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.