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How Being A Credit Card Delinquent Saved Me Thousands of Dollars!

The following is a guest post from Lyle, a self-employed guitar instructor, performer, web-designer and blogger. For the past twenty years, he has adopted the tenets of voluntary simplicity to live a thrift shop life and has recently began blogging with these concepts in mind at The Joy of Simple. My First Credit Card I received my first credit card back in the summer of 1979 at the ripe young age of 18. I had just started working at a new job and figured it was time to start building up a solid credit history. At least that was the plan. Secretly though, I think I just wanted to be able to buy stuff regardless if I had the money for it or not. You see, prior to that fateful day, I was only able to make purchases if I had enough cash on me or was willing to save my money to buy those big ticket items I seemed to crave back then. With a credit card however, I no longer had to worry about such mundane measures as saving money for an item or two, or three. I could simply hand over my precious piece of plastic and … Read more

Why I Use a Credit Card (And How To Leverage Yours)

The following is a guest post from Mike, the author behind Personal Finance Beat, a blog that covers and links to a host of personal finance and money management topics. You can follow him on Twitter at @PFBeat. I Use a Credit Card I use a credit card to pay for almost everything I buy. If my landlord would allow it, I would even pay my rent with a credit card. I take out $200 a month in cash just in case I need it, but everything else goes on my American Express Blue Cash card.  Using a credit card helps to keep me organized, it’s safer than using cash or a debit card, and it offers cash back rewards that is essentially free money in your pocket. These benefits, of course, are contingent upon one crucial thing: you must pay off your balance — in full — every month. If you can’t be disciplined enough to pay off your balance in full every month, then you probably shouldn’t have a credit card. But this is a system that works for me. Obviously, not everyone agrees with this approach. Dave Ramsey’s View Take Dave Ramsey, for example. Dave offers a … Read more

Budgeting in the SCARY Stuff

The following is another guest post from my potluck friend, Mike Mitchell.  In addition to dressing like a Dungeons & Dragons character for Halloween, Mitchell also blogs about beer over at  You can also check out his past Halloween guest post too at Budgeting in the Undead Stuff.  😀 As the shadows lengthen on the ground and the warm green blush of summer fades into the wrinkled colors of autumn, it’s time to dust off your hockey mask and sharpen your machete: Halloween is on its way! And with it comes something even more frightening… the sticker prices on all the fun costume bits and pieces that you’d like to grab to help you get your scare on. And this year, the scare was in the air as I had to deal with an honest-to-gosh haunting! But I’ll get back to that shortly. Costumes Can be Costly To make the financial matters worse, here in South Texas, October and November are also the time for the Texas Renaissance Festival.  If you’ve never been to this, then you really are missing out – it’s the largest permanent Ren Faire in the US, with Tudor-style buildings, cobble stones, a permanent jousting arena, … Read more

My Southern, Gun-Toting Granny – Lessons on Life, Money, and Entrepreneurship

The following is a guest post from Kim at Eyes on the Dollar.  She’s been a great reader and commenter and the title alone for this post caught my attention.  🙂 My Grandma This November will be the sixth anniversary of my Grandma’s passing. She left this world at the age of 91 with six children, 11 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren, and a lifetime of good advice. Born in 1915 in rural Kentucky, Grandma only had a sixth grade education. She and my Grandpa were farmers. They didn’t have much as far as net worth, but if you look at how Grandma lived her life, there are tons of lessons to be learned about  money, entrepreneurship, and overcoming challenges. Money and Living Simply Grandma never made lots of money. She only went to the store once a month. She grew or raised almost everything her family ate, and made all their clothes. She never had a need for material goods. If the family was warm, well fed, and had clothes, she was happy. When she did need to buy something, it was paid for in cash. If she didn’t have the money, she didn’t buy it. She lived her whole … Read more

How to Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt in 10 Simple Steps

The following is a guest post from My Honest Answer, an advice site solving your dilemmas daily. Less of an agony aunt, and more of an agony sister, my honest answer gives good honest advice: minus the sugar-coating, plus a bit of sass. Step One: Get Real When you owe money on credit cards it’s easy to bury your head in the sand, and ignore those mounting bills. With various debts spread across providers, it’s hard to stay on top of how much you actually owe in total. I’m going to show you how to pay off those debts, starting today. But, none of these steps will work unless you realize that enough is enough, and it’s time to stop accumulating debt, and start paying it back. You need to be committed. Step Two: Get Organized Sit down, and list every single debt: amounts owed to friends or family, credit cards, car loans and store cards. Pull out all the paperwork, and create a ring binder with all your statement and bills. Use dividers to keep each creditor’s information separate. If you do everything online, consider printing your current balances. Make this binder your Debt Control centre, where all the information … Read more

Reader Challenge: Start Funding Your Dreams

The following is a guest post from Adam of, a blog about settings goals, funding dreams and personal finance. Writer’s note: “When I noticed Crystal was soliciting guest writers for her blog I was very excited to participate.  Her blogs focus is well in line with what I like to preach.  Personal finance can be great but only if you leave in the fun.” Quick Question What is the one fun thing you want to do more than anything, something that can be considered a dream or a life goal?  Don’t tell me reduce debt, balance your checkbook, or diversify your portfolio.  Those things are not the type of fun I am talking about.  Are you limited by money? Time? Other? There are reports that have found that diets fail 95% of the time.  I am going to say that the number of budgets that fail when goals and dreams are not taken into account is probably around the same percentage.  I am not a psychologist but based on experience, if you do not set your dream clearly and upfront, you too will probably fail.  However I am not here to bring you down, I am going to show … Read more

Scoring $1200 in Travel Vouchers

The following is a guest post from John at Travel Rinse Repeat.  John is a business traveler who now spends the majority of his life on the road meeting with clients all over the United States.  Please check out his site and thanks for the tips, J0hn! The Oversell Issue It’s no secret that most airlines oversell their flights anticipating a certain number of no-shows. And if more customers show up than the airplane has seats available, then the airlines are forced to clear room on the plane by giving travel credit vouchers to volunteers who give up their seat and take the next available flight out. The value of these vouchers can be high and competition for them can be fierce. One Sunday in March of this year, I was able to ride a wave of oversold flights, getting bumped from flight after flight, in the end collecting $1200 in free travel vouchers from Delta Airlines. This story is about that day, my biggest windfall to date. My $1200 Day When I travel for work, I typically fly out first thing on a Monday morning. However, due to an unusually expensive ticket price for my standard Monday morning flight to … Read more