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Suggested Questions for the Always Broke

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Yahoo Finance had the article, 8 Questions for the Constantly Broke, and I thought they were worth rehashing.  Here’s their questions and my take on them: 1.  Do I know where my money is going? I do believe that the first step of getting finances under control is to keep up with what you are spending your money on.  If you don’t know what you are spending on, how can you cut the fat? 2.  Am I focusing too much on the month, instead of the year? The point of this question in the article was to suggest keeping up with one-time annual expenses as well as normal monthly ones.  That’s a great idea.  We started our car and home maintenance fund after being “surprised” by our homeowner’s insurance the year after we bought our house.  We haven’t ignored annual expenses since then. 3.  Do I do something everyday that wastes money? Daily habits like soda, lunches out, beer, smoking, etc can all kill a budget.  My hubby cut back on soda when he realized how much money and calories were being wasted.  I started saving a ton of money for us by starting to bring my lunch to work this … Read more

Yakezie Alexa Ranking Update – 245,385

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BFS is a member of the Yakezie Alexa Ranking Challenge!  My ranking last week was 291,555.  Now it is 245,385! The ultimate goal is to be in the top 200,000 by July 4, 2010.  I’m giving weekly rank updates in order to track our progress.  Not too shabby for a blog that started at 8,531,858 when it joined the challenge in March 2010! I would like to sincerely thank all of my readers and the members of the Yakezie Challenge.  Obviously, this would be impossible without all of you. In case you didn’t know, Alexa traffic rankings are determined by the numbers of hits a site gets by people with the Alexa toolbar.  If you want to be part of this ranking community, you can download the Alexa toolbar here. If you are a Yakezie member and don’t see yourself on my member list, please send me an email or leave a comment here to be added, thanks!

Fit in a Fun Friday – The Zoo

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One of my high school friends, Maggie, invited my husband and me to come visit about a month ago and take a tour of her job.  I know a private tour of somebody’s job doesn’t sound like that much fun…unless they work at a zoo! Yep, we got a free private tour of a zoo! It was great.  We were able to feed Jeffrey the giraffe and Babe the rhino (you can see their pictures below…well Babe’s booty and her companion’s pic).  My friend also told us the histories of each animal she knew and the funny stories that have happened along the way. They have one elephant that seems to take offense at inanimate objects…she mangled a fence without even trying.  We also met a wild turkey that refused to settle down…I swear, he thought we were really after his woman and could stay completely puffed up for hours on end.  He’s going to give himself a heart attack. The last picture is of Mukah, an orangutan that really thinks he is human… By the time we had seen the whole place, I felt like I had known those animals for years. I also remembered the ton other zoo visits I have enjoyed.  My parents enjoyed taking my … Read more

Crappy Companies and Front-Running Favorites

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I read Frugal Scholar’s post, Virgin Mobile: Worst Customer Service Ever: Move Over Chico’s, and thought this would be a great time to bring up the companies I truly despise and the ones that I sincerely appreciate. Crappy Companies: Fedex – My most recent experience has convinced me to avoid them as much as possible in the future.  There will be a post about it as soon as everything is wrapped up. Comcast – Multiple awful customer service experiences regarding glitchy hardware after Time Warner was bought out by Comcast caused us to move to AT&T U-Verse. General Motors – As I posted earlier this week, I will never give Chevy my money again after the multiple problems due to poor materials on my Aveo in the last 6 months even though it has less than 42,000 miles. Chase – When we were moved over from WAMU, Chase double-charged our $900 mortgage payment and took a little more than 3 weeks to credit it back to our account.  We actually received the credit exactly 5 days before our next mortgage payment was due. Gentle Dental – Wiggled while they gave me the shot for pain (that hurt ALOT) and then kept accidentally spraying me in the face since the doctor … Read more

Diversification

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I covered the main ways of diagnosing your financial health in this past post.  I’ve been using Wednesdays to go further in depth on each point since I truly believe that financial health leads to less stress and happier lives. I have already covered the first four points – Spend Less Than You Earn, start an Emergency Fund, review Retirement Savings, and Debt.  The fifth point was to diversify your investments.  This means making a list of your investments and the amount invested in each one. Type of Accounts First, I’d highly suggest investing in different types of accounts.  For example, compound interest in a 401k is taxable when you start making your retirement withdrawals since you contribute pre-tax income.  The compound interest of a Roth IRA is not taxable since you contribute post-tax money.  By investing in taxable and non-taxable accounts for retirement, you can balance your withdrawals to stay in the lowest tax bracket possible in your later years. We invest in a 401k and a Roth IRA (hopefully two soon) in order to cover our retirement years along with my husband’s pension.  We also make investments in individual stocks in a Scottrade account to cover the years between our target retirement age of 52 and our “normal retirement age”. By diversifying accounts, … Read more

Our Food Budget

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After reading other blogs and seeing the comments left on this post, I realize that my husband and I have a very different food budget than most others in the personal finance world.  That spurred me to come clean. Here’s where our food money has gone in 2010: 1.  Kroger’s – We spend about $125 a month for perishables like whole milk, Country Crock margarine spread, real butter, potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, other fruit that is in season and cheap, Digiorno pizzas, hot dogs, Manager Special steaks, frozen Tilapia, and necessary parts of a menu that we don’t buy in bulk. 2.  Sam’s Club – We spend about $30 a month on steaks, boneless skinless chicken breasts, pork chops, frozen green beans, frozen corn on the cob, Honey Nut Cheerios, Nature’s Own Honey Wheat bread, and potato chips.  I usually make a Sam’s Club run once every 2 -3 months. 3.  Angel Food Ministries – Whenever we like the monthly menu for their Signature Box, we buy 1 or 2 boxes at $30 each.  Each box gives us enough food for at least 10 meals and sides for a few more. 4.  Walmart – We spend about $50 a month on cleaning supplies, hygiene products, hamburger meat, sandwich meat, … Read more