Move Over, Honeymoon: It’s The Rise of The Minimoon

This looks lovely; but we're opting for a more meager minimoon instead

It’s Monday, and today’s the first day for a blog post since becoming a married man. After weddings, it’s typical to go on a honeymoon. It’s a perfect time for a relaxing trip with your new spouse. Popular destinations include beach resorts in the Caribbean, the islands of Hawaii, or somewhere else tropical. Maybe it’s because we’re in the Midwest which makes those destinations so popular – we don’t exactly have miles of tropical coastline anywhere nearby. When Kristin and I sat down to talk about what we wanted to do for our honeymoon, we had a ton of ideas. Too many, actually; it was difficult to narrow down specifically what we wanted to do and where we wanted to […]

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How We Saved $17,427.88 on Our Wedding by Making Two Simple Decisions

Getting engaged is a big deal - almost as much as these PJ pants.

This post is aptly scheduled: today, I’m getting married, in about three hours from this post. But don’t worry, it was written and scheduled weeks ago. It’s been a very fun but stressful process, planning a wedding out of state. Here is how we took some (but definitely not all) of the financial stress out of the process. I’ve talked about it before, but it’s worth repeating: weddings can be expensive. If you budget well for them, you’ll be married at the end of the day with no debt. If you don’t budget well for them, you may find yourself in piles of loans or credit card debt, all for one day. And honestly, it’s not worth stressing out over […]

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How Much Are Cars and Car Loans Costing You?

Luxury cars like a new Mercedes are pricey

Americans spend an insane amount of money on cars. Americans currently have over a trillion dollars of outstanding car loans. It’s a little nuts to think about what the American obsession with shiny new cars is costing a typical household. Over the course of a lifetime, Americans will – on average – buy about 9 cars. Buying a used car and driving it for a long time is one of the best ways to curb your transportation spending. Public transportation or other options may be better, but driving an old car helps keep your lifetime costs down. There’s nothing sexy about driving an old car. It’s much “cooler” according to pop culture to drive a brand new BMW or Mercedes. […]

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Whoops! I Have Fat Pants That I Didn’t Account For!

Have you budgeted for fat pants?

If you’ve actually met me, I think you’d be hard-pressed to call me fat.  I’ve never weighed more than 165 pounds, and at 5′ 10″ even that’s kept me pretty lean. With the wedding coming up this weekend, Kristin and I decided to go on a more strict wedding diet and be a bit healthier. Admittedly we had both let ourselves get a little lazy in that department, and we want to look amazing for our wedding photos, obviously. The idea of me having “fat pants” is laughable. But it’s extremely real, and caught us off guard. Up In The Gym In early February Kristin had a fitness/weight loss competition at her gym; one that netted her some prize money too, […]

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Nail The Money Basics: Why More Money Isn’t The Answer To Your Money Problems

Nail the money basics first

If you’re struggling with mountains of debt, or if you just plain ol’ feel like you can’t get ahead month to month, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with just the money basics. In fact, about half of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Have you ever told yourself any of these excuses? “If my job paid me more, I’d be totally fine.” “I’ll get back on track next month”…month after month. “I can’t afford it now, so I’ll put this on my credit card so that I can pay for it when I get paid next” The list goes on and on. If you have used these excuses, it’s time for a wake-up call. As much as it may […]

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How We Saved An Extra $6000 For Our Down Payment This Summer

Moving sucks. Saving money doesn't. Sometimes that means moving.

Saving enough money for a down payment on a house is not an easy task. According to Zillow, the median home price in the US is just shy of $200,000. If you’re planning on putting 20% down to avoid Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), that means needing to amass $40,000 just for the down payment – plus any closing costs, and then also make sure you have enough saved and for a few of the necessities when moving in (though definitely not everything) Even if you are able to save $1000 a month toward your down payment, it’ll still likely take several years of intentional saving in order to hit your goal amount. So, when you kick into high gear, every penny matters. After […]

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Naming and Automating Our Way to Savings

Have you ever noticed that people tend to name weird things? Cars, guitars, phones, even more obscure things like a sewing machine or Keurig coffee maker. They’re all just stuff, yet we give them names that often are thought of as human (in rare cases, sometimes we name people after things instead). There’s a segment of psychology that talks about why we do this. By naming things, we establish a deeper bond with that thing. It’s part of the reason why in the Midwest we try to not name our pigs. Establishing a psychological connection with something may have a positive or negative effect depending on what that thing is. If it’s generally bringing something positive to your life, attaching […]

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Ninja Hack Your 401(k) Contributions

I know I’ve said it before, but saving for your retirement is kind of important if you ever want to stop working. As much as people say they want to do better at something, it’s often in our nature to do the things of least resistance. Think about how often you say you’re going to go to the gym, but end up watching TV. How about that laundry that sits in the dryer for a week? We say we want to do something better, but laziness or forgetfulness gets the better of us. In the moment, laziness can feel good – knowing that you aren’t doing something that requires more exertion. This can lead to doing things that are easier […]

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To Hell With Tradition: Who Should Really Pay For What In A Wedding?

With our wedding just two weeks away, Kristin and I recently were talking about budgeting for the wedding, and how our process seemed to be different than what a lot of other young couples go through. We’re thankful to be in the financial position we are, and we were able to make sure we’ve invited the people we want, at the location we want, with the sort of style and experience we want. We aren’t having a big over-the-top wedding, and it’s not a destination wedding per se (though it’s a destination for many people who will be traveling from all corners of the country), but it definitely has cost us a not-insignificant amount of money to pull off. It was […]

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Tortoise and the Hare: House Edition

Most of us are familiar with the story of the tortoise and the hare. Two unlikely competitors in a race to the finish line. But, as the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race: the tortoise comes out ahead after slowly, deliberately, but consistently chugging along. The hare, on the other hand, started off decently strong but got a bit arrogant, takes a nap, and wakes up to find he’s lost the race. This tale helps illustrate the concepts of perseverance and consistency and how they can often be more effective in the long-run. Unsurprisingly, this concept holds true in many areas of life; for example, personal finances. I often think about why consistency rather than quick spurts lead […]

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