Jacqueline Curtis Jacqueline Curtis is an experienced style expert, and she focuses on getting high fashion on a tight budget. She writes for several online publications, including her own fashion blog, How Not to Dress Like a Mom, and specializes in fashion, finance, health and fitness, and parenting. Jae grew up in Toronto, Canada, but now resides in Utah with her husband, two kids, and prized shoe collection.
If you’ve never seen an episode of TLC’s “Extreme Cheapskates,” here’s a quick rundown: Each episode features two self-described “cheapskates” who demonstrate their cheap ways throughout the episode. From dumpster diving, to foraging for vegetables, it seems like there’s no money-saving method too extreme for these beacons of money-saving savvy.
But here’s the thing: While the cheapskates on the show cheerfully boast about all the money they’re saving, not all of their behavior is safe. In fact, the series starts with a warning: “Don’t try this at home.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person spends 8.8 hours per day at work – that’s a little over 9,000 hours per year, essentially one-third of your life. It stands to reason, then, that you’re going to want to choose a job that you truly love.
Unfortunately, economic conditions, necessity, and the simple twists and turns of life can lead you down a career path you’re not necessarily passionate about. Whether you’re stuck in a dead-end job, earning less than you want, or you simply aren’t appreciated, a negative perception of your career can be discouraging.
My husband and I were overjoyed to have our first baby back in 2006. We were both employed at the time, and after a short maternity leave I was more than ready to head back to work.
The problem, however, was childcare. While it’s a blessing that provides parents the opportunity to return to work, it can also take an impressive chunk out of your paycheck. Before you return to work, consider the costs of care in your area, the alternatives, and how much help you really need.
Whether you’re a young adult about to live on your own for the first time or you’re going from a mortgage to a month-to-month rental in a new area, you need to be prepared before starting your apartment hunt. Finding the right place at the right price is no easy task, but it doesn’t have to be too overwhelming. After you figure out what you can afford, it’s simply a matter of finding the right apartment, agreeing to lease terms, and then signing on the dotted line.
Going from rags to riches is essentially the American Dream. Whether it happens by way of a better-paying job or winning the lottery, some studies suggest that money can change your behavior – and not always for the better. Of course, there are plenty of charitable, helpful, and giving wealthy people. However, results from some studies have proven that they may be the exception, rather than the rule.
It was one of those awkward moments I’d love to forget. I had flown to visit a friend after she had her first baby. As we shopped for clothes for her bundle of joy, I asked if we could go to lunch – my treat. My friend immediately bristled at the idea, and suggested we just head home to eat at her house. I kept pressing the issue – in my mind, I was crashing in her guest room, so buying her lunch was the least I could do. She continued to refuse and it turned into a cloud over our day.
Learning about money can be a bit of a trial by fire. Some were taught flawless finances by their parents, while others take courses in school. But for the rest of us, finance books, articles, and advice from friends and family make up most of our financial education. And while there are definitely nuggets of wisdom to be found, there’s also a ton of bad advice out there.
So how do you tell the difference between the solid financial truths and the money myths? It’s all about your individual situation. By applying the advice to your particular set of circumstances, you can see where it works – and where it doesn’t.
When it comes to travel planning, the Internet is an incredible resource – but, let’s face it, there is a lot of conflicting information out there. I love going on vacation, but organizing my trips is enough to give me some serious anxiety. From timing plane ticket purchases for the best possible deal, to waffling over hundreds of hotel options, getting the most bang for your travel bucks can be overwhelming.
Whether it’s the curse of indecision or inflexible dates, you can sabotage your ability to snag the best vacation deals before you even hop on a plane or gas up your car. By educating yourself about common spending traps, you can better allocate your money and set priorities before starting your search for vacation deals.
As a beauty and style blogger, it’s my business to try as many techniques as possible, and to test-drive as many products as I can. At least, that’s what I tell my husband when I come home from the store with a bag of new finds.
While trial and error has helped me discover a lot of my favorite items and tips, it has also led me to a lot of duds. Bad formulas, poor color payoff, and makeup techniques that simply don’t work are common. In other words, just because a tip appears in “Cosmopolitan,” it doesn’t mean it’s true.
As a mom of two, it has been a baptism by fire to see my children start to compare themselves to their classmates. My daughter came home from school the other day and said, “Mom? Gracie says she can skip eight monkey bars and I can’t skip any.”
Of course Gracie can’t really skip eight monkey bars – she’s a child, not Stretch Armstrong – but the conversation gave me pause because it was the first time I noticed my seven-year-old comparing herself to her friends.
Whether you’re spring cleaning or trying to minimize post-holidays clutter, donating used toys can help clear out your home and do some good at the same time. Getting those toys cleaned, assembled, and working is the first step, after which you need to find a place that accepts toy donations.
I always do a big toy clean-out before Christmas, which often leaves me with boxes and bags full of gently used items that can go to a good cause. I like discussing each charity with my kids to explain where their old toys are going. By explaining how other kids can use their previously loved gear, my children get involved in the spirit of giving – and they love to have input as to where we donate their stuff.
‘Tis the season to start trimming – your budget, that is, and not just your tree. A November 2013 Gallup poll found that while the average American originally expected to spend around $786 on the holidays back in October, that number is now down to $704. While it’s true that the general public might have a little less to spend, that reduction is also indicative of the changing mindset of spending as a whole. Consumers with big eyes are now wary of a volatile market and, consequently, of putting too much of the holiday season on plastic. This means more restricted budgets.
One of the things I love most about the holidays is that even ordinary outings feel special. The holidays are the time to dress up and put your best face forward, so it’s unlikely your everyday cosmetics and beauty routine are up to snuff. While you don’t need to run out and purchase a whole new makeup palette, make a few inexpensive tweaks to your beauty routine and up your game for holiday parties and time with friends and family.
As the holiday season quickly approaches, so too does the biggest shopping day of the year: Black Friday! I was introduced to Black Friday years ago when I first moved to the States, and I immediately embraced the 4am battle over deep discounts and holiday deals.
But I also understand that the Black Friday hustle isn’t for everyone. In fact, some people downright hate the idea of shopping the morning after Thanksgiving. And while there’s something to be said for staying home in your pajamas, there are ways to make Black Friday shopping a little less painful and ensure you score stellar deals. Use these tips to tackle your holiday shopping like a pro and to get the best deals with the least amount of stress.
When you’re interested in a topic but don’t have the time or money to take a college course, it’s time to consider MOOCs – massive open online courses. MOOCs are available to the general public regardless of geographic location, education level, or previous schooling. The result is a meeting of the minds with serious benefits, including everything from college credit to an enhanced resume.
While it’s true that online education has come a long way in recent years, it still has a way to go before it’s considered a viable replacement for traditional college. As of now, there are no MOOC programs that provide a full online degree; rather, accredited MOOCs – those affiliated with a brick-and-mortar university – can help you gather some of the credits required toward a formal degree.
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