6 Steps to a Simple, Nonmaterialistic Life

Six easy steps you can take, starting today, to live a more simple and debt-free life  Live Below Your Means Did you know that the average American spends $1.25 for each dollar he or she actually earns? Scary isn’ it? We live in a culture where living above your means is so normal, so casual, that we don’t even realize it. Create a budget and aim to live below your means, not above. Value Usefulness Over Status The clothes we choose, the cars we drive, the homes we live in and the electronics we carry sometimes are often purchased for … Continue reading

Debt and Marriage: How It is Tough to Love When You Owe

Many couples enter into a marriage with debt already in hand. Others accumulate debt together. Either way, nurturing a loving relationship can be hard when debt is hanging over your head. In fact, according to a study by Jeffrey Dew at Utah State University, couples who reported disagreeing about finance once a week were over 30 percent more likely to get divorced than couples who reported disagreeing about finances only a few times a month. Another inference can be made from this study: there is a whole lot of disagreement about money out there. Debt is a source of contention. … Continue reading

Don’t Become House Poor

Home ownership is a good thing, but becoming house poor can have some serious financial repercussions on a family budget, from not having enough money left over to enjoy life, all the way to bankruptcy and losing the home itself. House Poor is a term that is used to describe those who spend so much on house payments and home maintenance that there is little money left over for anything else, such as furniture or an emergency savings account. The standard advice out there, at least from real estate agents, is to buy as much house as you can afford. … Continue reading

Stash Some Cash: Five Reasons You Need to Do This Now

Building up an emergency fund is an important step to help protect your family from disaster. Having enough money to cover the cost of the unexpected is one way to make sure that you won’t suddenly be plunged into debt, have to take on high interest loans, or max out your credit cards. Increasingly though, financial experts are also recommending that not only do you have an emergency fund in the bank, but that you also have a healthy amount of cash stashed in your wallet, at home or somewhere that is readily accessible. The more you are prepared, the … Continue reading

Can Sweepstakes Get You Out of Debt?

As you look at your pile of bills, at the roof that needs to be fixed, at the fact that at least one of your children may need braces, do you dream of winning a big dollar sweepstakes that would take care of your problem? For “sweepers,” those who make a hobby, or even a living, out of entering sweepstakes, the dream may not be so far from a reality. Entering sweepstakes can pay off and may even be able to get you out of debt, if you don’t spend more than you win, if you apply the bulk of … Continue reading

How to Gather Items for a Garage Sale

Garage sales can be great ways to earn some extra cash that you can use to pay off debt. Just a few hundred dollars may be enough to pay off the next bill in your snowball or avalanche. (To learn more about the snowball and avalanche methods of getting rid of debt, click here.)  Gathering up items for your sale is often the hardest part about hosting one. Here are some tips that will help you do just that. Allow yourself enough time to go through your home. This way you won’t be rushing around at the last minute, or … Continue reading

Why Do We Get Into Debt?

Debt has a way of sneaking up on us. It seems as though one moment we are free and clear and the next we have a mountain of trouble in the form of money owed. Knowing why we can get into debt is the first step to preventing it from getting worse or from happening at all. Here are some common reasons why we get into debt and how we can minimize out risk of debt in the future. Unexpected Expenses or Loss of Income An unexpected expense or a loss of income can plunge even the most affluent families … Continue reading

Are You a Snowball or an Avalanche?

What is the best way to get out of debt? Well, that depends on who you talk to, but the experts and the experienced alike seem to narrow things down to two choices: the snowball method or the avalanche method. There are pros and cons to both the snowball method and the avalanche method. Learn the ins and outs so you’ll know which is right for you. Before paying down debt with either method, you should do two things: stop non-essential spending, and determine how much extra money you can put toward debt. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, … Continue reading

Paying Down Debt? Why You Need a Credit Check

Before even thinking about getting out of debt, you should find out your credit scores and your credit reports. Not factoring in this information can affect your get-out-of-debt success. Seeing What You Owe Being armed with your credit scores and your credit reports will give you a good starting point for your debt repayment plan. You will be able to see all that you owe and who you owe it too. Sometimes when we are in major debt, we concentrate so much on just getting the monthly payments in that we underestimate the amount of debt that we have, or … Continue reading

How to Save While Getting Out of Debt

When trying to get out of debt, does it make sense to save? Absolutely. Not being prepared for an emergency with ready cash could lead to more severe debt. It is possible to both pay back debt and save at the same time. It just takes commitment and a little knowledge. Here are some tips on just how you can save while still keeping your debt payments on track. Setting up Your Savings If you are starting from scratch, meaning lots of debt and no savings, do whatever it takes to put $500-$1,000 aside right now. While this may seem … Continue reading