Author Archives: Steve Economides

A Budget Like a Dam? How A Budget Can Protect You

A Personal Budget like a Dam? Budget Restriction or Happy Budget

Do you like the word “Budget?”

We often hear people refer to budgets in negative terms. Words that imply pain or restriction or deprivation. 

We have a different view of the way budgets work.

We look at a household budget as a positive thing.

It’s a tool that preserves our money and lets us enjoy life and the things we have.  We think a budget is very similar to a dam on a lake. Keep reading and find out why.

A BUDGET Like a Dam?

We’ve heard some people refer to trying a money management system as having used a “Dam Budget!” Obviously, their experience was … Read more »

Emergency Fund Examples & Amounts

Emergency fund Examples for building emergency fund savings.

If you’re building an emergency fund, you’ll want to set some savings goals based on the five-category examples in this article. We’ll give you ideas for emergency funds amounts and categories.

If you’re managing a budget and have extra money available each month, you’ll want to take note of our emergency fund examples.

We took several years to accumulate our 5 category Emergency Fund Savings account. We’ll tell you what the categories are, how much we saved and where we keep it (it’s in a special high-yield bank account).

We’d love your input on our Medical Coverage Poll below – if you … Read more »

Fun Recreation Ideas That Don’t Wreck the Budget

Free & Frugal Recreation Ideas - Lovers Lane -

Sometimes Inexpensive Fun Recreation Ideas are hard to find.

These days it’s easy to spend a significant amount of money on recreational activity. Families often blow their recreation budget, thinking they can’t cut these expenses and still have a good time.

But we challenge that notion. There are hundreds of ways to enjoy family time or a date night without dropping $100 to do it.

Consider what you’d pay for the following: a professional sporting event, a concert, a museum visit, a trip to the zoo, a first-run movie or a Renaissance festival.

The … Read more »

Romantic Movies: Valentine Movie Mania

If you're looking for movies that have romance or romantic comedy in them, here's a great list!

Valentine Movie Mania, is a page that has a ton of movie choices! If you’re looking for a movie that will warm your heart, try these. We’ve picked movies with romance in them and romantic comedies from war flicks and heartwarming stories to total suspense! We’ve combined some of our favorites with a huge list provided by our Facebook Fans!

Romantic Movies suitable for Family viewing

You may want to preview some of the movies produced after 1970 before watching them with your children.

Movies A-L

13 Going on 30
A Walk in the Clouds
Amazing Adventure, The (Cary Grant)—One of … Read more »

A Written Budget: The Best Way to Build Financial Confidence

Having a Written Budget Helps You Build Financial Confidence!

If you’re looking for the best way to build financial confidence, try setting up a written budget.

We’ve spent the last few weeks describing different spending plans or budget systems.

We’ve described several options for budgeting success and the amazing key to our budgeting success.

Today we’re sharing five benefits to having a written budget like we use. And yes, we do understand that a written budget may sound less tech-savvy than using phone apps or online budget systems.

But honestly, most budgeting apps aren’t as usable as our system and the online (web-based) systems are very difficult to set up.

Our written budget … Read more »

Unexpected & Cute Valentines Day Date Ideas (Inexpensive & Fun)

Couple standing in front of Love statue kissing.

We love the idea of celebrating Valentine’s Day and those precious relationships that you have in your life. But we look at Valentine Recreation a little differently . . . are you surprised?

Valentine’s Day falls on a different day each year, but it’s a good time to get your husband to do something more romantic . . . especially after watching the Super Bowl last week.

Valentine Recreation with Thought

Love is not based on how much we spend, but how much we spend time thinking about the other person. It’s easy to just go for a standard “dinner and a movie.” … Read more »

Top 25 Sites Like Craigslist: Alternatives for Buying or Selling FAST!

Sites Like Craigslist. #SellUsedItems #SellSafelyCraigslist #FlipUsedItems #SellStuffMakeMoney

If you like buying and selling things online, you need to know about other sites like CraigsList. There are a growing number of websites that are Craigslist alternatives for listing items for sale, classified ads, freebies, and advertising services.

Craigslist offers great opportunities to buy and sell your stuff. Back in 1995 the platform started as a classified advertisements website and has remained one of the best ways to buy and sell things.

Although Craigslist may have been the first site to connect buyers and sellers in a community-centered way, it is no longer the only way that you can buy and … Read more »

Places with Free Wifi Nearby

How to get free internet from restaurants, coffee houses and retail stores.

If you’re looking for places with free wifi near you, we have lots of options. Or are you wondering where you can get the fastest wifi connections? There are more than 92,000 locations in the U.S. that provide free internet access.

We’ve created a list of coffee shops, retailers and other places that give you free internet access AND we’ve provided the speeds you can expect too.

Internet access can be your connection to the whole world. You may use it to stay connected to friends, manage your finances, take simple surveys for cash, or find a buyer for your … Read more »

How to Get Blood Stains Out of Sheets: 11 Tested Solutions

11 Ways to Get Blood out of Clothes & Sheets. We tested several different solutions and found 2 that worked amazingly well. #blood #laundry #cleaningproducts

Are you wondering how to get blood stains out of sheets?

Blood can find its way onto your sheets, clothes, carpets, and furniture in a variety of ways. Whether you’ve cut your finger, had a bloody nose or had a period mishap, we’ve got solutions.

The blood on your fabric may seem like its be there to stay. Especially if it’s dried or been washed.

Instead of just giving up the item as a lost cause, we’ll show you how to get the stain out.

We tested 11 different methods to get dried blood out of sheet fabric.

We’ll share several different common household items … Read more »

3 Types of Budgets: Which is Best System for Your Family in 2020

A man jumping for joy surrounded by a cloud of falling money!

Are you looking for the best type of budget for your family? With so many different types of budgets available, which one will work for you?

Are you looking for the best type of budget for your family? With so many different types of budgets available, which one will work for you?

We’ve discovered that there almost as many types of budget systems as there are people talking about it.

Family Budgets can be done with expensive software systems, free systems, apps, websites and grandma’s cookie jar system for budgeting.

With so many choices, it’s hard to know which type of budget will be … Read more »

Why Budget – Overcoming Budgeting Problems Now!

Why Budget? 6 Ways for Overcoming Budgeting Problems Now!

Why Budget? We’ve got six reasons why you should overcome your budgeting problems! One of the top two New Year’s Resolutions is to get personal finances in order. Many folks want to get out of debt or set up a budget.

But too often this resolution is made, and then quickly abandoned.

We’ve heard it, we’ve seen it, and we’ve helped many families to overcome it.

Any effort you make to manage your money will immediately start producing positive dividends.

We’ve created a four-part series that covers the benefits and “How To’s” of setting up a realistic, workable and maintainable household … Read more »

56 Fun, Inexpensive & Interesting Hobbies

Fun, Inexpensive & Interesting Hobbies #InterestingHobbies #InexpensiveHobbies #FunHobbies #INeedaHobby #AffordableHobbies #MakeMoneyHobbies

Have you ever said to yourself, “I need a hobby.” Are you looking for some fun, inexpensive, or interesting hobbies to try?

Hobbies are a great way to challenge you, learn a new skill or provide some extra income. And they’re especially fun if they don’t cost a lot of money to get started.

If you’re looking for something new, check out these 53 choices.

Fun & Interesting Hobbies that Became Successful Businesses

Check out this list of people whose hobbies turned into huge earning potential. They each created a successful business from a hobby started at home.

Mrs. Fields Cookies. In 1977 Debbie … Read more »

31 Free Educational Websites for Kids (2019)

29 Free Educational Websites for Kids including science, history, reading, math, news, coding and more!

If you’re looking for great websites to enhance your child’s learning you’re going to love this list of the best free educational websites for kids.

It can sometimes be hard to find the ideal balance of fun and learning. The challenge might seem daunting, but have no fear the perfect learning website is out there.

Just check out this list of fun and information filled sites to find the right website for you and your kids!

We’ve put this list into 7 different categories to make your search easier. See the table of contents for details.

A Directory of Free Educational Websites

1. Preschool – … Read more »

Pay Off Your Mortgage Early – Mortgage Free in 9 years Calculator

Small brown ranch house with green grass and a maroon car parked out front.

One of the pinnacles of financial stability and security is to Pay off your mortgage early. Owning your home free and clear may seem like a fantasy. But if you follow the 5 steps we took, it can be your reality too.

Some people pay their home off in 30 years, others 15. But there are a group of people who simply hate having a mortgage pay it off quicker.

We paid our home off in 9 years.

Our efforts to pay down our mortgage debt started with just one dollar extra each month . . . but quickly grew to much more. … Read more »

Free Places to Workout – 50 Cheap Ways to Get Healthy and Stay Healthy

3 people sitting together with white gymshoes on their feet.

There are free places to workout all around us if you just know where to look. We looked to our Facebook friends and learned about dozens more that we’d never hear of.

If you’re looking for “free exercise near me,” we’ve got lots of ideas.

It’s time to get more exercise for less.

Get Healthy Stay Healthy for Less this Year!

We all know that to get healthy and to stay healthy, a regular exercise routine is a must. Our doctors recommend it and our friends encourage it. Of course, thousands of health clubs, gyms, and exercise equipment sellers promote … Read more »

Cure a Cold: How to Cure a Cold in One or Two Days

16 ways to cure a cold a one or two days.

Finding the cure for a common cold has been mankinds’ pursuit for hundreds of years.

While we haven’t found THE cure, we have found many ways to prevent illness or regain your health quicker.

Cold & Flu season is horrible and tricky. Catching a cold or the flu is almost inevitable.

How to cure a cold and beat sickness is a game everyone wants to win.

If you leave your house at all or have a large family, you’ll be surrounded by people. And those people will be breathing out things you’ll be breathing in.

They’ll be sneezing, wheezing and coughing too. Then they’ll be … Read more »

27 Christmas Movie Favorites for the Whole Family

Christmas Movies that are Family Friendly!

This is our updated (2019) list of 27 Christmas Movies that are Family Favorites. They are appropriate for children, some are animated, and some will make you laugh out loud they are that funny! 

And remember that many of these are available at your public library or on Amazon Prime or Netflix for “free!” 

We have an online account with our city library where we put items on hold. We just go in and pick them up when they email us and notify us that they have been pulled and are on the “hold” shelf. So easy to run in and check … Read more »

My Christmas Budget – Make your Holidays Jingle with Joy

My Christmas Budget - Six Saving Tips to Make Your Holidays Jingle with Joy

Are you wondering how we set up (Our) My Christmas Budget for Gift Giving? We’ll share that and some other tips for saving on gift giving so that your holidays will Jingle with Joy.

Christmas is coming, and it seems to get here faster and faster each year. And for many families what accompanies the approach of the holiday is the accumulation of lots of presents and . . . lots of bills or credit card debt.

Is there a way to break the cycle of obligatory gift giving and the weight of January’s debt regret?

My Christmas Budget Doesn’t Include A lot … Read more »

The True Meaning of Gift Giving – Reducing Holiday Gift Pressures (with grace)

Reduce Holiday Gift Pressure Christmas Tree Ornaments

If you’re looking for the true meaning of Gift Giving, how to enjoy Christmas and the whole holiday season without feeling obligated to spend gobs of money. We’ve got 7 ways to overcome Holiday Gift Pressure.

We believe that gift-giving is a tangible way of saying “I love you.” But we also believe that spending lots of money means that I love you more than spending time and carefully selecting an appropriate gift.

A Reader Question about Holiday Gift Giving Pressures

I really enjoy reading about how your family enjoys holidays like Christmas without spending a lot of money (we all know what … Read more »

Christmas on a Budget? 30 Ideas to Make this Christmas Magical

A Magical Christmas on a Small Budget. 26 Creative & Out of Box Ideas!

How can you have a Magical Christmas on a small budget if your bank account is less than enchanted?

We all want to make Christmas a special time of year for our kids and other family members. But we don’t want to wake up in January with huge credit card bills and a large dose of Christmas regret.

It really comes down to time versus money. If you don’t have the money to buy every present you want to give, then you’ll have to invest some time to make the magic happen.

If you can involve your spouse or kids as elves, you … Read more »

Holiday Entertaining on a Budget – More Food, More Fun, More Festive!

Holiday Entertaining on a Budget doesn't have to be boring or costly!

Holiday Entertaining on a budget does not have to be boring! Does the cost of hosting a holiday party overwhelm you?

Here are 4 inexpensive ways to host holiday parties this year that are fun, frugal and full of holiday cheer.

We just attended a holiday party at a friend’s home. It was a pot-luck (of sorts)—some people brought nothing. The hostess provided a small turkey, drinks and some dessert.

Annette cooked up a huge pot of turkey barley soup. It was a cold night and we were amazed to see 6 quarts of delicious soup get consumed in just a couple of … Read more »

Giving Money As A Gift: Is it Better to Give Cash or a Present?

Gift Giving presents under a christmas tree.

Gift Giving for Kids, it’s an age-old question. Should we give our kids money for Christmas or should we just give them presents? You might be surprised by our advice to this family!

Question About the Holidays and Gift Giving for Kids

I have your three books and have read about the MoneySmart Kids System that teaches kids to manage their own money; I have a question regarding giving money for holidays (to your children). Do you give money to your children for holidays or do you have a rule to not give money?

Our Strategy with Gift Giving for … Read more »

Is Swagbucks Legit, or is it a Scam? Our Review [Earnings Reveal]

Is Swagbucks Legit? It is a survey company, search engine, shopping portal, movie previews, playing online games, and trivia contests online!, and something for everyone!

When we first heard about the Swagbucks website, we had to ask ourselves, “Is Swagbucks legit? Or is it a scam?”

We had tried some of the other survey sites and were really disappointed. So we started researching this site to find out.

A blogger friend mentioned how she earned hundreds of dollars in gift cards through Swagbucks. We really doubted the validity of her claim.

We Googled “Is Swagbucks Legit or a scam?” and found some very interesting blogs. Some people didn’t like this website, but others praised it. The positive reviews also claimed to have earned gift cards and cashback through … Read more »

Stores Open On Thanksgiving Day – Black Friday Shopping [2018]

Thanksgiving Day Shopping Stores open and closed.

Are you wondering whether your favorite stores are opened or closed on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, check out the list below.

How does the commercialization of the holidays make you feel?

You know we love getting deals and saving money, but where do you draw the line? When Black Friday was on the Friday after Thanksgiving we thrilled in getting up early to catch the sales. As retailers strategically moved their opening times earlier and earlier in the morning we cringed.

Then when the midnight opening started, we cringed some more, yet we were still attracted by some of the great … Read more »

7 Black Friday Secrets & Strategies

Black Friday Secrets & Strategies!

Are you looking for Black Friday Secrets and Strategies to jumpstart your Christmas shopping and savings?

Are you looking for the Ultimate Black Friday Cheat Sheet of Sales?

If so, keep reading – we’ve got lots to share with you.

it’s time to put our gift planning into high gear. One great way to do that is to make a list of all of the people you are planning on buying gifts for.

To find the Best Black Friday Secrets you’ll need to start researching early using sites like BlackFriday.info, BFads.net, BradsDeals, Hip2Save and Fabulously Frugal.com. Get the links below.

Then check some of … Read more »