With new and used cars still painfully expensive, it seems that Americans are holding on to their vehicles longer. The average age of a passenger vehicle on the road has just hit a record 12.5 years. And no wonder now that the average monthly car payment for new vehicles hit $725 in the first quarter of 2023. Suddenly, for many, taking on that ...Read more
I'm crazy about gadgets, everything from quirky can openers to smartphones. Hand me a Swiss Army knife and I'm in heaven -- the more blades and utensils the better.
Today I want to tell you about four gadgets for the kitchen that I consider wise investments -- money savers!
All are inexpensive enough to pay for themselves in a short period of ...Read more
A recent column on the proper storage for fresh fruits and vegetables generated a lot of great reader feedback -- plus dozens of new tips and tricks to make all grocery items last longer. I love this stuff so much, I must admit to being slightly compulsive -- gathering, testing and assessing techniques. Here are a few of my new favorites:
I know people who try to convince themselves they can buy lunch every day for less than they'd spend if they brought a bagged lunch to work. That kind of flawed thinking could well be the reason those same people complain that they do not make enough money to save any of it. Eating lunch out day after day is expensive. Here, let me do the math: ...Read more
While not always easy to think about, an inheritance is a part of the financial picture for many baby boomers. That was just one of the topics that popped up in my inbox this past week.
Dear Mary: Before reading your book "Debt-Proof Living," I believed we were doing just fine with our money. Recently, my husband's father died and we received a...Read more
If you are committed to teaching your kids how the world operates, and you should be, teach them about money.
You can use financial principles to teach everything from math problems to social issues. That's because money is about values, relationships, choices and self-worth.
And while teaching your kids important values to guide their lives ...Read more
Have teens? Are they always hitting you up for money? The next time they come sweetly beseeching you for cash, place this book, "The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money Than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of," in their hands. These financially savvy authors, creators of the award-winning site Fool, came up with this ...Read more
Sometimes, the best way to stretch a buck is to look in the most unlikely places. I'm a huge fan of the fresh produce at 99 Cents Only Stores. And milk, as compared to the price at my supermarket, is a bargain at the Walgreens across the street. But who knew we could decorate our homes from places like Dollar General? Our first reader discovered...Read more
On those super busy days when you just don't have time to cook at home, but eating out is too expensive, "semi-homemade" -- combining quick-service food with home cooking -- is a great way to merge the best of both worlds.
By purchasing premade pizza dough along with my own sauce and toppings, I can have fantastic pizza on the table in ...Read more
Debt. It's a four-letter word and certainly not ideal under any circumstances. Being debt-free is always better than being in debt. But not all debt is created equal. Generally, debt comes in two flavors: secured and unsecured.
Secured debts are collateralized. That means the borrower pledges something of value to the lender that acts like a ...Read more
Dear Cheapskate: My husband and I have really gotten ourselves in deep this time. At the time, we thought buying a franchise using our personal credit cards was a good idea. The manager we hired was inept and untrustworthy. Now we are in credit-card debt to the tune of $250,000. We are trying to crawl out from under this problem and are out of ...Read more
The trouble with plastic bottled water, experts say, is not the water. It's the plastic bottles the water comes in that are potentially harmful to our health and environment.
The folks at the Mayo Clinic say we need to be concerned about BPA, often used in containers that store food and beverages such as water bottles. Exposure to BPA, they say...Read more
So, how is that investing for the future coming along? What, you're confused? I understand. Most of us are total novices. Unfortunately, what do we do? We let others make our decisions for us, thinking they are so much smarter because they are "professionals" or TV commentators.
Recently, I was drawn to a book -- mostly because our grandson Sam...Read more
When a University of Michigan survey asked people what they believe would improve their quality of life and make them happy, the answer given most often was "more money."
In the book "The Day America Told the Truth," James Patterson and Peter Kim asked, "If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?" The No. 1 response, at 64 ...Read more
The email contained a single-word subject: "Help!" The sender, I'll call her "Emily," had been asked by her community group leader to give a 15-minute presentation on how to achieve financial freedom. She was honored to have been asked, excited to do it, but also panicked by the thought. She asked if I would help.
My first thought was that I ...Read more
I pretty much hate to buy things I know I can make for less money and in a fraction of the time it takes to find them in a store. Take cleaning products, for example. Knowing I can make specific cleaners for pennies that cost dollars in a store just makes me happy. It's a no-brainer.
Here are my top five handy recipes to help you get started ...Read more
Today's batch of reader questions reminds me how complicated our lives have become since the introduction of consumer credit. Some days I long for simpler times so long ago when cash was king and there was no such thing as a billion-dollar consumer credit industry attempting to control our lives.
Dear Mary: A couple months ago, I left my wallet...Read more
Have I been sleeping in a cave for 100 years? It sure feels like it.
I just read that as a nation, we will spend $41.5 billion getting our kids outfitted to go back to school this fall. And by outfitted I mean with all the "proper" electronic gear, shoes with all the bells and whistles (I would like a pair of those sneakers with little wheels ...Read more
Planning for their parents' end-of-life expenses is about the last thing most adult children want to deal with. At least not right now.
A traditional funeral with end-of-life services with extras like flowers, obituary notices, acknowledgment cards and limousines can bring the total to $15,000 or more. Families often overspend on a funeral or ...Read more
Encouragement. For me it is a basic need or perhaps a character flaw. I'm not quite sure. All I know is that I need encouragement, and I need it often.
I have a feeling that you do, too.
This matter of learning how to manage money, living below our means and getting out of debt can be a discouraging proposition at times. The news of the day is...Read more