On Shopping, Travel-Wise: Are You An Ester Or A Nicole?

@notnef I'm so bad about remembering to wear jewelry that one year I made a new years resolution to wear at least one piece every day. I actually stuck with it and it carried through for a while- but now I've moved enough times that my visual triggers aren't in the right place any more and I'm back to always forgetting.

Posted on January 24, 2015 at 3:11 pm 0

On Brown Bagging It

@Eeksquire I agree- garnishes make a huge difference! When you're microwaving, everything sort of winds up the same texture- bringing a small container of sour cream, or croutons or cheese or fresh herbs or what have you makes things seem new (and less boring!)

Posted on January 16, 2015 at 9:22 pm 0

On Survey: Does It Always Make Sense to Go for the Lowest Fare?

I occasionally get rather claustrophobic on flights, so I will pay a pretty decent chunk of money to be on a aisle seat, especially on long flights, as it helps a LOT to have an escape path. I definitely sometimes pay more for one flight over the other- 2hr vs 5 hr layover? Yeah, I'll pay 30 bucks. I like using Hipmunk and sorting by agony because it helps me remember that some things are worth paying to avoid (like two layovers vs. one...)

Posted on January 15, 2015 at 11:14 pm 0

On How To Make Your 30s Work For You, Money-Wise

@strangemagic Your keywords are fee-only, hourly, financial planner and client fiduciary. Client fiduciary is the important one- basically they have to make the best choice for your situation. The "free financial advisor" at your bank or whatever just has to make a "suitable" recommendation- which can be his bank's high-fee whatever vs. the ideal low-fee equivalent."Assets under management" is code for "rich people." Helaine Olen has better explanations of all of this stuff. There is a certification called "certified financial planner" that you can look for. I've used the Garret Planning Network to search for people before, with some success. They're specifically about fee-only planning and can help with weeding out options. If anyone is in Seattle, Stacy at 2020 financial planning was great to work with- she's not inexpensive, but she's hourly, straightforward, and good at the emotional side of money.

Posted on January 14, 2015 at 11:53 pm 0

On Open Thread: Share Your 2015 Budget

@Anon budget It shouldn't make a difference, but I've noticed that our grocery spending is always noticeable higher weeks where we make more trips to the store. In theory we're not eating more food those weeks- but in practice in adds up to $$$s. If I plan ahead and shop once a week, I'm much better at keeping the numbers under control. If you shop on the weekend you can even plan around grocery sales for what you're making that week, which adds up.

Posted on January 14, 2015 at 9:16 pm 0

On Open Thread: Share Your 2015 Budget

@beyondbelief With those rates, you could split the difference- work on paying down the 6.55% one, then move to a retirement savings/ student loan split. The actual rate of earning on retirement investments depends on a zillion factors, but 4% returns over the long run is often considered a "conservative" estimate (I consider it realistic, but I'm pretty conservative on the investment side of things!) Given that plus tax savings from a 401K or the like, the balance probably shifts more towards retirement than student loans after that 6.55% loan goes away. Depending on what your personal beliefs about investment returns and the like are.

Posted on January 14, 2015 at 8:55 am 0

On Open Thread: Share Your 2015 Budget

@beyondbelief What are the interest rates on the student loans? The thing about paying down debt is that it's basically a guaranteed return, which is why the traditional financial advice prioritizes it- but if your rates are low enough there are other things you could do with your money instead. Do you have an idea of what a downpayment looks like for what you think you might want, house-wise?

Posted on January 13, 2015 at 10:42 pm 0

On Open Thread: Share Your 2015 Budget

@Glittering Higher Up I know some people hate this concept, but my husband and I have set up "allowances," which is free-for-all money that gets deposited into our individual accounts for us to do what we like with (clothing, haircuts, electronics all come out of this for us, but it's really what works best for you). Since it's pre-allocated and designed to be spent to 0 (or at least not saved), we've found it makes better "fun" money for us and we actually spend it. Where are you traveling to? You can have a/some pretty killer trips with that budget!

Posted on January 13, 2015 at 7:37 pm 0

On Open Thread: Share Your 2015 Budget

@steponitvelma The medical expenses budget item really depends on your health insurance plan- at a minimum I'd take your deductible for the year and divide by 12, then add your prescription. If there are known copays, you might add, say, 2-4 trips to the doctor to the annual budget- depends on your health and when you prefer to go or not to go to the doctor.

Posted on January 13, 2015 at 7:27 pm 0

On Open Thread: Share Your 2015 Budget

@fletchasketch Why the "other investments" instead of putting more towards your 401K (i.e. a tax-advantaged investment option)? Looks like you'll max out your Roth, which is awesome!

Posted on January 13, 2015 at 7:22 pm 0