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SherryH’s Action Plan: Doing Something About Our Situation

I’ve hired my friend and huge blog supporter, SherryH, as an occasional staff writer here at BFS.  😀  SherryH lives near the coast of North Carolina. Her family consists of her husband, their two adult sons, and the requisite writer’s cats. In 2013, Sherry survived a brain tumor that destroyed her eyesight. She’s determined not to let that slow her down. She recently started blogging at http://www.blindnotinvisible.wordpress.com/. In one of her recent vlogs, Crystal advised people who complained that they couldn’t do the things she’s done to Stop Whining, Start Doing, or Shut Up.  I don’t think Crystal gives herself enough credit. She’s got an awesome blend of talent, drive, and creativity that I don’t think many people can match! But I think most people can almost always do something to improve their situation. My Action Plan I made a somewhat whiny post here not long ago, When Does It End?  I felt like our family was holding onto the last thread at the end of our financial rope, and more and more kept piling on. I couldn’t see any way out, and I was feeling pretty desperate.  Some great comments here and some very supportive emails really helped me … Read more…

Debt Doesn’t Have to Be Forever!

Jackie at the Debt Myth has started a movement and I am joining in!  Debt can be insidious, but it doesn’t have to be forever.  My personal story is still writing itself and I’ve been on a few different sides of debt so far. My Debt Story So Far Thanks to my parents and working up to 60 hours a week during my last year of college, I didn’t start off with student loan debt.  But I did get a shiny car loan in 2005 as soon as I had my first real job a month out of college.  It wasn’t a huge loan, $11,000 over 5 years, but that was nearly half of what I made per year after taxes.  My new husband and I made the conscious decision to pay it off as soon as possible, and ended up doing just that a few months after we bought our first home in 2007. So, goodbye to car debt, but hello to a 15-year, $92,000 mortgage.  We made the decision to pay that off faster than necessary too, but while we were doing that, we took on another car loan for 5 years at $16,0000 on a vehicle for my husband in … Read more…

The Gift of Debt – Motivation Through the Murder of Mortgages

You know I hate debt.  Heck, we paid off both of our cars less than 2 years into our car loans.  Now we save cash for future cars.  We paid off the mortgage of our first home, now our rental property, in 6 years.  Some of you have even pointed out that I could have used that $70,o00 in principal payments on something that could have earned me more than the 4.5% interest that we saved.  I argued that owning a home outright is a sort of insurance policy for us self-employed people. BUT, today I want to look at debt in a slightly different light than usual.  I want to see any of the debt we’ve ever had as a gift…what did it lead to overall? Our Debt History Mr. BFS and I are 30 years old.  The debts that we’ve had so far have been a family college loan, 2 car loans, and 2 mortgages in our lives so far.  Here is our debt history: The $8000 family college loan was forgiven a few months after we started making payments when we graduated in 2005. The first car loan of $11,000 came along in 2005 too.  It spurred us … Read more…

Annoying Letter Means WE PAID OFF OUR FIRST MORTGAGE!!!

On April 2, 2013 I wired $22,200 to Chase to pay off the mortgage on our first home – what is now our rent house.  I held off on writing the happy post about it since I wanted to receive something official that would confirm we indeed own our first home 100%.  Well, here is a letter we received yesterday: We are writing to tell you about a change in your status in the Mortgage Cash Back Program. We want to let you know that you are no longer enrolled in the program because your mortgage has been paid off prior to maturity.  You may be able to enroll in the program in the future if you decide to refinance your mortgage with Chase. Note:  Any rewards that you may have earned before cancellation of the program have been forfeited. If you have any questions, please call us at one of the telephone numbers listed below. So I forfeited $48 in cash back to save $60 in interest for the rest of April.  I’m okay with that.  😀 WE PAID OFF A MORTGAGE!!! So even though we don’t have a deed in hand yet, I am super happy to say that … Read more…

Mortgage Payoff Race Update – Changing Priorities?

Last September, Jason from Live Real, Now and I made a bet.  We are racing to see who can pay off a mortgage first. At the time of the bet, Mr. BFS and I had about $24,500 left on the mortgage on our rental house.  Jason had a similar amount left on his home loan.  The rules on my end were that I needed to pay for our closing costs for the new house, save up $20,000 of padding again, and then pay off the first mortgage without touching any of that padding.  Jason is going to pay off a vehicle loan and then attack his.  Whoever loses will visit the other person’s place…me in “hell” or him in “the frozen arctic”.  🙂 Mortgage Payoff Race Update Well, we saved up the $20,000 in padding by the end of last October.  Yay!  But things sort of slowed down from there.  With two house payments and two sets of property taxes, our cost of living has nearly doubled.  You can see our budget here – with taxes, we need to bring in $8000 a month.  We bring in way more rental income too ($2300 per month), but generally, our self employment income has settled … Read more…

I Don’t Believe in “Good Debt”

If you’ve been reading since I started in February 2010, then sorry for repeating myself a little.  I get asked pretty regularly via email about my take on debt and credit cards.  Today, I’ll tackle the debt one, lol. My View of Debt I simply don’t think of any debt as good debt.  This doesn’t mean that I treat all debt the same, but I don’t see any of it as a good thing.  For example, the big debts seem to be student loans, credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, and car loans right?  Generally credit cards are called “bad debt”, student loans and mortgages are referred to as “good debt”, and car loans seem to depend on the person talking. Sorry, but I think that they all suck…credit card debt just sucks the most because it usually has higher interest rates than the others.  That is how I judge debt…it all sucks, and the higher the interest rate, the more it sucks.  🙂 Tackling Our Debt Does this mean that I flog myself daily for having two mortgages?  No.  But it does mean that I am actively trying to kill both of those loans.  We have the rent house mortgage down to … Read more…

How to Improve Your Credit Score in Six Easy Steps

The following is a guest post from Dominique Brown, a financial planner, landord, personal finance blogger and video blogger. He is the owner of YourFinancesSimplified.com where he talks about everything from being a new father to his worst financial mistakes. He is also the owner of InsiderRealEstateTips.com where he talks about real estate exclusively. The Huffington Post and  H&R Block. You can find him either on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube or Instagram. I don’t have to tell you that having a bad credit score is a bad thing. However, what many people fail to realize is how many things are affected by your credit score. We all know how you need good credit to get into real estate, but did you know you could be turned down for a job because of a your crappy score? That to me means that your credit score should be a high priority. I don’t care if you are debt adverse or a debt lover.. credit matters. Unfortunately, there isn’t any magic way to increase your credit score. However, you can improve your score within few months by carefully applying several strategies together, if your credit report doesn’t have some serious black marks such as foreclosure … Read more…