Category Archives: Money

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Cash & Coupling: How Much Does A Baby Really Cost?

I have two children, and we’re expecting our third (and last … hello, vasectomy!) in the spring. I recently saw a billboard that claimed babies cost about $700 a month. I did the math on my 2.5 kids, and holy disposable income; the figure hurt. The billboard was an advertisement to deter teenage pregnancy, but if I hadn’t already taken the plunge, it would have made 30-year-old me think twice before procreating. Keep reading »

Money 101: How To Avoid 7 Common Savings Pitfalls

This past payday, I was as excited about having the funds to bring home this season’s faux fur vest as I was about skimming 10 percent off the top and watching our savings account increase. And I have to admit, I’m pretty proud of myself for being responsible enough to make that deposit regularly – so proud of myself that I felt totally justified buying that snuggle-worthy vest. (The fact that it’s faux fur? You can’t get any more guilt-free.)

Maybe you’re like me, and you get a sense of accomplishment every time you make that deposit in your savings account. But we all work hard for our money … is just putting some of it aside making it work hard enough for us? Before you get too proud of yourself for being a savings queen, read this advice from Susan Hirshman, president of SHE LTD, a consulting firm focused on enhancing the financial literacy of women. The author of Does This Make My Assets Look Fat? A Woman’s Guide to Finding Financial Empowerment and Success, Hirshman offers advice for making sure that you’re avoiding some common savings pitfalls. Keep reading »

Money 101: How To Meaningfully Reduce Your Expenses

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Financial tips like “skip your latte” are obnoxious. So are suggestions to camp rather than stay in hotels, separate two-ply toilet paper and cook eggs in the dishwasher. After all, I don’t want my life to suck. While it’s true that incremental expenditures add up over time, the biggest factors affecting spending have to do with central life choices. The average “middle class” American making about $50k spends 30 percent of it on housing, 20 percent on transportation, 15 percent on food, 10 percent on retirement, 8 percent on utilities, and 7 percent on healthcare. These things aren’t elastic — you need it all — so the idea is to make efficient choices within these categories. Keep reading »

Money 101: How To Save For The Big Stuff

Let’s face it, saving money is a bitch. But all the big stuff in life — car, college, marriage, kids, travel — have equally big dollar signs attached. To minimize debt, saving for these expenditures ahead of time is important. Here are six effective strategies to set money aside — and keep it there. Keep reading »

What Do You Spend Money On And What Do You Save On?

Lately, I’ve got money on the brain. So when my bag broke a few weeks ago, I couldn’t decide what I should buy to replace it. For a variety of reasons, my shopping prospects were limited when I went to buy it on the fly. I went to a variety of boutiques, some of which were high-end. Either the bags were affordable and I didn’t like them, or I loved them and they were, oh, $250 to $600. Which I think is sort of absurd. Keep reading »

Therapy For Your Pocketbook Episode 10: “Sandals, Sundresses & Silence, Please”

In the latest episode of “Therapy For Your Pocketbook,” Connie, a teacher who is stressed from trying to keep her third graders from setting their surroundings on fire, ponders what to do with some extra cash. Become an investor or a jetsetter? Finance Expert Manisha Thakor helps her find a way to do both. [Therapy For Your Pocketbook] Keep reading »

Money 101: 3 Very Good Reasons Not To Buy A Home — Yet

During a coffee break at the Boston Federal Reserve’s housing crisis conference, I answered my 23-year-old, unemployed, freshly engaged sister’s phone call. She and her (also young but at least employed) fiancé were shopping for homes near San Francisco, where housing prices start above half a million dollars, and wasn’t I so excited for her? Nope! In an effort to prevent her and other young buyers from becoming housing horror stories, here are three thoughts to consider before house shopping. Keep reading »

Money 101: 11 Personal Finance Reads To Change Your Life

In finance, there’s a canon that everyone on Wall Street has read: Benjamin Graham, Adam Smith, and Robert Schiller. But no canon exists for personal finance. In fact, most personal finance books are a frustrating waste of time and money. From Suze Orman’s factually incorrect information to Jim Cramer’s super-caffeinated hysteria, it’s a sad field that puts consumers who take such advice, likely already vulnerable if seeking help, at risk. But, despite all the garbage, there are some stellar resources and I am going to direct you to them. Keep reading »

Therapy For Your Pocketbook Episode 9: “Store Credit Cards — Danger Ahead!“


In the latest episode of “Therapy For Your Pocketbook,” Suzie, a young professional, gets seduced by the lure of “15 percent off” that comes with opening a new store credit card. Finance Expert Manisha Thakor urges her to be responsible and warns if her credit score gets damaged, she may wind up with the same car payment for her KIA that her friend gets for her BMW! [Therapy For Your Pocketbook] Keep reading »

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