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Spending Less Than You Earn

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I hit on the main ways of diagnosing your financial health in this past post.  I’m going to use Wednesdays to go further in depth on each point since I truly believe that financial health leads to less stress and happier lives. The first point was to spend less than you earn.  This means that the money you have going out needs to be less (hopefully a lot less) than the money you have coming in.  Constant, overwhelming debt is not healthy for you or your future. List Your Income and Expenses In order to spend less than you earn, you need to know how much you earn and how much you spend.  I’d suggest writing down your known monthly income and expenses first.  Then spend a whole month adding anything you missed to that list.  Not only will this be a definitive picture of your spending and salary, but it will give you a great start on beginning a budget as well. Ways to Widen the Gap If you are not where you want to be once you’ve seen this list, you do have options: 1)  Decrease your spending. 2)  Get a better paying job. 3)  Find other income sources. Decrease Spending … Read more

Fit in a Fun Friday – Expensive Dreams

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My friend Desiree is an astronomy addict. She and her husband, Mitch, were the ones who took me to the George Observatory a few weeks ago to take my first real look at Saturn. She also found out that she could do way more star-gazing for free if she joined a few astronomy clubs in and around our area. At her first meeting, they showed her a close-up of the moon like she had never seen before on a 42” screen attached to a Takahashi telescope. She’s now jonesing for this $18,000 astronomy machine… The weird thing is, even though I’m a frugal, money-hoarding squirrel, I think she should get one if it would truly enhance her happiness. I greatly value happiness. I also believe that money can be used as a tool to achieve greater contentment. Being in the poor house doesn’t lead to peace of mind, so I also highly value budgeting. So, I suggest saving for a HUGE splurge the same way you’d save for anything else. Set aside a certain amount of money from every paycheck for the item of your dream. Desiree could be the proud owner of a Takahashi in 5 years or less … Read more

The Fun Stuff in My Budget

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Today, Mr Credit Card from www.askmrcreditcard.com is going to talk about the fun things in his budget. He has also compiled his thoughts on the best credit cards offers available today if you looking for one. Hope you enjoy this post Your budget serves many purposes. The most obvious one is to plan how much you intend to spend your money on different things. Budgeting is such a useful tool to know where your money goes and helps you decide where to put your limited resources to good use. However, very often, budgeting feels like to drag especially if you are looking to reduce debt or squeezing every cent to make ends meet. But as the title of this blog suggest, budgeting can be fun too! So in this post, I would like to touch on some of the fun things that I budget and plan for in our household’s budget. Saving For Vacation – This one is a biggie for us. We take a couple of family vacations every year. And we try to see different places each year. Our budgets for vacation vary every year depending on the circumstances. Normally, we have to save for airline tickets and … Read more

The BFS Way to Diagnose Your Financial Health

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There seems to be all sorts of ways to measure your financial health, but here’s the list of points I’d keep an eye on: 1)  Am I spending significantly less than I earn? If I’m not, I’d take a look at my spending, make a budget, and cut the unnecessary expenses. If that didn’t fix it, I’d look into getting a better-paying job or at other income sources. 2)  Do I have a solid emergency fund? If I have at least 3 months of expenses (preferably 6 months or more), I’d move on. Otherwise, I’d start funneling cash into an emergency account. Even starting with $50 a month is better than no backup fund at all. 3)  Am I saving enough for retirement? I’d take a look at a few retirement suggestions and figure out if I’m on track. If I’m not, I’d look into my options. Do I have a 401k, IRA, or a Roth IRA? Would one of these work for me? 4)  What kind of debt do I have? If I do have some, I’d make a little list and see what I could eliminate. I’d start paying off high interest debt like credit cards before attacking car … Read more

How Would You Proceed?

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My husband and I are approaching a small financial crossroads. We make his final graduate school payment in June, he graduates in August, and that will bring a small automatic raise (about $1000 a school year minimum). That means that we will have an extra $750 a month starting in August. We’re wondering what we should do with it since we have several options. I know, it’s a good problem to have, but I have a personal finance blog for a reason (I over-think money)… Here’s the info we’re working with: We’re in our mid-20s and want to retire at age 52. Our current emergency fund has 3-4 months of expenses in it and our jobs are VERY stable. Our mortgage has about $73,300 left at 5.375% and is already on track to be paid off by the end of 2017 instead of 2022. Hubby’s car loan has about $10,700 left at 4.6% and is already on track to be paid off by the end of 2011 instead of 2013. We contribute 6% to my 401k, which is matched up to 6%. We fully fund one Roth IRA ($5000 a year). We put about $200 a month into our Scottrade … Read more

BFS Guest Post at Little House in the Valley – How Much House is Enough House?

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Just wanted to say a quick thank you to Little House in the Valley for letting me guest post! Feel free to take a look at the article, How Much House is Enough House?, to see my take on my own home. Thanks again!