Tag Archives: savings

Stressing Over Money

dollarPretty much everybody stresses about their personal finances to some degree. These days, it’s only natural to wonder how you would cope if you or your spouse lost a job, had a big medical expense, etc.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece out today, entitled “5 Tips for Passing a Personal-Finance Stress Test.” Here are the bullet points…

  • Debt-to-Income Ratio: How much money comes and goes out each month
  • Discretionary Expenses: Which things can you cut back (gym membership) and which you can’t (your mortgage.)
  • Emergency Savings: Enough to pay 3 months of expenses at the minimum
  • Additional Income: Cutting grass? Paper route? Sell your stuff? Etc.
  • Total Assets: Everything you own, divided by monthly expenses, to see how much cushion you have

There’s more info at the original piece, so check it out!

Figuring out where you stand in your personal finances may not change any facts on the ground. You may not like the result, but it can help erase the uncertainty and maybe help you focus on solutions.

So, have YOU done an inventory like this? Did it help you focus and make some changes? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Practical Savings Tips

changeThey say that we aren’t saving enough for the proverbial rainy day. But saving is hard for many folks. It’s a habit that must be learned, and we have to stick to it for it to make a difference.

So, what are some saving strategies we can try? This article, “13 Easy Ways to Save Money From Robert Kiyosaki, Clark Howard and Others,” has a few ideas, some better than others. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Automation: If you’re lazy like me, taking the thought out of things is a plus. Set up an automatic transfer system at your bank. When you deposit your check, send some to savings. You will forget you’re even doing it, and you might be surprised at how much you are saving.

Save your change: I am a total change-saver! I have a glass 1-gallon apple cider jug and every time I walk in the house, the change goes in. Last time I counted, there was $150 in there. That’s a nice emergency fund, or fix a flat tire money, or vacation money. Try it out!

As I said, some of their examples are a little bogus. “How did you make your millions?”….”I met a need in the marketplace.” Er, thanks? Still there is some useful stuff in the article. Check it out!

How about you? Are you saving? Do you have any tricks to share? Let us know at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Money Trends for 2015

dollarThere are so many outside forces that affect your family’s cash flow and financial well being. Dropping  gas prices put a lot of $$$ back in our pockets. Drought and livestock disease raised the price of food, taking some of that $$$ back.

So, what’s coming in 2015 that might affect your family? Money guru Dave Ramsey has some ideas:

  • Fines for not having medical coverage will increase
  • The job market will strengthen
  • Car values will go down
  • The U.S. deficit will continue to grow
  • Social Security will be one year closer to failing
  • College tuition will rise
  • The housing market will continue to rebound
  • Gas prices will go back up (and back down)
  • Individual 401(k) contribution limits will increase

I guess the lesson is that there are forces pulling in every different direction that will affect your wallet, your budget, your savings, and on and on. So, pay attention, and always be trying to improve your financial situation (though that’s not always easy!)

As always, more bullet points and much more explanation at the original piece. What about you? Are you reading news and changing your money behavior? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

New Year’s (Financial) Resolutions

new-year-sNot everybody makes New Year’s resolutions. I decided years ago to quit while I was behind. But many folks still keep the faith, and resolve to Get Healthy, Reconnect with Friends and Save More Money. Those are the three, right?

Anyway, if you are in the mind to do better when it comes to personal finance, here are some handy links to light your path. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

Dave Ramsey: What’s In and Out this year

Huffington Post: 5 Ways to Keep Your Financial Resolutions Beyond the New Year

Forbes: The Secret To Making Financial Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep

Fidelity Investments: 2014 New Year Financial Resolutions Stud

Investopedia: Financial New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep

Schwab: 10 Resolutions for a Happy Financial New Year

Daily Finance: 7 Financial New Year’s Resolutions You Should Keep

American Institute of CPAs: New Year’s Financial Resolutions

How about YOU? Have any spending or saving resolutions you wish to share? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

November Deals!

SavingsThe madness begins. In a few short weeks you will be strapping on your armor and heading into the mouth of madness known as black Friday. And, as we noted yesterday, Black Friday is six days later this year, meaning that the holiday shopping season is cut short by nearly a week. So, if you want to get a jump on things, here is a list of links to tell you where the deals are this November. Enjoy!

End-of-year car deals

A lot of Halloween-expiring deals, but also several that last through the weekend and beyond

November travel deals

November deals on “Weddings, Tools and More” from the Wall Street Journal

Deals & Bargains in November from CBS News

The Best and Worst Things to Buy in November from DealNews

Online tech retailer Newegg announces “Black November”

Insider article on the types of deals to look for in November

So, are you ready to rock? Do you know of other good deals? Let us know at the MindField Online Facebook page! And have a great weekend!

Who is Really the Low Price Leader?

For me, the perception of paying less is what takes me to Wal-Mart. I feel like the noise, the crowd and the hassle are worth it if I am saving dough.

According to this article, though, those savings may be an illusion.

Target this month had lower prices than Wal-Mart for the first time since October, according to research conducted by Bloomberg Industries. The Minneapolis-based chain also led by its widest margin since the monthly study began two years ago. The study examined the gap in average price across a basket of 150 like items at stores within five miles of each other.  Bloomberg.com

Apparently, the still-crappy economy has the two giants scrambling for customers, and the competition has heated up. Of course, there are other players, including Kmart and Amazon. Customer loyalty is up for grabs, and we will go wherever the prices lead us.

At any rate, Target is crowing, and Wal-Mart is saying “Yeah, but…” And it seems this whole competition  is for bragging rights, since we are talking about a savings of 46 cents per every hundred dollars!

What do you think? Target or Wal-Mart? Do you see a difference? Let us know…and have a great weekend!