Sunday, February 28, 2010

Trent's 14 Money Rules

I spent the afternoon looking at the blogs of others and when I came across I had to say bravo! Trent has captured the essence of wise money management in these 14 simple rules that would be good to post on your refrigerator, in your checkbook, and to review everyday until they are committed to memory. Check out his site along with the 72,000+ who already have.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It starts with a good budget

Never made a budget before? Get In The Trenches and get all the charts and information you need to get started. The forms can be set up in excel to make it even more convenient.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A word to renters

What if a forclosure or eviction notice is posted to your door and you know you have been paying your rent on time? What do you do?

Landlords like everybody else have been affected in this economic crisis. Why? Because it is the housing industry that is at the heart of the problem, specifically the banking practices that effect the housing industry. The landlord may have multiple properties. Property taxes are going up dramatically to try and increase county and state revenue. Compounded by that, they may have also been affected by residents that live in the properties they own and have not been able to pay rent due to layoffs, garnishments, and weather expenses.

Sometimes the landlord will get behind on the mortgage payments. If this has occurred the property may be going into foreclosure. Representatives of the bank may be taking photos, and posting notices that you must move out immediately. This is seldom the case however it is unnerving and scary. It is easy to respond in anger or fear without knowing what your rights really are. This is not a good situation for anybody, however, as renters the government has put some protections and help in place for you!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

In The Trenches - Transportation

When money is tight it's a good time to review how you get from one place to another to see if there is any cost savings or health improvement opportunities. Do you drive your children to school? Can you walk with them? Doing so would save money, give you excercise, and you would have some special time with your children.

How often do you go to the grocery store? Instead of daily can you aim for weekly? If you go prepared this may save you not only on gas but also on groceries.

With spring coming can you drag that bicycle out of the garage? When was the last time you looked at the bus stops and schedules? Or carpools. I recently began carpooling with a gal from work and it saves more than half of what I was spending and the unexpected benefit is now I am always on time!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In The Trenches - Learning

There are many changes going on in America. People are learning to cook more economically, do their own lawn maintenance, stay home on the weekends, and even deal with creditors. When people are In The Trenches it affects most areas of their lives and one of the biggest one is that they learn new things or learn to do something in a new and different way. This can be exciting, rewarding, and fun, but it can also be frustrating, discouraging, and uncomfortable.

I have spent the last few days looking at the blogs of others and I am impressed! I'm finding some exciting, professional, and eye catching artwork, graphics, and layouts. After I came back and looked at mine which I have worked so hard on it seemed like something from a kindergartner. Amateur and not the quality I have seen on the others.

Then I realized, that's how everybody is feeling now as they learn new and different things. The work to make that new recipe only to have their families look at them. Or, they see the look of disappointment as they tell their children they can't go this weekend.

We will get better. We will improve. This time will help us and further down the road we may think of our first attempts and laugh and wonder how in the world it could have taken three hours to do something so simple like make a pie crust or hours with the calculator making a new budget.

As for me, I know how to live In The Trenches. I've done it before. What is new to me is blogging. I'm over 50. I don't even know what an RSS feed is, what it is supposed to do, or, why someone would want one. Somebody told me it would be a good thing so I did it. So, as I learn to blog and improve along the way, I hope you too will progress in learning to live more frugally, more basically, and learn something new everyday. Then, even if money is tight you will be rich.

Once-A-Month Cooking

In tightening the belt on finances many families are reviewing and changing how they spend their budgeted food money. This is one of the few categories of our budget that is really flexible enough to make a major difference in our spending. Part of this process is revisiting the economical benefits of good old fashioned home cooking. And, as we by necessity need to limit time in the malls there is more time for cooking. After a hard days work it is difficult to rev up the enthusiasm to get in the kitchen for a couple hours regardless of how much money it might save.

While contemplating this I remembered my good old cookbook called Once-a-Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg. Since my copy is more than 20 years old I decided to do us all a favor and see if there was any still available on Amazon before making a pitch for it. And much to my surprise there is a new edition so here's the link. (You can order it while you are making your purchase of In The Trenches :)

What's exciting about Once-a Month Cooking is that not only is it economical but you do not have to spend everyday in the kitchen! Let me give you an example of how it works: Instead of making a meal size pot of spaghetti sauce you make a HUGE pot of spaghetti sauce. You then can use this sauce to make spaghetti, lasagna, Spanish rice, sloppy joes, or a last minute company dinner. These dishes can be assembled at the time you want to eat them or as the book recommends they can be assembled ahead of time and frozen for use. Having a seal a meal is a very useful tool to be able to do this because the bags can be microwaved or heated in a pot of boiling water to defrost. Frozen lasagna can be popped right into the oven.

The book is well written, easy to follow, and has all the recipes and menus ready for you to follow. It even gives a grocery list. All you have to do is do the cooking. Once-a-Month Cooking.

Monday, February 15, 2010

New ideas. New people.

One of the greatest benefits about learning new money ideas is that you get to talk to some new and interesting people. When we are having financial challenges or problems we can begin to feel isolated or alone and can make ourselves miserable with thinking about it. But, the situation is opportunity in disguise.

This is a time of opportunity. Opportunity to meet new people, get new ideas, develop new lifestyles that will enrich us far beyond our pocketbooks.

There are many now experiencing the pinch who are just waiting for the moment they can get a break and will go right back to all the old things that they used to do. They will breath a sigh of relief and keep going. They will miss the opportunity.

There are others who will grasp this opportunity and learn, grow, and do things in a new and better way in the future. People, ideas, and change are the keys to this success. In my own search I found Christina who blogs on Check out her site. She's doing a great job!

Since you are walking this route anyway be sure and stop and shake the hands of others that walk along with you.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Starting a food storage program.

I highly recommend starting a food storage program the next time you go to the grocery store! The easiest way to start is simple. When you find one of the items that you commonly purchase on a great sale buy in quantity. Instead of buying a can, buy a case. Instead of buying one jar of 1/2 price mayo, buy six. Each time you find yourself in the grocery store scan the ads and aisles for the best price on something you would normally use and buy more. Just be sure that you are buying non perishable items and/or that you are able to keep them in a manner that they will not spoil before you use them. You can put six packages of hamburger in the freezer but buying six heads of lettuce is not a good idea. Another thing is to watch and not buy too much of what your family considers treats such as potato chips, pop, or sweets. I once bought a case of Sunny D thinking that it would last a couple months only to find my son had drank the whole case in a week! I won't mention any names here for those of you who know my family but it starts with M.

There are many useful books and articles about building food storage programs and many are based on being prepared for emergencies. But, to me, the best motivation is that it saves money! 2/14/10 I just found a great new blog on this subject and have added a button on the left.

As you continue to build your storage it will save you trips to the store, keep you from buying items that are not on sale, and is an excellent way to start your own savings account with the items your family uses the most.

If you don't have much space start with one shelf in the closet or under a bed. If you still can't find the room it might be a good time to pick up a copy of In The Trenches and read the Annual 50%. Just click on the picture of the book and it will take you straight to where you can order a copy today.