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Planning your meals will help you save.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 6:45PM

This post comes from Lisa Wade McCormick at partner blog

A family of five now spends an average of $135 a week on groceries, according to the Food Marketing Institute's U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report for 2008. Fuel costs and other economic concerns could force that grocery bill to climb even higher.

Consumers are already feeling the pinch of high food costs on their pocketbooks, and many have changed their eating and shopping habits, the survey found.


One responder laments decision to get liposuction.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 6:40PM

"Fox" at Squawkfox once a week hosts "squawkback." She poses a question every Wednesday and invites her readers to sound off.

This produces instructional and often entertaining stuff. In one recent week, she inquired about their three best financial decisions. Then she hit the flip side and asked for the three worst.

Hayden Tompkins' three worst covered the gamut: "Co-signing for my brother's student loan. Signing up for a credit card in college. They need to get those people off campus. Getting liposuction. Sigh. Don't ask."


Make it less painful by turning it into a game

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:56PM

This post comes from partner blog Blueprint for Financial Prosperity:

Keeping to a budget is like keeping to a diet. It's painful.

It’s a nuisance to keep track of the money you spend. However, it's a necessary evil. If you don't, you're setting yourself up for failure. 

I’ve come up with seven tricks that will help you stay on track and not give up.


You'll be doing them a favor, blogger says

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:53PM

RacerX remembers the college experience: You get a credit card and "probably then only use the card for emergencies -- no pizza or beer left in the house! Taking our girlfriend out! Maybe even rent once or twice," he writes. Since you know nothing about finances, you get a second credit card to make payments on the first, and so the cycle goes.

His kids won't be like that, he says. Why? Because he and Mrs. X have decided they're not paying for their kids' college education. Why not? you ask. Because every kid they know who went to college "on the parent express" left school unprepared for life -- and sometimes didn't even graduate.


Items might be cheaper, but you still need to set a budget.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:45PM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.

If the national media is any indication, more people are embracing the notion of buying used clothing from thrift stores and consignment shops. Recently, USA Today ran a story describing how secondhand stores are reaping the benefits of recession:

"As Americans look for ways to cut spending, they are scooping up bargain clothes, accessories, toys and furniture once owned by someone else.

"'We're sorry about the economic situation, ... but it is a good time for our industry,' says Adele Meyer, executive director of the National Association of Resale & Thrift Shops. Three-fourths of resale stores said they had higher sales in September and October, compared with the same period last year, according to the trade group. The average sales increase was about 35%."


It's not easy, but nicotine addicts can save some big bucks.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:37PM

Among the lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans, a new crop has sprung up in the gardens of inveterate smokers. They're growing tobacco, The Associated Press reports. This gives new meaning to "roll your own."

The substantial federal tax increase on tobacco products on April 1 apparently sparked this avocation. And, it turns out, do-it-yourselfers can save serious dough (although not nearly as much as they would if they'd quit).

"Cigarettes cost an average of $4.35 a pack; home growers can make that amount for about 30 cents," the AP says.


You need to figure out your total cost first.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:27PM

This post comes from partner blog Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.

If you've ever tried to buy a car or a house, you've probably faced the monthly payment math trick. It's a psychological trick salespeople use to get you to buy something you couldn't afford or to pay an amount you weren't originally comfortable with.

A salesperson will try to convince you to purchase something based on the monthly payment you'll have to make. It frames the purchase in a way that lets you begin integrating the purchase into your life, before you've actually made it, and may even make it more likely you'll make the purchase.


Does your family really need multiple cell phones?

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:13PM

Here's a concept we can wrap our mind around: A Bankrate article talks about 12 "new necessities" of modern living that are actually "entitlements" we can do without.

The article quotes psychotherapist Olivia Mellan by way of explanation:

A lot of us in wealthy, overspending America are either born or raised with a tremendous sense of entitlement. We say to ourselves,"I work hard or, I work at a job I hate -- at least I should be able to have a Starbucks coffee every day or eat out for lunch." But of course, those are not needs, they're wants. They're pleasures.

Here's a partial list and why we agree with the article's conclusions:



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