saving money

Can This Marriage Be Saved? We Constantly Fight About Money

April 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm , by

In honor of that much-loathed, not-to-be-mentioned April deadline (which was Monday, in case you missed it), this week’s Can This Marriage Be Saved? tale follows a couple who butt heads about financial decisions big and small – and are allowing those fights to wear down the health of their marriage.

Lisa, a successful PR-firm owner and mom of three teens, has been married to Drew for 21 years. Though he’s held good jobs throughout their marriage, she’s always been the breadwinner – and she’s also spent like one.

Lisa’s turn Her husband is a nagging tightwad who monitors all her financial decisions, even though she’s the one who’s supporting their family. When times were good, her quick-draw spending style wasn’t an issue, since they had enough money to cover her impulse purchases without a second thought. But Drew lost a job and had to take a pay cut when he took a new position, so now he’s reacting by freaking out when she makes any purchases. She admits they’re not in a great situation – they lost money in the stock market and her business is slowing down, too – but thinks after ditching nonessentials like vacations and dinners out that they’ve cut back enough already. She’s supported herself since her late teens, so she knows she can handle her finances and resents his constant monitoring. She’s also worried that their kids are feeling their parents’ anxieties. Read more

Ladies We Love: Stephanie Nelson

January 13, 2010 at 2:14 pm , by

coupon mom

After working in the corporate world for ten years, Stephanie Nelson decided to become a stay-at-home mom. With her attention focused at home, she eventually realized how much money she was spending on groceries and decided that her family budget needed an overhaul. So she developed a savings strategy—based on using coupons—and by 2001, was born. Over the years she’s garnered a huge following (1.7 million subscribers!) and now she’s the author of The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half. In the book she shares her shopping techniques, from where to find the best coupons to how to save in the dairy department, as well as budget-friendly recipes. We also love that Stephanie started a program called Cut Out Hunger, which encourages shoppers to donate the money they’ve saved to food shelters across the country.

What makes me a lady:
I try to follow the philosophy that it’s better to be nice than to be right. You don’t have to win every battle, especially at the expense of being mean.

Favorite guilty pleasure:
Eating popcorn, drinking diet coke and reading a novel at 4 in the afternoon.

Three things on my life list:
1. Travel overseas to neat places with my family. 2. Learn how to play golf. 3. Learn how to cook really good meals.

If I could have a superpower, it would be: To be able to understand and connect with people immediately.

Ladies I admire:
Ordinary women I know in my community who selflessly devote their time to helping people in need without accolades, fame or fortune. I know women who give all of their time to raising support for foster children, helping victims of child abuse, and helping homeless families without being paid a dime. They are heroes.

How to Stay Healthy: Final Words of Wisdom from Julia

December 24, 2009 at 10:27 am , by

s_womandoctorThe end of the year is a traditional time to both look back and to think about the future, but I’ve got an especially compelling reason to do that. After four years at Ladies’ Home Journal (and many more editing elsewhere) I’m leaving my job as Health Director to study for a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction and write books. This is my last chance to share some things I’ve learned on this beat.

Whatever you do, keep moving. Even really elderly people get stronger if they exercise and lift light weights. Exercising improves your health in almost every situation, from high blood sugar to heart disease to lowering depression and your breast cancer risk. My New Year’s resolution is to go from twice a week to four times—we’ll see if I make it. (Don’t I have till Chinese New Year, February 14th?)

Take control of your health. If you don’t understand what the doctor says, keep asking until you do. And do go to the doctor—and the dentist. How often you need to go changes depending on your age and health history. Always come with a list of questions: Visits are short so it pays to be organized.

• Eat well, but don’t obsess about your weight. Yo-yo dieting can be worse than being a little overweight—and can leave you undernourished. Focus on good nutrition and portion control.

• Defuse when you can. Stress can undermine your health in a multitude of ways. Take some time every day to take a few deep breaths, hug someone, zone out as you watch the clouds in the sky.

Do your own research. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, control diabetes or fight asthma, go online for more information. That goes double if someone is suggesting surgery or just prescribed a new drug. My favorite place to start is the Mayo Clinic website. And don’t forget to check out our health coverage. Also visit websites from organizations that specialize in your condition, such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure for breast cancer.

Find ways to save on health care You may be able to use a lower-cost physician’s assistant or dental technician. Major drug companies have programs if you can’t afford your medicine. States and cities may fund mammograms or flu shots. Hospitals can work out payment plans. See these ideas from our sister magazine, Parents.

It’s amazing how much you can help yourself. That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned.