Blog Posts by Fabulous & Frugal

  • The Art of the Financial Planner

    Even A Little Money Can Go A Long Way

    Think a financial planner is only for someone who has a ton of money to invest and manage? Think again! It's a common misperception that "financial planning" is only for the rich. No matter how much (or how little) you make, it might make sense for you to consult a financial professional to help chart your future.

    A Different Kind of Financial Planner

    Fab & Fru recently spoke with financial planner Mark Zaifman, founder of Spiritus Financial Management. He started Spiritus with his holistic vision to bring financial planning services to people of all financial backgrounds.

    Like the core of the Fab & Fru message, Mark believes that, "financial planning is a life-long process that assists you in taking control of your financial future". Like most personal financial advisers, Mark evaluates his clients goals and then often helps to manage their investment portfolio. What sets him apart is that Mark is NOT just interested in high net

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  • Are You Drinking Your Savings Away?

    by Andrea Moya

    Don't worry, we're not going to tell you to stop drinking. We've published enough wine and beer articles to make that clear. What we're wondering is… have you given much thought to how much you're spending on social lubricant? Probably not. After all, who keeps a booze budget?

    Many Americans still drink as if Prohibition was just revoked! Drinking is a keystone of our social fabric, but we don't like to admit that it's part of our day-to-day spending. We tend to lump our alcohol expenditures into the "food" section of your budget (if we budget for it at all), but buying drinks is often the most expensive aspect of socializing. So take a long, hard (non-judgmental) look at your drinking habits and figure out what they mean to you in dollars and cents.

    What It Means to Not Budget Your Drinking

    My friend and I decided we wanted to spend more time together, so we began meeting up for drinks once a week. While I wouldn't change these weekly meetings for

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  • No Cash, No Credit, No Automatic Debit

    If you were anything like me this holiday season, you've been mindlessly indulging in endless feasts, sweets and wine. And in 2010, you're finding yourself obsessing about how you're not going to eat for a week in hopes to lose the holiday chub before you start your real diet… Sound familiar? Well, what about giving the same amount of thought and effort to jumpstarting your new Fab & Fru spending habits and savings plan?

    Even if you consciously cut back on your gift giving budget this year, it would be almost inhuman of you if you didn't overindulge just a little more than planned- at least sometime over the holidays. Why not start the New Year off on the right foot, and instead of (or along with) eliminating Carbs come Monday, take a day off from spending ANY money! Wake up and learn just how much you depend on the green for everyday existence and how often you actually go to make a purchase without even being fully aware of your actions…

    The Purpose of a Money Fast


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  • Automate Your Finances

    Six months ago, personal financial planner Michael Hardy literally stopped writing checks...! Wait- we're not saying that Michael stopped paying his bills, but by automating his finances, he has totally changed his life. Here's his Fab & Fru take on how to save time and MONEY just by paying your bills- differently!

    Go On Autopilot & Save

    By inputting my bills to automatically debit my bank account or charge my credit card on a certain date each month, I no longer worry about late fees or spending my savings before transferring funds into the proper account. Going on 'autopilot' has helped me manage my cash flow, stick to my monthly budget, and by creating a consistent pattern and disciplined approach to savings, I am now able to more easily build my long-term wealth and increase my NET WORTH. And the best part of this time 'freeing' decision is just that - it's FREE.

    Your Bills & Savings Plan

    1. Make a list of all your bills and all your savings accounts: IRA, emergency
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  • Recession Investing 101

    Is the Stock Market Still the Key to Financial Freedom?

    Are you thinking about starting to save for your future but have no clue how to navigate your way through the stock market? You're probably wondering, is investing in the stock market really the best idea in the middle of a recession? Don't you need a lot of money to start an investment portfolio anyway?- We at Fab & Fru had some of the same questions so we turned to our go-to financial planner Michael Hardy from Mollot & Hardy for some answers. Here's what he had to say.

    What is an Investment?

    An investment is "anything that has potential to make a return." This includes real estate, stocks, bonds, even your savings account, simply because you earn interest on it. However, I wanted to focus our conversation exclusively on the stock market and why developing a portfolio of stocks, bonds, and funds, even without having a lot to invest now, is crucial to future savings and wealth.

    Yourself First & Always Live

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  • A frighteningly frugal Halloween

    Last Minute Ideas for Kids & Adults


    For over 25 years, my parents' house has been the main attraction on the neighborhood trick or treating circuit. It's not because they expensively decorate the outside of the house, or even that they give out the best candy. But rather, my mother simply (and inexpensively) turns her foyer into a thrilling experience that the kids just eat up!

    Create a Fab & Fru Haunted Foyer

    What You Need:

    1) Scary Music & a Boom Box or Speakers

    2) A Cheap Strobe Light

    3) Dry Ice

    4) A Stool or a Tall Table

    5) A Deep Large Bowl & Another Bowl that's slightly smaller

    6) Black Fabric or a Black Sheet

    7) A Creative Adult answering the door dressed as Something Spooky

    Cauldron on a Pedestal: Create a pedestal using a stool or tall table. Place the larger of the two bowls on top of the pedestal and drape the black fabric so it covers the stand and falls to the floor. Carefully lay

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  • Turn your first job into a career

    5 Tips to Get Ahead at Work

    A first job is like a first relationship: an exciting, new experience where you learn…often by making mistakes. Turning an entry-level job into a career means taking what you've learned and putting it into action. OK, so how the heck do you do that?

    Get to Know Your Company & Yourself

    Take the time to really understand the vision of the company you're working for. This will not only help you connect to your job faster, it will also define your own interests and strengths more quickly. In turn, learning more about yourself builds confidence, leading you to take more initiative. The more you sharpen your skill set, and the more confidence (not arrogance) that you gain, the better your performance will become, and the more likely you are to advance. Always remember, your first job is just as much about getting professional experience as it is building a good reputation.

    Observe & Take the Initiative

    Learning how to do things without being asked (or without

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  • Living more with less

    On average, Europeans earn less money and have smaller homes, cars and wardrobes than Americans. So, why do statistics show that Europeans are happier than we are? Can living with less equal a higher quality of life?

    The Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) recently released a list of the top ten happiest countries in the world. Denmark, Finland, and the Netherlands won top billing, but the United States didn't even make the list! So, if it's true that money really can't buy you happiness - what the heck can?

    Having lived and worked throughout Europe, I can say I get it. It's not just the allure of ancient architecture. It's not just the promise of more social services or a more leisurely paced lifestyle. There's something else. A simplicity, an appreciation that the people have for each other, their food, and the everyday rituals of life that Americans often overlook by racing against the clock and exchanging quality for quantity. Have Americans

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  • To lease or to buy your car

    Joan Rivers has a new show called "How'd You Get So Rich?!" That question crosses my mind every time I drive around L.A. The proportion of Porsches, Range Rovers and BMWs seems to far outweigh the population of wealthy people...So, how can all of these people afford such fancy cars?

    Appearances can be deceiving -- a lot of luxury car drivers may not be so rich after all. According to, 75% of luxury vehicles are actually leased, rather than owned. Leasing is a popular alternative to purchasing a car because -- in the short term -- it seems cheaper to lease than to buy. Many consumers like that leasing allows them to "afford" to drive a nicer car than they would actually be able to own. A nicer car for less money...Sounds like it could even be Fabulous & Frugal, right? Or is it too good to be true?

    On The Plus Side Of Leasing…

    More Car For Less Money
    The up-front costs and monthly payments associated with leasing are less than what it costs to finance and purchase the

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  • Renovations for Less

    Ever since I moved into my co-op, I fantasized about gutting my bathroom and glamming it up with new fixtures and beautiful tile. But for years I put my grandiose project on the back burner- that is until a plumbing disaster this past spring forced my plans into high gear!

    Renovating a room in your house is exciting-- not to mention expensive! Most of us can't afford to work with an interior designer to help us realize our vision, but that doesn't mean that you can't achieve the designer look that you've always wanted while getting the most bang for your buck! The key- DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

    Where Should the Glamour Go?

    When you begin planning for your renovation, try to envision the overall look that you are going for instead of getting stuck on every detail from the get go (there will be time for this later). What is the focal point of your space? Get to know the shape of the room. When you walk through the door, what do you see first? If you are going to splurge, this is the area where

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