How to save hundreds by playing the drugstore game

This article was written by Cathy, who writes about family finances, cooking, and parenting at Chief Family Officer.

I love the philosophy of getting rich slowly by doing the fundamentals: spend less than you earn, pay off debt, and invest wisely. One way that I save money is with what I call The Drugstore Game.

The Drugstore Game involves combining manufacturer and store coupons, and taking advantage of a store's best deals. When played at the highest level, the Drugstore Game requires only a couple of dollars out of pocket each week to keep you and your family stocked on necessities like toiletries, paper goods and even groceries.

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More about...Frugality

Trading Stocks: How Do I Find Good Stocks?

This article was written by John Forman from The Essentials of Trading. Forman is the author of a book by the same name. He has been a trader of the stock and other markets for over 20 years, and is a professional stock market analyst for Thomson Reuters.

The wealth-building potential of the stock market is enormous. I think we all realize that. The long-running debate, though, is whether one is better off investing in individual stocks (or funds that do just that), or whether it's best to just put your money in an index fund. Most funds fail to beat the market, so it would seem index funds are the better choice.

While it is certainly true that index investing has some advantages, and some mutual funds do perform better than the indices, no index or fund will ever offer the upside potential of investing in individual stocks. It's a matter of math.

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More about...Investing

Negotiate Once, Save Thousands Every Year

This article was written by Jason, who is the author of World Fitness Network, a blog that will teach you how to lift weights, live strong, and change the way you look and feel.

Sometimes a few simple actions can save you money year after year. The negotiation process is definitely one of those times.

Negotiating works especially well when you deal with a salesperson who is paid by commission. These salespeople often have the ability to give you a better deal (and thus earn a lower commission) in order to earn your business. Situations where you can successfully negotiate a better rate include:

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An introduction to time banking

In this article, Loretta B. describes a unique way to build social capital and to save money.

Two weeks ago my boyfriend and I enjoyed a rare night out on the town. We dressed up in our best clothes, had dinner at a special restaurant, and headed off to the symphony. This was my first time at a symphony, and we had a fantastic time. Our tickets were worth $75 a piece.

Make no mistake, I am very frugal. In fact, I fall into the "make your own laundry detergent" category of frugality. How on earth could $75 tickets fit into such a person's budget? I do something called time banking. Some refer to it an alternative currency system, a form of volunteerism, a way to build communities, and an international movement for social change. I think it's all that and more. I encourage you to watch the introductory video on the national timebank website.

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More about...Productivity

The Lazy Man’s Guide to Groceries on a Budget

This article was written by Karl Katzke.

Eating well is one of the small pleasures that I decided not to forego when I dug myself out of credit card debt. I'm a busy bachelor with an active social life and an absorbing job; I like food with a lot of flavor to it; and I live in a rural area without a lot of shopping or coupon options. These three things don't usually go hand-in-hand with eating well or cheaply.

To meet my financial goals, I had to keep my food budget under $100 per month — that's $25 a week to feed one or two people (since I often cook for dates and friends). It's been a challenge. Luckily, in Texas and many other states, there is no sales tax on unprepared foods. Using a few simple strategies I managed to meet my goal and then some. I didn't eat rice and beans for the entire month (unlike Morgan Spurlock), I don't waste time digging through supermarket circulars, and I don't spend hours in the kitchen every night. This is definitely the lazy man's approach to groceries on a budget.

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More about...Food, Frugality

Budgeting: The most important thing you can do with your money

This article was written by Joshua Timberman, whose passion for personal finance started after reading Dave Ramsey's The Total Money Makeover. He became debt-free in November. He is the Financial Peace University coordinator at his church, and is an active participant at Get Rich Slowly and other personal finance blogs.

The most important thing to do with your money is to give it a plan. A budget. A spending plan. A cash-flow plan. Call it what you will, but having a plan for how you spend money will set you free to actually enjoy it.

Managing Money and Impulses

Everyone who has any kind of income needs a budget. Successful companies and governments manage their money with budgets. Even unsuccessful companies and governments do budgets (though it can be argued they don't have the right approach). To get ahead with money, you need to manage it. And that is what a budget really is: Money management, on purpose, written down.

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More about...Budgeting, Planning

The disability insurance maze: How to select and purchase a policy

This article was written by Suzanne S. It's very long, but it's about an important topic. You may want to bookmark it for later reading.

Personal finance isn't just about growing your finances — it's also about protecting what you have. Most experts advise insuring your home, your car, your health and your life. What many of us never get around to doing is insuring our earning power.

According to The Wall Street Journal in a December 2006 article “The Growing Appeal of Disability Insurance”:

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How to Earn More from Your Current Job (Without a Raise or Promotion)

The most common ways to increase your salary are to get promoted or to negotiate a raise. But promotions don't come along often, and negotiating a raise may or may not result in a salary increase. So what do you do when you want to make more, but you're between promotions and raises? The good news is that you're not out of options. The bad news is that you'll need to get creative and may have to use a little elbow grease.

Low Effort, High Reward

401(k) match

Perhaps the easiest way to get your employer to give you more money is to contribute to your 401(k), if your employer offers a match. A 2007 Hewitt Associates survey [PDF] reports that 98% of employers put some money into 401(k) plans, and two-thirds provide matching contributions. According to Hewitt, the most common type of match is 50% of employee contributions up to 6% of pay. This means that if you make $60,000, then contribute $3,600 to your 401(k), your employer will kick in $1,800. That's free money that should never be left on the table, if you can help it.

Employee referral rewards

Most companies have employee referral programs, where an employee recommends a candidate and earns a bonus if the referral is subsequently hired. This is an effective way for firms to discover great candidates without paying exorbitant headhunter fees. But referral programs are not always well-publicized. Check with your HR department to see if a program exists and what the rewards are for referrers, then consider submitting a few referrals. Tread carefully, since referring a bunch of people who are not qualified to work at your company will reflect negatively upon you.

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More about...Career

How to stop fighting with your spouse about money

This article was written by GLBL, who writes about personal finance at Gather Little by Little.

Many sources cite money as the number one cause of marital strife. Some of you probably know this from first-hand experience. I can relate, too. My wife and I are very close, but money has always been a touchy subject, and unfortunately has led to a more than a few "disagreements".

Last year, we decided to get control of our money instead of allowing our money to control us. I did extensive reading and research, and we began to put some changes into place. Since then, we've learned what works for us and what doesn't. We are not experts, but I will say this: since we began this journey, we haven't once fought over our money.

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More about...Relationships