The Fast Track to Saving Is to Pay Yourself First

Let’s face it, for most of us one of the biggest obstacles to saving is that sometimes there isn’t enough paycheck at the end of the month. Even for those of us who educate people about managing their finances, it can get hard when the budget is already stretched thin. Here are a few ways to get you started. Put Savings on Autopilot A good way to jump-start your savings is to pay yourself first. Do this and you will soon …

Take a Bite Out of Record-High Meat Prices

Have you noticed how more and more of your grocery budget is spent on meat these days? If so, you’re not alone, and for good reason: Meat prices are rising faster than any other food group, with the price of beef, pork, poultry and fish all recently reaching record highs. The price of ground beef, for example, is up more than 75 percent in just the past five years. That’s enough to give a cheapskate like me a grocery shopping …

Cheap Ideas for Family Fun

When you’re a kid, it’s funny how quickly your summer vacation mood turns from “I’m free!” to “I’m bored.” With at least a few weeks remaining before the school bells ring once again – and parents everywhere cheer “We’re free!” – it’s little wonder that July is “Anti-Boredom Month.”  That’s right, the time of year when boredom is so prevalent that we need an official, month-long campaign to combat it. If you have kids or grandchildren to keep amused between …

Retiring Later? Join the Club

The brutal economic downturn that began in 2008 and the subsequent sluggish recovery has thrown a cold splash of reality on many Americans’ dreams of a comfortable, stress-free retirement. So it’s probably not much of a surprise that Americans are now retiring at an older age than they did just a few years ago, and that most of us expect to keep working to age 65 or older. The big surprise, though, according to Gallup’s newly released annual economic and …

Quick Tax Tips for Family Caregivers

April 15 is galloping into view. Give me a break! That’s what we all want when it comes to taxes. And this may be your year. Some of the rules regarding tax breaks for family caregivers have changed slightly since last year. I thought I’d do an update. Software tax programs like TurboTax, TaxAct and H&R Block at Home are easy to use and do many of these calculations for you. It’s still good to know if you qualify. You might …

I’m Taking Away Your Allowance

Q: My husband will not quit spending. He has purchased several vehicles, only to trade them in for less than we owed on them. During our 18-year marriage, we have refinanced our house six times to pay off loans and credit cards. When we refinanced this last time, I refused to pay any of his credit cards or loans off. I would not have even considered refinancing again, but the low rates were appealing. That was 21/2 years ago. I …