I learned this trick when we were getting out of debt.   I am not the one to write down every little expense that I make in a register to where I can tell if I am meeting my budget or not, so I take this different tactic and it works for us.   I have talked about this before a bit, but wanted to dive into it deeper here.   We have an account setup at Capital One 360 (Which used to be ING Direct).   Honestly, I liked it more when it was ING Direct.  I don’t know if it was all the orange that they constantly threw at you or maybe they were just more fun!…    Nonetheless, we stay with Capital One because the nuts of bolts of what they offer still works great.

The Automatic Savings Plan with Buckets

So here is what we do.  We setup frequent and “automatic” withdraws from our main checking account which is where our pay checks are deposited.   Since both of us work, we ultimately get 2 pay checks coming in and the beauty of it is that they come in opposite of each other.   It means we get paid every week, which is great for budgeting purposes.  So each week we have a set amount that comes out the day that our paycheck is deposited.   We have created savings accounts at Capital One 360 for each expense that we need through out the year.  These are our “Buckets” of money that by the time the expense comes the money just magically builds up just in time to pay for the expense.  Here is the break down:[Read More…]

When we get into the regular income routine, the bills get paid, the groceries get bought and the savings account get its share, there isn’t always much left and that can get old pretty fast.   Am I right?  Well you have options here and you might not even realize that you can still make a little extra income on the side.  Here’s how you can do it.

Share your knowledge and help others

There are zillions or people and companies out there looking for help.   Whether they are looking for a virtual assistant or someone to help them with their web site, there are web sites out there that can help you connect with people who need help that are willing to pay you to do the work.   For example. Second Shift is a company that you can sign up to and create a profile.   They then attempt to connect you with companies looking to hire people on the side based on your skillset.   If you get matched up with the company, you agree to what they are looking to do and then go do the work and get paid!   It’s free to sign up so might as well give it a run.

HourlyNerd is another web site that connects you up with a potential of 25,000 business experts who are looking for help on a hourly basis.   Everyone has some type of knowledge that they can leverage.   It could be writing, it could be answering phones, it could be helping to build a web site, on and on.[Read More…]

So I have been taking advantage of this for years now and yet there are plenty of people that I talk to who know nothing about this little secret.   If you are paying full price for your mobile phone bill with Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or any of the major providers then go down to your local store and stop this insanity now.

We don’t work for ultra cool companies or anything, but they are big enough to be able to be recognized by these mobile phone providers and cool enough companies and you can get a discount for working for a semi cool/not so cool company.   ha!   Anyways, we are able to get a 22% discount off of our mobile phone bill because we are able to prove that we work for a specific company.   If you don’t get this, you must check into this with your company and see if they offer this.  You can check with your company, call the mobile phone providers customer line or just go down to the corporate owned mobile phone store and ask if you can get this discount.[Read More…]

I admit it, I have done some silly things in our attempt to get out of debt.  Things that sound so logical at the time, but with further studying and common sense you can escape these ideas that are not only silly, they can be forever damaging to your financial future.   They sound on the surface to be great ideas, perhaps even a short term fix that brings down the stress level that debt seems to cause.

Here are my 5 money myths that I am about to debunk

Myth #1 – Pay off your mortgage ASAP

You are determined to pay off your home.  I mean you are paying thousands of dollars in interest per year and that can’t possibly be good right.   I mean it’s impressive to see someone paying extra money each month on their mortgage or perhaps paying an additional principal payment each year.   That’s great, but here are some things to consider before you go all in on paying extra on your mortgage.[Read More…]

So I have a bad habit of not planning ahead sometime and being in need of cash exactly at the time where there are no ATMs around that are free of a surcharge.     Has anyone else been in this situation?   You would think that you could function on your debit card no matter where you need to go, but to my surprise I find myself needing cash still on a regular basis.   Do I get back into my car and travel 5 miles down the road to my bank where I can pull out some cash from my checking account.  This is just to avoid the $3.99 surcharge fee this convenient store ATM is forcing me to pay?   Oh the agony when I have to push that button that steals $3.99 away from my hard earned money for the privilege of getting access to my hard earned money.  How rude some of these ATM machines are right? Rude!  ha

This is such a bad habit of mine, I would say that I find myself paying this fee 2 – 3 times a month.    That’s almost $12 a month or in terms of food a pizza night out.  Or if you make minimum wage, that’s over an hour of hard labor.    $144 a year!  I am just throwing the money away because I can’t march down the street and get money out of my bank’s ATM.    How dare I do such a lazy thing?!?  If you calculate that laziness over my entire working career, I would have spent $6,768 in fees to simply have the privilege of accessing my own money!    How insane is that?[Read More…]

I have to say I LOVE Starbucks and more so than Starbucks, I just love coffee.   I can’t think of a world where I wake up and not have coffee every morning, sometimes multiple times.  It’s probably up there as one of my top things in life and top priorities.  OK, you got me I’m an addict, but I tell people all the time that it’s really not the caffeine that I am addicted to because I love decaf just the same.  Well almost the same.   None the less, my favorite thing to do is to make it over to Starbucks for a Salted Caramel Mocha which in my town costs $4.95 for the Grande size.

I mean what else would you rather pay $4.95 for than a rich and wonderful warm toast than a Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha.   I mean what else would you rather do?!?  Nonetheless, let’s be honest, $4.95 is pretty steep for a cup of coffee and one that is probably filled with plenty of sugar and other things that probably are not tremendously great for me from a health perspective.

Let’s just say for a minute if I was able crack the habit and eliminate that daily intake of coffee.  Say goodbye to that wild and wonderful cup of Salted Caramel Mocha….   It’s hard to imagine, but let’s just say for minute that’s what I did.[Read More…]

Bring your lunch to work versus buying out every day

You can make a sandwich for a fraction (Couple Dollars) of what it costs to go out a grab lunch.   Even a Lean Cuisine meal will run you $3 – $4 versus the $10 – $12 that the run to Panera Bread or Chipolte could tax you with.   This also does not count the time and gas to run out to grab lunch.

Refinance your student loans and potentially receive a lower interest rate

I recommend taking a look at Credible to refinance your student loans and potentially receive a lower interest rate.     At the time of this writing the interest rates were as low as 2.37%.   If you are paying more than that, I highly recommend you take a look here.   If you sign up through this link you could be eligible to receive a $500 bonus.  It’s free to apply and see what your rate would be.

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So we decided to take another 10 Day trip to Disney in August and we did it without paying a penny for our hotel.   Here is how we did it.

We have long been fans of staying at Marriott’s when we had to stay at a hotel.   Because of this, we felt that signing up for a Marriott credit card was somewhat of a no brainer.   To our surprise, you actually earn 80,000 points if you sign up and spend $3,000 within the 1st 3 months.   Then, on top of that, if you add one authorized card user and that person uses the card within the first 3 months, you get an extra 7,500 points.   So right out the door, we had 87,500 points.[Read More…]

The Little House – 2002-2011 – 1068 Square Feet

This world has a way of conditioning you to think that you need more and you need bigger, but do you really?   When we first got married we rented for a year because it was the right thing to do.  Let’s get settled into our marriage, our jobs and decide after that where we want to live that makes sense for our jobs and for our future when having kids.   As soon as it was humanly possible to get out of that lease we were on the hunt to find our first home.   Hey why not, we were married, we had our first baby on the way and we needed that permanent place to settle down.

Fast forward a few years and a few kids later and we are busting at the seams in what seemed to be plenty of the room at the time, so what do we do like most Americans?   It’s time to trade in that first home for the second much larger home and here is how we justified it!   Over a period of 10 years in that first home, we grew out of it into not 1 but 2 10 x 10 storage units where we housed a bunch of our “stuff” that we clearly didn’t need.   This was costing us approximately $70 per month for each storage unit, so ultimately $140 a month to store stuff that we could not physically fit into our first tiny home.   200 square feet of space stacked floor to ceiling sat our stuff, covered in dust.[Read More…]

I will go way out of my way for a deal, whether that be online or in store.  I have used coupons, waiting for items to go on sales and used credit cards with just the right points, but in comes Ebates which is a way to earn FREE money just for buying what you were already going to buy anyways.   Here is my Ebates Review for all of you.

Today, I wanted to go over how you can save money on numerous every day purchases that you already make.   I’ve already received quite a bit of money from Ebates for some of the purchases that I had to make anyways, so why not get some cash back and save while I am doing it.

Here is the bottom line, Ebates gives you Free Money for shopping.  I’m not kidding!  Ebates is the best cash back web site out there right now.   When you sign up to Ebates through our web site, Ebates will give you $10 right out of the gate when you spend your first $25.

So let’s get started…[Read More…]