Got paper receipts? Manage them with FitFin!

Shopping receipts suck. They’re nasty little pieces of paper that fall between the consul and seat of your car, or get stuck to the bottom of your sweaty water bottle.  They get washed in your jeans pocket, or they bulge your wallet to the thickness of a Stephen King novel. They overtake your purse, becoming paper cut hazards when you search for your keys. Receipts pile up everywhere: on counters and desks . . . wadded up reminders of your spending habits. While they overtake your space, it seems like once you actually need a specific receipt, it’s nowhere to be found.

Beating boredom this summer (without breaking your wallet)

Ah, Summer.  That time of year where the days are long, the nights are warm, and life is carefree.  That is until boredom sets in . . .

There are only so many days one can lounge around the house before the thirst for more sets in.    That’s when things can get expensive.  This is especially true if you have kids.  So what to do?  Here are five ideas on how to beat summer boredom without beating your budget to death.

Do you understand your work benefits program?

This is an area that many of us may not think about too much.  In fact, benefits aren’t considered nearly as much by most people as salary when choosing new employment.  But benefits are usually valuable and often misunderstood.  In fact, according to a study done by LIMRA in 2011, only 15 percent of employees were able to give a reasonable estimate of the cost of their health insurance.

Rainy Day Fun Fund

You’ve heard of the term “Save it for a rainy day” to reference putting money away for when you might need it.  In fact, it's generally recommended to have three months to a year's salary worth of saving for emergencies.  While having an emergency fund is definitely important, we've also been doing this on a smaller scale to put a little F-U-N into our fund.   

Saving money at the store is easy--just say 'know'

Winston Churchill once said, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”  While we’re pretty sure he wasn’t referring to your navigational strategy at the Piggly Wiggly, mapping out your grocery store visits can save you big money each shopping trip.

According to the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), 60% or more of what we buy at the supermarket isn't even on our list!  So if you spend $100.00 at the store, about $60.00 is unplanned.  That's crazy!  And it's literally by design.

Five inexpensive Valentine's Day gifts that make you look romantic (and not cheap)

In an age where everything costs an arm and a leg, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to decide on the perfect gift for that someone special.  Even dinner at a moderately-priced restaurant can cost $100.00 or more, and throw in a movie on top of that and you might as well buy a diamond ring!  Here are a few inexpensive romantic gestures that are a perfect gift on their own, or a nice supplemental surprise to whatever else you have planned:

Want to build a better budget? Three things to know about yourself

With more and more “things” out there for us to spend our money on, budgeting is becoming more important than ever.  Many of us now spend $10.00/month to stream our music, $15.00 or more for streaming movies, and a number of other things that can add up quickly.  You may not realize how much you're spending and oftentimes not even know how much money you even make!  Knowledge is power, so in order to get a handle on your finances, here are three things you need to know about yourself:

My poor history of budgeting (and how it led me to create FitFin)

I created my first real budget in early 2005 or so.  I had no clue what I was doing, but with a newborn, I knew we had to start reigning in our spending.  My wife and I almost arbitrarily came up with numbers of what we wanted to spend on groceries, gas, going out to eat, etc., not really knowing what we’d spent in the past.  I had every intention of watching our spending going forward and assessing those numbers against the budget I’d set up.

Are "experiences" really better than "things"?

I recently read an article that suggested that people are happier when spending money on expriences, as opposed to material things.  When I read the statement, I was taken aback at first.  I thought about all of the cool stuff I’d like to buy:  a new Tesla Model S, a house with a view of Denver and the Front Range, a new laptop that was lightning-fast, and the list goes on.  Then I thought about the word experiences, and what that meant.  Skydiving?  Scuba diving?  Those things don’t really appeal to me.  I was struggling with making this a true statement.

Got milk? Know what it will cost you?

According to an article from Reader’s Digest earlier this year, the average shopper only knows the general price of four items:  Milk, bread, bananas, and eggs.  The problem with this is that if we don’t know the prices of most things we buy, we don’t know if we’re getting a good deal or getting milked out of our money (sorry, couldn’t resist).