Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

The ABC’s – personal finance

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

I thought it might be a good time to take a look at the ABCS of personal finance again.  Summer is almost here and time to take a good look at your habits and how to change them.

A-always be on the look out for good buys

B–  Be careful -if something is too good of a buy-it’s probably not a good deal

C-Credit- if you get get, than keep it, that means-good credit,  make monthly payments on time.

D – Debt- don’t have it until you absolutely have to-debt helps build your credit but make sure you can pay for it-meaning a house or car payment.  Also d is for “do not”-do not run up your credit cards to pay for groceries or stupid shit you don’t need.

E– E checks-I like them-the banks have been very good about making e banking secure.  Try it and save some paper and postage

F-Fantanize– about how you want to live,where and how you will pay for y0ur life style

G-Goals-try setting a savings goal. Ex-save $20 a week in a hidden jar-you’ll have over $1000 in a year.

H-help-ask for help when you feel you’re spending or finances are out of control.  Speak to a banker about savings or paying off credit cards.

I-Interest/investigate-Investigate the interest you’re paying on the credit cards.  Read all the fine print.

J-Job- get one-no matter if its in your field of study-all work experience is good for your resume.

K-Keep a record of your spending habits

L-Loan-if you loan money to a friend, expect to be paid back.   If you take a loan, pay it back.

M-Money-it doesn’t make the world go around but it makes it an easier ride. If you’ve made it, save it.  If it was given to you, appreciate it.

N-Not everyone is going to be a millionaire. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t try, getting close and having an easier life not worrying about your bills is a goal!

O-Over- over night success or overdraft-long term success doesn’t happen over night-hard work is the key.  Please stay away from checking overdrafts.  The fees are high and it will eventually go on your credit record.

P-Patience-be patient and  learn from people who know more than you-

Q– Quantity and quality-look for quality when purchasing furnishings for your apartment or house or investments. This might mean you spend a little more for something that will last longer. Buy toilet  paper, paper  towels, dry goods in quantity.

R-Rent-look at a lot of apartments before you sign a lease to rent.  Once you have signed you are committed to pay.   Usually there will be a security deposit equal to the first and last months rent.

S-Shop around- this goes for everything-banks, apartments, furniture, clothing etc.  Try the second hand stores for furniture, handbags and clothes.

T-Taxes-please pay them and on time-it’s really boring and sometimes pisses you off how much we have to pay in taxes-somehow it all levels out and hopefully some of the money will go to those who need it more then you.

U-Understand-  If you don’t understand when you are signing a contract or lease ask questions until you do.  It’s your money, you need to understand where the money is going.

V-Variable rate-this is an interest rate that changes over a period of time. This is particularly important for a mortgage because it will change the monthly payments. In most case this means payments will go up.

W-Wish list-think about what you really want and save for it.  It feels better to reward yourself when you can afford it.

X-Xpectations-have expectations for yourself, make financial goals and stay on track.

Y-Yearly, monthly, weekly evaluations of your finances

Z-Zip your mouth, listen, learn, read and understand-if you don’t understand than unzip and ask questions.

Floral Art, Floral Business … Bouquets to Art continued…

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
MY neighbor had a flower shop in Santa Cruz… Downtown on Pacific Avenue. Then the Bonny Doon Flowers moved into the new New Leaf Market. She has since sold that and continues to do her floral design business from her home in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The Bouquets to Art is on tonight, and through the weekend. Your local museum may do something similar. My sister told me her Boston art museum also had this type of special event. Look for it on their calendar. Another crazy way for people to be creative.
Are you a lover of flowers and you just think you enjoy doing it for your parties and for friends and family? Well, maybe you could actually make a business from this hobby or passion of yours.  I have done the floral arrangements for friends and family, for weddings and school functions, probably saving friends thousands of dollars on their events. Perhaps you can do it on the side and collect some clients for weekend parties and then larger events like weddings and when you have a strong enough client list, you can take it all the way and have your passion support you.
Your life, your passion…. Believe in yourself and you can do it.

Broccoli, Peppers, Olives and Feta; a budget blues recipe

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

We all know that broccoli is chock full of health benefits, Vitamin C, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer agents.  It’s versatile, steam it, boil it, serve it raw. You can cover it with cheese, dip it or toss it in a salad.  It tastes good and it’s good for you.  Who could ask for more?

You know I’ve been trying to save on groceries and have managed to cut the grocery bill in half.  A good part of that is due to the fact that I’m buying a lot less meat and making vegetarian dishes more often. Broccoli is one of our favorites and broccoli with roasted peppers, olives and feta cheese is a taste sensation.

The original recipe comes from The Eating Well Cookbook published in 1991.  I tweaked it to satisfy my kids. Olives and feta cheese, I serve on the side.  This works as a main dish over brown rice or quinoa, it can be a warm salad when paired with a crusty loaf of bread and some lemon slices, or a delicious sandwich, packed in pita.  If you like broccoli, I promise, you’ll like this dish.

For more recipes, broccoli or otherwise, check the WWMS cookbook.

Budget Blues;Renew, Reuse, Recycle and Other Ways to Decorate

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

OK, We’ve talked about furnishing your home with other people’s junk.  You know, the one man’s junk is another man’s treasure approach, but there are so many other, inexpensive ways to creatively decorate your home.

My daughter took a pretty worthless picture from a fabulous frame and  replaced it with a mirror.  Then, instead of heading to home depot to get a cabinet for her bathroom sink, We hit the second hand stores and found an old dresser with lots of counter and drawer space.  We bought a sink and cut a hole in the top of the dresser to fit it.  Our plumber was amused, but added fixtures and connected the pipes. I love the results.

Another approach to decorating is to do it yourself.  I found a website I  like that helps you build the furniture you can’t afford.They sell plans for furniture similar to what you would find in catalogues like Pottery Barn and you can build the pieces yourself at a fraction of the price www.knock-offwood.com. Love the stuff.

I took a different approach to the same idea.  I found a piece in the Sundance Catalogue made from Chicken Coops.   I brought the picture to a woodworking class at my son’s school and asked them to build it for me.  I purchased the necessary supplies and made a donation to the school. (I’d really prefer to give them my money anyway) , I now own the piece, signed by the artists, my son and his classmates.  It’s exactly what I wanted.

Budget Blues; a series

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

I just got back from my first shopping trip since I decided to save some money.  And I am psyched.  My usual weekly grocery bill is around $150, for no other reason than that, as I’ve said, I buy what I want when I want it. Impulse shopping is doing me in financially.  This week’s total, $82.

How?  Is it really possible that I have been spending almost twice as much as I need to on groceries?

I took a good look at where the rest of that money goes.  First, ‘I’m pretty good at drinking beer’, cheap beer, but beer nonetheless.  I usually include at least a six pack in my weekly shop.  Then, there’s wine, I’m not so good at cheap wine but Ron and I like a half decent bottle now and then, I usually pick up a bottle of wine too. For now, I’ll switch to water and Chamomile tea and put the extra $$$ toward dinner with the kids. Sometimes, I also pick up an easy read from the paperback racks, I can definitely borrow a good read.

As for the rest of the savings,  here’s what I learned:

  • plan ahead; check your pantry and make up meals using what you have on hand
  • leftovers;  make dishes that can be carted out again for lunch and snacks, I chose pot pie, quiche, chicken noodle soup and of course, Cindy’s black beans with rice this week
  • plenty of veggies;  use meat as an accent and buy ingredients that can be used in more then one recipe, i.e.carrots, celery, peppers and onions
  • make a list and stick to it;  don’t even look at the chips unless you’re planning nachos!

That’s my lesson for this week, let’s see if I can keep it up. So far, $68 saved.

Legalizing Pot (aka Weed)

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

My 55 year old husband just informed me that most of our children think he needs to start smoking pot. Yes I know girls, it’s called weed now, but I like the word “pot” better. Weed is something that you pull from the garden and throw away. I would bet not too many people throw their pot away!

Marijuana is something that you grow in a pot. With that said, when are we going to legalize pot?
There are many arguments on whether pot is the gateway to other drugs and whether pot is actually additive. That’s for another blog.   I want to talk about the financial aspect of pot. Just think if the government legalized it, they could tax it (we could balance our budget), regulate consistency (have different levels like alcohol) and even start government pot farms  (put people to work). The financial perks are endless!

There could we a whole branch of new cottage industry businesses ( there already is a few now).  Beside the obvious, pot baked goods, pot medical supplies and pot party planners.  What about the products we can make with hemp?  Clothing, oil and boby products and fiber boards.  How about using all the plant?  It could be  better than the super crop, corn.  Maybe we could get fuel out of it too?

Not to mention the obvious but it would put a dent in the drug  cartels business and save lives across the border.

What’s the difference between alcohol and pot?  Not everyone in the distillery is an alcoholic-would everyone in the pot industry be a drug addict?

So maybe my 55 year old husband could take a toke without feeling he’s unAmerican? What are your thoughts?