4 Holiday Entertaining & Party Ideas on a Tight Budget

In 2008, at the height of the recession, The New York Times ran a story about how to throw a “transcendent” holiday party on a stripped-down budget. Reporter Alex Williams contacted David Monn, an elite New York event planner who often puts together five- and six-figure bashes for the Hollywood A-list, and challenged him to plan a dinner party for eight in Williams’ West Village Apartment. His proposed budget for the entire event, including food, wine, and decor, was $30 a head.

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What Is Concierge Medicine (Direct Primary Care) – Pros & Cons

American healthcare is expensive, inefficient, and often doesn’t produce optimal outcomes. Concierge medicine, also known as direct primary care, helps address all three problems. Direct primary care is a fee-based care model that forges closer connections between patients and providers, encourages preventive and proactive care, reduces bureaucracy and overhead for physicians and health systems, and provides an alternative to increasingly expensive health insurance coverage.

An Imperfect Healthcare Status Quo

Healthcare is a big business in this country. According to HealthAffairs, healthcare spending accounted for 17.2% of total U.S. GDP in 2012. That marks a more than threefold increase from 1960, when healthcare spending comprised just 5% of the United States’ gross domestic product (GDP). And it’s far greater than healthcare’s contribution to GDP in other developed countries, where governments take more responsibility for healthcare delivery and aggressively regulate drug, procedure, and consultation pricing.

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Join Us on Twitter for a Chat About Managing Student Loans on Nov 20th at 4PM EST

andy-josuweitThis Friday, we will be holding a TweetChat with the topic of Managing and Paying Off Your Student Loans in mind from 4-5pm EST. Our guest will be Andy Jesuweit.

Simply follow @MoneyCrashers and participate in the chat with hashtag #MCchat on Twitter and you will be entered in the prize draw (two winners for $15 Amazon gift cards).

An easy way to follow along and participate in #MCchat is by using our Twitter Chat Room at http://www.twubs.com/MCchat. We hope to see you there!

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The SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge – Could You Eat on $4.15 a Day?

Imagine going into a supermarket knowing that you have only $30 for a week’s worth of food. You make your way along the aisles carefully comparing prices, rejecting canned beans for the cheaper dried ones, and substituting chicken drumsticks for pricey boneless breasts. You skip over all extras like coffee and soda without a second glance. Most of all, you fret over the high prices in the produce aisle and wonder if you’ll have to get through the week with no fruit and veggies at all.

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How to Get EBT Food Stamps – SNAP Program Eligibility & Application

In 2014, more than 46 million people got all or part of their monthly grocery bills paid by the government. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, helps low-income people buy the food they need to stay healthy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which oversees the program, reports that SNAP benefits kept 5 million Americans – including 2.2 million children – out of poverty in 2012.

The SNAP program, formerly known as food stamps, has received a lot of criticism from both sides of the political spectrum. Politicians on the right argue that the program is inefficient and widely abused; those on the left claim that benefits are too low to keep up with rising food prices. Nonetheless, for many Americans, the extra money SNAP provides means the difference between eating regularly and going hungry.

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How to Find the Best Place to Start a Business – 12 Factors to Consider

Starting a small business is hard work anywhere. Business owners have to juggle dozens of important considerations, some of which directly conflict with one another – for instance, it’s hard to have a gold-plated advertising budget when you’re operating on a shoestring. Any entrepreneur who can keep it together for long enough to get a company off the ground and turn a profit deserves the utmost respect.

That said, getting a business off the ground is simpler and less costly in certain locales. Cities and states with fewer barriers to entry for new companies, regardless of industry, are said to be business-friendly or possessing a favorable business climate.

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8 Major Expenses for Your Toddler and How to Save Money

When my son was around eight months old, I remember glancing at our bank statement and wondering where all our money had gone. I then reviewed my receipts and credit card charges from the previous couple of months and saw a number of repeat offenders: diapers, wipes, infant vitamin supplements, and feeding supplies. When I complained to my husband about how much we were spending, he reassured me that soon enough, our son would graduate from the infant stage and become a toddler, and with that would come a world of savings.

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How to Prevent Fraud & Employee Theft in Your Business – Policies & Plans

Many small business owners believe that since they’ve got an intimate, close-knit operation, they’re not susceptible to fraud when, in fact, the opposite is true. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners reports that small businesses experience more instances of fraud than medium or large companies do. By designing and implementing appropriate internal controls at your business, you can detect fraud as it occurs and prevent employees from attempting it in the first place.

Who Commits Fraud

While you may think that fraudsters are hardened criminals who jump from job to job, the Journal of Accountancy reports that most individuals who commit occupational fraud are first-time offenders. Also, very few fraudsters take a job with the intention to defraud the business.

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13 Retirement Planning & Savings Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Financial professionals have been sounding the alarm for a long time warning that a retirement crisis is coming. The National Council on Aging says more than 23 million Americans age 60 or over are already living at or below the federal poverty level. And still, much of the working class is ignoring the warnings and the struggles of those around them.

According to the Federal Reserve, only 13% of Americans have given their financial planning for retirement “a lot” of thought. Half of Americans say they either only thought about it a little bit or they haven’t thought about it at all. Yet the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) shows that confidence about being prepared for retirement spiked in 2014 and again in 2015 after sitting at record lows between 2009 and 2013.

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5 Black Friday Shopping Alternatives – Reasons to Stay Home & Still Save

Black Friday – the Friday after Thanksgiving – has traditionally been viewed as the kickoff to the holiday shopping season. That’s less true today than it used to be, with many stores unveiling their holiday deals well before Thanksgiving, but there’s no denying that Thanksgiving weekend is still a major shopping event. According to the National Retail Federation, more than 133 million Americans shopped in stores and online over Thanksgiving weekend in 2014, spending nearly $51 billion dollars – about $381 per person.

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