Raise Time

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. Let’s hear it for more money! I will never complain about receiving a higher salary.  With times being what they are at the company, I was not expecting to receive much this year, just hoping for a little.  I was awarded an increase of $1,500 to my annual salary.  So, where did I spend this windfall you might ask? Budget Balancing Truth be told, I didn’t really do anything fun with it.  I simply balanced my budget.  When my wife began babysitting back in September, I increased my 401k contribution at that time, going from 8% to 9%.  That obviously meant a reduction in my take-home pay. I used some of the additional money that she was bringing in to bring to make up that difference.  The difference worked out to be about $85 a month.  I figured my wife was likely to continue babysitting again this coming fall, but I did not want to … Read more

Credit Card Strategy

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. I used to have a fairly basic strategy when it came to my credit cards… I only used one. I didn’t have multiple cards in my wallet.  There was one card that was used for everything.  I certainly tried to maximize the rewards or cash back that we would get from that card, but I really didn’t spend that much time thinking about it.  I simply paid my bill in full every month and pocketed the rewards that I earned.  My situation today has certainly changed. Multiple Cards The first time multiple cards came about was so that both my wife and I could have our own personal cards.  Rather than use our joint card for our own purchases and then figure out how to transfer money between our accounts, it was just easier to have separate cards.  The rule was, and still is, the card is paid in full and you are not allowed … Read more

Changing a Need to a Want

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. I recently made a change to something I had previously considered a need, dry cleaning.  I don’t have to wear a shirt and tie to work, as my workplace is business casual, but I prefer it.  I have been wearing a shirt and tie for work since my internship in college.  I have also been going to the dry cleaners once a week.  In the last few weeks, I have been rethinking that habit.  I have the money budgeted for the dry cleaning expense, but I began to question whether that’s where I wanted my money to be going. Expenses Trending Upward Over the past several months, I have been seeing a couple of my expense categories trending above their respective budget allocations, namely food and what I call house.  Other than I think the kids are eating more, I can’t say for sure what is driving the increased food spending.  I just know it’s … Read more

Meal Plans Kick Grocery Lists’ A$$

meal plan

When my wife and I got serious about finishing our debt repayment once and for good, we knew that we had to come up with some big savings. Like Ramit Sethi says, there is no point trying to nickel and dime yourself to savings by picking Dunkin Donuts over Starbucks; you are better off focusing on big things like saving money on cars and groceries.

We were already paying off our cars, so we chose the food budget. Rather than analyze what types of food we were eating, and whether this brand or this combination of choices would save you 25 cents, my wife started simple – she made a meal plan, not a grocery list.

Get out of the grocery list mindset.

Read moreMeal Plans Kick Grocery Lists’ A$$