The Best Deal on Black Friday

Black Friday

For those of us in America, Thanksgiving is just around the corner and that can only mean one thing: BLACK FRIDAY.

What is Black Friday? It’s the largest consumer holiday of the year during which retailers conduct massive limited time sales to launch the official holiday shopping season. Sales start at all hours of the night during and right after Thanksgiving with “doorbuster” specials to entice the masses of supposed deal-hunters to campout and line up for hours to get their hands on the coveted, heavily discounted, merchandise. Legend has it that this day actually got its name because it’s the day that retailers got “into the black” in their finances for the year. [Read more…]

Of Speculating, Investing, and Tulips

Speculating, Investing, TulipsImagine that a friend tells you that there is a huge worldwide demand for tulips and that you can earn a lot of money if you invest in them. You check the news and sure enough, the anchors are breathlessly talking about how the price of tulips is shooting through the roof and how huge fortunes are being made overnight by shrewd tulip bulb investors. People place orders with tulip growers and then turn around and sell those contracts for hundreds of times more than the original cost of the flowers, making money hand over fist without ever laying hands on a single bulb. In fact, you even hear of varieties of tulips where a single bulb sells for ten times the annual salary of a middle-class worker! Ready to invest in tulips? [Read more…]

Cheap Ways to Stay Warm in Winter

Stay Warm in WinterFor many of us in the United States, winter came early and abruptly. I’ve been on the road out West for most of the last 4 weeks and when I left the weather was P-E-R-F-E-C-T. Cool evenings, brisk mornings, but warm during the day. The humidity was gone and no artificial climate control was needed in the house to stay comfortable (read: HUGE energy savings). I got back to my home in Tennessee earlier this week and was greeted by low 20F degree temperatures and our backyard pond completely frozen over! Dear Mr. Polar Vortex, give me my autumn back! (I know, I know, many of you readers from up north are snickering as you’re shoveling out your driveways.)

Being thrust unceremoniously into the midst of winter, my cold weather survival instincts that have been dormant the past few months fired back up, but how do those instincts work together with my crumb-saving instincts?  How to stay warm and save crumbs at the same time? [Read more…]

If We Woke Up $200,000 in Debt!

Woke Up in DebtDeb and I have been very fortunate to have never been in debt. (Apart from our house, and that won’t be for much longer.) We are blessed to have parents who paid for our education through college, which is a big reason why this is true. Nevertheless, we’ve been on our own since then and we’ve continued to shun debt like the plague. So, similar to what we did in our “If We Had a Million Dollars” post, we thought we’d think through the scenario of our life if we were to suddenly discover that we were $200,000 in debt. [Cue ominous music here.]

Debt comes in all different flavors and since this is a purely hypothetical scenario (we’re glad!), we’ll lay out the assumptions of what we’ve got to deal with then we’ll break down our thoughts into 1) what we would do, 2) what we might do, and 3) what we won’t do. [Read more…]

How to Tell if Something is Truly Cheap

Is It Cheap?“But it’s so CHEAP!”

Haven’t we all heard THAT before? Sometime it’s a flagrant excuse for an obviously wasteful purchase, but more often than not, this is a sincere sentiment. We think we are getting a wonderful deal as we whip out our credit card, thinking of all the reward points we’ll be earning.

But how do we REALLY know if something is cheap? Hint: It’s not simply the price tag. We actually need to think carefully about the purchase price as well as any additional costs that come with running, using, transporting, maintaining, fixing, insuring, feeding, storing, accessorizing, etc. whatever it is we’re buying over it’s useful life. What we need to figure out is the total cost of ownership. [Read more…]

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