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What Happened When One Family Set a Goal to be Mortgage Free in Seven Years

Today we’re sharing the story of Owen and his family. Find out what happened when they bought their house in the midst of tough economic times. 

When we bought our first home it was in the middle of the financial crisis. Our purchase came with a $240,000 mortgage. It was a ridiculous sum of money. It also seemed like a very risky time to buy. People were being laid off, the stock market was tanking, and we were taking on a massive amount of debt. It was the largest amount of money we had ever owed. Read more

9 Pieces of Financial Advice for High School Graduates

It’s that time of the year when graduation caps will be flung in the air and high school seniors everywhere will be reflecting on their lives as children and anticipating what they’ll do with life as a legal adult. Some will be heading off to college to tech school, while others will immerse themselves into the working world, eager to start funding their hopes and dreams. Read more

The Importance of Finding the Leak in Your Financial Ship

 

One day soon after we began our “getting out of debt” journey I decided, for motivational sake, to go back and track how much we spent on eating out in 2012. It was in December of 2012 that we had our financial wake-up call and realized we had to do something about our money situation.  We’d cut down quite a bit on eating out over the last couple of years before that, so I was curious to see what we’d actually spent on restaurants, given we’d tried to make 2012 a little more budget friendly in that area.  Read more

Financial Literacy Roundup: Week #4

Alas, it’s the final post in this marathon of information that hopefully increased your knowledge base during Financial Literacy Month. Learning about money management is a lot of work, but it’s one source of education that will most surely pay off if you’re willing to put into place the pearls of wisdom you learn. And here, my friends, are more pearls for your collection. Read more

How to Successfully Invest in Real Estate

Today’s post comes from my good blogging friend Andrew, who blogs over at Living Rich Cheaply. There he talks about building wealth while living in one of the most expensive cities in the U.S., NYC. Today he is sharing his experience in real estate investing. Enjoy!

There is an allure to making it rich investing in real estate. There are late night infomercials telling you they can teach you to build a real estate empire. There are shows about making big bucks flipping houses. Real estate investing is NOT a get rich quick scheme, but it is a great way to build wealth. If done right, investing in real estate has many benefits including having monthly cash flow, tax benefits, having your tenants’ rent check pay the mortgage, leverage and appreciation. There are many ways to invest in real estate but for purposes of this post, I am going to focus on buy and hold real estate investing. Read more

Ways To Increase Passive Income

This guest post of courtesy of my blogging friend Michael, who blogs over at Stretch a Dime. Enjoy!

Some years back, I bought a young lime plant, and planted it in my backyard. I spent a good amount of time taking care of it when the plant was young. In a few years it grew to become a decent sized lime tree and started producing lime.

My daughter and I would go and harvest the lime. We would make fresh limeade and my family would enjoy it. Every summer, we would harvest literally hundreds of lime. We would give away some of the produce to our friends. Read more

How to Save Money When You’re Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Hey, financially literate friends! Today we feature Cindy, who talks about how to save money when money is tight. For extra fun, you can visit Cindy’s guest post over at our sister blog, Fruclassity. 

It’s easy to feel you’re working for nothing. The bills are (barely) getting paid. But how can you get ahead, when it seems you’re just existing from paycheck to paycheck? 

 You don’t have to live this way.

Even if your income is rock-bottom right now, you can still take actions that help. I speak from experience. My husband, the Brick, and I have had years when his paycheck was $800-900 monthly.

Until things got better (and they did), here’s what we did.

How to Save When Living Paycheck to Paycheck

There are ways to save money when your income is low. It will take some effort, but here’s how we did it.

We Knew What We Owed

We paid credit cards off every month, on time.

Use a card with no yearly fee that offers cash back, and charge everything you would normally pay cash for, including utilities, phone bill, etc. You don’t pay a lick of interest — and you’ll harvest cash or gift cards.

If you already have credit card debt, you’re already paying interest you can’t afford to give. What can you do to get rid of this burden? (See below.)

We worked with medical providers to make a payment plan. 

The Brick’s insurance had a huge deductible, which covered catastrophes, but little else. Hospital and dentist’s offices were willing to wait — provided we made small payments regularly. And we did, until they were paid off.

Want a fool-proof system for getting out of debt? The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

We kept monthly costs reasonably consistent. 

The Brick and I never had a written-up budget, but we knew what heating costs, groceries and other expenses need to be, in order for us to get by. If this occasionally meant turning the thermostat down, or not going to the grocery store that week, so be it.

We paid ourselves, too

Call it an emergency or an “F-you” fund, doesn’t matter. That money will save you over and over by covering unexpected plumbers’ fees (like the washcloth a daughter flushed) or a ‘grab-it-quick’ sale price. Even $5 a week equals $260 yearly. Keep the money separate and you honestly won’t miss it. Replenish anything used as quickly as possible.

How to Save to Become a Millionaire: The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich

We Cut Expenses

We Saved on Groceries

You have to eat — that’s a given. What you don’t have to do is pay full price. Buy on sale or clearance, go to a warehouse or dollar store, use substitutes.  Possibilities are out there.

This includes trendy foods: ‘gluten-free,’ for example. So many people spend inflated prices for items they could just as easily make at home for less — or do without, altogether. Do you really need these for health reasons? Then by all means, find them at a discount price.

Organic items come into play, too. ‘Natural’ and  ‘organic’ label requirements are much looser than companies would want you to know; don’t fatten their profits. Instead, grow or make your own, hunt and fish it, buy from a wholesaler or roadside stand, pick it yourself, or buy in bulk.

Frugal living can be fun! The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle

We Didn’t Pay Interest

     *We didn’t pay interest. No matter what.  I cannot emphasize how important this is. If we couldn’t pay for it, we saved — and did without until we could.

Another option: a payment plan that doesn’t charge interest, provided you pay it off regularly. We purchased both laptops this way.

 

     *We bought used — but the best quality we could afford. Buy a cheap sweater, and you’ll have to replace it next season. Spend the same money on a good wool or cashmere sweater at the thrift shop, instead, and you’ll have it for years to come.

This applies to everything, from refrigerators to furniture. (Cars and homes, too.)  Do your research, find reliable brands, then scour Craigslist, garage and estate sales, and the Internet. Tell friends. Take free stuff for now — then upgrade when you can afford to. Bargain!

It may take time, but you’ll find what you need.

 

Finally, We Increased Our Income. 

 

     *Take a part-time or temporary job. Any job.  We’ve both done everything from fixing sewing machines to catering and dogsitting. (Including cleaning up poop – yuck!). If it’s honest work that pays — we’ll do it.

 

     *Use that extra income to pay interest-bearing debts, invest in items you really need, or beef up your savings. 

 

It’s no fun to live on a limited income – but can be done. And with patience and discipline, your life will improve.  Hang in there.

Visit Cindy Brick – and hear a lot more about frugal topics – at her Brickworks blog: http://www.cindybrick.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Tips to Help You Dive into Property Investments

When my husband and I decided to invest our savings in property, all we saw were potential dollar signs in our future. We envisioned our money multiplying quickly. While it is possible, there are a few things we learned the hard way about property investments. It’s not just about saving up capital then investing, it takes calculation and thoroughness before, during, and after the process. Read more