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Binge read all things wealth, debt, & lifestyle.

CARES Act Benefits Ending - How can you prepare yourself?

lifestyle Dec 14, 2020

As 2020 comes to a close, many of the CARES act benefits are ending as well. Congressional debates continue, but a new stimulus bill hasn't been passed. Make sure you know what you can expect moving into 2021. 

The following benefits are set to end in the next few weeks:

  1. Unemployment benefit extensions - When the initial bill was passed, unemployment benefits were extended from 26 weeks to 39 weeks, with an additional $600 per week (which ended several months ago). The benefit extension to 39 weeks will end Dec 26th. There is talk of benefit extensions in 2021 with an additional $300 per week, but this has not been passed by Congress.
  2. Employer incentive to help pay down student loans - Employers can contribute up to $5,250 towards an employee's student loans in 2020, which is excluded from income and employment taxes. This benefit ends December 31st. 
  3. Charitable contribution benefit - If you normally take the standard deduction, you can...
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Paying for the Holidays

lifestyle Nov 15, 2020

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here

The holidays are a wonderful season full of joy and family, and a WHOLE lot of extra expenses. If you're stressed about paying for all the extras this season, check out these suggestions.

  • Make a list of people you plan to buy gifts for, and set a specific price point per person.

Having an organized game plan before you go shopping helps you stay on track while looking for gifts, and helps you determine a total price point for your budget. DO NOT plan to spend more on gifts than you can afford to spend - racking up credit card debt to buy gifts isn't worth it. 

  • If you realize you can't swing buying gifts this year, make something.

You may look at your budget and your list of people you would like to give a gift to, and realize there is no way to buy traditional gifts and stay on budget. Make something! The...

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3 Ways You're Crushing Your Finances

lifestyle Aug 24, 2020

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here. 

Let's chat about a few of the most common money mistakes out there, and how avoiding them can dramatically improve your financial future. 

1. Not taking advantage of free money
- Depending on which study you look at, somewhere between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 Americans are not taking full advantage of employer matches at work. This is FREE MONEY. You should be contributing at least enough to your employer retirement plan to obtain the free match, no matter what. Don't forget HSA matches as well! HSAs offer triple tax savings as is, so the potential for free money being added to your account just sweetens the deal. Employer matches (if they match dollar for dollar), are literally an automatic 100% return on your investment REGARDLESS of the market. Compound that money over decades, and you have completely changed the...

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Mindset Matters

lifestyle Aug 10, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here.

Mindset is a buzz word these days, but for good reason. Your mindset matters. This is true in all aspects of life, and money is no exception. 

YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS ABOUT MONEY WILL FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE.

What things can you do to "check in" on your money mindset?
1. EVALUATE HOW YOU VIEW "RICH PEOPLE"
- The narrow viewpoint that "rich people" are in some way "other" or fundamentally different than you is a lie. Most of us take it a step further though, and develop a social box that we put wealthy people in and then make unfounded assumptions based upon our social construct. If you find yourself assuming that wealthy people inherited their wealth, are greedy, or are lazy... you need to do some fact checking. Multiple studies have found that less than 20% of millionaires inherited their wealth (see ...

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How I Started My Business

lifestyle Jul 20, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here. 

 

If you have a desire to start your own business, the first thing I would say is JUST DO IT. The process can be scary, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Even if it doesn't become your full time job, it can help you diversify your income. 

Here is a brief overview of the basic steps of the process:
1. Choose a name for your business
- Make sure the name isn't already registered as another business in your state, or is trademarked. This can be done with a simple internet search. I would also check that the domain name is available at this time if you are dead set on one for your website. 

2. Legally form the company
- I formed an LLC in Indiana. Which type of company to form is beyond the scope of this post (lots of tax implications), but consider reading a book like LLC for Dummies. I...

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Cutting The Grocery Bill

lifestyle Jul 20, 2020

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here. 

Groceries are a HUGE money suck for families. Let's be honest, you go to the grocery store in a rush and probably hungry. You start adding things to your cart. Next thing you know, you're checking out and wondering why your weekly groceries are somehow hundreds of dollars. 

Finding ways to reduce your grocery expenses can free up a LOT of room in your budget, which can then be channeled into debt payoff or investing.

Let's break down some ideas:


1. MEAL PLANNING
- Honestly this is fundamental. If you don't know what you're going to eat, you don't know what you need to buy. If you're not one to want to sit down and craft a meal plan, check out $5 meal plan. It's a service that will provide you meal plans for $5/month and then auto create a grocery list based on the plan. I've used it and felt it saved me a lot of...

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The Cost Of Lunch

lifestyle Jun 22, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here.

How often do you eat out for lunch at work? For many Americans, eating lunch out is a part of their daily routine.

But how much is your lunch costing you over the long haul?

For ease of numbers, let's assume that eating lunch out runs you about $10. Let's also assume that the cost of making a lunch to bring from home is $5. Some studies show as low as $4, others as high as $6.50. To make our numbers easy, we will stick with a $5 lunch from home. 


- OVER A YEAR, EATING LUNCH OUT WILL COST YOU AN EXTRA $1305
- This is assuming 261 working days in the year, during which you saved $5 each day by bringing your lunch. That is a lot of money! If you make an annual salary of $50,000, this is 2.6% of your annual income - spent on LUNCH. Guys, grab a cute lunch box and a reusable water bottle (I have this one) and make it work. ...

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How To Save For A Major Purchase

lifestyle May 13, 2020

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here

How do you prep financially for a major purchase - like a car, pool, trip-of-a-lifetime, etc? We are in the midst of a major kitchen and dining room remodel, which is our big purchase this year, so this is fresh on my mind. 

ADVANCE PLANNING IS KEY.

The only way to pay for ANYTHING is in cash. Utilizing a loan, payment plan, or credit card is digging yourself into a hole you will have to crawl out of later, with interest. The only way to pay cash for a major expense is to plan WELL in advance.

HERE IS HOW WE PAID FOR OUR REMODEL IN CASH:
1. DETERMINE THE TOTAL COST OF YOUR PURCHASE
- For us, that meant getting approximate quotes on the various aspects of the remodel well in advance. If you're buying a car, determine the average price of the car you want. Be warned though, the process of looking before you buy can get tempting....

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Babies!

lifestyle Apr 20, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here

If you're planning for a kiddo in the near future, or know someone who is, knowing how to financially prepare can be hugely helpful. This information is courtesy of Morgan Campbell, a Strive STAR, and her baby girl Ella. Most of this is geared towards a first baby, but can obviously be modified if you already have some of the necessities.


EXPENSES TO PLAN FOR:
1. CRIB ($100-$500)
- You can get a basic crib for ~$100, but a fancier model that converts to a toddler bed will be more.
2. CAR SEAT SYSTEM ($150-$500)
- Most include a car seat, one base, and possibly a stroller. Don't forget about a second base for family members or caregivers! You will also likely need a new stroller once your little one grows out of their infant car seat.
3. STROLLER ($75-$300)
- Again, there are a wide range of options and significant price variability...

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Spring {Financial} Cleaning

lifestyle Apr 09, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here.

While you're doing your usual spring cleaning routine, don't forget to do a financial "spring clean" as well! This is a great time to check in and make sure there aren't gaps in your financial plan. For those of us still quarantined at home, what else are you going to do?!

Your finances deserve routine attention (likely doing a monthly budget), but there are some aspects we rarely think about. Taking time to check in once a year can pay off substantially in the long term. 

Carve out a few hours, and let's get to work. 

TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR...
1. OVERALL SAVINGS RATE
- Review your past budgets. If you don't know what your overall savings rate is, now is the time to calculate it. If it's not where it needs to be (everyone should be hitting a minimum of 15%), figure out where you can make changes moving forward. 
2. HOME AND AUTO...

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