Monthly Archives: November 2009

Daily Dimes 11/30/09

Back a generation or so ago, when you turned 18 or hit some milestone in your early 20s, it was time to immediately move out of the house either start college or a family.

This is not the case anymore, as more and more twentysomethings are staying at home longer than in recent memory. While it is clear the economy is forcing this in many cases and is probably a smart decision in order to not fall into deep debt, it doesn’t mean your life is over. It is what you do during this time that counts the most.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Today’s a day of football, food, and family — enjoy it! Regularly scheduled programming will be back tomorrow.

In the meantime, as you’re carving turkeys and making stuffing, try to think about some things you’re thankful for in the past year. And try to leave work off to the side for at least one day.

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Expense This

Read up on virtually any article about how to properly budget your money, and more often than not the piece will stress that you must track your expenses. Now this makes sense because you must know how much cash is coming in as well as how much comes out. The coming in part is easy (a couple of paychecks per month) unless you are a freelancer, consultant, or anyone else who does not get a regular, steady paycheck. In these cases, it is even more important to track how much you spend each month.

The goal is simple: spend less than you make. Knowing exactly how much you spend, though, is hard. Things happen and no two months are ever exactly the same.

While it isn’t an exact science, I urge you to take the next month to track every single penny you spend. Seriously. Open to a fresh page in your finance notebook and write “December Expenses” at the top. We’re going to get started now.

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Picture Perfect Savings

The term “savings” is such a high-level, all-compassing one. It can instill fear and loathing in many, while bringing a smile to others’ faces. For too long, I believe many have taken the notion of savings and just thought of it as this existential thing you threw money into and watched grow without taking any action on it.

Now, if you have been setting aside money for “savings”, you’re on the right track. I believe that it is important to set aside money from each paycheck to pay yourself, if you will. Where this can get you in trouble, or just be plain monotonous, is when you’re setting aside money without having any real, actionable plan for what it is for and how you’ll use it. No, simply saying it’s “for a rainy day” does not count.

In a past installment of Daily Dimes, I wrote about one writer that urged readers to look at savings like drawers in a dresser. I believe this is the right start. It forces you to break down “savings” into smaller, more digestible chunks — or goals. While your dressers could take on entirely different meanings, by attaching a picture to it, you can begin to visualize just how setting aside this money will help you in the long and short term.

I was one of those people that used to blindly set aside money for savings, and felt it was pointless since it just grew and grew and I felt bad every time I considered drawing from it. Let me show you how to make your savings more actionable and tangible.

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Lists, Tips to Gobble Up

Happy Thanksgiving Week! I came to the realization after speaking with some friends over the weekend that Living With Common Cents can use some more actionable lists, tips, and tricks that you can print out and easily follow.

As such, this week — starting Tuesday — we will put the Daily Dimes off to the side (though it will return next week) and deliver some original posts on the following topics:

  • realistic, tangible saving;
  • how to track expenses;
  • easy allocation of paychecks;
  • information on different types of savings vehicles;
  • tackling debt;
  • withholding tax; and
  • the worst tips on personal finance.

As always, I appreciate your feedback. What kinds of posts or topics would you like me to explore? Further, please either email me directly or respond to this post and share with me some of the worst financial tips you’ve received or heard about. I have some hilarious ones to share later this week, but I’d love to include some from the Living With Common Cents community!

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All the Small Things

Sure, the headline of the post is also a title for an old Blink 182 song and may elicit a snicker or two. I won’t lie — I smirked a little, too.

The extremely high level look at the song’s meaning, though, is what I’m more interested in: The “little” things people do, or “small” victories we have usually are eclipsed by the larger obstacles we face.

With Thanksgiving just a few short days away, I want us all to take a look back at the year and find just a few things we’re thankful for.

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Weekly Roundup

This week there were plenty of articles about budgeting — some with killer advice, others with … well … advice that could kill.

No matter where you are in your life, it’s never too late to begin budgeting and getting on the right path to personal finance sanity.

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