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Fit in a Fun Friday – Expensive Dreams

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My friend Desiree is an astronomy addict. She and her husband, Mitch, were the ones who took me to the George Observatory a few weeks ago to take my first real look at Saturn. She also found out that she could do way more star-gazing for free if she joined a few astronomy clubs in and around our area. At her first meeting, they showed her a close-up of the moon like she had never seen before on a 42” screen attached to a Takahashi telescope. She’s now jonesing for this $18,000 astronomy machine… The weird thing is, even though I’m a frugal, money-hoarding squirrel, I think she should get one if it would truly enhance her happiness. I greatly value happiness. I also believe that money can be used as a tool to achieve greater contentment. Being in the poor house doesn’t lead to peace of mind, so I also highly value budgeting. So, I suggest saving for a HUGE splurge the same way you’d save for anything else. Set aside a certain amount of money from every paycheck for the item of your dream. Desiree could be the proud owner of a Takahashi in 5 years or less … Read more

The Fun Stuff in My Budget

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Today, Mr Credit Card from is going to talk about the fun things in his budget. He has also compiled his thoughts on the best credit cards offers available today if you looking for one. Hope you enjoy this post Your budget serves many purposes. The most obvious one is to plan how much you intend to spend your money on different things. Budgeting is such a useful tool to know where your money goes and helps you decide where to put your limited resources to good use. However, very often, budgeting feels like to drag especially if you are looking to reduce debt or squeezing every cent to make ends meet. But as the title of this blog suggest, budgeting can be fun too! So in this post, I would like to touch on some of the fun things that I budget and plan for in our household’s budget. Saving For Vacation – This one is a biggie for us. We take a couple of family vacations every year. And we try to see different places each year. Our budgets for vacation vary every year depending on the circumstances. Normally, we have to save for airline tickets and … Read more

The BFS Way to Diagnose Your Financial Health

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There seems to be all sorts of ways to measure your financial health, but here’s the list of points I’d keep an eye on: 1)  Am I spending significantly less than I earn? If I’m not, I’d take a look at my spending, make a budget, and cut the unnecessary expenses. If that didn’t fix it, I’d look into getting a better-paying job or at other income sources. 2)  Do I have a solid emergency fund? If I have at least 3 months of expenses (preferably 6 months or more), I’d move on. Otherwise, I’d start funneling cash into an emergency account. Even starting with $50 a month is better than no backup fund at all. 3)  Am I saving enough for retirement? I’d take a look at a few retirement suggestions and figure out if I’m on track. If I’m not, I’d look into my options. Do I have a 401k, IRA, or a Roth IRA? Would one of these work for me? 4)  What kind of debt do I have? If I do have some, I’d make a little list and see what I could eliminate. I’d start paying off high interest debt like credit cards before attacking car … Read more

How Would You Proceed?

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My husband and I are approaching a small financial crossroads. We make his final graduate school payment in June, he graduates in August, and that will bring a small automatic raise (about $1000 a school year minimum). That means that we will have an extra $750 a month starting in August. We’re wondering what we should do with it since we have several options. I know, it’s a good problem to have, but I have a personal finance blog for a reason (I over-think money)… Here’s the info we’re working with: We’re in our mid-20s and want to retire at age 52. Our current emergency fund has 3-4 months of expenses in it and our jobs are VERY stable. Our mortgage has about $73,300 left at 5.375% and is already on track to be paid off by the end of 2017 instead of 2022. Hubby’s car loan has about $10,700 left at 4.6% and is already on track to be paid off by the end of 2011 instead of 2013. We contribute 6% to my 401k, which is matched up to 6%. We fully fund one Roth IRA ($5000 a year). We put about $200 a month into our Scottrade … Read more

BFS Guest Post at Little House in the Valley – How Much House is Enough House?

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Just wanted to say a quick thank you to Little House in the Valley for letting me guest post! Feel free to take a look at the article, How Much House is Enough House?, to see my take on my own home. Thanks again!

Fit in a Fun Friday – Sea Monkeys

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If the title didn’t make you smile, you’ve never had Sea Monkeys. They bring up so many fun memories from my childhood that I thought I’d remind you too. For those of you that haven’t heard of Sea Monkeys, they are miniature Brine Shrimp that are suspended in their hatching process until they are introduced into the correct environment. In this case, that environment is a little plastic aquarium that has the correct packets added to it a few days in advance. Honestly, the waiting is the hardest part. Even after you successfully wait to add the “Instant Life Eggs”, you then have to wait until the little guys hatch and become visible under the magnifying bubbles on the side of the tank. I don’t know how many times my mother reminded me to have some patience. I know that tiny shrimp may not sound like fun, but the whole process makes me giddy. It’s fun to create a tiny world. It’s also interesting to watch them stutter around the tank. I can’t swear I learned anything deep from the whole process, but I really do have fond memories of my first real pets. Yes, we had a dog and … Read more