When I Once Helped Somebody To Be Frugal

It’s always nice to help someone, right?  Helping people makes you feel good, and (hopefully) them as well.  Here in the finance world, helping someone to save money is always a goal.  This is a look back when I once helped somebody to be frugal.

A Simple Conversation

Where it started was a simple walk down the hall to a meeting.  On the way, the co-worker I was walking with said something that floored me.  It was simple but humbling when he told me that I inspired him to start bringing in his lunch.

We talked and I found out that he usually went out for lunch.  Making a lunch was something that he had never bothered to do.  So, when he got hungry, he went out. Or he would go to the cafeteria.  Maybe the vending machine.  In any case, he never brought in a lunch.

Watching Me

As it turns out, he was watching me.  We sat nearby so he saw that my lunch was pretty basic.  I normally bring in:

  • Vegetable (carrot sticks)
  • Sandwich
  • Fruit
  • Yogurt

In all honestly, this takes about 5-10 minutes to put together. I do it at night so that the morning is just a grab-and-go.

He watched me and realized:

  • Packing such a lunch was easy
  • It could save him money
  • And, it was healthier!

People Are Watching

I was pretty happy that I inspired someone to make better choices.

Now, honestly, this happened a few years ago.  We no longer work in the same building, so I have no idea if he actually kept up with it or not.  After all, habits are hard to change, and his habit was NOT making lunch.  But, I’m hopeful.

Here’s the thing, though.

Even if he didn’t keep up the habit, maybe someone else did.  I can’t imagine that he’s the only person that’s ever noticed me taking a lunch.  Maybe others have noticed and never said anything, yet tried it out.  Who knows?

But, it just goes to show, you never know who’s watching you.  Hopefully if you’re being noticed, it’s for something positive!

Readers, have you inspired someone to make a better financial choice?  Have you helped someone to be frugal?  Let me know in the comments below.  Thanks for reading!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

3 Money Tips to Keep Married Couples Happy vs. Hostile

Recently, we looked at 8 tips for newlyweds in debt. Indeed, while it’s admittedly not as romantic as talking long walks at dusk, making wise and practical money-related decisions is not just important for a happy marriage.  In fact, it’s essential!

Why essential? Because the number one cause of marital breakdowns isn’t what you think.  The Lack of shared interests, constant arguing, pesky in-laws, lack of intimacy, or even infidelity are bad, but not the worst. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, the most common reason why couples head to marriage counseling — and then in many cases, to divorce court — is money woes.

The bad news is that there is no magic wand (or app) to keep all money problems at bay. It’s something that all couples — including the 1-percenters out there who certainly aren’t immune from marriage-induced financial pain — need to deal with throughout their relationship.

However, the good news is that there are practical and proven tips that go a long, long way to keeping married couples happy vs. hostile. Here they are:

  1. Talk about money.

Couples will talk about all kinds of sensitive and intimate stuff: rashes, phobias, fetishes (you don’t need all 50 shades of grey — just a handful will get the job done!), and the list goes on. But when it comes to money, even the most transparent couples tend to clam up — usually for fear of sparking a fight. The irony is that unless they talk openly about money, then instead of avoiding tension, couples put themselves on a one-way journey toward conflict.

  1. Don’t hide large transactions.

Couples shouldn’t have to report every purchase they make down to the last latte. But they should certainly share the news — preferably ahead of time — when they make large transactions. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of time before thousands of dollars that should be in an account are missing.  Then, the accusations and insults fly, fast and furious. And if you think that hiding transactions is a rarity, think again! A poll by CreditCards.com found that 20% of people in a relationship have spent more than $500 without telling their partner.  Plus, about 1 in 20 spouses maintain secret accounts or credit cards. Yikes!

  1. If you need help: GET IT!

Last but certainly not least, many people think that since they were good with money before marriage (or at the very least, they weren’t obliged to declare bankruptcy), that this acumen will naturally and automatically flow over into their married life. This is not necessarily the case. A marriage is not merely a collection of two individuals.  Nope.  Marriage is an altogether different entity that is far more complex. There is no shame or embarrassment if couples admit they need financial management help from an expert. On the contrary, it is a sign of maturity and responsibility.

If All Else Fails… 

Sometimes, even couples with the most robust spending and savings plan and the best of intentions run into massive and, frankly, un-fixable debt problems. If this is the road that you’re on — or you suspect that it’s where you and your partner will be in the future — then your best move may be to consult a bankruptcy lawyer. This doesn’t mean that you will (or that even you should) file for bankruptcy. But you certainly need to know what your options are, so that you can make choices that protect your long-term financial health and, indeed, your wonderful marriage.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Some Cub Scout Camping Tips To Know

My son is in Cub Scouts.  We just went on our fourth camping trip in the time he’s been a scout.  We always have a great time.  The Cub Scout ranches that our pack visit offer many similar activities.  There are cabins for sleeping. They have areas where you can pitch a tent.  There are scheduled activities such as archery and BB guns.  Some have lakes for swimming when the weather is warmer.  While you’ll find tips on all of these, I thought I’d provide some Cub Scout camping tips that are more practical.  These are tips I’ve learned only from experience.

Plan Your Meals

Your pack should get together and plan meals.  They should be simple yet filling.  You’ll want to keep them simple because many kids have simple tastes.  It’s best to find things that most kids will eat.  We do things like hot dogs for lunch and pasta for dinner.  They’re pretty easy to make and we generally don’t have complaints.

Do The Math On Serving Sizes

One thing our pack has NOT figured out is how to buy the right amount of food.  We estimated 35 people for our most recent trip.  This was pretty accurate.  Yet we bought three times the amount of pasta and sauce that we needed.  Three times!  How?  Because we always forget that of the 35 people, many of them are small people.  They won’t eat a full serving!

Have Backup Plans For Food

With just about every trip, there’s been one meal that didn’t work out according to plan.  One time there was a plan to cook packets of food over the fire.  It took a whole lot of time to get a fire going, and stuff was either getting burned or not cooking.  We had a lot of hungry scouts and a bunch of food that nobody wanted.

This past time we had planned some of the food to be baked in the oven that was listed as in our cabin.  The only problem is that the oven didn’t work.  So, we had to figure out how to cook some items on the stove.

A backup plan would have helped in both of those cases.

Inventory Your Supplies

We found that we didn’t have a few things that would have been helpful.  Among the missing items:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Ziploc bags
  • A strainer (for pasta)
  • A ladel

One of the reasons that we fell short is because, for many, this was the first time camping.  Every year there’s a new group of parents and kids, so things get passed around.  Therefore, many of the people simply don’t know what we have and don’t have.  A master list would have been helpful and is something we will definitely do.

Divvy Out Responsibilities

Both scouts and parents should have clear responsibilities.  On our most recent trip, we sort of forgot about this when it came to cooking.  We didn’t have parents signed up, and two parents ended up making every meal!  As one of those parents, it got exhausting.  We should have had people sign up and share responsibility.

Plan Down Time

As I noted above, there are lots of scheduled activities at many cub scout camping trips.  These are important and can teach great skills.  But, some down time is necessary as well.  Kids need a chance to rest or find other things that they want to do.  During some of our down time, we had some kids sit and play board games.  Other kids found a gaga ball pit and got a game going.

Pack Extra Shoes and Socks

There are a lot of outdoor activities.  Kids need dry shoes.  Kids will inevitably find a way to make their shoes wet.  Have extra shoes and socks.  Trust me on this.

Enjoy The Experience

Parents are busy keeping an eye on everything, and getting the kids to their next activity on time.  If not that, then it seems there’s something going on with regards to eating.  It’s sometimes hard to stand back and enjoy it, but make sure you do.  There were times I just stood back and watched the kids for a few minutes.  I watched kids that didn’t really know each other share in a cool game.  A kid that was not doing well at something would get encouragement from a fellow scout.  Watching the kids interact and form bonds was really cool.  Don’t miss it.

These are just a few cub scout camping tips I’ve come up with.  The biggest tip, though, is to have fun and make sure your scouts are having fun.  That’s really the biggest goal.

Readers, do you have any cub scout camping tips or similar tips you could share?  Please share in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Friday Favorites: October 19, 2018

I hope that things have been well in your neighborhood.  Here in Michigan, fall came in a pretty big hurry.  We started October with temperatures in or near 80 degrees.  This was over 20 degrees higher than normal. All of a sudden, it dropped.  We’re now seeing high temperatures around 50-55 degrees.  It’s been quite the sudden change!

Huge Game

One of our biggest rivalries here in Michigan is the college football game of Michigan vs. Michigan State.  We’ve always been a Michigan family, so we’ll be rooting for the Maize and Blue!

My sister-in-law recently got married, and her new husband is a Michigan State fan.  That has made for a more fun dynamic.  Everybody is pretty good about making sure that the rivalry stays in good fun. Every rivalry has the fanatical type where you go so far as to ‘hate’ the other team (and their fans).  We don’t go anywhere near that extreme, I’m thankful to say!

Big News Ahead

We have something new sitting in our driveway!  Regular readers will probably be able to guess what it is.  In any case, I can’t wait to share the details.  But, regardless of the weather, we’ve been busy!

Great Posts

Here are some posts I’ve really enjoyed recently.  These are all posts featured on Rockstar Finance, which is a great community of bloggers and such that write about finances.  It really is the premiere place to hang out in the personal finance blogging world.

That’s it for me for now.  I hope you have a great weekend. I look forward to catching up more next week.  Stay tuned for the big news!

Readers, what do you have planned for the weekend? Also, can you guess my news?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.