Teaching A Teenager How To Budget

Posted by Brock | April 24, 2015.

CleverDude_TeenagerBudget

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My son recently entered the workforce with his first part-time job. Last weekend he got his first full paycheck, and I could see the excitement in his eyes. He thought he was swimming in money, and relative to any other time in his life he was right.

I came home from work to find that he and a couple of friends had ordered a delivery pizza. After his friends left I found that he hadn’t asked his friends to pitch in to pay for the food. He said it wasn’t that expensive, plus he had plenty of money.

That last phrase made alarm bells go off in my head. My son needed a budget.

We agreed that he could have his first two paychecks for whatever he wanted. I know he had been eyeing some upgrades for his computer, and I wanted him to also really enjoy the fruits of his labor. After that, he would be responsible to pay some bills. He would also be required put money into his savings account.

We sat down to have a budget lesson, it was time to introduce him to the envelope method. I got two envelopes, writing the word “Insurance” on one, and “Gas” on the other.


How to Enjoy France on a Budget

Posted by James | April 23, 2015.

France, travel to France, Eiffel Tower, traveling
Of the many destinations in Europe, France has got to be one of the most beautiful – and expensive – places to be spending a holiday. A vacation shouldn’t break the bank, even if you have enough saved up for such an occasion. Saving money is a difficult and tricky endeavor if you’re not careful, so make sure you don’t blow all your savings on a vacation where prudent planning can stretch your funds and let you enjoy your time spent without worrying too much about cash and how you’re going to pay for it.

Plan Ahead, Book Early

It pays to have a plan, so if you’re thinking about going to France, do all your planning six months in advance. You can get a lot of cheap flights when you book early, so check out Skyscanner for the cheapest direct flights to France. Discount airfare is always an option, but be sure to check for all the hidden charges and fees. Plan where you want to stay, what places you want to visit first and how you’re going to move around. Trust me, being prepared and knowing where you have to go for cheap transportation is a budget saver.

Make Some Friends

The best way to experience a country is by hanging out with the locals. They can take you to places no guidebook will ever show you and even teach you a thing or two about where to eat for cheap and where to go for fun. It also won’t hurt to learn a little French before heading off for your vacation, so be on your best behavior and make some friends!


Head To Head Value Match-up: The Olive Garden vs. Noodles And Company

Posted by Brock | April 22, 2015.

CleverDude_Noodles

I’m not a big fan of eating out, simply because eating at a restaurant usually doesn’t represent a good use of my hard earned money.  Most of the time I could make the same dish with a higher quality and for a lower cost at home. The absolute worst offenders are pasta dishes. Pasta is dirt cheap, and it just grinds me how much restaurants charge for pasta dishes. The fact that Olive Garden is one of my wife’s favorite restaurants is an endless source of conflict when we do decide to go out for dinner. Recently, we went to different restaurant that may satisfy both my wife’s love of going out for pasta, and my need to get as much value as possible when dining out.

We went to Noodles and Company for a very satisfying lunch date. I enjoyed my lunch, and my bill, so much that I decided to put it head to head with our last dining experience at The Olive Garden.

Olive Garden:

Food:

We each ordered an entree, and a soft drink. Our meals came with unlimited salad and breadsticks, although we each only had one serving of salad and one breadstick.

Price:

  • Chicken Alfredo : $15.99
  • Chicken Sorento: $15.99
  • 2 Soft Drinks: $5.78
  • Tip: $7.00

Total: $44.76

Noodles And Company:

Food:

We each ordered and entree, soft drink, and a salad. We also shared an order of flat bread.


What Effect Would The Keystone XL Pipeline Have On Americans?

Posted by Brock | April 20, 2015.

CleverDude_oil

Image courtesy of suwatpo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m going to do something today that as far as I can remember I’ve only done once here on CleverDude. I’m going to get all political. But don’t worry fellow money nerds, it has to do with something that we all talk about and are forced to think about almost every day.

Let’s talk about price fixing, monopolies, and the price of oil and gasoline.

The price of oil has shrunk in half over the last year to eighteen months from around $110 dollars a barrel to currently right around $50. The global demand for oil isn’t growing as it once was, and the high output from oil producing countries is resulting in a massive stockpile of oil.

It used to be that when oil prices dropped, OPEC countries would reduce their output, artificially reducing supply and thus causing the price to go up. It also astounds me that every time oil prices fall significantly, refining plants have to go offline for maintenance. Which then leads to an increase in gasoline prices because even though there may be plenty of oil, gasoline is in short supply causing the price to go up.

Where I come from, this is called collusion and price fixing which is illegal in the US. But somehow in the global stage this is acceptable behavior.


Achieving a Feng Shui Environment in Your Restaurant

Posted by James | April 20, 2015.

For many people, achieving a Feng Shui environment in their home and/or office is important or desirable. If you own or manage a restaurant, there’s a good chance that this approach to filling a space could work wonders for your business. Creating a Feng Shui environment can sometimes be very difficult, but here are a few tips to help you do so.

Select Your Colour

Colour can play a very important part in achieving a Feng Shui environment in your restaurant. Certain colours can be good, while others are not conducive to a proper and correct atmosphere. The best colours for your restaurant will depend on a number of factors, so it could be a good idea to look further into this or even consult a Feng Shui expert.

Introduce Plants

Plants play a vital role in achieving a Feng Shui environment in your restaurant. Not only do they add a touch of greenery to the restaurant, but they also increase oxygen supply in the air. Cleverly chosen plants will also increase the aesthetic appeal of your restaurant while giving it a comforting and balanced feel.

Clear Away Clutter

Clutter is not conducive to creating a Feng Shui environment. It can break up the energy flow, which is what gives the restaurant its unique environment. Clear away clutter and ensure that there is a clear pathway for the energy. There must also not be large windows at the back of the property; this will make it difficult to retain positive energy.


Clever Posts Of The Week – April 17th

Posted by Brock | April 17, 2015.

Happy Friday, Clever Friends!  Changes are a brewing here at “The Dude.”  We’re contemplating discontinuing the Friday link post in favor of additional content.   We shouldn’t fear change – it’s how we grow, right?  Stay tuned, but in the meantime enjoy my favorite posts from this week!

Brought to you courtesy of Brock