in Search

Money Coach

February 2012 - Posts

  • Gas prices expected to skyrocket this summer

    It was all over the news this week – gas prices will surge toward $5 a gallon by late summer. Prices are already headed toward $4 per gallon. Overall, prices are up 10 percent from the start of the year.


    Why? What other reason would there be? Turmoil in the Middle East. Oil prices spiked this week after Iran's oil ministry said it would stop exporting oil to French and British companies, a reaction to sanctions from the U.S. and the European Union. 


    So without a doubt, we'll all be wincing in pain as we pump this summer. So how can we lessen the blow? Here are 10 tips to help you keep gas in your vehicle without going broke.


    • Vehicle maintenance saves gas. Use the recommended oil, replace dirty air filters, and keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure, as well as tune up your engine.


    • Flooring the pedal and slamming on brakes uses a surprising amount of gas. Drive more moderately and you could save more than 30 percent of the gas you use.


    • Lighten the load your car has to bear. Keep the luggage off the roof and empty your trunk. The heavier the weight of the stuff in or on your car, the more gas your car will use. 


    • Bike or walk whenever you can to save gas. It's healthy for your wallet and your waistline.


    • Try to avoid rush hour traffic. An idling engine uses a lot of gas.


    • Consider opting for a hybrid or alternative fuel vehicle. 


    • Drive at the speed limit, and save up to 14 percent on longer trips.


    • Use your cruise control. Keeping your car at a consistent rate saves gas.


    • Use public transportation when you can and leave your car at home.


    • Check into alternative fuel like biodiesel, a blend of gas and ethanol. Find out what's available in your state and whether your car will run on it. 

    Posted Feb 23 2012, 11:43 AM by moneycoach with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
  • Cheap rainy day fun for you and your kids

    It's a rainy day here, and when there's a rainy day anywhere, there are frustrated moms looking for ways to squelch the cries of, "I'm bored!"


    But if you're like most people, your squeezing those pennies and watching where every dollar goes. So the idea of keeping your kids engaged and happy on a rainy day, without having to spend a lot, if anything, is truly appealing. Here are a few ideas…


    • Pile in the car and go to the library. There is so much more at the library now than just a little old lady constantly shushing everyone. There are children's sections that are bright and colorful, and that include personal computers. There are also DVDs and audio tapes available, that you can use at the library or check out. You can get each of your children a library card, which is free, and they'll not only increase their love of reading, but it will aid in their education and teach them responsibility as well. And did we mention it's free?


    • Break out those board games you haven't played in a long time. Try a new one together, or have your children use items you have around the house to make a new game.


    • The library isn't the only indoor destination you can head to when it's raining. You can go bowling, indoor miniature golfing or head to an indoor pool.


    • Stir up some fun in the kitchen. Have your kids help you bake something or prepare a whole meal. You can even make a treat for a neighbor or sick friend, or perhaps make treats and pile in the car and head to a nearby nursing home or children's ward at the hospital.


    • Remember when you were a kid and you built forts? Well, kids still love to do this simple activity. Pull out Halloween costumes and build a character-appropriate fort. For example, if your little boy was Batman last Halloween, make your fort into a bat cave. Build an igloo, a teepee, a pirate's cave…the list goes on and on.


    • And don't forget…you can always simply celebrate the fact that it's raining and just get out there and play in the rain. If it's warm, throw on your swimsuits and get out there and jump in some puddles. If it's a cooler, you can opt for raincoats and boots, then end your time in the rain with some hot cocoa. You can even use the time out in the rain as an educational tool, by looking for animals that come out when it rains, like earthworms, or measuring how much rain fell. 


    Whatever you do, make it fun and do it together. They're only children for so long, and you can't put a price tag on memories.

    Posted Feb 16 2012, 12:04 PM by moneycoach with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
  • 14 creative – yet cheap – ways to say 'I love you' this Valentine's Day

    So you've got a special someone you want to plan a special something for this Valentine's Day. You've got a lot of love and ambition. But what you don't have a lot of is money. So what do you do? How do you plan a romantic Valentine's celebration on the cheap – without looking cheap?


    Here are 14 ideas of things you could do that cost little to nothing. 


    • Have an indoor picnic or in your backyard. Share finger foods and favorite treats, and maybe a bottle of wine. 


    • Buy a small, decorative jar or basket, or create your own container, and fill it with love notes written on small pieces of paper. Make enough to last until next Valentine's Day and you'll earn extra points.


    • Do something for your love that he/she hates doing. Fill up the gas tank, rake the yard, unload the dishwasher…whatever. Be creative.


    • Cook his/her favorite dinner, or serve his/her favorite breakfast in bed.


    • Do an at-home spa date, complete with candles, bubble bath, facial mask and scrub. 


    • Have a movie night, complete with popcorn and romantic flick.


    • Hide love notes for your love for him/her to find throughout the day. You can use sticky notes or make your own heart-shaped notepaper.


    • Plan a chocolate tour in your hometown. Go to a local sweets shop and ask for a tour, then go to your love's favorite restaurant or bakery and have a chocolate dessert, then go home to a cup of hot chocolate.


    • Write a love note on the bathroom mirror while he/she is in the shower.


    • Write love notes and tie them to helium balloons, and then place them all along the path he/she takes to work or when he/she goes for a walk.


    • Plan a scavenger hunt. Write clues and put them in envelopes, then place them around town. 


    • Repeat your first date, down to the last detail, if possible. 


    • Make a coupon book for him/her, and fill it with redeemable coupons for free kisses, hugs, hand-holding, massages, etc. Get as creative or naughty as you want.


    • Create a calendar or small photo album that tells the story of you as a couple. 

    Posted Feb 09 2012, 11:54 AM by moneycoach with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
  • Super Bowl Sunday: Eats on the cheap

    If you are like most people, you'll be glued to the television set this Sunday watching the annual American tradition that is the Super Bowl. And if you are gathered with friends and family to watch the game, it's a safe bet there will be lots of food as well.


    According to NPR, the amount of food eaten on Super Bowl Sunday comes in second only to Thanksgiving. The National Chicken Council has estimated that people will eat a staggering 1.25 billion chicken wings, 14,500 tons of chips and 4,000 tons of popcorn. 


    According to the experts, the average American will spend about $128 on Super Bowl fare. That's down from the average $144 consumers spent last year per party. Obviously, consumers want to party on the cheap.


    If you're expecting a group of friends or family members to show up this Sunday wearing football jerseys and bibs, you may want to consider how to plan a menu that is both satisfying and frugal.


    First of all, determine ahead of time what you can afford to spend. Make a list of must-have items, and stick to that list when you go to the store. Look for coupons, buy store brands, and don't be afraid to ask your friends and family to bring some items as well. 


    When it comes to paper goods like plates, napkins and tablecloths, hit up your local dollar store. If you plan on spending a little on decorations, you can look for streamers and balloons in your team's colors while you're there. If you really want to slice into your budget, use your own dishes and utensils and make use of your dishwasher, instead of buying paper goods. 


    If your guests want to drink something other than soda, let them know it's BYOB. This will save you a ton of money.  


    When it comes to veggies and dip, save some money and cut your own veggies instead of buying the pre-cut ones, and mix your own dip. You'll also save money if you bake your own sweets instead of buying them in the local bakery or grocery store. 


    Whatever you do and however much you spend, Super Bowl Sunday is about more than just the game – it's about good friends, family and good times. Make the most of it, whatever your situation.

    Posted Feb 02 2012, 10:49 AM by moneycoach with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web

This Blog

Syndication