4 Lessons I Learned from Being in Debt

Not only did I used to be indifferent to being in debt, I just didn't care. Here are some of the lessons I learned from that experience.When I was in my late teens and early 20s, I was fairly indifferent to the amount of debt I carried. In my eyes, it was too early to worry about money or the future. I was young, dumb, and completely foolish about how the real world worked. Plus, I knew deep down that I would eventually make huge sums of money.

How? I wasn’t sure.

Unfortunately, the money I thought I would earn didn’t come until much, much later. Even worse, I made a lot of awful financial decisions based on my ignorant mindset – things like buying a $1,300 vacuum and financing a $25,000 car when I made $8.50 an hour. Not only did I fail to understand the gravity of my situation, but for some reason, I just didn’t care. I couldn’t fully understand the lifelong consequences of my bad decisions – or even why it mattered. Unfortunately, I paid out the nose for my silly purchases and splurges, often to the detriment of my long-term goals.

The first years of my marriage to Greg were filled with more of the same. We made plenty of money, but we had few plans for how to make that money count. Eventually, my husband and I shaped up. Even though we weren’t in serious trouble, we had student loans, car loans, and home improvement loans to contend with. Something had to change. [Read more…]

What to Do if You’re in Trouble with the IRS

IRS - taxes concept  - file cabinet label, bronze holder against grunge and scratched wood

IRS – taxes concept – file cabinet label, bronze holder against grunge and scratched wood

No matter how you spin it, taxes are a pain. Still, it’s something we all must face year after year. If you are behind on your taxes and owe the IRS money, your tax situation can go from feeling like a small burden to more like a pants-on-fire emergency. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to work towards a resolution: [Read more…]

5 Lessons I Learned While Working Low-Wage Jobs

Working low-wage jobs has a way of changing your perspective. Here are five things I learned while working low-wage jobs in my early 20s.It’s been a while since I worked in a job that would be considered “low-wage,” but that doesn’t mean I don’t remember what the low-wage lifestyle was like. Quite the contrary, really. I actually remember exactly what it felt like to be broke until payday, struggling to come up with money for anything extra – like birthdays, clothes, and even shampoo or conditioner.

I also remember being really embarrassed from time to time, like the time my sister invited me to Applebee’s and I didn’t even have $10 to pay for dinner and a tip. I’m not sure she believed me when I said that I didn’t have the money, and that almost made it worse. When you have a regular job and earn and nice living, it can be difficult to understand how anyone could have less than $10 in their account.

5 Things I Learned From Working Low-Wage Jobs

Fortunately, it’s been a long time since I lived the early 20’s poor student lifestyle, and I can now to go Applebee’s without breaking the bank. Still, I learned a lot of lessons from the days when I worked low-wage jobs that asked so much, yet paid so little. Here are a few of those lessons: [Read more…]

The Stupid Tax: Are You Paying It?

Let’s face it, sometimes blowing money is fun. Some of us like to go out to dinner.  Others enjoy spending money on toys.  Yet, some things that we are spending our money on can be more detrimental to our finances than others. The worst part is, you may not even realize what an impact they are having on your monthly budget. I like to call these things “stupid taxes.” For your reading pleasure, I have taken the liberty of listing several of these stupid taxes here.  Enjoy! [Read more…]

My Dream List of Home Upgrades

DSCF3124As many of you know, we moved late last year and bought a new-to-us home in early 2014.  Our house was fairly nice already, but we did set aside money for a few upgrades that would ultimately make it livable for us.

For the most part, those upgrades included new carpet and tile flooring to replace the carpet that was over ten years old and in really bad shape, but we also did a little DIY before we moved in.   [Read more…]

Why We Are Still Prepaying Our Mortgage

This is my house.  I owe money on it. I don't like it.

This is my house. I owe money on it. I don’t like it.

Early last year, we were making some serious headway on our primary mortgage.  In addition to our regular monthly payment, we were paying lump sums of $1,000 each month, and sometimes more.  The balance was dropping quickly, and I was super excited about the prospect of becoming 100 percent debt-free.  Then boom – it was all over.  Let me explain. [Read more…]