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This Week In Your Wallet: Winning Strategies

Jean Chatzky  |  March 5, 2019

This week Jean talks best budgeting strategies, tough workplace conversations, and supporting adult children.

In last week’s newsletter we asked you to send over your favorite savings techniques for a chance to win my new book: Women with Money: A Judgment-Free Guide to Getting More of What You Want From Your Money. We absolutely LOVED reading all your responses. Thank you so much to all of you who submitted and made us wish we had unlimited books to go around! Our five winners (and their great ideas) are:

  • Tamara O’Connor, who’s on a “digital diet” and has made the switch from using paid services like Audible to free apps like Libby and Hoopla, and of course her local public library.
  • Carol Anne Robinette, who knows where to find all the good deals — the thrift store is the place for gently-used appliances like hair dryers, and your local beauty school is the place for cheaper-than-the-salon services like mani/pedis and haircuts.
  • Anne Obradovich, who’s a big fan of asking for discounts pretty much everywhere (on medical bills, at large retailers), using cash back rewards to pay down her credit card bills, and making her own bubbly water via the SodaStream.
  • Gary Price, who can teach us all a thing or two about saving money at mealtimes — he estimates he’s saved nearly $80,000 over the last 36 years by packing his lunch almost every day. And since his wife and kids do it too, he says it’s a safe bet that the family has saved $200,000 or more, on food costs alone. Gary, we salute you.
  • Elizabeth Battaglia, who saved every $5 bill she received as change (only the Lincolns!) for a full year to put towards a girls trip. At the end of the year, she had a cool $600, and then jetted off for a fantastic getaway.

If you weren’t one of our winners, never fear. You can pre-order the book now, and if you email us back with your order number, we’ll send you $199 worth of freebies, including an early peek at the book, an exclusive webinar, a full set of HerMoney questions (so you can host your own happy hour) and access to an online Jump Start Your Finances class from Jean. We hope you’ll join us!

Water Cooler Gossip

Raise your hand if your office is loaded with nothing but reasonable people and simple solutions…yeah, that’s what we thought. For the days when it feels like you’re surrounded by obtuse bosses, entitled underlings, and difficult colleagues, you’ve got to be prepared. Specifically, prepared with what to say when those workplace conversations take some crazy turns. That’s why HerMoney has started a new series called JobScripts, where career coach Eliot Kaplan (who spent two decades as the talent director at Hearst magazines, interviewing over 5,000 people) walks us through sample interactions that will leave us feeling confident and prepared for anything. If you have a problem you’d like us to tackle, email and Eliot (who also happens to be my husband 😉 ) may answer your question in his next column.

Failure to Launch  

This week, stories about parents supporting their adult children seemed to be popping up everywhere. Ordinarily, I’m one of the first people to admit that sometimes our grown kids just need a little boost, and it’s perfectly okay — in some cases, even encouraged — to offer that help. But I’m also one of the first people to say that you should try to put yourself first when it comes to saving for retirement. The problem is that many of us aren’t able to do both. Today, 79% of parents are helping their early adult children (defined as those 18 to 35) financially, and the amount that they’re giving them — a combined $500 million — is double what they’re putting towards their own retirement, according to a report from Merrill Lynch and Age Wave. That’s a huge problem. Helping kids = good. Sacrificing your own financial security = bad. Thankfully, the bank of mom and dad doesn’t have to be open forever, and if you’re putting your future at risk, it should be shuttered immediately. There are countless other non-monetary ways to show your children love, so don’t be afraid to let them know that emotional support is the only form you’ll be providing from now on.

Have a great week,


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