Power of Community Update
- Created on 21 September 2014
#teamdebtfree – WE DID IT! My #team2legit running buddy, the wonderful Ms. Shauna, and I completed our first 5K. It was a struggle. A couple of seasoned seniors passed us up with a mean power strut. While I giggled – inside – at the imagery, the activity of those around us was inconsequential. We got it done. Our journey to 5K completion, just like your debt dumping experience, might not look like the others with a few more years in the game. The goal is and was – completion.
Our experiment will begin on October 1. Sign up here to join the group. As previously stated, race training and dumping debt have shared qualities. A little encouragement is an amazing force. A lot of encouragement can make you unstoppable.
My family joined us at the race start to cheer us off (even though WonderMan was under the weather and the wind had a serious attitude).
The Power of Community
- Created on 15 September 2014
Those on the debt free journey with the Debt Free Divas know full well that we advocate partnership when cleaning up a financial fiasco. Partnership in the sense that members of the team keep one another motivated, accountable, and supported. That team can be two friends or an entire commune working towards a resolution. In theory, this concept is fantastic. Practically speaking, schedules may be harder to align as work, family duties, and – let’s be honest – play time can make it harder to connect consistently.
We’ve found the research (3 Steps to Phenomenal-ness). Addressing goals in groups leads to a 33% increased possibility that said goals will be achieved. Let's review my latest group experience. Weight loss is a challenge for many. I'm no exception. Add in a rather ravenous pregnancy period and I have a mammoth hill ahead to climb. I’ve conquered this challenge before, but with two kiddos under two, my excess energy level left for exercise was limited. Enter an exercise accountability group. Of course, we didn’t refer to our weekly gathering as such. In hindsight, that’s exactly what it was. A group of friends meeting weekly for a brisk walk on the lake, a bit of gabbing, and a whole lot of spurring one another other on. Encouragement! The Power of Community Accountability Experiment
Find Flight Credits
- Created on 10 September 2014
I picked up this great tip from a friend and felt compelled to share. Did you know that some airlines actually care about your pocketbook? Alaska Air, Jet Blue and my personal favorite - Southwest Airlines - will credit your miles account if the cost of a ticket drops after you've purchased it. They don't even charge an extra fee for the service. How cool is that! Apparently, these policies are not published, but according to my friend and this nifty fare watch blog site the policies are practiced. Of course, you'll need to either check the flight prices post-purchase or set price watch alerts to stay on top of any changes. Most credits will expire within a year of purchase.
This nice chart, provided by Airfare Watchdog, lays out the details on many airlines. This works best when you work with American companies. Tickets purchased on sites like Priceline.com don't apply.
DIY Debt Verification
- Created on 04 September 2014
I was preparing the kiddies for bed a few nights back while listening to an interesting radio show on personal finances. Yes! Some of us still listen to the radio. A lady called to ask if there were any moral landmines associated with using a debt verification company to wiggle out of debt. You probably have the same question…what is a moral landmine? Okay, I just made that up and I’m sure your question was actually, what’s a debt verification company.
It sounds like this person received a telemarketing-type call offering a service to reduce outstanding debt up to 75% (are your spidey senses tingling yet).
What's Your Legacy
- Created on 02 September 2014
I never join book clubs. Mainly because I don’t read well (for pleasure) under timed pressure. One book per month – unless it’s a nerdy topic that I specifically enjoy (finance and/or history) – is a challenge. Two, I don’t enjoy bringing snacks. I will. It's just running late is a nasty trait I have, but throw a snack detail into an already rushed schedule and the anxiety soars. Finally, I have trouble with routines. Meeting at such and such’s on the third Wednesday becomes a chore and less of a treasured gathering with friends. I have many issues…book clubs were one of them. Never say never. Via the magic of Facebook private groups, I’ve joined a virtual book club. It still operates under the one-book-a-month model, but there are no snacks and no routine Saturday afternoon meetups. Two out of three ain’t bad. Book Marked introduced me to the Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (Pictured below, middle).
Back From Jet Lag – Hawaii For Less
- Created on 27 August 2014
I’ve been on an unintended hiatus including and following a family trip to Hawaii. We attended a wedding in and explored the island of Oahu, one of 8 major islands in the Hawaiian chain. As much as I can surmise, the individual islands are synonymous with counties or parishes within the state of Hawaii. Just like New York, there’s also an island named Hawaii (a.k.a The Big Island). You can potentially live in Hawaii, Hawaii. A paradise so nice they named it twice! The capital is Honolulu – one of the larger cities on Oahu and our final flight destination. Waikiki is the other Oahu party spot; about 45 minutes away. When programming your GPS, you’ll likely include the city, island, and state to locate your target.
Initially, I was apprehensive about the extremely long flight with very small children. My apologies – still - for the poor saps assigned to the seat preceding my two year old (it wasn’t pretty). The entire trip, including layovers and delays, took 12 hours from Chicago. Brutal. Considering the damage, the 8 month and 2 year old were travel troopers. All travel troubles were worth the Hawaiian experience. Numerous times throughout the week I reassessed the decision to put down roots in Chicago. Again, why??? The island is beautiful. Even the inner city areas (the hood) possesed an inviting charm. I’ve been called cousin by more strangers than I care to count. Who knew?
R.I.P. Mr. Williams
- Created on 12 August 2014
By now, we’ve all heard the heart crushing news of the loss of Robin Williams to suicide. Like many, Robin Williams was one of my favorite actors/comedian. I attribute an affinity to several movie favs, Good Will Hunting or Good Morning Vietnam, to performances by this artistic giant. It can be difficult to associate depression with someone who brought joy to so many for so many years.
We don’t have the details of his struggle, nor should we. His privacy should be respected. However, his death will likely shine a light, even if temporary – until the next news cycle, on severe depression and suicide. I’ve plunged into a dark place a time or two in recent years. The Debt Free Divas actually developed out of a need to redirect that energy into something productive. We said goodbye to our daughter, Casey, after only 23 weeks. I have my faith to thank for the life line when it was difficult to see past the current hurt. Of course, all of this clarity is in hindsight. This verse in particular was central to the progress…I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm…Jeremiah 29:10.
Side Hustle Required
- Created on 29 July 2014
I read an excellent post from a friend at The Shop My Closet Project outlining a debt snowball barometer. Your snowball might be icy unless you can reach the $500-$1000/month debt repayment level. For those serious about dumping debt, I urge you to begin with a budget. I’ve run across several “experts” recently poo-poo’ing the idea of a budget as being restrictive or old school. Ignore them please! Your budget is going to help you get ahead by knowing exactly where you are financially.
After budgeting for the month, trimming where you can, and making a plan to attack debt; you may just need more money to light a fire under your debt snowball. In these cases, a side hustle is required. Realizing that time is limited and everyone is beyond busy, I came up with a list that can fit a variety of schedules and don’t require a significant cash outlay upfront.
Free Budgeting in Cyberspace
- Created on 22 July 2014
Are you looking for useful tools to help create a budget and manage your spending? Never fear, the Internet is here. We've looked at a number of useful options and boiled it down to three. Our criteria was simple: FREE and EASY. Depending on your needs, there's a tool for you. Keep reading to the end, we definitely saved the best for last.
Does Credit Monitoring Make Good Cent$?
- Created on 10 July 2014
Credit monitoring services cost between $10-$30/month. The companies tout a bevy of services, including: