As you probably already know, our family loves to shop online and we love to save money. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know most of the benefits of shopping online already, but humor me for a bit because I may teach you a thing or two about simplifying your online shopping experience and save you some money along the way. [Read more…]
We all know we should eat healthy, get plenty of sleep at night, exercise, and be proactive with managing our finances. And yet we’re a society that hits the drive thru, stays up too late to get up early, sits on the couch Netflix binge watching and lives on credit cards. We want all the benefits without being disciplined enough to earn them. Wouldn’t it be nice if just one thing in our life could be easy?!
I’m at least 20 lbs. overweight, sleep and 4 small children don’t mix, and I only run if being chased…so don’t look for my expertise on the first three of those items above. However, we’ve done pretty well with our finances. In fact, we were able to become 100% debt free in 2011 (including our home) and have never looked back. That means one of two things: 1) we make a ton of money and can blow it all at will, or 2) we make a budget every month and stick to it. Trust me…it is #2. [Read more…]
Health insurance has become a hot topic of discussion around these parts lately. One of the things that has come up more and more for those fed up with traditional health insurance is the concept of health sharing plans in lieu of traditional health insurance. The idea isn’t new – faith-based “health sharing arrangements” have been around since the early 80’s as an alternative to standard health insurance plans.
The thing I’ve long hailed is that no matter what your lot in life, health insurance is a necessity. I believe you take too big a risk of sinking your financial ship if you do not carry at least basic major medical coverage of some sort, and I even dedicated a portion of my book to that very notion. [Read more…]
Let’s start off with a joke: what do you get when you combine a pregnant woman suffering from all-day “morning sickness,” three kids aged six, three and one, a small dog who is almost blind and a husband who works full time and is in a season of busy travel for work? Give up? You get the perfect time to do a kitchen remodel, that’s what you get! [Read more…]
I talk to lots of people who don’t make budgets…shame on you. A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went (thank you Dave Ramsey!). Did you know that if you make a budget you usually end up finding out that you have MORE money than you thought? It’s true. So, make more money and work out a budget. See how easy it can be to set good priorities? That’s all a budget is – priorities on paper.
It’s pretty easy to make a budget, it just takes time and effort. Here’s a great free budget template that we use. I love my budget. It’s a security system for me. I don’t have to wonder how much money I have…..I KNOW. I can see it. If it’s getting close to the end of the month, I can look and see how much I have left – not cry at the register because I’m afraid that I don’t have enough to buy my toilet paper….and no toilet paper is a crying matter, my friends.
When you think about starting to make a budget, you have to consider three things – needs, wants and wishes. It’s critical you understand these things before you begin a budget…..or else you’re in trouble. Big trouble. Up poop creek without a paddle…..or toilet paper. [Read more…]
Here’s the deal – unless you have some superhuman powers I’m not aware of, you probably have a bunch of junk laying around your house. You may not classify it as junk, but if you don’t absolutely love it and it isn’t useful to you today or in the near and known future – it might as well be classified to you as junk. The “I might need it one day” syndrome is rampant in American culture…and I could be the poster child for that syndrome! I get it – I grew up in a home where we had plenty of “I might need it one day” items or “that was too good of a deal to pass up” stuff.
With our latest motivation to declutter and embrace the KonMari approach to get rid of a bunch of stuff we didn’t need, Stacy took on her natural role of organizer and went at the decluttering with a vengeance. Each day we’d chat off and on about what to do with the things we decided we didn’t love and were ready to part with. Everything basically fell into three categories: donate, sell, and trash. [Read more…]
Stacy has long been bothered by her smile, feeling self-conscious about it and trying to hide her teeth. I personally have never been concerned by this and yet “fixing her smile” has been on Stacy’s wish list for a very long while. A couple of years ago she went to the orthodontist and got a price quote on braces. Sticker shock caused her to put it off then. Fast forward to a few months ago and we finally agreed that if she was ever going to get braces, she just needed to go for it. We had some savings and so we fully expected to pay cash for the entire thing, but after discussing and considering it, we decided to not pay cash up front. Why? Here are the four big reasons we didn’t pay cash for braces. [Read more…]
We bought a van last week. I know for families with more than your average number of kids that is a rite of passage, so I guess we’re “in the club” now…the I-drive-a-minivan-and-like-it club. Although it doesn’t have flames painted down the side, a hemi under the hood or a stereo that will let everyone hear you from 3.4 miles away, I’ll have to say that I’m happy to have bought it. More importantly, it is paid for. We don’t do payments around here. If we can’t pay for it, we aren’t buying it. So how can we pay cash for all our cars? Read on. [Read more…]
Let’s talk job interviews! Call me weird, but I’ve always enjoyed the interviewing and hiring process. I’ve done a lot of it, too. I’ve probably been in a few hundred job interviews at this point…on both sides of the table. I’ve also done some various interviewing classes for high school students and others for front-line hiring managers. So when someone contacted me recently and asked if I could offer some pointers, I thought it may be of use to all of us to go through some interviewing basics…an Interviewing 101, if you will.
First and most importantly, remember that every job interview matters. Whether you are voluntarily looking for a new position, interviewing for a promotion, or desperate for a j-o-b to make ends meet, every interview gives you the chance at a fresh start to convince a captive audience that you are awesome. With that in mind, be awesome! [Read more…]
If you’ve read much of what I’ve written previously about relationships and money, you’ll find I regularly state that your finances won’t work if you and your spouse can’t agree on money. I’ve even given you my top five things I believe all spouses must agree on to win with money. What I’ve not told you is that there is serious research that shows your spouse has the power to make you filthy, stinkin’ rich. Okay, maybe not too stinkin’ because a good spouse will make you bathe so you’re agreeable to sleep next to…but I digress.