life’s Money Rules – Rule 5: Tell Your Money Where to Go

If the word budget is like nails on a chalkboard, you’ve got a friend in me. I know the feeling.

For many years I wouldn’t have anything to do with a budget because I couldn’t stand the idea of someone telling me how to spend my money. That’s how I defined a budget. It was a whip disguised as a formula with every intent of beating me into submission.

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Instead, what I learned from coming back from the edge of financial doom and finding my way back to solvency is that a budget is the ticket to financial happiness. I still don’t like the word, so I’ve replaced it with Rule Five: Tell Your Money Where to Go, from my book 7 Money Rules for Life: How to Take Control of Your Financial Future (Revell, 2012).

Like a roadmap or blueprints for your dream house, a Spending Plan shows where you are and how to get where you want to be. In its simplest form, a Spending Plan is a sheet of paper on which you write your income for the coming month and what you will do with every dollar of it. You “prespend” your paycheck on paper before you part with any of it.
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Life’s Money Rules – Rule 4: Anticipate Your Irregular Expenses

If I asked you to stop what you’re doing, add up your monthly expenses, and deduct the total from your monthly income, I can nearly predict the result. You’d look up with a big smile on your face.

There it is, proof that you spend less than you earn. Your income is greater than your outgo. You’ve nailed Rule 1 in my book, 7 Money Rules for Life: How to Take Control of Your Financial Future (Revell, 2012). And I would be a bit nervous. At first glance, your list looks reasonably thorough. But it is not complete.

Broken Car

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The mystery for many people is if their spending is so much lower than their income, why can’t they get through an entire month without using credit to cover unexpected expenses, like medicine for a sick child, a semi-annual insurance premium or a family birthday party? Read more

Life’s Money Rules – Rule 3: Give Some Away

More than 25 years ago, Gordon Gekko, the main antagonist in the 1987 film “Wall Street,” declared, “Greed is good!” From the excess and financial fallout of the ‘80s, it appeared that many people based their belief system on that line. Sadly, greed is like a cancer that when left untreated can destroy individuals, families, businesses, governments and economies.

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Breaking the stranglehold of greed starts with releasing the thing that has the power to consume you. That is why in my book, 7 Money Rules for Life: How to Take Control of Your Financial Future (Revell, 2012), rule three is: Give Some Away.

Giving away some of your money quiets your desires and knocks the life out of greed. Trust me, I know. My ignorance about credit and debt, plus my skewed logic that I could have it all now and pay for it later, set me up to be greed’s dream client. Read more

Life’s Money Rules – Rule 2: Save for the Future

While the common term for a savings account is, well, “savings,” I prefer a more elegant title: Contingency Fund. It just sounds better, doesn’t it? But whether you call it a savings account or a Contingency Fund—it’s a key component in a sound financial life. And that’s why it’s rule two in my book 7 Money Rules for Life: How to Take Control of Your Financial Future (Revell, 2012).

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Save for the future is a principle my Everyday Cheapskate and Debt-Proof Living readers have taken to heart. Having a healthy stash of cash put away in a safe, accessible place means regularly putting 10 percent of your net take-home pay into your Contingency Fund (CF). Sound impossible? What if you’re struggling to live paycheck to paycheck, you ask? Start with one percent, or two, or five. Saving for the future is preparing you for the day when you and your income part company for any number of reasons. Read more

Money Rules for LIfe – Rule 1: Spend Less Than You Earn

My life changed radically 28 years ago when I broke my self-imposed gag order and told the whole world about my struggle with a debilitating spending problem. I had no idea at the time that this would be one of the smartest things I could ever do. By telling my story and owning up to my problem, I became accountable.

Red wallet with US currency in the hands on a white background

Since then, I’ve read and written hundreds of thousands of words on the subject of money management. I’ve experimented with various methods. I’ve addressed audiences large and small. I’ve listened, pondered and asked questions. I’ve collected enough data to choke even a well-adjusted accountant. And I’ve written 22 books on the subject, including 7 Money Rules for Life: How to Take Control of Your Financial Future.

During my quest, I have come to thousands of conclusions. My most important conclusion is this: Anyone can learn to control their spending, even in the face of a sudden job-loss or financial challenge. And that is why Rule One  in my book is: Spend less than you earn. Read more

Tips and Tricks to Stop the Money Leaks

For many, it’s not the big expenditures that keep them spending beyond their means, but rather the thousands of little purchases that together wreak havoc on their finances. Want to start leaving more money in the bank each month? Start paying attention to all the little ways money leaks out of your life.

toothpaste

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TOOTHPASTE LIKE A PEA. Those toothpaste ads that show the toothbrush covered with toothpaste in an artful swirl use about four times as much toothpaste as necessary to brush our teeth thoroughly. My dentist told me that it takes enough toothpaste the size of a pea to do a good job. And the fact that a smaller amount is still effective, is more comfortable than having a mouth full of suds and makes the toothpaste last three times longer is my idea of a great way to stop the money leak. Edna, Oregon

LINT ROLL THE LAMPSHADE. My lampshades don’t get dirty, but they sure do get dusty. I “dust” my cloth lampshades with a lint roller. Works like a charm! Anita, Minnesota

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Handy Reminders Save Money

I don’t know if the world is getting older, or we all just have too many things to remember, but more and more memory-saving tips are landing in my inbox. Let me just say, “thanks, keep ‘em coming!”

COUPON REMINDER. I used to have such a challenge remembering to use the instant coupons that came stuck to the front of a product. I’d get home from the grocery store and there it was, still stuck to the product. One day it dawned on me what to do. When I pick the product off the shelf, I IMMEDIATELY stick the coupon over the bar code. That way, if I get busy unloading the basket the clerk will have to remove it to scan the product! Sylvia, Louisiana

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ODOR-FREE ONION STOCKPILE. Make sure when you are freezing onions to use freezer bags, not just sandwich zip-type bags. Bags designed for the freezer do a better job of keeping the food’s odors from escaping. I mean, who wants their freezer to smell like onions? Tina, EC blog

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