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A custom debt-reduction budget that fits your own family’s size, needs, etc., is crucial to debt reduction success.

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

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

Financial Literacy Roundup: Week #3

It’s been another fast-paced week in the personal finance blogging world and in life. We’re in the last third of Financial Literacy Month, and PF bloggers everywhere are scrambling to make an impact on the world, sharing what they know to help others live a better financial life.

A Debt Paid Off

I found a terrific article on Retire Before Dad this week called Never Regret a Paid Off Debt. If you’re vacillating on whether or not to make the leap and work toward debt freedom, this is for you. Likewise, if you’re one who is in favor of keeping debt and investing all extra money, you might find this article interesting as well.

Financial Literacy Chronicles

Jack from Enwealthen continues with his powerful series, Financial Literacy Chronicles. It’s awesome to read about all of the different bloggers and how their money mindsets were formed. Head on over – I’m sure you’ll find them both entertaining and educational.

From Good to Great in Retirement

Since we focused so much on retirement this week, I thought this article from The Retirement Manifesto was perfect to include. Fritz and his wife wrote an article entitled How to Move Your Retirement From Good to Great, which outlined how they made a stellar move that increased the quality of their retired life in many ways – awesome!!!

What Do Animal House and Personal Finance Have in Common?

I never thought it could be done, but the Groovys have managed to make a connection between Animal House and money management with this goodie, entitled The Dean Wormer Guide to Personal Finance. In his typical humorist style, Mr. Groovy will make you think about money and movies in an entirely different way. 🙂

Who Should Teach Your Kids About Money?

Brian from Debt Discipline broaches a powerful topic in his post, Financial Education: School or Parent – Which is a Young Person’s Best Bet?  Anyone who has struggled with money problems would likely agree that it is vital for kids to learn about money management at a young age. The question is who should teach them?

Why We Left Suburbia

And you might find this article interesting. Over at Maximize Your Money, I shared a post telling Why We Left Suburbia for Life on a Hobby Farm. Hint: It ended up having a LOT to do with money, even though that wasn’t our original reason for moving.

And on our site this week we featured the following great articles:

Kids and College: How to Help Them Without Hurting Yourself Financially

Why and How to Start Saving for Retirement NOW

What to do if You’re Late to the Retirement Savings Game

and as a bonus: How Much Does it Cost to Homeschool?

Th….th……th…..that’s all, folks. Have a wonderfully financially fit weekend!

How Much Does it Cost to Homeschool?

This is a question I get asked fairly often, so I thought I’d address it on the site. We’ve been homeschooling our kids for twelve years now, since the beginning of our oldest daughter’s education. We currently have an 11th grader, an 8th grader, a 6th grader and a 5th grader. The answer to the question “How much does it cost to homeschool? can have a wide variety of answers. Read more

What to Do if You’re Late to The Retirement Savings Game

This week, in honor of Financial Literacy Month, we’ve been focusing on retirement savings. I talked on Monday about how to balance retirement savings and debt payoff while helping your kids out with college costs, and on Tuesday Brad from over at Maximize Your Money shared an awesome post on why and how you should start saving for retirement now. In Monday’s post, I shared that nearly 1 in 3 Americans have no money saved for retirement, and that 56% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. If you fall into one of those two categories and are in your 40’s, 50’s or beyond, no worries. Today’s post is for you. Today we’re going to talk about what you can do if you’re late to the retirement savings game. Read more

Why and How to Start Saving for Retirement Now

This awesome post comes to us from Brad over at Maximize Your Money. Also, if you head over to Brad’s site today, you can see my post about Why We Left Suburbia for Life on a Hobby Farm. Enjoy!

Everyone wants to have a comfortable retirement. The reality though is that only a small percentage of people are achieving that goal. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are surprisingly easy steps to take, especially when starting young, to achieve an enjoyable retirement. But you have to get started, and you really need to get started now. Here’s why and how to start saving for a fantastic retirement. Read more

Financial Literacy Roundup: Week #2

We’ve completed week two of National Financial Literacy Month and again there have been a tidal wave of awesome posts out there to emphasize financial literacy to a financially struggling people. Even if you’ve already opened the door to financial education in your life, there may be someone else you know who wants and needs guidance in this area. If so, feel free to share this article where they can find dozens of personal finance articles.

7 Things You Can Teach Young Kids About Money

Gary from over at Super Saving Tips wrote an awesome article called Teaching Your Kids About Money for Financial Literacy Month. What a really love about this article is that it covers some things you might not think are important for teaching your kids. Head on over and check it out and forward the article on to those you know with young kids.

Financial Literacy Chronicles

Jack from Enwealthen had a number of great interviews with PF bloggers again this week, and I’d have to say that my fave was his one with Mr. 1500. Mr. 1500 shared some tough (from a kid standpoint, anyway) money lessons his parents made him learn as a child and how they have impacted him throughout life. They were hard even for me to read, and I’m pretty tough on our kids, but I don’t think I would’ve had the guts to stand strong in these situations. Looks like I’ve still got some bucking up to do.

Disney on a Budget

Brian from Debt Discipline wrote an awesome article on how he and his family saved money on a dream trip to Disney. Disneyworld is one of those destination vacations that nearly every family with kids dreams about, but it is super expensive. Learn how Brian took that vacation and saved thousands of dollars in the process.

Maybe Rising Household Debt ISN’T Okay

A while back I wrote an article about the rising household debt. In it, the author of a popular national news site article talked about how credit card debt was once again at its highest levels, but that it was “okay” because people were paying their bills on time. Well, guess what? This latest article on the credit card debt problem in America tells us that delinquencies are on the slow but steady rise.

I am continually amazed at the lack of foresight by supposed financial experts who write these articles on major business networks. It only takes common sense to realize that denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.

Preparedness Works

In happier news, there are some national finance and business websites whose writers aren’t clueless. MoneyTalksNews shared this well-written article on How to Prepare for an Income Emergency. In the study they referenced, 18% of people surveyed experienced a financial crisis in 2015. It does happen, people. In fact, I share in this article how a loved one experienced his own financial crisis which forced him to make some not so favorable decisions.

There’s No Such Thing As Too Much Financial Advice

Regular readers know we’re BIG fans of financial education and promote books on the subject often. That’s why I couldn’t pass up this powerful post on Becoming Minimalist, entitled 7 Pieces of Financial Advice that Forever Changed My Life. Seriously, this article could become a book. Read it and you’ll have nearly all that you need to achieve financial independence.

If She Can Do it…………

Well Kept Wallet shares the story about how this young girl paid off $10,800 in debt in just six months. Find out just what she had to sacrifice in order to get the job done. Her story proves that motivation + work = debt freedom.

And, in case you missed it……

Here are the articles we’ve posted so far in honor of Financial Literacy Month

Why Financial Literacy Matters

The Hidden Gems of Financial Wellness

How Debt Destroys Your Chances for Financial Freedom

Financial Literacy Roundup: Week #1

Getting Out of Debt: Here’s How to Start

Deep in Debt? Here’s How to Get Out

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

How and Why You Should Pay off Your Debt FAST

My wish for you is that Financial Literacy Month is the catalyst that will help you reach all of your financial dreams!!

What is your current financial dream?

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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