78 Money Tips: Why It’s Sexy to Be Frugal, Secrets Your Jeweler Never Reveals, and More

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This week’s roundup of consumer tips and personal finance advice also includes a list of actions to take right now that promise to “change your financial life forever.” One such suggested action: Do something nice for your spouse today, so that you don’t have to buy her something nice later on.
4 things you don’t want to hear about credit—but should. This post may seem like a finger-wagging lecture, the equivalent of being forced to eat your brussels sprouts. But guess what? Brussels sprouts, while possibly unpleasant, are good for you. So are the realizations that no matter how much banks portray themselves as friendly neighborhood community services, they are strictly for-profit enterprises, not your friends, and that getting into debt is a choice:

In general, pulling out that little piece of plastic and swiping it is a voluntary act, regardless of how or why it got in your wallet. If you don’t want to get into debt them don’t use credit.

5 reasons why frugality makes a man sexy. “Is that a roll of quarters you saved in your pocket? Or are you just happy to see me?” This post would score higher on the credibility rating if it was written by a woman, but you gotta give the guy credit for trying. Among the reasons frugality is sexy:

You are the influencer — not the influenced
Advertisers and marketers depend on trends — it’s what makes us feel bad about not having a TV that’s as thin as a slice of bread or slightly self-conscious about that old phone that doesn’t dial by the sheer power of thought. Fighting this subtle manipulation reclaims a little bit of our control — and control is sexy.

6 dumb money “saving” mistakes. Ah, those money-saving strategies that don’t save money. Going overboard with coupons, like on the new show “Extreme Couponing,” comes to mind:

After adding up all the hours and gas mileage spent hunting down coupon deals, what’s your net profit? And do you really need 18 boxes of laundry detergent just because your coupon let you save 75%?

8 things you need now to get your garden growing green. Some easy tips that save money and are good for the environment at the same time, such as:

Free seeds from your fridge and pantry.
As you start planting, remember that you can gather the seeds you need from fruits and vegetables you eat. For a small-up front investment at the supermarket, you may never have to buy fruit again for the remainder of the growing season. Among the heirloom plants, you can harvest the seeds of your sunflowers, watermelon, beans and peas.

8 easy ways to teach your kids about money. Now that I think about it, gardening—especially when combined with trips to the supermarket—could also be an interesting way to teach kids about money (food and precious resources too). Here’s another suggestion:

Connect allowances with future careers. Paying children for chores around the house can lead to problems, because it teaches them that working for money isn’t fun, warns Alisa T. Weinstein, author of Earn It, Learn It: Teach Your Child the Value of Money, Work, and Time Well Spent. Instead, she recommends connecting allowances with tasks related to various careers. Children can choose a career, and then complete tasks related to that career. Travel agent tasks include reporting on a destination in an appealing way, creating a brochure, and for older children, calculating exchange rates.

Considering the number of travel agents have plummeted with the rise of the Internet, however, it might be wise to steer your kid toward a career with a more promising future.

10 extreme ideas to cut the costs of commuting to work. Working from home or taking mass transit don’t seem all that extreme. Moving or finding a job, on the other, might be categorized as extremely impractical. Perhaps somewhere in here there’s an idea that works to cut commuting costs without being too-too extreme. For instance, if your employer’s agreeable to the arrangement, working longer hours with more days off:

Many employers have adopted the “9/80″ schedule, in which staff members work two full weeks in nine business days. For a few more hours a day, you’ll get an extra day off every other week. With a smart schedule, companies can cut internal expenses and save you money without losing an ounce of productivity.

13 things your jeweler won’t tell you. You probably won’t hear the obvious anthropological perspective—that when it comes down to it, pieces of jewelry are beautiful but silly trinkets with no inherent practical value whatsoever. (Making this argument will also probably fail to have you deemed “sexy.”) But also, your jeweler won’t say:

The “60 or 70 percent off” sales you sometimes see? Not possible. There just isn’t enough margin in what we sell today that you can discount like that and run a business and pay your bills.

24 quick actions you can do today to change your financial life forever. Wow. That’s a headline that promises a lot. And while these suggestions may not completely rock your financial world to the core, there are some interesting ideas here. One is to do something incredibly nice and thoughtful for your spouse—cook a special dinner, write a poem, or something. And there’s a reason to do so beyond being nice for the sake of being nice or because you’re in love and blah-blah-blah:

All too often, I find myself getting stuck in the “oh I forgot to do something nice for Courtney… let me buy XYZ or get XYZ thing.” The easiest solution is to simply buy something. Quick and painless most times. But gifts and actions of the heart and mind often mean many, many times more. They are often just as easy, once you take the time to actually start brainstorming. Try it. You may find out that a happy spouse doesn’t always require spending.