Gift-Giving Tips From a Gift-Giving Contrarian

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a gift-giving contrarian. Christmas-time, birthday-time, anniversary-time -- it doesn't matter. I don’t buy into the hype, I don’t buy into the guilt, and many times, I just don’t buy. So, just in time for Christmas, I’m here to give you the benefit of my contrarian notions about how not to make yourself nuts over gift giving. ...more
@carrien There's no better time than Christmas to get kids thinking about the needs of others ...more

Stopping the Crafty Christmas Cash Drain

I don’t know about you, but for me the holiday hemorrhaging has begun. Every year I fall for the same thing. I tell myself that I can save money by hand-making my gifts, and in actuality I could, but I never do. Hand-making gifts for people on your list can easily cost more than buying the same thing....more

7 Shopping Tips To Help You Give More and Spend Less

Right about the time I started thinking about what our holiday budget might be, we had a little problem with a missing contractor check, and TW went into the hospital for a week. Oops. There went the idea that we could a) pay off our credit cards b) spend a good bit on gifts for all of the kids, and Johnny Mac Pippin c) start saving for a trip to Hawaii to see Johnny Mac Pippin d) get TW's tax bills paid. Something had to give, a lot of somethings -- but the holiday budget took the first hit....more

Should You Be Pressured to Donate at the Holidays?

I remember being shocked at my first job (for which I made $18,000 a year) when I was told to donate to the charity my advertising agency had picked during the holidays. By people who made four or five times what I made. Did they forget what it's like to have your entire first two weeks' pay go to rent?...more
I donate once a year to my chosen charities. I spread it out throughout the year. I call them ...more

What You Need To Know About Online Contracting

The promises of online contracting sites like Elance and oDesk are alluring. Clients will come to you. You will have a selection of assignments to choose from. Easy invoicing! Get paid!  But is it worth it? Are these online contracting sites the secret to landing more assignments? Writers say that they are good for filling in the budget gaps -- but they aren’t perfect. On the Inside ...more
Sarah - this is a great primer for how to succeed in online work.  On Elance, over 3k new jobs ...more

The Lines Between Doing Less, Loving More and Family Tradition

I am tempted to over-do things in December both with and for my boys. I'm sure part of it is because my parents always provided us with such an amazing holiday experience. As a parent myself now, I'm sure it wasn't perfect and that we likely drove my parents crazy, but I have hazy, shiny, angels-singing, tinsel-covered memories about Christmas with my family. Another part is because I feel that if I don't keep busy, I'll succumb to the sadness of my loss, and so I keep moving, keep doing. It's exhausting. I wonder what the holidays would be like if I just sat down. And colored in a coloring book....more

Michigan a Right-to-Work State? Now It Is.

Who would have ever thought that the union stronghold of Michigan would ever become a right-to-work state? Yet that’s exactly what happened today, when the Michigan legislature passed two anti-union measures, over the protests of tens of thousands of people outside the state capitol. The two bills will affect public and private sector employees. ...more
I live in a state that has been right ti work forever maybe, I have not ever worked for a union ...more

Gift Card Scam at the Checkout Line: Check Your Receipts!

The commercials are out, the stores are decorated and we are starting to be reminded well that the holidays are quickly approaching. Holiday baking, decorating, gift buying –- it is all coming! As we start planning holiday shopping, I feel compelled to share with you one of my experiences from last year. This is not an internet forward or something I overheard in the grocery store, but this holiday shopping scam happened directly to me .... ...more
@duaba I agree - I thought I was in the minority, until I received so many comments. It is ...more

The Judgment Behind Spend or Don't Spend

Even though Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday and all their frugal flip-side days are past us, the holiday shopping season is in full swing. Every year I myself juggle my need to find the best deals with the desire to spend locally. Danielle discusses judging people for where they shop and how she plans to spend her money this holiday season in her post. ...more

Deficit Reduction: Women Will Suffer More

Christmas trees are popping up around the Capitol, in front of the White House, and in the foyer of every K Street lobby shop.  While snowmen and Santa are everywhere, the talk is anything but festive and joyful - for the moment, the term on everyone's lips is "shared sacrifice".  As in, budget cuts will touch one and all.  Taxes may go up from one end of the income scale to another.  It's time to pull together and put the common good before personal interest.  The problem is, the measures being discussed to close the budget gap won't affect men and women ...more
and children?more