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Baby Budget Woes of a New Dad

This following post was written by my friend, Joshua Crum, father of three. He’s also the Lead Credit Repair Expert (to my knowledge, he’s still a team of one, lol) of http://www.RebuildRepairCredit.com/.  In short, he helps people get rid of zombie debt, figure out how to manage their current finances, and get them on the right path.  I met Josh at FinCon16 and he’s been a real friend for these last couple of months – this is an in-real-life guy actually doing this stuff…not just one of those spam companies we all delete immediately.  🙂 First, becoming a new parent is stressful enough.  One of the biggest issues is budgeting as a new dad or parent. There is so much new stuff to consider. It’s overwhelming at first!  So, I strive to make things easier and more predictable. Here is where I simplify the chaos as much as possible. Food Costs First comes food, one major expense that adds up very fast. Most new parents do not count on an increasing food budget. If you are lucky, at first mom can breastfeed. Not only is this great for baby but for your family’s budget as well. It literally saves gobs … Read more…

New Orleans on a Budget

I LOVE learning budget travel hacks and tips for how to visit places on the cheap. New Orleans is on my bucket list and it's so nice to know exactly how much a trip there will cost and what I need to budget for my next vacation.

I truly enjoy visiting New Orleans.  It can be easy to spend a ton visiting any tourist town, but you can visit New Orleans on a budget.  Here are my best tips an tricks! Transportation For our last trip, we drove to New Orleans from Houston, TX using our 2007 Prius.  Altogether, it cost $60 for gasoline.  If you live close enough to drive, it may be something to consider. If you can’t drive, check out your public transportation options.  I used the Megabus in late 2014 to get to New Orleans and my in-laws picked me up at the end of my trip.  The 1-way Megabus ticket cost me $9.75 and that included an $8 upgrade to the front most seat on the top (which made me car sick, so I sat in a cheap $1 seat anyway) and it included the 25 cents to receive text notifications of any changes.  It looks like most tickets cost $2-$60 depending on the location and whether you need a round trip ticket or not.  Check out your local bus and train stations to see if you have any affordable options. For flights, you may want to figure out the direct flight cost from your city (I use sites like kayak.com and airfarewatchdog.com) … Read more…

What Financial Health Means to Me – Grab Your Fiscal Future By the Balls! #FinHealthMatters

Once upon a time, there was a broke college kid balancing her last semester of classes, 3 part time jobs, and she had a frugal wedding to plan…BLECK! I was going to tug at your heartstrings with my story of being poor 15 years ago to explain what financial health means to me. But the world is already full of emotional examples of being broke. According to CFSI’s Consumer Financial Health Study, 57% of Americans—approximately 138 million adults— are struggling financially. That said, do you know what financial health really means? Financial health means being able to take a day off to binge watch Orange is the New Black (true story…every year, lol). It means never waking up in a cold sweat wondering if today is the day the bank takes your house (yep, I sleep like a baby!). It means not staying at a job you hate to make enough money to scrape by (I left a dead end job of 6 years to tackle my own businesses in July 2011). SCREW SCRAPING BY! Financial health means grabbing your fiscal future by its balls. Seriously. Prioritize The first step is to prioritize. It’s hard to achieve a goal if you haven’t set … Read more…

What Happens When You Just Don’t Make Enough Money to Get Ahead?

The following is from my blogging buddy, Martin, over at Studenomics.  He’s been trying to help people learn to manage their money at any age since before I knew that blogging existed, and he just published Next Round’s On Me: How-to Achieve Financial Freedom in Your 20s. Great guy and great advice, check it out! “I’m just not making enough money to get ahead.” One of my friends complained to me about this. I asked him if he wanted to do something about it or if he was just looking to whine. He wanted to take action. So I decided to helped him out. What did I say? Before we get into this, you must remember that it’s not going to be easy. What’s easy is to keep on keeping on. The difficult thing to do is to take action and to do something. I’m also going to assume that you want to either save up some money or pay off some debt to have some breathing space. You’re tired of watching your paychecks go as they come in. You’re fed up with never getting ahead. You want to finally be able to treat yourself to a steak dinner or you … Read more…

An Actual $2000 Per Month Budget

How do people live on a small amount? This is an example budget showing exactly how TWO people get by while only spending $2000 each month. There are great lessons here on how to manage your money. I currently spend way more than this and there are a lot of opportunities for me to save. Check it out - http://www.budgetinginthefunstuff.com/an-actual-2000-per-month-budget/

I wrote about this McDonald’s budget versus our post-college budget in mid-2013.  Based on the specific feedback, I’ve updated this post to include a general $2000 budget for those with a higher rent too.  I broke the budgeted amounts down to show how it is possible as well. McDonald’s Budget – Seems to Have Some Holes Have you seen that McDonald’s and Visa came up with a budget for “their average worker” that brings in $2000 a month?  It’s freaking hilarious.  Here’s a quick summary: Two Actual $2000 Budgets! Okay, so that is obviously not a realistic budget for most people.  It just seems to assume you don’t pay for stuff like health insurance and can roll things like food into a daily amount of leftover money and be just fine. And, yes, $2000 a month is obviously very little to live on.  BUT, Mr. BFS and I actually lived on that during college and the year after (2004-2006).  So, here it goes, a realistic $2000 budget for two people that has actually worked for two real people… A Real $2000 Per Month Budget for Two People That $2000 after taxes is about what I was making as a full-time cubicle worker plus what Mr. BFS brought … Read more…

Ten Money Tips for Students and Recent Grads

Here are ten money tips for students and recent grads that will actually help keep people from spending all of their students loans. Their future selves will thank them! College debt is crippling, millennials, listen up! Use these frugal hacks to keep from being broke when you graduate.

The following, circa 2011, is a great guest post about money tips for young adults by Marissa at Thirty Six Months.  I’m fleshing it out with my own tips and moving it on up to help as many students and grads as possible.  🙂 I was having a conversation with my grandparents the other day about how much debt I am in and how much post secondary education really costs these days. I find that a majority of GEN Y students are coming out of school with more debt than they realize and are not really prepared to start tackling it. I mean let’s think about it, we don’t get taught about consumer debt in school, so the minute that we step on campus we have credit card companies lined up to “give” us money, and since we haven’t had access to free cash before, we all jump at it. The way most student loans work, here in Canada anyway, is that they will lend you funds to support your education and will start charging interest 6 months after you graduate. Most students either don’t think that far ahead when it comes to interest rates or assume that since they are getting … Read more…

Budgeting for Unexpected Fun

This was a post response for a newsletter reader question back in June 2014.  I feel like I did not promote it correctly back then and it may help a few more out now.  Thanks!  How Do You Budget for a Completely Unexpected Expense? Here was a recent question from Carmen: My kids have gifted me with a ticket to Istanbul & then Italy for my daughter’s wedding in Autumn…what is the best way to budget for additional trip expenses?  Thanks–take care! Okay, so most of us are probably thinking that the best way for budgeting for unexpected expenses is to save money in advance.  You’d be right, but that isn’t helpful if that hasn’t been done yet and the expense pops up anyway.  Plus, that may not be the question… First – How to Estimate Travel Expenses First thing’s first.  Carmen may be asking how much she should budget for the trip, not how to come up with the money.  Either way, she’ll need to know.  For travel, I generally search around online for recent personal stories from other people to see how much things run.  I research them based on the big categories and round up to cover … Read more…