Prodigal Out At Your Own Expense
- Created on 24 March 2015
I've had an opportunity to review a brand new Indie film: Confessions of a Prodigal Son. Funded by a kickstarter initiative, this movie is the brainchild of a home schooler gone Hollywood. I'm impressed.
I'll say, I have a soft spot for content creators doing their thing by any means necessary. With so much attention for our time and a tendency to employ shock value to move a story along, I appreciate those bucking trends. I refuse to believe entertainment must target the most primal urges to captivate or engage.
Confessions of a Prodigal Son - as the title indicates - brings to life a well worn biblical story of a child (still wet behind the ear) who is allowed to hit bottom by a loving dad. While the movie goes a bit overboard on the introspective ramblings of college students, I do like the use of a class project to help the main character work through his issues with authority.
Budget Friendly Baby Birthday Bashes
- Created on 18 March 2015
In the past few weeks, I’ve been on the pewee party circuit. Including mine, we’ve celebrated a 1, 2, and 3 year old birth fest in the past month alone.
In my case, I didn’t have children while working out of $107,000 of consumer debt. So kid’s clothes, social itineraries, and other necessities – 3 hots and a cot for instance – were not on my financial radar. Fun stuff sacrifices didn’t impact little cuties with puppy dog eyes and smiles that render parents senseless.
However, we’re diving in (more like being dragged) to the social participation end parenthood. Kid’s parties are all over the map. Gone are the days of cake and ice cream, a few manually inflated balloons, or your dad’s made up games in the back yard.
Buy vs Lease: The Debate Continues
- Created on 16 March 2015
At least at my house. Why is this still a topic of conversation?
Because two rational, intelligent beings with the same ultimate goal can view a topic from different perspectives. Uuugh!!!
So this conversation has been ongoing - mainly in joking form - for some time. My husband continues to point out lease commercials on TV, in print, or online. I assume he likes to push my buttons. I'm trying not to react...not always successful.
I have a deep, visceral aversion to leasing cars. I've written about it a number of times:
Do That One Thing
- Created on 13 March 2015
Can you relate?
You’ve been on a role, making good – no scratch that – GREAT progress toward goals and then it happens. Something interrupts your flow. It could be a financial emergency. Maybe a relationship situation emerges and sucks your energy and attention longer than seems appropriate.
In my case, a planned surgery turned into an extended recovery fog. I’m glad the surgery is behind me. I’ve just gotten out of my routine and getting back on track has taken longer than anticipated. How does one reclaim the lost momentum?
Well, I’m trying this approach - do one thing.
Credit Score Importance While Pursuing a Debt Free Lifestyle
- Created on 23 February 2015
The FICO (or credit) score is a measure of how you manage credit - or debt. A FICO score is a three digit number created via a top-secret formula by the Fair Issac Company.
The FICO score is calculated based on the amount of debt you have, your payment history, and the length of time accounts have been open among other things. A score closer to the maximum of 850 connotes good things about your risk worthiness in the eyes of the financial industry.
As someone who encourages a break from the reliance on debt, theoretically I should also rail against an appreciation of all things FICO. Most famously, Uncle Dave (Ramsey) calls the FICO score an "I love debt score". He's known to tout his zero credit score and freely shares a disdain for all things FICO.
I get it. I do.
Divas Around Town + Travel Tips
- Created on 21 February 2015
This month, we've been participating in the No-Buy Month challenge in conjunction with the Savvy Brown blog. Taking a financial fast from spending while focusing on essentials only provides for a time of financial self-reflection.
While I'm not a huge shopper (I only grocery shop regularly because the food runs out), this is still a great challenge as I justify my non-food spending.
I love to spend money on experiences and activities. So this month, I've been writing a lot about enjoying life while pursuing a debt free lifestyle. Finding recreational activities that fit nicely into a reduced budget will improve your chances of sticking with a debt dumping plan.
We've been busy spreading the debt free living message. Over the past few weeks, we've had the privilege of sharing our thoughts with a few new audiences.
You may have missed an announcement or two. It's been such an honor to contribute to the public discourse via a number of generous hosts.
To keep everyone in the loop, below is a list of fabulous blogs we've been able to fellowship with over personal finances:
6 Budget Friendly Winter Fun Tips @ Graceful Little Honey Bee
- Created on 17 February 2015
It is 18 degrees outside today.
That's downright unreasonable!
The cold has a tendency to drive us inside for 3 to 4 months of the year. The energy zapping effects of cabin fever can wreak havoc on our financial focus. Even though the sun seems stringy this time of year, we can trick our systems into a brighter state with 6 tips that I spelled out on a guest post for The Graceful Little Honey Bee.
My Tango with a Timeshare Continues
- Created on 15 February 2015
I wrote this post a few years ago and finally found it! In response to a Facebook question about The 5 Worst Financial Tips I've Followed (So Far), I'm sharing this give further details about my Tango with a Timeshare.
In my previous post - Tango with a Timeshare, I outlined the timeshare process and my unreasonable fascination with attending timeshare presentations. I’m not proud. This time I want to talk you out of buying timeshares or at least provide alternatives to free yourself if you’ve already taken the plunge.
Personally, I’ve had a so-so experience with the timeshare industry. I love to travel and do travel often. I also love to bring along guests. So the larger accommodations have come in handy. Seven years later, if I had it to do all over again, I would have taken my free excursion and run. When you decide to tango with a timeshare, you can expect the following:
The 5 Worst Financial Tips I've Followed (So Far)
- Created on 11 February 2015
I don’t believe any of the advice given was done out of ill will. People mean well. Sure they do.
However, when we know better - we can do better.
I’m reflecting on some particularly unhelpful financial advice that I’ve received (or concocted) and followed. When accepting advice, it’s important to consider the source – well meaning, loving people can be the source of horrible advice. Following bad financial advice can set you back a decade or more and take a bite out of your ability to build wealth.
Improving your financial literacy will help you discern the good from the well-intentioned, but awful advice.
Negotiate Away Bad Debt on Credit Reports
- Created on 09 February 2015
"[W]hat do you do to eliminate debt that went into collection years ago?"
This was a recent question on Facebook about addressing a past debt on a credit report. The bad debt was definitely impacting the poster's credit score and potentially hindering progress toward purchasing a new home. Now that #teamdebtfree is focusing on fixing finances and cleaning up credit, there may be old debts hanging out like a bad habit. Cleaning up your credit is not hard, but does take time.
Gather your patience…and proceed.