Use the “Empty Cupboard Method” For a Low Grocery Bill

empty cupboardHave you ever noticed certain food items that seem to never disappear from your cupboard?   Well, instead of letting that food go bad and wasting money, I recommend you use the empty cupboard method.❠  It’s kind of a silly name isn’t it?   To be honest, I didn’t know how to coin this money saving strategy.

The empty cupboard method is actually quite simple.   I usually buy groceries on a weekly basis and it has typically always been this way.   I like buying food in the most organic way possible, so most of my food goes bad within a week anyways.

Over time, I have found my cupboard to start stockpiling on random foods that I never finished eating or forgot about.   One thing to note is that it doesn’t have to be limited to your cupboard.   This could be a couple chicken breasts stuck in the back of your freezer or the apples in the fridge that have been hidden with the latest lettuce purchase.   Whatever the case may be, I’m referring to any food that seems to linger❠in your kitchen.

Wasting money is no bueno

I personally hate wasting my money so I created a strategy called the Empty Cupboard Method.   For an entire week every other month, I force myself to forego the grocery store and only eat the foods that are left in my cupboard, fridge, and freezer.   While this week is not exactly the most fun, it saves me a nice chunk of change whenever I do it.   Old top ramen, I eat it.   A couple packets of oatmeal stuck in the back, I eat it.   Apples that I forgot about and are still good, I eat them.

No fancy foods for you!

You won’t be eating the finest foods during this week, but I guarantee you that you will be happy with the grocery savings!   No one is perfect with their grocery store purchases.   I’m probably not the most organized at it so no wonder certain foods seem to never go away!

The savings are so worth it

But imagine if you spend around $100/week on groceries.   This is what I typically spend in San Diego⦠  Now, imagine saving $100 every other month!   What comes to a total savings of $600 for the year.   What could you do with an extra $600 in your pocket?   Maybe you’ve been avoiding Roth-IRA contributions.   Maybe you need to pay off that high interest credit card debt.   Whatever your situation is, this is another example of a way you can save some extra money during the year.

Are you in?

So what do you think of the Empty Cupboard Method for saving money and getting the most value out of your food?!

Please feel free to tweet and facebook this article.   Share the empty cupboard method with your friends and family and watch it go viral with the most frugal of friends.   Heck, you could make a game out of it and have dinners at friend’s houses during these weeks.   Now go destroy the cupboard!

Why Your Beliefs are Essential to Good Finances

beliefs essential to financesI get asked occasionally why I’m so inclined towards saving and conserving. Every frugal person has their own background story on what turned them into budget-conscious individuals.

For me, it was a combination of several factors ranging from my childhood to my own personal development.

My household was not exactly what you would call liberal when it came to spending. While kids now are touting iPads, laptops, and brand new video game systems left and right, the phrase “We can’t afford that!” was uttered on a daily basis by my parents, mostly at the grocery store.

We weren’t poor, but we didn’t waste money on unnecessary purchases. If we purchased what we need, nothing more. We had an old TV, drove old cars, and I rarely ever wore new clothes. Most of them either hand-me-downs from friends and distant relatives. This helps explain to some of my friends why in my childhood pictures I’m always wearing Utah Jazz shirts (my mother is from Utah).

As a result, I did not acquire the sense of entitlement that plagues a lot of young people. The impression I got was that if you had food and clean clothes, it was enough. The concept of an allowance was as foreign to us as sushi.

Let me put it in perspective for those of you who lived before the Internet age. When I was in first grade, my brother and I were at a garage sale, where there was a regular Nintendo (NES) for sale, complete with a TV, remote control, two controllers and a Zapper gun, plus Super Mario Brothers and Gauntlet. All for $15.

We had to beg – on our knees – to convince our parents it was a worthwhile purchase. And then we had to pay for it by doing additional chores around the house.

Another part of it, incidentally, was biblical. In church, our entire congregation recited the Lord’s Prayer aloud during Sunday worship. The version we used had us saying, “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,❠so the concept of being a debtor seemed highly undesirable to me, even though I had yet to read any verses discussing debt.

Additionally, after spending time with families of varying income statuses, I realized that the definition of “rich,” “poor,” “wealthy,” and “impoverished” are all a matter of perspective. In my hometown, my neighborhood was considered the “poor” area, where the average house was worth $300,000. When I went to college, however, most of the students thought of me as rich just because I came from the Seattle area.

And, frankly, I’ve always preferred having less than having more. The more wealth and possessions you have, the greater luxuries and amenities you own, the harder it is to let go, whether you are forced to or circumstances demand it. I learned through the years that expecting money, rather than attempting to earn it honestly, was a bad recipe for life.

I saw this with other kids my age who were raised to believe there are short cuts to success and loopholes that can be exploited. They racked up large student loans, which they spent on things other than their education, all without asking whether or not they would be able to pay it off when they graduated. They are the ones, I’ve found, who have the hardest time trying to be frugal, because they believe they must maintain a lifestyle that is consistent with someone else’s, whom they consider to set the definition of their living standard.

This is why I strongly believe that frugality starts with one’s perspective and mentality. Unless you actually believe you need to save, you won’t be able to resist the temptation to spend when you come across something you badly want to buy. An individual’s attitude is the most important contribution to making good financial decisions.

It’s like anything in life. The first step is to develop the right mindset.

So for those who are trying to get their financial house in order, here is a list of little ten commandments to consider.

Being wealthy only means what you want it to mean, nothing more.
There is a fundamental difference between what needs and wants; one is few and defined, the other is limitless and is never satisfied.
Aside from a house mortgage and a few other exceptions, debt is bad.
True success requires hard work and determination. Distrust any easy❠routes offered to you.
Trying to keep up with the Joneses is like trying to keep up with the wind.
If you are not content with what God has given you, you will never be content with what you want Him to give you.
A person should be defined not by what they consume, but what they produce.
The most valuable things in life cannot be bought or sold.
When you die, you should have greater treasures stored up in Heaven than treasures you accumulated on Earth.
You have many freedoms, but no entitlements. Act as though you will receive nothing and must earn everything in life.

How to Buy School Uniforms Like a Pro and Save Big

how to buy school uniformsAs parents anxiously wait for the impending first school bell of the year to ring, thoughts of expenditures are going through their heads. Books, pens, paper, sports and lab and activity fees are all among them. But for some parents, another expense that they will have to endure is uniforms. For these parents, they want to know where to buy cheap school uniforms and save money at the same time. The good news is that it is quite possible.

For those who are really looking to stretch their dollars, a good source is to go with uniforms that are used. In the past, there was a stigma attached to purchasing used clothing as people always associated it with the garments being unclean or worn too much. Those days are gone.

Today, the downward shift of the economy has parents scrambling to save money in any way possible. These hard times have also helped create an explosion of second-hand clothing sources that fill the need for quality previously-owned clothing at a steep discount. The well-known chains have established very strict rules for what they will offer for sale. Sometimes, garments can even be found that still have the price tags on them.

Still kindling the fear of the unknown of buying from a second-hand store? Into recycling? How about checking with other parents in the school? Since children have the nerve to outgrow clothing almost as soon as the price tags are removed, talk to parents of children who have just completed your child’s upcoming grade. These parents have no need for smaller clothing and would love to regroup some of their initial investment.

How about going right to the source? Many schools hold used uniform sales either at the end of a school year or just prior to beginning a new one. These are chances to score them right from the school where you know the history. While this sounds perfect, there is a catch. Other parents know this, too, and will be holding out hope that more parents won’t have the same clothing needs.

But if the mere thought of outfitting your little one with used clothing sends shivers down your spine, there are a multitude of places online to score uniforms. Thanks to good old supply and demand, clothing manufacturers everywhere are trying to copy designs and undercut their competition. They know that what they don’t make up for in profit margin they can more than make up in sheer volume. This is good news for the consumer who has the time to do some research.

Still looking for a great deal? One word: Amazon. The online conglomerate has access to virtually everything you could imagine in the world of uniforms. They offer reliability, fast and inexpensive shipping and are backed by a great reputation so you know exactly where it comes from.

Spending a little time doing research and comparing prices might be a tad boring, but when you consider how quickly clothing costs add up, it’s well worth the effort. For families with multiple children to clothe, finding a good deal is practically a necessity.

Five Ways to Increase Your Income Today

increase income todayUnless someone is independently wealthy, they would like to have more money coming in.   But with all of our current responsibilities it may seem like it’s just a dream.   But in reality, it’s not only possible, but much easier than you might imagine.   Here are five ways to increase your income today.

But in order for this to work, you have to change your way of thinking.   That means changing your entire mentality as it pertains to money.   Don’t believe that it isn’t possible.   Believe it and acknowledge it!

Here is an example of the right motivation:   If you were told to save $500 within the next two weeks, most likely you would blow off the concept and consider it impossible.   But if someone told you that unless you came up with $500 within the next two weeks that you would go to prison, you would   instantly become a money-making machine.   That is the kind of drive that you need.


Idea #1:   Sell, sell, sell

That means everything lying around your home that you don’t need or use consistently goes into a garage sale.   Clean out closets, go through the garage and the basement , venture up into the attic and get   rid of it. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find and what people will buy.


Idea #2:   Go online

More and more people are working online for added income and the numbers are growing.   Businesses are taking advantage of this workforce by offering plenty of opportunities to make money. Many require little or no training or experience.   The good news is they have secured payment methods and most offer flexible schedules.


Idea #3:   Get paid to write

People are always looking for bloggers or someone who can write articles for them.   The more you write, the more you make.   Getting yourself established means that customers will start coming to you instead of having to fish for additional work.


Idea #4: Collect all your old gold and jewelry and cash it in.

Everyone has old gold lying around in their jewelry box.   With the upsurge in gold prices, this is the perfect time to exchange it for cash.


Idea #5:   Hire out your hobby or skill

Do you like photography?   Are you an expert at cleaning?   Are you a master at sewing?   There are many trades that most people are not good at and would pay handsomely for.   The trick to making money at your skill and being successful is offering something that other people either don’t have time for or don’t like to do.

For instance, most people hate cleaning.   If you don’t believe it, take a look at their homes.   You might not really enjoy cleaning, but if you are efficient at it then this could pay off very well.   Put the word out that you are for hire to take care of the task that other’s put off and you’ll have more work than you can handle.   Who knows?   You could even hire an assistant to work for you and pocket the difference.


What are some other ways YOU are making more money today?

Why You Need a Retirement Plan and How to Create a Sturdy One

retirement planningWhether you are just starting out in the professional world or have been working for many years, retirement planning shouldn’t be something that is pushed aside and deemed unimportant. You have only one shot at securing your financial future, so the earlier you start the better.

Even though it is common knowledge that starting to save for retirement as early as possible is the best practice, some still ask, Do I really need a retirement savings plan at all?❠One reason the answer to that question is an emphatic YES❠is that you never know what the future will bring and unexpected and sudden circumstances may arise. For instance, people assume they will be able to continue working as long as they need to live; however, as we age sudden medical issues can creep out of nowhere changing long-term plans. Without a retirement savings plan to fall back on, we could be left without a means to maintain our lifestyle.

Although aging may be beyond your control, one game changer that you have the upper hand in is changing your mind about retirement. As you continue to work, you may realize that you actually do want to retire at a certain age in order to fulfill your life goals of traveling or having more time for your loved ones. For whatever the reason that you want to retire, you will need retirement savings to support your desired lifestyle.

The best thing about this is that creating a retirement plan doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming; here are three ways to create a sturdy plan.

  • Years to retirement:  Calculate the years to your retirement. Determine the age you would like to retire and define the timeframe. You should also estimate how long your retirement years could last (30 or more years in some cases). There are plenty of online calculators you can use for this exercise.
  • Know your risk tolerance:  It is crucial that everyone knows his or her tolerance for risk. By knowing your risk level, you will be able to choose the investments that are right for you and your financial goals. You should pick investments that are personalized to your needs and where you are in life.
  • Contribution amount:  After you figure out the age you want to retire the years your retirement could last and your risk tolerance, you will need to determine how much you should set aside each year to reach your retirement goals. If you decide to contribute to an employer-sponsored retirement plan and your employer offers a match, you should contribute at least enough to receive the full company offering.

Hopefully after reading this, you are now convinced that having a retirement plan is necessary for every individual no matter what stage they are in life. Whether you are only 15 years away or four decades away from the typical retirement age, it’s never too late or too early to start saving. Every dollar that goes towards your retirement counts, so start a retirement plan now to take control of your financial future.

(This has been a guest post by Scott Holsopple.  He is the president and CEO of Smart401k, offering easy-to-use, cost effective 401(k) advice and solutions for the everyday investor. His advice has been featured on various news outlets, including FOX Business, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.)

photo by 05com

Top tips for staying with your existing mobile phone supplier while saving money

Your mobile phone is an essential, right? Your one trusted tool, you don’t leave the home without and the one monthly cost you cannot avoid. The good news is that you can almost always get a lower price than you are currently paying by finding the right  mobile phone deals. And the even better news is that quite often, you don’t even need to change supplier to get a cheaper deal.

Changing suppliers can be time consuming. Hours spent on the phone speaking to customer service teams about phones and packages that are not right for you. And not just that, it can also damage your credit rating if you try and change supplier and then are turned down.

So, why not stick to what you know?

Here are some top tips for staying with your existing mobile phone supplier while still saving moneyâ¦

  1. Do your research

Before you speak to your current provider, make sure you have looked at some online price comparison sites to see what other companies are offering. The likelihood is that you will be surprised. Then by having done this research, you have the power to let them know what you think you should be paying.

  1. Exercise negotiation skills

The important thing when calling your current provider, is to make sure you negotiate hard. It is often good to go straight in to the call saying that you want to leave, they will then ask (because their job is to make you stay) why you want to leave, giving you the opportunity to express that you are not happy about the current price and have seen a better deal elsewhere.

  1. Know what you want

You can sometimes refuse the first offer of a better deal that they make you, or at least try. Then, if you know, exactly what phone and what package you want, you can tell them and be in control of the conversation.

  1. Look for the added extras

Then once you have the deal you want plus your choice of handset, you can push just a little bit further to see if you can get any added extras. Perhaps there is a nice headset or phone cover that tickles your fancy⦠as the saying goes, â˜if you don’t ask, then you don’t get’.

  1. Try again next year

Just because you already did this last year, doesn’t mean you can’t try your luck again. It is also definitely worth mentioning that you have been a customer for several or many years and there may be some customer loyalty deals that they can offer you.

Good luck and remember, demand what you want!!

7 Side Business Ideas that are Worth your Time

side business ideasThere are literally hundreds of articles online that talk about legitimate side business ideas.  Unfortunately, most of them talk about fluff jobs that are just simply not worth your time.  Do you want to make the big bucks or not?

This article is all about honing in your energy and placing it somewhere where the money will flood in.  You have to be strategic with the type of side business you start.  It’s stupid to just do something if you have a “passion” for it.  What if your passion doesn’t pay?  I think you see where I’m going with this.

Here are 7 side business ideas that are worth your time because they all can pay  huge dividends over the long term.  Another benefit of the following side jobs is that they are easily managed along-side a full time job!

Here we go:



I’ve seen some of my friends make BIG money through tutoring.  The real money is made in this side business with extremely wealthy families that are looking for someone to tutor their kids at home while they are at work.  I know of tutors who make a full time living out of this side business.  The beautify of it is that you can be flexible in terms of hours and often times weekends are the best times to tutor kids.  With the never ending pressure to have successful children, tutoring can be a great side venture while you work at your day job.



Wow, all I can say about this is that it’s an incredible way to make money.  Figure out what you’re passionate about and the money will follow in the blogging world.  While blogging is not a get rich quick side business, it’s a sweet way to make long term passive income over time.  I blogged for free for 6 months and only survived because it was something I loved to do.  If you can survive the initial hump, blogging will put dollars in your wallet guaranteed.  Something similar to this is website acquisition.  If you have the cash, you can purchase a blog instead of building one up.  I recently did this with Redeeming Riches.  Instead of creating a second  successful  personal finance blog, I decided to purchase an authority site within the same industry.  After a payback period of a couple months, it’s pure profit going forward.  If you do this with multiple sites, the money can add up quite quickly.


E-bay store

If I had more time on my hands, I would start an E-bay store.  With very little overhead and the potential to make a killing, it’s a wonderful side business idea.  Most people go about this side business the wrong way.  If I did it, I’d make all my purchases off ultra-discounted sites like Woot and Whiskey Militia.  Buy your merchandise of choice through these sites and then tack on a 20% mark-up in your E-bay store.  It really is as simple as that.  I remember a TV that was on sale ($499) through a discount site and hundreds were available.  I checked Ebay and they were selling for $899.  See the potential with this?  It’s a very straight forward business model and one that can be done after work or on the weekends.  Rinse and repeat, you now have an endless stream of opportunities!


Freelance writer

When I first started blogging, I didn’t make a cent.  To help me achieve my goals, I ended up doing some freelance writing.  I contacted other big name bloggers and offered my freelance writing services.  At one point I was writing for twelve blogs on a weekly basis!  I was pulling in around $800/month and loving it!  Another huge benefit of freelance writing is that you can do it anywhere!  My favorite spot to freelance was the  local  Starbucks overlooking the beach.  It doesn’t get much better than that.  Think about all the time you waste during your lunch breaks, after work, and weekends.  Why not use some of that time to start your freelance career?  Recession or no recession, quality writing is always in style and there will always be a market for it.  I encourage you to try this side business out immediately!


Jack of all Trades

How many times have you found yourself frustrated with your lack of experience solving a plumbing leak or adjusting a new door in your house?  This is where a handy-man comes in.  People will always have small issues with their houses that don’t necessarily require a full blown general contractor.  I’ve been seeing handy-man businesses popping up all over the place and I understand why, they charge$60/hour!  So if you know you’re great with your hands or are an especially good problem solver, why not do some handy-man work on the weekends?  I’ve seen this type of side business turn into some significant income for people and it’s fairly easy to get started!  Also, once referrals start coming in, the marketing will take care of itself.



This is one that I don’t have any personal experience with, but my future wife (Hannah) does.  She currently works as a nanny part time and is making great money.  As this is a referral game, making a good first impression and being responsible are critical to your long term success.  Again, this is a side business that requires no up-front investment and the hours are typically very flexible.  If you love working with kids and like the idea of getting paid to make babies laugh, then working as a nanny is for you!



I personally love landscaping and doing work out under the sun.  Much of my college tuition was paid for by odd-job landscaping projects, most being from Craig’s List.  Landscaping is another great side business to get involved in.  It’s awesome if you have a full time job or are a student in college because homeowners typically like having their landscaping done over the weekend when they can be around to watch.  To get started, you can start contacting family and friends.  Once you have a couple projects under your belt, you should plan for a flood of new clients coming in.  Who doesn’t want to hire someone they’re comfortable with?


It’s time to go make some greenbacks!

I’ve always been a huge fan of starting a side business.  Not only is it great to increase your income but it reduces the stress related to solely relying on your day job’s income.  It also provides you with an opportunity for YOU to be the boss, not your employer!

So do something you love and get paid for it.  If that’s not common sense, I don’t know what is!


The Legend of the Three Magic Spells for an Inexpensive Date

inexpensive date Once upon a time, in a land far, far away from here, there was a young man who lived an ordinary life. Although this young man worked long and hard hours and was noted for his unusual degree of productivity, his wages were considerably low, and every single payday he was forced to watch with great melancholy as all of his earnings were diverted to cover his meager living expenses, leaving him with not even so much as a single shilling that he might enjoy the decency of a night’s festivities at the local pub.

Yet this did not trouble the young man as it might have in other circumstances, for he was a thrifty, prudent man of good temperament, who handled his pursestrings with restraint every day as he passed by alluring new cars, enticing gun shops, and the siren call of state-of-the-art home-theater systems. Having survived the treacherous journey through his dark university days, he had acquired the resolution necessary to protect himself from the murky bog of credit card debt. As befit his virtuosity, his reputation within the financial institutions of the kindgom was impeccable.

Had the young man been a lonely friar, traveling through the wilderness of life without a companion, this situation might have been sufficient for him.

But one day everything changed when this young man came across a girl of exceptional amiability. Enraptured by her beauty, he was overcome with the inescapable passion of romantic infatuation. With great persistence, he attempted to woo this beautiful girl, and was euphoric when she declared an interest in him, however small it may have been. After a second conversation and meeting, the young man was engrossed by her undeniable qualities and idiosyncrasies, and within a fortnight his romantic infatuation had grown and blossomed into a genuine affection for the girl, and his determination to court her exclusively increased tenfold.

Driven by the incurable madness eternally inherent in romance, he secretly planned a wondrous time to spend with her which would win her heart.

But then, the young man remembered that he was poor and had little money to spend on such pleasantries. Although the girl was by no means of high social status, tradition dictated that he demonstrate his fondness for her in a manner which in some fashion involved the spending of money in a substantial amount. The societal rules had relaxed since the days of his forefathers, in which it was strictly forbidden to allow the girl to lay down so much as a halfpence during a courtship. Still, as a gentleman, chivalrous to a fault, he was unwilling to consider an solution which involved her having to surrender any of her earnings, even if it was small. Additionally, the ostinate pride, which can only be found within the heart of a man, required him to maintain a pretense of being in a respectable financial condition.

Left with no other options, the young man sought out the advice of his trustworthy friends. Eager to see him settle down and happy, they directed him to the house of an old hermit, who for scores of years had been tied to the bond of matrimony until the untimely death of his beloved. It was rumored throughout the kingdom he knew the ancient incantations and spells guaranteed to win a fair maiden’s heart.

Despite this, they warned him, ever so severely, that this old hermit also had a reputation as a cantankerous imp who led a many young men to their dooms by offering poorly contrived remedies to their tribulations out of a twisted sense of amusement.

Having exhausted all other resources, the young man sought out the old hermit. Wary of what lay behind the door to the house, he knocked timidly, whereupon he was greeted by a sanguine, yet rather quaint man whose demeanor refuted all the unfound hearsay said about him. Welcoming him into the home with much celebration, the old hermit listened intently as the young man spoke of the beautiful girl who had captured his heart, explaining his dilemma in no uncertain terms.

After sitting there silently, meditating for a long time, the hermit took the young man into his confidence and revealed that he took had suffered the same predicament in his youth when courting his future wife. He, too, had had few coins to spare. Yet, he had managed to overcome this obstacle by learning three secret spells which, if used at their proper time, would magically cause a girl to overlook any deficiencies in the matter of finances.

The three magic spells and their recitations as recounted were:

  • The Spell of Creativity: Do that which refreshes the soul
  • The Spell of Spontaneity: Do that which is unexpected at an unexpected time
  • The Spell of Authenticity: Do that which reveals one’s true heart

The old hermit warned him, however, that the spells could only be used out of necessity, for their magical properties would fail to charm if the intent behind their usage was outside of their original design.

Thrilled, the young man profusely thanked the old hermit into the long hours of the night and then returned back to his home in a mood of elation. There, he planned the special time as he had originally intended. Following the old hermit’s counsel, he used the magic spells at their proper time and not before. He did not have to wait long to see if the spells actually worked, for the moment the girl met with him she was instantly bewitched by the power of the spells and seemed to make no observation of the lack of coins used to provide such a lively interaction.

Careful not to fall into arrogance, the young man listened to the old hermit’s sagely words and worked hard to save up enough earnings to take the girl to out every so often and did not always rely on the spells as a permanent substitute. As long as he heeded this wisdom, the girl was as pleased as is capable by a man.

Acknowledging his success, the young man’s friends inquired as to the magic spells, so that they too might utilize them in their relationships. Rather than hold it back from them in order to flout his position, the young man, out of the kindness of his heart, not only informed them of the three magic spells, but he also dictated the story to this lowly scribe, so that the knowledge might be circulated to all men, unwed or married, who would then use these spells in time of need.

The End

photo by soundlessfall

5 Things You Should Not Go Cheap On

go cheap onI’ve been seeing one too many people around me go cheap instead of frugal on things.  After writing my frugal vs. cheap quiz, I found that even more people were living the cheap lifestyle!

So, after hearing from reader feedback, I decided to write this post about 5 things you should never go cheap on!  To preface, these are things that are important to me so they might not be as important to you.  Everyone’s life is different.  These are just the items that I happen to value and would never go too cheap on.


My car

This has been debated for ages.  I’m not in the group that promotes buying ultra-used cars and running them into the ground.  I happen to fall into the category of buying a “slightly used” car and driving it for 10+ years.  When I graduated college, I could have just stuck with my piece of junk Geo Prizm.  But with a full time job and tons of additional income, there was no reason to buy an ultra-used car again.  It was time to get a used car that I wasn’t embarrassed about.  I ended up buying a 2004 Acura TL.  No, not a 2010 model, but a 2004 model.  The car is a tank and I love the power behind the wheel.  Could I have gone cheap on my car?  Sure.  But I didn’t and I went with “best value” instead.  Not only do I never have mechanical issues but I own my car outright.


Toilet paper

How do I talk about this without sounding crude?  Look, I like quality toilet paper!  I think you can guess why but it’s a fact of life, durable and soft toilet paper should not be a luxury, instead it should be a necessity!  I’m not about saving pennies here and there.  There are too many opportunities to increase income to start worrying about the cost of toilet paper.  Don’t you hate it when you’re in an office building and you grab the toilet paper and it rips because it’s only a single layer?  Well I can’t stand it when this happens to me, not happening in my home thank you very much.



Shoes are what makes an outfit.  Although I’m not the most fashionably  conscious  person in the world, happen to love nice shoes and a variety of shoes.  Not only does it boost my confidence but it’s more professional in the workplace.  Along those lines, a comfortable pair of shoes is truly something precious.  I used to buy cheap stuff from Sears and I’d end up having multiple blisters all over my feet by the end of the work day.  Those days are gone!  I only buy name brand shoes now and my feel can tell the difference.  One thing to note her though is that I never pay full price.  This is where the frugal side comes in.  Instead of going to Macy’s or Nordstrom’s, I head over to Ross or Burlington Coat Factory.  Often times, these discount retailers will have the same shoes for a fraction of the cost.  This is a winning situation in my book!



The average person sleeps 7 hours a day.  Multiply that my how many days the average person lives and you have quite the number.  Lesson?  Buy a nice mattress!  I’m not saying you should go into debt for an item like this but I do believe that you should get a top tier bed to sleep on.  A comfortable bed is critical for your back.  Want to have back pains by the time you’re 40?  I know I don’t.  Avoid buying a used bed off of Craig’s List, it’s just not worth it.  I’m actually shopping for a bed right now due to getting married in a couple months.  I won’t be going cheap on this, my back will thank me.



“You are what you eat.”  It’s one of the most famous sayings dating back until God created Adam and Eve.  If you want to live a long time, you need to not only eat healthy but eat quality foods.  I never buy processed foods and I try to buy organic as often as I can or remember to.  Lately, a couple items I haven’t been going cheap on are eggs, fish, and vegetables.  I don’t like hormones pumped into my foods and hate the thought of pesticides on my vegetables.  Our bodies weren’t created to consume man-made chemicals.  I’ll pass on shopping the bargain bin at the grocery store and go straight to the good stuff.


What about you?

So what do you never go cheap on?  Are there some items that you would rather pay the extra money for?  I’d love to hear about them so please comment below!


Start Thinking Like a Millionaire in 2012

millionaireYou know, it’s funny if you think about millionaires. Did you know that a majority of millionaires literally “thought” their way there by saving and spending less than they earn? It’s easy to come up with excuses for why you can’t earn your first million, but I don’t want you to become part of this crowd in 2012. I want you to break away from the herd and pave your own path toward your first million. 2012 is the year you start getting serious about your finances and achieving your goal of becoming a millionaire.

OK, so you’re excited to become a millionaire, but to get there, you need an action plan! I’m officially challenging you to follow the next few steps in 2012. Write them down if you have to. Read them every day. It’s going to take a 180 in your mind for this to happen. Let’s dig in:


Earn more income

It’s not good enough to stick with your current salary or hourly wage in 2012. Shoot for the stars and get yourself a raise. With rising inflation and an uncertain economy, earning more money is now more important than ever! If a raise is out of the question, stop relying on your employer. Make 2012 the year you start your own side business. It could be a simple side gig walking dogs on the weekends and could be as involved as launching a new blog. Whatever your passion is, follow it and the money will follow. Make it your priority to increase your income this year. No excuses, play like a champion.


Live within your means

Enough with the “I’ll pay it off next month” mentality! In 2012, you’re going to stop thinking like this. No matter your situation, if you can’t pay cash for something, don’t buy it. What’s the point of trying to look like a millionaire when you’re actually in debt? It’s time to hit the Ross’s and Marshall’s of the world, folks. Check your pride at the door because you’re going on a mission in 2012. Start with the little things in your life. Do you own too many cars or too big of a house? How many credit cards do you have? Perform an inventory and give yourself a grade. Once you have your grade, start taking steps toward an A+ grade. After a while you’ll get into the habit of living within your means. The hardest part is taking the first step. Take that first step in 2012.


Diversify your investments

If you want to avoid the financial ruin that so many Americans have gone through in the last couple years, you’re going to need to diversify. Diversification of your assets is essentially reducing your risk, thus creating a better opportunity to reach your first million. If you haven’t already, open a Roth-IRA or invest your money with Betterment. Whatever you choose to do, pick some low cost index funds and start investing for the long haul. Remember to keep a bond percentage that makes sense for your future, keeping in mind the timeline for all of your investing goals. You shouldn’t take any unnecessary risk.


Automate everything

Look, part of the problem these days is too much involvement in finances. Instead of wondering if you’re investing enough or covering your bills, why not automate everything so any money left over is spending money? Going into 2012, I want you to think about what you can automate. What about your 401k and Roth-IRA plans? Put those on autopilot so your future million is secured. Assuming this money is being invested in a diversified portfolio, your first million will be easy if you don’t even have to think about it. The same goes with expenses and bills.


Ignore the noise

Much of the success of numerous millionaires comes from the habit of ignoring the noise. What do I mean by this? It’s things like business television, avoiding instant gratification in stores, and owning your vehicles instead of taking out loans. In 2012, I want you to ignore CNBC, turn off the news, and focus on increasing your wealth instead. Stop worrying about the day to day market trends and attempting to “strike it rich quick.” Slow and steady wins the race towards a million dollars. Ignore what your neighbors are doing and avoid “following the herd.” Pave your own path to success and go about it quietly. A million bucks is closer than you think.


Going into 2012…

Take these steps and start developing your action plan. Stop stalling and following the crowds, it’s time to start thinking long term in 2012 and achieve your dream of becoming a millionaire by retirement. Who’s with me?!