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Money-Friend Ettiquette

Nothing can ruin a friendship quite like a money issue; except for an accidental bathroom intrusion.

Here Real Simple addresses some frequent money-friend etiquette issues.  Here are the highlights and their answers, minus the fluff:

Splitting the Bill

  • Discuss the payment options upfront. 
  • Take the initiative and ask for a separate check. 

Lending Money to Friends

  • Here RS sites Dave Ramsey (wise decision): treat a loan as a gift; don’t expect it back.   

Backing out of a Financial Commitment (i.e. a trip you can’t afford)

  • Explain what you can afford when making plans. 
  • If you are already committed, offer to help pay for any fees involved with cancellation, etc.
  • Don’t take a loan if they offer to help you pay. 

Friends Who Complain About Money

  • Call them out.  Ask them if they do in fact need help; that’ll make them more aware of what they are saying. 

[click to continue…]

Article publié pour la première fois le 15/07/2010





These are the carnivals where I was featured this week.  Enjoy!


Best of Money Carnival @ Personal Finance by the Books – Oh, You’ll Pay!  Interest that is.

Carnival of Personal Finance @ Budgeting in the Fun Stuff – 5 Stupid Things You Can Do With Your Money

Carnival of Money Stories @ Squirrelers – Online Grocery Shopping – Worth it?

Carnival of Financial Planning @ Squirrelers – 7 Days to a Budget


As long as you are browsing the interwebs, here are some of the articles that I found worthwhile this week:

The $100 Discussion @ Punch Debt in the Face

It’s Still A Good Idea To Buy A House In This Economy @ Free From Broke

5 Main Money Gobblers @ Sweating the Big Stuff

25 Baby Steps to Frugality @ Home Ec 101

Article publié pour la première fois le 03/09/2010

1 comment

Short Term Lending Options

Every now and then there may be a time when you need to get access to money quickly for a short period of time. This is where short term lending can be especially helpful. It is there in case of emergencies, and isn’t designed to sustain you for a long time. A good example is an unexpected car repair. Here are some options if you need to get a short term loan.

Cash Advance

The first option you may want to consider is using the cash advance feature of your credit card. Many people don’t realize that most credit cards do offer cash advances up to a certain amount. All you have to do is go to an ATM machine with your credit card and get cash. The interest rate on this cash is usually about the same as your normal credit card, but be aware that some cards do charge fees or higher rates.

Payday Loans

Another option could be payday loans. Unlike using the cash advance feature, for a payday loan, you must go to an actual lender. The lender will then have you write them a check for the amount you need to borrow plus interest and fees. If you don’t pay back the loan, the lender can cash this check. Payday loans typically have much higher interest rates than traditional cash advances, and they usually have more fees associated with them as well.

Peer to Peer Lending

Peer to peer lending is a relatively new option for getting a short term loan. There are now several websites where you can post a description of what you will use the loan for, and individuals will bid on your loan. Based on your credit rating and other factors, investors will choose the rate and amount. If your loan is funded, you will get the amount wired to your bank account within a few days.

Peer to peer lending can be great for larger sums, and they usually have longer repayment periods as well. However, they tend to be slower than the other options, so if you need immediate cash, they may not work.

Article publié pour la première fois le 02/06/2012

photo by: zingbot

Time is Money – Part 3: How to Avoid Cleaning

In this third article in our series on how to save time, we look at how to save time cleaning your house.

We can all agree that when it comes to cleaning, we would all rather just not do it. Aside from its benefits as a mind-numbingly-repetitive chore, cleaning is miserable. You either have to deal with harsh chemicals that are trying to slowly kill you or “green” excuses for cleaning products that basically do little more than water and elbow grease. Reason enough to avoid cleaning completely is the bathroom. No matter how you look at it, it’s just not civilized. Here are some suggestions in getting out of cleaning and maybe saving not only time but money in the process.

Make your cleaning supplies work for you. One thing that many people forget about cleaning supplies is that they need time to work. When it comes to cleaning agents, patience truly is a virtue. Spraying on the bathroom cleaner and then immediately wiping it away does little to aid your cleaning. Stop working so hard. Apply your cleaning chemicals and step away; go read a book or something. Let them do their job. When you come back later you will see why those little bottles have the poison skull and cross bones on them – they are grime murderers. It’s all about cleaning smarter, not harder.
Buy the right cleaning supplies. There are two parts to this tip: first get the correct cleaning agent for the job. Trust me, do your research, it makes a difference. The second part is to buy cleaning supplies that take the work out of cleaning. Buy one of those shower cleaners that hang in the shower and automatically spray it down daily. Buy a cleaning puck for your toilet reservoir, or better yet, one of those gel cleaners that attach to the side of the bowl. Why scrub down your toilet and shower when you can let science do it for you!?! Taking a little time now to find helpful cleaning supplies will save you time up to your elbows is mold and mildew later.
Get a maid. Yes, I know, this hardly seems like a cheap choice, but you have to admit, it’s definitely a time saver! Honestly though, getting a maid may end up saving you money in the long run. When people usually think of getting a maid, they think Alice from the Brady Bunch – a live-in person to constantly pick up after your lazy and dirty butt. That is not what I’m advocating. Many maid services can be hired to come once a week or once a month to clean things up. Sure, you may not mind general picking up clutter, but you’d rather head-butt a ram than scrub down your kitchen. You may find it cheaper for your sanity to simply pay someone once a month and give your house a good scrub down. If you can then use that time you save not cleaning by actually making money, you’ll come out on top and you’ll have avoided some pretty nasty business (that is unless you work at one of those many dirty jobs Mike Rowe made look so cool.)
So what tips do you have for avoiding cleaning? Sound off below.

Article publié pour la première fois le 02/12/2013

1 comment

Back To School Savings

It’s that time again. The time of year that children fear while parents cheer. Just when it feels like the kids are just starting to forget what school even is, BAM! It’s time to go back to school. And, while parents surely look forward to having days at home without all of the school-age children to entertain, parents usually don’t look forward to, what has become a pseudo-holiday, back to school shopping season. All of the new school supplies and back-to-school clothes seem to add up pretty quick. With those long lists of supplies the school gives to wary parents, it makes one think: are they going back to school or packing for a trip to Mars!?! Well wary parent, fear not and look below for some tips to ease the pain of the back-to-school shopping season.

Focus on big ticket items. Let’s face it, pencils are almost literally a dime-a-dozen. Around the beginning of the school year everywhere you look you’re going to meet amazing deals on back-to-school basics like pens, pencils, and notebooks. Finding basic school supplies deals is not the challenge. That’s why you have to focus on the big ticket items, things like backpacks, graphing calculators, computers, etc. Keeping a focus on those items that are sure to cost the most means you’ll find the deals on the items that matter.

Follow your favorite stores for deals on clothes. In this age of the internet, every clothing store on earth has a website and a mailing list. While getting tons of pesky e-mails asking you to buy things can be annoying, it can also save you money. If you like to do your children’s clothes shopping at a certain store, sign up for their e-mail list; it’s only a matter of time before the deals will arrive in your inbox. With the advent of social media, finding deals at your favorite stores is even easier. Make sure you like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Invest in lunchbox. Let’s face it, paying for a hot lunch everyday at school adds up quickly. That’s why it makes sense to spend a few extra dollars at the beginning of the school year on lunch packing supplies. Make sure you buy a quality lunchbox or bag, something that will keep things hot or cold. Also spend some money on lunchbox ice packs to keep things at the right temperature. It also makes sense to spend some money on a good water bottle that can be used throughout the year.  You don’t want to keep buying replacements for these items so buy quality the first time.

Hit end of summer sales. As the temperatures outside start to go down, so do prices in the stores. Take advantage of this seasonal reduction in prices to get the best deals on the things you know you’ll need for the new school year.

Stick to the list. Sometimes it’s easy to get a little carried away when buying a lot of the little things for the kids. They just seem to make things too dang cute these days. Exercise some restraint and only buy those things that they need and your wallet will thank you.

Hold off on buying trendier gear. This might be the most insightful tip on this list. Trends change fast. The coolest or trendiest pencil box at the end of the school year is probably not the coolest new thing when school starts up again in September. By holding off on buying the trendy gear for later, you can avoid your school-age child coming to you with a perfectly good school items that they want to get rid of because thy aren’t cool anymore. You do not need this headache. Do yourself a favor and wait to buy.

So parents, any other money saving ideas as we approach the start of a new school year? Share away…

Article publié pour la première fois le 10/09/2012


Double Duty Diaper Bag

Sometimes I have to face reality.  My (now seemingly) glamorous life as a free and independent young adult ended pretty much the moment I saw the word “pregnant” appear on that little purple stick.  Now, most of what I am, and what I do, are all to do with being a mom.  I spend most of my time, money, brainpower, and energy on my kid.  So when I find something that saves me at least a little of any of these — or even just a little space in my cluttered home, car, mind, and life — I am all for it.  So this post is for the moms out there, and maybe some dads too.

One thing I can never leave the house with out anymore (besides my kid) is his diaper bag.  Now, that thing is only so big and my non-Schwarzenegger shoulder can only carry so much.  Here are some items you should be sure to pack up for your next venture with baby because of their multiple uses for both you and the kid.

Diaper wipes.  Obviously if you have a kid in diapers you are going to take wipes.  But, maybe you haven’t realized that what cleans sticky kid hands also cleans sticky mom hands.  They can help everyone cool off on a hot day and they are usually mild enough to remove mom’s errant eyeliner and other makeup.

Snacks.  You CANNOT forget the snacks! You are probably already keenly aware of how snacks can occupy your kid for that crucial last 5 minutes at the bank or post office.  But, in all your activities as a supermom I bet you usually remember to feed your kids but often forget to feed yourself.  Now, one problem I had was that my kid loves to eat dry Cheerios and raisins, whereas I will not touch the stuff.  So I need to also include some crackers or squeezable applesauce packets that I can share with the kid.  Bottom line, having a snack in your bag that you and your baby can both eat may save you from a panic-driven, between errands, run through the drive thru, where you have to get them something too even if they don’t need it, just to save you from the whining.  Don’t unnecessarily spend time and money.

Color pencils.  Instead of crayons that can melt in your car and smoosh all over, try keeping a few colored pencils in your bag, maybe even the clicky or peel away kinds that don’t need to be sharpened.  Not only are they minimal on mess but they are also easier for you to use to jot down a shopping list, or write a quick note (Sorry my car door hit your car as I was trying to pry my kicking toddler out of his carseat.  Call me if you find damage…).  To go along with the pencils a small notebook for occupying kids with doodling and for your own purposes is essential. BONUS– Save room by not putting the whole box of pencils in your bag.  Just take three or four and keep them together with a hair tie.  Because when isn’t an extra hair tie helpful?

Picture book.  Here, I am talking about a specific kind of baby picture book that I have found extra helpful for both myself and baby.  Ours is little 5 x 5 inch board book called Peek-A-Who? and first of all, my kid loooooooves it.  And I love it because after peek-a-moo and peek-a-zoo, in the final “chapter” shall we say, the topic is peek-a-YOU.  And it includes a pretty excellent 4 x 4 inch mirror (bigger than any compact) that has come in handy quite a few times, like– “oh no, did you get finger paints in my hair again?” or “here, Mommy needs to fix her lipstick and look like a non-crazy person before brother’s teacher joins us for this meeting.” So, a little book with a mirror saves the day for mom and baby.

Diaper disposal bags.  LOVE these things!  They come in a tiny, single dispense roll that takes up no space at all and they are genius.  Not only are they great for quarantining a massive poop-bomb of a diaper but they also work for pet messes, wet or extremely dirty clothes, trash collecting, nasty bibs after a restaurant meal, grabbing freaky bugs out of the sandbox, or impromptu stops for nectarines at the farmer’s market.

Those are a few of my favorite double duty diaper bag items.  What about you? I would love to hear about any you have come up with.  Please share in the comments below.

Article publié pour la première fois le 15/07/2013