Saturday, February 16, 2008

Improving Personal Finance Management

Over at No Credit Needed, NCN has posted questions for the Personal Finance Community to answer. If you could improve one area of your personal finance management, what would it be?Personally, my biggest challenge is to keep to my budget. I tend to get a bit overeager to pay off debt and don't always budget enough for daily expenses. When this happens I find that my snowflakes make their way to supplement my budget instead of going towards debt. It’s not a good cycle.

To help counter this problem, I save one dollar bills and change from purchases. The dollar bills get stashed in an envelope for the last few days before the next paycheck. The change gets saved in a glass jar. When I reach a certain level in the jar, I take it to the bank, cash it in, and put it towards credit card debt.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day To Both Couples And The Singles Crowd

I realize Valentines Day is a day to celebrate love and remind that significant other how you feel about them. Unfortunately, those of us that are presently single often get left out of the equation. Personally, I think that we singles need to take this day and treat ourselves too.
In need of some ideas?
- Make yourself a great meal. This is the time of year when luxury foods go on sale like steak, lobster, seafood, champagne, etc. You don't have to go whole hog. Just spend a bit more time and enjoy the experience of cooking and savor the flavor.
- Go to the gym and do something good for yourself. Drop in on a class you haven't tried before.
- Throw in a movie, make a bowl of popcorn, and relax.
- Turn off the T.V., unplug the phone, and read a good book.
- Go grocery shopping. Research shows that's where the new pick up scene is.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Reduce A Bill Challenge

We are almost halfway through the month of February and I'm having a hard look at my efforts in Working For Financial Freedom's "Reduce A Bill Challenge." For those who are not familiar, the "Reduce A Bill Challenge" is for anyone who would like to participate. Simply choose a bill that you would like to reduce, set an attainable goal, post your commitment on Working For Financial Freedom's website, and focus on your goal.

My goal this month was to take my lunch at least three days per week to work and to earn an additional $100 per month. I'm happy to say that I've succeeded with the extra $100. That was done in one day with $25 for a taste test and $75 for a market research study. The other part has been a bit hit or miss. Last week, a friend at work kept asking me to join her for lunch because the person she normally eats lunch with was out of town. I think I brought my lunch (and ate my lunch) only once. This week I'm 1 to 1 and in a better place. I can say that I've only spent $1 at the corner store for an afternoon snack. I've kept a healthier supply in my desk drawer.

Just in case you're curious, I keep my snack drawer stocked with:
  • A can of soup - for when I forget my lunch or don't have a chance to pick something up
  • A box of crackers - I also keep a small chuck of cheese in the fridge at work
  • A jar of peanut butter - to prevent morning trips to Starbuck's if my tummy is gnawing
  • Granola bars - to stave of afternoon munchies
  • Two Hershey's kisses - one must be prepared for that evil need for chocolate
  • A can of Tuna fish - another lunch safety net

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Weekly Review

Wise Bread - Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways To Change Your Live by Nora Dunn - Nora Dunn writes an excellent post describing an excercise to help get out of a rut and discover what is most important.

Wise Bread - The Pros and Cons of Dollar Cost Averaging by Kate Luther - I know its a bit unusual to have two posts from the same blog, but I'm pleading indulgence since it is from two different authors. Great post on investing basics.

Being Frugal - 7 Things Women Wished Men KnewAbout Money - A must read for men, especially with the upcoming Valentine holiday.

The SimpleDollar - Little Steps - 100 Great Tips For Saving Money For Those Just Getting Started - An amazing list for everyone, but especially for those just getting started.

Dual Income No Kids - Budgeting For Vacation - I'm on a travel theme, but with the struggling dollar we may need a bit more advice on keeping the cost of vacation down.