I was recently privileged to purchase my latest new-to-me car, a 2008 Ford Taurus SEL. My 1997 Ford Ranger is still doing fine, but is not very family-friendly and the gas mileage on my 80 mile commute (round trip) was definitely a concern. So for a few months I’d been looking for something to fit our family and save us some gas money in the process. This is the third vehicle I’ve bought for us using $100 bills and several of you have asked me how to pay cash for your vehicles and/or how to break the cycle of car payments. I dedicate an entire chapter in my book to that topic, but I thought I’d give you the gist of it through a post today. [Read more…]
If you’ve been around here long, you know we are pretty big proponents of using cash to help maintain discipline in your finances. We use the good old-fashioned cash envelope system, and have since we got married. For some reason, many of you think using cash is strange because we live in a plastic society (interpret that in a few ways if you like), so Stacy even did a video about our actual cash envelopes back in March to try to help you see how we make it work.
But what about those of you who refuse to use cash? Maybe you’re scared of having more than a few bucks on hand because they’ll burn a hole in your pocket. Maybe you’re convinced you’ll be mugged if you bring out a $50 bill to pay for groceries. Whatever the reason, many of you haven’t bought into the idea of using cash envelopes for certain budget categories and want to know if there’s an alternative. Well…yes. [Read more…]
What’s the real difference in a wealthy person and someone barely scraping by? Why do some become millionaires while others end up broke? I previously wrote about how poor and rich are really states of mind and not directly tied to your income level, and even went so far as to say you have to act like a millionaire if you want to become one. That leads to today’s discussion: how do you define “wealthy?”
There are really two schools of thought:
- A wealthy person is someone who EARNS a lot of money
- A wealthy person is someone who can SAVE a lot of money
I’ve read Dr. Thomas Stanley’s books, The Millionaire Next Door, The Millionaire Mind and Stop Acting Rich (Hey FTC, those are affiliate links!). I’ve also been privileged to know some people who would definitely qualify as rich/wealthy if you were to look at their net worth. So which is it: high income earners or skilled savers? Let’s find out. [Read more…]
So you’ve gotten yourself in a mess of debt and are trying to find the best way to dig out? Is it so bad that collectors have been calling and offering a settlement? The idea sounds pretty good – you owe $500 and they’re offering to take $200 to make it all go away. Should you do it? What’s the catch? Today, I’ll give you all the details on a debt settlement and when/how it should come into play in your debt situation. [Read more…]
Just about every week I harp on some aspect of how to get rid of debt, live on a budget or do something more frugally than you previously thought you could. Many of you have told me all that stuff is fine, but asked, “where the heck should I start on all this mess?” Today is your answer! Taking content from my book, numerous other posts on this site and others, and summarizing them into a few simple steps will hopefully give you the ammunition to get rid of your debt and live free of all the junk that goes with being a “slave to the lender.” [Read more…]
Last week I was kind, gentle and uplifting, encouraging you to make sure you “put your money where your mouth is” when it comes to what you say you value. I meant every word I wrote and have given that encouragement to hundreds of people before. Your comments tell me it was a message many of you needed, and I’m glad it helped. This week, I have to go a bit in the opposite direction. Just like when you are trying to cure a disease, you have to choose whether to work on the symptoms or the root cause. Today, I’m working on the root cause. I do not want you to stay broke!
As I’ve written many times before, the normal American is broke and has been taught that’s just the way it is. The normal American has been sold the idea that to own nice things (of which we are all “entitled,” right?!), he/she has to make payments. You’ve been told you cannot live life without debt or that debt is a tool. Pish Posh. That’s a bunch of garbage. Believing those lies is roughly the same as believing the “food” you pick up through the McDonald’s drive-thru is top-quality, organic health food. Mmmmmm, delicious! [Read more…]
Let me ask three simple questions:
First question: what matters to you? Stop and think about it for a minute. What (or who) is most important? What (or who) is it that you would tell someone matters to you more than anything in the world?
Next question: how much time do you spend on (or with) what (or who) matters most to you?
Last question: how much money do you spend (or invest) in what (or who) matters most to you? [Read more…]
I’ve been around a lot of people lately who’ve been trying to justify to me their bad financial choices. They tell me the normal excuses. You’ve heard most of those and maybe even used them yourself – excuses like: “I deserve it,” “I work hard,” “I can afford the payments,” etc. I don’t want to beat you up, but as a financial counselor, those excuses to me are a lot like, “the dog ate my homework,” to the experienced school teacher. I just don’t buy it. I may believe you work hard and I may believe the payments for whatever you’re pining after won’t send you into bankruptcy, but I KNOW there is a better way to go about personal finance than the way the average American (read “broke person”) does it.
The title for this post was the hardest of all for me. What to call it…hmm… Some potential options were:
- Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse
- The Government and Me: a Love Story
- Back to the Future 4: Insanity Overtakes America
- Fearmongering 101
- DIY Tin Foil Hat Ideas
I settled for a title that is a little less outlandish but hopefully still conveys the idea behind today’s post. What does tomorrow hold? Good question. Today, I’m going to go through a quick run-down of some of the ways I believe we should all be prepared to deal with the future, without becoming die-hard conspiracy theorists and without ending up on a terrorist watch list. Your comments for this should be fun, if nothing else. Let’s dive in. [Read more…]
Today I’m excited to have a good friend of mine, Cy Vanover, sharing his knowledge on getting a college degree without debt. Cy is a genius at this stuff and just came out with his first book on the subject so even though this post is a bit long, READ IT and SHARE IT with anyone who may be planning for college anytime soon.
Since 1978, the average price of college tuition has increased 1,100 percent. No folks, that’s not a typo … a 1,100 percent increase, even when adjusting for inflation. But don’t take my word for it; that statistic comes directly from William (Bill) Bennett, former Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan.
There was a time (not that long ago) when students could pay their way through school by working part-time jobs and graduating completely debt-free. Yes, they had to live very frugal lives in order to do it, but do it they did. What happened to those days? [Read more…]