STOP living paycheck to paycheck: 10 Steps to Financial Freedom

STOP living paycheck to paycheck: 10 Steps to Financial Freedom

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Living paycheck to paycheck sucks

How many times have you said (or heard someone else say) – that you couldn’t buy the whatever-you-want until Friday, because Friday is payday?

I heard it twice this week, and I don’t talk to a lot of people. And it really made me think. And it made me want to write this post.

There is an epidemic of people living paycheck to paycheck. Well, I’m using the term “living” sort of loosely here. (People NEED to stop living paycheck to paycheck, because it’s not living – it’s more like surviving.)  Are you one of these people?

The good news is that if you ARE one of these people, you can stop. It just takes a little effort.

10 steps to stop living paycheck to paycheck

1) Add up allllll of your debt. Let’s get this out of the way right now. If any amount of your income is going towards debt repayment (other than a mortgage), that should become priority number one. Use your debt as a motivator if possible.

2) Identify where your money is going. Specifically, identify where “essentials” money is going and where your “extra” money is going. To know where your “essentials” money is going, add up all of your “essential” bills (rent or mortgage, power/heat/water, food, transportation, medical insurance, debt repayment etc.) To know where your “extra” money is going, spend as normal for the month, and either put all of your purchases on your debit card, or if you use cash, write it down. At the end of one month, assess where your money went for that month. (more…)

What’s the Big Deal About Being “Debt-Free”?

What’s the Big Deal About Being “Debt-Free”?

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This is a guest post by Alaya , the blogger behind Hope+Cents. After dumping her own debt, she has become passionate about helping others do the same and shares tips, encouragement, and hope for those looking to take control of their finances.  

There’s a lot of talk about being debt-free.

From blogs chronicling their author’s debt-free journey, to a radio show that invites callers to celebrate becoming debt-free, it seems as if there is a subculture of debt-free fanatics that are challenging our “buy now, pay later” culture.

And it seems that way because there is. There is a growing debt-free community. It’s made up of people who have an “I paid off (insert crazy amount of debt) in just (insert short amount of time)” story; people who are working towards some ambitious and inspiring goal like paying off their mortgage in under ten years or retiring by forty; and people who have always been debt-free and are committed to staying that way. The debt-free subculture exists. And it’s growing.

But, perhaps you’re not convinced about the whole debt-free thing. You can manage your car payment, student loans, credit cards, and other debt just fine. You make all your payments on time, and sometimes you even pay more than the minimum amount due. That’s pretty good, right? If you’re able to “manage your payments” why is being debt-free necessary? What’s the big deal about being debt-free? (more…)

How to Organize Your Bills

How to Organize Your Bills

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This is a guest post by Matt Williams, who is a blogger and an unapologetic fighter of medical billing mistakes. He offers tips and resources for help with medical bills at sickandbroke.com

How to organize bills (even if you’re a mess)

Bills, bills, bills. They are overwhelming. Every day they continue to pour in and every month you will likely receive a power bill, gas bill, your mortgage or rent, water bill, internet and cable bill, and phone bills – and that’s the least of it. How do most people handle it? How do you handle it? I know. I know what you do.

We all have that location in our kitchen, car or office. That spot where we collect the mail in the pile. We tell ourselves that we will organize it, but we just create a new pile until we have the paper version of Mount Everest.

I am going to give you some tough love right now: if you do this, you are a mess. That is right, you are a mess and you need help. You are not doing yourself any favors, and it’s time for you to get it together so you can pay your bills on time and become more organized. (more…)

Bad Money Habits You Need to Ditch NOW

Bad Money Habits You Need to Ditch NOW

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Why are some people always “broke”?

This post has been sort of rattling around in my brain this week, just waiting to get out onto the screen…but posts have a hard time forming in my head until something inspires the concrete ideas and words that make up what I want to say. This week, what I want to say came to me at the grocery store while I was contemplating how much money my blog made in October, and looking at a box of $16 chicken fingers.

Not just any chicken fingers, but the best chicken fingers I have ever had. (I bought a box a few weeks ago when they were deeply discounted. And we got two meals out of it. So at $16 for the box, I knew that meant we would have 2 $8 meat nights, and that is too expensive. I aim for $5 / meal or less – talking about just meat here, and $6 happens sometimes, but $8 is ridiculous. Unless it’s steak and it’s a treat.)

It occurred to me that some people might think to themselves, if they were in my exact situation at that moment, “I can afford to buy these grossly over-priced chicken fingers, because I made an extra $5035.17 on my blog this month” (- which is nuts, by the way).  (more…)

6 Habits of People Who STAY Debt Free

6 Habits of People Who STAY Debt Free

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I’ve mentioned before that we are debt free. We decided early in our marriage that we would STAY debt free (not including a mortgage. Some day we will have a mortgage, if the timing is right.)

The decisions we made that helped us to stay debt free from the beginning were hard decisions. We lived with my parents for two years, we saved the money it required to build our home. Then we actually BUILT our home. With our own hands. It’s not a big home. We have never owned an awesome new car. (Although I do own an awesome second hand car now! Well, actually it’s third hand, but it’s like pure luxury compared to the one I drove for the last 6 years.) (more…)

5 Side Hustles That Will Make You Money Immediately

5 Side Hustles That Will Make You Money Immediately

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A good “side hustle” makes you money NOW

SO. I need to be honest – about “side hustsles” – for a minute, before I start this post. Most bloggers are looking to make some money (myself included) and blogging is our number one “side hustle”. ( I can not even begin to describe how much I hate the term “side hustle”, and so I’ll have to use it quotation marks to make it bearable for myself. Anyone else have a word that just gets under your skin and bugs the crap out of you? Another for me is “self care”. Yuck.)

Anyhow. So most bloggers are looking to make some money. Blogging is our number one side hustle (or full time thing, if you’ve put in your time and worked your way up). And it’s pretty freaking awesome, and yes, if you want to, I think you should be blogging. But it’s not one of those things you can start today and make money at tomorrow. (Read the truth about starting a profitable blog!) (more…)