Grandma’s Top 10 Frugal Habits That Were Right on the Money

frugal habits

Many of our grandparents were born between 1910 and 1925. This is what Tom Brokaw dubbed “The Greatest Generation” when America was developed and defended on the backbones of its hard-working citizens. Anyone with silver hair, no matter their birth date, has spent an entire lifetime making choices and reaping consequences. It is our choice whether or not we will learn from our grandparents’ experiences and advice. That is why I’ve comprised a list of frugal habits I’ve learned from watching my own grandparents as a child.

It only just dawned on me that I’ve been learning from their example all of my life even though they’ve all passed on.

Even my grandpa “Big John,” who passed away from a heart attack when I was four, left a legacy in his community as a reliable and trustworthy man others looked to for business advice. Things like that, 25 years later, . . . → Read More: Grandma’s Top 10 Frugal Habits That Were Right on the 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 Enjoy the Weekend While Battling Debt

battling debt

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

10 Reasons Why Being in Debt Stinks

Being in debt … well, it kinda stinks. Actually, it really stinks. Big-time. I’m not talking about a reasonable mortgage debt, or a $200 monthly car payment. I’m talking about high-interest, huge-balance, keeps-you-awake-at-night levels of debt. The scary kind of debt. The kind you should get rid of as quickly as possible.

We often hear tips, tactics or other pieces of advice about how to climb out of debt. But let’s take a step back, for a moment, to discuss why you should want to get rid of your debt in the first place. Here are 10 reasons why being in debt stinks.

#1: You become stuck in jobs you hate. Debt creates this whole new dynamic where you are forced to work at jobs you hate, doing things you don’t want to do. For some, that means being a janitor. For others, that means working in cubicle.

. . . → Read More: 10 Reasons Why Being in Debt Stinks

Debt Consolidation: When Should You Do It?

Do you feel like you’re getting behind financially? Are the bills piling up and you’re low on cash? If you’re finding yourself in this situation, you might be wondering when debt consolidation is the answer. Before we answer this question though, it might be easier to discuss when one should not consolidate debt.

When is Debt Consolidation NOT the Answer?

If you currently have debt, but have enough income to make the minimum payments, it’s not time to consolidate. If you’ve consolidated before, and now you’re in the same boat again (of not being able to pay your bills), it’s not time to consolidate. If you’re out of work and do not have a sufficient income, consolidating will not help you. Your time would be better spent checking those “Wanted” ads. If your friends claim that they’re saving money by consolidating, don’t believe them and don’t consolidate your . . . → Read More: Debt Consolidation: When Should You Do It?

Paying Off Our House In Less Than 4 Years

turn your home into a rental property

Looking at the title, you may think I’m crazy, but I really think that it’s possible to pay off our $70,000 loan in 4 years! You might think, “Why not just do like everyone else and pay your loan over the course of 30 years? It would give you a lot more cash flow. Plus, you could afford a much larger house with the low mortgage rates!”

The main purpose of this post is not to defend my debt-free beliefs, but just think about it for a moment! If you were completely debt-free by the time you were 30 years old and could invest heavily and bank loads of cash into your savings for the rest of your life, you’d have enough money to either retire 20 years early, or you could have your choice on where you’d like to retire: Tahiti, Bora Bora, the Bahamas…ANYWHERE! Paying off . . . → Read More: Paying Off Our House In Less Than 4 Years

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Trying to Pay Off Debt

benefits of a health savings account

Many people owe tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, simply because they bought too much stuff! You may be in a place where your top priority is to pay off debt. While that is a noble and wise ambition, you have to be careful that you do not go about it in the wrong way.

3 Potential Mistakes To Avoid When Trying To Pay Off Debt

These three strategies may seem like a great idea at the time, but they can backfire in a hurry and can end up being huge financial mistakes.

Tap Into Your 401k

Many 401k plans will allow you to borrow from them. I have had a lot of people tell me that borrowing from their 401k was a good idea because they would just be “borrowing from themselves”. That type of thinking has many people taking out tens of thousands of . . . → Read More: 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Trying to Pay Off Debt

Paying Off Your Debts: Avoid these Stumbling Blocks

Are you currently paying off your debts? Maybe you have some credit card debts that you’re uncomfortable with, or perhaps you’re trying to get out of debt entirely. Either way, there are always stumbling blocks that can keep you from conquering those debts.

My wife and I spent 14 months paying down an $18,000 debt (plus, we paid $6,000 cash for a used car), and we know every distraction in the book. When we started to pay down the debt, it was new and exciting, but after a few months, eating peanut butter & jelly wasn’t all that fun anymore. This is where many people fail. They feel like the progress is incredibly slow, and their life just isn’t any fun anymore. Activities outside the house were cut out of the budget, shopping is now a sin, and life is all-around d-u-l-l dull.

Follow Me Through the Minefield: . . . → Read More: Paying Off Your Debts: Avoid these Stumbling Blocks

Avoid Loans in Your College Years

avoid college loans

College is often times one of the most memorable experiences of your entire life! Within 4 or 5 years you learn how to survive on your own, discipline yourself to complete projects by pre-determined deadlines, and you learn how to handle your very own finances! All of this while being pressured into random trips, slip and slides, and other crazy adventures (don’t ask please).

Unfortunately, most of us are not adequately prepared for the financial obligations involved in schooling, and since we do not have the money to attend, what do we do? Get Student Loans! The government seems to be your best friend during those college years. They provide all the money you need (and sometimes more than we need…Spring Break Trip anyone??), and they charge what seems like a very low interest rate.

We go through our day to day lives and everything seems to be . . . → Read More: Avoid Loans in Your College Years

Pay Off Your Debt Fast: A Personal Story

Get out of Debt

For those of you that have been tracking my website recently, you are aware that my wife and I just became debt free! We are still super excited and would like to share our story so that the rest of you can benefit from our experience. Hopefully, after reading this personal story, you’ll have a better idea of how to pay off your debt fast.

It is pretty common for students to amass debt these days, which is unfortunate (but at least they’re able to write off a tax deduction for up to $2500 of the interest on those student loans). Did you know that the average student loan by graduates in 2008 was $23,186!! That is one huge number! Luckily, my wife and I only had a total of about $18,000 in debt, but that’s nothing to sneeze at either.

The Decision

On Christmas day, 2009, I . . . → Read More: Pay Off Your Debt Fast: A Personal Story