7 Things I Don’t Buy for the Holidays

The day after Halloween, one of our local radio stations switched to 24/7 Christmas music. The day after Veteran’s Day, our nation’s flag was replaced with wreaths all around the city. It’s not even Thanksgiving, yet Christmas trees are on display at the mall and holiday music is playing throughout stores. Instead of getting me into the “holiday spirit,” it’s getting me disappointed in the commercialization of our holidays. While I love giving my children gifts for Christmas, here are 7 things I don’t buy for the holidays.

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Save Money, Save the World

How did it ever become okay to use something once then, throw it away? The answer: great marketing because it makes companies money.

Companies make more money when they are able to sell a product every week, month, or year than if they only sell it to you once. In addition to the financial cost, there is also the cost to our planet. Most things I used once and threw away will still be on this earth long after I am gone. This is not okay. Become a hero for our planet and save money by saying no to single use items.
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To Sell or Donate?

I get giddy over community yard sale day. Just as I love looking into people’s grocery carts, I also love walking around my neighborhood and looking at all the stuff for sale that people let into their lives that’s no longer of use. I actually get disappointed when I miss this day. But this year I tried something new. Instead of donating it, I tried to sell stuff I don’t need. How did it go? Is it better to sell or donate?

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ACT to Save Money from a Psychologist’s Perspective

Inspired by a form of psychotherapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), I’ve changed my thinking about personal finances from “how can I save more?” to “what do I value in life?“. Here’s how you can build a better life based on your values, and save money in the process.

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Fewer than 1% Received Loan Forgiveness!

If you are relying on Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) for your federal student loans, know this. Data suggest that only 0.003% of applicants have had their loans forgiven! Here’s why many applications were denied. I also discuss my decision for paying off my loans without using a repayment program, thereby saving thousands of dollars in interest (and buying my freedom)!

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DIY Halloween Costumes

Halloween is huge in my family. Not only do the kids want costumes for trick-or-treating, but school has the Character Parade during which they dress up like a character from a book. Of course, the kids want different costumes for their character parade and trick-or-treating. I’m not about to buy two costumes each year. But I don’t sew. So we’ve started to get creative making DIY Halloween costumes with items we already had.

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My Month of Eating Junk: Is Fast Food Really Cheaper?

The average American eats fast food an estimated three times per week. This month, my family experimented with being normal. We ate fast food during weekend days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and a holiday off work) for an entire month. We recorded the effects it had on our wallets (and my waistline). Is fast food really cheaper than homemade meals?

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How to Save Money in Grad School

I have some regrets about my spending in grad school. Even with a tuition waiver and stipend, I took out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. Six months after graduating my repayments started, and my loan payments were as much as my rent! I’ve always been frugal, but looking back there were many things I could have done differently to save money in grad school.

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