Dr. Laura, America's #1 Relationship Talk Radio Host
On: SiriusXM Stars Channel 109
Call 1-800-DR LAURA (1-800-375-2872) 11am - 2pm PT
Image 01 Image 02
Simple Savings
05/07/2010
IconA Woman's World of Money By Al Jacobs Over the years that I've dispensed financial advice, I've never distinguished much between the genders.nbsp; It's always been my attitude that an investment approach which suits a man should equally suit a woman.nbsp; I've reasoned that a dollar in the hands of Jack is no different than in the hands of Jill, inasmuch as they both tumble down the hill together. It appears, however, that I've been overlooking something.nbsp; A provocative book by Lois P. Frankel, PhD, a business consultant and psychotherapist, titled Nice Girls Don't Get Rich: 75 Avoidable Mistakes Women Make with Money , points out numerous factors that my male chauvinist focus fails to consider.nbsp; She explains that quot;Our [women's] real roles revolve less around money and more around relationships,quot; adding that quot;throughout our lives we're given multiple, often conflicting, messages.nbsp; This double bind causes little girls to limit their interest in acquiring wealth.quot;nbsp; She further stresses that quot;if you don't think rich, you certainly don't consciously engage in behaviors that will contribute to getting rich.quot; Dr. Frankel's book - of which I've now completed its entire 283 pages - demonstrates her sound understanding of both economics and the feminine approach to wealth.nbsp; Perhaps it's time I altered a few of my previous financial recommendations.nbsp; There are four specific areas of advice I want to direct in ways to better address my women readers. 1. Generosity . If, as suggested, you are more sensitive than men by nature, then channel your caring attitude in ways less financially detrimental.nbsp; Don't loan or give money or possessions to friends or relatives.nbsp; Instead, express your generosity in ways that donrsquo;t cost anything.nbsp; Personal letters expressing condolence, congratulations, or regrets in lieu of loans of money or gifts will give you satisfaction without the sting.nbsp; You may be equally generous with smiles, compliments, and expressions of understanding without an inclination to dip into your handbag. 2. Knowledge . Once you've made an effort to objectively investigate a matter, don't presume that others - particularly men - know more about the subject than you.nbsp; This is especially true of stock brokers, insurance representatives, real estate agents, and financial advisers of all varieties.nbsp; It's probably equally so in dealings with assorted clerks, vendors, and shopkeepers.nbsp; Most importantly, there is no one with a greater interest in your own well-being than you. Your actions should reflect that reality.nbsp; Rely upon your judgment and remember always that if something does not make sense to you, presume it to be senseless. 3. Expenditures . Evidently social pressures that bear heavily on the female community can lead to unwise spending.nbsp; Dr. Frankel describes the lack of sales resistance many women exhibit and recommends that impulse buying can be better controlled by making a list before you shop and always sleep on purchases that exceed $250.nbsp; I have an additional suggestion that may prove even more failsafe. nbsp;We cannot deny that much unwarranted spending is the result of a universal proliferation of credit cards - one of the more insidious devices that ever tempted the unwary.nbsp; For this reason, if you cannot control your purchases, you'll do well to destroy your credit cards and conduct your life on a cash basis.nbsp; The inconvenience it will cause will be preferable to a lifetime in the plastic jungle. 4. Assets . No one should arrive at the later years of life without an assured stash of assets.nbsp; This is in keeping with the shrewd advice of that skeptical heroine Lorelei Lee, portrayed by Carol Channing in Styne and Robin's Broadway musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes , where she offers these delightful lyrics: Time goes on and youth is gone, and you can't straighten up when you bend.nbsp; But stiff back or stiff knees, you stand straight at Tiffany's. Diamonds are a girl's best friend. Lorelei's opinion as to reliance on we males of the species is also well presented. He's your guy when stocks are high, but beware when they start to descend. Itrsquo;s then that those louses go back to their spouses. Diamonds are a girl's best friend. This requires that you get to work early so to amass what you'll need.nbsp; An individual IRA account (Roth, if you can swing it) into which you systematically accumulate suitable securities over your productive lifetime is a reasonable way to go about it.nbsp; Although I prefer interest-bearing investments such as CDs, treasuries, or corporate bonds, the acquisition of no-load index funds through low-fee institutions such as Fidelity, Vanguard, or T. Rowe Price, is an acceptable substitute. I'll say no more, except to apologize for my past omissions.nbsp; In the future I will endeavor to give greater consideration to the proclivities of the fairer sex. AL JACOBS has been a professional investor for nearly four decades.nbsp;He is a nationally syndicated columnist and appears regularly on ProducersWeb.com, DrLaura.com and SheKnows.com. He draws on his extensive expertise innbsp;real estate, mortgage, and securities investments to counsel millions on how to invest wisely and spend prudently. He is the author of Nobodyrsquo;s Fool: A Skepticrsquo;s Guide to Prosperity. Subscribe to his financial column, quot;On the Money Trail,quot; at no cost or obligation, by visiting www.onthemoneytrail.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/07/2010
IconAre Rising Prices Scaring You? By Jill Cooper LivingOnADime.com We are getting e-mails and it has been all over the news - quot;What do we do? They are rationing rice!!quot; I haven't decided if I should just laugh or start tearing my hair out. First everyone panicked over the price of gas... then it was the price of apples, then milk and now rice. What I find so amusing about the whole thing is a lot of those same people who are in a panic are still using their gas to go to the movies, to go on vacations, to travel for sports activities, to go shopping and to go most any place they want to go. So many people complain about the price of gas when it costs $4.00 a gallon but don't bat an eye when going to Starbucks to pay $4.00 for one cup (8 oz. or 1/8 of a gallon) of coffee that they could have made at home for pennies. Despite all the fuss, most Americans have not substantially changed their lives because of gas prices. Then there is another whole group who complain about how they quot;aren't like other peoplequot;. They don't spend a penny on anything and they still have nothing and, because their lot in life is so miserable, they have a right to be afraid of what is happening in the world and in their lives. They have a quot;What about me?quot; attitude all of the time. The Bible says that God does not give us the spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind. Even if you aren't a Christian, I want you to really think about those words because they apply to human nature in general. We are living in a world that is crazed with fear and because of that we have lost power over ourselves, our lives and our circumstances. Because of that fear we have very little love for anyone. When you love someone or something your main thoughts are focused on that person or thing that you love. What do you think about all the time? --Your spouse, your children, joyful things and happy things or do you focus on yourself and on how these terrible prices are going to affect you? Do you know how powerless you become when you give way to fear? When you're constantly afraid, you can't function properly at work which leads to not getting a pay raise or worse yet, getting fired. You can't get your mind off of that which you fear and it filters into every area of your life. You become short and angry with your family when they try to talk to you, ask you something or want to spend time with you because they are interrupting your focus on your fear. quot;How am I going to get some rice (or gas, or milk or apples)quot;, quot;If there's a shortage of rice now, I'm sure that is going to lead to a shortage on ALL foodquot;, quot;If there is a shortage of food, that will mean I can't go on vacation this summer or buy that new car.quot; You say but that's silly and doesn't even make sense. No it doesn't and that is where the sound mind comes in. Where there is fear there is total loss of rational reasoning or what I call quot;common sensequot;. When someone isn't of sound mind (not using common sense), they think there is going to be a shortage on rice and they panic. They tell everyone they know. The word spreads and then everyone panics and runs out to hoard rice. All that fear has a snowball effect which then creates a shortage of rice where there wasn't one. If people had not given over to fear and had been of sound mind (using common sense) they would have thought, quot;No big deal, we'll have pasta instead or just do without rice for now.quot; They would go about their daily business without giving it another thought and focus on more important things like how to be a kinder more loving spouse or parent. When people aren't consumed with fear they can think more rationally, which helps them make wiser and more practical decisions. When fear is gone they have peace and joy and patience and most of all they are more loving. Think about it. How much of your life is ruled by fear? If you filter back through most negative emotions, most of them begin with fear of something. Do you buy things you can't afford because you are afraid of what people will think of you? Do you spend more on gifts for your friends and your children's friends because you fear that people won't love you? Take a serious look at the things you obsess about. Do you obsess about them because of some kind of fear? I don't know how to tactfully and gently say this but lately I have seen quiet (and sometimes loud) fear in a new thing called quot;becoming green and saving the environmentquot;. This is really just another form of fear. When people become obsessed and overcome, it is usually out of fear and not out of rational thinking. I'm not saying you shouldn't try to save the environment if you think that it needs saving. I'm simply saying don't let things that stem from fear of something control your life in such a way that you lose all of your life's joy and your capacity for reasonable and rational thinking. Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the editors of LivingOnADime.com . As a single mother of two, Jill Cooper started her own home business without any capital and paid off $35,000 debt in 5 years on $1,000 a month income. Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 debt in 5 years on $22,000 a year income. They have helped thousands of people all over the world to save money and get out of debt. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/07/2010
IconPacking Food For Road Trips By Jill Cooper LivingOnADime.com If you have some money saved for a trip but you know that the gas cost is going to eat most of your funds, try cutting your budget in another area, like your food. Consider taking your food with you. Going out to eat on a trip does not hold the excitement that it once did. Most families go out to eat so often at home that the novelty of it has worn off. The next time you travel try packing your own food. Don't forget breakfast -- Sometimes getting on the road the first thing in the morning is such a rush that it might be easier to wait and eat breakfast after you have driven an hour or two. This works especially well if you have to start out in the wee hours of the morning. Breakfast Muffins, banana or apple bread Don't forget the butter or cream cheese. Donuts, honey buns If you think it will be easier for you, buy them individually packaged. I'm not sure why, but kids seem to love individually packaged things and it makes everything more fun. Bagels with cream cheese and jam Mix the jam and cream cheese together and place in a small container before you leave. Individual boxes of cereal with milk When I was young I always thought that it was so neat to be able to cut the sides of the boxes open and use the cereal box for a bowl. My mom thought it was neat because she didn't have to bring extra bowls and could toss the boxes. Hard boiled eggs Little smoky sausages (the pre-cooked kind) These can be eaten out of the package, but if you like them hot, place them in a small thermos and pour very hot to boiling water over them. Put on the lid and by the time you are ready to eat them, the water will have heated them through. Lunch and Dinner Sandwiches Sandwiches are always great for a trip. Use hoagie buns instead of regular sandwich bread. It makes them a little more special and they don't crush as easily. Good old peanut butter is great for the kids. Pay just a few more pennies and get the peanut butter in the tube. No messy knives and it's smaller than a jar. If you have spare packets of jelly from eating out, use those or buy jelly in the tube, too. If you put lettuce or tomato on your sandwiches, bag them separately and put them on just before you are ready to eat. Chicken or slices of ham Fried chicken is always a good picnic stand by. See later tips on keeping it cold. Hot dogs As with the little sausages, put the hot dogs in a thermos and cover with boiling water. They will be perfectly cooked when ready to eat. To me these are so much easier than sandwiches and everyone loves them. Potato salad or pasta salad Keep them in a small cooler. Chips, crackers and cheeses Buy chips in the cans. Slice or cut cheeses into cubes before you leave. Cheese sticks are perfect. Baked beans Once again, they keep great in a thermos. Fruits and veggies Apples, Oranges (already peeled) and firmer fruits. Clean and bag carrot sticks, celery, broccoli, cauliflower or other vegetables. Cookies, brownies, quick breads and muffins These are the best desserts. Drinks Of course pop works great, but I like to freeze bottles of lemonade. Lemonade seems more refreshing. You can also have juice or iced tea in bottles and coffee in a thermos for coffee drinkers. Be sure to freeze all your drinks to help keep your other foods cool in place of ice. Don't forget the water! General Tips Kids usually whine and fuss for one of two reasons. They are hungry or tired. This is especially true on trips, so bring plenty of snacks and a pillow for everyone. If you have room, box each family member's meal in his own box like the box lunches they give out at activities. This is really handy if you have to eat while driving. When finished eating, each person can put his empty wrappers in his own box for easy clean up. Be sure to bring those extra ketchup, mustard, salt, and pepper packets you get from fast food. Don't forget the plastic knives, forks and spoons along with napkins and a paring knife. Make sure just about everything is disposable. If money is tight, you don't have to have elaborate meals. I still fondly remember the trips when we stopped and bought a bag of chips, a loaf of bread, a package of bologna and cheese. We washed it down with an icy cold Pepsi and nothing tasted better. If you can, buy the gadget that you plug into the lighter plug in your car to heat water. It works well for instant coffee, oatmeal and hot chocolate. In this day and age with so many convenience foods available, it isn't hard to pack a lunch for the road. Even using those convenience foods, it is usually cheaper than buying food for the whole family at a fast food place. Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the editors of LivingOnADime.com . They have helped thousands save money and get out of debt by starting with just their grocery bill. To get their free mini e-course on Grocery Savings visit LivingOnADime.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/07/2010
IconSeven Best Decisions You Can Make About Money By Al Jacobs When this title was first suggested to me, I instinctively blurted out: "I can think of only one best decision . . . acquire as much of it is you can!" I've since reconsidered; there are others. 1. Don't spend what you don't have. First and foremost, regularly spend less than you make. Consider a local mattress dealer that advertises on radio and TV. His madcap skits, offering "no deposit, no interest, and no payments until . . . whenever," are hilarious. However, I shudder at the thought that someone actually purchases an unaffordable product, gambling that in a year or so the full purchase price can be paid so to avoid scheduled fees and retroactive interest. It's a recipe for disaster. 2. You'll find your financial helping hand at the end of your arm. A half-century ago, the average American anticipated retirement through an employee pension fund, supplemented by social security. Much has since changed since. Many employers, for sheer survival, are under-funding their pension programs and ridding themselves of employees. And with Social Security rapidly evolving into a welfare system, there is little outside assistance to count on. The significance is clear: Fund your own retirement through regular savings and sound investments. Fashion your life so that part of your income is not consumed, but available for the future. You must do this yourself; don't expect help elsewhere. 3. Arrange to make your money grow. The adage that time is money is accurate; it depicts the earning power of money astutely invested. Let me suggest a method. Open a self-directed brokerage IRA account-preferably a Roth if you're eligible-in which you accumulate certificates of deposit, treasury notes, and high grade corporate bonds. Begin at an early age and pursue this program systematically through your working years. An annual contribution of $4,000 invested at 7frac12; percent, compounded semiannually over the 40-year period from ages 25 to 65, results in more than a million dollars. It's the compound interest that brings this about, a phenomenon as close to magic as you'll ever encounter. 4. Don't be taken advantage of. There is no limit to the ways your money can be misspent or the persons who will take it from you. Don't let this happen. Delete spam e-mails unopened. Recognize that all advertisements qualify for the admonition: Ninety-five percent of everything is nonsense. Purchase nothing from uninvited salesmen. Ignore random solicitations for charitable contributions. 5. Plan for the changes that must surely come. Life is a constantly evolving process, with significance at each stage. In your twenties it's acceptable to live on a shoestring while dreaming and scheming for the future. By your thirties, as family or professional obligations take precedence, closely control your spending and savings habits. During your forties assiduously concentrate on asset accumulation. I recommend that by age fifty you are able to subsist on passive investment income if necessary. By your sixtieth birthday, you qualify as wealthy, meaning that you can live in a style you choose with no employment required. Be aware that things will work out this way only by your early decision to make it happen 6. Don't expect money to make you happy. You've heard the old saying: "Money isn't everything." That's true. Like it or not, wealth brings with it certain demands and responsibilities, and if you ignore them you'll regret it. As you become wealthy - recognizably wealthy - certain aspects of your life change, and not all for the better. Although the problems of meeting the mortgage and financing the children's schooling may no longer exist, other problems move in to take their place. Your relationship with friends and relatives begin to change as you are viewed as something apart. It seems that admiration and envy are opposite sides of the same coin, and as your perceived fortune grows, you will be the recipient of both emotions. Merely possessing money doesn't ensure happiness. Only its prudent use results in satisfaction. 7. Give away what you don't need. In the final analysis, there is a practical limit on personal consumption, beyond which satisfaction is marginal. At some point in our lives there must be more than mere acquisition. In this hostile world are deserving people, and the opportunity to share your bounty in a meaningful way is exactly that - an opportunity. There is satisfaction in giving back a portion of your good fortune. Establish a private non-profit educational foundation into which you contribute sums of money. These funds become available for scholarships to students chosen by the foundation directors whom you select, perhaps faculty members of a nearby college. The student chosen receive payments as long as they perform satisfactorily, and it's your task to monitor their performance. Not only do deserving students benefit directly to the extent of nearly 100 percent of your contributions, but also your donations qualify as tax deductions. This is a fine way to fund a philanthropic enterprise in which the value to the actual recipients can be seen and appreciated. What finer way might you spend money? AL JACOBS has been a professional investor for more than four decades. His business experience ranges from real estate, mortgage, and securities investment to appraisal, civil engineering, and the operation of a private trust company. In addition to managing his investments on a day-to-day basis, he is a featured financial columnist for both online and print publications. He is the author of Nobody's Fool: A Skeptic's Guide to Prosperity. You may subscribe to his financial Newsletter, "On the Money Trail," at no cost or obligation, by visiting www.onthemoneytrail.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/07/2010
IconTips for Inexpensive Graduation Parties By Jill Cooper LivingOnADime.com Bobbi asks: Our daughter graduates this spring and wants to have a graduation party afterwards for family and friends. We have very little money for that. Do you have any ideas for finger foods, salads, and decorating ideas that would fit our budget? Thank you, Bobbi First of all, keep it simple. Decorate using anything that your daughter has collected over the years that has her high school colors or mascot on it. For a tablecloth, go to the dollar store and get a plastic tablecloth in her school colors or go to Wal-Mart and get an inexpensive twin sheet (for about $3) in her colors. Hang school pictures or scrapbook items around the room or lay them on the table. Also, balloons and streamers from the dollar store can add a lot to the decorations for a small price. For my daughters graduation I didn't decorate much, but I did lay out a very nice food table. As far as food goes, it's really more about the presentation than the food. Even the most inexpensive food looks expensive when served on a silver platter or glass tray. Do things like cut the sandwiches into triangles and cut off the crusts. Use foods like egg salad, ground up chicken or ham sandwiches. When you grind your meat, it can go much farther. Punch can be a less expensive alternative to trying to serve pop. I make punch all the time by mixing 3-4 different flavors of Kool-Aid and then freezing it long enough to make it slushy. Use less water than what the directions indicate. If the package calls for 2 quarts of water, I use 1 and 3/4 quarts. People frequently ask me for my recipe and are often surprised to learn that it is just plain old Kool-Aid. Look through your cookbooks and find salads that call for less expensive ingredients. For example, adding a few veggies to a pasta salad is less expensive then making a veggie salad with lots of cauliflower and broccoli in it. Here's a strawberry salad that I used at my daughter's graduation that is great because it freezes well, allowing me to make it long before the party. If you have a cake, too, this dessert can be used as a fruit salad instead. Strawberry Dessert This is probably one of my favorite desserts, partly because it is not too rich. It is a very light dessert. It is an especially good one to keep made up in the freezer for when unexpected company comes by. I like to use it not only for graduation parties, but also for baby showers or any other get-together because I can make it a week ahead of time and that means one less thing to have to deal with the day of the special event! Crust: 1 cup flour frac14; cup brown sugar frac12; cup nuts frac12; cup butter, softened Mix and slightly press or crumble into a 9x13 pan. Bake at 350deg; for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally while baking to make crumbly. When cooled, remove 1/3 of it to save to sprinkle on top of the dessert. Evenly spread out the remaining portion in the pan. Topping: 2 egg whites (pasteurized) 2/3 cup sugar 1 10oz. package of strawberries 2 Tbsp. lemon juice (must use) 1 small container whipped topping Place first 4 ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat at high speed for 10 minutes or until it forms stiff peaks. Be sure to use a large mixing bowl because this really increases in volume. Fold in whipped topping and spread over crust, Sprinkle with the 1/3 cup of crumbs you saved back. Freeze for 3-6 hours or overnight. Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the editors of LivingOnADime.com . They have helped thousands save money and get out of debt by starting with just their grocery bill. To get their free mini e-course on Grocery Savings visit LivingOnADime.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/07/2010
IconFeeding a Family for $300 a Month? By Tawra Kellam LivingOnADime.com I do something that most people think they can't do today. I feed my family of 5 for $300 a month. Most people say that's an impossible feat, but what boggles minds even more is that I do it without using coupons. How do I do it? First, I use what I have . If I don't have milk in the house, I don't make a special trip to the store for it. The kids won't die from malnutrition if they miss drinking milk for a day or two. If I'm out of bread, I'll make some cornbread or muffins. If I'm out of fresh veggies, I will use canned or frozen instead. Stop going to the store for one or two things. I shop for food 2-3 times a month and that's it. You'd be amazed how much this saves on the cost of gas. Shopping the clearance sections, I regularly find milk on clearance for $1.20 a gallon. My store marks the milk down a few days before the "sell by" date. The great part is that milk stays fresh for 1 week after it's opened. I generally only buy the milk when it's marked down and I buy enough to last until the next time I find a great deal on it. I throw several in the freezer and then I don't have to make a special trip for milk (or pay the premium price). Just thaw, shake and serve. Purchase meat only on sale or on clearance. Again, butchers mark down their meat a day or two before the "sell by" date. Generally, meat is good for 3-4 days after the "sell by" date in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer. I never buy meat unless it's on sale for $1.99 or less a pound. If it's not on sale, we don't eat it. (Even so, we never have a shortage of meat in our house.) You can get some great unadvertised deals just by watching the meat counter's clearance items. I found 5 lb. rolls of hamburger for $2.95 each just the other day. Of course, I stocked up and will have enough hamburger to last the next 6 months. I can get "soup bones" with enough meat on them to make a great vegetable stew for under $2.00 for the entire family! Add some rolls and you have a complete meal for 5 for less than $3.00. When chicken is on sale for $1.66 per pound, I stock up. I do this with all my meats. This way we can always have a variety of meats." Another important tip: Ask. Most people are intimidated by asking, but I regularly ask when things will go on sale or be marked down. By asking, I've found out that bananas, milk and meat are marked down each morning. I try to shop in the mornings to get the best deals. When we lived in Texas, the stores marked things down in the evening, so we made it a point to go shopping in the evening. Adjust your shopping times to find the best deals. Serve your family proper portions of food. Most parents give their kids way too much milk, juice and soda. My kids get soda on special occasions only. They eat milk with their cereal. For snacks, they eat a piece of string cheese, fruit or one or two cookies. The kids don't sip on milk or juice all day long. They drink water and are just fine with it. As a general rule, I try to give them one vegetable and one fruit for lunch and dinner and then a piece of fruit with cookies or cheese as a snack. This way, they get their "five a day" in very easily. Stop letting kids just "graze" on chips and other snack food all day. My kids get one small "bowl" of chips (1/2 cup to 1 cup depending on the size of the chips) a day and that's it. So what do we eat? Here are some of our menus: Slow cooked roast, brown gravy, onions, carrots, potatoes, buttermilk muffins and a fruit plate(The next day, the leftovers from the roast are used as barbecue beef along with potato salad, green beans and strawberries or grapes.) Pizza (homemade), tossed salad and fruit Maple glazed chicken, scalloped potatoes, glazed carrots, applesauce and dinner rolls Sloppy Joes, cucumbers and tomatoes Tacos, refried beans, green beans, sliced apples and tortilla chips w/ honey With savvy shopping, you to can cut your grocery bill even when prices are going up! Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the editors of LivingOnADime.com . As a single mother of two, Jill Cooper started her own business without any capital and paid off $35,000 debt in 5 years on $1,000 a month income. Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 debt in 5 years on $22,000 a year income. Tawra and Jill teach thousands of readers each month how to save money on their grocery bill and get out of debt. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/07/2010
IconDon't Bury Your Head in the Sand! by Jill Cooper LivingOnADime.com I had a dog once, who when I would scold him, would run and hide under the bed. He knew he had done something wrong and thought that by hiding he wouldn't get into trouble as much. I think he figured if he couldn't see me, I couldn't see him and he wouldn't get scolded. There was just one slight problem. He couldn't fit under the bed. Only his head and front paws were hidden but his back half was in full view. He had put himself in the worst possible position but since he had buried himself under the bed he didn't know that. It's human (and critter) nature to think that if I don't acknowledge something that it won't come to pass or it will go away and I won't have to deal with it. We are often like the two year old who thinks there's a monster in his room. He will cover his head up with a pillow thinking "If I can't see the monster then the monster can't see me and it will go away." We as adults laugh and think how silly this is. We know that if there really WAS a monster, hiding our head under a pillow would not help us. If anything hiding our heads would make it worse because we can't see what the monster is doing and so we are unable to come up with a plan of attack to protect ourselves. Meanwhile, the monster takes a bite out of our britches. Even though we find the dog or the two year old's actions foolish and amusing, many of us do the very same thing when we don't deal with our financial situation and our debt. Have you ever decided not to open a bill or look at a credit card statement because you don't want to know what the balance is? Clicking your heels and saying "There's no place like home" is not going to help. How about your bank statement? Do you balance it every month or just throw it in with the pile of unopened bills because you don't want to know how much is in your account? I hear someone saying "But I don't know how to balance it." Then learn. There isn't a bank in the world that isn't willing to show you how to balance a checkbook if you ask. My grandson in the third grade has enough math skills to balance a checkbook but I often hear from college graduates, full of pride with their degrees, that they can't balance a bank statement. It is just another excuse that helps them keep their heads buried in the sand. Learning to balance your checkbook is much easier, much less time consuming and much less stressful than hiding from the monster. Another excuse many people use is refusing to use cash. Often when helping people get their credit card debt under control, I suggest that they get rid of the credit cards and just carry a small amount of cash in their wallet. The first thing that I always hear (and I have honestly never had anyone yet say anything different) is "I can't carry cash because I will spend it". This statement makes no sense to me. What do they think they are doing when they pull out their credit cards to buy something? Lack of self control is lack of self control no matter how you package it. (If your financial situation is fully under control, but you use a credit card for convenience or for reward points or some other reason and pay it off every month, this is not referring to you.) If you allow yourself $20 cash, don't keep credit cards in your wallet and you are shopping you MAY spend the full $20, but when it is gone there just "ain't no more" to spend. On the other hand, when you use a credit card, once you spend $20, you can pull it out again and spend another $20 and another and then maybe even $100. You don't even have to keep track of how much you spend for the day. Just stuff the receipt away and put your head under the bed! If you have a credit card problem, you will end up spending 2-4 times as much more with the credit card than if you just use cash... But this is why people in financial denial love credit cards... They don't have to acknowledge or see how much they have spent. "If I don't see it it won't hurt me." The Bible says "When I was a child I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I put away childish things." (1 Corinthians 13:11) We need to put away childish or foolish actions where our money is concerned and start using adult reasoning concerning it. If this is you, stop burying your head in the sand! Stop being afraid and start taking an honest look at your finances. Open those bills, balance those bank statements and acknowledge how much you spend! Then figure out how to get it under control. Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the editors of LivingOnADime.com . As a single mother of two, Jill Cooper started her own business without any capital and paid off $35,000 debt in 5 years on $1,000 a month income. Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 debt in 5 years on $22,000 a year income. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/07/2010
IconSave on Groceries Before You Leave Home By Jill Cooper LivingOnADime.com One of the easiest ways to save money on your grocery bill starts before you even leave the house. It's no extra work, you don't have to deprive yourself of anything and you don't have to clip any coupons. What is it? Stop wasting food. On average most families throw away 50% of the food they buy. If you have trouble believing that then watch your family's eating habits for the next few days. How many times did your child eat only half of his lunch or dinner or drink only half of his glass of milk or juice? How much food gets thrown away when you wash dishes? How many fruits and vegetables have rotted and been tossed? How much meat have you thrown away because it is freezer burned? And what about those leftovers in the fridge or the cartons of sour milk? If this is you, do you realize if you spend $400 a month on groceries you are literally throwing $200 of it into the trash? What would you think if someone you knew took two $100 bills and threw them away?!? That would make dumpster divers out of the most genteel among us. Better planning keeps you from throwing away so much food, saving you money! Here are some ideas on how to help you to stop the waste: Only fill a child's (or adult's) glass half full if they normally don't drink it all. You can always give them more when that is gone. If they do have left over milk or juice at the end of the meal put it in the fridge for them to finish at another time. When you get ready to cook a piece of meat like a roast or chicken, plan ahead. For example, when I take a roast out to thaw I don't think, "Ok, we'll have roast and mashed potatoes tonight." But I think "I will have roast and mashed potatoes tonight, Bar-B-Q beef tomorrow and beef and noodles the next night." That way you won't find yourself three days later gazing guiltily at that dying leftover roast thinking, "I really should do something with this but what?" and then end up throwing it out a week later. Check your fridge the night before you go to the grocery store. That way you can plan your menus and choose what to buy based on the leftovers you have. If all else fails, make one night a week as leftover night. That's when you set out all your odds and ends of leftovers for everyone to polish off. This is especially good if you do it the night before you buy groceries because this leaves your fridge empty for the new things you are buying tomorrow. Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the editors of LivingOnADime.com . As a single mother of two, Jill Cooper started her own business without any capital and paid off $35,000 debt in 5 years on $1,000 a month income. Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 debt in 5 years on $22,000 a year income. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/07/2010
IconWhen Daughters' Financial Emergencies Cause Financial Strain Tawra Kellam LivingOnADime.com Susan from Texas asks: "As a single mother of two grown daughters, scratching and clawing my way out of substantial credit card and other debt, please give me some ideas about dealing with daughters' emergencies, specifically health issues, not life-threatening but urgent never the less. My daughters work full time and dabble in college. Both have health insurance but the one who needed assistance (I volunteered) did not think that it was in effect at the time of the incident. I was going to have the cost of the dental problem put on a credit card but her Dad intervened and paid for it so I was off the hook." I think the bigger question here is one that I have dealt with for many years and that is, living very sparingly, never having enough to cover unexpected expenses and then putting those unexpected and sometimes living above my means expenses on credit. Now that I live alone I am trying to remedy that as quickly as possible. Guilt as a single parent ends up being very expensive. Tawra: You said "Guilt as a single parent ends up being very expensive." -- I would say that sounds like it right there to me. You don't need to worry about your daughters' expenses. I understand being a parent you want to help out but if they are working adults it's not your responsibility. They need to be responsible with their money and save back money each month to cover what their insurance won't . If that means cutting the cell phone, eating out or whatever then that's their responsibility to do it. If you are paying for your own stuff then start living below your means ASAP and try and get that debt paid off. It's not always easy or fun but it sounds like you need to worry about your expenses and not theirs right now. I'm not saying to be unreasonable. If they get $50,000 in medical expenses and need to live with you or whatever to pay it off, of course help them out if you can. But if it's minor stuff then let them take care of it. Susan: Thanks so much. Sometimes we answer our own problems when we put pen to paper and it jumps right back at us! I will always be there for my kids; however, I want them to grow up and become accountable and learn from their mistakes and life, etc. Tawra Kellam is an expert in frugal living and the editor of LivingOnADime.com . Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 debt in 5 years on $22,000 a year income. Visit us for money saving tips and free recipes!Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
Make an Appointment
Stay Connected
or connect at a place below
Normal Gear
Latest Poll
Would you wear a "What Would Dr. Laura Do?" bracelet?
Absolutely!
Does it come in pink?
Maybe
Only if my mom makes me...
Archives  |  Results
Programs
About Dr. Laura
Letters
E-mail of the Day
From Listeners
Audio & Video
YouTube Videos
Stay at Home
Parenting
Relationships
Simple Savings
Work at Home
Tip of the Week
Subscription
Membership
Help & Support
Family Premium Help Center
Podcast Help
Contact Us
Legal
Terms of Use
© 2017 DrLaura.com. Take on the Day, LLC
Terms & Conditions  |  Privacy Policy
Powered By Nox Solutions