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Tag Archives: money

How to Budget Smarter

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Interior of a Dutch Shop Selling Gold and Silver by an Unknown Dutch MasterAbout a year ago, I posted Why a Family Budget Is “Woman’s Work.” It was one of my most popular posts. I still believe that a woman is in a unique position to manage her family’s finances. (I do make most of the family purchases, after all.) But I’ve recently discovered a better way to take care of our family’s resources.

When I wrote the original post, Mint was the best personal finance software I could find. I budgeted every month. Mint automatically imported my purchases.

With Mint, I always knew where my money was going. But it wasn’t always going where I wanted it to. Mint left me with a lot of difficult questions. Read the rest of this entry

How to Demand (and Get!) Great Customer Service

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My family recently had our windows replaced. It was an ordeal that turned out to be long and expensive. When the company installed windows that weren’t even the right color, I had to make several angry phone calls to the general manager and owner to get the problem solved. And along the way, I learned a few valuable lessons about customer service.

Gone are the days when airline passengers could expect a warm meal or department store customers knew that managers would go out of their way to make the shopping experience pleasant. Spending money today can be a real chore because most companies have lost an emphasis on customer service. It isn’t just the companies’ fault—it’s our fault, too, for paying more attention to price-tags than the quality of the things we buy and the way we’re treated when we buy them. Read the rest of this entry

How to Buy Great Baby Toys

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When I was a baby, my mother’s mother showered me with dozens of toys—so many toys I didn’t know what to do with them. In fact, my second Christmas I absolutely refused to open another present, even with a pile left for me under the tree. While her heart was in the right place, my grandmother was so excited to buy me things that she didn’t take the time to think about what kinds of toys I would really enjoy. Read the rest of this entry

How to Plan Menus with Seasonal Food

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Local, in-season produce can change the way you think about food.

In-season food just tastes better. Chances are, there is some vegetable you grew up loathing. But eat that same asparagus or tomato fresh and in season to taste a world of difference. That difference means your family is more likely to eat the healthful produce you serve up. And their enthusiastic response means you can take more pleasure in cooking a well-loved meal. Read the rest of this entry