Ditch Budgeting and Conduct a Spending Review Instead

Receipts are helpful for a spending review if you use cash

Ah the B word. Let’s be real for a second – almost nobody actually loves to budget. If they do, they’re some sort of freak. Budgeting can be time-consuming (though it only takes an hour or so a month) and it can be mentally exhausting. If you’re not already on a good track, budgeting can be life-changing. Telling your dollars where to go is extremely important. After you’ve got the hang of things, though, budgeting becomes somewhat less important. That’s why Kristin and I don’t really, truly budget. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff Instead of actually sitting down each month and breaking out all of our expenses – something I’d expect to do in a traditional budgeting exercise – we […]

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Wedding Day Loans Suck

Wedding day loans shouldn't be needed for sweet shoes or a dress.

Some of the things people do to have their dream wedding amazes me. Wedding costs are through the roof, and many people want to impress others. It’s no surprise to learn that wedding day loans are becoming more and more popular as showing off on social media becomes commonplace. The average wedding price in 2016 crept past $35k according to TheKnot. With median household income at just $56k, the numbers here just don’t add up. How are people paying for them? The Sponsor Opportunity I got a glimpse of that last week when someone emailed me asking if I wanted to do a sponsored post. For those unfamiliar with the term, a sponsored post is a post on a blog […]

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Why I Don’t Regret Not Saving More for Retirement in My 20’s

Bars are where much of my money went

*Gasp* A personal finance blogger who doesn’t wish he’d saved more money in his 20’s?!? Yep, that’s me. And it’s not because I already saved a ton. Admittedly I didn’t – my savings rate through my 20’s was a paltry ~15% or so, give or take a few percentage points. Better than some, to be sure, but definitely nothing to write home about. Especially in the world of some personal finance bloggers who regularly save 70% or more of their income, 15% is laughable. For as much as I didn’t save for the long term, though, I did do a few things right. And I don’t regret putting retirement a bit on the back-burner. I Paid Off My Debts My […]

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Financial Fridays: Track Your Income and Expenses

Track your income and expenses on a computer or pencil and paper

Welcome to Financial Fridays #1! Over the next 7 weeks – every Friday from now until the end of 2017 – I’m going to share posts that will help you paint a picture of your financial life today and set you up for a prosperous 2018. We’ll touch on topics ranging from income and expenses to net worth, debt, career advice, and setting goals. These are some of the steps Kristin and I have taken to help set ourselves up to be able to afford our dream wedding, dream house, and plan for early retirement. Of course, a healthy dose of privilege helps and I’d be remiss to not mention how fortunate we’ve been in that regard. If you’re looking […]

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Why We Sell ESPP Shares ASAP

Avoid volatility and unnecessary risk. Sell ESPP shares ASAP

Employee Stock Purchase Plans, or ESPP’s, are one of my favorite under-cover savings mechanisms. They present a great opportunity to squirrel away some money without thinking about it too much. In fact, my Employee Stock Purchase Plan at a previous company was precisely the way we were able to afford to pay our wedding in cash and save up for a down payment. If you’ve got the option to participate in one at work, they can be great. But there are some things to look out for that could catch you off guard. Basic of ESPP’s I’ve outlined the basics of Employee Stock Purchase Plans before, but the concept is simple. Let’s talk about Kristin’s plan – a 423(b) Employee […]

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Why We’re Going To Pay The House Off Early

Homes may not be a path to guaranteed wealth, but we're still paying ours off early.

Before we even signed on the dotted line to have our home built, Kristin and I knew we were going to pay off our house early. Ever since I paid off my car, I’ve avoided all debt. Kristin worked her ass off in college to avoid taking out student loans. It’s fairly accurate to say that in general we are pretty debt-averse. To us debt feels like it weighs us down, limits us, and just is another thing to think about. The less of it we can have, the better off we will be. But a mortgage is a different type of debt than we’d had in the past. It wasn’t credit card debt or a loan on a depreciating […]

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We Cut The Cord (Kind Of)

We're changing the way we take control of our entertainment

It seems more and more people are trying to cut the cord these days. We’re no exception, and we had a perfect opportunity to try it. When we moved into our house, we were unable to transfer our existing cable TV and Internet package through Comcast due to an exclusive deal with another ISP. So, we had a choice to make: when we got new service, would we get actual cable TV through the internet company again? Or would we stick to just internet and find an alternative for watching TV? We did some soul-searching. And by that I mean we figured out if we could make it work. For us, it was making sure we could still watch the shows […]

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Hiring Movers Kept Us Sane on Moving Day

Did you guys hear?! Kristin and I built a home. Our own home! And the great thing that came with it, was the requirement that all of our stuff magically move from our temporary apartment to our beautiful new house. Moving sucks. It’s one of our least favorite things (definitely moreso for Kristin than for me). Since Kristin and I met about four and a half years ago, I had moved 5 times. Kristin had also moved 5 times. It’s a LOT of moving, and something that we were sick of. We wanted to make this 6th move the last one for a while (ever?), but it still needed to get done. Why We Hired Instead of DIY Kristin begged […]

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Where to Start When You Don’t Know Where to Start With Investing Money

How do you know where to start investing?

You’ve reached a moment in your life that has sparked you to take control of your finances. Maybe you’ve recently discovered Financial Independence, or Dave Ramsey. Perhaps you’ve even talked to a loved one about making some changes in your life to help this pursuit. But for all the motivation and energy you have, there’s one question you still have: where do I start? Start At The Beginning It may seem obvious – and be an unhelpful sentiment – but really, the place to start is at the beginning. I define the beginning as really just understanding yourself. There are two fundamental questions I ask myself whenever I’m evaluating what to do. What’s Your Current Situation Knowing where you currently […]

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 6 Smart Ways to Save On Your Wedding Day

There are lots of ways to save on a wedding.

Today I have a guest post from James from BasicFinanceCare. James is a finance blogger who loves to write & educate people about personal finance, money management and frugality. Visit his personal finance blog to find more about him. Your wedding day is approaching in months and you’ve already started biting your nails looking at the expenses: don’t worry. Here are 6 smart ways to handle your finances in such a way that you can save a lot on your wedding day. Handling finances is not just about managing your day-to-days expenses but planning for future events as well. Everyone has big dreams when it comes to planning for their wedding, but handling the finances for it doesn’t seem so […]

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