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How to Stay Financially Motivated When Times are Tough

The following is a guest article from Lucy Oake, contributing writing at One Smart Dollar. Let’s face it – sometimes life throws you a curve ball. There are lots of situations when it feels like you’ll never be able to get ahead financially. Focusing on what you can’t control will only bog you down with negativity. Instead, focus on what you can control – including your finances. When times are tough, here are some of the best ways to keep your momentum and stay positive. Start – or update – your budget There are a bunch of different way to budget out there. What worked for you six months ago may not work as well if something has changed in your life. Relationships, jobs, and savings priorities can all be good reasons to take a fresh look at your budget. Sticking to a budget can be hugely rewarding because no matter what type you use, a good budget will help you reach your goals. So take a look at some of the most common budgeting methods and see if your budget needs a makeover. Make your goals visual A budget is a great financial tool, but sometimes it’s not very … Read more

Living Paycheck to Paycheck but Having FunToo

Living Paycheck to Paycheck but having fun too | Zero Dollar Entertainment Budget | Having Fun on a Budget | Tips for Having Fun | Cheap Entertainment

The following post is from Sarah at A Matter of Cents.  She’s a new mom, former accountant, and current business owner who is throwing herself into freelance writing now too. Finding ways to make a dollar go further can be challenging. I know from my 20’s and 30’s that paychecks don’t always go as far as you need them to stretch. Being a responsible adult is a drag, but I’ve found some ways to create extra spending money without picking up a second job or cutting spending. I have found that even if I save some extra money for something fun, that same money gets used for some “adult responsibilities” like unforeseen auto expenses or doctor visits. So I decided to get creative. A Truly Free Lunch (or Dinner) Get that dinner paid for by someone else! Dining out is a common way to get out of the house and have a nice treat. Sometimes we do this a little too often. But if someone else is footing the bill, there is less need to cut it out of the budget! No, I am not suggesting having a guy take you to dinner…besides, when you get married, it doesn’t help that “that guy” is using … Read more

6+ Free Family Activities for Summer Fun

6 Free Family Activities for Summer | Things to do with Kids | Children's Activities | Frugal Entertainment | Free Things to Do

Mr. And Mrs. Beatles blog about their frugal life at Stacking Pennies. They recently began their journey towards frugality and write about different things they learn on their way to a debt free lifestyle. In the Beatles household, family activities are what we look most forward to in the Summer. We believe that frugal families tend to be closer and stronger than their counterparts because rather than paying someone else to entertain them, they find entertainment together and within each other. This creates special bonding moments! While entertainment costs have gotten out of control (have you seen the price of a movie ticket and popcorn lately?), there are plenty of other ways of having fun without paying a dime; these are cost-free activities that anyone can do with their families. Let’s look at some family activities that don’t require you to open your purse or wallet: Visit the beach (or water near you) Beaches are a ton of fun and make no impact on the budget!  You can collect shells, swim, build sand castles, feed the seagulls, fly a kite without getting it caught in a power line, etc.  Jazz it up with a pitcher of homemade lemonade and sandwiches. If there’s no … Read more

The Luxury of Minimalism

Minimalism with Kids | Toy Minimalist | Staying Sane as a Parent | Minimalism is a Luxury

I’m away from the online world this week, so here’s an awesome post from Revanche at A Gai Shan Life.  She and I have only met in real person once so far, but I consider her one of my closest friends.  If you don’t already read her blog, open it right now in another tab and check it out after you’re done here.  Revanche lives in constant pain, she lives supporting others, she lives for her family and friends…key word here…she LIVES.  And she’s been blogging about it all in heart-wrenching and uplifting detail for more than 10 years. Our Spring Culling I maintain a strict policy on JuggerBaby’s (JB’s) toys. I refuse to break my neck in an unintentionally hilarious pratfall dancing over the seemingly inevitable mountains of two-year-old appropriate possessions. The one challenge to this rule is one that I can’t, in good conscience, say no to. We see my aunt twice a year and without fail, she has a pile of used toys, books, and clothes, carefully cleaned and curated for JB’s health and education. She’s not wealthy, she’s the self-described “poorest of the whole family”, so she’s gotten good at rescuing abandoned things at the church and … Read more

Boarding Kennels Vs. Pet Sitters – Which is Right for You?

The following is a guest post from my friend and fellow professional pet sitter, Michael Lisby from Paternal Pet Care.  He’s based in Florida and is obviously passionate about pets.  🙂 Pet Boarding Kennels Traditionally, pet boarding has been the most popular option for owners needing to board their pets – but is it really the best? Let’s weigh options usually offered here, and what is ‘better’ for your pet vs. what is simply more convenient for you. At one time, cold concrete/steel ‘runs’ were the norm; the dogs were isolated in these lengthy cages. This is perhaps a few steps above dogs at an animal shelter; we have natural pack animals, intended to socialize, isolated from each other in a strange place with no chance for socialization or special care. The dogs were all isolated to avoid the possibility of social confrontation; there was no chance for injury. Still, this clearly is nowhere near an ideal situation, closer to ‘doggy jail’ than anything. Fortunately, this is only the case with a small number of boarding facilities now. During this new age of amenities, far more accommodations are usually offered (at an additional cost, of course). We have ‘doggie hotels’ … Read more

What Happens When You Just Don’t Make Enough Money to Get Ahead?

The following is from my blogging buddy, Martin, over at Studenomics.  He’s been trying to help people learn to manage their money at any age since before I knew that blogging existed, and he just published Next Round’s On Me: How-to Achieve Financial Freedom in Your 20s. Great guy and great advice, check it out! “I’m just not making enough money to get ahead.” One of my friends complained to me about this. I asked him if he wanted to do something about it or if he was just looking to whine. He wanted to take action. So I decided to helped him out. What did I say? Before we get into this, you must remember that it’s not going to be easy. What’s easy is to keep on keeping on. The difficult thing to do is to take action and to do something. I’m also going to assume that you want to either save up some money or pay off some debt to have some breathing space. You’re tired of watching your paychecks go as they come in. You’re fed up with never getting ahead. You want to finally be able to treat yourself to a steak dinner or you … Read more

Ten Money Tips for Students and Recent Grads

Here are ten money tips for students and recent grads that will actually help keep people from spending all of their students loans. Their future selves will thank them! College debt is crippling, millennials, listen up! Use these frugal hacks to keep from being broke when you graduate.

The following, circa 2011, is a great guest post about money tips for young adults by Marissa at Thirty Six Months.  I’m fleshing it out with my own tips and moving it on up to help as many students and grads as possible.  🙂 I was having a conversation with my grandparents the other day about how much debt I am in and how much post secondary education really costs these days. I find that a majority of GEN Y students are coming out of school with more debt than they realize and are not really prepared to start tackling it. I mean let’s think about it, we don’t get taught about consumer debt in school, so the minute that we step on campus we have credit card companies lined up to “give” us money, and since we haven’t had access to free cash before, we all jump at it. The way most student loans work, here in Canada anyway, is that they will lend you funds to support your education and will start charging interest 6 months after you graduate. Most students either don’t think that far ahead when it comes to interest rates or assume that since they are getting … Read more