Better Living Through Brainier Budgeting: The Smart Money Quiz
By: Nathan Chandler
About This Quiz
So there's a loud, obnoxious recession party going on outside. Don't drown your pain at the kegger -- instead, sharpen your financial brainpower here, and have more money and more fun.
What's one way to save a lot of money on food and make meal planning easier, too?
create weekly meal plans and buy food in advance
With a meal plan, you'll know what you're eating and when. And you won't even need to stop by the store on your way home from work.
buy frozen pizza instead of delivery
How can you possibly stay in good physical shape and spend less money?
eat smaller meals many, many times per day
All you need is shoes! Running is one of the cheapest and most effective workouts you'll find.
join a great gym that only charges monthly fees
When creating their first budget, which category do many people underfund?
"I still can't believe we used eight gallons of milk in a week!" It's easy to underestimate the money you spend on food when you first begin budgeting.
What's the number one rule of budgeting?
Many people forget this basic rule simply because they don't have a budget. You just can't spend more money than you have, even if you're in Congress.
follow the example of the U.S. Congress
About what percentage of an average U.S. household budget goes towards food?
Americans actually spend less on food than people in other countries. Still, this is an expense that can spiral out of control.
What's one proven way to reduce your grocery store bill?
Clip and save! Coupons are and old-school savings method that's once again all the rage.
drive from store to store to find the best deal on each and every product
What's one warning sign that you're living beyond your means?
You often switch jobs in hopes of earning more.
You carry a balance on your credit card.
Plastic can be evil, especially when you consistently leave a balance on a card.
Many financial experts recommend that monthly essentials not exceed what percentage of your income?
At more than 60 percent, your budget has very little flexibility to help you save or account for emergencies.
What's one aspect of savings that many people overlook?
Of course, having no money to pay hopital bills makes that broken leg even more exciting! Remember that emergencies always happen. Best to prepare for them.
What sort of debt should you pay off first?
Knock off the little ones, first. With a little momentum, you'll be able to better tackle even bigger amounts.
debt with high interest rates
When you're sick and tired of pinching pennies, you may wind up splurging thanks to what phenomenon?
No matter what you call it, it's an emotional drain. Best to let yourself spend a little extra money right now than to revert to destructive spending habits.
When it comes to living comfortably on a budget, what's the first thing you should do?
Do you know what really makes you happy? Do away with the all of the extraneous stuff and spend your money on the things that add joy to your life.
In America, what's one work-related expense that hurts many family budgets?
Gas and vehicle maintenance alone can strangle an innocent budget. But you can ask your boss for a telecommuting day or two.
What's one way you can save money on many products you buy?
haggle with every cashier
ask your friends to shoplift small items
Go online for products you know you can't live without, and you may save huge money off of the retail price. It's instant price-comparison shopping!
What's one way adults can limit their impulse spending?
carry cash instead of credit cards
give yourself a weekly allowance
By budgeting your fun money (and carrying only cash), you limit yourself to smaller, less frequent unnecessary purchases.
About how much of your income should you save?
Most experts recommend that you save at least 20 percent of your income, though in these times of recession, saving more won't hurt.
What's one common American expense than can be eliminated altogether?
Cable TV is one of the most costly leisure expenses around, and getting rid of it means you'll spend less on the shopping channels, too.
What's one way to make retirement savings easier?
automate your retirement account
Make it automatic. Link your paycheck to your retirement account and you won't even have to think about that aspect of your budget.
set up a new savings account just for retirement
don't worry, you will never retire
How can you best determine if your new budget is working?
buy a new car and see what interest rate you receive
check to see if your credit limit has increased
track all of your income and expenses in a spreadsheet or program
Without tracking, you'll never know where your money is really going. So keep close tabs on your money for a few months, at the very least.
As you adjust to a more frugal lifestyle, what's one piece of advice that experts recommend?
be patient with yourself and your family
You won't see a lot of overnight results, and you'll get tired (at first) of saving. But in the long run, your overall lifestyle will improve and maybe even make you happier.
expect fast results and immediate savings
cry a lot about the money you can't spend