Quick tips to remedy seasonal spending disorder

How to put your money on a leash

A kind of money madness seizes people at this time of year. The expectation of ever-larger-better-bigger-pricier gifts is aided and abetted by retailers offering deals, promotions, and sales on all manner of shiny baubles and trinkets. Credit card companies have spent the fall season offering to raise your credit limit to make it easy to spend like a billionaire – without actually being one. It all seems like a fairy tale, until the bills come in. Then it’s right back to that Cinderella feeling. Is there a way out of this seasonal spending disorder? Here are a few tips. READ MORE

The seven sins of financial planning

How to stay on the virtuous path

At this time of the year, when Black Friday madness looms, and financial responsibility seems to evaporate for many people, it’s helpful to revisit what I consider to be the most common financial and planning errors most people make. Over the years, I’ve boiled it down to the seven deadly sins of financial planning. I first produced this list in my blog a few years ago. But it continues to be a popular item, so I thought I’d run it again as a refresher on how to stay financial virtuous and scale back the many temptations and excesses of the holiday shopping whirlwind. Here’s my list, then, and some suggestions for how to avoid those deadly financial sins. READ MORE

Budgeting for wealth

Little changes can make a big difference

As this is Financial Literacy month, and the theme is “Take Charge of Your Finances!”, I want to talk about the very foundation of financial literacy, the building block of successful financial management: the budget. I can sense eyes glazing over right now, but before you click away to another more interesting page or a funny cat video, let me talk about lattés instead. READ MORE

Planning for baby

A little financial know-how goes a long way

With a new baby on the way, parents-to-be often find the transition from a free-and-easy twosome to responsible threesome something of a challenge, especially when it comes to personal finances. Luckily, there are some tried-and-true rules to ease the financial transition. So here’s a quick look at some financial essentials for bringing up baby. READ MORE

How to overcome the post-holiday credit card blues

5 tips for putting credit cards on a leash

Starting with Black Friday in November and ending with Boxing Day in December, the holiday spending season is just about guaranteed to stretch the use of your credit cards. And come the end of January, you may be singing the credit card blues. You’re in a credit card crunch when you have multiple credit cards that you are unable to pay off in full and are having difficulty making minimum payments on some or all of them. You’re way past the “crunch” stage if creditors are sending past-due letters, calling you, or showing up at your door or place of work. Here are some tips on how to put a leash on your credit cards. READ MORE

Black Friday binge, Red Monday remorse

Financial literacy and the art of budgeting

Black Friday. It’s become a pop culture phenomenon. In fact, it’s one of the cleverest marketing gimmicks of all time. For U.S. retailers, the Friday after U.S. Thanksgiving Day has typically been the day they become profitable for the year. In other words, their ledgers go out of the “red” and into the “black.” Some clever marketers seized on this as a way to create excitement and ramp up pre-Christmas sales. They called it “Black Friday,” promoted it like crazy, and watched the frenzied crowds mob the stores. It’s now even caught on in Canada. For most consumers, though, it’s often a case of “Red Monday Remorse,” the day you realize you’ve blown your budget out of the black and (deeply) into the red. And it hits you right in your wallet, purse, bank account, and credit card statement, in about a month’s time. READ MORE

Baby talk

Cribs, diapers, toys, financial plan

Congratulations! You have a baby on the way or already at home. First-time parents are typically excited, flustered, nervous, and distracted – all at once. And usually, money matters are the last thing on their minds. But financial problems have a way of creeping up on us. So it’s best to be forewarned about some of the budget issues that will come along with that little bundle of joy. No need to sweat it, but forewarned is forearmed. READ MORE

4 quick fixes to get your spending under control

How to resist the urge to splurge

Do you spend every single last dime of what you make – and then some? Don’t know? You’re not alone. In these days of easy credit, it’s all too easy to blur that line between your income and your expenses. This becomes a real problem when those bills start piling up, because you have no money left over for savings or investing – unless you somehow start spending less than you earn. Does that sound impossible? It’s not. Here are a few tips to help you resist the urge to splurge. READ MORE