Enemy of Debt http://www.enemyofdebt.com Motivational Money Management Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:26:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 11/28 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-1128/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-1128/#comments Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:26:16 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15697 Enemy of Debt - I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 11/28

I’m breathing a sigh of relief today, my friends.  In preparation for Thanksgiving at my mother-in-law’s house I spent all day Wednesday smoking a brisket, and got up crazy early yesterday morning to smoke a ham.  I got a great night’s sleep last night though. I hadn’t planned on going Black Friday shopping, but just for fun I looked through all the ads looking for anything that I was in the market to buy.  I found nothing.  The big goose egg.  Nada.  I woke up this morning refreshed and ready to take the rest of the weekend to recharge the […]

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Enemy of Debt - I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 11/28

Walmart-FamilyMobile-Marathon

I’m breathing a sigh of relief today, my friends.  In preparation for Thanksgiving at my mother-in-law’s house I spent all day Wednesday smoking a brisket, and got up crazy early yesterday morning to smoke a ham.  I got a great night’s sleep last night though.

I hadn’t planned on going Black Friday shopping, but just for fun I looked through all the ads looking for anything that I was in the market to buy.  I found nothing.  The big goose egg.  Nada.  I woke up this morning refreshed and ready to take the rest of the weekend to recharge the batteries and get ready for the next week.

Oh, but that doesn’t mean I can’t fist pump……

Posts That Make Me Fist Pump

Shameless Self Promotion

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A Black Friday Deal you WON’T believe! http://www.enemyofdebt.com/a-black-friday-deal-you-wont-believe/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/a-black-friday-deal-you-wont-believe/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:11:44 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15691 Enemy of Debt - A Black Friday Deal you WON’T believe!

Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your day is filled with family and board games along with tons of turkey and stuffing (I love stuffing). I should be entering receipts into YNAB right now. I usually check our bank account for my wife’s deposits at the same time but when I signed on to online banking I saw this: They are using the holidays as an excuse to sell you money Look, I understand if you don’t have enough money to purchase all the Christmas gifts you’d like to. Maybe you will borrow money to buy gifts this year, I’m […]

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Enemy of Debt - A Black Friday Deal you WON’T believe!

Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your day is filled with family and board games along with tons of turkey and stuffing (I love stuffing).

I should be entering receipts into YNAB right now. I usually check our bank account for my wife’s deposits at the same time but when I signed on to online banking I saw this:

Black Friday Loan Special

DON’T FALL FOR THIS!

They are using the holidays as an excuse to sell you money

Look, I understand if you don’t have enough money to purchase all the Christmas gifts you’d like to. Maybe you will borrow money to buy gifts this year, I’m not here to judge.

We certainly don’t have an unlimited supply of gift money and borrowing would be a quick fix.

I want to buy my wife a $300 bluetooth-enabled car stereo for her 10yr old SUV and $120 J-racks for her kayak, but our goals are a bit more noble.

My wife DEFINITELY deserves those types of gifts, but we decided to be purposeful with our spending.

BTW: Nobody is going hungry and there will be gifts under the tree, so we’re all good.

The real problem with this ad

They are monopolizing on the weekend festivities to market their product to you.

What’s wrong with that? Everyone does it, and I understand that too.

But what does selling loans have to do with Black Friday?

THEY ARE SELLING YOU MONEY!

Hello? McFly! Let’s just call it what it is – they are selling you money.

Do you really need a Home Equity loan for Christmas? If so, I have a suggestion that will work better (keep reading).

Is this deal on an auto loan only available on November 28 and 30th? (Note: They won’t be open on Thanksgiving Day or Sunday, so this is truly a ‘Limited Time Offer”)

HA!

If you need to borrow money for gifts, do this

Get ready, I’m about to recommend doing something you would never expect. I am going to show you how to borrow money but STAY within budget.

First, make a list of names

Santa has a list and checks it twice. Even I can make one that includes my friends and family.

I use my phone’s Contacts to find those names I would otherwise have forgotten. Note: There are only a few people to buy gifts for that are not in your phone’s Contacts. Think about it – if you don’t have their phone number then they are merely an acquaintance (except the obligatory White Elephant  gift-away or something for your boss).

Second, write down the gifts and estimated costs

This is the hard part. What would Aunt Sally like?

If you can’t think of anything then a gift card will suffice. Yes, we’ve been told that gift cards are gift cards are impersonal but they have become more socially acceptable over the past 5 years. (In fact, that’s all I want these days).

Third, take a cash-advance on your credit card

Yeah, you read that right. I just told you to take a cash advance on a CREDIT CARD! Remember, this is ONLY IF YOU MUST BORROW to buy gifts. If you have the money then ignore this advice.

Take out the exact amount of money you need for all your gifts and put it in an envelope. Keep the list with the envelope and only use the money to buy what is on the list.

The reason? Spending cash will keep you on budget.

Even if you get charged a 3% fee for the cash advance at least you won’t overspend. That’s the magic of cash: When it’s gone, it’s gone. There’s no going over budget. You have restricted your gift-giving to purchase plus 3 percent.

Fourth: Pay back the debt ASAP!

I’m a NOT recommending you borrow money for Christmas, but if you are new to getting out of debt or just need a little more to get by then this is the best way to limit the damage.

Make your first 2015 New Year’s Resolution to pay off the debt your Number 1 Priority!

Make sure this never happens again. As soon as the debt is gone start putting something away every month for next year.

Join a savings club at your local bank. Put $20 or $50 a month away and in ten months you will have $200 – $500 for Christmas 2015.

Eat turkey, don’t be one

One of the worst things you can do to your finances is fall for gimmicky deals and marketing tactics that have nothing to do with your long-term goals.

They are designed by very smart people with lots of dollars in their department to entice you to purchase what they have to sell.

This is all fine-and-good for retail stores, restaurants, and supply chains but what does Black Friday have to do with borrowing money?

It shouldn’t.

I laugh at my bank’s Black Friday Weekend Loan Sale, especially since they will only be open two of the three days this weekend. If you want to buy a car, don’t let a flashy ad make the decision for you.

There will be plenty of deals in the future. Your job is to avoid them at all costs for the good of your family and your future.

Happy Thanksgiving, have fun sitting in lines outside of Walmart tonight, and remember the REAL reason for this season.

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What Your Credit Score REALLY Means http://www.enemyofdebt.com/what-your-credit-score-really-means/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/what-your-credit-score-really-means/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:54:25 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15671 Enemy of Debt - What Your Credit Score REALLY Means

I’m currently enrolled in a credit monitoring service, getting periodic updates about inquiries into my credit, and small changes up or down in my FICO score.   When we charged something on our American Express, I was notified of a balance change. When we applied for a consolidation loan, I was notified of the inquiry and of a slight decrease in my score. Everything made sense, until I read a notification that landed in my inbox last week. My FICO score had increased by 24 points, and I couldn’t believe the reason why. A few weeks ago, my wife was in […]

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Enemy of Debt - What Your Credit Score REALLY Means

FICO

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m currently enrolled in a credit monitoring service, getting periodic updates about inquiries into my credit, and small changes up or down in my FICO score.   When we charged something on our American Express, I was notified of a balance change. When we applied for a consolidation loan, I was notified of the inquiry and of a slight decrease in my score. Everything made sense, until I read a notification that landed in my inbox last week.

My FICO score had increased by 24 points, and I couldn’t believe the reason why.

A few weeks ago, my wife was in need of some new clothes, and we had money budgeted for her to go shopping. She had a coupon that would save her some money at a specific retailer; unfortunately it would require her to use her store credit card.   We have a history of credit card abuse, most recently noted in our failed attempt to participate in the credit card rewards game. We had decided that credit cards are simply not for us, therefore I didn’t want to even contemplate using the coupon. After some discussion we decided that we would use the line of credit and the coupon, but immediately pay the bill online when we returned home.

We executed our plan as discussed, and figured that was the end of it. I didn’t think about it again until I got that email from my credit monitoring system. As mentioned above, it was a notification that my FICO score had increased by 24 points. Here’s the reason given for the increase in my FICO score:

Dormant Card Activity: An account that has been inactive for more than 12 months has become recently active.

My credit score went up because we used a line of credit that had not been used in 12 months.   This is the complete opposite of what I would expect.   Let’s try a little exercise. Let’s say you were told to evaluate someone’s credit score based upon the fact that they just charged $200 (sample amount) on a line of credit that hadn’t been used in over a year. What thoughts would come to mind? Here’s what would be going through my head:

  • Negative: The consumer has increased their amount of consumer debt.
  • Negative: The consumer may be purchasing items they don’t have the cash for, as they have not used this line of credit for in over a year.
  • Conclusion: This consumer’s financial situation may have taken a turn for the worse, thus their credit score should be reduced.

Seems logical, however, that doesn’t seem to be the way the folks at the credit score calculating think tank are looking at my recent spending patterns. I searched the internet to try to figure out why using a dormant line of credit would cause such a jump in my FICO score, and ran into a much bigger mystery:

It’s difficult to find a simple description of what a credit score really means.

I challenge you to bring up your favorite search engine and search for “what does a credit score mean” and read a couple of the top articles. Here’s what I found:

  • The Range Definition: Many of the articles define what a credit score means by defining the ranges. You may have seen these as well, anything above 720 is excellent, etc, etc, etc. Then they go on to define all the good things a high credit score does for you, and all the bad things associated with a bad score.  This definition only describes what you can do with your credit score, and NOT what it really means!!
  • The Behavior Definition: Other articles will define a credit score by what actions a consumer can take that will result in an increase or decrease in your score. Paying bills on time will increase your score, racking up too much debt will lower your score. This definition only describes what spending behaviors you exhibited that led to your score’s calculation!
  • The Big Words Definition: Finally, a few articles will define your credit score as a measurement of your credit worthiness.    The article may mention that your credit score is an indication of whether you are more or less apt to pay your bills on time, or how you will handle a credit limit increase.  This seems like a valid definition, until I try to apply this to my scenario.  It doesn’t fit!

I took my example of using a dormant account, and applied it to these three types of articles I found searching for the meaning of a credit score and was left scratching my head. There was nothing about me using a dormant line of credit that seems to match anything that would lead me to believe that my credit score should be increased. It was at this point that the universe hit me over the head with the real definition of the credit score.

A credit score is a measurement of the likelihood that creditors will make money by extending you credit.

Think about these points:

  • Charge Nothing: If you’re not using the account, creditors are not making any money.
  • Charge a little: If you use your lines of credit but the balance is fairly low, it means that you are carrying balance from month to month paying absurd interest rates. But your credit utilization is not increasing; therefore the risk factor of you defaulting is low.
  • Charge too much: Your utilization is high, and you are paying your bills each month, but you are obviously living beyond your means, thus the risk of you ditching your debt and leaving us holding the bag is high.

Now, apply my scenario to the above rules. For an entire year, this creditor made zero off of me. But now that the account is active again, the chance that I may continue to use it is higher. The chance that I will carry a balance from month to month and pay interest is higher. The chance that any creditor will make money from me is also now higher.  My definition seems to more accurately describe why my credit score increased.

The thought I’m left with is this: If my credit score is a measurement of the likelihood that creditors will make money from me, that means they think I’m likely to be paying interest. If I’m likely to pay interest, then I’m overpaying for the goods and services that I purchase. Is a good credit score really a good thing?

Have you ever seen a change in your credit score that left you scratching your head?  What do you think of my definition of the credit score?

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7 Ways You Can Stay Motivated to Get Out of Debt http://www.enemyofdebt.com/motivated-get-out-of-debt/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/motivated-get-out-of-debt/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:51:09 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15661 Enemy of Debt - 7 Ways You Can Stay Motivated to Get Out of Debt

Over the years I’ve seen plenty of people get motivated to get out of debt, but they never end up following through with the process.  They are usually pretty fired up about getting out of debt and start out very motivated.  But not long after they start the process, their energy flags and it’s not long before they lose their motivation. I’ve seen a lot of other people make decent progress in paying down debt, but for whatever reason, they end up losing their focus and go back to their old habits, never finishing the get out of debt process.   How to […]

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Enemy of Debt - 7 Ways You Can Stay Motivated to Get Out of Debt

Over the years I’ve seen plenty of people get motivated to get out of debt, but they never end up following through with the process.  They are usually pretty fired up about getting out of debt and start out very motivated.  But not long after they start the process, their energy flags and it’s not long before they lose their motivation.

I’ve seen a lot of other people make decent progress in paying down debt, but for whatever reason, they end up losing their focus and go back to their old habits, never finishing the get out of debt process.

 

How to Get on the Right Track and Stay There

When you finally decide it’s time to get out of debt, it’s easy to get fired up about the idea of becoming debt free.  But actually doing the work that will get you there is much harder.

You have to look past the grand idea and let reality smack you in the face.  You have to understand that it takes work to get out of debt, and you have to stay motivated if you want to actually get the job done.

Once you’re committed to doing the work, you have to realize that it takes time to get out of debt.  I think time is probably the most important factor as to why so many people don’t stick with the process.  It’s easy for that initial excitement to wear off and let the passage of time allow you to slowly return to your old habits.  It takes commitment to constantly keep the ultimate goal in mind.

With that said, here are my top 7 ways you can stay motivated to get out of debt, along with a list of great resources at the end of the post.

 

7 Ways You Can Stay Motivated to Get Out of Debt

 

Get Mad at Your Debt

When you’re getting out of debt, getting emotional about it can actually be a good thing.  You have to get so mad at your debt that you take a never give up attitude toward it.  You have to do whatever it takes to meet your goal, even when things get difficult.

 

Get Naked

One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people still use a credit card when they’re getting out of debt.  They use the excuse that it’s “just in case” they need it for an emergency.

But here’s the deal.

If you have credit available, you’re most likely going to use it.

That’s why I tell my followers you gotta get naked.

Getting naked means you should cut up all your credit cards and go naked with credit.  Yes, I know that’s kind of scary.  I remember how Angie and I felt when we got rid of our credit cards for good.

It was extremely weird.

In fact, I think the naked analogy is a good one, because you feel exposed and vulnerable.  But if you follow the right steps, you find that you’re actually less vulnerable when you go naked with credit.

 

Get An Accountability Partner

Many times during your journey out of debt, it can feel like a lonely ride.  Getting out of debt can take a while, so if you have someone who can give you moral support throughout your journey, it can be a great help.  Share your goal of getting out of debt with a friend or a mentor who’s willing to encourage you.

Preferably you’ll want to find someone who is already out of debt, and understands what it takes to get there. An accountability partner can help you continue to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  They can assist you when you get stuck and feel like things are going nowhere.  A good accountability partner will always keep you moving down the right path.

 

Keep a Journal or a Blog on Your Progress

Writing things down is a good exercise to help you stay focused.  When you write about your feelings, struggles, victories, or whatever else you’re experiencing in your debt payoff journey, you’ll discover that it forces you to think about what you’re doing.

It helps keep you engaged in the process and moving forward toward each small goal.  Writing about your journey is also great because you can look back at your first entries and see how far you’ve come, which helps motivate you to continue.

By the way, some of the best personal finance blogs were started by people writing about their journey out of debt, so you may be able to inspire others and maybe even make a little money while you’re at it!

 

Constantly Educate Yourself

It’s very important to constantly educate yourself about finances and getting out of debt.  Listen to podcasts, watch videos, read books, and read blogs about the subject.

The more you expose yourself to the subject, the more you understand it.  The more you understand it, the more motivated you’ll be to stick with the process.  When you learn how to use your money wisely, you will be able to have much more control over your situation.

I’ve included a list of great resources at the end of the post to get you started.

 

Learn to Develop New Habits

There’s no way you will ever get out if debt if you keep doing the same things that got you into debt in the first place.  Learn to develop new habits such as eating out less, using cash only (remember going naked?), learning to do a written budget every month, taking lunch to work, shopping only when you need something, etc.

When you change your habits, it actually changes the way your brain works, and can lead to lasting results!

 

Focus On Getting Out Of Debt Just a Little Every Day

Getting rid of a mountain of debt happens one small step at a time.  Find ways to focus on the process of getting out of debt every single day.  Have a thought for the day, say a prayer, read an article, find something new to save money on, or listen to a podcast.

small effort every day keeps you engaged in the process and helps you stay motivated to continue the journey.

 

Getting Out of Debt Is Always Worth It!

Developing the discipline to stick with a get out of debt plan to the end can be more difficult for some people than for others.  But when you decide to be relentless about overcoming the obstacles, it makes getting out of debt much easier in the long run.

Getting out of debt is not always easy, but it’s definitely worth the journey!

Below you’ll find some great resources I recommend to help you stay motivated and educated when it comes to getting out of debt.

Question:  Have you ever become discouraged while trying to pay off debt? Share your thoughts and leave a comment.

 

Resources I Recommend

Blogs:

Celebrating Financial Freedom

Beyond Debt Freedom

Christian PF

Bible Money Matters

The Christian Dollar

 

Books:

Financial Peace- Dave Ramsey

Balance: The Quick and Easy Guide to Financial Stability Using a Budget- Jason Cabler

The Total Money Makeover- Dave Ramsey

Rich Dad, Poor Dad- Robert Kiyosaki

The Cashflow Quadrant- Robert Kiyosaki

Spirit Driven Success- Dani Johnson

 

Podcasts and Radio:

48 Days

Dave Ramsey on IHeartRadio

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I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 11/21 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-1121/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-1121/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:32:57 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15650 Enemy of Debt - I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 11/21

Whew, last night was a late one.  My neighbor hosts a Thursday game night from time to time.  I’m not exactly sure why it has to be on a Thursday and not on a weekend, but it is what it is.  We got going around 8:30 and played one game of Pandemic, and then a round of Ticket to Ride.  I walked in my front door about 1:15am.  One of the attendees brought along a variety of pumpkin beers to try, and there we ample amounts of snacks.  It was a fun, inexpensive…..and late night.  But don’t worry, I can […]

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Enemy of Debt - I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 11/21

fistpumpWhew, last night was a late one.  My neighbor hosts a Thursday game night from time to time.  I’m not exactly sure why it has to be on a Thursday and not on a weekend, but it is what it is.  We got going around 8:30 and played one game of Pandemic, and then a round of Ticket to Ride.  I walked in my front door about 1:15am.  One of the attendees brought along a variety of pumpkin beers to try, and there we ample amounts of snacks.  It was a fun, inexpensive…..and late night.  But don’t worry, I can still get my fist pumping!

Posts That Make Me Fist Pump

Shameless Self Promotion

Tax Savings Update

Because of my late night, I wasn’t able to get a fancy graphic done, but I can report that we have saved $500 towards our tax bill thus far!

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Holiday Party Recipes Using Tabasco Sauce! #SeasonedGreetings http://www.enemyofdebt.com/holiday-party-recipes-using-tabasco-sauce-seasonedgreetings/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/holiday-party-recipes-using-tabasco-sauce-seasonedgreetings/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 19:35:36 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15633 Enemy of Debt - Holiday Party Recipes Using Tabasco Sauce! #SeasonedGreetings

My favorite part of the holiday season is family gatherings. I get to spend time with loved ones that I don’t get to see nearly as often as I’d like. Family gatherings mean potluck meals, which gives me the opportunity to fire up the grill or smoker and show off my culinary skills. My wife’s family likes a little heat with their food, but when I cook I don’t want it to be hot just for the sake of hot.  There has to be good flavor to go along with it. To add that flavor to my delicious party food […]

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Enemy of Debt - Holiday Party Recipes Using Tabasco Sauce! #SeasonedGreetings

Disclaimer

My favorite part of the holiday season is family gatherings. I get to spend time with loved ones that I don’t get to see nearly as often as I’d like. Family gatherings mean potluck meals, which gives me the opportunity to fire up the grill or smoker and show off my culinary skills. My wife’s family likes a little heat with their food, but when I cook I don’t want it to be hot just for the sake of hot.  There has to be good flavor to go along with it. To add that flavor to my delicious party food I like to throw in my favorite flavor of Tabasco Sauce. #SeasonedGreetings

Our first family gathering of the season is Thanksgiving, taking place at my mother-in-law’s home, and I’ve got the perfect recipe for our contribution to the festivities. I’ll be making bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers, or as we like to call them in the grilling world, Atomic Buffalo Turds (ABTs).  #CollectiveBias

Tabasco-hero

I found everything I needed to make my delicious creation at my local Target including fresh produce, and several flavors of Tabasco Sauce.

Tabasco-Store-View

Grocery List:

  • 24 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 package (8 oz) of cream cheese
  • 1 onion
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 1 package of bacon
  • Your favorite flavor of Tabasco Sauce

Tabasco-Grocery-List

Step 1: Cut the top off each jalapeno pepper, discarding the top. Then, using the end of a spoon, clean out the inside of the pepper. I also like to rinse out each pepper to remove all the seeds.

Tabasco-Jalepenos-Cored

Step 2: Combine the softened cream cheese, and 1.5 tablespoons each of finely chopped onion, green pepper, and red pepper. Then, add your favorite flavor of Tabasco sauce. I actually split my mixture into three equal parts in order to use three different flavors. I added a teaspoon of Tabasco sauce to each bowl, using Original, Jalapeno, and Chipotle.

Note: The mixture can also be used as a fantastic cracker dip!

Tabasco-Filling

Step 3: Using a small spoon, fill each jalapeno with the mixture. Then wrap the pepper with bacon and hold it in place by poking a toothpick all the way through the pepper.  I like to use a half strip of bacon for each pepper. It forces me to stretch the bacon to get all the way around the pepper. This way, the bacon layer is thinner, allowing it to more easily crisp.

Tabasco-Before-Grill

Step 4: I fire up my charcoal grill for indirect cooking, which means I put the coals on the sides of the grill, and put the food on the middle of the food grate. This helps prevent the peppers from burning. I also throw a handful of mesquite or hickory wood chips on the coals to give the peppers a nice smoky flavor. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the bacon is done.

Tabasco-Grill

My Atomic Buffalo Turds have always been a huge hit. But with the addition of my favorite Tabasco flavors, it gives them an extra dimension of flavor that will help make this year’s family gathering unforgettable!

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Lowest Priced Unlimited Plans Through Walmart Family Mobile Will Help Me Reach My Marathon Goal http://www.enemyofdebt.com/lowest-priced-unlimited-plans-through-walmart-family-mobile-will-help-me-reach-my-marathon-goal/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/lowest-priced-unlimited-plans-through-walmart-family-mobile-will-help-me-reach-my-marathon-goal/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 11:58:51 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15602 Enemy of Debt - Lowest Priced Unlimited Plans Through Walmart Family Mobile Will Help Me Reach My Marathon Goal

When I ran the Twin Cities Marathon on October 5th of this year, there were several family members that cheered for me at various places throughout the race.  I was extremely thankful for their encouragement, as it brought a huge smile to my face and gave me a little extra motivation to keep going.   In the months preceding the race, I had periodically shared details of my training through social media and received support from friends and family as well as questions and suggestions from fellow runners.   I received so much feedback that I decided that as I begin to […]

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Enemy of Debt - Lowest Priced Unlimited Plans Through Walmart Family Mobile Will Help Me Reach My Marathon Goal

DisclaimerWhen I ran the Twin Cities Marathon on October 5th of this year, there were several family members that cheered for me at various places throughout the race.  I was extremely thankful for their encouragement, as it brought a huge smile to my face and gave me a little extra motivation to keep going.   In the months preceding the race, I had periodically shared details of my training through social media and received support from friends and family as well as questions and suggestions from fellow runners.   I received so much feedback that I decided that as I begin to train for my next marathon I would document details of every run and every workout using Instagram. I want to post real time pictures from my runs, my times, distances, and progress with my strength training. To accomplish this, I would need “on the go” access to social media which I could get through an Unlimited Talk Text and Data/Web from Walmart Family Mobile.  #Thankful4Savings

Walmart-Family-Mobile-hero

Walmart Family Mobile provides the lowest priced unlimited plans allowing customers to either use a phone they already own, or purchase a phone to be used with the plan. At my neighborhood Walmart, I found that they are currently offering holiday season price rollbacks of many of their phones including the following:

  • ZTE ZMAX-$179.88 (was $199.88)
  • Alcatel Evolve 2- $49.88 (was $59.88)
  • Samsung Exhibit- $79.88 (was $99.88)
  • Nokia Lumia 635- $99.88 (was $129.88)
  • Launch of the new Samsung Galaxy Avant- $199.88

Walmart-Family-Mobile-Store-Picture

I chose the ZTE Zinger, which was priced at $39.88. There are several great features that make Walmart Family Mobile the perfect way to allow my family, friends and fellow runners to follow my training, and offer their support and encouragement.

Setup Time: The major mobile phone providers could learn a lesson or two from how easy it is to get a phone activated with Walmart Family Mobile. Each time I’ve setup a new account with a major cell phone provider I’ve been in their store for over an hour. With Walmart Family mobile, I picked out my phone, grabbed a starter pack and headed for the checkout lane. Once I got home, I followed the directions on the starter pack, had my account active and was making phone calls with my new phone in under 10 minutes.

Value:  With Walmart Family Mobile, I get unlimited talk, text and data for $34.88 a month. It’s really hard to beat that price.

Startup Cost: When I’ve signed up with major carriers, between the down payment on a phone, the sales tax, and the activation fee I’ve never walked out the door without paying at least $100 out of pocket. With Walmart Family Mobile, I paid $25 for the starter pack (think of it like an activation fee) and $39.88 for the phone. For less than $65, I was living large with my new smart phone. Plus, I owned the phone outright – there would be no monthly payment on the phone.

Phone Value: I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “Yeah, but what kind of phone do you get for $40?” I confess, I asked the same question. The truth is, I was amazed at what the Zinger was capable of. I could access all my social media accounts, my email, and browse the web at 4G speeds. If you’re on a tight budget, the ZTE Zinger does everything the average person wants and needs from their smart phone.

Once my line was activated, I installed the Instagram app and signed in. I can’t wait to share my training experience with my friends and family. I want them to see the picturesque landscapes that I see early in the morning as I start off on a run.

Walmart-Family-Mobile-Landscape

I want them to share in my enthusiasm of a successful run, especially my Saturday morning long runs.

Walmart-Family-Mobile-Enthusiasm

In a month where we celebrate Thanksgiving, I am thankful to have a fantastic foundation of support for my marathon training. Through the help of Walmart Family Mobile, I’ll be able to draw upon their words of encouragement each and every day, which will help propel me to my best marathon time yet! #CollectiveBias

Walmart-FamilyMobile-Marathon

If you’d like to follow along with my marathon training, my Instragram id is tpizel.  I will be starting to post updates soon!

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Why You Should Walk Away From Free Offers http://www.enemyofdebt.com/why-you-should-walk-away-from-free-offers/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/why-you-should-walk-away-from-free-offers/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 14:21:20 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15596 Enemy of Debt - Why You Should Walk Away From Free Offers

Today’s post is from Douglas Goldstein, the host of the Goldstein on Gelt Show, as well as the author of  Rich as a King.  Please give a warm EOD nation welcome to Douglas! When you go shopping and you see a sign saying, “1+1 Buy one and get one free!” what do you do? Many consumers don’t stop to ask themselves if they need or want this product. The satisfaction that they gain from getting “the other one free” compels them to take up this seemingly generous offer even if they don’t need both of the items in question. But […]

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Enemy of Debt - Why You Should Walk Away From Free Offers

Free-Offers

Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today’s post is from Douglas Goldstein, the host of the Goldstein on Gelt Show, as well as the author of  Rich as a King.  Please give a warm EOD nation welcome to Douglas!

When you go shopping and you see a sign saying, “1+1 Buy one and get one free!” what do you do?

Many consumers don’t stop to ask themselves if they need or want this product. The satisfaction that they gain from getting “the other one free” compels them to take up this seemingly generous offer even if they don’t need both of the items in question.

But what pushes people towards free offers, making the freebie one of the most effective marketing tools? Is a special offer ever worth it?

What’s in it?

When a store or a business offers you something for free, you can be assured that altruism isn’t the main motive. It is up to you, the consumer, to figure out the company’s ultimate goal and find out if you’re really coming out ahead.

No matter how tempting “buy one and get one free” sounds, remember that you never get something for nothing.

This is true in the store: if you accept that special offer for a free iPhone when you sign a cell phone contract, will you have to commit to other expensive services at the same time?

This is true in chess: if you see that you can gain a free queen in a chess game, examine what the new position will look like after you take the piece. Will the capture open a pathway for your opponent to strike you later?

And this is true in life overall: while many people are genuinely kind hearted, be wary of accepting help from someone who has suspicious ulterior motives.

Why ‘Free’ Motivates

Turning down a free offer defies human nature. As behavioral psychologist Professor Dan Ariely wrote in his best-selling book, Predictably Irrational, “We often pay too much when we pay nothing.” In his studies, he showed that the possibility of getting something for free overwhelms a person’s rational thinking so that a company well-versed in utilizing freebies in its selling campaign can conquer a market. Ariely tested how individuals react to a free offer, showing that the almost hypnotic effect of paying nothing will cause people to make the most illogical decisions. He ran a study in a mall in Boston offering two choices: either receive a free $10 Amazon gift certificate or pay $7 for a $20 gift certificate. Irrationally, most people chose the free gift certificate. Whereas they could have profited by $13 (the value of the $20 gift certificate minus the $7 cost), they instead selected the $10 free one.

Keep Your Eyes Open

Next time you’re about to accept something for free, analyze the other side’s selflessness. If you can’t figure out their motivation, then don’t accept the offer. If you do succeed in discerning their motivation for giving you a freebie, then you’ve calculated the actual cost of the “free” item. Are you willing to pay that amount?

Douglas Goldstein is both a CFP® and an avid chess player. He and Grandmaster & World Chess Champion Susan Polgar are co-authors of Rich As A King: How the Wisdom of Chess Can Make You a Grandmaster of Investing. Available for sale online as well as at www.richasaking.com. Securities offered through Portfolio Resources Group, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC, MSRB, SIFMA, FSI.

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Financial Discipline: You Play How You Practice http://www.enemyofdebt.com/financial-discipline-you-play-how-you-practice/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/financial-discipline-you-play-how-you-practice/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 12:05:29 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15579 Enemy of Debt - Financial Discipline: You Play How You Practice

“Well, hello stranger!” said a loud voice from somewhere behind the Subway counter.   I quickly found the familiar face smiling back at me. It’s the same young lady that is working at the nearby Subway most Saturdays when I stop in to get lunch for my family. Saturday Subway is a tradition of sorts at the Pizel household. As the cashier rang up my sandwiches, she asked me if I wanted to get one of my sandwiches for free by purchasing a $20 gift card. I politely declined. Buying the gift card would violate three of my foundational spending guidelines: […]

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Enemy of Debt - Financial Discipline: You Play How You Practice

Financial-Discipline

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Well, hello stranger!” said a loud voice from somewhere behind the Subway counter.   I quickly found the familiar face smiling back at me. It’s the same young lady that is working at the nearby Subway most Saturdays when I stop in to get lunch for my family. Saturday Subway is a tradition of sorts at the Pizel household. As the cashier rang up my sandwiches, she asked me if I wanted to get one of my sandwiches for free by purchasing a $20 gift card.

I politely declined. Buying the gift card would violate three of my foundational spending guidelines:

 

  1. It’s not a good sale if you weren’t going to buy it anyway. Each Thursday and Sunday my wife and I sit down and discuss how we’re going to spend our money. Saturday Subway is something we purposefully budget for. We budget $20, since that will cover the cost of buying four sandwiches (we save money by combining with chips and soda we have at home).   We did not plan for a $20 gift card; therefore buying one would cause us to break our spending plan, and our budget.
  2. Buy only what fits in your budget. Here’s an example:  Peanut butter is something we use often. But when I buy it, I usually pick up the smallest jar of peanut butter available. The smaller jar is a little more expensive per ounce, but the real cost is less than half of the larger jar. In my opinion, buying the larger jar of peanut butter would take a disproportionate percentage of my overall weekly grocery budget, making it difficult to get everything I need for the week with the funds available.
  3. Do not buy anything impulsively. The cashier put me on the spot to make a spending decision without time to really think about it.   Making spur of the moment purchases  is one of the reasons I found myself deep in credit card debt.  Our purchases are now planned and purposeful.

If these things sound a little nit-picky, stick with me here for a minute.

We’re not talking about an earth shattering amount of money here. Throwing down an extra $20 to buy the gift card could have easily been taken out of our entertainment funds for the weekend and it wouldn’t have been a big deal. I almost justified doing just that in the name of saving the $5 for one of our sandwiches. But whenever that voice starts chirping in my head to go a bit off course, I remember something that my son’s baseball coach said a couple of years ago:

“You play how you practice.”

In other words, the way you do things when it doesn’t matter is exactly how you’ll operate when the stakes are high. If I veer from our basic spending guidelines and talk myself into spending extra money when it’s a simple $20 gift card, I’ll be able to more easily talk myself into spending extra on the next vacation, or the next vehicle.

The consequences then become hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Being successful with your finances requires discipline. Whether it’s a $20 gift card, or a $30,000 vehicle, every purchase is analyzed, scrutinized, and must adhere to the same rules. Buying the gift card did not hold up to our spending guidelines, therefore the answer had to be, “No.”

When I got home, I told my wife about the gift card and suggested that we try to work our spending plan each week to pick up a gift card or two in the coming weeks, as the promotion will likely be around for awhile.  The gift cards could be used as a Christmas Gift for a dice game we play each holiday season, or simply used towards the following week’s Saturday Subway.

If the purchase is planned and purposeful, then and only then can the answer be, “Yes.”

Do you apply the same rules to each purchase, or do less expensive purchases sometimes slip through?

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I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 11/14 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-1114/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-1114/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 15:23:24 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15574 Enemy of Debt - I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 11/14

Earlier this week I talked about gazelle intensity, and how I’m going to tap into that kind of laser focus for two things:  1.) my weight loss and marathon training and 2.) saving up $7000 for my tax bill by April of next year.  Today is payday, so the savings begin.  Unfortunately, I haven’t plowed all the way through my budget for the next two weeks, and I need to do that before I start what I hope to be one of those “goal thermometers” here on my Fist Pump Friday posts.  Therefore, you have a week to think of […]

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Enemy of Debt - I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 11/14

fistpumpEarlier this week I talked about gazelle intensity, and how I’m going to tap into that kind of laser focus for two things:  1.) my weight loss and marathon training and 2.) saving up $7000 for my tax bill by April of next year.  Today is payday, so the savings begin.  Unfortunately, I haven’t plowed all the way through my budget for the next two weeks, and I need to do that before I start what I hope to be one of those “goal thermometers” here on my Fist Pump Friday posts.  Therefore, you have a week to think of a goal you want to share with the rest of EOD nation to get all gazelle about.

I was honored to share my story on the Couple Money Podcast this week, so if you have a few minutes, throw on your headphones and check it out!

Posts That Make Me Fist Pump

Shameless Self Promotion

 

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