Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Have you thought about refinancing your mortgage?

Rates are low but there are a lot more factors you should consider when deciding whether or not to refinance your mortgage. For example, points and closing costs could add up to more than the savings a lower interest rate gives you. Especially if there's a good chance that you move in the next five to ten years. For more on this subject, visit our blog The Money Ways.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What apps do you use to save money on your iPhone?

I started listing the apps I use most to save money on my iPhone and I realized I don't use that many apps for that purpose. In fact, I really only listed three. Do you have apps that you use that you can recommend? If so, visit our post and leave us a comment with your favorite iPhone apps that save money.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Are your child care costs getting out of control?

The average cost of child care, especially in urban areas, has gotten completely out of control. Unless you are earning more than twice the minimum wage, it is hard to work enough to pay these bills. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to cut these costs, which we've highlighted in our most recent post at Budget Ways.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Need help lowering your college expenses?

While I always knew people that had free rides through college or whose parents were able and willing to foot their bill, I can't say that most college students can afford to pay for college themselves. That's what makes finding ways to plan ahead and lower your college costs even more important. Every dollar you spend during college that you don't already have will end up in the form of a student loan. Use some of the advice we give in our short guide to help you cut college costs.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Have you looked into solar power?

If you've thought about buying a solar power system in the past but it didn't make sense, you may want to look again. That's because there is a big glut in inventory and prices have fallen dramatically. Also, there are a number of solar companies that are willing to lease their equipment to eliminate some or all of the upfront cost of installing it. I've highlighted some of the factors to consider on whether or not solar power can save you money.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How do you manage paying your bills?

Some people use automatic bill pay through their online banking. Some people use post it notes stuck to the side of their desk. And some people use an inbox/outbox system to keep track of bills that need to be paid. Whatever you use, it's important to have a system in place that prevents you from missing any important payments that could jeopardize your good credit standing. Here are some tips that we put together to help you manage your bills.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How do you save money on family activities?

Although we normally stay away from Groupons, there are several websites that we use to find good deals on family activities. There are also some local free magazines that offer coupons for local attractions. The other way we find good deals is by continuing to search and read to find more and better deals. Once you find a deal, it is usually duplicated each month or year, so they become easier to find over time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summary of all the budget templates we provide

Today I put together a summary of the many budget templates that we provide on Budget Ways. Besides the actual spreadsheet files, each one also has a video tutorial on how to use it. There is a monthly worksheet, a family budget, a household month/annual spreadsheet, as well as a checking worksheet and even a printable version for those uncomfortable with using spreadsheets. Whatever budget help you're looking for, these budget templates can help.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

How do you calculate how much money you need to retire?

Most people don't really have a retirement plan. They simply save as much as they believe they can and hope they can someday retire. While this may work for people that are really good savers, it won't work for most. The alternative is to make a plan to reach your retirement goal. We created a simple spreadsheet retirement calculator that you can update just four simple figures and it will arrive at an estimate for your retirement needs. If you're interested in giving it a try, please visit Budget Ways and find the free retirement worksheet.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Do you pay yourself first?

There is one thing that most finance gurus agree on. That you should pay yourself first. This means taking money from each paycheck or income source and depositing it directly into savings. By doing this, you in essence pretend to live off the remaining money. While it can be difficult for some to save, using a method like this can really work and is a great way to jumpstart your retirement savings. Have you tried something like this? If so, we'd love to hear about it. Visit our blog and leave us a comment.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Is it hard for you to save ahead of your annual expenses?

Do things like annual property taxes or income taxes set you back each year? Have you ever borrowed money or used a credit card to pay a bill that you couldn't cover upfront? If so, you may need to take our advice about how to budget for those large and annual expenses that are going to happen. The best way to do this is to plan ahead and save a portion of each expense every month. In essence, you can set up your own escrow account to cover these expenses. Read our most recent post if you want to find more about this topic or leave us a comment.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

How did you get into budgeting, or are you just starting now?

While I thought the budgeting methods I was outlining in my posts were fairly simple, I still get the occasional beginner that just doesn't know where to start. For them, I wrote a post highlighting just how simple a budget can be. I also filled it with information about how a beginner can get started. If you also budget and have some advice to give our readers, please stop by and let us know what it is that helped you learn how to budget. And if you're a beginner yourself, you should stop by and hopefully get some help for your own budgeting needs.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What are your best deals at the dollar store?

Do you shop at a dollar store? If not, you should. And if you do shop there, what have you found to be the best deals worth returning for? These are the questions that I asked myself today before I wrote a post on my blog about saving at dollar stores. I'm hoping that people like you will visit my blog and help me discuss this so that we can all find better ways to save more money. After all, every penny counts.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What is the strangest thing you've done to save money?

I was writing an article about strange ways to save money this morning when I realized that, while I've probably done some strange things to save money in the past, I couldn't remember any. Either that or I didn't think anything I did was strange. It's probably like that for other people too. What I consider normal is probably very strange to others. It's easy to look at others and say "you're strange". Anyway, we're looking for examples of strange money saving methods. If you have any to share, please drop by Budget Ways and leave us a comment.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Are you ready for this summer's AC bills?

If you're not ready to pay large air conditioning bills this summer, there are a number of simple ways you can cut your cooling costs. The easiest ways are to simply let your body adjust to a higher temperature in your house. Other ways include upgrading your AC unit or getting a programmable thermostat. You can even plant trees strategically around your house to help provide shade and shelter from the sun. If you want to see all of the ways that I save on my AC bills, visit Budget Ways and read up.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The average American only saves 3% of their income!

Can you believe it?! The average American only saves 3.4% of their income. That is very low compared to the rest of the world. For example, in China, they save about 15% of their income. The only countries with lower savings rates are countries like Sweden and Norway, where all of the retirement and health care is provided by the government and savings aren't as necessary. I guess Americans learned nothing from the great recession. After savings rates spiked during the recession it looks like they are back to their old spending habits. I mean three percent! That's less than the 401k "match" that most companies provide. Anyway, if you're interested in reading more about this, check out the latest post at Budget Ways.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Do you think of your finances like a business does?

Did you know that the best financial minds actually treat their own finances like a business does? And I don't mean that they are unproductive and waste their resources, but I mean the good things that a business does. Like having a good financial plan, planning for the future, investing in the future, minimizing costs, and maximizing savings/profit. A lot can be learned by looking at how businesses budget and applying those same fundamental principles to your own personal finances. I wrote a post that specifically compares the traits of a business to those of an individual. Click the link if you'd like to read more about this.

Friday, June 1, 2012

How to calculate the real cost of car ownership

If you're like me you've purchased a car without really looking at all of the costs of ownership. It's a fact that most people only look at how much their monthly payments will be when making a car purchase decision. This can lead to thousands of dollars in costs that you hadn't thought about. You should take all of the costs of ownership into account BEFORE you make your car purchase decision. That includes the depreciation, insurance, maintenance and fuel costs. You should create a worksheet that shows exactly how much each cost could be and then add them up to find out which car will actually save you money over the period you intend to own it. Read our latest post for help making these calculations.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Where do you find the best deals on wine?

Around here, we often go to Costco or World Market to find the best prices on wine. However, searching the shelves for sales at the local grocery stores is sometimes just as good of deal. If you're interested in learning how to save money on wine, then you should check out the article we wrote. It covers how to use apps or websites to help you locate the best deals. It also tells you what you should avoid doing. The full article can be found at Budget Ways.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Here are some of the free things I do with my family

If you're like me, you're always looking for cheap things to do with your family. It's hard to find good ideas on your own, so I made a list of free things that I like to do here in Madison. If you have a chance to visit our site and read them, perhaps you could add something to the list. Even if you're not in Madison, most of these ideas could be used in almost any location. For example, visiting state parks is something that can be done in any state. Granted, it is not completely free, but you get my point. Anyway, if you're interested in reading more about free things to do in Madison Wisconsin, please visit our latest post and leave a comment.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bartering - Can it save you money?

I'm sure you've seen ads on craigslist that offer items in exchange for other items. For example, I was looking at ATVs when I saw an person wanting to trade their ATV for a pickup truck. Transactions like this are called bartering, and they are much more common than you'd expect. With the recent trend of being frugal, more and more people are using barter to try to save money and get more value for their used items. Can it save you money? Of course it can, if you do it right. Did you ever hear of the guy that bartered his way to a a brand new car from starting with a few dollar item? (or something like that). Anyway, if you want to read more about how you can barter to save money, check out our latest blog post.

Monday, May 28, 2012

What are your favorite ways to save money?

When it comes to saving money, everyone has their favorite ways that work for them. I listed my favorite ways in a recent post on my blog at There are always clever ideas that I've never even thought of, so if you'd like to read my best ideas from my blog and add your own to the list, please visit us and let us know your best money saving ideas. You know, the one's that really work for you.

Friday, May 25, 2012

How did/do you budget for your wedding?

When I got married, my wife did all of the budgeting. I hardly felt like I was involved, unless it was a decision that I felt strongly about. Looking back, I would recommend that the process be more evenly distributed, but at the time I was working a lot and it was hard to spend time on decisions that I didn't really care about. Anyway, to make it easier to create a budget for your weddding, I created a wedding worksheeet budget that you can use to estimate all of your wedding expenses. When the actual bills come in, you can fill in the actual amounts and it will calculate the differences for you. If you're interested in using it for free, you can download it at

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Do you have a budget for each family member?

Most people, myself included, only have one budget for themselves or their family. However, there are a few people out there that are so organized that they budget right down to the individual family member. A family budget of this sort is useful because it helps you allocate your spending money across family members and monthly expenses. For example, you can use it to keep track of how much money you spend on each person's clothing or to allocate the clothing fund to each member. We created a simple but useful family budget worksheet, along with a video tutorial of how to use it. If you're interested, you can find it on our latest post at

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What extreme have you gone through just to save money?

I know someone that backed out of a free week long vacation only because they didn't want to spend $25 on a fishing license. I've also seen people move from a large house to a small apartment to save money. These are some extreme ways to save money. When I started looking for more extreme ways I found that some people apparently use reuseable toilet paper, stuff pillows with pet hair, and do other absurd things to help them save money. What have you done to save money that was either extreme or silly? Visit our latest article and let me know.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Do you think the categories that Quicken uses are right for you?

I've used Quicken in the past to try to create a budget and I have to say that the budget categories that they use are not that good. While it's true that you can customize them if you learn the software, I prefer to just create my own budget and budget items using a simple spreadsheet. A spreadsheet that doesn't have to perform downloads every time I open it. And one that stores my personal information on my secure network, not on Anyway, you can see where I'm going with this. I just wrote an article about how to choose with categories and subcategories should be included in your personal budget. You should check out the article.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Do you have any idea how much it's gonna cost for our kids to go to college?

I was writing an article about budgeting for college and I calculated the costs of going to school in 18 years. Did you know a private college tuition and expenses will likely be about $325,000! That's without room and board. And that's if they graduate in just four years, which has become less likely than ever. Literally, our kids are looking at being more in debt because of college than most of us were after buying a house. Anyway, we go on to give some advice about how to estimate college costs and make a financial plan to help get you there. We even offer a free spreadsheet download of a calculator to help you make your savings plan. Read more at our site if you're interested.

Save on a remodel with used appliances

Did you know that there is a huge marketplace for used appliances. Most people remodel their kitchens then their appliances are still relatively new and in good working condition. Some people even throw out or sell appliances that are only a few years old. You can capitalize on this by being creative and looking for a way to find these items before they are thrown in the trash or sold for scrap. We've come up with a few ideas that can help you get the inside track to finding used appliances for cheap. Read our latest article for more information.

Does money have you worried? Fight back!

When money gets you down or causes undo stress, there are a few things you can do to fight back. For starters, do something positive that can eventually make a difference in your finances. For example, make a budget, find a side job, or cut some of your expenses to make things just a little less stressful. After you've done that, its time to work on the stress itself. Start exercising and keeping busy to keep your mind off your stresses. Keep making the right decisions and you'll eventually get out of money trouble and your stress will go away. Read more about this at the most recent blog post on Budget Ways.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Why choose an expensive vacation?

Taking a vacation has gotten really expensive. Especially if you want to go to a tropical location or foreign country. However, many people plan their vacation by picking a location and then blow their budget on the cost of the destination they chose. Unless you are absolutely in love with the place you chose, it makes more sense to choose the type of vacation you want and then shop around for the most budget friendly choice. For example, you could take the family to the beaches of France for $15,000, or you could go to an all inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic for about $3,000. They both are in beautiful locations with beautiful beaches, but one costs about five times as much as the other. If you're flexible with your vacation choice, you should read the article we wrote about top budget friendly vacation destinations.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Do you budget the old fashioned way?

Do you refuse to use the Internet for your finances because you don't want other people to control your information? Do you prefer to use a pad of paper and a pencil to keep track of your finances? If so, we've made a budget worksheet that is just for you. We converted our famous budget spreadsheet into a PDF file that you can print once and use for an entire year of monthly budgeting. If you'd like to check it out, visit our blog and check it out.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What tricks do you use to cut your food bill?

Our family has tried some pretty creative ways to save money on our food costs. After all, grocery bills have been rising at a much faster rate than other costs, so every penny counts right? We found that by shopping less at the warehouse clubs we actually save money on groceries. Also, we started frequenting low cost places like Aldi's for fruits and vegetables. We even found a wholesale meat market that is open to the public and an Asian market that has ethnic products for half the cost of the grocery store. Want to find some more tricks that can help you cut your food costs? Check out our latest post about saving money on groceries and meal costs.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What are your money excuses?

When it comes to saving money, everyone has their own excuse. Only a few percent of people really save as much money as they should be. While the obvious excuse is "that I can't afford to", there are many other excuses that you may be making and not even know they are excuses. We posted an article about the ten most common excuses and if you'd like to read it, please visit

Monday, May 14, 2012

A few long term ways to lower car insurance bills

While most people focus on switching providers and changing deductibles to save on car insurance, the best long term way to find savings is to keep a good driving record and maintain good credit. Also, planning your car purchases around the cost of insurance can help too. And if you have to drive to far to get to work, why not move closer? There are lots of long term ways to help you save, but our latest post has a few of the best options to help get you started on your path to savings.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

There are so many ways to save on everyday expenses

I was just looking around the internet at the tens of thousands of sites about how to save money on everyday expenses. There are literally thousands of pages devoted to this topic. Instead of trying to recreate the list, I decided to pick out a few ideas from several of the thoughtful sites that I ran across. Turns out, most of us have the same ideas anyway. I guess the point is that its easy to find a list of money saving ideas. Turns out the hard part is to adapt them to your lifestyle so that you can actually benefit from the ideas. Read our latest post at Budget Ways for more information on this topic.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The governments baseline budget fails but can it work for a small business?

Baseline budgeting is a somewhat non-creative way to budget for businesses. It takes last year's budget and adds an inflation rate and other changes to project the next year's budget. However, it is often said that budgeting like this breeds complacency and overspending because of the spend it or lose it mentality that goes along with this type of budget. We took a look at baseline budgeting and gave some pros and cons as to whether it could work, if properly implemented, for a business.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Zero based budgeting versus incremental budgeting

When a business makes their budget, they typically use either an incremental budget or a zero based budget. Incremental budgets are used by the government (theirs is called a baseline budget) and are not very effective at controlling costs. Zero based budgets, on the other hand, encourage businesses and managers to closely review business plans and forecasts each year and arrive at a budget that meets those goals. If you're interested in learning more about the advantages of zero based budgeting, we recently posted an article on our budgeting blog.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

We reviewed a few budgeting sheets

Yesterday, we looked around the Internet at all of the free household and family budget spreadsheets to find the best ones. We looked at dozens of them and downloaded about ten of them. After that, we picked the four that were easiest to use and that had some unique qualities. Anyway, we've posted a short review of each budget worksheet as well as links to where you can find them and get them for yourself. Read the full post at Budget Ways for more information.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Recap of how to save money with a budget

We've now posted over 60 articles about budgeting and saving money. Today we wrote a post that sums up and kind of puts together all that we've learned so far. The keys to saving money are to organize your finances, create a budget, and then make lifestyle changes to improve your finances. It is a continual process that requires a lot of dedication and commitment. If you are interested in learning more or watching one of our video tutorials, you can read more at

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What have you changed about your life to save money?

Our family has gone through some fairly significant changes to help get our budget in order. That includes selling one of our cars and renting out a home that we couldn't sell. The disappointing part about saving money through lifestyle changes like this is that they don't come instantly. It takes a long time to change our lifestyles to meet the level of expenses that we should be keeping. We've listed six ways that you can make changes that will have a positive long term impact. Read our article for more information about this, and be sure to leave us a comment with your suggestions.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Do you take good care of your money?

Are you wise with your money choices? If not, should be. When it comes to managing money, most people spend very little time making financial decisions. All of us should have a financial plan in place and set financial goals so that we have something to work toward and a way to reach those financial goals. Whether you need to get out of debt, save for a home, or get your retirement account started, using wise money management techniques is the most effective way to reach your goals. Visit our blog and give us some feedback as to what works for you.

Is sewing from home a hobby or part time job?

If you enjoy sewing, is it a hobby? What if you sell some of your projects to make a little money on the side? Sewing could be considered a way to make a little extra money. It could also be utilized to make things for yourself that help you save money. Of course, that's if you treat sewing like you treat your other financial decisions. You'll have to make an effort to source your materials cheaply and find projects that are much cheaper to make yourself than to purchase. With that said, we've started a discussion on how to help your budget by sewing.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

How can you save for retirement better?

Most often, the hardest part about saving for retirement is just finding the motivation to make changes and stick with them. If you find yourself falling behind like most people, there are a few simple habits that can help make sure that you get back on track. First, you have to make saving a priority, stop making excuses about why you're not saving, and you may even have to adopt some frugality measures if the first two steps don't help enough. Read our post for more details.

Garage sales are actually a great money management tool

Whether you have stuff to sell or things to buy, a garage sale can either make you money or save you money. Our neighborhood recently had their annual garage sale and it is amazing how many people come from miles away to stake claim to some good quality cheap stuff. Looking to make or save money this way? Read the rest of our post.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Do your kids know how to manage their money?

Parents take considerably different views when it comes to teaching their kids how to manage money. Some parents hid the money discussions from their kids. Some parents think kids should focus on having fun and not have to face the worries that money often bring. And some parents wisely start teaching their kids about money while they are still young. Just like learning about anything, the sooner you start the better you learn. The same goes with money. Visit our latest post at Budget Ways to see some ideas from us and what others on the web have to say.

How good are you at managing your money?

Most people don't consider themselves poor money managers, yet over half of households have a tremendous amount of credit card debt. Personally, I think the biggest problem is that people just don't know how to manage their money. Instead of turning to simple techniques, they get lost in a complicated system and therefore give up on making a budget and organizing their finances. We've come up with some ideas, as well as looked at what others have to say about how to manage your money better. Visit our blog post at Budget Ways for more information.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Do you garden for fun or to save money?

About half of the people I know have a garden. Some do it for healthy food, some do it for the fun of growing your own vegetables, some do it to save money, and some do it for all of the above reasons. However, since we write about saving money and budgeting, I thought focusing on the money saving aspect was important. Turns out, many people overspend by buying expensive bagged soil, purchasing plants instead of seeds, and by poorly planning their garden. If you want to enjoy all of the aspects of gardening mentioned above, I suggest you read our latest post about money saving gardening tips.

Are your finances in order?

Getting your personal finances in order is one of the first steps you need to do before you can be a successful money manager. The easiest way to start is to create a simple spreadsheet that tracks and categorizes all of your financial transactions. A sheet like this only takes a few minutes a week to fill out and it can save you time and money when you want to create your budget or file your taxes. Visit our latest post for a free checking template download and a video tutorial.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ever need to make a meal for a crowd of people?

Every now and then we have to feed a lot of people. Whether its a birthday party or just a family get together. We used to spend a lot of money and buy expensive food. Since we've been on a budget though, we've started looking for inexpensive items to serve at our parties. It turns out, it's not that hard to cook for a crowd if you prepare in advance and choose lower cost alternatives. We put some of the tips that we've learned in our latest blog post.

Can you save money and still eat healthy?

Of course it's possible to buy inexpensive food and still eat healthy. The trick is to be creative when you do it. Most of us get trapped in our busy lives and don't take the time to come up with new ideas for food and grocery shopping. It often takes some determination and an effort to change your shopping and eating habits. We have some suggestions that we use to do our own shopping, as well as some advice from other bloggers on how to eat healthy on the cheap.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How much did you spend on your wedding?

Looking back to our wedding, I was totally unprepared and almost uninterested in doing the wedding planning. But when my wife told me how much we had actually spent it was jaw dropping. Luckily, her parents and my parents paid for most of the wedding. Even though I didn't do a great job budgeting my own wedding, I am older and wiser now and have some experiences that I learned from watching others totally blow their wedding budgets. Find out more about how to budget for a wedding by reading our latest post.

Need help finding a vacation that meets your budget?

Instead of stretching your budget to take a great vacation, why not make a great vacation fit in your budget? There are many ways to budget for a vacation. You should always start by setting your spending limit comfortably within the amount you can afford. After that, a little planning and creativitiy can be used to find the right location that has affordable airfare, lodging and ample entertainment. Read our tips on how to plan your own affordable vacation.

Monday, April 30, 2012

How to prepare for your next remodeling project

Remodeling costs can be very high. While we don't discuss how to lower them in this article, we instead focus on how you can set your remodeling budget and then stick to it during the process. Most importantly, you have to prepare before the project starts. Leave some of your budget available for the guaranteed overrages or unforeseen events that will arise. Also, don't get too excited and start making upgrades to your contract as you go. While they seem small, many upgrades can lead to budgets being smashed because of mis-estimated costs. Read our post for the full story.

How much apartment can you really afford?

Budgeting for an apartment isn't as easy as it sounds. Most people don't even know how much of their salary they can afford to spend each month. In addition, there are many other expenses that go with renting, including utilities, parking and furnishings. On top of the that the location that you pick may cost you extra fuel, car expenses or have other ramifications that can blow your monthly apartment budget. We wrote a post about a few things you can do to make sure you set the right budget for your apartment hunting. Visit our site to read more.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Looking for a free way to budget at home?

We just added a free household budget worksheet that is available for download, along with step by step instructions and a video tutorial that shows exactly how to use it. It is a simple spreadsheet that can be opened in Excel, OpenOffice or Google Docs. The hardest part about budgeting is often just getting started, so although a simple budgeting method, this budgeting worksheet makes it easy for people with little time and little spreadsheet skills to start today. Read our full post for more information.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Are you prepared for your new baby?

There is a lot of thought and planning that must go into getting ready for a new baby. First, there's the mental preparedness that gets you ready for a different lifestyle. Then, there's the financial readiness that you need in order to make sure the new baby doesn't break the budget. And finally, you actually have to physically get things prepared, like buying diapers, getting the baby's room painted and getting needed items like cribs and car seats. We've written an article specifically about how to budget for your new baby. Please give it a read and post a comment. We'd really appreciate it.

What can a budget do for you?

Creating a budget is like putting a GPS tracker on every dollar you spend. The benefits can be great if you can just get it started and learn how to analyze your expenses. While a budget won't help you increase your income, it can definitely lower your expenses and get your overall finances into a much better position. Read more about the benefits of creating a budget.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Don't Just Guess How Much Money You Need to Retire

Did you know that 42% of people just guess at how much money they'll need each year during retirement! Don't be one of these people. Instead, make a retirement budget that will be reflective of your different lifestyle. Whether you find a retirement calculator or meet with a financial adviser to figure this out, it is one of the most important steps in determining when you can retire and how much you'll need for a retirement nest egg. In our article, we discuss how to make adjustments to your current budget so that it can reflect the lifestyle changes you'll need to budget for retirement.

Maybe you shouldn't create a budget?

Have you tried to budget your money and failed? If so, you're not alone. In fact, well over two thirds of people do not have a personal or family budget. At least not in writing or in a budget program. There are several reasons that a budget doesn't work for everyone. First, all budgets are different, so you may have to experiment with a few to find one that keeps you motivated to save money. Also, it could be that your personality just doesn't succumb to traditional budgeting. If so, you can still create a budget that is tailored to you. If you're interested in reading more about why budgeting doesn't work, check out our recent post at

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Does Budgeting Really Work?

Can a budget really make a difference in your finances? I've read a lot of other blog posts saying that budgeting doesn't work. Some say that budgeting actually trains you to spend more money. Others say that they work theoretically but don't really change people's spending habits. Whatever the case, it's true that budgets don't work the same for all people. Luckily, there are lots of different types of budgets to choose from. And if you match your strengths and desires to the type of budget you use then a budget should be able to help you. Read our article to find out more about whether you really need a budget.

Need to Start Saving Money Now?

If you haven't been saving money but know that you need to, there are some techniques that you can use to get your savings started. Some of the techniques involve playing mind tricks with yourself that can help you save money. For example, one of the techniques we discuss is "paying yourself first". In other words, you deposit money into your savings account directly when you get paid and then pretend that the money doesn't exist. Of course these techniques don't work on all people, but hopefully there is a tip or two that can apply specifically to you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Do You Know How to Turn a List of Transactions into a Budget?

Assuming you have online banking and a typical credit card account, you can easily download csv files of all of your financial transactions into a spreadsheet. Once you add a column with a budget category label, you can use a simple tool called a pivot table to create a budget spreadsheet from this data. We wrote out the steps in our blog so that you can learn how to do it yourself. We even illustrated with a video that shows exactly how we did it.

Does anyone in your family need braces?

If someone in your family needs braces, then I'm sure you've gone through the sticker shock that our family did this year. That's because the cost of braces is through the roof. You can pay as much as $10,000 for them! So, since our site is about budgeting and saving money, we have to ask: Is there anything you can do to save money on these braces? Well, we tried to save money ourselves, as well as done some research into how to lower braces costs. Read our post to find out the verdict.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Another Way to Manage Your Money Better

In the quest to help manage your money better, it's important that you find a way to organize and analyze your personal finances. It's really the only way to really know if you are doing what it takes to get ahead (or out from behind). For those who don't like giving all of their financial information to other websites or letting programs manipulate their information into their own format, there is another way you can budget your money. It's done using a spreadsheet, and we've created a video that will help you learn how to create a simple monthly budget analysis. We also have a copy of the spreadsheet we made so that you can download it and play with it yourself to see if it works for you.

Need Help Choosing an Interior Designer?

Whether you need an interior designer or interior decorator, chances are you have no idea how to set up your remodeling budget. That's because there is really no rule of thumb for calculating these types of expenses. That's because everyone's projects are different sizes and require different quality of services and design. The better the design, the more you may pay. Furthermore, interior designers use several different methods to bill for their services. Some charge hourly fees and others charge a percent of total costs. We've written about these different costs, as well as five steps to help you hire a desinger and set your budget.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Have You Ever Considered the Bucket Budget?

There are lots of types of personal and family budgets that work for lots of different type of people. If you don't have what it takes or don't have the time to keep up a detailed account of your spending, then a budget such as this can help you stay organized and reign in your monthly spending. A bucket budget can be set up with only a few hours of work and then used indefinitely. Read our post about bucket budgets for more information...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Save Time By Finding a Quick and Easy Budget

Most people don't have the time it takes to create a detailed financial plan and update their budget each month. Even if you have the time, it can be difficult and more than you're willing to try. As an alternative to the traditional budgeting methods and programs, there are several ways that you can create a quick, efficient and useful budget in just a fraction of the time a typical budget takes. We've highlighted a few of these fast ways to budget.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Can Your Business Use an Incremental Budget?

Incremental budgets are often considered poor quality because they use the same mentality as the government budgets. That is, you get to keep what you had last year, which makes many departments spend wastefully just so their budget doesn't get cut. However, if used properly, or used in conjunction with some other sound budgeting principles, this type of budget is easy to deploy and doesn't take a lot of time each month or quarter to update.

Do You Know How Businesses Budget?

In case you've ever wondered how small and large businesses develop their internal budgets, we've put together an article that discusses the three methods of business budgeting, as well as the pros and cons of using each type of budget process. In case you don't know, the three types of budgets are top down, bottom up, and zero based. Read our article for more information.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spreadsheets Can Help You Make Lots of Different Financial Decisions

Financial modeling is no longer just for financial analysts and large corporations. Free spreadsheet applications are now available from places like OpenOffice and Google Docs, which can allow anyone to start using them to help make both simple and complex financial decisions. Besides just keeping track of your finances, you could be using spreadsheets to help you plan majore purchases and investments. Read this article that tells more about using spreadsheets in everyday life.

Some Tips on Budgeting for a Second Home

When we purchased our vacation home we thought we had all of our expenses covered. In reality, we greatly underestimated both the large and small costs, and now are stuck paying a lot more than we planned. Read about what happened to us and how you can improve the way you budget for a second home or vacation residence.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Do You Manage Your Money Well?

When it comes to managing money, most people do a terrible job. In fact, I'd guess the majority of people couldn't even tell you how much money they currently have in their checking account. In times like this, a little discipline is needed. Start by getting your finances organized. At a minimum, start a spreadsheet to balance your bank accounts. Besides getting organized, there are many other small habits that you can change that can really make a difference to your finances over the long term. Read about them here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

How to Choose a Free Budgeting Program

If you're looking to create a budget on the cheap, there are three different types of budgeting methods you can use. The first is the online budget tool that allows you to download and keep track of all your transactions online. The second is a downloadable budget program that you download and install on your computer, and then update the transactions yourself. And the final way you can create a budget is to use an everyday spreadsheet, either from a template you download or one that you make from scratch. Read our article to learn more about how to choose the best budget software.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Do You Save Money on Fast Food?

Saving money is something that most of us strive to do everyday. And unfortunately, eating at fast food restaurants is something that we spend way too much money doing. Besides just using coupons, there are a few other ways you can adjust your habits and learn to save money when you eat fast food. Here are our opinions about saving money on fast food....

How Planning a Vacation Can Save Money

We try to go on one good vacation each year. We've found that by planning in advance we are able to save a lot of money. We start by negotiating a much better rate on the vacation home we rent. Then, scout out the area near where we are staying and look for restaurant coupons. We also go to the grocery store before we arrive and buy several meals so that we don't eat out as often while we're there. Using these and a few other tips that we wrote about in this article, we can usually save as much as 40% on our vaction costs.

Friday, April 13, 2012

How to Budget for Home Repairs

Ever wondered how much it costs to keep up with maintenance and repairs on your home? There is a rule of thumb that says you need between one and three percent of your home value each year to cover routine maintenance and long term repairs to your home. We've compiled a list of possible expenses and then gone through a scenario that describes how you'd budget for these home costs.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Creating a Budget Template From Scratch

It's not really that hard to create your own budget template from scratch. You just need to choose a spreadsheet program and start making columns for each of your expenses and for your income. The hardest part is actually categorizing and fililng in those expenses. You'll need to track or download all of your checking, credit card and cash transactions and then enter them into your template in order to arrive at a starting point for your budget.

I'm good with money, but I don't really budget as much as I should...

Save Money By Reusing and Repurposing Old Things

When it comes to budgeting, a great way to save money is to find value in old or used things. In addition to repurposing or refinishing old furniture, you can also reuse or recycle many household items. All of these recycling methods are not only good for the environment, but they keep you from spending money on new replacement items. We've also compiled a list of things that you can reuse in your household to help you save money.

Do you reuse old things?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Should You Create Your Budget with an Online Tool?

There are many online budget tools that provide you the ability to download your bank, credit card and brokerage transactions into their online software and perform budgeting analyses. Should you use these methods to budget or create your own spreadsheets to manage your money? We've got some advice on the pros and cons of both types.

Interesting article about online budgeting...

Does a Hybrid Car Actually Save You Money?

Most people think that hybrid cars save a lot of money, especially when gas prices are high. However, they also cost a lot more than traditional gas powered vehicles, often as much as $6,000 more. We've run some numbers on whether or not a hybrid actually saves you money over a five year period.

Am looking to buy a hybrid and found this article interesting...