Great Savings 52 – Think Outside The Box



JB’s stuck in a financial box. Things look different from the inside peering out.

Is money tight? Having trouble getting out of debt? Are you trying hard, but can’t save a dime? Do you constantly spend more than you mean to? Maybe money isn’t the real issue. Perhaps you’ve unintentionally locked yourself inside a box and haven’t considered what life looks like from the outside. Continue reading

Great Savings 34 – Cash Is King


Cash vs credit: Which is best?

Hey, I thought I was king!

Banks count on us to use their debit and credit cards. They make money on every transaction and then interest on top of it. Is it any wonder they’re attempting to turn smart phones into the next credit cards with fancy new apps? Never doubt they’re invested in making buying convenient—not when their ability to profit is at stake. Continue reading

Great Savings #33 – Protect Your Credit


Bad credit can hurt in many different ways. And it’s not always in the obvious places.

If you believe the cost of living is unaffected by your credit history and credit score you may want to reconsider. A credit score is a number based on a complex mathematical formula that tries to evaluate your riskiness as a potential customer. The score is based on your history of the lack thereof. In other words, your history works for or against you and is used by companies to determine whether you’re a good bet to pay your bills on time. Here’s the problem: A low credit score means you pay more for just about everything. Don’t believe it? Then you’d best read on. Continue reading

Great Savings 32 – Cut The Cost Of Home Ownership


There are many costs in home ownership besides the purchase price.

This big, beautiful house costs more than it lists for.

As you go to buy a house you’ll look at a list price. Often, you can dicker over the number, but the price that ends up on your purchase contract still represents a fraction of the home’s real cost. Why? Because a list price doesn’t include interest charges on the mortgage, mortgage insurance, certain costs to close the deal, and all the maintenance, property taxes and homeowner’s insurance you’ll spend over the years. In short, the list price is only the beginning. Continue reading

Great Savings 31 – Talk $ense


Dialing on a land line.

How much are you spending for phone service every month? Are you getting your money’s worth?

When it comes to talking, texting, playing games or surfing the internet, we all like our phones. Whether they’re land lines or smart phones with all the latest applications, phones have a way of bringing us together or getting us out of a jam in an emergency. That makes them convenient, but is the convenience really worth the cost? If you have both a land line and mobile phone you can easily be spending $200 a month or more for phone service. That’s $2400 a year or $24,000 over the next 10 years—an incredible sum when you stop to consider it. If you’d like to start spending less, maybe it’s time to consider the options. Continue reading

Great Savings 29: Opt Out Of Financial Peer Pressure


Climbing a mountain of debt.

If you’re facing a mountain of debt, maybe it’s time to consider why you can’t seem to break the habit.

When we were kids our friends exerted tremendous influence over the things we did. There was a sense we had to do what they did if we wanted to be popular. That could look like a lot of things: Wearing a particular type of clothing, owning the latest game console, trying cigarettes, teasing or beating up others, drinking, smoking pot, skinny dipping, or sneaking out for a party.


Peer pressure is an odd phenomenon. There’s a sense our lives really aren’t our own to control and we have to buy into the values or opinions of those we choose to live with. As children, that turns out to be an easy leap, because our parent’s really do make many of our decisions for us. The problem is peer pressure isn’t limited to children who have yet to develop a strong sense of self. It’s also a powerful motivator for adults, and quite often it shows up as ever-growing debt. Continue reading

Great Savings 17: Never Borrow From An ATM


The fees and interest on cash advances just aren't worth it.

Stop! Don't do it! Those cash advances are expensive.

If you’ve ever run short of cash, you’re first instinct may be to pull a credit card from your wallet and run down to the cash machine. Don’t do it! It turns out cash advance loans like these are extremely expensive.


The banks hit you from 3 different directions. It might help to think of it like a bump on the head, a chop to the neck, and a whack to the knees. Continue reading

Great Savings 16: Make Financial Goals Achievable


I hope someone is listening. I need help, financially.

Without real and achievable financial goals you won’t have a prayer to get ahead.

When you decide to get serious about money, you soon discover saving more or spending less of it isn’t something you do on a whim. It takes planning. That’s why it’s important to develop an awareness of all the choices you make. Yet it’s equally important to make sure the financial goals you set are possible given your particular circumstances. Continue reading

Kids and Money: Setting Clear Expectations


Take the time to talk to your kids about setting priorities.


When your kids are old enough to talk back to you, it’s time to start teaching them about money and finances. Don’t wait until they graduate from high school and head off to college. By then, you’ll have missed an incredible opportunity. Our saving and spending habits begin in early childhood. That means building a better future is all about equipping kids with the right tools from the get-go. Continue reading

Great Savings 9: Swap Goods, Time and Talent


As a kid, did you ever trade something like baseball cards for an old catcher’s glove? Or as an adult have you traded your time or a special talent with a friend?  For example, suppose you know all about tools and your friend is basically clueless about fixing things. Have you offered to help with a project in exchange for something he or she can do for you? Trading like this is one form of barter. Bartering is basically the exchange of goods or services without the direct use of cash. And it turns out barter is a great way to save thousands over the long run. Continue reading


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