I grew up poor. No cable television. No home internet. No new (or even late model) cars. No dishwasher. No pets. My mom raised us simply, and quite honestly, we never wanted much.

Over the years, though, I have become accustomed to certain privileges. I now cannot live without my internet. I love my late model Ford. I like cable TV, and the dishwasher is a must in my home. My pets are now a huge joy in my life that I couldn't live without.

I am a victim of lifestyle creep.

How Lifestyle Creep Occurs

I may have mentioned in an earlier post that my twin girls turned six this year. To mark the occasion, we had not one but two parties: a friends’ party and a party for the family. And because I’m crazy, I made (yes, made, not bought) two separate cakes. Now, I’m not much of a baker, and I’m not known in my social circle as a crafty-type individual. But even I have to say both cakes turned out pretty good. So, without further adieu, here’s a post about creating your own chocolate barrel cake so that you, too, can win friends and influence people.

As we continue our Investment Definitions series, we come to a term that may be thrown about quite casually. But when you're first beginning to learn about investments, even one of the most-used terms can trip you up. For that reason, we'll cover the Rate of Return in detail.

What is the Rate of Return?

Curling up with a good book (or at least one that has the merest promise of being entertaining) is one of my favorite things to do in this life. There’s nothing quite like getting caught up in a great story. You know what makes this love of books even better? Finding a someone or three who shares your passion of the written word. Starting a book club is a great way to invest in yourself and others. And it couldn’t be easier.

Face to Face Book Clubs

Continuing our series on single parenting, we come to the fact that finances can be rough. Really rough. Okay, they can be downright mean and dirty. Especially when you're getting back on your feet, caring for children on your own and unable to afford some of the basics in life, let alone the luxuries.

Summer lovin’, had me a blast...
Hot fun in the summertime...
Singin’ sweet home Alabama all summer long...

Summer. As many songs as there are about the hottest season of the year, it must be something special – and what better time is there to share with that someone special in your life? Date nights with your spouse are important any time of the year.

Sounds Like...

Fifteen years ago, had you asked me if I would like to be a work-at-home mom someday, I would have laughed in your face. Back then, I didn't want to have children. Heck, I couldn't even envision myself married. I wanted to be a career woman, either jet-setting to exotic locations and writing about them or working as a translator for Fortune 500 companies. Honestly, I thought motherhood was for the birds.

I have been nesting for a while, and I only had one final item to sell before I felt like life-before-baby was complete. I wanted to sell a collection of video games that I’ve held onto for years. Not because I play them anymore. Oh, no. This need to hoard the games was because of the principal: I paid a lot for this collection in my early twenties, and I wanted something in return.

So what did I do? I sold it on eBay, of course.

The listing was surprisingly easy, and when bidding ended, the buyer paid immediately. A dream come true, right?

Ever had a basement (or attic or spare room) full of stuff? Stuff that just sits there, collecting dust, taking up room? Yep, I’ve totally been there. After my father-in-law passed away, our basement became like a storage unit for a lot of his earthly possessions. Last summer, my husband’s family decided to go through the items, keeping things they wanted and readying the rest for a massive garage sale.

Sometimes cash flow can seem like an ugly, greedy little monster that sucks the very life out of you. I mean, you might feel like you never have enough to get by. You could live paycheck to paycheck, every month waiting for the new deposit simply so that you can feed your family. Or perhaps you live comfortably but feel there's never enough to enjoy life. Whatever your case, feeling like money is evil is actually quite common. But it doesn't have to be money versus life; there are ways to feel more at peace with the money that exists within your life. Let's look at some ways.