Enemy of Debt http://www.enemyofdebt.com Motivational Money Management Tue, 03 May 2016 06:59:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 DIY Interior Painting: How It’s Done, and How Much You Can Save http://www.enemyofdebt.com/diy-interior-painting-how-its-done-and-how-much-you-can-save/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/diy-interior-painting-how-its-done-and-how-much-you-can-save/#comments Mon, 02 May 2016 23:02:30 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17610 Enemy of Debt - DIY Interior Painting: How It’s Done, and How Much You Can Save

Do It Yourself projects are a great way to save money, if you’re willing to put in a little sweat equity. Last week my father and I did exactly that by painting a living room in my home. If you’ve never painted a room before, the proposition of doing so may be a bit frightening. But as with most projects, it’s all about getting a little education about how to go about doing it. Since we’re all about helping each other save money here at Enemy Of Debt, I’m going to share the process of how I painted my living […]

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Enemy of Debt - DIY Interior Painting: How It’s Done, and How Much You Can Save

EOD_PainterDo It Yourself projects are a great way to save money, if you’re willing to put in a little sweat equity. Last week my father and I did exactly that by painting a living room in my home. If you’ve never painted a room before, the proposition of doing so may be a bit frightening. But as with most projects, it’s all about getting a little education about how to go about doing it. Since we’re all about helping each other save money here at Enemy Of Debt, I’m going to share the process of how I painted my living room.

Step 1: Move Your Stuff

To paint a room, you’re going to have to move everything away from the walls. Whether you plan to tackle the room one wall at a time, or the entire room at once, the process applies. The objects in the room to be painted can be moved temporarily into a separate room if possible, or you may find it easier to just slide everything to the center of the room. I use large plastic bins to hold nick-knacks that were hanging on the wall, or sitting on shelves.

Step 2: Remove Outlet and Light Switch Covers

Using a screwdriver, remove all outlet and switch covers in the path of your painting. To prevent losing them, I put all covers and screws into a gallon sized plastic bag.

Step 3: Tape Out

Run painter’s tape along baseboards, door and window frames, and anything else that you want to protect from paint. I personally do not put tape around outlets and switch covers, as you can easily paint close enough to those items to make the line not visible once the covers are reinstalled. You can put tape along the ceiling, however most people use an angled brush and “cut in” the paint slowly and carefully without tape.

Step 4: Trim

The first three steps are all prep work, but now it’s time to open the paint can. Using a brush, I recommend a 2” or 2.5” width, paint around the items protected by painters tape including the ceiling regardless of whether you taped it off or not.

Step 5: Rolling

If things seemed to be going slowly up until now, your progress is about to accelerate. Get your paint tray and roller ready, this is the fun part. Apply paint to the walls using the roller, overlapping the trimmed paint getting as close as you feel comfortable to the painter’s tape. This will ensure as much of the wall as possible has the same texture from the roller.

Question: How many coats of paint are needed?

Answer:

The answer to this question is subjective. Many people would say at least two coats are required. In reality, however, it depends upon how the paint covers, how good of a job you did applying the paint, and how perfect you want it to look. If you can see holes in the color, or some of the previous color shows through, then you may want another coat. Also, if you want as few of roller marks as possible you may want multiple coats.

However, if you don’t notice roller marks, and the paint covered well, one coat may be sufficient for you.

Step 6: Putting It All Back

Optimally you would wait 24 hours before removing the painter’s tape, otherwise it may pull paint off as well. Once the tape has been removed, the outlet and switch covers can be re-installed and all your objects put back to place.

Supply List

Now that we’ve described the overall painting process, natural questions to ask would be:

  • What supplies do I need to paint a room?
  • How much do the supplies cost?

Here’s a list of the supplies I purchased, and how much they cost:

  • Paint (2 gallons of paint, each costing $30): $60
  • 9” Rolling Package (one pan, two rollers, two roller covers, one 2” brush): $20
  • 4” Roller (for smaller spaces): $20
  • 4” Roller Cover: $7
  • Drop Cloths (used old bed sheets): FREE
  • Painter’s Tape (several rolls): $10

Total: $117

Cost Savings

The going rate for a professional painter is anywhere between $25 to $100 an hour. For our estimation purposes let’s use a rate right in the middle of $62.50 per hour.

My father and I spent about 7 hours on the painting (not including moving things off the wall, and putting personal possessions back, which many painters will require you to do). Using our rate of $62.50 per hour, the cost to paint our room would have been:

  • Labor: $62.50 x 7 = $437.50
  • Paint: $60

Total : $497.50

By painting the room myself, I saved $380 and I have supplies to paint additional rooms in my home.

Doing your own painting isn’t difficult, but it is time consuming. But if you’re willing to put in the time, you can give your home a fresh new look at a fraction of the cost of hiring someone.

Do you do your own painting? Have you ever hired someone to paint for you? How much did it cost?

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Fist Pump Friday – I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 4/29 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-429/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-429/#comments Fri, 29 Apr 2016 12:23:58 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17603 Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday – I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 4/29

Our house was built 12 years ago, and there’s some rooms that have never been repainted, including a lower level living room.  I’m taking today off, and my dad is staying with me for a few days to give it a nice fresh coat of paint.  I’m not the most skilled painter, but my dad is very experienced.  I’m looking forward to spending some time with my dad, picking up some great painting tips, and saving some money by doing the painting ourselves. Fist pump for a fresh coat of paint, and my favorite posts of the week! Posts That […]

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Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday – I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 4/29

fistpumpOur house was built 12 years ago, and there’s some rooms that have never been repainted, including a lower level living room.  I’m taking today off, and my dad is staying with me for a few days to give it a nice fresh coat of paint.  I’m not the most skilled painter, but my dad is very experienced.  I’m looking forward to spending some time with my dad, picking up some great painting tips, and saving some money by doing the painting ourselves.

Fist pump for a fresh coat of paint, and my favorite posts of the week!

Posts That Make Me Fist Pump

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How Are You Wasting Your Money? http://www.enemyofdebt.com/how-are-you-wasting-your-money/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/how-are-you-wasting-your-money/#comments Tue, 26 Apr 2016 09:21:50 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17593 Enemy of Debt - How Are You Wasting Your Money?

I like to re-evaluate all our expenses every couple of months to make sure we’re getting the most value for our money. Priorities and interest change over time, and therefore how we choose our money will change over time. Weeding out those monthly expenses that don’t add any enjoyment or use to our life will free up funds for activities that do. I went through one of these exercises over the weekend, and found several monthly expenses that we will should discuss whether continuing them is in our best interests: Magazine Subscription I had a subscription to Runner’s World for […]

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Enemy of Debt - How Are You Wasting Your Money?

EOD_MoneyWastingPicI like to re-evaluate all our expenses every couple of months to make sure we’re getting the most value for our money. Priorities and interest change over time, and therefore how we choose our money will change over time. Weeding out those monthly expenses that don’t add any enjoyment or use to our life will free up funds for activities that do.

I went through one of these exercises over the weekend, and found several monthly expenses that we will should discuss whether continuing them is in our best interests:

Magazine Subscription

I had a subscription to Runner’s World for years, but cancelled it because I just didn’t have time to read it. A year ago I subscribed again thinking it would be good for a little extra motivation to work on my running goals. Guess who still doesn’t have time to read the magazine?

Home Phone

We pay $20 a month for our home phone service through our cable company. I’ve often wondered if we should drop the service, and just use our cell phones. Our set of home phones recently experienced two of the three handsets fail. We dropped $100 on a new system with 4 handsets that had a nifty feature of being able to connect our cell phones to them as well. The phones didn’t ring for nearly a week after connecting them. When someone finally did call, it was a solicitor. We’re seriously contemplating returning the phones to Costco and dropping our home phone service.

Gym Membership

I’m a huge believer that a gym membership is well worth it’s cost, as long as it gets used. I work out every single day. In fact, some days I go to the gym more than once. The rest of my family, however, does not. We pay a lot of money for a family membership, and while I get more than a person’s worth of use out of it, I don’t get a family’s worth of use out of it. I hesitate to drop our membership down to just myself, as I’d like my family to have the option of going. I’d actually like to see my entire family go consistently. When does the high cost of the family membership outweigh my wishful thinking? I struggle with this often.

Netflix

My wife and I gave our kids three months of Netflix as a Christmas present a few years ago. After the gifted months expired, they were to pay for the service out of their allowance if they wanted to continue it. They use it all the time, but I haven’t collected the fee from them for a very long time. I don’t use the service, so there’s no reason for me to be paying for it. It’s time to have the kids pay for their service, or drop it.

These four monthly expenses vary greatly in individual amounts, but all together represent a significant amount of money. We have yet to make a final decision on any of them, but this is the kind of process I go through frequently to make sure that we’re being wise with our money, and intentional with our spending.

Have you analyzed all your monthly expenses recently? What are you wasting your money on?

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18 Smart Ways to Save Money on Your Utility Bills http://www.enemyofdebt.com/ways-save-money-utility-bills/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/ways-save-money-utility-bills/#respond Sat, 23 Apr 2016 18:39:24 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17588 Enemy of Debt - 18 Smart Ways to Save Money on Your Utility Bills

I’m all about saving money wherever I can.  Especially when it comes to saving money on utility bills and other recurring expenses that can get out of hand very quickly if you’re not paying attention. So I thought I would share with you all the ways I’ve found to save money on your utility bills. Saving Money on Utility Bills is Easy! It’s really not that hard to save big bucks on utilities when you know what to do.  Sometimes saving money simply comes down to changing one or two habits, and sometimes it entails making an investment now that […]

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Enemy of Debt - 18 Smart Ways to Save Money on Your Utility Bills

18 Smart Ways to Save Money on Your Utility BillsI’m all about saving money wherever I can.  Especially when it comes to saving money on utility bills and other recurring expenses that can get out of hand very quickly if you’re not paying attention.

So I thought I would share with you all the ways I’ve found to save money on your utility bills.

Saving Money on Utility Bills is Easy!

It’s really not that hard to save big bucks on utilities when you know what to do.  Sometimes saving money simply comes down to changing one or two habits, and sometimes it entails making an investment now that will pay for itself over and over in utility bill savings over time.

Either way, putting these utility bill tips into practice can literally save you hundreds of dollars every month that you can put straight into your pocket!

18 Smart Ways to Save Money on Your Utility Bills

So without further delay, here are 18 smart ways to save money on your utility bills…

Do Your Chores at Night

Electrical utilities charge less for power at night.  Because of that, running your dishwasher, clothes washer, and electric dryer are all cheaper to run at nighttime than they are during the day, helping  you save money on your utility bill just by shifting the time of day you use those energy sucking appliances.

Use Dryer Balls

Dryer balls actually help your clothes dry faster.  They fluff your clothes while they tumble and soak up some of the moisture, helping you save money on your utility bills by using your dryer less.

Another great benefit is that dryer balls can also extend the life of your dryer since your clothes will spend less time drying during every load.

Find out more about Dryer Balls here

 

Use BillCutterz to Lower Your Utility Bills

Another interesting option is to look at a service such as BillCutterz. Billcutterz is a unique service that negotiates lower rates on many of your utility bills for you.  Once they get you a lower rate, you split the difference with them as their fee.  That means they only get paid if they actually save you money!

Find out more about Billcutterz HERE.

 

Change Your HVAC Filters Frequently

When your HVAC filter gets clogged, your heating/cooling unit has to work harder and uses a lot more energy.  Most professionals recommend you replace your filter once a month to save money on utility bills and keep your unit running as efficiently as it possibly can.

You can find bulk packs of HVAC filters on Amazon for a fraction of the cost you’d pay in a big box store.

Unplug Electronics and Appliances When Not in Use

Even when a lamp, TV, or other appliance is not in use, it’s still using small amounts of electricity.  This electrical leakage can really add up over a month’s time, especially when you have a lot of devices that stay plugged in.

To save money on your utility bill, you should unplug your devices when they’re not being used or plug them into a smart power strip that will let you turn several devices on/off at the same time.

Browse Smart Power Strips here

 

Seal Your Home

If you have leaky windows and doors, you are seriously leaking money.  A lot of small air leaks can add up to the equivalent of leaving a door or window open 24-7.

You can stop the leakage by sealing your windows with caulk or plastic sheeting and sealing your doors with weatherstripping.  Wherever you find air leaks in your house, plug them up with the proper material and you can save serious money on your utility bill.

 

Use LED Bulbs

Switching out your incandescent bulbs to LED’s can bring a HUGE savings to your utility bill.  LED’s use about 90% less energy than an incandescent.  Also, an LED bulb can last upwards of a decade or more instead of an incandescent that only lasts a few months to a year or so.

The larger cost up front is definitely worth it, as the energy savings eventually pays for the bulb many times over.

You don’t even have to replace every bulb in your house.  Just replace the ones you use most frequently and you will still see a significant savings on your utility bill !

Here’s a handy chart to compare the different types.

Get LED bulbs here.

 

Install More Insulation

When Angie and I bought our house years ago, we never could figure out why the upstairs always stayed hot during the summer.  Eventually we discovered there was less insulation in our attic than we actually needed.

We added another layer of insulation to the attic, and now the upstairs stays cool in the summer time, and the upstairs HVAC unit doesn’t have to work overtime to keep it cool!  I estimate we saved 10% on our utility bill by making that one investment that paid for itself in just a few months!

 

Install a Nest Thermostat

This is one I’ve recommended several times before.  I’m a huge fan of the Nest thermostat and have two Nests installed in my own home.

The Nest is a smart, internet connected thermostat that learns your routine and adjusts the temp automatically while you’re home and away.

You can also access the Nest on your desktop or mobile device to set up a heating/cooling schedule that works best for you and adjust other settings.  This is one of the best things I’ve done to save money on my utility bill over the years.  We save at least 10% a month on our utility bill just by using the Nest Thermostat.  It’s a bit of an upfront investment, but it can pay for itself within a year

Learn about the Nest Thermostat Here

 

Install Low Flow Shower Heads

Using less water is a great way to save money!  Using less hot water is even better!  Installing a low flow shower head will still get you clean while using less hot (and cold) water in the process.

You could also spend a little more to get a shower head with ShowerStart technology.  Either way, getting a low flow showerhead is an investment that will pay for itself quickly by shaving money off your utility bill .

 

Get a Tankless Water Heater

With a traditional water heater, a tank of water is kept hot and waiting for your next bath, load of laundry, or load of dishes.  Keeping that water hot all day long adds a huge cost to your utility bill .

A tankless water heater heats up water immediately only when you need it, saving you a ton of money on your utility bill by eliminating the constant heat needed for a traditional water heater.

I don’t necessarily recommend you go out and spend a lot of money to buy a tankless water heater right now, but the next time you need to replace your water heater, a tankless version would definitely be a good choice.

 

Contact Your Utility Company

Most utility companies have programs available to help you save money on your utility bill.  Contact your local utility to see what programs they have that might fit the bill for you.  Some utilities will even do a free energy audit on your home to see where energy is being wasted and give you suggestions on how to correct those problems.

 

Hang Dry Your Clothes

Instead of using an energy hogging clothes dryer, hang up your clothes and let them air dry.  If you’re not allowed to have a clothesline in your neighborhood or if it’s winter time, you can use a drying rack inside your home that will accomplish the same thing.

 

Install a Dual Flush Converter Kit on Your Toilet

Most toilets only flush one way, using the same amount of water with each flush.  This is pretty inefficient because it takes less water to rid the bowl of “number 1” than it does to flush “number 2”.

A dual flush converter kit solves that problem.

Once installed, you have two push buttons to choose from to do either a full flush (for #2) or a flush that uses much less water (for #1).  It’s not too difficult to install if you’re a little handy.  Overall, you can save hundreds of gallons of water every month, lowering utility bills in the process.

I’ve installed a dual flush converter kit on one of our toilets at home and I’ll have to say I’ve been very happy with how well it works and the money it saves.

 

Buy Solar Panels for Your Home

How cool would it be to have the electric company paying YOU for electricity?  Installing solar panels on your home can take you off the grid and in some cases even allow you to sell electricity to your local utility if you generate an excess.

Solar panels and battery storage have come way down in cost and are still going lower, making residential solar competitive with electricity generated from your local utility.

Companies like SolarCity and others have innovative programs that allow you to have panels installed on your home with no upfront cost, lowering your utility bill and generating enough savings to pay for the panels.

Find out more about SolarCity here

 

Turn Down Your Water Heater

Most people set their water heater too high.  Setting your water heater to 120 degrees is a very simple way to save hundreds every year on electricity or gas (depending on what kind of water heater you have) just by making this simple adjustment.  All you have to do is set it and forget it!

 

Wash Clothes in Cold Water

Washing your clothes in cold water only can save plenty of money on your utility bill every month.  Not having to use hot water every time you wash keeps your gas or electric bill (depending on what type water heater you have) from going through the roof.

This works especially well if you have a large family and do a lot of laundry every month.

 

Keep Your Dryer Clean and Lint Free

Cleaning the lint trap every time you dry your clothes keeps your dryer working as efficiently as possible.  Also, cleaning out the vent a couple of times a year can help as well.  The less lint you have present in either of these spots, the less energy you will use when drying your clothes.  Your utility bill with thank you!

 

Combine These Money Saving Tips and Save Big!

Any one of these tips on their own can help you save money on your utility bills.  But when you combine several of them together, you will truly be amazed at the huge effect these tips will have on the bottom line!

Even though some of them require that you make an upfront investment, I still think it’s wise to make a one-time purchase that will pay for itself in a short period of time and save money for many years into the future.

Question:  Do you have any ideas for saving money on your utility bills ?  Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page with your best money saving ideas!

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Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 4/22 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-422/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-422/#comments Fri, 22 Apr 2016 20:54:53 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17581 Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 4/22

May is going to be a busy, busy month. We’ve got a trip to Austin, Texas planned for a gaming tournament my son wants to go to.  Our daughter is getting confirmed, and we have our annual Memorial Weekend party.  So, I’m very much looking forward to the next couple of weekends of not doing much both physically AND monetarily. Fist pump for a quiet weekend, and exciting May, and my favorite posts of the week! Posts That Make Me Fist Pump Escaping the 30-Year Mortgage Trap from Club Thrifty 6 Ways to Save at the Grocery Store Without Coupons […]

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Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 4/22

fistpumpMay is going to be a busy, busy month. We’ve got a trip to Austin, Texas planned for a gaming tournament my son wants to go to.  Our daughter is getting confirmed, and we have our annual Memorial Weekend party.  So, I’m very much looking forward to the next couple of weekends of not doing much both physically AND monetarily.

Fist pump for a quiet weekend, and exciting May, and my favorite posts of the week!

Posts That Make Me Fist Pump

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What A New Cell Phone Will Teach My Son About Personal Finance http://www.enemyofdebt.com/what-a-new-cell-phone-will-teach-my-son-about-personal-finance/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/what-a-new-cell-phone-will-teach-my-son-about-personal-finance/#comments Thu, 21 Apr 2016 20:09:38 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17569 Enemy of Debt - What A New Cell Phone Will Teach My Son About Personal Finance

No contract cell phone options have been around for awhile. A few years ago we actually switched to a no contract plan with AT&T which significantly reduced our cell phone bill because the four phones in my family were all considered paid in full. We enjoyed the lower cell phone bill for about six months, then we all upgraded our phones. When we upgrade our phones, our monthly bill went up significantly. The bill went up significantly because monthly payments for the phones were now included in our overall bill. I kept my eye on the date where the phones […]

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Enemy of Debt - What A New Cell Phone Will Teach My Son About Personal Finance

EOD_CellPhoneSonlessonPicNo contract cell phone options have been around for awhile. A few years ago we actually switched to a no contract plan with AT&T which significantly reduced our cell phone bill because the four phones in my family were all considered paid in full. We enjoyed the lower cell phone bill for about six months, then we all upgraded our phones.

When we upgrade our phones, our monthly bill went up significantly.

The bill went up significantly because monthly payments for the phones were now included in our overall bill. I kept my eye on the date where the phones would be paid in full and our bill would go down. That date is fast approaching, being just a few months in the future. All of our phones are still in good working order and I was ready to just keep using the phones we have and bask in the $100 a month savings of not having any phone payments on our bill. We were almost there. We were almost to the promised land when my son said the six words I was dreading: “I want to upgrade my phone.”

We were almost free of cell phone payments when my son wanted to upgrade.

I understand where he’s coming from. He’s a teenager, and his phone is somewhat of a status symbol. But more than that, he may actually use many of the advanced features of the phone as opposed to my use which comprises of a taking a few pictures, checking social media, email, and even making phone calls (GASP! Apparently the use of the phone as a phone is frowned upon by today’s youth). On the other hand, I’m not going to continue to buy $700 phones for him.

I told my son that his mother and I had committed to the current phone. We wanted him to have a phone as an open line of communication. We would pay the balance of the current phone. The phone would then be his AND we would continue to pay for it to be active under our plan to keep that line of communication open. He was free to upgrade his phone if he wished, but he would have to pay for it.

My son would be required to pay for any phone upgrade.

We went to the AT&T store and discussed with the sales representative what his desired phone, A Galaxy S7 Edge, would cost him:

  • Sales Tax : Even though the phone would be paid for through monthly installments, the sales tax is due before he walks out the door. This cost him a little over $50.
  • New Case : We required him to have a case on his phone when we were paying for it. I told him that whether he wanted the protection of a case for his new phone was up to him. But he should keep in mind that any repairs required if the phone broke would also be out of his own pocket. He purchased a case for $25.
  • Monthly Payment : He had the choice to split it up into 18, 24, or 30 monthly payments. He chose the 24 month plan. Therefore, for the next 24 months, he is required to give me the device payment of $29.

There are two personal finance lessons that I’m hoping he’ll be forced to think about with his new cell phone. One of those lessons will be immediate, the other won’t occur for quite a while:

A Lesson In Value

He just traded in a phone that cost him absolutely nothing, to a new phone that required $88 (Sales tax, case and fees) just to take it home, AND $29 a month for the next two years. Over the next few days and weeks, he’ll likely be comparing his new phone to his old one. Is it faster? Does it have more options? Does the new phone have a tangible benefit over his old one, and is it worth the $29 that he has to now give me every month?

Loan Term Lesson

He was sure he wouldn’t want to keep the phone for 30 months, so he didn’t want to set up payment term to be that long. On the other hand he didn’t like the significantly higher payment of the 18 month term. The 24 month term seemed a comfortable middle ground. That being said, he just traded in his current phone after 19 months. Will he really keep his phone for two years, or will he have to buy out his current phone when he wants to upgrade next?

What he learns from this experience will be completely up to him. Maybe his new phone will be mindblowingly spectacular and the $29 a month is well worth it to him, or maybe he’ll wonder why he traded in his phone at all. Maybe he’ll trade up again right at 24 months, or maybe he’ll keep this phone for 5 years. Or, he might decide on some middle ground combination of the two. What I do know is that making him pay for his own phone upgrade provides him the opportunity to HAVE to think about these things, which is well worth the $29 a month.

Have you made your son or daughter pay for their own cell phone?  Did they think the cost was worth the value?

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Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 4/15 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-415/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-415/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2016 19:29:23 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17556 Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 4/15

Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday.  Since she turned 14, and it was the 14th of the month, it’s apparently called her golden birthday.  I had never heard of this until I met my wife, but I guess it’s a thing.  My wife planned a surprise party for her, having all her friends meet at Olive Garden (my daughter’s favorite restaurant). I brought her there under the impression it would just be a few family members.  She was very much surprised.  My daughter had been vocally worried that we were going to try to throw something together for her birthday at […]

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Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 4/15

fistpump

Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday.  Since she turned 14, and it was the 14th of the month, it’s apparently called her golden birthday.  I had never heard of this until I met my wife, but I guess it’s a thing.  My wife planned a surprise party for her, having all her friends meet at Olive Garden (my daughter’s favorite restaurant). I brought her there under the impression it would just be a few family members.  She was very much surprised.  My daughter had been vocally worried that we were going to try to throw something together for her birthday at the last minute (because we hadn’t talked about it), when in reality it had been in the works for months!

Fist pump for successful surprise birthday parties, AND my favorite posts of the week!

Posts That Make Me Fist Pump

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Manage Your Finances: 5 Financial Lessons to Teach Your Younger Self http://www.enemyofdebt.com/manage-your-finances-5-financial-lessons-to-your-younger-self/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/manage-your-finances-5-financial-lessons-to-your-younger-self/#respond Fri, 15 Apr 2016 05:20:37 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17562 Enemy of Debt - Manage Your Finances: 5 Financial Lessons to Teach Your Younger Self

It is surprising that one of the most important life-skills every young adult needs – ho to manage your finances – is still not taught in school. Young people leave college with shiny new diplomas in fields like technology, marketing, medicine and law but start out in their careers without any financial management knowledge. As a result, many of these people enter their thirties and forties on a financially shaky footing, full of regret at the great number of financial mistakes they made, while wondering what could have been if they had made a few correct decisions earlier on in […]

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Enemy of Debt - Manage Your Finances: 5 Financial Lessons to Teach Your Younger Self

manage your finances

It is surprising that one of the most important life-skills every young adult needs – ho to manage your finances – is still not taught in school. Young people leave college with shiny new diplomas in fields like technology, marketing, medicine and law but start out in their careers without any financial management knowledge. As a result, many of these people enter their thirties and forties on a financially shaky footing, full of regret at the great number of financial mistakes they made, while wondering what could have been if they had made a few correct decisions earlier on in life.

Poor financial decisions cause so much pain that they ruin families, lives and marriages and are felt generations down the line. In contrast, informed decisions, based on knowing how to manage your finances, allow you to take advantage of investment options, to minimize stress, and to give you the confidence that your future is secure. Here are five lessons that your younger self could have benefitted from in order to succeed later in life.

#1. Money Is the Reward for Work and Solving Someone’s Problem

Although it may seem obvious now, your younger self may have been among the many young adults who, thanks to a privileged upbringing, never appreciated the correlation between hard work and money. If, from an early age, you did associate positive actions with a reward, and received something for doing nothing, you may go through young adulthood feeling entitled to free handouts.

As your younger self got more established in your career, a changing lifestyle and starting a family means that you will need more and more money. The result is that there will come a time when you will need to cater to your own expenses. This will require a little extra cash. However, since your wages are fixed unless you change jobs or get a raise, you will have to look for some income generating activity on the side. Such a task could be dog walking, tutoring, live performances among many others. One of the lessons to be learned is that you can use your hobbies and talents to provide solutions to other people and make money while at it.

#2. Build Your Income Faster Than You Improve Your Lifestyle

When you find that you make more money than you budgeted for, and there is some left over, it is easy to get overexcited about the things you can now afford to purchase. It is important not to waste the extra cash. Ensure that there you have an emergency fund in place before you think of touching a cent of that extra money.

You must do your best to limit spending on things that will have a long term impact on your earnings and instead, concentrate on investment and savings. It is fine to go on vacation occasionally or to upgrade your TV because these are one-off expenses that are unlikely to have a long-term impact on your ability to save or invest. However, using the cash to rent a bigger apartment or to buy a new car is a mistake. These two are long-term financial commitments that will only have you spending more on payments well into the future.

#3. Save for Retirement and Steer Clear of Debt

Another vital lesson for your younger self on how to manage your finances would be on the importance of having a retirement plan. It is vital for a young person to start making contributions to a 401 (K) plan as soon as they receive their first paycheck. Many people are tempted to postpone joining a plan until they start to make more money. You should increase the level of contribution after every yearly raise until you attain the IRS’ allowable pretax deduction level. You will be glad you did this in 30 years to come.

manage your finances

This should be followed up by clearing off any student loans you may have, as well as any credit card debt. You may then put in place an aggressive plan to deal with any remaining debt. Financial experts say that many young people do not know that late payments and un-cleared balances on their credit cards affect their credit scores. When you are young and just starting out, you must be aware that bad credit has an impact on your ability to buy a home or get approved for car refinance.

#4. Keep Track Of Your Finances

manage your finances

For many people, their path to true financial freedom only becomes apparent once they start to keep track of their finances. As a young adult, you may have found yourself always broke despite the fact that you made enough money. Financial independence comes with tracking what you earn in a month and the amount you spend during the same period. It is shocking that most young people do not know how much they earn, how much they spend and if they spend more or less than their earnings. You must always know whether you are living within your means.

If you earn money through your job or investment, it is important to have some sort of ledger or you can even download personal finance tracking software which will tell you your financial position at a glance.

#5. Make a Plan for Your Future and Stick to It

Setting clear and achievable goals as a young person helps you to clear your debts and to plan for investments and savings. For example, if you have an $8,000 car loan, you can commit to paying it off in 6 months by cutting down on any unnecessary spending. You could then have your student loans next on your list, with your plan being to finish paying it within a set period of time. While circumstances may mean that you may not necessarily achieve all your goals within the set time, you will eventually succeed because you had planned for them. Lack of planning is like sitting in a car but not starting the ignition. There are zero chances that you will ever get to your destination. Every young person must plan for everything that they would like to have in the future. Avoid leaving your financial aspirations to chance.

Finally…

More often than not, young people who are just starting out may not have as much money as people in their thirties and forties; however, they have time on their side. People who know how to manage their finances, how to invest and save early in their lives, are able to create wealth for themselves as the money earns compounded interest over a given period. This may seem like a daunting task for your younger self, but it is simply not the case. It boils down to the choices you make with regard to your finances.

However, with the right steps taken in your younger years, you will easily ensure that your family will have a secure financial future and you will be free of the stresses and uncertainty that come with money problems. You will also be better placed to purchase equity, invest in option trading and purchase other family assets to strengthen your financial position in future.

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Driving Vs. Flying – How Much Did We Save? http://www.enemyofdebt.com/driving-vs-flying-how-much-did-we-save/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/driving-vs-flying-how-much-did-we-save/#comments Wed, 13 Apr 2016 08:29:44 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17544 Enemy of Debt - Driving Vs. Flying – How Much Did We Save?

My son and I were walking from the beach to our rental home while on vacation in Florida. We were discussing our travel plans home as the next day we were to begin the multiple day drive back to Minnesota. “So, it’s cheaper to drive than it is to fly, right?” he asked. Without hesitation I stated it was much cheaper for our family to drive. I didn’t doubt my answer, but I wondered just how much money we were saving. I decided to do the research and find out. Traveling By Car   Fuel: Our family van averages 25mpg […]

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Enemy of Debt - Driving Vs. Flying – How Much Did We Save?

EOD_DriveVsFlyMy son and I were walking from the beach to our rental home while on vacation in Florida. We were discussing our travel plans home as the next day we were to begin the multiple day drive back to Minnesota.

“So, it’s cheaper to drive than it is to fly, right?” he asked.

Without hesitation I stated it was much cheaper for our family to drive. I didn’t doubt my answer, but I wondered just how much money we were saving. I decided to do the research and find out.

Traveling By Car

 

Fuel:

Our family van averages 25mpg on the highway, or 500 miles per tank. Roundtrip to Destin, Florida and back plus some driving around during the week we logged about 2500 miles or 5 tanks of gasoline. Currently, it costs $40 to fill up the 20 gallon tank.

Total Fuel Cost: 5 tanks of gas x $40 per tank = $200.

Hotel:

We broke the drive to Florida up into three different days, and the drive back into two. This required three hotel stays:

  • Hotel Stay #1 : $102
  • Hotel Stay #2 : $175
  • Hotel Stay #3 : $144

Total Hotel Cost: $421

Food:

Since we were traveling for several days in each direction, we incurred food costs.

To Florida:

  • Day #1 travel dinner : $100 (TGIFridays)
  • Day #2 travel breakfast : $0 (included in hotel stay)
  • Day #2 travel Lunch : $24 (McDonalds)
  • Day #2 travel dinner : $74 (hotel restaurant)
  • Day #3 travel breakfast: $0 (included in hotel stay)

To Minnesota:

  • Day #1 travel breakfast : $0 skipped
  • Day #1 travel lunch: $24 (Arbys)
  • Day #1 travel dinner $75 (hotel restaurant)
  • Day #2 travel breakfast : $0 skipped
  • Day #2 travel lunch : $24 (McDonalds)

Total Travel Food Cost: $321

Total Cost For Traveling by Automobile: $942

Traveling By Airplane

Airline Ticket Costs:

Airline ticket prices fluctuate significantly and frequently. To get a representative airline ticket price, I chose dates a few months in the future. As were the dates of our vacation, I chose leaving on a Saturday and returning the following Saturday. The price per ticket found in my search was $525, which seems about average from Minneapolis to the Fort Walton airport (I’ve looked at flight prices countless times over the last 6 months). Since it’s not a huge airport, tickets are relatively expensive, and don’t fluctuate much.

Airline Ticket Cost : $525 x 4 = $2100

Car Rental:

By driving to Florida, we had our vehicle as transportation to stores and sightseeing activities. If we would have flown instead, we would have had to rent a car. Looking at rental car choices, the average rental of a standard sized car is $400 for the week.

Rental car cost : $400

Total Cost For Traveling By Airplane: $2500

Analysis

There are other costs associated with each method of travel. For example, we purchase snacks to have with us in the van while we drove. Also, had we flown we would likely had to have checked some bags, had some food expenses, and maybe even airport parking expenses. However, even with just this simple analysis it’s easy to see that we saved a LOT of money by driving.

There is a tradeoff, of course, and my son recognized it immediately.

“Time is money,” said my son.

He’s referring to the time we spent traveling that we could have spent either relaxing at home (it was spring break week), or maximizing our time spent in Florida.  We saved money by traveling via car, but it cost us time. On the flip side, the travel time allowed us to spend time as a family, and make memories traveling by car across the country.

Do you drive to long distance destinations to save money? Have you ever analyzed how much you save by driving versus flying?

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Friday Fist Pump: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 4/8 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/friday-fist-pump-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-48/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/friday-fist-pump-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-48/#comments Fri, 08 Apr 2016 14:47:35 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17536 Enemy of Debt - Friday Fist Pump: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 4/8

A week ago the Pizel family was driving across the country from Minnesota to Florida.  Today, we begin our way back.  It’s been a great vacation.  We spent countless hours at the beach as well as in the pool at our vacation home.  I’ve maintained my workouts, gone jet-skiing, and gone on a dolphin boat cruise. PLUS, We’ve saved a ton of money by cooking most of our own meals. But I’m ready to go home.  More than ready.  As soon as I hit “publish” on this post, we’ll be packing up the van and heading north.  Hopefully I’ll bring […]

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Enemy of Debt - Friday Fist Pump: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 4/8

fistpump

A week ago the Pizel family was driving across the country from Minnesota to Florida.  Today, we begin our way back.  It’s been a great vacation.  We spent countless hours at the beach as well as in the pool at our vacation home.  I’ve maintained my workouts, gone jet-skiing, and gone on a dolphin boat cruise. PLUS, We’ve saved a ton of money by cooking most of our own meals.

But I’m ready to go home.  More than ready.  As soon as I hit “publish” on this post, we’ll be packing up the van and heading north.  Hopefully I’ll bring some of this warm weather with me back to Minnesota!

Posts That Make Me Fist Pump

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