The “Dog Days” of Budgeting

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I love my dog — but man, oh man, does he get expensive! Before I adopted my dog, I anticipated the cost of food and routine veterinary care. I didn’t factor the costs of grooming, training, boarding, occasional doggy day care while I’m at work, toys, leashes, collars, washes, veterinary care that’s more-than-just-routine-prevention … the list seems endless!

Are you a dog lover on a tight budget? Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way to defray the high costs of adding a dog to your family.

#1. DIY Supplies! Do-it-yourself projects can help you save a lot of money. Use items around the house, like bottles and old unused children’s stuffed animals, as dog toys. Instead of going out and buying an expensive dog bed from Petco, make your own. There are many tutorials online available to show you how to convert your old pillows into . . . → Read More: The “Dog Days” of Budgeting

How to Pay Off $86,554 of Student Loans in Two Years: A True Story

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Katie recently emailed me about her amazing debt repayment story. In two years, she and her husband paid off over $86,500 in student loans! I was so impressed by these numbers, I asked if she would write me a detailed story about her experience. She obliged and sent the detailed account below. Enjoy (I know I did)!

During our time in college at Ohio University, my husband (Aaron) and I both wrestled with what we wanted to do with our lives. I wanted to make as much money as possible, so I chose to pursue a business degree.

To our surprise, our lives changed quite a bit during college. By the time our senior year rolled around, we both decided on a vocation that neither of us thought we’d be interested in. We wanted to be full-time missionaries and work with a non-profit Christian missions organization. However, our excitement . . . → Read More: How to Pay Off $86,554 of Student Loans in Two Years: A True Story

Debt Consolidation: When Should You Do It?

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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 debt . . . → Read More: Debt Consolidation: When Should You Do It?

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Trying to Pay Off Debt

benefits of a health savings account

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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 dollars . . . → Read More: 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Trying to Pay Off Debt

Paying Off Your Debts: Avoid these Stumbling Blocks

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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: Debt . . . → Read More: Paying Off Your Debts: Avoid these Stumbling Blocks

Getting Out of Credit Card Debt Yourself

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To get out of debt may be a daunting task. Truth be told it is, just as it probably took months or years of bad financial habits to get into debt it will probably take the same amount of time to get out. However, living a financially sound and debt free life is well worth the effort. Adhere to the following steps if you want to reach this goal.

Switch to cash only – It is simple math: if you spend more than you take in then you accrue debt. By purchasing with cash only you limit your spending and you will effectively stop adding to your debt. Put your credit cards away in a safe place or, if they are too tempting, cut them up.

Make a budget – Many consumers have no idea where their money is going. So, for at least one month track your . . . → Read More: Getting Out of Credit Card Debt Yourself