To Buy Generic or Not?

This is a question that is often asked and debated – would you buy a generic item over a brand name item just because its cheaper? Not all generic or store brands are created equal and not all brand name items stand up to their hype.  When everyone is looking to cut corners, including their weekly grocery budget, does it make sense to purchase generic items?  They will lower your final bill, but do they leave you feeling a bit bland about your purchases?

Curb Impulse Buying with the “30 Day Rule”

I will have to admit – I’m a people watcher.  I love to sit and watch people and see what outfits they have on.  I tend to covet certain items that other people have – sort of like when you are out shopping and someone picks up an item, I just have to watch them and read their thoughts.. did they like it?  Why did they put it down? etc.  I tend to keep a notebook and jot down fashion ideas that I like and want to see if I can seek out – a new trench coat, pair of brown boots, etc.  Usually its whatever the trend of the season is and I like to see if it will be a staple in my wardrobe.  By writing my ideas down and revisiting them later, I am evaluating whether or not I really need an item.  Can I live without it? Sure, but do I want to?
This translates outside of the latest fashion trend though and will work for any “big ticket” item that you are currently contemplating buying.  It can be used with the general “30 Day Rule” in personal finance to help you curb your impulse buying.  The “30 Day Rule” is if you are considering a major purchase, you should wait at least 30 days before making the actual purchase to ensure that it’s a necessary purchase.  It will help you to take a step back from the urge to purchase and see if it’s really something that you cannot live without.

The Boston Marathon is INSPIRING!

Every April one of the largest running events in Massachusetts happens – it’s the annual running of the Boston Marathon.  This race is 26.2 miles from Hopkinton, Massachusetts to Boston, MA.  When I was a little kid, my parents would walk my brothers and I down to the center of our town to cheer on all the runners as they passed through on their run into Boston.  I never understood the extent of actually running the marathon because the people were always “old” in my childhood, but now I have lots of friends and colleagues that have participated over the years and it makes me wonder how on earth they would want to do it!  Running to me seems like a drag – you actually want me to put on athletic shoes and run around the streets of Boston?  I’m kidding… I actually ran track in high school and enjoyed running.  Enjoyed was the key word of that sentence.  Now in my late twenties, I am far from my two miler running days and sprinting the 4×1 and/or 4×4 with my high school friends, but the urge to run is still instilled me.  Should I join a gym and run on the treadmill?  Should I take the dog out for a run after work?  Should I sign up for a 5K?  What should I do?

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Finding A Dentist Can Be A Real Headache…

When people think about cutting costs, one of the first things that might go is dental insurance.  I should be honest, I do not have dental insurance even though my employer provides it ($41.36/month for an individual and $120.21/month for a family is the current rate from my employer).  It did not make sense for me to take their dental insurance when it would be cheaper for me to pay out of pocket for my dental services.  I am comfortable enough to budget out what I think my two cleanings and annual xrays will cost me for the year and include it into my budget instead of paying for insurance through my paycheck.  2 cleanings are $186 plus $75 for xrays is $261/year for me assuming I do not need additional care.  Given your situation and the condition of your mouth, it might be a better option for you to take the dental insurance that your employer is providing or find insurance on your own.

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Cost of owning a pet

People have said that owning a pet before having children is a good learning experience to see if you will be able to handle the responsibility of children.  I agree with this concept and think that owning a pet is a HUGE responsibility (those of you with children are probably laughing to yourselves and thinking “boy, is she in for a treat later in life…”). So owning one pet would be a huge responsibility, right?  Well, welcome to our house or what we like to call “the Zoo.”  In our household, we have 4 adults, a Doberman, a Boxer and two adorable cats.  I turned to the ASPCA for help with what the annual and capital costs are to own a cat or dog to see how they compared in costs to each other.

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