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Wedding Bliss On A Budget

When thinking about what topic to write on for my blog post this week, I decided to write about something that I personally learned a lot about this year: weddings. My husband & I got married in April and it was an eye opening experience. Of course I knew the cost of weddings were increasing at an exponential rate, but I had no idea how to navigate these treacherous waters and ensure we made it on the other side without incurring debt. Here are a few tips I learned for my own wedding that will hopefully help you along the way: Venue: Admittedly, I lack creativity and patience. For me, it made sense to go for an all inclusive venue to cut down on stress. However, if you are better at this than I am, look for a venue that will let you express your creative side and make your own decorations. You can also shop around prices for your ...

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5 Cheap Date Ideas For Valentine’s Day

According to the National Retail Federation’s 2016 Valentine’s Day consumer survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, 54.8 percent of consumers will celebrate Valentine’s Day.   If your family is running tight on a budget this year, how will you be able to take your date out and still make it a very special day?   Sometimes the word “cheap” means that it won’t necessarily be good.   However, with these smart money moves you’ll be sure to warm your partner’s heart. Sunday Brunch vs. Saturday Dinner- Technically, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year.  This gives you even more reason to do a special brunch instead of an expensive Saturday night dinner.  While Canoe is one of my favorite places for brunch in the city (I’ll be there on Valentine’s Day), there are so many hot and trendy spots in the city that you can try. Netflix Binging-  I suppose you could binge watch almost any program that you have stored ...

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Five Simple Ways To Eat Healthy On A Budget

Whoever thought that eating a box of Twinkies® could be less expensive than eating a bowl of Brussels sprouts?   This whole notion of eating ‘organic’ has really hit the country like a tidal wave over the past five years.   More and more families want to make sure that their foods aren’t genetically manufactured out of a laboratory.   Parents more than ever want to make sure their kids don’t have foods with lots of toxins or synthetic hormones.  What we’ve also realized is that these foods are incredibly expensive which is why the running joke is that Whole Foods will take your whole paycheck.  Here are five simple ways you can still eat healthy if you are trying to watch your budget. Begin The Day With A Protein Shake– They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  If you’ve looked recently at the cost of a pint of strawberries and blackberries, you’ll quickly realize that you can’t ...

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How To Lower Your Cable Bill

Bills. Junk Mail. Bills.  So many times I’ve mentioned how excited I get to open the mail every day only to realize it’s either a junk solicitation, a statement, or a bill.   Still no pen pal letters, and thank you cards are far and few between.   January is typically the time of year that I’ll call all of my vendors and see what kind of deal I can strike with them.   When it comes to cable, internet, and/or home phone (if you still have one), Comcast may provide one or all of these services for your family.   How can you go about lowering your current Comcast bill? First things first.  Don’t waste your time calling the billing department.   All they are going to do is spend time making sure you are paying your bills and that the bill looks accurate.  You can spend your energy and effort disputing a bill, but it isn’t going to change your budget one bit. ...

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Setting and Making Realistic Financial New Year’s Resolutions

It is almost that time of season when you will begin to ponder your new year’s resolution.  Will it be exercise?  Will it be a new diet? Or will it have something to do with improving your family finances.  Making resolutions (or goals) can be a very difficult process because it often makes you face some of your own realities like it or not.   When you decide to set goals that are realistic, I have been a big cheerleader over the years to use the S-M-A-R-T goal setting system.  Here is how it works. *S is for Specific– Be very specific about what you are trying to accomplish.  Don’t tell yourself you want to pay down debt.  Instead, give yourself a specific goal such as paying off $10,000 of debt. *M is for Measurable– Have a way to track your progress.   In the last example, make a chart for paying off $833 a month and cross it off each month ...

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Do You Eat Out Too Much?

If you’ve noticed that your disposable income may be sneaking out the back door of your family finances, one of the causes could be between the lunches and dinners that you eat out every week.    With our family of five, I’ve noticed that even eating out at a basic Darden casual fare restaurant can run $60 to $80 with basic fountain drinks.    Add in a couple of appetizers and you could be reaching $100 for a family of five.    In addition, your lunches at the local deli in the basement of your building or a casual fast fare type restaurant can set you back $10 a day pretty quickly during the work week.    Total up all of your lunches and dinners, and you could be losing those valuable disposable dollars that can help you build a college education or retirement fund.    Dining out and entertainment expenses have become a blurred line in the family budgeting process because of so many ...

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Life Insurance For My Children?

Someone asked me the other day, “Ted, is it morbid to ask you whether I should buy life insurance on my children?”   It was an interesting question, and one we often get from parents.   The American Council of Life Insurers says that only about 15% of the people under the age of 18 have life insurance.  An average policy for people under 18 is around $5,000 with the primary purpose to cover funeral expenses and burial costs.  There are varying schools of thought on this subject in the financial community, and here are some considerations to think about around this subject. Remember that you as the parent are the real wage earner and the person that needs to be insured the most.   It is not recommended to buy life insurance on your children until you are adequately insured.   Since children for the large part don’t earn wages, any additional cost will be an extraneous expense to your budget. On the ...

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9 financial tips for Generation Y

9 financial tips for Generation Y. Perhaps not surprisingly, more than half of employees between 21 and 32 say that they're living paycheck to paycheck, according to a recent survey by insurer Metlife. Nearly three-fourths of respondents are concerned about making ends meet. Fortunately, you can get off to a sound financial start with these nine tips. ...

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Top 10 First Time Homebuyer Mistakes!

Top 10 First Time Homebuyer Mistakes! 1.Buying more house than you can afford. Typically, you don’t want your mortgage payment to be more than 28% to 34% of your monthly income. For example, if your monthly income is $5,000, a total mortgage payment of $1,500 will be in the ball park. Of course, you need to include all of your overall debt payments which should never be more than 40% to 45% of your overall bills. ...

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