Managing Money

Living Below Your Means, part 2


Find prosperity in ordinary envelopes. That's right, if you've gathered the data outlined in part one of this article, you're ready to move your family to a mostly-cash economy. This will almost certainly, if you do nothing else, limit your spending.

Living Below Your Means, part 3


If you are already living on less than your household income, you're on your way to building financial security for your family. You already know that you can't save anything if it's all getting spent, but maybe you're not quite sure what to do with the extra piling up. Consider this column a quick primer on dealing with the excess you're working so hard to amass.

Leftover Magic


My mother was the Goddess of Leftovers. I say that with all of the awe and respect she deserves. Around dinnertime, we would enter the kitchen drawn by smells that, although mouthwatering, we couldn't quite place. Was that cheese? Broccoli? Ham--no wait, hamburger.

When we asked her what was for dinner she would give us that "Mother's Secret" look and say it's a "Concoction!"

Investing 101


Now that you've begun to save money, you're ready to start looking at how to invest it. First, keep a three to six month emergency fund to cover your family's expenses. The best place to invest that money is in a money-market mutual fund, which you can find at a bank or through a mutual fund family.

I'm Dreaming of a Cheap Christmas


Whichever holiday(s) your family celebrates, the year often ends with a major blow to the checkbook. Family, friends, co-workers, caregivers--at this time of year, we all want to show our love and appreciation for them with gifts. And as the list grows, and prices rise, we often spend far more time saying "Bah Humbug" than celebrating the joy of the season.

Fund Your Dream


A reader recently asked how she could finance her business idea when she had used up her savings for education, and does not have family or friends to ask for money from.

Eating Cheap, Eating Well


I love to cook. I love to eat. I am picky and will not eat things that have no nutritional value (excluding chocolate, which I mentally justify for its medicinal value). I am also the type of mom who looks at recipes and instead of using them, I change them to my own liking and consider it MY personal idea.

Beating the Breakfast Rush Hour


In many families, morning is a hectic and hurried time. Frequently parents feel fortunate just to get everyone out the door fully dressed each day. Serve a hot cooked breakfast every morning? Not a chance. Breakfast (if it's served at all) often consists of grabbing a toaster pastry and a quick glass of juice as the family runs out the door racing headlong to work and school.

I've discovered that taking an hour or two on an occassional weekend to prepare breakfast items for the freezer, takes much of the insanity out of the weekday morning rush.

Battling Frugal Fatigue


You've had enough. You're tired of just scraping by month after month, or of carrying a balance on one or more credit cards. It's frustrating to never see the light at the end of the financial tunnel. And it's very unfortunate that when we take the plunge, leave our jobs, and decide to be at home with our children full-time, it only gets scarier. Frankly, the whole thing is exhausting.

Here are a few things to think about to prevent the fatigue and frustration that go hand in hand with looking that monthly budget in the face:

Top Ten Ways To Simplify Your Life Right Now


Considering voluntary simplicity? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Clear out clutter
Be an Avenging Clutter Clearer! Start with three boxes; one for things to throw out (those items that are worn out or broken), one for things to give away, sell or recycle, and one for the things to keep (if you simply MUST). Be systematic. Go room by room, and work your way completely through the room before you begin the next.


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