14 Retro Date Night Ideas That Will Save You Money

I’m a huge proponent of dating your spouse long after the march down the aisle. This is especially relevant when it comes to finances due to the volatile money problems that arise between couples. If you’ve used a lack of resources as an excuse for not going on dates, I’m here to share some retro date night ideas that are designed to get you back out there and save you money.

“Retro” as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “Relating to, reviving and being the styles and especially the fashions of the past.”

So, what is a retro date night? Imagine you’re 16 again and you’re heading out for a date. What kind of budget did you have? Did your dad hand you a $20 before you left? Perhaps you saved up from your minimum wage job of flipping burgers, earning $6.25 per hour (or less – that was minimum wage . . . → Read More: 14 Retro Date Night Ideas That Will Save You Money

How Becoming Debt-Free at 25 Changed My Life

I first learned about using “debt as a tool” in my job at a bank, but there were some major pot holes in my new “road to success.” I used things like credit cards and car loans to “get ahead” and establish my credit. Sounds pretty normal, right? The problem was, I didn’t do anything else. Using debt trumped the importance of saving for emergencies, budgeting my monthly expenses, investing while I was young, and spending less than I made each month. Becoming debt-free was not on my radar. How did things go for me? Well, I spent the first half of my twenties working hard with very little to show for it. I had no budget, no long-term plan, no debt-free plan, almost no savings, and a glowing credit report. I was missing some MAJOR pieces to a healthy financial foundation (basically all of them) and headed for disaster. . . . → Read More: How Becoming Debt-Free at 25 Changed My Life

How to Survive a Loss of Income

survive a loss of income

In 2012, my husband and I both worked full-time with no children. By 2014, we were a family of four living on a single income of less than $2,000 a month. It wasn’t an easy time for us, but I’m going to share with you the lessons we learned and applied to help us make it on our own two feet. By the end of this article, you will have a clearer understanding of not just how to survive a loss of income, but how to thrive afterward.

7 Ways to Survive a Loss Of Income

In the following steps, I’m going to outline what you can do today to prepare for a future income loss or how to survive a current loss. Many of the techniques my husband and I used were lessons we learned from Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Whether or not you follow all of Dave’s . . . → Read More: How to Survive a Loss of Income

How to Enjoy the Weekend While Battling Debt

debt can make you sick

In 2011, my newly wed husband and I decided to get out of debt. It felt counter-intuitive because it was, after all, our first year of marriage. Weren’t we supposed to be having fun and seeing the world, not battling debt in a tiny apartment and a rice and beans diet?

We didn’t understand it fully at the time, but spending our first year of marriage battling debt as a team was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Not only did it help us learn better financial habits, but it helped us change our behavior about money – and that having lots of it doesn’t directly correlate with “having fun.”

Fast forward to November 2012. At this point, my husband and I were living 100% off of his income and putting each of my paychecks toward our student loan and credit card debt. We sent our last check . . . → Read More: How to Enjoy the Weekend While Battling Debt

How to Get Back On Track After a Financial Setback

financially make someone's day

According to Money Magazine, 78% of Americans will have a major financial setback in any 10-year period. If you’re reading this, then the odds are you’ve had one. Perhaps it wasn’t major, but even a minor financial setback like an unexpected bill or an auto repair can leave us reeling.

Do any of these sound familiar?

Losing an income

Losing a job

Major car problems

IRS audit

Unexpected pregnancies

Unexpected medical bills

Unresolved poor money management

Those are ALL things I’ve experienced since living on my own, getting married, and starting a family. They’ve all taken place within the last 10 years. I call that last one my “head stuck in the sand” syndrome.

Your list will look different, but a financial setback has a universal effect on us.

It attacks our dollars. It attacks our resolve.

Losing . . . → Read More: How to Get Back On Track After a Financial Setback

How to Spring Clean Your Budget

spring clean your budget

Spring is coming. With it comes the re-emergence of large portions of the population from their winter hibernation. Spring cleaning will commence with cars being scrubbed, closets being purged, and desks being re-organized. Who says you can’t spring clean your budget while you’re at it?

Strike while the iron of motivation is hot, I say. If financial success is on your agenda, then living within your means is the name of the game. A spending plan, less affectionately known to the world as a budget, is the strategy that will get you to the finish line.

How do you know if you should spring clean your budget?

Do you…

Try to budget regularly, but Christmas was a free for all and you’ve never really bounced back?

Come up short each month wishing you could put more toward savings?

Want to free up money to . . . → Read More: How to Spring Clean Your Budget

The Ultimate Recipe for a Financial Breakthrough in Your Marriage

financial breakthrough in your marriage

Over the last few years, I’ve gained a number of insights into the world of marriage and money – first, as a wife living on a budget with my husband, and second, as a financial coach. I am a far cry from the leading expert in my field, but if you’re looking for a financial breakthrough in your marriage, then I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you. Namely, the key ingredients to get you started.

When you think of a breakthrough, think of that first step toward change, not the entire journey. That’s what we’re focusing on here. It’s the subtle “aha” moments.

For example:

A single mother of two sat with me, organized her debts, and calculated, for the first time in her life, an estimated debt payoff date. Her eyes widened as she realized the end of her burden of debt was closer than she thought. . . . → Read More: The Ultimate Recipe for a Financial Breakthrough in Your Marriage

4 Financial Hurdles to Cross Before Starting a Family

financial hurdles

We all hope for a financially successful future. We also know that that hope takes a plan, especially before starting a family. Otherwise, the road to financial freedom could be a difficult one. Two good ways to lay the groundwork are to drop some bad financial habits and pick up some good ones.

“Good habits formed in youth make all the difference.” – Aristotle

Easier said than done. Believe me, I know. I was employed full-time with very few living expenses from age 20 to 25, and I have nothing in the bank to show for it. I nickel and dime’d my money away on $5.00 DVDs at Target, fast food, and sloppy financial planning.

4 Financial Hurdles to Cross Before Starting a Family

If you’re single, newly married, or thinking about raising babies someday, here are four financial hurdles I wish I’d crossed before starting a family.

. . . → Read More: 4 Financial Hurdles to Cross Before Starting a Family

8 Money-Saving Home Decorating Ideas

investment alternatives

Trying to decorate your home — but stuck because you have a small budget? Don’t worry. Here are eight ways to save money while decorating your home.

1. Shop After Holidays. Holiday decorations are put on clearance as soon as the holiday is over. Stock up after big holidays like Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and the Fourth of July for next year’s decorations.

2. Buy Some Paint. Tired of the same picture frames or mirrors around your home? Buy a small amount of new paint to give them another life. That small price spent will revamp what you already have and make them look like new.

3. Look on the Sidewalk. Keep your eyes open for free castaways on the sidewalk when college lets out for the summer. Many students throw away perfectly good furniture or decorations because they don’t want to travel back home with them.

4. Try an . . . → Read More: 8 Money-Saving Home Decorating Ideas

How To Set Up a Budget

Happy New Year! Tis the season for New Year resolutions in the food, finance, and fitness areas (conveniently all the topics I write about at Budget for Health!). As I look back at all of the financial goals we accomplished in 2012 it makes me excited about helping others pursue and achieve financial freedom in 2013. The biggest factor in our success was setting up a tangible budget. Not a “we should watch how much we spend on groceries next month” kind of budget. I’m talking about a real budget with real numbers that will show spending trends and track our expenses.

When Dave and I got married in May 2010, we read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and set up our own version of a monthly cash flow plan in Microsoft Excel so we could set up formulas to add and subtract where needed. We first determined . . . → Read More: How To Set Up a Budget