Budget Categories – Less is more

less-is-more

Every so often we spend a weekend and just clean house. I don’t mean just sweeping, dusting, vacuuming etc. We literally, clean house. We look for stuff we are no longer using, things on shelves collecting dust, etc and sell them.  I’m always amazed at how much more relaxed I feel about our home when we have less stuff. Not to mention the extra cash we receive for debt snowflaking.

Debt snowflaking

snowflake

I’ve written before on how to get out of debt using debt snowflaking even before PaidTwice came up with the great name and started the snowflake revolution. Since then I’ve gained a number of readers and thought it might be useful to discuss the concept of debt snowflaking again, especially as  it’s something I’m really trying to get back to now. I’m refocusing on my debt snowball again after it sadly melted.

Switch to zero percent balance transfer credit cards

About 2 months ago I got feed up with my Bank of America credit card’s incredibly high interest rate (29.9%) and started looking for credit card options with a lower interest that I could transfer my remaining balance to. I was paying Bank of America more than $100 per month in interest alone and was tired of it.

While the number of options are declining, there are still a number of great credit cards out there offering zero percent balance transfers.

Discover More Card

The card I ended up going with was the Discover More card, and specifically the Discover More Sealife Collection Card. The Discover More card offers the following benefits:

5 dollars really adds up!

Cash

I read about a woman who saved her $5 bills for 3 years and saved $12,000! I thought it would be cool to conduct my own experiment & see what I could do for the month of December. Up until this decision, I didn’t use a lot of cash, mostly my debit card, but I had wanted to transition over to cash (for more accountability) anyway, so this was the perfect time. I took out my ‘play’ money at the beginning of December and went on with life.

The Friday gathering – The joys of home ownership

fridge

I love owning a home and in general enjoy the challenges of repairing my own home, making improvements, etc. I say generally because what I don’t enjoy is the fact that most often the big problems happen at the worst times. Either that or they are beyond my ability to repair and require me having to pay a professional.

Financially overwhelmed

stressed

Do you ever feel financially overwhelmed? Over the past two weeks we’ve had to pay property taxes on our rental home, home owners association (HOA) dues for our current home and rental house, our car registrations came due, a few bills were due, and another misc expense.

Under normal circumstances, none of these issues should have been a problem, as I would normally have saved for each of them and had the money in my savings account. But due to us moving and having to float two mortgage payments for a bit, I had to dip into those savings to cover things. I didn’t have to dip too much, but enough to make me have to scramble a bit and tap the emergency fund to cover all of the expenses this month.

I made it to round 2 and need your help!

Free Money Finance continues March madness and my article made it to Round 2! If you have a minute, I’d really appreciate it if you would head over and vote: Game 2: Appreciate.

If I win, FMF will donate $500 to my charity of choice, the Amercian Diabetes Association. My now 9 year old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in November of 2006. He’s been quite a trooper through the whole thing. He makes me very proud of him each and every day as I watch him struggle daily with the illness. Researchers have made some significant breakthroughs in the past couple of years towards possibly finding a cure. I feel like they are so close to a major breakthrough!

Educate yourself on personal finance and money

8-ball

A survey done in 2006 by Entrepreneur magazine revealed that “70% of Americans say they are good or excellent at managing their finances.”  Did that statistic shock you? It did me.  Statistics from a 2006 government survey show that “96% of all Americans will retire financially dependent on the government, family, or dependents.”

It isn’t what we don’t know that kills us, it’s everything we know that ain’t so” – Mark Twain

Will there be another economic stimulus check?

stimulus-check

With the recent announcement of President Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus bill, there are probably at least 787 billion different questions. One of the top ones is “Will there be another economic stimulus check?“. The answer is No, but…

Tax Impact

The President’s new bill takes a different approach to stimulus efforts. Instead, the new economic stimulus bill will utilize tax cuts as one of many approaches to stimulating the economy. Millions of US workers will begin to see about $52 extra per month in their paychecks, starting in June. This is from a $400 tax credit that will be given out through the remainder of the year.

Establish your personal values and goals first

integrity

I’ve been reading Does Your Bag Have Holes?, by Cameron C. Taylor. I’ll have to say, it is probably one of the best Christian based personal finance books I have ever read. In one section, Cameron shares some financial wisdom from a friend:

“After nearly thirty years in the financial business and having associated with thousands of wealthy individuals, I have developed a firm philosophy  about people and money. If an individual does not clearly establish personal values and goals before making financial goals, then wealth and the accumulation thereof will begin to take on a life of its own.”

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