Hope for your financial life and beyond

Students Comparison Shop for Generics and Save Big!

comparison shopDoes your child ever groan when you buy generic brands at the grocery store? That’s what happened recently on one of my shopping trips. I was trying to comparison shop when I reached for the generic brand peanut butter.

“Dad, do we have to get that?” whined my 12-year-old daughter. “We always get Jif.”

“You don’t even eat a lot of peanut butter,” I replied. “Besides, your sister is the peanut butter connoisseur of the house. Let’s test it out and see what she thinks.”

Much to her chagrin, her five-year old sister loved it! Oh, did I mention our food budget also liked it?  There’s a $1.80 difference between comparable jars of Publix peanut butter and Jif and a $2.50 difference between the Publix brand and Skippy or Peter Pan.

This led me to do some field research on food prices, using my high school personal finance class as data collectors. I gave them a list of about 20 items and asked them to comparison shop the difference between name brands and generics at their local grocery store. They were then to calculate the difference they would save by buying the generic brand.

The result was a real eye opener for them.

Comparison Shop Data: Name Brands vs. Generics

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2 HUGE Reasons We Need to Save to Build Wealth

build wealthIf you have been following my posts recently, I have been discussing why it is important to save money. I talked about saving for emergencies and then outlined saving for purchases and bills. These serve as a solid foundation for our financial health and to build wealth for the long-term.

They are foundational because we have to work through a lot of emotional baggage. We have to re-wire years of incorrect thinking about our saving habits. That’s not easy because we have to admit our mistakes. But once we have succeeded in changing our mindset about saving, we’ve conquered a giant obstacle. As I’ve said before most people aren’t thinking this way.

These saving concepts are foundational because they allow us to move on to the next phase of money management – to build wealth.

What Does It Mean to Build Wealth?

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How to Control Overspending and “Gotcha” Moments

control overspending

Awww…did you forget about a bill this month?

The number one reason you should be saving money right now is for emergencies. Guaranteed they are going to happen. The second reason we need to save money consistently is for making purchases or for paying bills. As I’ve written about, this concept goes completely against the grain of what is normal in American society. Even though your friends won’t be doing this, there are two completely legitimate reasons why you should develop a monthly saving pattern.

First of all, saving for purchases can help control overspending because it forces us to wait. We tend to get into trouble with our spending habits because we believe in gratifying ourselves instantly. We see something…we like it…we buy it, on the spot. We don’t think how that purchase sets us back financially because it makes us feel so good.

Following a monthly savings plan has another benefit in that it helps eliminate the monthly budget busters that I call “gotcha moments.” What’s a “gotcha moment?”

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The Un-American Way: Saving for Purchases

Light bulb penniesSeveral weeks ago I wrote about the #1 reason why saving money is important. In “O Lord Jesus, It’s a Fire!” I discussed how saving is vital because we are guaranteed to face emergencies in our life. Having some cash set aside reduces most emergencies to minor inconveniences.

The coolest part about having an emergency fund is that it causes us to emotionally and mentally relax. We realize, with some money reserves in place, that we will be able to move through the crisis with relative ease.  We no longer have to stress out as we scramble to come up with cash or go into debt to fix whatever problem has come about.

I’ve believed my whole life saving money was important, especially for a “rainy day.” But in my saving money belief structure, I was missing a vital element. To incorporate this missing link it into my life, I would have to do something very un-American. I would have to come face to face with what I really didn’t want to do…

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5 Articles Worth Your Time (1/5/13)

Here are five great articles I read this week. Enjoy your weekend reading!

10 Ways to Be Rich Without Being Wealthy (Money isn’t everything. Check out other ways your life can be rich.)

How to Stick to an Exercise Program (Want to get in shape in 2013? You’ll need to do these 5 things.)

Why Is My Paycheck Smaller? Understanding Your 2013 Paycheck (This article discusses reasons you are not bringing home as much money in your paycheck in 2013.)

The Advantages of Being a DINK (Dual Income No Kids) (This one is for all you young married couples out there – or for you parents who dream of being a DINK again some day.)

5 Ways to Build Savings (Here are some helpful ideas to help you save more in 2013.)

Bonus Read:

6 Ways Your Brain Attempts to Sabotage Your Goals and Dreams (Don’t let your mind play tricks on you. Beat it today!)