Monday, November 14, 2011

Does Paying Your Bills Make You Happy?


I’ve realized something today, 16 months into my dept repayment; I don’t have much stress over my bills anymore. In fact paying my bills each month makes me happy, because my family and I are one step closer to being debt free.

Its amazing how times have changes. A year and a half ago I stressed over sitting down to balance the check book. There were many disagreements on how money would be spent.

Today when an unexpected expense comes up it can be dealt with. There is little fear of the unknown, because a plan is in place.



So if you fear your check book, or the monthly bills, take action:

-          make a list of all income and expense
-          make a budget based on these
-          develop a plan
-          agree with you spouse on the plan
-          start an emergency fund
-          be happy!


How do you approach your bills, budget? How do they make you feel?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Giving Back

In honor of our Veterans I wanted to share an organization with you that does incredible work.

OPERATION SURF is a recreational and rehabilitative surf experience for active duty military recently wounded on tour in Iraq, Afghanistan or training maneuvers.

Operation Surf host annual wounded warriors surf program for soldiers from the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio Texas. Operation Surf takes place in different locations such as Pismo Beach/Avila Beach, CA and Santa Cruz, CA.

They have developed an adaptive surf program to allow these soldiers to experience the thrill of surfing in a safe, constructive, land and ocean environment. 





My family and I are lucky enough to have family members who are very involved with this charity. We have yet to be a part of an event, but have donated money to their cause. We hope to some day take part in one of these amazing events.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Holiday Season & RAK

It’s that time of year again folks. The holidays are here. We are only 2 ½ weeks away from Thanksgiving and the full on Christmas blitz will be here. This makes me recall a post I made a little over a year ago.

http://untildebtdouspart.blogspot.com/2010/12/random-act-of-kindnes.html

Sure the Holidays are about giving and receiving gifts, but what about the Random Acts of Kindness. This is truly a special idea that can really make your Holiday season even more special.



I read today that Dave Ramsey has started his Giving Challenge again this year.

http://www.daveramsey.com/specials/giving-challenge/

Challenging people to donate time or money to help others. Some of my co-workers are thinking of forgoing swapping gifts this year and taking the gift money to adopt a family. I think this is a great idea. Helping others in need. I’m hopefully in the future that once my debt repayment is complete that my family and I will have many opportunities to help others.

What are you doing to help others this Holiday season?

Friday, November 4, 2011

We're Back!

It’s been over 10 month since my last post. I have good reason for the delay. It has been a very busy 10 months. Work has been extremely hectic. My department is growing and I have hired 7 full time staff members. This is a good thing, but it take time and effort to get the new people up to speed. In April I had a short trip to the emergency room and stay in the hospital to have a cyst removed. I woke up one morning and it ruptured and off to surgery I went.

In August Hurricane Irene battered the East Coast and the family and I go a wake up at 4 am in the morning when a tree fell on our house. No one was hurt, except the roof. We did have a small branch breech the ceiling in a bedroom. All has been since been repaired.





Although I haven’t kept the blog updated over the last 10 months, I have kept myself update on debt topics listening to pod casts by Dave Ramsey and Dan Miller. I have also read a number of books including:

Dale Carnegie's - How to Win Friends & Influence People
Dale Carnegie's - How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
Dan Miller’s - 48 Days to the Work You Love

With all these things going on my family and I have stayed focused on paying down our debt. We have our $1000 emergency fund in place and in just over 15 months have paid close to $32,000 of our debt off.

We may have been quite over this time, but we have been focused!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Power of Information

For over 6 months now my family and I have been on the right track with my money. Cutting up the credit card in the summer of 2010 and we have not looked back. My wife and I communicate often about our finances, staying on target and making sure we both are on the same page. We have also started to educate our three children about money and debt. Now that we are on our way we have begun to share our enlightenment with family and friends. I'm surprised at how often people respond with their own tales of debt issues. We often share as much information as we can, supplying resources like web sites and books. Also suggesting that one look at their own bank or credit union for additional information. Most offer free debt/credit counseling. This Christmas I purchased a few copies of Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" and gave them as gifts.



The feedback from the people receiving these gifts has been amazing. I'm glad that I have been able to provide valuable information to help them. It brings a smile to my face when the tell me about the changes they are making in their own finances now they the have read the book. All I ask in return in that they pay it forward. When the finish the book they pass it on to someone else and ask that person to do they same.

Do you talk openly about your finances? What resources do you recommend for others looking for information?


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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pay What You Can

A great Article that I wanted to share.

Panera Pay What You Can Cafe

If you went into a restaurant like this, what would you pay for your meal?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Week End Round Up

Have a great weekend everyone!

My Yakezie challenge continues to make progress. I am now in the 500k range. Good Stuff.

Here are some posts I enjoined this week:


Punch Debt in The Face - Am I relevant?
http://www.punchdebtintheface.com/2011/01/relevant.html

Frugal Dad - Debt: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
http://frugaldad.com/2011/01/06/what-is-bad-debt/

Budgeting in the Fun Stuff - How to Get Richer After Holiday Binging
http://www.budgetinginthefunstuff.com/how-to-get-richer-after-holiday-binging/

Get Rich Slowly - Drama in Real Life: When Emergencies Pile Up
http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2011/01/06/drama-in-real-life-when-emergencies-pile-up/

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Merit Increases

From Dictionary.com

Merit:
–noun
1. claim to respect and praise; excellence; worth.
2. something that deserves or justifies a reward or commendation; a commendable quality, act, etc

It's that time of year again at work for review and merit increase. It got me thinking of my salary and future potential earnings. Since I didn't win mega millions Tuesday night I plan on continuing to work for many years. I have been working full time for over 17 years. In that time I have had 4 promotions. With those promotions I had big increases in salary 10-12% or more. Typical merit increases run in the 3-5% ranges and over the last few years they have been in the 2-3% range. I took my current salary and assumed a 3% increase over the remaining years I expect to work calculating the increase each year and adding it to my base.



I was surprised to see the salary I would be earning in the years to come. Hopefully there will be a few promotions along the way, but I did not add any in. If you asked me if that would be enough 6-8 months ago. I would have told you no way. Now being on track to paying off my debt in the next 2-3 years, my salary seem much more manageable / livable.


Could you survive for the remainder of your career on a 2-3% yearly increase?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Holiday Recap

I’m back. After a little break with lots of family, friends, and tons of food I’m hopeful to get back to some regular posting. It was a great Holiday season this year, so great that my children dubbed it “The Best Christmas Ever.” There were so many reasons why it was the best Christmas ever. In no particular order here are the reason for our best Christmas ever:

Wish lists fulfilled - Everyone got what the wanted this year. Packages cookies baked with love all delivered on time. There were smiles all around.

Only Cash was used – We did not incur any debt this holiday season all gifts, food etc. were paid in full with cash. What an amazing feeling,

Random Act of Kindness – My wife and I had the opportunity to shed a little light for others. When a customer was a little short on their grocery bill, and asked my wife to remove some items from their total, my wife paid the difference for them. I handed out Dave & Buster’s gift cards to 3 families that had unlimited video game play on them. Everyone was very thankful.






Time Spent With Family – both my wife and I took the week off between Christmas and New Years and had a great week with our children.

Friends
– spent a number of days/nights with good friends drinking, eating, and laughing.

Snow – not a white Christmas, missed it by about 24 hours, but we did get to play, shovel and sled in plenty of the white stuff.

We did have our share of craziness as well. My wife had a flat tire on the expressway with 4 kids in the car, on their way to go sledding. I happen to be laid up in bed that day recovering from a trip to the ER and a battle with kidney stones. (kidney stones I’ll save for another day) After a call to our road side assistants told us the wait would be 4 hours, a Police office showed up and changed the tire for my wife.

We had the tire replaced the following day and received a 60% credit towards purchase of the new one. Things just seem to be a lot less stress free these days when the burden of money isn’t hanging over your head.

Hoping everyone had a great Holiday and Happy New Year.