Archives For Money

By Eric on February 10, 2015 2


Budgeting is a beginner’s skill to achieving our personal finance goals. Budgeting is a necessary tool that helps us plan where we want our money to be spent, and allows us to evaluate our spending compared to our plan as the months and years go on.

It’s a fantastic tool, and I can’t imagine living without a budget. But, often times I think people give up on budgeting because it doesn’t show immediate results. It’s by no means a “get-rich-quick” process. It’s a discipline that must be invested into with time and thinking power to ensure you’re getting the most out of the budget.

There is no budgeting software that will answer the question you must answer before harnessing the power of budgeting in getting where you want to go.

How Bad Do You Want It?

What’s your level of commitment to accomplish what you set out to do (fill in the blank with your financial goals)? Without a zeroed in target, we’re likely to miss the mark every time.

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By Eric on February 6, 2015 15

On Sunday evening we started our Whole30 that I talked briefly about here. In summary, it’s a 30 day program of no sugar or processed food. Which means three meals a day consisting of a palm sized portion of protein, filling the rest of my plate with vegetables, adding in some healthy fats (avocados, nuts, coconut oil, etc.), and if I’m still hungry, a small portion of fruit to top it all off.



Kelsey has agreed to join this adventure with me, and I’m happy to have the company. We’re already battling the sugar cravings and headaches as we attempt to slay the sugar dragon. Mine started on day 2 but have subsided since, and Kelsey’s are kicking in as of days 3 and 4 in the form of cookie dough fantasies, and longing for a bag of conversation hearts.

My hope in terms of results is far beyond outward visible changes. I’m not looking to lose weight, but my goals in completing the Whole30 are as follows:

  • Better, more restful sleep
  • More natural energy throughout the day
  • Clear mental focus
  • Increased productivity
  • Establish “better than before” eating habits
  • More family time in the kitchen and at the dinner table

I started this journey in a weird way. Kelsey bought the book “It Starts With Food“, and one evening I happened to pick it up, and couldn’t put it down. Most of the book is filled with the science behind the program, how our bodies react to certain foods, why we crave sugar, and what it does to our  minds and bodies.

On the one hand, I wanted to skip over most of the book and get to the Whole30 program (the rules, guidelines, and recipes), but on the other hand, the why behind it all was fascinating. I wore out my highlighter reading the book!

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By Eric on February 3, 2015 5

There are a myriad of ways to make improvements to your budget. Some are easy, some are more intensive, but there are ways. Even if you’ve been budgeting for awhile and feel like you’ve squeezed your budget every which way, there’s likely something on this list that can help you improve your budget.

I wanted to create a very practical and actionable list for you to improve your budget, (even today) if you’re willing! Some things require making sacrifices, some are funner than others… Even if you pick one and do it today, you’re in a better position than you were before reading this post. My contribution to society… you’re welcome!

Happy budgeting!


1. If you haven’t already… start a budget

A budget is nothing more than a list of ways you plan to spend your money. If you do this on a regular basis and stick to your plan, you will start to gain control of your spending, and align your priorities. Keep it simple for your first go round and commit to fine tuning it as you go.

2. Budget Billing

Utility bills can fluctuate quite a bit from month to month. Most utility companies offer something called budget billing which takes your total yearly usage and divides it into one even monthly payment.

Each year they review your total expenses and make adjustments to that monthly payment. This helps the budgeting process greatly as you’ll have one static amount to budget for each month.

EXAMPLE: Instead of having a $100 gas bill one month and a $400 bill the next, you’ll have one number to plug into your budget month after month.

3. Sell Something… or a lot of Things

We spent one Saturday last year listing some things on our local for sale group on Facebook and made about $200. Some big items, some small, but regardless, we got rid of some stuff we no longer needed and brought in some cash at the same time.

You could also use Craigslist, or eBay depending on what you are selling, but I’ve found the for sale groups on Facebook to be the least time consuming and easiest process.

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By Eric on January 28, 2015 2

Debt is Not Forever

Years ago, before we began budgeting, we used to make financial decisions using this six step scientific system:

  1. I want that…
  2. I need that…
  3. I need that now
  4. How much per month?…
  5. (Wet finger in the air) we can “afford it”
  6. Pay for it later

There are many problems with this plan, mostly the endless pit of stuff we were able to talk ourselves into “needing.” A king sized bed, a $15,000 Jeep, a brand new home, etc.

None of this stuff produced more than momentary happiness, and most of which came with guilty baggage, and a craving for more stuff. I’m by no means perfect today, but I’ve learned a lot through the process of paying off our debts, creating a plan, and saying NO for awhile.

Debt is Not Forever

Getting out of debt isn’t near as easy as getting into debt. We don’t have DVR, so let me tell you about something called “TV commercial breaks.” During a 30 minute TV show, the television network will take breaks to show you some advertising (how they make their money). Typically three or four commercial during a give break. I typically spend this time trying NOT to lose to my wife in Words with Friends.

But, I was actually watching the commercials the other day and guess what all of the advertising was related to… money.

  • Let us help you file for bankruptcy and wipe your slate clean.
  • This credit card has no black-out dates
  • Use our company to file your taxes
  • Get zero percent financing for 5 years on a brand new money pit (car)

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By Eric on January 27, 2015 2

Tax Preparation

I’m a big fan of saving money when possible, and in general a do-it-yourself-er. And when it comes to preparing our taxes, we’ve done them ourselves the past 5 years or so. The first few years we were married, we had a friend prepare them for us, but then we started using Turbo Tax, and found the process less scary than we previously thought.

Plus, over the years, Turbo Tax has become more and more user friendly and extremely helpful in walking us through our tax situation, asking us questions and helping us make our way toward a completed tax return.

Our filing hasn’t been too complicated over the years and we’ve always felt our situation to be pretty normal and that we could save some money by preparing our taxes ourselves.

However, this year the decision wasn’t quite so easy. In September of 2014 I became self-employed which made me pause to think twice about our yearly “Ok, I don’t want to, but let’s sit down and do our taxes, night.” This year we’re opting to leave our tax preparation to a professional.

While this may cost us more for the preparation and filing of our taxes, we’re doing it for the peace of mind knowing that we didn’t miss anything in this year of transition. And to be doubly sure, we’ll run our numbers through TurboTax to see what their proposed return says.

But, when and how do you know if you should file your taxes with an online service like Turbo Tax, or entrust a professional tax advisor to help out.

Let’s talk about all things tax preparation…

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