Category: Our Finances

3 Simple Steps to Money Management

You must think I spend all week looking at my budget sheets, organizing my receipts, and planning our expenses or managing investments. How do I get anything else done when I spend so much time looking at and running the numbers?

I do run a personal finance blog after all, right?

It may seem overwhelming to take control of your finances. Should you pay off debt? Should you invest money? What should your goals be? That all comes after you put together the pieces of your money management puzzle and define your values and priorities.

In reality, I spend about 5-10 minutes managing our finances weekly.

Here are 3 simple steps to get started managing your money: Continue reading…

Do You Need to Use Coupons to Be Frugal?

Clipped Coupons With Scissors 1

Photo via StockMonkeys.

Being frugal isn’t about extreme couponing or getting great sales, in my opinion. The foundation of our being frugal is rooted in living below our means.

Personally, we use coupons on occasion when they coincide with something we were already planning to buy. Each week, when I make our food shopping list, I look through the app Ibotta (use referral code: koexrvp for a free $10 when you sign-up) and find coupons that correspond to what is already on my list.

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How and Why to Cut Your Cable

cut cables

Photo Credit: Jason Eppink

When friends or colleagues find out we got rid of cable over 6 years ago, they are astonished, but are quick to say, “We could never do that.” The further into the conversation we get, they share that they are afraid to get rid of cable, as they think it’s an integral part of their lifestyle.

We found when we ditched our cable package 6 years ago we didn’t miss it much at all. It was an adjustment, but it was far more difficult than it would be today. When we removed our cable package, back in 2010, there was a limit on YouTube videos to 10 minutes and there were no streaming services like Netflix or HBO Go. You still had to rent one disc and mail it back before getting the next one.

I suggest you try it for 30 days or even a week. You can try it out without returning the cable boxes for a few days, and see how much you truly miss it. You can always add it back if you find it’s that integral to your life.

When we ditched cable, we found we had a lot more free time. We spent more time outdoors or working on side projects. I wrote more or read more books. Chris read more blogs and kept up with sports news online or on sports radio.

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Hitting Rock Bottom and Getting Back Up

It was March 2010. We found out in a few months we’d both be unemployed. We sat in the living room in silence watching the sun set behind the trees; wondering how we were going to pay the mortgage in a few months. Maybe even wondering how we were going to eat. What jobs could we even get? Our current careers were being decimated.

This wasn’t our absolute worst bottom yet, but it was what became our first rock bottom and what sparked the first glimmer of our frugal lifestyle.

For years prior, I had been saving my income to pay off my student loans and Chris was paying the minimums on his. We didn’t have a plan, but I wanted to be debt-free, even if it was just debt-freedom personally, but not as a married couple. The reimbursement I’d get in six months would be able to pay the last of my loans off (I was currently taking 3 post-masters courses and luckily the 1 year in my current position allowed me to get reimbursed for about 1/2 of it). Though, without a steady income that reimbursement would be important to just survive.

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