Managing Money

The Truth About Credit Counseling


Supporting a family on one income is difficult; even two-income families in the US find themselves carrying an average of $10,000 in credit card debt alone. If your family has found itself sinking, you're not alone. You may be tempted to join a Credit Counseling Service (CCS) for assistance, but before you do, let me tell you about some potential drawbacks of these services.

Spousal IRAs


As a homemaker, you may not be eligible for the kinds of employee benefits your spouse's company offers; however, the lack of a paycheck does not preclude you from saving money separately for your own retirement.

Six Tips to Avoid a Spending Spree


Sometimes personal finance is like a diet, especially when you've been on short economic rations from necessity, not general frugality. John and I are pretty careful with our money, but we're also human. Since last November we've had to be extremely careful. Out the window went my beloved Audible subscription, plans for new clothes, craft supply purchases, book and magazine spending--all the little things you can do without but really don't want to.

Pizza on the Cheap


A large pizza with pepperoni, olives, mushrooms and extra cheese please! Oh, the thought of it alone makes your mouth water, doesn't it? How we all love pizza! In the United States alone, over $20,000,000,000 (yes, all those zeros add up to 20 billion) was spent on pizza in 1994.

A Perfect Christmas


I have this tendency to try and get everyone in my family everything they could possibly imagine for the holidays. While a reasonably noble cause, it is not always a responsible one. Believe me, I have gone well over the limit of both credit cards and checking accounts alike trying to find "the perfect" gift for Mom and to provide a veritable sea of new toys under the tree for my four children.

Payday Lenders, Adieu


In the legislative session just closed, Oregon took a huge step toward ending financial exploitation of the desperate and capped payday lending rates. As a result, at least 60 payday lenders have closed shop in the state, claiming the regulations are too severe.

What cap did the legislature place on the lenders? No more than a 36% annual interest rate. You read it right: 36% interest. Sounds like a lot, doesn't it?

Money for Nothing: The Dark Side of the Lottery


I have never won the lottery. Not really sure what I would do if I did, really. I think I would pay down the house, and maybe buy a new bicycle. I think I would buy Lynn and me a couple of new laptops, and certainly, the kids would get new bikes as well as some new clothes, but I am not a big car kinda guy, nor am I a big house kinda guy. I don't drink, and I don't gamble, and I have no desire to buy into horses, boats or racecars. I have a sneaky suspicion that Edward Ugel would hate me.

Money and Power in One-Income Families


When I was working, my husband and I both made money and both handled the money. But most of the time, he was balancing the checkbook and paying the bills. This was fine with me since I never enjoyed all of the tedious details that went with the day-to-day money management. And when we were both bringing in money, there was less stress and more cash to go around.

Maximizing Food, Minimizing Spoilage


With our income reduced, we're trying very hard not to let anything in the kitchen go to waste. This takes some organization, and I'm not famous for that. So I'm researching home kitchen management techniques.

Making a Little Extra Cash


Whether you're a stay-at-home mom or one who works outside the home, there are always times when you think "I could use an extra $20 or $50 this month." It may seem like a small amount, but it can often be critical to making ends meet.

Fear not! It is possible to do things to make this extra bit of money, or even, in many cases, more. There are numerous ways to earn a bit extra each month, often without leaving the house! (Or at least, not leaving very often.)

Before you start any of these ideas, however, there are a few things to consider:


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