September 2013


Here is September’s review of blog posts. We hope you find something you enjoy!

  • U.S. News MoneyHow to Test-Drive Your Retirement – Testing out your retirement while you are still working is a great way to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t without the added stress of dealing with retirement income.

Please let us know if you have a favorite financial blog that you think we should be reading.

 

 

  • Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.

We just wanted to share a quick post for the upcoming Holiday season that may come in handy. If you receive unwanted gift cards, or are looking to save some money for your Holiday shopping, check out this post by Trent Hamm at The Simple Dollar: “The Gift Card Shuffle.”

We actually wrote a post on this topic a couple years ago: “Gift Cards at a Discount.” We had honestly forgotten about until we read Hamm’s post.

Having never used a service like Hamm describes, we can’t provide any first hand reviews of the process. However, it’s definitely something we’re going to look into using ourselves!

 

  • Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.

In our opinion, libraries are amazing resources. Many modern libraries go well above and beyond the older library models (where you could find reading material, but nothing more). If you live in a decent sized city or town, you likely have a modern library nearby you could be utilizing (but if you live in a very small town or rural area, you may not have such great luck).

Libraries are great for your finances as well. Not only can you find great books or magazines to further your financial knowledge (if reading a good retirement planning book is something you’re interested in), libraries can also save you money by offering free resources: computer/internet use, music, movies, games, classes, etc. Additionally, with the popularity of technology like tablets and smart phones, many libraries now offer virtual libraries, meaning you don’t even have to leave your house to check out a book. Just login and download it directly to your device.

Again, if you are lucky enough to have a modern library nearby, don’t be deterred if you aren’t an avid reader. Libraries offer so much more than books, so take some time to check it out. You might be surprised at what you find.

This post was inspired by Kristen Wong’s post “Libraries: Good for frugality, great for community” over at Get Rich Slowly.

 

  • Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.

This week, I (Dawn) read a post over at Get Rich Slowly by Lisa Aberle that really resonated with me: “Declutter and save your sense.” I’ve always thought of myself as an organized person, and in some ways I am. In other ways, not so much. The past few weeks, I’ve had the urge to declutter the house, but I’ve been at a loss for where to start. I look around and there just seems to be so much stuff, I can’t decide what goes, what stays, and if it stays, where should I put it?

This post came at just the right time. Aberle discusses this very topic, and has some great tips that I plan on implementing right away in my quest to declutter. Her stand is that when she declutters her life, her finances get decluttered as well. Here are her thoughts:

  • “Easier is the goal” – Basically, you have to make the decision on what is easier for your life. Is it easier to have an overflowing basement or garage filled with stuff you may never use, may not even want? Is it easier to keep things “in case” you may need them in the future? In most cases, if you really think about it, holding on to all that stuff does not make your life easier; it often just stresses you out (like it does me!).
  • “Just say no” – You can probably think of plenty of times that you brought something into your house that you didn’t want or need. Something you got for free, or bought on a good deal. Often, those items just sit around, taking up space, and not enhancing your life. So, Aberle says, “just say no.” You likely won’t regret not bringing it home.
  • “Purge” – This is my favorite one. There is something very liberating about purging. Just getting rid of the stuff, no contemplating where to have to store something, just tossing it. There are plenty of ways to do so. If you have the determination, you could try to sell your old items (through a garage sale, eBay, Craigslist, etc.), however, I wouldn’t recommend this course of action if you are prone to holding on to anything that doesn’t sell (get rid of what doesn’t sell!). Your best bet is likely donation or even the trash if the item is not worth saving.
  • “Be systematic” – This is always where I’ve fallen flat in the past. I purge and organize, and get everything cleaned up, and I feel proud of my work. But then things start to pile up again. The basement starts to look like a mess, and I have piles of paper everywhere. Once you go through the process of decluttering, you need to set up a system for all the stuff that is going to come into your house going forward. Where is it going to go? What is going to be trashed automatically? Once I go through this round of decluttering, I will definitely implement this step in hopes of keeping the house organized moving forward.

Aberle also recommends some sites to check out to help you get started. I would definitely check out her post if you are looking to do some decluttering yourself.

 

  • Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.