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Blog Roundup (4-12-13)

I always love sharing my favorite blogs with people, so each week I’ll be giving you guys a roundup of the posts I’ve really enjoyed reading.

If you like them, make sure to subscribe and follow these great bloggers on Twitter and Facebook to share the love!

~Heart,

Em

  • I think it’s been going strong long enough to prove that it is here to stay, but it’s still nice to see someone like Square Pennies talking about how frugality is now mainstream.
  • Cool free stuff: Are you an explorer/photographer/fan of vintage stuff? Take Our Stuff this week is giving away a vintage movie camera and map for all sorts of fun adventures.

Are there any great posts you came across recently? Share them with us in the comments!

Q&A time! (Learn more about The Blonde!)

Q&ASince I took over B&B seven months ago (has it been that long already?), I’ve tried to share a little bit about myself in each post. I know my favorite bloggers are the ones that make me feel like I know them, so I wanted to make “the new Blonde in the house” someone you guys could relate to as opposed to just another random blogger out there.

Which is why I was excited when Clime, an investment fund management site, asked it they could do a Q&A with me on the blog. Check out their great questions and my answers below!

Clime Q&A with Em from Blonde & Balanced

What is your finance and money management philosophy?

I believe that money is for living. While I’m very careful with my money and love talking about things like frugality, I also believe that smart money management means allowing yourself to use your money to do the things you really enjoy.

If you’re smart about your finances, you can cut back in areas that don’t matter so much to you (we buy store brand cleaning products and paper products, for example) so you can spend a little more in the areas that do matter to you (like trying to eat as healthy as possible for us, including sometimes splurging on organic food).

If you could go back ten years in time, what is one tip you would give yourself about managing your money?

“Everything in moderation.” I used to be much more strict (The Hubble calls it “crazy”!) about shaving off money wherever possible, and felt guilty about every purchase I made that wasn’t absolutely necessary. It’s only in recent years that I’ve come to realize that making yourself miserable by being super-frugal is just as bad as making yourself miserable by being a shopaholic.

You should have a balanced financial plan…including savings, a life insurance police, an emergency fund, etc.…and make sure that you’re investing in your future. But you should also allow yourself to enjoy the now a little bit, too, because now is all you really have for sure. As long as you’re being smart overall, you can afford to do that.

Aside from your job, what are some other ways you earn money? Do you invest your money into a SELF managed super fund or sell old items on eBay?

To be honest, I feel like a bit of a bad PF blogger because I really don’t know much about investments. That’s one thing The Hubby and I really need to start looking into, especially as we start thinking about raising a family and other long-term goals. I’d love to learn more about the best ways to invest, what to invest in, and how to manage our investments in a way that fits our life. (Any bloggers out there want to write some basic introductory posts for B&B? I’d love to read them myself!)

Who is your inspiration when it comes to finance and budgeting? Why?

I started off by following J. Money over at Budgets Are Sexy. That was the very first PF blog (or blog in general) that I ever read. I like how real he is…he’s funny and different and makes topics like savings and budgeting entertaining instead of this super-serious thing you have to be very solemn about. That’s the way I’d like B&B to be…informative, but also fun to read. I needed to learn that money management is a matter of finding that balance that makes you happy, and I want to impart that to my readers, too.

I also recommend Get Rich Slowly as a great place to find tons of smart money ideas, and Money Under 30 as a good resource for young people or couples starting out.

 

Anything else you guys would like to know about me? Ask away in the questions…maybe you’ll see the answers show up in future blog posts! :)

 

~Heart,

Em

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photo credit:  opensourceway

The benefits of a cash back credit card

Credit CardHaving heard (and seen) what happens when you live off credit cards or use them to charge way more than you can actually afford, I’ve always been a bit credit card gun-shy. While I know it’s probably smart to have a card or two for emergencies, to build credit, etc., it’s really hard for me to think of any good points about using cards on a regular basis.

But, several PF bloggers (and friends) lately have introduced me to the notion that perhaps owning a card…if it’s a smartly chosen one… could actually play a role in helping your financial situation. How? By using cash back credit cards.

Using credit cards to EARN money

You know how opening a store card to get their percent-off discounts can be smart if (and only IF!) you are careful to always pay the balance off in full each month? Cash back credit cards are smart under the same kind of logic.

It’s like using a rewards card when you shop. You can build points, or dollars, or however the program works, by purchasing things you’d purchase anyway (gas, groceries, etc.)…and as long as you pay the full balance off each month, it’s money in the bank! (You can compare credit cards and their benefits easily online.)

I haven’t personally selected a cash back card yet, but I’m warming up to the idea. I mean, as long as we’re careful to charge no more than our monthly budget allotment for any category each month, we can still pay off each bill in full, and then we have the chance to accrue rewards just for dong our everyday shopping.

What do you guys think? Do you use cash back cards? Which one(s) would you recommend?

 

~Heart,

Em

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photo credit:  401(K) 2013 by 401kcalculator.org

Blog Roundup (4-5-13)

I always love sharing my favorite blogs with people, so each week I’ll be giving you guys a roundup of the posts I’ve really enjoyed reading.

If you like them, make sure to subscribe and follow these great bloggers on Twitter and Facebook to share the love!

~Heart,

Em

  • Are you one of those people that just can’t seem to stick to a budget? Money Crashers explores 7 reasons why budgets fail and what you can do if you’re suffering from one (or more) of them.
  • Cool free stuff: Take Our Stuff’s giveaways are always interesting, but this week’s has to be my favorite: a mystery “Burlap Sack o’ Stuff”! How can you not enter, just to maybe find out what it is? lol

Are there any great posts you came across recently? Share them with us in the comments!