"A Jack of All Trades is a Master of None, but oftentimes better than a Master of One."

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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It’ll Cost You Time or Money

When it comes down to it, every choice you make will cost you time or money. You can pay someone to do something for you or you can invest the time and learn to do it for yourself. Sure, you’ll make mistakes along the way, some costly, some not so, but each step builds upon the next to open new doors.

When Chris and I first started out, we bought our first home with only limited knowledge of changing light bulbs or decor. Chris’ first lock changing experience was the day we moved in. That took quite a long time to do (see below with the tools all over the place)! He also never changed a toilet seat, shower head, or light fixture. Said toilet seat sitting by the front door.

We didn’t have the money to pay for even the smallest service, so we had to use our time to learn how to do it ourselves. Our parents taught us when we asked for help, but mostly we stumbled along to learn ourselves. We made a lot of mistakes, but we learned more each time and built our DIY skills and confidence in the process.

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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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Child’s Birthday Party for Under $110

We recently had a birthday party for our oldest, Monkey, with family. We’re invited to a lot of kid parties these days now that he’s in school, so we’ve been to every bounce place and kid gym in the local area. A few times while out, I asked the costs for such a party in case we had wanted to go to place instead of have it at home. I’m not sure we spent this much on his first, second, or third birthday parties. With prices ranging from $200-500 for a party smaller than what we could fit at our house, minus any food costs, we chose to keep it simple with birthday parties at home for the foreseeable future.

This party was for 26 total, though 2 of them were under the age of 7 months! We fed around 17 adults and 7 children. For appetizers, we did chips and dip. For dinner, we made homemade pizzas. The kids were able to decorate/top their own pizzas before cooking.

And then Chris made amazing s’mores cupcakes for dessert.

Here’s the breakdown of what we spent: Continue reading…