Enemy of Debt http://www.enemyofdebt.com Motivational Money Management Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:28:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 If You’re Going To Succeed, You Have To Have a Plan! http://www.enemyofdebt.com/if-youre-going-to-succeed-you-have-to-have-a-plan/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/if-youre-going-to-succeed-you-have-to-have-a-plan/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:11:55 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15122
plan

Image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the major components of marathon training is the long run. Once a week, I run much longer than any other day, gradually increasing the length of my run until I reach a distance of 20 miles.   I usually increase my long run by a mile a week. As I pass the 9-10 mile distance I start adding fluids and carbohydrate intake during my run. The weeks where I ran 12, 13 and 14 miles my long runs went horribly.  I didn’t have the physical energy, nor the mental motivation to keep going. In last week’s post I contemplated how my runs would be easier if I weighed less.  While that is true, there is something else missing from my training that is just as important.

I didn’t have an adequate plan for my runs.

I waited until I felt like my energy store was depleted to take in some carbohydrates. I waited until I felt dehydrated to drink fluids. When running long distances, if you wait until you can feel you need something, it’s already too late.

I searched the internet for how other runners handle long runs, and developed a re-hydration and refueling plan.   I tried planning my entire run around stopping at a known location where I have a cooler filled with fluids and carbohydrate packets. Every 3-4 miles I stop, refuel and rehydrate.

The results of my planning were astonishing. Even though I was increasing the distance, and the weather was warmer and more humid, my long runs of 15 and 16 miles went smoothly. They actually seemed easier than the previous long runs.

The difference was my planning, and the execution of that plan.

By not having an adequate plan, I actually made things harder on myself. I did the very same thing with my finances for a very long time.

Emergency Fund:

As sure as dehydration after running for hours, an unplanned situation WILL arise that requires extra funds. If you wait until you need an emergency fund to conclude you need one, it’s obviously too late.

Retirement:

The goal of having a refuel and rehydrate plan when running a marathon is to successfully get to the end of the race. The goal of a successfully executed financial plan is to get to retirement with enough funds and/or streams of income to live off of for the rest of your life.

Day To Day Life:

I work a lot with my pace when training for a marathon. If I start off to fast, I’ll burn out. Such is the same with your day to day spending. You have to have a plan for your pace of spending, or you’ll run out of funds.

There is one HUGE difference between building a plan for running a marathon, and real life. I’ve spent almost a complete year building my strength, my endurance, and my overall fitness level. I’ve tried different strategies with my long runs, tweaking them slightly to find the one that will work best for me.  I’ve been doing all this as part of my training leading up to the actual race in October.

There is no training for real life.

You have to just get out there and do it. You can learn new skills and make adjustments along the way, but if you are going to succeed, you’d better have a plan.   By having a plan for your day to day spending, unexpected emergencies, and your future retirement goals you will make your life easier, and more enjoyable.

Do you have an example of when lack of financial planning as actually made life harder than it needed to be?  Are you putting the necessary planning into these three areas?

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Sometimes it is better to be sorry! http://www.enemyofdebt.com/sometimes-it-is-better-to-be-sorry/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/sometimes-it-is-better-to-be-sorry/#comments Sat, 16 Aug 2014 16:20:48 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15135

Beach Danger1

Do you dream about the day when all your debt will be paid off and you’ll feel safe again?

I did that!

Four years ago, faced with a consumer debt of $160,000 I mourned my safety and feared the risks to my family this meant.

Then I forgot to be safe and started living an exciting life.

I changed the way we spend.

I changed the way we manage our finances.

I learned about money, finance and business.

I stood at the bottom of a snowy hill asking to buy ski-passes (now, this is so outside my comfort zone).

I started a blog.

I became a ‘fly hustler’.

I ran marathons.

I felt excited and invigorated; life coursing through me body.

Now we have no consumer debt and I want to feel safe again.

I want to have no mortgage.

I want to have a lot of money in the bank.

I want our investments to be safe.

I want to know what the future holds.

 

Is it only me who is engaged in this pursuit of safety?

Because I somehow doubt that. Our Western culture has become obsessed with safety. We get warned that:

  • Stones may fall off rocks;
  • We may drown in water;
  • Suffocate if we put a plastic bag around our head; and
  • Peanut butter may contain nuts.

On our holiday I’ve watched kids in the swimming pool that have floating jackets, arm bands and floating ring. How are they going to learn to swim?

I’ve had visions of the beauty of the cliffs being tarnished by nets, crash barriers and handrails lie these ones from Ezi Klamp Systems. How are we to appreciate the beauty in nature?

And I’ve stared at the sea, willing my son to come out so that he is safe at my side. I know he is a strong swimmer and I know that he is very careful; I still want him next to me. How is he going to become a man?

All this obsession with safety and we are as exposed as ever.

Because, as the authors of Freakonomics convincingly demonstrated, we humans are notoriously bad at assessing and judging risk. We are worried that our airplane will crash when it is more likely to be hit by a car.

Safety is alluring. It is also the antidote of risk, excitement and progress.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, the saying goes.

There are four situations when it is better to ignore ‘being safe’ and take the risk of being sorry. These are when:

Being safe is in the way of new experience

Expanding our experience of the world – natural and social, personal and organisational – is vital for our existence, success and enjoyment in life.

Trying a new hobby, dabbing in a new activity, tasting an unusual dish, experiencing a different culture are the things that keep us interested, interesting and invigorated.

Let’s do something we’ve never done today!

James Althucher asked for 10% discount. I’ll go snorkelling in the sea.

What are you going to do?

Being safe is in the way of learning

Our pursuit of being safe can be in the way of our learning. There is a lot of deceptive security in tried and tested knowledge. Why learn something new, why keep our minds open, why explore and acquire new competencies and skills when we know.

Being knowledgeable, being an expert is safe. Unfortunately it is the kind of safety that can lead to spectacular downfalls. In consulting, being safe and sticking with a painfully familiar usually means that you are to run out of business very soon.

Learning and adapting to the changing streams of life is what keeps us on top four-game personally and professionally.

When was the last time you learned something new?

Being safe reduces quality of life

Every time I keep safe I rob my life quality.

Because the quality of our lives is about fun and joy. Keeping overly safe is just another way to say that our lives are steeped in routines and boredom.

It is safe to swallow your opinion at work; it is safe to watch adventure on TV and never explore the world; it is safe to stay within your comfort zone.

You know, when we live safe and boring lives, we don’t live longer. It only seems so.

What are the things that bring excitement to your life?

Being safe is in the ways of your dreams

Worst of all, being overly safe can be in the way of our dreams.

I am well versed in that. Just look what’s happening to my dreams:

Dream Reality
I want to spend a month in a Flamenco Dancing School in Spain learning to dance from Gypsy dancers. I’m staying safe in my house and watch videos about dancing.
I want to ride a motorbike across the United States I’m staying safe by postponing doing what is needed; my son doesn’t believe we’ll ever do it
I want to walk 300 kilometres of the Santiago de Compostela route I’m keeping safe on a beach in Portugal
I want to run the Comrades, a 51 mile race in South Africa. I’ve succumbed to the fear of injury rather than focus on training smart and hard
I want to write novels Haven’t started yet; it feels safe to dream but what if I couldn’t hack it?

 

Finally…

A life well lived is a balance between being safe and risking being sorry.

Lured into a pursuit of safety, we risk limiting our experience, impeding our learning, reducing our quality of life and forfeiting our dreams.

And don’t want to go through the rest of my life without testing my limits: in running, writing and adventure.

What are your dreams and is ‘staying safe’ in the way? Do you have any tips about how to break away from the need ‘to be safe’?

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I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 8/15 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-815/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-815/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 10:38:13 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15114

We’ve picked up all the supplies our kids need for school.  That was the easy part.  All we had to do was go to the school district website  and print off the recommended list of items.  This weekend comes the more difficult part of getting ready for the school year.

We’re going clothes shopping.

My son will find shirts he likes in just under 0.5 seconds.  Finding jeans that he likes….well, that’s another story. I had no idea that teenage boys could be so picky about jeans.  The good news is, I’m not even sure that my daughter needs anything.  Over the summer she would save up allowance money, then go to the mall shopping with her friends.  She’s bought herself a TON of new clothes over the summer.  Hey, if it saves me time, I’m all for it!

I think that’s worth a fist pump or two, don’t you??

Posts That Make Me Fist Pump

Shameless Self Promotion

Other fist-pumping posts I wrote, or appeared in this week from around the personal finance blogosphere:

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Don’t Cheat Yourself By Living a Life of Half-Assity http://www.enemyofdebt.com/dont-cheat-yourself-by-living-a-life-of-half-assity/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/dont-cheat-yourself-by-living-a-life-of-half-assity/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 10:32:25 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15097
do your best

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was painfully making my way through a 14 mile run early on a Saturday morning. I was at mile 10, and struggling to find the energy or even the desire to pick up my feet and keep running.

“If only I weighed less, this wouldn’t be so hard,” I thought to myself.

Last October, when I crossed the finish line of the Twin Cities 10 mile race, I instantly decided I was going to run the full marathon in 2014. I had a full year to get lean, train hard, and run my best marathon ever. Yet here we are ten months later, and I weigh exactly the same. I’ve been training hard, working out 6-7 days a week, but when it comes to the nutrition aspect, I haven’t been doing so well.

Let’s not mince words, I’ve been half-assing it.

If you’re not familiar with the phrase, “half-assing it,” let me give you an example. It’s when you go through a day eating all your fruits and vegetables, drinking lots of water, only to eat two hot dogs, a bowl of ice cream, and some left over pizza after 11pm.

I’m cheating myself from achieving my full potential by half-assing my commitment to eating right.

I could keep going working out like a beast, but paying little attention to the food I put into my body. I would get to race day, and I’m sure I would successfully finish.   Maybe I’d even complete the race faster than any of my previous three marathons. But it wouldn’t be the best I could be, and that’s disappointing.

I read about, and even know some people that do the exact same thing with their finances. By many indications they’re doing just fine.   But they don’t live on a budget; at least not one they write down and track on paper, in a spreadsheet or in financial software somehow.

Lots of excuses are used:

  • They’re just not the budgeting type
  • They spend less than they earn, so not having a budget is no big deal, right?
  • I don’t like to place restrictions on my spending, I like to just go with the flow.
  • Don’t have time.

Much like my marathon training, if you’re going through life without a budget, you’re half-assing your finances.

You might be living below your means. You might even be saving for retirement, and have an emergency fund. But if you had a budget, a spending plan, or whatever you want to call it, you’d be doing even better.

If you don’t have a budget you have no idea how much you spend on certain activities during any given month. Do you know how much you spent on gas last month? If you don’t, maybe if shown the number you might decide you need to cut back on your traveling because you weren’t comfortable with that number. How about dining out? Are you sure that you’re OK with the amount of your hard earned cash is being handed over to the wing place down the street each month? Maybe if you knew the number you might decide to eat at home a little more.

The point is, you can get by with half-assing your finances , but you’re cheating yourself from getting the absolute most out of the money you work so hard to earn.

Are you half-assing your finances? Are you OK with that?

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I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 8/8 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-88/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-88/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 10:09:07 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15082

Bingo

On Tuesday night Vonnie and I went out  with our neighbors and played organized Bingo.  Yelling out “BINGO!” was quite a thrill, and as you can tell from the picture I was pretty stoked to win $50.  One may even say I was in the mood to fist pump!

How about it, EOD Nation?   Get ‘em up for Five of THE BEST posts of the week!

Posts That Make Me Fist Pump

Shameless Self Promotion

Other fist-pumping posts I wrote, or appeared in this week from around the personal finance blogosphere:

TeamEOD Was Recently Included In The Following Carnivals

Aspiring Blogger Financial Carnival hosted by Aspiring Blogger
Yakezie Carnival hosted by Mom Makes Cents
Finance Carnival For Young Adults hosted by Smart Budgeting
Lifestyle Carnival hosted by Business Action For Water
Carnival of Financial Planning hosted by His Finance
Carnival of Financial Planning B hosted by Your PF Pro
Carnival of Money hosted by Carnival of Money

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How to Talk Yourself Out of Debt By Creating a New Script http://www.enemyofdebt.com/how-to-talk-yourself-out-of-debt-by-creating-a-new-script/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/how-to-talk-yourself-out-of-debt-by-creating-a-new-script/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 04:01:36 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15065

Could it really be possible to talk yourself out of debt?  Can getting out of debt really be that easy?

Actually, no, I don’t believe it is.

Getting out of debt is not as easy as talking to yourself using the right words.  You have to take action as well.

Even the bible says “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty”- Proverbs 14:23

 

The Right Self Talk Helps

But using the right kind of self talk can get you into the right mindset to change habits and get out of debt for good.

When you are in the habit of using loans, credit cards, and other consumer debt to finance your life, it’s way too easy to use self-sabotage talk such as these common phrases (I’ve been known to use a few of these in the past):

  • Everyone else has one
  • It’s on sale!
  • I deserve it
  • There’s only one left, It will be gone if I don’t buy it now
  • You’ve had a tough day, buying this will make it better

But when you actively counteract these scripts that are so easy to believe, then you can start seriously changing your mindset about your debt and how you spend money on a daily basis.

 

Change Your Old Scripts to New Ones

You can change all those old counterproductive scripts to new ones by catching yourself in the act when using self talk that leads to spending too much, then fight back using new scripts that cause you to change your old habits into new ones that are healthier and wiser.

Here are some old scripts, along with their replacements:

 

Old Script:  “It’s been a hard day, this will make it better!”

New Script:  “There’s a much better way to wipe away a bad day”

Buying something you like CAN make you feel better, but only for a very short amount of time.  It works just like a mood altering drug, it makes you feel better temporarily, but when you come down off that high, you need to come back for more.

Develop healthier ways to deal with a bad day, such as prayer, exercise, yoga, or even reading a good book.

 

Old Script:  “Go ahead, you deserve it!”

New Script:  “You work hard for your money, can you pay for this with cash without feeling guilty?”

There’s definitely nothing wrong with rewarding yourself every once in a while, but if it adds to a huge mountain of debt that’s already stressing you out, all you’re doing is just adding more stress to your life.

 

Old Script:  “It’s on sale!”

New Script:  “Is this something I need?  Did I come here to buy this?”

Many purchases happen because the store entices you with a sale price.  Never mind that you actually went to the store to buy something else.

And when you pay for it with a credit card, you’ll likely end up paying more than the regular price once you figure in interest and fees on that credit card balance you’ve been carrying.  You might be paying for that item for months or years to come.

Plan your spending using a budget, and only buy what was on your list before you came to the store.

Old Script:  “Everyone else has it”

New Script:  “I can have one too, but I’ll save up for it first”

As human beings, we’re geared to fit in.  It’s just the way our brains work.  But when you spend more than you have to buy the brand new Lexus or your 3rd Iphone in 2 years means you eventually end up losing financially.

Trying to fit in at the expense of your finances never bodes well for your future.

Old Script:  “There’s only one left, I have to buy it now or it’ll be gone”

New Script:  “I’ll be able to find another one when I have the cash to pay for it”

It’s way too easy to talk yourself into a scarcity mentality.

But here’s the deal, if you can find one of something, you can find more if you look in the right place (Amazon, Ebay, etc.).

Never talk yourself into buying things on credit because you think you’ll never find another one.

Learn to develop an abundance mentality and understand that you’ll always be able to find what you need, when you need it.

 

Revolutionize Your Financial Life!

Learning how to develop newer, better scripts for self-talk will revolutionize your financial life!  When you can effectively counteract those counterproductive thoughts that keep you from succeeding financially, you’ll finally be able to change your mindset and your money habits forever.

 

Question:  Do you have any self talk habits that keep you from succeeding?  Leave a comment and tell me about it

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Millennials should skip the 401(k) and go ROTH all the way http://www.enemyofdebt.com/millennials-should-skip-the-401k-and-go-roth-all-the-way/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/millennials-should-skip-the-401k-and-go-roth-all-the-way/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 09:00:41 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15028
retirement

Image courtesy of ddpabumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I was a young adult there were only two options to prepare for retirement: Pensions and 401(k)s. Well, there was also Social Security – but we won’t go there!

The investing landscape has changed dramatically. The government has created other venues for tax favored accounts – and all of them are better than doing nothing.

Everyone’s situation is different. I’m not a Financial Advisor so you need to seek the advice of a trained professional but I do think Millennials have the best opportunities to become investors and get complete control over their financial destinies if they skip the 401(k) and go ROTH all the way.

Millennials jump from job to job

The employment landscape isn’t what it used to be. The average person will have 15 – 20 different jobs over the course of their working lives!

If Sally starts saving $100 a month at her new job but leaves 4 years later then she will have invested $4,800. Repeat this process for 20 years and she will have approximately $5,000 at 5 different companies (not including growth or dividend reinvestments).

Having that many different accounts gets confusing, and many young adults are tempted to cash out the plan and use the money for other things. That’s a big, costly mistake.

Maybe Sally wants to get the match? She could save 3% of her income at work to get the match (or whatever your company’s match would be) and then save more in a Roth. The benefit here is that it gives her more experience in the investing world, the best of both tax-worlds, and a place to roll her 401(k)s when she leaves (and she will leave someday).

Note: There are taxes due when converting a 401(k) to a Roth. Rolling a 401(k) into a traditional IRA would provide many of the same benefits as a Roth IRA without the tax penalty. Again, seek the advice of a trained professional when entertaining this idea.

Millennials have more options

How many funds are in your current employer’s plan? Most will have a mix of 12 – 15 (not including target-date funds). Bonds, International, large cap, small cap, blended… there isn’t a big variety to choose from.

The open market offers thousands of funds for the individual investor to choose from – with more being created every year.

If you are trying to meet, or beat, the market then picking your own mix of mutual funds and/or index funds in a Roth IRA should produce a healthier portfolio.

Do a simple search for mutual funds at Fidelity.com and you will find almost 3,000 results. Vanguard offers more than 15,000. Dude, surely you can find better funds with just a bit of research!

Millennials have time for tax-free growth

Tree-tirement hbBy definition a Millennial has more time to let savings grow. This plays a big part in choosing to skip the 401(k) and going with a Roth instead. A 401(k) will save you on taxes today but a Roth IRA will save you on paying taxes on the growth of your account.

I call it the $1,000,000 tree. Let us pretend it takes $5,000 a year to grow a tree worth $1,000,000 over a 40 year period. That’s $200,000 you put into growing your tree and $800,000 is the growth.

Pre-tax savings in a 401(k) is like getting the water as a discount. Water the tree every month and you will save on the taxes. You only pay taxes when it comes to picking the fruit off the $1M tree at retirement.

There is no savings when buying the Roth water. However, you pay no taxes on the $1,000,000 tree.

So, do you want to save 15-20% on the $200,000 it took to water the tree (pre-tax) or save $800,000 in taxes because you watered the tree with after-tax dollars?

Read: Pay for the seed or the tree? Why I invest in a Roth IRA

If I knew then what I know now

There are many things to consider before deciding how to save for retirement. Time horizon, risk tolerance, fees and commissions. However, doing nothing isn’t an option.

Company-provided pensions are going away and 401(k) plans are limiting. You Millennials have got it so good!

If I could do it all over again I would skip the 401(k) and go Roth all the way.

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Five debt induced feelings that can ruin your relationship (and how to cope with them) http://www.enemyofdebt.com/five-debt-induced-feelings-that-can-ruin-your-relationship-and-how-to-cope-with-them/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/five-debt-induced-feelings-that-can-ruin-your-relationship-and-how-to-cope-with-them/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 18:53:54 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15066

couple1

Do the words you screamed at him/her still taste bitter on your tongue? Did he/she snap at you when you asked an innocent question?

Well, chances are that if you recently had a serious argument with your ‘loved one’, this was because of either love or money. One of the most often cited reason for divorce is ‘fall out of love’.

Statistics also tells us that money problems are mentioned in about half of the divorce cases in the developed world.

You know, I believe that debt is a curse. When it comes to relationships, debt can be a killer or it can be the cure.

This depends on whether you are ready to acknowledge the five debt induced feeling that can ruin your relationship and on what you do next.

In my experience, and from what I’ve managed to glean in conversations with others in a similar situation, facing debt brings about one or more of the following feelings:

Anger

On finding out that you are in debt it is only natural to feel angry.

I did! I felt angry with my husband for not managing our finances right, not telling me sooner, not…well, you name it! I was raging like a woman possessed.

I was angry with myself as well. I was angry because I left it all to my husband, for not looking at a financial statement for years, for not realising that his consultancy was going under and the stress he was feeling.

Anger has many faces. It can come as helpless tears; it can come as a diva tantrum. And it doesn’t matter who this anger is pointed at, it is there.

You’ll need to get it out; supressing anger is usually counter-productive.

Anger is a relationship killer!

Disappointment

Disappointment is also inevitable. Again, you may be disappointed with your partner/husband/wife or with yourself.

In any case, disappointment can break up your relationship.

Because disappointment strips us of respect. It is difficult to stay with and be happy with someone you don’t respect; or equally with someone who doesn’t have self-respect.

Fairness

When you first realise that you are in debt there is also a bouquet of strong feelings around fairness.

I thought it is unfair that this is happening to me!

I thought it is unfair that 95% of the debt was on my husband’s credit cards and I had to deal with it!

I thought it is unfair I have to deal with this in my mid-forties!

Most of all, I simply thought that ‘it is not fair’!

Amazing how something like a lot of debt sends us straight back into childhood when the battle cry on the playground is ‘NOT FAIR’.

Well, it probably isn’t fair but what matters is how to go beyond and what you do next.

Mistrust

This is specific to cases where one partner is perceived as having done something not entirely right; or even plain wrong.

Like build up debt without the knowledge of the other partner.

Like hiding the state of the couple’s finances.

You get the picture.

Trust is the basis of good relationships and once broken takes a long time to re-build.

Loneliness

Being in debt can feel very lonely even when you are in a relationship. People have different approaches, hopes and fears when it comes to debt.

In our case, my husband is a bit like Mrs. Bennett (if you haven’t read Pride and Prejudice it is probably time to do so). If dealing with the debt was left to him, we’ll still be paying off the consolidation loan and dream of abundance.

Me…I am more like Jake LaMotta (the Raging Bull); or, if you prefer, Million Dollar Baby – ‘knock them out in the first round’, I say.

I did feel lonely; I was the one making battle.

Feeling lonely in a relationship makes you ask yourself whether the relationship is worth it.

So, another relationship killer.

Yes, you are likely to have one or more of these feelings when you are first getting to know your debt.

What is important, as with many other things, is what you do next.

Yes, you can call in the divorce lawyers and solicitors. I wanted to! I went as far as checking some solicitors’ firms. You know what I found?

I found that solicitors’ firms today provide all kinds of legal services which is very handy. If you hire Broadbents Solicitors, for example, you can get divorced, fight for custody of your children, sell your house and buy another one; and all that in the same company.

The other BIG thing I found was that I really love my husband and want to stand by my vows ‘for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer’.

We also discovered four actions that helped us cope with the destructive feelings we were experiencing, tackle the debt as a couple and come out with a stronger relationship. Sorry, Broadbents Solicitors but not this time!

These are:

Commitment

First and foremost you will have to think very carefully and seriously about whether or not you’d like to renew your commitment to the relationship.

Deciding to commit deals away with all five negative feeling mentioned above but this has to be done whole-heartedly.

If you decide to commit, commit!

Communication

You know, the longer people stay together the less they communicate even if they talk.

Have you noticed that most of your conversations have become ones of necessity? You discuss everyday chores, pass simple information (I put the meal in the fridge) and tell each other what happened at work (or not, as the case may be).

Do you know how your partner/husband/wife is feeling at the moment?

I doubt it.

Go back to basics and start communication; don’t simply exchange information explore how the other one feels; tell your partner/husband/wife how you feel.

Gradually, you’ll start understanding each other again and work as a team.

Flexibility

I’ve come to believe that a lot of the anger, disappointment and distrust that comes at the early stages of dealing with debt is because we lack the flexibility to accept things as they are.

For me, anger was mixed with regret and fear of the future. Once I open my mind and started working on dancing with the situation rather than fighting it, things became much better.

Flexibility and open mindedness also helped me see that I share the responsibility for our financial situation and we’ll be stronger if we do what we are good at.

Fun

Forbidding yourself any fun is a jerk reaction of your early life with debt.

But let’s face it, leaving with debt is hard enough without making it even harder with ascetic frugality.

Make sure that your budget includes a line for having fun. It doesn’t matter how large or small this is, just make sure that it is there.

Having fun together helps re-connect as a couple, form a team and really hit the debt.

Finally…

Having debt brings about feelings that can put strain on your relationship and even kill it.

As with most things, you have a choice: you either let debt win and call in the divorce lawyers and solicitors or you win by making a new commitment, learning to communicate, becoming a bit more flexible and making sure that you have fun as a couple.

Has your debt affected your relationship? Did you experience any of the five feelings discussed in this post?

photo credit: Emmanuel_D.Photography via photopin cc

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You Can’t Beat Kohls Return Policy http://www.enemyofdebt.com/you-cant-beat-kohls-return-policy/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/you-cant-beat-kohls-return-policy/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 11:36:40 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15051

Keurigpic

Coffee drinkers are passionate about their morning go-juice. Maybe you’re one of these people, my wife certainly is. Which is why she was very concerned when her Keurig single cup coffee brewing system started acting up. Her particular model has a choice of three difference size cups, and even though she always chooses the largest of the three, she noticed that it just wasn’t filling up the cup as far as it should. She had to resort to running the cycle twice or even three times to get her morning cup of brew.

It obviously was not working right.

Consulting the ever knowledgeable internet, we found that symptoms such as what we were experiencing could be caused by a couple of different reasons:

  • Blockage in the needle that punctures the coffee cup
  • Buildup of calcium in the system
  • Broken water pump

At the advice of what we had read, we picked up a bottle of descaling solution from Kohls while we were running errands over the weekend to cleanse the system of any calcium buildup. When we returned home, I used canned air (being a computer geek requires having this on hand at all times) to blow any residue out of the needle while Vonnie followed the directions to descale the system. Once we were all finished, Vonnie plugged in her beloved Keurig, ready for a cup of liquid energy.

The coffee genie sucked the water from the reservoir, then clicked and hummed just as it should. We both stared at the machine waiting for the liquid gold to begin flowing, but it never happened. Both my wife and I took a few moments to practice our colorful language.

Vonnie was ready to throw in the towel, hop in the van, and go buy a new coffee maker. However, I had other ideas. As I was scanning the internet for potential solutions to our problem, I had read time and time again about people with similar problems having their system replaced by Keurig. I told my wife to do two things:

  1. Call Kohls, where we had purchased it, and see what they could do for us
  2. If we struck out with #1, call Keurig and see if they would help.

She explained our situation first to a customer service agent, and then again to a manager. To our surprise, the manager at Kohls told us to bring it in and pick up a replacement. Additionally, they would also refund us the $14.00 we paid for the descaling solution that did not fix our problem.

“We have a VERY lenient return policy,” He said, chuckling.

To call it lenient would be a gross understatement. They didn’t care how long ago we had purchased it, nor did they seem to mind that we no longer had the owner’s manual, the box, or even the receipt. We successfully exchanged the machine for a brand new one, no questions asked.

Kohls has an interesting model for pricing their merchandise. I would never go there unless something is on sale, AND I had one of those 30% off coupons that come in the mail. This can be exemplified by this exact machine as it’s currently on sale (regular price $189, on sale for $149) for a higher price than I can get it at Walmart ($139).

But, you can’t argue with their return policy.

Do you have a kick ass return policy story? What’s the longest after purchase that you successfully returned something to a store?

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I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 8/01 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-801/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-801/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 11:05:03 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=15046

Welcome to August, EOD Nation!   August has traditionally been a challenging month financially for us, as it is when we pick up the things our kids need for the upcoming school year.  In years past this meant checking out Old Navy and Kohls because we had store credit cards for those retailers and we could get new clothes without having to spend any money immediately out of pocket.  Over the last few years, with the lines of credit unavailable due to our debt management program, we have struggled to save up the funds needed to get clothes and school supplies.  We worked our way though it by buying things in pieces over the course of a few months.

This year, without that huge debt management program payment to be made each month, getting ready for the school year will be a breeze.  It’s budgeted, funded, and all that is required is the time to go buy the stuff.

Straight Cash Homey!  (bonus points if you can identify that reference).

It’s got me in the mood to fist pump…..get ‘em up!

Posts That Make Me Fist Pump

Shameless Self Promotion

Other fist-pumping posts I wrote, or appeared in this week from around the personal finance blogosphere:

TeamEOD Was Recently Included In The Following Carnivals

Carnival of MoneyPros hosted by His Finance
Carnival of Retirement hosted by Home Money Easy
Carnival of Financial Camaraderie hosted by Disease Called Debt
Carnival of Money hosted by Carnival of Money

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