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My Best Financial Tip: Stop Being Afraid

When Grayson at Debt Roundup put out a call to all bloggers asking for our best financial tip, I thought of lots of helpful and necessary things like spending less than you make, having an emergency fund, and setting up a budget. If you spend more than five minutes reading financial posts, you will see these basic steps repeated over and over. Unless you were born into royalty, you can’t have financial independence without them. If these steps are so easy to find, why doesn’t everyone practice them? I honestly can’t answer for the masses, but for my own situation, I would say that fear was the biggest thing that held me back for so long. To live the life you aspire to, you have to stop being afraid. What Are We Afraid Of? If you find yourself in debt, reason would say that you need to stop spending money. Sometimes it isn’t that simple. Are you afraid of what people will think? How often do we feel the need to buy something new to keep up with the expected norm? Society wants us to spend money. That’s great if you have it, but if a purchase has to go on ...

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It’s Fun to Stay at the YMCA-Gift Exchange Reveal

December can be such a fun month. I’ve enjoyed all the different blogger movements, and the Frugal  Portland Gift Exchange did not disappoint. Thanks to the lovely Kathleen for putting this together. I drew the name of Catherine from Plunged in Debt. For her gift, she received a wine bottle candelabra and wine glass markers with a corkscrew. I thought this was a wonderful gift for her, except after I mailed it, I second guessed my memory. I thought I had read that she was a red wine enthusiast, but maybe I got that mixed up with someone else. If it turns out she doesn’t drink, won’t I feel silly? However, she will have some great items to re-gift. When my gift arrived, I really had sort of forgotten and thought it was one of the neighbor’s packages dropped off by mistake. They keep UPS in business, so we get strays delivered to hour house on occasion. This box had my name on it, though, so I ripped it open to find……… This headdress, very similar to the one I wore when I made a fool of myself sang YMCA as one of the village people while under hypnosis. I ...

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“Twas The Week Before Christmas”

This is a guest post. If you would like to submit a guest post, please read this policy and contact me. AKA (Holy Cow! I have to buy what?) I know, it seems that Christmas always ‘sneaks up on people’.  The funny thing is, Christmas is the same time every year.  So what winds up happening is that thing called ‘Life’.  Other priorities, other “Gotta Do’s” gotta get done and like the old saying goes “If it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would get done”.  But before you go out doing that last minute Christmas Shopping, stop and think not just about what needs to be done this week, but let’s take a second and plan for next year and add some thoughts about what to do for this year. Odds are, if you’re reading this, (Thank you Kim, BTW) you have at least a passing interest in keeping an ‘Eye on the Dollar’.  In the hopes of keeping you from spending much more than you need at the last minute, let’s do two things in the few minutes we have together. 1.  Take stock of our ‘needs’ and ‘wants’. Of course it’s easy for me to say that, because we ...

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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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