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Five Things Every Kid Should Know Before Leaving Home

2014 March 26
by Charlie

charlie_imageThis past weekend I had the opportunity to go up to Minneapolis and meet up with my fellow blogging peeps, Aaron and Laurie (from While in Minneapolis I stopped by the Mall of Consumerism. Whoops. Sorry. I meant to say Mall of America. Must have been a Freudian slip! :) While at the mall I did a little shopping, but also observed a lot of other consumers and their habits. For the most part, a lot of the mall shoppers were teens and younger couples (plus the occasional power walker).

While observing a lot of younger consumers I soon noticed a majority of them were wearing the latest Nike Air shoes, with a North Face jacket, wearing either Abercrombie & Fitch or American Eagle, and texting on the latest iPhone or Android phones. I felt like I was in a scene on The Truman Show. The scene where everyone was in the loop, and I was left out.  read more…

5 Ways to Save by Cozying Up to Brands You Use

2014 March 24
by Aaron

connect with brands you love to save moneyIn an effort to save more money with the products and services we use on a regular basis, I’ve thought a good way to do this is to get “cozy” with them. And, I don’t mean anything kinky here.

Most brands today are looking to get closer to their customers. They want to know what makes them tick, their buying tendencies and frequency and what can make their product/service better.

And with all of the media channels in existence today, it’s a lot easier for them to make that connection with you.

Pros and cons of connecting with companies

Of course it’s easy to balk at this notion. Many of us are very guarded at giving out our phone numbers, email addresses or even zip codes when asked. And, with good reason. We hear about identity theft all over the news and other crimes against consumers when our personal information is accessed.  read more…

Friday Finds 3/21

2014 March 21
by Aaron

Six Reasons For Financial Accountability

2014 March 19

charlie_imageWhen I was growing up I was directly impacted by a lot of my family members in the choices I made with my finances. In particular, I had one family member that always seemed to struggle with managing their bills and finances. Whenever we came over  to their house, the entire dining room table was stacked with bills. Tons and tons of bills. Plus on top of that, their family had tubs full of bills around the table too that were unopened.

I never once pried into why thy never opened their bills, but years later I soon realized they were avoiding financial responsibility. After I graduated from high school I came to find out that this family had filed for bankruptcy, and I have to assume part of this was because they didn’t want to deal with all the bills and debts. The stacks and stacks of pain associated with each bill.  read more…

Don’t Borrow Against Your Future Self

2014 March 17
by Laurie

laurieWhen Rick and I were young and first married, we had a bit of a “que’ sera, sera” attitude about our finances.  There was stuff we wanted, like a house, cars, clothes and vacations.  When we didn’t have the cash to pay for these things, we would simply borrow for them. Our attitude was, “After all, we can afford the payments, and our income will only increase from here.”

The problem with this line of thinking is that nobody knows who their future self will be.  I never thought that I’d want to be home full-time with our kids.  After all, I had a great part-time job in the mortgage industry that paid terrific money and allowed me to work from home a lot.   I thought I’d always work there.  The problem was that I didn’t know that my future self would be laid off from that job due to a declining economy, and I didn’t know that my future self and my husband’s future self would feel so strongly about me being home with the kids, as opposed to taking another job, which would have forced me to work full-time, outside of the home, to earn half of what I was making at my other part-time job, but that’s what happened.  read more…

My Worst Purchase This Year

2014 March 14

aaron_image1For years I’ve been looking for a magical solution to painful and annoying flossing.

So when I saw it sitting pretty next to the George Foreman Grill and the Vitamix Turboblend at Costco, I had to have it.

“If I get it, I’ll floss every day and won’t get bleeding gums the next time I visit the dentist,” I thought to myself. “I hate to floss.”

I grabbed one and scanned the bar code with my Amazon PriceCheck app (as any good thrifty guy would do).  read more…

What Would You Do If You Won The Lottery?

2014 March 12

charlie_imageDuring my time of growing up on the farm, I got to see how my Grandpa was always a very private man.  He especially kept his financial business to himself. He wanted very little to no attention on his family, and enjoyed his private life on the farm. Whenever, I’d get a speeding ticket it would irritate him to no end, because our local newspaper would publish it. Our entire small town community would see, and Grandpa would say, “You know the whole church will be talking about us on Sunday?

In watching my Grandpa’s private life philosophies, I think about how I would react if I won the lottery. I wonder, “Would I take the winnings anonymously“? Would I let the sudden expansion of wealth affect my lifestyle? If I were to win the lottery tomorrow, here are my top 5 things I would do if I won.  read more…

Early Retirement – It’s All in the Numbers

2014 March 10
by Kevin

There’s so much press devoted to the idea of early retirement, but is it even really possible for the average person? The answer to that is almost certainly yes, but it’s all in the numbers. As in, you have to get the numbers right in order to have any hope of it working out.

Saving more than the usual amount

early retirementIf you want to retire early, the most important effort on your part will be to save as much money as you can. This will go well beyond the usual recommendations of saving 10% or 15% your pay. You have to think in much bigger terms.

How much you’ll have to save will depend upon how far out into the future you want to retire. The more years than you have, the lower the percentage of your income that you need to save. Less years will mean that you’ll have to save a higher percentage.

For our purposes however, if you want to retire in a reasonable timeframe – let’s say 20 years – you will have to be saving something on the order of 25% of your gross.

There are at least two reasons for doing this…  read more…

When Should You File an Insurance Claim?

2014 March 7

aaron_image1Up here in the frozen tundra, we are exiting one of the coldest and snowiest winters on record. We currently have over 50″ of snow on the ground (almost 30″ more than the average!). With all this snow and cold has come quite a bit of damage from ice/snow. We’ve even needed to file a weather-related insurance claim related to ice dams. Ugh!

We hope you never have to use your insurance – but when you do – you may be wondering, “when should you submit a claim?”  read more…

SCORE4Sports: Investing In Our Children Through Sports

2014 March 5

Score4SportsThis week I need to pause and brag on a bunch of 3rd and 4th grade kids! For the last three years, I’ve been a part of a great basketball organization in the Omaha metro area called, Score4Sports. This past season I had the pleasure of coaching 9 awesome kids.  We focused on learning the fundamentals of basketball, give weekly challenges on improving their character, have fun, and make some great friends along the way. Some weeks, I think I was having more fun than the kids! Throughout this last season, I was continually reminded of how important it is to invest in our children, and not just in terms of finances and money management.  read more…