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Ask Jesse: How do you implement your investing?

I would love another post on investing based on your personal experience. I am particularly interested in how you implement your investing. Do you wait until you have a specific amount in your savings account, do you invest a percentage per pay day, or do you have some other strategy that you follow? Many thanks! -Tess

We do some of all of the above. It’s probably not the best method, but it’s how I have things set up for now, fully expecting changes in the future.

We primarily use mutual funds as our investment vehicle of choice. I have set up some of our accounts, including Roth IRA and children’s savings, to invest automatically once per month.

This takes advantage of the dollar cost averaging, meaning that, if you invest a given amount automatically each month, you will catch a fund at a different value from month to month and will be able to buy more of the fund if it is down in price, as opposed to buying a lot of shares at the same price with one yearly lump sum purchase.

We are planning to fully fund our retirement funds in one lump sum at the end of this year and have been saving for the last few months with this in mind. I hope to have this set up with the monthly depositing later on (hopefully next year!), but this year, because we put a lot of our savings goals on hold to pay cash for our house, we didn’t do that.

Jesse Paine is a licensed attorney who owns his own law firm. He’s married to Crystal and is the numbers nerd of the MoneySavingMom.com team! If you have a question you’d like him to answer in a future column, you can submit it here.

Free Customizable Daily Docket now available for download!

Update: We changed a few things and you should be able to save the edited form and re-open it. Sorry for the issues some of you were having!

When I did the Time Management 101 series, many of you asked if there was any way I could make my Daily Docket customizable so that you could add your own chores and section headings to it.

Well, thanks to the help of Jessica from LifeAsMom.com and Joy from FiveJs.com, I’m excited to be offering a customizable Daily Docket — for free! The Customizable Daily Docket allows you to type in your information directly to the form and print it.

You can update the information and print as often as you’d like. Here’s how to customize the new Daily Docket:

1. Download the new Daily Docket here and open it in your PDF reader. (If you don’t have a PDF reader, you can download Adobe Acrobat for free here.)

The sections of the document highlighted in yellow in the image below can be customized with your own text. Please note that your document won’t be highlighted like the image; this graphic simply shows you the sections that are customizable.

2. Click on the section you’d like to fill in.

3. Type in your text.

4. Print out the document when you’re done typing in your text.

5. Save your document if you’d like to save your changes. You’ll be able to open the document again to add different text at any time.

Family Travel: Plan that trip without exhausting yourself!

Guest post by Kay at KayTravelsLife.com

When you decided to take to the road with your family, you imagined smiling faces and photo ops at roadside nature parks. Only after making reservations did you become overwhelmed with preparing your family for even a short trip!

When I worked outside of my home full-time and commuted three hours each day, every minute was precious! I had to develop a system for careful time management before a trip. By planning your time, you can:

  • Get more than two hours of sleep the night before you leave.
  • Avoid the cost and time spent on last-minute trips to the store.
  • Save money on your travels by foreseeing and bringing everything you’ll need instead of buying it on the road.
  • Be relaxed and rested instead of rushed and exhausted!

A week or two before your trip, set aside an hour when the kids are asleep and your husband is occupied but available for consultation. Make four lists:

1.What to Bring

Get detailed. Think of everything you will need, down to socks and baby’s bottle. Don’t leave an item off because you think it is obvious. I have been known to forget my shoes or forget to pack diapers in the diaper bag.

2. What to Borrow or Buy

List items you’ll need to purchase for your trip and where you’ll need to get them. Also, brainstorm whether you know someone you can borrow it from instead or purchasing it.

3. Grocery List/Menu Plan

This list is mainly for campers, but making your own breakfasts in a hotel room or lunches at rest stops will save you money. If you’re camping, a thorough list will save you time at the grocery store and help avoid a trip to the nearest town for peanut butter. Don’t forget snacks!

4. Most importantly, list out each day preceding your trip and assign one or two tasks for each.

Map out which day you will do the laundry, for example, which lunch hour you’ll do the grocery shopping, which evening you’ll take the dog to the boarder, run to a friend’s to borrow a cooler and when you’ll pack the clothes.

Include time the night before you leave to pack the car. Preparations will be less intimidating if you only have one or two things to do each evening, and you’ll avoid the last-minute rush and frustration of beginning your trip stressed. Since I have only one free hour a night, this list is crucial.

Save those lists!

When you return, revise the lists from your experience, note the occasion and duration (“Christmas at Granny’s, three days two nights”) and file them away. Next time you want to get out of town, you’ll be way ahead of the game!

Kay travels Texas and beyond with her husband and toddling son, whose first road trip included camping in the wilderness of the Big Bend area when he was just seven months old. Visit Kay at KayTravelsLife.com.

photo by chris runoff