A Very Merry Weekly Recap

Just in time for the New Year I have decided to take a new direction with my blog, which is more of the direction I had originally planned in my first blog post.

I recently heard an interview in which Andrew at familymoneyplan.com stated that he didn’t try to blog about how to get out of debt, but how HE got out of debt. That really hit home for me. I have been slow at posting lately because I struggled to come up with detailed, well thought out, informative posts for my readers when my mission was to document THIS family’s journey to have a positive net worth.

So, going forward I will document our wins and losses as I always planned to do.  Let’s start now.

12/21/2016

Today I was in touch with our credit union to request the interest rate reduction on our personal loan, and was advised that we could transfer our loan for our Dodge Dart from Huntington at a 4.49% interest rate to the credit union at a 3.99% interest rate.

Christmas has us just a little “short” on bills. I say this even though we never pay our bills late. My strategy as the family accountant is to save our paychecks all month long, and on the last pay-day of the month we pay all the bills that are due the following month regardless of their due date. So at the end of December, we would have been $650 short on paying 100% of all the January bills, so I would have to pay 2 of the January bills on 1/8, and those 2 were due 1/10 and 1/11. No big deal, but I don’t like when this happens! It’s a signal to me that we have mismanaged our money this month.

When our credit union told me the terms of the new loan agreement, the payment amount dropped about $40 a month but mostly because the term is now 60 months. On the old loan our terms were 54 months. Also, our first payment will not be due until 2/4, so we are skipping the January payment. The financial side of me knows that it’s a bad idea to skip a payment and to extend the loan, but in the short-term it really helps! I figure once I catch up and pay off things that are costing us more money in interest I can work this down quickly.

We also added GAP insurance for $399 since we owe more on the Dart than it is worth, so we will see the balance owed on the car go up again this month.

I have also created a list of all the loans we have currently that cost us interest.  I have a plan of attack which basically amounts to the debt avalanche method (paying off highest interest first). Whenever I start thinking about these plans I get excited and carried away and start planning the next debt, and the next debt until I find myself planning budgets for 3 years in the future! I’m not joking!

There is some marital discord because my husband wants to buy a new home because the one we are living in now is really a starter home. I would like to stay modest in the home that we have and spruce it up to our standards. I also want to buy rental properties, but my husband wants us to be in a better home first. I can’t plan too far in to the future (ie: past 10/2017) because at that point I would really like to be throwing all I can at my student loans, and my husband would like to pile up money for a down payment on another home. I usually do go with what my husband wants first, because as long as he’s happy then I can go about doing what I want! What do you think the best course of action would be? The more I have been thinking about it, I start to think that maybe we can halve our savings between a down payment on a new hone, and paying off student loans. But I have also heard a saying, “If you aim at many targets you’ll miss them all’, which basically means to focus on one thing at a time.

It’s killing me not to be able to look ahead. I guess all we can do is take it one day at a time…And I’ll continue with the small home improvements here and there to make our humble abode ever so slightly less cumbersome.

12/22/2016

Today was No Spend Thursday and I started the day off by buying a $2.12 Extra Large coffee from Tim Horton’s because I knew I had a big shipping project to work on at my first job. Then, I went to my second job at the dance studio and bought crackers and a soda for $1.50 with $2 I found in my husband’s pocket while I was sorting laundry 😉 So we had a tiny bit of a fail for No Spend Thursday and it was all on me!

12/23/2016

I’m writing this just before noon in my PJs sipping on a coffee from a Santa mug. I’m going to have a busy day today. We need to:

  1. Grocery shop for Christmas Eve dinner
  2. Put up the Christmas tree
  3. Finish wrapping the Christmas presents
  4. Clean house

Luckily only one of these costs money! Christmas Eve dinner shouldn’t be too bad since I coupon a lot, I have a lot of the stuff I need stockpiled, and some stuff left over from Thanksgiving. Here’s what’s on the menu:

  1. Small Turkey Breast
  2. Ham with Pineapple
  3. Stuffing
  4. Mashed Potatoes
  5. Macaroni and Cheese
  6. Green Bean Casserole
  7. Hawaiian Rolls
  8. Apple Pie & Chocolate Pudding Pie
  9. Watergate Salad (made by my mom!)

An update from Future Dolores: Christmas Eve dinner cost about $50, and we got all our goals accomplished this day. Win!

12/24

One of our big splurge events happens on Black Friday. This is when we give ourselves the green light to go ahead and buy things that we really want if they are on sale. Some of the things we bought this Black Friday were:

  1. An electric fireplace for my daughter – $38 marked down from $70 (the heat doesn’t quite reach up to her room in our old drafty home)
  2. A pair of boots for myself and my daughter – $20 each, marked down from $80 each
  3. 4 pairs of leggings for my daughter – $5 each marked down from $20 each
  4. 2 boxes of Tupperware – $10 each
  5. Decorative baskets – $10 (I have a thing for baskets and boxes)
  6. 2 double slow cookers – $20 each

I can’t remember what my husband and son got!  Anyway, last night we had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner and I was finally able to use those double crock pots for the first time. All other Thanksgivings and Christmas Eves in this home we have had disposable tin foil pans laid out along the table and I would be stressed out trying to time everything so it got done at the same time. This year I was able to cook the stuffing and green bean casserole early and just throw them in the crockpots on warm. In the other crock pots I put the mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. I wasn’t too worried about the turkey and ham, but then my mom came over with her Christmas gifts, and what did she give me? A 3 pan warmer! I was a little disappointed at first because I really liked my slow cooker set up better, and my mom comes to all the holiday dinners so there’s no way I could get out of using it without hurting her feelings – but then I discovered that it perfectly fit our turkey breast, ham, and dinner rolls!

christmas-eve-dinner

The picture doesn’t do it justice; I snapped the picture quickly before my phone died, but Christmas Eve dinner looked so beautiful and stayed warm for everyone to get seconds and thirds, including my nephew who couldn’t make it until 8pm due to work. Truly a wonderful Christmas Eve.

I hope your holidays were just as great!

XOXO,

Dolores

December 2016 Net Worth Update

Hello, World and welcome to our December 2016 Statement of Net Worth!

statement-of-net-worth-december

This month we see a decrease (egad!) in our Net Worth because we bought a 2013 Dodge Dart. Buying cars is definitely a learning process for us and I expect we will get better as time goes on. This was an expense that we expected and did plan for. The car was for sale for $10,000 and we negotiated with the dealership to get the price down to $9,400 which I thought was awesome. We were aiming for $9,000 but there was really nothing wrong with the car so we went ahead and paid that. BUT my husband really wanted a warranty added on to the car. We disagreed about this so we came to the conclusion that we will go ahead and get the warranty because he really wanted it, and I would feel terrible if something happened to the car where we needed the warranty! It cost $2,495 and was added on to the loan, which automatically makes it cost more. I really wasn’t happy about this! But we went ahead and added it to the loan and we are using it as a learning experience. I have an ongoing note of the repairs that we get under this 3 year/36,000 mile warranty. If the costs don’t exceed $2,495, going forward we will know to opt out of the warranty for future car purchases and just hold that money aside in an Emergency Fund especially for car repairs.

I looked up the car value using Kelly Blue Book and I believe I selected excellent condition, and sell to a private party. Dealerships are always more expensive but we aren’t to the point yet that we are ready to risk going to a private seller. I might attempt it when I buy my daughter’s VW Beetle in 2018. Scott Alan Turner had some good ideas on how to achieve this: Look up the cars you want on your preferred search tool, and then arrange for the seller to take the car to the dealership for an inspection. If everything is up to par then you go ahead and buy the car. If everything is not up to par, you and the seller both know what cards are on the table and you can perhaps negotiate the price even lower if you are still interested in buying the car. If not, you’re out the cost of the inspection but that’s a small price to pay because you avoided buying a lemon. Plus, you could save thousands by going to a private seller. Just look at our deficit for the Dodge Dart: It is worth $7,524 had we purchased it from a private party and we owe $12,526… Stupid warranty. Grr.

On to our regularly scheduled breakdown:

Assets

­The value of our home went up $477! Great news, but nothing under our control, just the fluctuations of the housing market.

The HHR went down in value $46 which isn’t a big deal, but what will be a big deal is when I sign this car over to my son it will be coming off our Assets resulting in another $2,000 decrease in net worth! I really don’t want to hit $(70,000)!

In regards to the Christmas Club and Vacation Club accounts, my husband and I have agreed to make a New Year’s Resolution to increase the automatic transfers in to these accounts from $5/week to $20/week! That will be super helpful come Christmastime next year, and should allow for something of a vacation eventually.

On to the ugly…

Liabilities

This was the first month of our increased principal payment due to the regular monthly payment amount due dropping from the escrow adjustment last month. So our mortgage decreased $124 instead of only $95 in November.

We will be scoring a 5.5% interest rate reduction on our personal loan later this month due to our credit scores increasing 2 letter grades in 1 year, so that will help take more off the principal until I add this to my Capital One 0% balance transfer I have planned for April.

Some awesome news is that we paid off my 401(k) loan last month! I left it on the spreadsheet to reflect the 0 balance, but I’ll be taking if off next month. I can’t wait for the day when we have more asset accounts than liability accounts. Maybe in April when I  transfer the personal loan to Capital One.

I made my first Income Based Repayment Plan payment to Navient this month, and my balance actually went UP $161! How heartbreaking, right? There were some hiccups with autopay which was supposed to start 11/3 and then again 12/3 but they never drafted, so I had to call and make the payment myself. I’m going to watch next month and see what the balance increases to and then increase my payment that much. It stinks I’ll have to pay that much extra just to keep from falling deeper in to debt, but if I had done it years ago I wouldn’t be paying compounding interest on the balance now. I have to draw the line somewhere! I can’t choose to wait for the 25 year forgiveness to save me because my balance will have grown to $81,000 by then and all of that will be counted as income on that tax year. Plus, I just want it gone. I really want to pay this off.

Home Depot went up a little bit because we purchased a leaf blower, the expense of which was offset by my payment. This will actually be going up quite a bit more in the next month or 2 because I’m planning on updating the bedroom and bathroom doors in our home. I’m doing a bit here and there to try to not only increase the value of our home but increase OUR value of the home. I am trying to make it as comfortable and accommodating as possible so we are happy in it as long as possible.

Our Capital One account balance has decreased $351 thanks to $275 coming of for the 0% HHR payment, and other miscellaneous balance changes that happen month to month since we have many of our bills on autopay and pay it in full each month.

And here we have our December 2016 Net Worth amount of: $(69,580)! A decrease of $2,611 from November. Whomp Whomp.

Fun Facts:

This month we have started a New Month Resolution called No Spend Thursdays! I have been inspired by Youtubers who engage in No Spend Months but I really can’t imagine going that long without spending! Another Youtuber suggested to start out small by having a certain day of the week where you don’t spend anything. That’s Thursday for this Family!

Exciting Changes Coming Up in January:

  • Increased principal payment to personal loan due to interest rate reduction
  • Increased auto transfer of $20 to Christmas and Vacation Clubs

I really wish this month had more success to share. I love that this blog and the monthly updates keep me accountable.

Talk again soon!

XOXO,

Dolores

The Cash Budget: My Spin on The Envelope System

Many personal finance podcasts advise to keep a cash budget for groceries and entertainment for the month. There is an envelope method and when the cash runs out for that particular category, there is no more spending in that category for the rest of the month. The idea behind this is that spending actual cash hurts, whereas swiping a card is kind of mindless. I find this to be true. When you pay for cash you need to know exactly how much it is so that you can count out the bills and be there mentally to make sure you get the correct change back. When I swipe my card, I’m not even listening to what the cashier says my total is!

But how do you know how much money to put in your Cash Budget for a category? I have heard advisors say to review your bank account for the past year, or you could do 1 month or 3 months to get an idea of what you spend in each category. If you do one year, you would divide your category by 12 to come up with your monthly budget for that category. If you did a 3 month history, you would divide the category by 3, and so and so forth. When you have your monthly spending amounts totaled you should reduce it a little (we are trying to save money, right?) and there you have it: your one month Cash Budget.

I am using a newer budgeting software tool to help me with this called Tiller, which costs $5 per month. Here I can categorize all of my automatically imported bank transactions in to predetermined categories, or categories I can name myself (like Date Night and Snacks). I can then look up each category’s detail to see the transactions and totals I have spent in any category in a certain time period: this week, this month, this year, etc. There are other budgeting tools that do this which I don’t have personal experience with. One is Mint and the other is EveryDollar.

The Cash Budget and Envelope Method sound great, however I am notorious for losing cash so the envelope system would not work out for me; I’d just drop the envelope somewhere and lose a thousand just like that! My solution is Raise. This is an app that allows you to buy gift cards either electronically or a physical gift card shipped by US Mail at a discount that can range from 0.5% to 25% and even more off the face value. There are also sales that appear in my email inbox pretty regularly that offer an additional 3% discount.

Here is my own personal example: I did a study on our bank account to look at what restaurants we visited from January 2016 – June 2016, tallied the total amount spent, reduced the total by 15%, and then divided by 6 months to come up with a monthly Cash Budget allowance for each restaurant. I happen to still have a note in my iPhone with these amounts.

Little Caesar’s $25/mo

Applebee’s $25/mo

Outback $10/mo

Taco Bell $40/mo (my husband went a little crazy with work lunches)

KFC $10/mo

Subway $75/mo (when my husband went on a Subway kick)

McDonald’s $25/mo

Burger King $10/mo

Wendy’s $20/mo

Bob Evan’s $30/mo

In our defense, this was before we started tracking exactly how much we were spending where. I now pack my husband’s lunches for him most days of the week.

Let’s look at what Raise is offering at the time of this writing for KFC: a physical $75 value gift card is being sold for $63 (a discount of 16%). Since our monthly KFC budget is $10 a month, $75 would get us through 8 months. If I bought this card today, 10/14/2016 I would write on the gift card “Good Through 06/2017” with a Sharpie. If we use up all of that gift card before June 30, 2017, there are no more KFC transactions allowed.

I have had a few fumbles with Raise so here are a couple of my fails: Yesterday we decided to have a Family Date Night and went to see Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (super cute!) and we went to Pizza Hut for dinner. Our local movie theater has a special matinee price for $5.75 and I thought it would be super smart to buy a $25 Fandango gift card at a 10% discount (I paid $22.50).  I went to complete my purchase on the Fandango website using my new gift card and saw a $5 “convenience” fee at the checkout! I quickly called up the theater and asked if I could use my gift card to pay in the store, but I couldn’t. I called Raise up to tell them I didn’t want this card anymore because I had just saved $2.50 to spend an extra $5 but I was told I could not return it because there was nothing actually wrong with the card (other than my failure to fully research before I clicked “Buy”). I thought ‘well other people are obviously selling their gift cards, I’ll just list it for sale!’ Sure, I could list it for sale for a 15% fee! I decided to just eat my $2.50 loss and not buy Fandango gift cards again.

I also had a brief stint when I went from a $50 a week grocery shopping cash budget to getting a $50 very slightly discounted Walmart electronic gift card (I’m talking 0.5 – 1.5% off the face value) which resulted in cashiers having to manually enter the gift card numbers and then waiting for a manager to approve the transaction. It was just not very convenient when the savings is usually less than $1. In addition I found myself straying from my $50/week budget if there was perhaps a $70 gift card at a 5% discount. I just wasn’t being as thoughtful with my grocery purchases so I have returned to the cash budget for that.

I hope you found this information useful. I have not been paid for any of my opinions on the apps and software I mentioned. Let me know if you decided to give any of these a try, or if you already use them!

November 2016 Net Worth Update

Welcome to our November Net Worth Update!

This has been a great month with some exciting changes. I am happy to report our Net Worth grew $356 in the month of October, and I would like to explain what happened to help contribute to this change. First of all, on the fateful night of 10/4/2016 I jammed all of our numbers together, assets and liabilities in to very rough estimates. For 11/1/2016 I have actually researched each number.

You may have noticed I’ve changed the look of the Statement of Net Worth so that we can now see the current amount, previous months amount, and the amount of change. Also we have some “fire” editing to show which assets have decreased in value and which liabilities have increased.

statement-of-net-worth-november

Assets

I get our home’s value from zillow.com, and for some unknown reason our home decreased in value over $1,400! There’s nothing I can really do to control that except for work on my home to try to inch the value up over time. A house recently sold a couple doors down for us that was in really poor shape, so I may see this number fall even more in the coming months.

For the HHR, I get the value from Kelly Blue Book (kbb.com) and select the year, make, model, mileage, and mark it as good condition. Last month I went through all of the questions and was told the car was in good condition, so I’ll be going with that from now on, and then I select the tab for a private sale. We are up $191! I didn’t expect that. I thought it would fall by bits and pieces as it ages.

I have the real 401(k) amounts now. My husband had no idea what his log in information was! We were going to update his elections to a Target Date Mutual Fund because he had never made a selection (I can’t preach too much there; I just learned to make my own selections after reading 99 Minute Millionaire by Scott Alan Turner) but his company automatically put him in his Target Date Fund so that was cool! Now we are working with real numbers!

Our checking account always looks sad and will typically be less than $100 because this account is a holding place for our spending money that’s how much we usually have allotted for any given week.

Our regular savings account is equally sad when you guys see the balance because we have just paid every bill in one big chunk after saving up for the entire month.

Our Christmas savings is now in our regular savings account waiting for presents to be bought. We are thinking about upping our contributions to these “club” accounts (Christmas and Vacation) from $5 a week to $20 a week, but that’s still in the talks. These automatic contributions come from our spending money.

Liabilities

Our mortgage went down just a little bit thanks to interest. There is an exciting update here as well! Our mortgage payment is actually going down $30 because of an escrow recalculation, but we are still going to keep sending what we have always sent. Doing this will shave 5 years off the mortgage and save up $12,000 in interest over time!

You may notice the HHR loan says $0.00! That’s right! We paid it off with a 0% balance transfer to my Capital One account for 12 months. Speaking of Capital One, I failed to include this account on my very first Statement of Net Worth because I figured if I pay it off every month it’s not a “real” liability. Well, now it’s going to be carrying the balance of the HHR and I have a goal of transferring the personal loan to it around April 2017 if I can score another credit limit increase (my score is 3 for 3 currently. I’d say odds are in our favor). So, now I send $275 ($3,259/12 months rounded up to the nearest $25) to pay that off within 12 months. Yay!

The CP Visa should really be a lot better. We send this debt $100/wk and seem to use it up as soon as we pay it. Hopefully next month is better, but I’m not sure with the holidays coming up…

Rent-a-Center has been paid off. Another 0% interest success story. The chest freezer is all mine!

Navient. Ugh. This is the main reason why doing these reports are so good for me. I get to actually see how much this debt grows when I don’t have to pay anything on it at all. My payments have recently been increased from $0 to $100 starting this month actually, so it will still grow if I don’t give it more money, but at least not by as much as it has been. I really dreaded logging in to Navient and getting the new balance but I’m really glad that I did. It’s really not as bad as I thought it would be. Someday I will go Gazelle Intense on this loan!

Great Lakes is my husband’s student loan and this one only grew because I estimated his balance last month and I have the true balance now.

Vermuelen’s and Home Depot are coming down as expected, but I plan to use Home Depot again in the near future for either interior door replacement (our bedroom doors are very old solid monstrosities and the door handles keep coming apart; my mother in law was stuck in the restroom for a while when she came to visit over the summer), or replacing the bathroom vanity which only has a floating sink at the moment (my son could use a supported sink because he cannot stand, and the added storage space would be great). I expect the charge to be less than $500 no matter which option we go with.We are still in talks of which of these 2 options will add the most value to our lives. Do you have an opinion?

The Capital One has of course increased $3,188 because it has absorbed the liability of the HHR.

And there we have our new Net Worth Negative amount of: $(66,969)!

Some exciting changes coming up in November:

  • I will be receiving my first pay checks for my side hustle at The Jackson School of the Arts
  • I just sent off $400 from our escrow adjustment to pay off the 401(k) loan
  • My first payment (ever!) to Navient will post this month
  • Our first increased mortgage payment will be sent 11/30/2016

Fun Facts:

  • If our Net Worth continues to grow at the rate of $356 it will take us just under 16 years to become Net Worth Positive!
  • Our Net Worth grew 0.5% this month

I really enjoyed this chat and I hope you will join me next month for our December Statement of Net Worth and join me every Saturday for tips on how I save money!

Talk again soon!

XOXO,

Dolores

Away From Keyboard

afkHello, world. I wasn’t able to meet my deadline of posting every Saturday even though I have written a couple of posts ahead of time. They have not been completely polished yet so I want to continue to work on them before I post them for you to read. Instead, I thought today that I would post some updates on what is going on with me and free write instead.

The main reason I wasn’t able to post is because I actually picked up a side job! A year or 2 ago, I took ballet at the Jackson School of the Arts just for something fun to do. Since I graduated college I have been feeling really idle and feeling idle makes me depressed. I also wanted to get a good workout, and I know in order to feel motivated to work out, you have to do something that you’re interested in. For me, I also need a classroom setting because I know that I am expected on a certain day and a certain time, not just whenever I feel like it (I never feel like working out!!) and also having peers around me makes me work harder because I don’t want to be seen as weak. If I’m trying to do 100 crunches at home, I’m going to stop after 25 or so because at that point it’s become uncomfortable and no one is there to see me fail.

Anyway, I stopped going to ballet after a while because I completely stunk at it. I love dance so much that for some reason I thought I would have an automatic aptitude for it. I didn’t. I also joined in the middle of the year, and these students were planning a recital! No, thank you!!

Lately I have been wanting to “get back to the barre” as they say, but I didn’t want to pay the $35 a month because I’m trying to grow my net worth here! I heard on a podcast, I wish I could remember which one now, that if you want to go to take a class or join a gym, to offer to volunteer your time in exchange for free classes or gym time. I decided to send a message out and see what would happen.

Lo and behold, 3 weeks later I get a response and now I have a PAYING position that fits perfectly with my schedule. I should be able to put an additional $200-400 toward debt because of this blessing. But, because of it you may not see my posts STRICTLY on Saturdays.

Next weekend will be a Net Worth Update! I’m really looking forward to it, especially since I know now some more concrete numbers. Last month some of the assets I reported were only very rough guesses, so this month’s gain will probably be skewed but I’m excited to see what a more accurate net worth looks like; and then we can look at accurate growth together!

Talk again soon!

My Path to Home Ownership: Land Contracts

My first big step forward was when I moved from NYC back home to Michigan after the death of my father in 2011. My then fiancé (now husband) and I purchased a home on Land Contract. A Land Contract is when a seller is willing to finance you in purchasing their home if you have a good sized down payment.  There is usually a “balloon payment” at the end of the contract, the amount of which could vary from contract to contract.  The terms of the sale: down payment, interest rate, and balloon, payment at the end are up to each individual contract. The original terms of the Land Contract on our home was $74,900 with $10,000 down and a 30 year mortgage payment of the balance at 7% interest for 3 years, and then the balloon payment which was equal to the balance owed less all payments toward principal that had been made during the 3 years.

We knew that our credit needed help. I think our credit scores were in the low 600s and I had a vehicle repossession that would come off my credit report a little more than 3 years away from the purchase price, so we negotiated and got the land contract to $73,500, and offered 8% interest if they would allow us 4 years. They agreed and we put down $10,000 and had payments of $458.91 for 4 years. We were of course responsible for all insurances and taxes during these 4 years. Now that I know more about interest, offering a whole percent point more for an additional year probably wasn’t the smartest idea, but I wanted to be 100% sure that we would be able to keep our home. In 2015 we were able to obtain a traditional mortgage through a lender by the grace of God! I cannot tell you how many nights I worried about not being able to secure financing at the end of the contract.

land-contracts

Land contracts really are a gamble for both parties. For us, if we were not able to come up with the balloon payment, we lost the $10,000 down payment we had put on the house, any investments we put in to it, and all of the payments we made along the way.

Sellers are also at risk because the buyers could completely wreck the house and then disappear leaving them with the mortgage if they still have one, repairs to be made, and no tenant!

A land contract can be an absolute blessing for the right people with the right mind set, working to improve their credit and obtain the American Dream. I would warn to be aware of predatory lending when it comes to Land Contracts. I haven’t seen it myself, but I am sure that there are some people out there that would jump at the opportunity to boot you out for breach of contract if you slipped past the due date on your monthly payments, or your financing took longer than expected and you go past the end of the contract date. It really can be a leap of faith!

If you are thinking about obtaining a land contract in your pursuit of home ownership, be aware of the risks and set yourself up for success by knowing the payment is one that you can truly afford – don’t take on more home than you can pay on a worst case scenario basis. Have fun, good luck, and happy house hunting!

Avoiding Burnout: Find Your Happy Place

If you were to know me in person (or “IRL” as my daughter says on Instagram), you would know that I am extremely detail oriented. I have a list for everything, and a schedule for just about everything. I’ve been that way since I was a child with notebook paper:

3:45pm – Get home from school

4:00pm – Watch Full House, start working on homework

Etc. etc.

I’m not kidding. I still have a “Get Home” Schedule today. And a weekly dinner rotation schedule. And a daily 15 minute deep cleaning schedule. These schedules can sometimes be hard to stick to because there are days that I just don’t want to stop vegging out on the sofa scrolling through Facebook. That’s probably some type of Chore Burnout. There is a Debt Repayment Burnout as well, and some recurring advice I see for that burnout is to surround yourself with inspirational reinforcement.

I have a handy dandy unit which helps keep me from Chore Burnout and Debt Repayment Burnout. I had my husband install an under-the-counter media player which I absolutely cannot live without.

avoiding-burnout

You can find yours here: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ilive-Ikb333s-Under-Cabinet-Bluetooth-r-Digital-Radio/41074191

While I clean house I jam out to 1995 Spring Break Radio on Pandora, while I’m waiting for my husband’s regular on his way home from work phone call I play some mellow Sam Smith Radio, and while I’m cooking dinner, doing dishes, or packing lunches I’m listening to Personal Finance Podcasts!

Do you have that one friend that really gets you motivated to look at your bills, pay off debt, improve your credit score, and finally get ahead? If you are my “IRL” friend, that’s probably me! But, if you don’t have a “me” in your life (sadly) here are some great podcasts you can listen to.

  1. Martinis and Your Money
    1. Shannon McLay invites guests to drink martinis and have slightly tipsy discussions on all things money. I have gotten serious cases of the giggles listening to this show, especially with the Happy Hour Ladies who get in to all sorts of topics to keep even the not-so-money obsessed person enthralled. I have also had the absolute daylights scared out of me when a guest convinced me to log in to my student loan account and see what I owed after 4 years of forbearance and the Income Based Repayment Plan. And now, here we are!
  2. The His and Her Money Show
    1. Talaat and Tai McNeely have a wonderful, well laid out show here where they regularly interview people who have achieved debt freedom and ask the person every question that you would want to ask if you were there to ask it. My absolute favorite question is, “What book suggestions do you have for our listeners?” This is when I lunge for my dish towel, dry off my hands, hit the pause button, open my iPhone notepad (I told you, a note for everything!) and quickly take down their suggestions. At a later time, I look the book up on Amazon and see if it’s something I’m interested in.

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Financial Rock Star

  1. Scott Alan Turner is the first personal finance podcast that I started listening to. He takes reader submitted questions, reads them on air and gives an answer. It really is great for getting your own questions answered, and exercising your personal finance muscles as you try to answer what other people have asked and see if he gives the same answer as you. Super fun! Riker and Jake are okay, too.

Some books I have greatly enjoyed is Dear Debt by Melanie Lockert. I found her on Martinis and Your Money as she is one of the Happy Hour Ladies. She chronicles her journey getting out of debt and writes debt a letter at the end of each chapter. It’s really great to read how her attitude toward debt changes as she frees herself from its grip. She also blogs at deardebt.com. Be sure to give her a follow!

I have also read 99 Minute Millionaire by Scott Alan Turner which I regularly return to, to read all the highlights I have all over it. There are great pearls of wisdom everywhere in that book!

I really enjoyed Millionaire Next Door. This book is super enlightening because it is a study done of millionaires and what they drive, how they spend their money and surprise – It’s not like you might think! Spoiler: Those who have money don’t feel the need to flaunt the fact that they have money. I just love modesty for this reason. They also have a formula for what they call UAWs (Under Accumulators of Wealth *raises hand*) and PAWs (Prodigious Accumulators of Wealth). Using this formula, in order for me to be a PAW I would need a Net Worth of about $109,624.32 but we all know my Net Worth is -$67,325! What is that, even? A Super UAW? Don’t worry, I’ll get there by leaps and bounds. Or maybe by $25s and $50s, but I’ll get there. I hope you’ll join me!