Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Independence

As we great ready to celebrate Independence Day or the Fourth of July remember to enjoy the fireworks, parades, barbecues, and picnics with your families. I know out fore fathers didn't have national debt, debt consolidation or credit cards on their minds as they signed the Declaration of Independence. So enjoy yourselves this holiday weekend keeping your budget in mind and we'll get back to work next week.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Vacation or Staycation?

Weather you take a vacation or make it a staycation this year, the two thing to keep in mind is to make sure it's within your budget and make it fun.When planning your trip or what ever you have in mind make sure you are not adding to your overall debt by doing so. Putting a vacation on a credit cards without having the available fund to pay for it means you'll be paying for that vacation for years to come.

I know you've worked hard and deserve a break, but dropping airfare, hotel and rental a car on the plastic even just for a 2-3 days trip can really set you back.

Maybe the Staycation is for you? Look at how much fun this guy is having just riding a bike.



That is the key to a staycation: make it fun. Don't try and mix the normal everyday routine with your staycation. Meaning don't try and squeeze in a oil change or dentist appointment during your time off. Treat the staycation just as you would if you were away from home. Take day trip, hit the beach, local park, museum, ball park, arcades, etc.

There are plenty of things to do without the big price tags of airline and hotels. Again keep it fun, keep it vacation and your staycation might just be one of the best times you've ever had.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In Case of Emergency Break Ice

My wife recently told me about a tip she read about dealing with credit cards. Take all of you cards and put them in a zip lock bag, fill it with water and put it in the freezer. Once frozen you won't be able to use them everyday, but in the case of an emergency you'll have them in a few hours. It made me laugh out loud, but not bad advice.




When I thought about it more it was really good advice. Once you have any amount of debt the key to eliminating it is to stop acquiring any new/more debt. Credit cards are one of the top sources of unsecured debt for people today. So if the only way to stop yourself is to freeze them in a block of ice, so be it. The credit cards companies themselves have been mandated on each months statement to tell you how long your debt will take to pay off. That dreaded minimum payment. Anything you can send in above that is your goal each month to paying down you debt, along with not adding to the overall amount owed.

Pretty simple advice, just not that easy to follow.

It will take changes in life style to accomplish this. Stop use the credit cards for things you truly can't afford. Cash should be used or you shouldn't make the purchase. Certainly you need cards for certain things, like booking travel, renting a car, etc. If you don't have the savings to paid for these things when the bills come in, you should not be making the purchase. Think about it. It might be time for a zip lock bag.

Ziploc Bigbag Heavy Duty, 2 Feet x 1.7 Feet, XL 4 ea

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Ice Cream Man

Driving home from a practice the other day all 3 kids wanted ice cream. Baskin Robbins one said, Frosty’s from Wendy’s another said, how about we go home and wait for the ice cream man, the youngest shouted.

I said all great ideas, but let’s go to the grocery store and get ice cream. This way we can have ice cream all week instead of just one night.

There were a few moans, but after a minute all agreed that having ice cream every night was better then just one. Off we went. 2 – half gallons of their favorite flavors (cookie dough and cookies & cream) and 2 boxes of cones just a little over $8 price tag was good for me.

Considering the 3 alternatives mentioned above. Baskin Robbins is at least $3 a sundae, Plain old Frosty’s are in the $2 range. Our Mr.softee runs about $2.50 per cone. So spending between $6-$9 for 3 kids to have ice cream for 1 night, the $8 price tag for multiple nights of dessert was a bargain.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Going to the Movies

Taking a family of 5 to the movies these days can easily run you $60-$80. More if you make the plunge for a 3D or IMAX film. There are a number of ways to keep cost down. Most theater chains offer rewards cards. Which offer free movie tickets, pop corn etc. The points can rack up pretty quick. Some rewards cards offer free refills on popcorn once you reach a certain level. Check you favorite theater or their web site for a rewards program and sign up.




Limit the amount of snacks you buy at the concession stand. Bring you own bottle water. Not big on water, just add a single pack of ice tea mix or lemonade or what ever you prefer. Stop by your local Walmart, or Target and pick up some candy. The same box of candy that cost over $3-$4 at the theater will cost about a $1 at these stores. You'll be glad you did and you won't have to hear, would you like the large for a quarter more any time soon.

Most theaters offer matinee prices before 5 PM. Which can save you $2 or $3 per ticket. Check the tickets prices of you favorite theater before and after 5 PM and plan accordingly. All 5 of us just recently went to the movies using the above methods and our price tag was just about $44. Enjoy your show!