Financial Literacy: Communication and Teamwork Are Vital to Success


  Preface:  Today I’m taking part in the Financial Literacy Awareness Carnival hosted by Shannon at The Heavy Purse.  Once you’ve finished here, click here and check out the list of other great posts by my fellow bloggers also participating in the carnival! Sitting in a chair facing a filled to capacity movie theater, the question that popped into my head was, “How did I get here?” I was one of three customers invited to the headquarters of CareOne Debt Relief Services in Maryland in September of 2012. They were holding an employee recognition event, and wanted to have a […] Read more »

Review and Give Away: How Much Money Do I Need To Retire?


The book had been sitting on my desk in my home office for months, staring at me in plain sight as a reminder that I needed to read it. Someday. I had received How Much Money Do I Need To Retire from the author, Todd Tresidder, at the Financial Blogger Conference back in October, but I just couldn’t seem to find the time or the motivation to read it. Looking back, my mind just wasn’t in the right place. At the time, getting back on track with our retirement planning was just a twinkle in my eye. We only had […] Read more »

What’s the Best Way To Ship Packages Internationally?

It’s been a long, hard winter here in Minnesota.  Vonnie and I have gotten a head start on our annual Spring cleaning and decluttering, and found a pretty good pile of things to try to sell.  Many times we’ll find a buyer locally, which is preferred.  We’ll just meet at the convenience store a few blocks away and make the sale.  But sometimes, when you’re advertising to a wider audience your buyer may be very far away. Like Canada. One of the things we were selling was a deluxe set of the game Crossbows and Catapults that we bought for […] Read more »

No Contract Cell Phone Plans Exposed! Are They Really Better?

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No contract mobile phone plans have become all the rage as of late.  I even tried one through a blogging opportunity last year and was actually quite impressed.  Apparently, no contract providers have gotten the attention of the major carriers, as they have begun to offer no contract plans of their own.  I received an email from my carrier outlining their no contract plan last Friday. We’re currently under a two year contract with ATT&T, and for my family of four plus two extended family members to all have smart phones sharing a 10GB data plan we pay $309 a […] Read more »

Debt Relief Firms: Why Use One and How to Pick a Good One


If you’re currently in debt and are considering working with a debt relief firm, you’re in good company. Many people just like you are turning to debt relief firms to help them create and follow a plan for freeing themselves from debt. But why would you opt to work with a debt relief firm versus trying to attack your debt on your own? And if you choose to work with a debt relief firm, how can you find one that will do a good job? Let’s take a moment to answer these questions and more. A Guide for Your Journey […] Read more »

Build Your Budget Foundation


The foundation of a couple being successful with their finances requires a clearly defined method of budgeting, and frequent, open, and honest communication between the two people involved. Do you have this foundation? Vonnie and I didn’t for the first thirteen years of our marriage. Our budget, and I use that term extremely loosely, consisted of a piece of paper that listed about half of our monthly bills that I folded up and stored in the back of my checkbook folder. Our communication about our finances was non-existent, so it was no wonder that our finances failed miserably. Building a […] Read more »

The Magic Bullet To Combining Finances Successfully


I knew the minute I finished the sentence that someone would comment on it, and I was right.  In my post last week describing an afternoon at a food and wine event I mentioned that I bought two bottles of BBQ sauce, but not before checking in with my wife first. I wanted my wife’s approval before buying $12 of BBQ sauce. I didn’t expect her to disapprove of the purchase.  As the commenter articulated, it was simply an act of respect.  We are a quad income family (we each have two sources of income), but we choose to combine […] Read more »

3 Ways to Get the Most From Your Income Tax Refund


Over 100 million Americans received refunds in 2013. Undoubtedly, the effects of such windfalls wore off long ago. Were these bonuses used wisely? Here are three ways you can get the most from your income tax refund: 1. Prepare for an Unexpected Event This sounds like an oxymoron, being prepared for something unexpected, but this could be the smartest move for anyone – even someone in debt. Nothing could be smarter than to cash the check and put it into a savings account for emergencies. Let’s face it – something bad is going to happen someday and those things usually cost […] Read more »

Is This The Year I Pay Someone To Do My Taxes?


I’ve paid a tax professional to do my taxes only once.  It was the first tax season after getting married, and I wanted to make sure they were done correctly.  I remember sitting across the desk from a woman at a branch of a big name tax preparation company answering questions.  After a better part of an hour, I noticed that she wasn’t just entering the information into a form on the computer, but the software was actually prompting her which questions to ask.  I shared my observation with Vonnie on our way home, stating that I could have done […] Read more »

What Options Do You Have When You’re Buried In Debt?


Editors Note:  Today’s post is a guest post from Bob Miller, one of my friends over at CareOne Services, Inc.  Hope you enjoy his expert advice and perspective on debt! Do you find yourself buried in debt? Does it feel like all of your income is going toward paying off credit cards? Does it seem like there’s no way you can dig yourself out of this financial pit of despair? Are you tired of the constant collection calls? Do you just want it all to STOP? You’re not alone. Millions of people struggle to manage their debt. In fact, a […] Read more »

What We Learned About Finances Will Help us Lose Weight


I’m not doing very well with my weight loss goal. As of last Friday, after over three months of effort I’ve lost a total of 1.1 pounds. I know the problem is that I struggle with eating too much. With the start of a new year, Vonnie also has made a commitment to be more healthy. We investigated several weight loss programs including Weight Watchers, which we have been a part of in the past and were very successful. We were literally putting our coats and shoes on to drive to a nearby center and enroll again when something stopped […] Read more »

How Much Do Your Teeth Cost You Each Year?


One of the foundations of handling your finances successfully is to know where all your money goes, and what you spend it on. Our family just went through our beginning of the year round of teeth cleanings and checkups and as I sat in the chair wondering why it’s so freaking hard for the hygienist to prevent herself from poking me in the gums repeatedly (I HATE that), I also wondered just how much the maintenance of my our teeth costs us for a calendar year. So when I got home, I broke it down: Cleanings: Our family of four […] Read more »

Before You Start To Pay Off Debt….Do THIS


The comment reminded me of myself four and a half years ago. A reader of a post featuring my get out of debt story asked for insight regarding how I handled unexpected expenses during my debt pay-off period. I’d like to say that I had done everything perfectly during my four and a half year quest to eliminate $109,000 of credit card debt, but there were plenty of bumps along the way. If I had to single out one thing as my biggest mistake, it would be not having an emergency fund in place from the very start. The importance […] Read more »