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Hosting a Frugal, Rocking Holiday Party

That title might be a little misleading. Parties do cost money, and if you are in a financial bind, you really shouldn’t be hosting one. However, if you like to entertain, there are ways to do it frugally. I did host a pretty rocking Christmas party for my employees this past weekend. Obviously, these tips don’t work if you have 200 people to serve and entertain, but if you are hosting a small holiday gathering, there’s no reason you can’t have a great party without having to ask Santa for grocery money next month. Food Basically for any party, you need to provide food. There is nothing wrong with doing appetizers only. If you buy those fancy pre-made trays at the grocery store, it is much less work, but you’ll end up spending 3-4X more. I like to buy veggies and fruits, then cut and arrange them myself. If you don’t have serving platters or utensils, dollar stores or thrift shop are a treasure trove of holiday serving items right now. You can also buy something like a big bag of frozen shrimp at the grocery store. These cost less and provide more volume than buying the pre-arranged platter with ...

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Paycheck to Paycheck is No Way to Live

If you are one of the millions of people who lives paycheck to paycheck, you might find yourself in the situation of having more days than dollars in the month.  That can be a very scary feeling when you know that your bank account is empty, and there are still several days until you get paid. While panic might set in, if you take a minute to analyze the situation, it might not be as bad as you think. With some planning, I believe anyone can avoid the problem of running out of money at the end of the month. If you know that you are completely broke and have more than a day until payday, organize what you need to buy. I like lists, so I would write down what you think will need money until the next payday. If the list includes food, gas to get to work, or rent/mortgage or bill payments, those are necessities. If the list includes a birthday gift, a promised dinner out with a friend, or some sort of apparel, those can be postponed or avoided. It might not be the most popular thing to do, but if your friend is truly a ...

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Make the Weekend Meaningful Roundup

I have had a very challenging week. I found out that the sale of my business is not going to be finished by the end of the year. I hit a deer with my car, and I’ve had to work more this week than I have in a  while. Honestly, though, when I heard about the school shooting in Connecticut yesterday, it was almost to much to wrap my brain around . I have a daughter in kindergarten, and all I could think about was how special she is and how much my heart goes out to the parents of those precious, innocent victims. I’m sure I’ll be back in the swing of things next week, but for right now, Alexa and page rank don’t seem so important. I’m very thankful for all those who read, commented, and shared my posts this week. As for a link list, I’ll just tell everyone to forget reading this weekend and go spend some time with the ones you love. Don’t forget to enter the Big Cash Giveaway at Modest Money or the giveaway for and iPad 3. Eddie at Finance Fox is celebrating his second blogoversary and is also giving away an ...

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Is There Ever a Reason to Blow Your Christmas Budget?

As you may know, I am working very hard toward paying off debt and staying within a budget for the first time ever. We’ve been doing really well. We haven’t gone overboard with Christmas presents and have used rewards points, bartering, or baking for most of what we’ve done so far. However, I went out to lunch with a co worker this week and what I saw caused me to blow my Christmas budget. First of all, since I don’t go out for lunch, I was terribly excited to get to go to my favorite lunch place, Once Upon a Sandwich. It was even better that I had to meet with my insurance biller to discuss end of the year details. It was a business lunch and didn’t cost me a thing. Our table was by a Christmas tree that had one lone ornament. The “ornament” was actually a piece of red construction paper cut out in the shape of a stocking. On it was written: Boy Age 14 Fallen /DC or Graphic T-shirts Size M/L Jeans 30/30 The tree was for selecting a child to adopt for Christmas. This particular one was for children in foster care, and this ...

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What Will the Fiscal Cliff Mean to Health Care?

Unless you have been living in a cave, you are likely familiar with the Fiscal Cliff and what will happen with taxes if Washington fails to act and we go over the edge.( Street Smart Finance had a great post on that if you need more information). One other part of the “Fiscal Cliff package” would mean that Medicare payments to doctors would be cut by 27%. Most people are very concerned, and rightfully so, about tax increases, but the Medicare cuts seem to be sort of an afterthought. Perhaps you aren’t near Medicare age and are having enough problems finding a good insurance plan that you can afford. Maybe you think doctors charge too much, and they need a pay cut. Regardless, if Medicare does cut doctor payments by almost 30%, we can expects some negative impacts on our health care system. Doctors Charge Too Much I’ve heard this argument a million times, and I do believe the sticker price on many health care services is too high. However, most doctors don’t get paid the prices they charge. By being a provider for an insurance carrier or government plans like Medicare and Medicaid, doctors agree to accept assignment. That ...

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