Budget Articles List

22 Best Trusted Survey Apps: Earn Cash from your Phone (2019)

A girl holding a cell phone taking a survey.

Would you love to find the best mobile survey apps that could earn you money? We’ve done all the work for you by researching and testing them.

Do you enjoy sharing your opinion about things? Most of us do.

We’ve researched the 23 of the most popular survey apps that pay you for sharing your views.

The promise of making some money for answering questions might sound too good to be true. And there are some instances where it is. 

It’s true that some survey companies might be less than ethical. But the list below only includes legitimate survey companies with good reviews.

These survey … Read more »

5 Secrets to Surviving a Financial Crisis or Economic Downturn

5 Ways to Survive a Financial Crisis.

Are you going through a financial crisis or cut in pay?

If your income were to dramatically drop tomorrow, would you survive?

Would you spiral into a financial crisis or would you be able to keep your head above water?

Many financial experts say that Americans who live paycheck to paycheck could be 3 months from homelessness.

We’re going to give you 5 Secrets that we’ve used to survive job layoffs, cuts in pay and a nationwide financial downturn. 

 

How are you doing Financially?

If you were to ask ten different people in your town, “How are you doing financially compared to last … Read more »

Budget Success Stories

Budget Success Stories, these will really encourage you!

This Budget Success Stories Page contains a growing list of Budgeting Ideas from readers like you!

If you want some encouragement about how a budget can revolutionize your personal finances, you’ve come to the right place. We love hearing stories of budgeting success – going from debt to equity, desperation to determination and seeing the joy of families who have learned to make their money do what they want it to do. Read these stories and be encouraged!

This page contains the following stories:

Budget Success,    Young Adult Success,   Budgets Lift Burdens, Budget with Confidence,  A Child Running A … Read more »

Banking, Taxes & Charitable Giving Tips

Banking and Tax Savings Money Hacks Super Page.

This Banking, Taxes & Charitable Giving Tips Page contains a growing list of money-saving tips from our readers to help you deal with bank fees, tax preparation, and charitable giving!

25x the Interest – FDIC Online Bank

If you need a bank that pays a high-interest rate and has very low fees consider CIT Bank. They are an FDIC insured bank that pays 25x the national average in interest (1.55% APY).

You can open an account with a minimum balance of $100. Get details from CIT Bank. 

We know that it’s a lot of work to change banks, but at the very … Read more »

18 Places To Cash A Personal Check Fast and Without a Bank Account

Writing a check with a gold pen.

Have you ever wondered how to cash a personal check when you don’t have a bank account? Or where you can cash a check right now and what the charges would be?

You might need to cash a check from a friend because you’re traveling out of state, or you could have an online bank or you may simply not have a bank account at all.

If someone writes you a check and you don’t have access to your own bank, you may have a problem.

Don’t fret, there are several ways you can cash a personal check without a bank account.

Here’s how … Read more »

Could You Be Living Below Your Means Like These 2 Pro Athletes

What does living below your means do for your life?

What does living below your means . . . mean? Does it mean a life of deprivation? Does it mean a life of constant coupon clipping, or a life of regularly saying, “We can’t afford it?”

Living below your means – something different.

Maybe it’s saying yes to your top priorities like paying off debt and building savings/retirement.
OR,  it’s saying, “I’d love to take a cruise, but this year we only have enough money for a driving vacation.” And then making it a fantastic, fun family memory.
Maybe it’s saying, “I’m making great money right now, but this may not last, so we’re going to … Read more »

Bills Keep Piling Up: How Can We Earn More & Cut Expenses?

Several envelopes piled up with past due stamped on them.

What can a family do if they’re struggling to make ends meet each month? School uniforms, back taxes, rent – the bills just keep piling up? We’ve got 18 things you can do starting today.

Our Bills are Past Due!

We received this email from a website visitor.

With grocery, utilities and public transportation prices climbing, our family is struggling to survive. We have a large family and do grow a small garden, but the bills keep piling up.

We’re behind on our rent and income taxes.
Our kids attend a charter school that requires uniforms which we can’t afford.
We don’t have credit … Read more »

Can a Family Live on One Income?

Mom with two kids and a dog in the forest. Can we live on one income?

If you’ve ever wondered whether your family can live on one income or not, the 5 questions below should help answer your question.

Living on One Income for a SAHM Wannabe

First I would like to say that I am very grateful to have found your book America’s Cheapest Family because ever since I picked that book up my husband and I have started changing the way we live.

We aren’t out of debt yet, but we have paid off some and are working towards paying off the rest.

I really want to be a stay-at-home wife and mother. My husband is very supportive of … Read more »

Frugal Living Helps You Hurdle to Early Retirement

Frugal Living Helps You Hurdle Towards Early Retirement!

Can Frugal Living make a difference in how soon you retire or is it just a waste of time? We’re going to give you one example of the power of frugal living as it specifically pertains to how soon you can retire.

How Much Money Do You Need to Retire?

First, let’s calculate how much money you need to retire for a moment.

Most retirement planning projection systems don’t adequately show the impact of frugal living in retirement estimate calculations—probably for good reason. Most people aren’t frugal!

However, the average person has rarely been shown “The Power of Frugal Living” regarding retirement calculation below. … Read more »

How to File your Taxes for Free

Free Tax Help - How to File Your Taxes for Free.

Finding free tax help and filing your taxes doesn’t have to be expensive.

If you’re a lower-income family, just starting out after college, a senior, military or former military family, there are lots of options for getting your taxes filed for free or for almost nothing. We’re hoping that you’ll check out these three options and be able to save a boodle! We’ve personally used two of the three services, and Steve’s dad was a volunteer with the last one.

Filing your income tax return doesn’t have to be a taxing (or expensive) proposition.

Filing taxes is an annual ritual that most of … 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 »

7 Ways to Destroy Debt Even If You’re Living Paycheck to Paycheck

7 Ways to Destroy Debt - Even when Living Paycheck to Paycheck!

Accumulating debt has become a common occurrence in most families – but paying off debts, even on a low income has become an achievable goal for visitors to our website. If you are looking for ways to destroy debt forever, then this article will encourage, equip and empower you!

Debt Free on a Small Income. On an average household income of less than $45,000, we’ve avoided debt and been able to pay off our home mortgages in record time. To do it, we’ve used many of the methods described in this blog. Follow these 7 Steps and you could be debt free too!

Accumulating Debt … Read more »

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

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

We’ve heard people refer to budgets in many negative terms, that all imply pain or restriction or deprivation. We have a different view of budget restriction. 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. 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 anything but positive. We don’t think of budgeting as … 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 … Read more »

Best Budget Tracking: The Key to the Most Powerful Household Budget Ever!

This is the Amazing Key to the Most Powerful Household Budget Ever! And it starts with Budget Tracking.

Are you ready to learn about our budget tracking tool? It’s the most unexpected, simple and amazing key to an effective household budget ever!

We’ve got Budget Tracking secrets to help you become successful financially. 

Lots of people talk about household budgets this time of year. With the holidays quickly fading in the rearview mirror, we’re motoring at full speed into a new year, full of optimism and powered by new resolutions. While some cruise down that road with apparent effortlessness, other will hit speed bumps or have collisions with unseen obstacles. The road to resolution heaven is often … 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 »

Creative Ways to Save Money

Creative Ways to Save Money-Dozens of Ways to Save Hundreds of Dollars! #CreativeWaysToSaveMoney #SaveMoney

Are you looking for Creative Ways to Save Money? This page is full of great ideas to help you spend less on everyday expenses!

You’ll find tips for saving money including using cash; tracking sales cycles; bartering; negotiating; shopping on CraigsList and military discounts. These are super frugal, creative and fun ways to make your money go further.

1. The Windfalls Plan Really Works!

One of the first MoneySmartFamily.com articles I read was about Windfalls.  I found it interesting and told my husband about it that same night.

We both wrote down 5 things we each wished for. Some things on our lists … Read more »

Managing a Windfall: What to Do with Sudden Money

Financial Windfalls - How to manage them.

What is a financial windfall?  Is managing a windfall something you are prepared to do?

Winning the lottery, a TV game show, a large inheritance or sweepstakes are all windfalls. What about smaller windfalls – like a tax refund?

How could this money help you? How would you manage it?

Have you ever thought of creating a plan for a financial windfall?

Will a Windfall be Coming Your Way?

What if you won the lottery? What would you do if you have $50 million dumped in your lap? Many of us would be able to quickly give an answer to that question.

Perhaps you would consider … Read more »

What is Your Budget Question? 17 Tips on How to Budget Better

What is Your Budget Question & How to budget better - tips for growing your money.

We’ve asked our email subscribers, What is Your Budget Question? This page is really growing. If you have a budget question, please use our contact form and send it in!

On this page, we answer 17 of the most common budget questions with practical solutions.

We talk about all aspects of budgeting and answer some very practical questions, that sometimes folks are afraid to ask.

What is Your Budget Question – A Better Way to Control Your Spending

The more control you have over your money, the more money you’ll have.

This is the best computer-based budgeting system out there. Read more »

3 Types of Budgets: Which is Best System for Your Family in 2019

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?

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 best for you!

What Type of Budget System will Work Best for Your Family?

Lots of people talk about having a budget for their money.
Lots of people want … Read more »

Is Budgeting Better With Credit Cards?

A silver and blue visa card in a blue jean pocket

Question about budgeting using credit cards

I’m using your America’s Cheapest Family Budgeting System and love it. I really like how the budget system allows for a family to “save” in advance for purchases and designates money for different specific categories.  

Here’s my Budgeting Issue

We are not in debt. but we use our credit card for every purchase. And then we pay our credit card every month, completely. I know this is not the “norm” for most people.  We like this because we use fewer checks and we also receive cash back, … Read more »

Which credit card should we pay off first?

A woman with two hands full of credit cards trying to decide which one to use.

Question: Would it be wiser to make extra payments to pay down a credit card that has a 0 percent interest rate with a somewhat large balance (around $6,000) or to make extra payments to pay down a credit card with a smaller balance (around $2,000) and 11 percent interest?  I’m trying to decide which one to pay down on first. The card with 0 percent is for the life of the loan.  

Answer- Here’s how you can eliminate your credit card debt: 

It’s great that you want to pay off your credit cards. It’s one of the most rewarding financial goals you could ever … Read more »

How to deal with an IRS paycheck issue

A red brick will with large white letters spelling out "Tax."

How to deal with an IRS Paycheck withholding tax shortfall.

Question:

My former employers did not take enough taxes out of my paycheck each time I was paid. Now, I owe the IRS money. Do I have any recourse with my employer?

Answer:

That is a frustrating situation and unfortunately, it happens too often.

As much as we’d like to blame former employers, in the end, the IRS sees it as our responsibility to make sure that enough taxes are withheld from our paychecks. That is of course unless you filled out the IRS W-4 form and requested in writing to have more withheld … Read more »