Frugal family time at the national park

bridgeMe with my kids in Cataloochee Valley

Last Sunday afternoon, my wife and I decided we needed some quality family time together. We wanted to so something inexpensive with the kids. I pulled up Google and within a few minutes found a place in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park called Cataloochee. Turns out it’s only about 20 minutes from our house so we decided to give it a try.

7 Simple Ways to Start Improving Your Life


You begin by always expecting good things to happen“, Tom Hopkins

Improving our financial situation is something we all want, but this is only one part of the picture. Whether you’re rich, poor, famous, anonymous, happy, sad, good or bad we all want things we don’t have.

The Friday gathering – Cutting back

Our Snow

This week was a much quieter and less stressful week than the last. We had a winter storm move in from the north and blanketed our mountain area with 3-4 inches of snow and it was beautiful. We hunkered down and enjoyed just spending some time at home relaxing.

Which is better: Cash backs reward or points?

ask-the-m-networkThis article is part of the Ask the M-Network series.  Gina submitted a question and asked:

Which is better: a credit card with cash back rewards or a credit card with rewards you cash in (e.g. get gift card for reward points)?

A co-worker asked me this question today. I found an MSN article that breaks it down, but it is from the perspective of “industry experts”. I was wondering what the GLBL “advisory” group thought about this question – they are more likely to actually USE a card with rewards.

Falling trees in your personal finance life?

fallen tree

Last week we had a pretty major wind storm here in the NC mountains. Wind storms aren’t unusual, but this one was much stronger than usual. We awoke the next morning to find some of our outdoor furniture blown around, but everything else appeared fine. My two older boys and I climbed into the SUV to head to the bus stop. At the bottom of our street we found our metal street sign laying in the road. We then proceeded on down the mountain. As we came around a turn, we found a large tree laying across the road, no way to get around.

Buying a leased car – Ask the M-Network

impalaI know, not a late model Impala, but couldn’t resist an opportunity to post a classic car picture!

This article is part of the Ask the M-Network series.  June submitted a question and asked:

My car lease is up in Oct 09 – I want to buy the car, but what am I entitled, warranty, etc. It will only have 36,000 miles. A Chevy Impala…4 door.
thank you

The winner of the Nuru personal Finance Cards is…

nuru-cardsOn January 21st I wrote a review of the Nuru personal finance cards I received from Nuru Planet. At the end of the review I announced that I would be giving them away to one lucky commentator.

I received comments from 16 different people. I visited and had it generate a random number to select as the winner. returned a value of 7 and Stacy who said “I’d love to be able to use them to teach my kids about finance!” is the winner!

Congratulations to Stacy who has been contacted via email. Thanks to everyone that entered!

25 uses for dryer sheets

Money Saving MondayWelcome again to Money Saving Monday here on Gather Little by Little. Here’s another list of creative uses for dyer sheets courtesy of my wife and her mom’s forums. As with my 15 uses for coffee filters, I don’t have the original source to site. Here’s 25 uses for dryer sheets:

  1. Dusting: used dryer sheets can knock the dust off nearly any surface, including furniture, blinds, car interiors, baseboards/molding. Also works for on saw dust and drywall compound.

The Friday gathering – Not the week I planned edition


This week sure didn’t turn out like I thought it would. I expected a fairly routine and quiet week where I would have some time to get caught up on a few things at the “day job” and be able to knock out two client blog consulting projects I’ve been working on. Well, things didn’t turn out the way I expected, as they often don’t.

On Tuesday we unfortunately had a critical software application fail. We worked non-stop until 2:15am to resolve it.   Talk about stressful! I then had to be back up at 5:00am to get my boys to school and prepare for an 8:30am meeting I had. The whole day seems like a haze.

Should I do a balance transfer?


This article is part of the Ask the M-Network series.  Christina sent in a question and asked:

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