Are you looking for some practical ways to better manage your debt? Are you starting to become overwhelmed by your monthly payments and the building interest? Hey, I get you! Debt is something that we all deal with. Especially now with the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating ripple effects it will have on the economy for years to come, I feel even people who thought they were doing well financially might soon have to take on more debt than they previously would have imagined. According to Debt.org, the typical American household now carries an average debt balance of $137,063. Credit cards alone make up $8,398 of this figure. The rest of it includes all of the other usual suspects such as your mortgage, student loans, auto loans, … [Read more...] about How to Manage Your Debt and Reduce Financial Stress
Savings & Budgeting
If your pool water is cloudy or a sick dark color, and you're looking for tips on how to turn it from green to blue, then this is the post for you! For years, I've had a love / hate relationship with my pool. I love it in the middle of the summer when it's 100 degrees outside and I want a nice, cool place to float around all afternoon. But I hate it when I pull the cover off every spring only to find a puke-colored, army-green swamp where my crystal blue water used to be. Believe me - I know how desperate you feel when your pool looks like this and you fear it will never be suitable for human life ever again! And the amount of money you can spend only to literally accomplish nothing can be ridiculous! Don't think so? Here's an … [Read more...] about How to Turn Cloudy Pool Water From Green to Blue
If you're looking for some good things you do with $1,000 right now, then you're in the right place. Anytime you're about to receive some money, it's important to have some good options for what you plan to do with it. And let's be honest: With the median household income in the U.S. standing at $61,937 per year, a thousand dollars can do a lot of good. In fact, according to a survey reported by Fox Business, the majority of people who are about to receive $1,000 or more plan to use it to pay down their debt. While that's always a very responsbile use of money, is it the only option? Depending on how you normally manage your money, there may be some other choices that would also make similar positive impacts. In fact, if … [Read more...] about What Are the Smartest Things You Can Do With $1,000 Right Now?
We all know that budgeting is the key to managing our money. But have you ever considered how an annual budget might work better than a monthly budget? Tell me if this is how budgeting usually goes for you … You take your annual income, divide it by 12, and then make a goal to not spend over that amount each month. Things might go well for a little while. But then you find that you’ve over-spent by $500 because of a bill you weren’t expecting. Then the next month its $1,000 more than you anticipated. Perhaps you’d like to buy a new car, but you’re unsure of how much you can actually afford each month. Or maybe you’d like to boost your 401(k) savings rate. But again – how much extra can you … [Read more...] about Monthly Budget Not Working? Why An Annual Budget Is Better
It's pretty safe to say that if you want to do a better job managing your money, one of the first changes you're going to need to embrace is how to live frugally. I know, I know ... The word frugal makes most people want to cringe! Why? Because they associate it with another word that brings about unpleasant thoughts: Cheap! I think we can all agree - no one wants to be thought of as "cheap". And for good reason. The idea of people being cheap implies that they are being stingy with their money. It means you hold yourself back from buying the things you want or even need, and for no good reason. That's not how you want to be! "Frugal", on the other hand, implies that you are simply being conscious of your money and making … [Read more...] about How To Live Frugally Without Being Cheap
The foundation of any solid financial freedom plan is in knowing the best ways to budget your money and save effectively. It’s absolutely fundamental to preserving your wealth. Have you ever wondered why so many lottery winners end up going broke a short while after winning? Fortune reports that nearly a third declares bankruptcy within 5 years. You’d think that all those millions of dollars would solve their financial problems. But as it turns out: If you don’t know how to budget your money normally, than more money isn’t going to make a difference. But “budgeting” … Most people cringe at the word! And likely because they get the false idea that every dollar they spend is somehow bad (which is not true at … [Read more...] about The 10 Best Practical Ways to Budget Your Money and Save More
Do you know about flexible spending accounts (FSA’s)? You may have heard of them from your HR department and wondered: “How would this benefit me?” or “How does an FSA work exactly?” Believe me - These were the same types of questions my wife and I had when we were first getting started in our jobs years ago and looking for every angle we could to save a little bit of cash. At first glance, an FSA seems like just another thing taking money out of your paycheck. For most of us, that’s a deal-breaker. Between taxes, social security, and our retirement contributions, there’s already enough being subtracted from how much we really earn. Do you really need something else to reduce it even further? … Yes! And I’ll … [Read more...] about What Is a Flexible Spending Account? How Does an FSA Work?
Question: If I've got a little extra money that I'd like to use responsibly to pay off one of my debts, which is the better one to put it towards: Should I pay off my car loan early or my mortgage? Ahhh … the old “which of my debts do I pay down first” debate … We tend to carry a lot of them in our society. According to a 2017 report from GoBankingRates, the top three forms of debt for most people are their mortgage (65%), credit cards (50%), and auto loans (32%). Usually questions like this are a no-brainer. Simply look to your loans with the highest interest rate and pay those off first. That means tackling your high-interest debt like credit cards and student loans. But what about our auto loans and mortgages? When it … [Read more...] about Should I Pay Off My Car Loan Early or My Mortgage?