Holidays

How to Get a Better Price on Everything You Buy

Finding the perfect gift for someone is a wonderful feeling. But, for many of us, finding that gift at a great price adds a little extra fun to the experience. It has nothing to do with a lack of generosity, it’s just something we seem to have in our DNA—if we don’t get a bargain, there’s something unsatisfying about the whole thing. The holiday shopping season is a particularly stressful time for shoppers whose favorite sport is finding the best deal on absolutely everything. Of course, that kind of frustration isn’t unique to the holidays or gift-giving; there are plenty of times, all year long, when you have neither the time nor the inclination to wait for a sale. You need the best price on something NOW. While the ideal situation is having time to shop, there are ways of making sure you’re getting a great price, even if the…

New Year's Resolutions: Money Edition

Less than half of New Year’s Resolutions last more than six months, even though most of them are designed to be longer-term improvements. Financial resolutions may fare even worse since it seems like there’s always some bill waiting to be paid, some upcharge that’s impossible to avoid, or some unexpected expense. But that doesn’t mean they’re not worth setting – or that they’re impossible to keep. Unlike some financial advice that’s specific only to certain age groups, income levels or life stages, these small financial resolutions are attainable, impactful and nearly universal: Download an Automated Savings App Apps like Acorns and Digit, pull small sums of money from your checking account on a regular basis and save them electronically. You probably aren’t going to get you rich this way, but you get in the habit of saving if you aren’t already. And it’s a great way to start an emergency…

6 Holiday Tips to Improve Your Finances in 2018

If holiday shopping and social obligations have you seeing nothing but dollar signs, you can easily turn worried about your shrinking bank account and growing credit card debt into positive steps for the coming year. Take a little time now – in this busy month of December – to make small changes that will put you in better financial shape for 2018. Here are six tips to help you get started: Look Back At Your Spending If you mostly use credit and debit cards to cover your costs, it’s easy to look back through your statements for 2017 to figure out where your money went. It may be impossible to change your fixed costs – housing, utilities, car payments – but what about the decisions you make from week to week about what to buy and where to spend? You may find your lifestyle contributes to major cash outlays for…

Holiday Shopping: Save or Splurge

So long, Black Friday. Sayonara, Cyber Monday. It’s the thick of the holiday shopping season. If all your gifts are bought, congratulations. If not, you have plenty of company to stress about buying, wrapping and delivering gifts for the next couple of weeks. With all the holiday hustle and bustle, you’re normal budget judgement may be compromised. So you have to ask yourself, is it worth it to drop the big bucks or is it better to go the frugal route. The answer should always depend on your budget, of course, and there is usually an emotional element at play in the decision. But there is usually a better time of year to buy certain items and it doesn’t always coincide with the holiday season. TVs The door-busting deals may be gone with Black Friday, but this can still be a good time to buy a new TV. However, this…

Black Friday’s Coming. Should You Care?

We should probably clear something up before talking about this year’s Black Friday: “Just where did that name come from, anyway?” It doesn’t sound very pleasant, after all. Black Friday Origins Nobody ever sat down and declared the day after Thanksgiving to be “Black Friday.” It sort of evolved over time. The day after Thanksgiving (or as it was known in more retail-focused circles, “the day after Macy’s Thanksgiving parade”) has been a major shopping day since the 1950s. This unofficial first day of the Christmas season (in the popular, not the religious, sense) has been increasing the population density of shopping districts for a long time, if for no other reason than the fact of so many people having the day after Thanksgiving off from work. As for the name, it’s said the popular moniker originated with Philadelphia police officers in the 1960s. They coined “Black Friday” because the…

Give a Little of Yourself This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for many – a time to focus on family, friends, food and fun before the shopping frenzy kicks in. Why not kick it up a notch this year, and share even more fun times by giving a little thanks to your community. Joining forces with your family and friends will make your charitable activities even more meaningful and festive.   Here are a few ideas to help you get started: Purge and Donate Clean out your closets, cabinets, garage and basement and gather clean items in good repair to donate to a favorite charity like the Salvation Army,  Goodwill or a homeless or women’s shelter near you. To make the project more fun, stage a friendly competition to see who can come up with the biggest heap of donations. Caravan your collected items to your selected charity and then celebrate with your team afterwards. Participate…

Throwing a Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving Without Breaking the Bank

The holidays are a time for family, friends and feasts. Time spent together is the most important part of gathering together during the holiday season, but most people admit these gatherings wouldn’t be the same without the food – turkey, pumpkin pie, ham, mulled wine, rum balls and sugar cookies. But somewhere along the way (can we blame Instagram and Pinterest?), you may feel every holiday meal should look like it belongs in a magazine. Free-range turkeys dressed in epicurean herbs, 12 organic sides and elaborately crafted baked goods are delicious, but they’re a lot of work and frankly, they’re expensive. When you’re gearing up for arguably the most expensive months of the year, it’s not always wise – or possible – to empty your bank account for one meal. Thankfully, it’s also not necessary. It’s still possible to do a big, traditional Thanksgiving dinner on a budget. It’s All…

6 Steps to a Financially Happier Holiday Season

A trip to any supermarket or department store quickly reminds you the holiday season is near. Despite still snacking on pumpkin seeds and Halloween candy, it’s still not too late to make a holiday spending plan. Investing a few hours now to craft a plan can save you time and money to help you survive the most wonderful time of the year. Here are six steps so all the spreading of holiday cheer won’t cause you financial stress in the new year. Make a Holiday Spending Map Look carefully at your budget and decide how much you can really afford to spend this holiday season. Then create a spending map that includes all of your holiday spending categories. Keep in mind the money you’ve budgeted has to pay for more than just gifts. Don’t forget things like decorations, travel expenses, tips and extra charitable giving. Although some of these expenses…

How to Plan the Perfect July 4th Picnic or BBQ | SelectQuote

OK, so you want your July 4th picnic or BBQ to be a raving success. The question is, how do you make that happen, without overwhelm? To make it simple, focus on three things: Guests, Setting, and Food. In that order. Now, this advice flies in the face of what the pretty, glossy magazines say. They tell you it’s all about the food, the drinks, and the red, white, and blue decorations (and they’ve got the beautiful pictures to prove it). Forget all that! There’s more to a 4th of July picnic than Instagram shares. Read on to discover how to have your cake (and eat it too). Guests Keep this at the forefront of your planning: people make the party. Great guests = great party. So, aim high for your 4th of July BBQ. Start with a list of your favorite people who live reasonably close. Then add others whose…

How to Celebrate July 4th with Passion and Purpose | SelectQuote

Ever feel guilty for treating July 4th as nothing more than a day for barbeques and fireworks? It’s not just you. The truth is, most people can’t really define what we Americans are celebrating on July 4th. At best, it’s the country’s “birthday,” or Independence Day. At worst, it’s a vortex of tidbits, factoids, and clichés unrelated to actual events. The good news is you don’t have to generate any faux patriotic feelings. With a little thought beforehand, you can celebrate July 4th naturally – with passion and purpose. History Independence Day celebrations start with history. For example, did you know that the Declaration of Independence was not signed on the 4th of July? It’s true. The colonies were already at war with Great Britain when the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia on July 1st, 1776 to discuss secession. It took time to get the exact language of the…

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