It’s hard to believe the holiday season is already here. I’m already in high cookie baking gear as I get ready to distribute tins of baked goods to family, neighbors, and co-workers. For those of us who strive to live a more frugal lifestyle, the holiday season can be especially challenging. There’s temptation everywhere to spend money, and indeed the tradition of the season is to exchange gifts. But with a little creativity, you can give gifts that reflect your lifestyle, let others know that you care, and will keep you away from the craziness of the malls!
Here are some ways for letting people know you’re thinking about them while trying to minimize the impact on your budget. Continue reading
Growing numbers of workers have defined contribution (DC) plans as their only source of employer sponsored retirement benefits. The most common type of DC plan is the 401K plan, named after the section of the Internal Revenue Code under which it appears.
While 401K plans can provide for adequate retirement benefits, it is almost entirely up to the individual to make sure that their retirement goals are on track.
So what should you do?
Try to watch out for some of these common issues that can cause problems in your 401K plan and put your retirement goals at risk. Any one of these could pose a serious threat to your retirement savings so try to fix any of these threats that you can. Continue reading
A while back, when my husband and I were first married, we began spending money on things that we felt “we deserved”. We had finally gotten to a financially comfortable place in our lives. After working hard to pay off any student loan debt and some credit card debt in my husband’s case, we had saved diligently to accumulate an emergency fund equal to 6 months of our living expenses.
We both drove cars that were paid for, so the only debt we had was our mortgage. We even made extra principal payments to that mortgage to pay it off sooner.
I’ve always been someone to live below my means and be conscientious with my finances. But, even I will admit, that I looked around and thought “We’re doing well here and have taken all the right steps financially, I guess now we can live a little”.
This was how lifestyle inflation crept into our lives.
After deciding that I’ve spent enough time sitting on the sidelines just dipping my toes into the personal finance blogosphere, I am now taking the plunge and jumping right in. With that in mind, I am excited to announce that Green Money Stream is joining the Yakezie Challenge!
For those who may not know, Yakezie is a large network of personal finance and lifestyle blogs that strives to help readers be successful in their financial lives by providing quality content. The more than 100 members of the network have all successfully completed the 6-month Yakezie Challenge. Through networking and selflessly sharing the content of others, my goal in the next six months will be to go from my current Alexa ranking of 422,121 to a ranking of under 200,000.
To all those who are taking the challenge now or have already completed it – you are awesome! You have already and will continue to serve as an inspiration to me.
My hope here on the Green Money Stream is to pass along ways that my readers can live more frugal and self-reliant lifestyles and find ways to grow their income stream with a view towards financial freedom. If you enjoy my blog, I hope you will consider helping me complete this challenge by subscribing, following me on Facebook or Twitter, and sharing this site with family and friends.
As part of my goal on the Green Money Stream to help you reduce expenses and grow your income, I will occassionally write posts discussing my own investment strategies or interesting investment ideas I have come across. However, you should always do your own research before deciding on an investment strategy.
One of my Key Principles is to follow a dividend stock investing strategy. Specifically, I invest in companies that are in the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index, among others. These are companies that have not only been paying dividends for a long time but have increased dividend payouts year over year for 25 years or more. The idea is that these rising dividend payment streams will provide a nice hedge against inflation in retirement. I purchase shares from a selection of these companies on a regular basis through my Vanguard brokerage account.
So I was interested to hear of a new ETF offered by ProShares called the ProShares S&P 500 Aristocrats ETF (ticker: NOBL). This ETF is currently made up of the 54 companies in the S&P 500 who have been consistently raising dividends for at least 25 years. As far as I know, this is the first fund that solely tracks the Dividend Aristocrats and presents an interesting opportunity for dividend investors. The fund seeks to track the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index. Since inception (May 2005) this index has had a higher return and lower volatility than the S&P 500. Companies in the Dividend Aristocrats list are generally less volatile than their counterparts since they are large, well established companies. Continue reading
I plan on featuring a list of articles that I especially enjoyed reading or that I found particularly helpful in recent weeks. My intent is to do this on a semi-regular basis. The weeks just slip away sometimes!
So for my first installment, here are some great articles from personal finance blogs around the web. I hope you enjoy them too.
- Could Early Retirement Planning Be Ruining Me? – This post at My Money Design asks the question “Is there a dark side to my obsession with planning for an early retirement?” I’ve wondered this myself, especially with regards to the concern that I might not be working up to my full potential at my day job. This post provides a good perspective on some of the internal struggles of those planning for early retirement.
- Living Frugally: Disregard the Naysayers – Sometimes those of us who live a frugal lifestyle encounter others who just don’t understand the choices we make. We can even hear rude or negative comments at times (in my case from family). This post at RetirementSavvy helps to articulate why we do what we do.
- Sweat the Small Stuff: Why Small Expenses Matter – When people think of trying to save money, they often focus on big ticket items like a car. But it’s important to realize that cutting down on small, recurring expenses can add up to big savings over time. An important message in this post at Thrifty Dad is that cutting down on the small expenses is something that everyone can start doing right now! So get saving!
- Buy Nothing Day: Boycott Black Friday – With this day of craziness almost upon us, I love reading articles like this. This article at Frugaling argues for doing something different on Black Friday and I completely agree. If we all made Black Friday a Buy Nothing Day we could take back our holiday!
Also, one of my articles was featured in the Carnival of Personal Finance #438.
I’m thrilled to be included. Check out this list of informative posts from talented bloggers when you get the chance.
Happy Sunday! Feel free to link to some of your favorite posts in the comments below.
I know, I know. I’m a true romantic, right? Just bear with me here. Many of us are familiar with the idea that a financial mismatch in couples can spell trouble down the road for their marriage. That’s why financial matters are often cited as a primary issue that couples argue about.
Of course, when it comes to matters of the heart it can be difficult to remain logical. In reality, you may not want to end a near perfect relationship simply because you do not mesh well with your partner on financial matters. Ideally, you will fall in love with someone who has similar financial values and goals as you do. The point is that it is important to know where you both stand on these issues before getting married, so at least there are no surprises. (Like finding out that your spouse has 7 different credit cards each with thousands of dollars of debt on them.)
To prevent any unpleasant surprises and to increase your chances of a successful marriage, there are some steps you can take before marriage to make sure you are operating on the same page financially: Continue reading
Embracing a frugal lifestyle is a rewarding experience for many of us. Frugality can inspire creativitiy and self-sufficiency, while also reducing stress levels as you begin to let go of the need for material possessions. Basically, it’s all good stuff.
However, if you are just starting out on the road to frugal living there are some rookie mistakes you should try to avoid. Being aware of these potential pitfalls can help you to have a smoother ride on the Green Money Stream. Continue reading
This blog is about slowing down some areas of your life and catching your breath while learning to simpliduce and hopefully become more self-sufficient. These ideas go hand in hand and work together on the journey to financial freedom.
One way these ideas blend perfectly is cooking at home. The act of cooking itself brings families together both while preparing the meal and then eating together afterwards. Continue reading
It’s no secret that disposable diapers are harmful to our environment. According to the EPA, 20 billion disposable diapers end up in landfills each year. Disposable diapers are made from a combination of plastics, adhesives, elastics, glues, and lotions. The plastics and lotions themselves contain phthalates to improve flexibility and mask unpleasant odors. The diaper industry is largely self-regulated, which means it is up to them to decide what is “safe” for consumers. I don’t feel overly secure to trust the industry to do the right thing by my children or the environment. Continue reading