How to Make a Budget

On July 21, 2011, in Managing money, Spending money, by Jim Wood

Ah, budgeting. I will confess right now that this is one of my financial character flaws. I’ve never had the patience for dealing with budgeting details “by the book.” Let me explain how it is supposed to work. Then, I’ll tell you what I do for myself. Find a piece of paper or start a […]


Seeing the USA: RV or the Prius?

On May 23, 2011, in Spending money, by Jim Wood

You can see some amazing things on a driving trip to the Grand Canyon. Even on the freeway, you run into stuff that just takes your breath away, such as the image below: RV towing Hummer Now, I’m all for people spending their money in whatever ways make them happy. However, my financial brain just […]


Beating Behemoth Bank at their own game

On October 22, 2010, in Discounts, Spending money, by Jim Wood

You may recall from last week’s post that I reviewed a credit card offer. This offer was a partnership between a major hotel chain and a mega bank (fondly referred to as “Behemoth Bank”). The basic idea was, “get our card, get free hotel nights.” As we discovered last time, if you’re not careful with […]

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Credit card applications: the fine print

On October 16, 2010, in Managing money, Spending money, by Jim Wood

I received yet another glossy credit card solicitation in the mail this week. Normally these go straight into my recycling bin, but since I’m now blogging about personal finance, I thought it might be interesting to read the details of this offer. The solicitation was a partnership between a major bank (whom I will fondly […]

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Sneaky gas station tricks

On October 8, 2010, in Managing money, Spending money, by Jim Wood

I’ve recently been stopping at a national-branded gas station with fairly inexpensive gasoline that’s on the way home from my son’s karate school. The first couple of times, I was getting ready to pump the gas while daydreaming about something else. As I reflexively went to hit the “87-octane” button, my hand stopped in a […]

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Getting a gym discount

On September 30, 2010, in Discounts, Managing money, Spending money, by Jim Wood

An establishment that does not post prices online or have a rate sheet for review is inviting you to negotiate. Health clubs and gyms are frequent perpetrators of this approach. Never take their first offer. For example, when we first enrolled in a local health club a few years ago, we told the sales associate […]

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