Tips to Spend Less Money

illustration of coffees and other things we spend too much on

If you need tips to spend less money, you've come to the right judgment-free zone. I feel like I should introduce myself. “Hello. My name is Elissa, and I am an unconscious spender.”

(“Hello, Elissa.”)

“I give myself a $200 allowance every two weeks, but when the cash is gone, I use the credit card or hit the ATM. A hundred here, a hundred there. I feel like that Fast Cash $60 button is a slot machine in a casino!”

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More about...Frugality

Our Journey to College…and Debt

This kid will graduate college in 2020 at least $24K in debt

It was all over the news last week that the college Class of 2016 will graduate with an average — an average — of $37,000 in debt, the most ever. This is a 6 percent increase over the Class of 2015 (those lucky dogs graduated with an average loan debt of $35K). Experts say that if these kids' starting salaries are more than their total debt, they should be able to pay them off in 10 years. That's a big ‘if.'

My family has been going through the college application thing for the last 6 months. Our daughter is a high school senior and in the late summer she will be heading off to college in New York City to start the next chapter of her life. By my husband's calculations, when she graduates in 2020, she will be about $24,000 in the hole. Yay us! Let me tell you how we did that.

First, my story of financing our child's education begins with two things you don't have: My Grandma and My Husband. So already you know that you cannot follow my blueprint exactly. First, My Grandma. She was the quintessential Frugal New England Farm Wife (although she had a college degree in nutrition). When My Grandpa died, she discovered she had a lot of money. A LOT. So she began doling it out to her kids and her grandkids, and when the grandkids had kids, they all got money for college. So My Grandma gave us a very nice chunk of seed money when our daughter was born 18 years ago.

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More about...Debt, Investing

Layoff: Catastrophe or Opportunity?

At the age of 50, I was laid off.

It was a Thursday morning in August of 2013 and it came on a conference call along with hundreds of co-workers. I had been working in one way or another since the age of 13 — babysitting, apple picking, camp counselor, journalist. It was the first time I had ever been involuntarily out of work.

Did I mention it happened while I was technically on vacation? Yep. I had to dial in to a conference call to lose my job while at the beach on Cape Cod. Oh, Corporate America. Continue reading...

More about...Side Hustles