Americans Blowing Budgets on Food
- Created on 10 December 2014
A MarketWatch article cites a recent Principal Financial group survey of 1200 respondents and their food related budget woes. I don't remember from Statistics why 1200 people makes a national trend, but the results are interesting anyway.
A huge group found eating related activities wreaked the most havoc on 2014 budgets. 40% to be exact. The largest breakdown (22%) found dining out to be the #1 cause of going off-budget this year.
Variable expenses are tricky. They require planning and discipline to manage effectively. Assuming you are already creating a specific budget each month (or pay period), reigning in menu-based variable expenses is easier with the following approaches:
New Year, New You - Share Your Debt Free Journey (All Phases Welcome)
- Created on 08 December 2014
I've been noodling this project for some time. I love hearing progress updates and encouraging #teamdebtfree in your pursuit of debt free living.
In the past, the Debt Free Divas have highlighted people who've already accomplished debt freedom (either consumer debt only or including the mortgage). That's wonderful. I love it. We'll continue to do it. Those stories spread hope. However, there's also value in hearing from those currently in the trenches as well.
Recently, one of our faithful contributors shared her in progress story of working towards a debt free goal as a single mom. She has dumped $150,000 in debt so far and is well on her way to be debt free in 2015. Her in progress story inspired people all over the country. People she'll probably never meet. She's giving hope simply because she dares to share.
How to be a DIY Bride and Host a Fabulous Wedding
- Created on 06 December 2014
The Knot.com released their annual, all-things-wedding survey and I was blown away by the average wedding costs for 2013 (from 13,000 bridal respondents).
The average spent on a wedding in 2013 was just under $30,000. No?
If you believe the Knot.
It doesn't stop there. Drilling down into the data, you'll find that Manhattan, NY is the most expensive place to wed; topping the charts at $86,000. This doesn't include the honeymoon. The breakdown includes expenses like:
- $1200 on wedding dresses
- $1,100 on the rehearsal dinner
- $5,500 on the ring
Of the top five most expensive places to tie the knot, my fair city - Chicago - earned the #4 spot (only $48,000).
I wonder...are the parents of the bride still paying for all of this?
Dumping Debt As a Family @ Enchanted Homeschooling Mom
- Created on 03 December 2014
I recently had a fabulous opportunity to talk about dumping debt (a favorite topic of choice) over at the Enchanted Homeschooling Mom blog. Jill is the author and creator of a home schooling, members only community designed to connect families with resources and support during their adventures with a non traditional educational approach. That community is growing and I was honored to share my thoughts on making debt elimination a family affair.
Pop over to find my 5 reasons families should and can attack debt together. The process is challenging enough. Having a team on the same page can smooth out the rough edges.
I also provide practical action items to make it happen. Leave a comment and let her know you stopped by!
The Winner Is... & 5 Tips to Keep Christmas Spending in Check
- Created on 01 December 2014
...all of us!!!
All who have committed to paying cash for Christmas spending and taking no new debt into 2015 that is. However the winner of our Pay Cash for Christmas $250 giveaway is...
Drum roll please...
Why I Skip Black Friday
- Created on 28 November 2014
My first – an only – experience with Black Friday shopping occurred circa 2003 after opening our Laundromat. We decided to replace a broken TV with a rock bottom priced, Black Friday sale find.
WonderMan determined that we would target a certain massive-box retailer, known for rolling things back.
As Black Friday neophytes, we had no idea that 6 am was when serious shoppers left the stores to go back home. By the time we arrived, total chaos had ensued. Of course, the 10 flat screens for $20 (exaggerating slightly) were already long gone.
No matter. We just checked out the remaining sales and selected a TV/DVD combo for around 80 bucks. That’s when chaos went ridiculous.
$80,000 in Student Loans Paid Off in 1 Year
- Created on 26 November 2014
Joe Mihalic was heading for lifestyle inflation after graduating from Harvard Business School with $101,000 in student loans. He found a great job and bought a home in Austin along with a couple of cars, a motorcycle, and a few other toys.
He was living the life!
He was also paying $1100 a month toward student loans.
One evening, Joe wrestled with that age-old question: is this really the life I want to live? What emerged was a new found sense of purpose, a blog highlighting his experience, and one mind-blowing challenge to dump $80,000 in less than 1 year.