Some stores advertise a sale such as 5/$5 or 5/$10. That means 5 of one item for $5 or $10. You may want to check with your store. Many times, you can get the same discount by only buying 1 or 2 of the item. So you can get the same discount without having to buy so many that you may not need.

I have posted before about looking at thrift stores for books. Another place to check out may be your public library. In Fargo, the downtown library has a book sale of donated books or extra books from the library. It is only open certain hours since it is run by volunteers. They do not have regular hours. The Carlson Library has book shelves by the express checkouts with books that are for sale. Today I stopped to drop off a couple of movies I had checked out and pick up another one. While there I looked at the “book sale” shelves and found two CD sets for $2 each. One was Warren Buffet’s “Snowball” audio book which is a 8 CD set with a retail price of $40. The other was Wayne Dyer’s “The Power of Intention” with a retail value of $24. So I ended up getting almost $70 of audio books for $4.

So you never know where you will find a deal.

Nancy Kvamme

Keep Saving

I know with the current uncertain economic conditions for many it is getting difficult for many to save money. But it is important to look at how you spend you money and see if any more money can be found in your budget.

With predictions of the end of the world, some people have quit saving since they think the end is coming. And also, when young people die, some say maybe we should all live like there’s no tomorrow since we never know when the end will come. It is important to live an enjoyable life, but I feel it is also important to be able to put some away for the future.

I understand it is difficult when you are younger to put money away that you will not be able to use for 20-30 or more years. But the more you put away when you are younger the less you will need to save. The more time the money has to grow the larger it will become. Even if you older and have not saved much, it is still important to save. I hear some say it won’t make any difference. But even saving some is better than not saving anything.

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Nancy Kvamme

If you are looking for sources of personal finance information, there are two shows on CNBC, The Suze Orman Show and Til Debt Do Us Part. The Suze Orman Show is on from 8:00-9:00 PM (CT) Saturday nights. Til Debt Do Us Part has two segments also on Saturday from 9:00-9:30 (CT) and 9:30-10:00.

On The Suze Orman Show, Suze usually has a guest on that has a financial problem, answers questions from callers and the “Can you Afford It” segment. During the “Can you Afford It” segment viewers call in with something they want to purchase, after looking at their finances, Suze either approves or denies them. Sometimes you may wonder why she approves them, but like she says with their finances they can afford to do it but many times she still tells them she doesn’t think they should make the purchase. Sometimes she has a follow-up call where she hast the person on the show again to see if they did make the purchase.

Til Debt Do Us Part is hosted by Gail Vaz-Oxlade. She meets with couples once a week for a month to work on getting their finances in order. In a lot of the cases, some couples are spending $3,000 – $5,000 more each month than they make. Some couples spend twice the amount of their income. She shows them where their money actually goes, how much debt they actually do have and how much debt they will be in 5 years from now if they stay on the track they are on. Each week she gives them an exercise to do to either make more money or to learn to work together better. If they follow her instructions and show they are willing to continue to work on getting out of debt, at the end of the show she rewards them with a check of up to $5,000 to go towards their debt.

Since this is the weekend of the Fargo marathon, I thought I would write about hot training for a marathon is similar to learning about your finances. Learning to manage and save your money can be compared to training for a marathon or other competition. Just as you need to train and take small steps to run a marathon you also need to take small steps and obtain knowledge on how to deal with your finances. If you would go out and try to run a marathon without any training, you probably wouldn’t get very far and would be in pain. The more you train the easier it will be to finish the race. The same is true with your finances, the longer you keep track of how you spend your money and watch your spending the easier it will get.

At first, it will seem like a lot of work but over time it will become a habit just like learning anything else.

A budget tells you where your money goes like your training schedule suggests how much to run each day and maybe what to eat and drink.

So just as you may need a trainer to get you in shape for a race, it may also be helpful to have someone assist you to get your financial life on track.

Congratulations to all of the runners, walkers and volunteers this weekend.

Nancy Kvamme