4 Simple Ways to Save Money on Christmas Shopping

4 Simple Ways to Save Money on Christmas Shopping

I hate shopping. I hate Christmas shopping even more. It may seem like I’m a scrooge. I’m really not, I just disagree with the belief that the amount you spend directly correlates to how much you care for a person.

We also see ads telling us you “have” to buy a particular item or the holiday season will be a complete bust. There’s nothing wrong at all with buying that special gift but you should do it mindfully.

All this being said, the key to making it through the holiday season financially is finding ways to save money on Christmas shopping. You may think it’s impossible. It really isn’t. There are many ways to save money on holiday shopping that will allow you to avoid the nasty debt so many rack up during this time of the year. If you want to save money this holiday season, here are some simple ways to do just that.

How Stores Convince You To Spend More Over the Holidays

How Stores Convince You To Spend More Over the Holidays

According to the National Retail Federation, retail stores receive anywhere from 20-40% of their annual profits during two key months out of the year: November and December. So it’s no surprise businesses will go to great lengths to ensure their stores are full and sales are booming.

For you, the consumer, this means navigating shark-infested shopping waters where prices might not be what they seem and the emotion behind the season can play a part in how much pain you feel in your budget.

Before you embark on your holiday shopping, beware of how retailers can push you to spend more in order to bolster their bottom line.

5 Things to Consider Before Getting an Engagement Ring


A diamond is forever. We all recognize this slogan and marketing campaign engendered by manufacturers to have unsuspecting men dish out an arm and a leg to prove how much they love their women. Did you know that many people still believe in the two-paycheck rule for the engagement ring?

As we are officially moving into engagement season, we are soon to be bombarded with engagement statuses on all forms of social media between now and Valentine’s Day, as many people decide to make that jump during this window.

These days, people are making less fuss over the traditional love by carat rule, as there are many other ways to do the engagement ring. Here are 5 things to consider before you go and splurge inadvertently on that diamond.

4 Reasons Your Bank Account Isn’t Stacking Up (and How to Fix It)


If you’ve ever paid a bundle to access your money through the ATM, or been shocked to see monthly maintenance fees appear on your statement, you’re all too familiar with the infuriating practices some banks lean on to bolster their bottom line.

But while some institutions are nickel-and-diming even their most loyal banking customers, there are plenty that subscribe to a different way of doing business – a way that can greatly benefit you, the consumer.

So before you chalk up high fees and bad service to a banking industry mainstay, consider these reasons for biting the bullet and switching to a new bank instead. Your money will be so glad you did.

Why Living on the Edge is No Way to Live

Why Living on the Edge is No Way to Live

Living on the edge can be a great way to add excitement to your life. I realize the term is somewhat relative in that what may be considered living on the edge by me could be considered tame by you and vice versa. That being said, a recent survey shows far too many of us have one unfortunate thing in common – very little savings.

The survey, while not reporting anything shocking, reveals that 62 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. Not only that, but the survey also shows 21 percent of Americans don’t even have a savings account. If you ask me, that’s far too much risk to take on.

The Financial Literacy Debate: How Your State Stacks Up and How to Fill the Holes

How Your State Stacks Up and How to Fill the Holes

In a report card released each year by Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy, states receive a grade based on their high school financial literacy programs and requirements. While some states have shown improvement in ensuring high school students graduate with at least a basic knowledge of topics like building credit and mapping out a budget, there is clearly a huge gap left to fill.

In fact, if this report card represented students in a graduating class, most wouldn’t be receiving their diploma come graduation day.

How Bank Loans Differ from Online “Alternative Loans”


Salt and pepper. Peas and carrots. Sonny and Cher. Loans and…banks, right? For most of the world, these two terms have always gone hand in hand.

But if you’ve shopped around for a business loan lately, you may have seen the term “alternative loan” floating around. And if the biggest proponents of online alternative lending have their way, this new model will soon disrupt the public’s automatic association between banks and lending.

In a nutshell, online “alternative loans” are debt-based financing products not funded by traditional banks. These lenders operate with different rules, application processes, and approval criteria than traditional banks, and they fill a significant void in the small business lending space.

EMV Cards and Your Protection: What You Need to Know

EMV Cards and Your Protection

We have heard a lot about the switch to EMV cards over the past few months. That is for good reason as the major players in the credit card industry set an October 1st deadline for merchants to install new chip card readers.

While new EMV cards offer an added layer of security for consumers and additional complexities in operations for retailers, there are still nefarious characters out there trying to use the change as an opportunity to defraud others. Following are some things to be on the lookout for and guard against as the rollout of new EMV cards continues.

How to Figure Out How Much Money Should Go Toward Debt Reduction

How to Figure Out How Much Money Should Go Toward Debt Reduction

The main thrust of any debt reduction plan should be how much extra you can put toward paying down your loans each month. Trying to figure out how much should go toward debt reduction can be challenging, however.

As you try to figure out how much money should go toward debt reduction, here are a few things to keep in mind:

You Waste 10% to 15% of Your Income Each Month

How to Bounce Back from a Maxed-Out Budget

How to Bounce Back from a MaxedOut Budget

Muscling through a period that requires great discipline – whether it’s sticking to a healthy eating plan or a budget – is sometimes followed by an itch to throw all previously agreed upon rules out the window.

That pretty much sums up last week for me.

After putting a serious amount of work into setting up a new business and adhering to a strict budget, I went on a trip to visit a friend – and promptly managed to forget what my spending limits were and how to distinguish “wants” from “needs.” Returning home, I was more than a little apprehensive to see the damage on my credit card.