Collectibles as an investment

Around here, “collectibles” can mean almost anything. Things just seem to collect, as I wrote about in Huffington Post.  Some is on purpose. For instance, all the snow globes my older daughter collects.  And the theatre programs.  And the books.  And the DVDs (possibly the world’s largest collection!). All these collectibles share a few things in common: They collect a lot of dust, making them both collectibles and collectors. Most are rarely used in any way. They have reduced our net worth by a few billion dollars. But that’s OK, because some day we can sell them. Those that we can someday sell might fetch us a total of $250, but maybe I&#… [Read Entire Story]

Teachers travel free

If you have the temperament for it, teaching can be a very rewarding career.  But did you know that one of the rewards can be free travel? It’s great to be a teacher. What an amazing career, with so many benefits. I’m not saying it’s for everybody, not that there aren’t challenges.  I could never do it. I would never have the patience. I could never hold the students’ attention. I would probably end up tearing both my hairs out. But being a teacher has its perks.  The most obvious one is that you get the summer off. Yeah, now that’s what I call vacation.  All summer, two weeks at Christmas.  Plus March break. The timing is not flexible, but with that … [Read Entire Story]

Top tips to eat healthy on a budget

Want to start eating healthier, but don’t have a big food budget? With a little planning and some tweaks to how you think about cooking, you can make it happen. I work on certain principles for healthy eating: Be a pig with veggies. When in doubt, eat as close to natural as possible. … [Read Entire Story]

How to save money on a new mattress

It’s just a huge cushion. Why would a mattress cost so much? Never fear, here are some tips to reduce that price. Having a good bed with a good mattress is one of the most important keys to getting a good night’s sleep. Sure, you can find ways to overcome a cheap mattress’s problems, but why not just buy the best mattress to begin with? Over time, buying a high quality mattress will more than pay for itself. It will also be cheaper than having to constantly replace whatever … [Read Entire Story]

Get fit, not broke

Fitness doesn’t have to cost a lot.  Here are some tips to get fit from free to not-very-expensive. If you are ready to get your body into shape, but your resources are slim, you’re not alone. Many people think it takes money to get into shape and enjoy living. Not so. While there are ways to spend money getting fit, you can do it yourself on much less money than you might think. Not all gyms are created equal If you lack the willpower … [Read Entire Story]

How to save money on home insurance – 15 frugal tips

One of the biggest expenses any home owner faces is home insurance.  And it comes around every year or every month, depending on how you have it set up.  But there are ways you can save on home insurance.  Here are 15 tips for frugal home insurance. Shop around As with any product or service, the most important way to know if you are getting a good deal is to shop around.  This is important both to compare prices, since you generally want the lowest price, and to compare quality and service, since you want the lowest price that does not compromise the level of service or the quality that you want. In the case of home owners insurance, the most basic … [Read Entire Story]

How to save money on car insurance – 18 frugal tips

Hot on the heels of our frugal home insurance tips, we look at the other major property insurance that most people have, car insurance.  You will recognize some of these tips, because some of them are similar to the home insurance tips. But some are very different!  There are some that you can do … [Read Entire Story]

The ins and outs of life insurance riders

Insurance policies are among the most customizable of financial services, thanks to something called riders. Let’s take a look at some of the most common insurance riders. As with any major financial decision, before you get life insurance, it’s a good idea to research all your options.. While there are probably a gazillion life insurance policies to choose from, each offers different levels of coverage.  After choosing the package closest to what you want, you can personalize your… [Read Entire Story]

When should you refinance your mortgage to save the most money?

Some things are obvious. Refinancing your mortgage is not. Here are all the things you need to consider to make sure that refinancing actually saves you money. When to refinance your mortgage is a complicated question, especially if you want to save the most money.  There are many factors to consider before making the decision.  And if you miscalculate, you might end up paying more in the end than if you left your mortgage as it currently stands, which would kind of defeat the point of refinancing.  I have been through the refinancing process, and it does tend to boggle the mind. With that introduction, let us take a look at some of the… [Read Entire Story]

Selling Clothes Online? Check Off These Items First

Have you ever thought of selling clothes online.  Whether it’s your own used clothes (and those of friends and relatives) or designer items that your niece has created, you need a plan! Even if you plan to sell only your own used clothing online, there are some essentials that must be met to give yourself the best possible chance of success. One or two missed items can mean the difference between making enough from your online store to be worthwhile and struggling to make ends meet.  So it pays to get it right from the start. Think Big, but Start Small We have all had dreams of running a big operation with lots of inventory.  However, the… [Read Entire Story]

Four ways web stores can help you save on shipping

When you shop online, do you look only at the sticker price? Maybe you should also be concerned about how the retailer handles shipping costs. More online consumers abandon shopping carts due to high shipping and handling charges than for any other reason. This is one of the main reasons why the average conversion rate for eCommerce websites is around four percent, according to Marketing Sherpa… [Read Entire Story]

Frugal and fabulous DIY Christmas treats

Here are two yummy DIY Christmas treats that will wow your guests: Cupcake Rudolfs and Rice Kristmastreesicles. You can make them yourself at home with almost no effort and almost no cost. So you want to really Wow your guests at Christmas this year, but a chocolate fountain and a dozen French maid server girls can’t be squeezed into your budget? No problem. Here are two tried and tested (by Mrs. Happy Guy and our girls) do-it-yourself Christmas treats. What these two treats have in common: They are each incredibly simple to make. They look adorable…and pretty fancy. They taste great. Among several dozen items at the dance school bake sale, these were both… [Read Entire Story]

Yawn… time to get out of debt

Think getting out of debt is boring? Find out why some really creative people disagree When you’re dealing with debt, it’s normal to feel like you’re alone – the only person facing this struggle. However, even though it’s not something most people talk about, a significant percentage of Americans have their own problems with debt. For example, 24%… [Read Entire Story]

Marketing Training Based on Testing and What Works

Frugal is fine, but the best way to save money is to earn more…and that takes training. When you work for a company, corporation or the government, they train you. But if you’re a solopreneur, you’re on your own.  Even if you already know what specific skills you need, how do you know whose information and training to trust? Leading Marketing Training Programs If you are a solopreneur, you are your own marketing department.  So where do you get your training? Three top marketing resources immediately come to mind: HubSpot, MarketMotive and MECLABS (which includes MarketingSherpa and MarketingExperiments)… [Read Entire Story]

Why to NOT change insurance companies

One of the standard tenets of living frugally – almost like a secret handshake – is to always shop around, to always seek a better deal and to never be afraid to switch suppliers for a cheaper source.  But sometimes loyalty pays. This report is from my most recent experience. Bigfoot paid a visit to our backyard. It’s true.  He left his footprint right in back of our house. Right where the upper corner of… [Read Entire Story]

Duct tape – a frugal parent’s best friend

You have probably heard over and over that duct tape is the magic solution for all problems. It might even prevent World War III. Here is one fine example of how it can save a parent some money. Five years ago, I bought my girls a Springfree® trampoline.  What is awesome about these, pretty much as the name implies, is that there is no spring on which to catch one’s foot.  In fact the whole thing is pretty sleek.  Despite the seemingly hefty $900 price (I see they cost a bit more now), this is the best recreational investment I have made for the kids, for several reasons: After five years, … [Read Entire Story]

Does good debt exist?

A frugal person tries to define good debt and bad debt. When does it make sense to get a personal loan? You know me; I’m a frugal person and I hate debt of all kinds. I hate it even more now that I have too much of it, than I used to hate it when I avoided it like the plague. But some debt does make sense, so sometimes a loan makes sense. Here are a few times that even I don’t mind going into debt… Buy a home. Let’s face it, if you wait until you … [Read Entire Story]

The frugal shopper’s guide to protein

Protein is one of the most important nutrients in our diet. It is the one responsible for growth and bodily repair. It is also one of the most expensive nutrients, which is why the protein part of your meal (the meat) costs the most. But wait! Not all protein is as expensive as your filet mignon. So I set out to put together a short study of the various sources of protein readily available and their cost, as much for my own use as for blogging here. The goal is to find out how I can get a complete serving of protein for under… [Read Entire Story]

Quirky ways to save money on your car

I am sure you have heard all the “usual” ways to save money on your car.  Lets’ breeze through them quickly to refresh your memory… Shop around before buying. Buy a smaller car. Check insurance costs before deciding what to buy. Shop around for insurance. Pay cash rather than a car loan. Drive slowly to conserve gas. Keep your car well-maintained. Keep the trunk empty to save gas. Keep tires inflated. Don’t idle. Car pool. Combine errands. Did I miss any?  Probably … [Read Entire Story]

My best financial tip

Money can’t buy happiness. That’s not my tip – that is just a prelude, and an obvious one at that. Because, although money might not buy happiness, the lack of money has been known to buy misery.  This is Financial Literacy Month, and it appears that Canadians need better financial literacy.  As do our American cousins. This blog post is part of the Blog for Financial Literacy campaign, where each participant offers up their best financial tip. My tip today might seem obvious. Indeed, it… [Read Entire Story]