Finances

Being a Month Ahead in the Budget

The very strict rules and forms of the Baby Steps helped to establish some discipline for us very early on, but in the long term aging our money to the point that we could budget on the previous month’s income was a lot easier for us to work with and eliminated a lot of headaches.

Actually Getting a Mortgage With no Credit Score

Earlier this year I wrote about the hypothetical process of getting a mortgage with no credit score. Now that we have lived through that process, and have finally closed on selling our old house, I want to document what it actually looked like. I hope someone out there went through this process recently and can say they had a better experience. Maybe there was a …

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beach, shoreline, coast

Side Hustles, COVID-19, and the Tide Going Out

Over the course of our marriage, Summer and I have ran several small side businesses between the two of us, including: A photography business Web / application development Childbirth education classes Doula (childbirth support) services We learned a very hard lesson with our very first customer for our photography business. It was a small wedding, and we were just starting out, so the total was …

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Pausing the Baby Steps for a Baby

I started writing this back in 2015 when we still had a balance on our mortgage, but for some reason never hit the “Publish” button. Back then we had a refinanced mortgage of $120,000 that we were aiming to pay off before 2020. Around 2015, our monthly interest payment was somewhere around $300. We ended up having no surprises with the birth of #4, so …

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An Argument Against Credit Card Rewards

A few years ago while my uncle, while he was still alive, made a good argument for why the Christian should not gamble – it is a selfish act – if you want to win, you are wanting someone else to lose. You are violating the golden rule. Put another way: Gambling, then, is an essentially selfish exercise.  Not only is the gambler indifferent to the …

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The Dumbest Thing We Did With Money

Where I work, we have this concept of Stupid Tax – when someone does something stupid and it costs them money. My wife and I thankfully haven’t had too much stupid tax, but we did have one big expense that came down to me stupidly holding on to something that was “mine”.

Home Mortgage Tax Deduction – Part 1 : Intro

Have you ever had a moment where you realized that something the majority of the population hold as true was actually a bad idea? You believed that idea for many years, and those telling you seemed to have good data to back their claim, so you just ran with it? But, after having someone sit down with you and show the numbers, you realized that …

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Life Insurance: Why?

Let’s talk about a really fun topic today: life insurance. Before we get to that exciting topic, I want to excite you even more with a short meta-post. I sat down and started to write this really long post – what would have amounted to 5+ pages, complete with tables and numbers – and realized that I needed to step back and focus on the most important thing. …

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Budget Basics: Saving for Car Expenses

When we first started using a written budget about 5 years ago, one of the first semi-irregular expenses that we had to start budgeting for was car maintenance. Up until that point, if a tire wore out or a battery needed to be replaced, we just whipped out the credit card, and worked it out at the end of the month when we paid our statement. It turns out, …

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Vacation on a Budget – Part 4 – Recap and Lessons Learned

This is part 3 in a series about vacationing on a budget. Recap I’ve said it before, and will do so again – by budget I do not mean “cheap”, I mean “a plan” – on paper, on purpose, before the trip began. There are many people who take far more expensive trips than we did, but our trip was far from being a “budget” …

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Vacation on a Budget – Part 3 – Remaining Expenses

This is part 3 in a series about vacationing on a budget. As a quick recap, our budget for the entire trip was $2,400. We broke it down into the following categories: $1,200 for lodging (50%) $300 for gas (12.5%) $400 for food, groceries, supplies (16.7%) $500 for activities (20.8%) As I covered in part 2, we spent $1,188.84 out of our budgeted $1,200 for …

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Vacation on a Budget – Part 2 – Where to Stay

In part 1, I went over our budget for our 2013 Family Vacation. Our total budget was $2,400 cash. We had saved up that amount in a savings account, and had no more than that to spend. Our rough breakdown was: $1,200 for lodging (50%) $300 for gas (12.5%) $400 for food, groceries, supplies (16.7%) $500 for activities (20.8%) Location, Location, Location Our family enjoys …

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Vacation on a Budget – Part 1 – Establishing a Budget

Our family loves to travel. During the first 3 years of our marriage, we would travel over 500 miles from home at least 3 times a year. One year we went to Hawaii, San Francisco, Texas, and it seems like at least one other place in that year. One year we drove out to Colorado from Missouri to see some property that has been in …

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Private Insurance

It has been a long time since I have written anything of substance, so why not break the hiatus and write about a very exciting subject – health insurance. Maybe this is a bit personal, but I am not going to reveal how much my family earns, nor how much of our income as a percentage is spent on health care, nor how much my employer’s group plan …

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Cutting Back

I will post a little bit of what I posted to Summer’s blog. I am hoping that we can all help each other out and find ways to cut back in ‘tough economic times’. Cutting Back Another key to getting us back on track was to find ways to trim back. One of our frustrations is that every time we saw a ‘top 5 ways …

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Money Makeover

(imported from an old blog) For those of you who are friends with my wife on pleo, who is a gold member, she is about to post something privately that I wrote. It is about our reasoning behind switching to the process that Dave Ramsey calls the “Total Money Makeover”. Several have scoffed at the idea, and I figured some explaining might show others that …

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