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Vanilla finances.

Many LOLs were LOLed once I discovered a post called “Vanilla sex: Here, have another helping” on the How To Write Better website.

Writer, coach and humorist Suzan St Maur posted the piece as a way of poking fun at the idea of “vanilla sex,” i.e., conventional, ordinary (subtext: boring) physical love.

St Maur (not a typo – she doesn’t use the period after “St”) wondered if the adjective could be used for other things.

Apparently it can. A few of her examples:

 


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(Happy Throwback Thursday, everyone! This article originally ran on July 3, 2015. Its sentiments are as valid to me today as they were back then.)

Here’s today’s neologism, and it’s a great one: “pre-solvent.” It comes from a comment on one a Money Talks News article called “The real reason Americans struggle to save.”

The article cited a couple of surveys that put the fault not in our stars, but in our cards: “Lifestyle spending” and “lack of financial discipline” kept anywhere from 44 to 71 percent of respondents living paycheck to paycheck and/or prevented them from achieving financial goals.

I’d like to point out that underemployment, lack of education and impossible-to-pay medical bills can also hinder the ability to save. But I agree that the “buy now, figure out how to pay for it later” attitude is definitely nudging some folks toward insolvency.

Which brings us to pre-solvency. A commenter named “Y2K Jillian” writes that she and her husband lived paycheck to paycheck for years and loathed the lifestyle. But change happened.

How? “Gradually, gradually.” Which is how I’d bet it happens for a lot of people.

 


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The concept of a “spending freeze” pops up every so often in the personal finance blogosphere. January is prime time for this tactic, given the joyful excesses of the holiday season.

Spending freezes have been announced at a couple of blogs I follow, Jana Says and The Frugalwoods. They’re slightly different: Mrs. Frugalwoods wants to help you “restructure your frugal mindset,” while Jana invites us to join her as she learns “to start paying attention again.”

While leaving a comment on Jana’s post I used the phrase “hypothermia of the budget.” That’s where DF and I are this January, and probably for the next six months. Or maybe longer.

 


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thGray Thursday is tomorrow and Black Friday is the day after that. Anyone without a specific plan runs the risk of blowing the budget and/or lying about it.

Ho, ho, no.

According to a survey from VitalSmarts, eight out of 10 people overdo it on Black Friday and 56 percent have a hard time talking about holiday spending with their spouses/partners.

Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, who founded the corporate training company, cite these common tactics for avoiding the discussion:

 


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thI’ve been getting a bunch of holiday-themed press info lately: holiday spending, holiday hassles, holiday tips. Obviously I need to share it with readers.

Here’s a time-sensitive example: Erin Chase of the Grocery Budget Makeover website suggests that you might not want to shop for your Thanksgiving meal just yet.

Sure, all those displays look tempting and “sale” prices are being trumpeted. But they might not be the best prices of the season.

 


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