Pay Cash for Christmas 2014
- Created on 01 October 2014
We’re bringing back the Pay Cash for Christmas challenge with a twist! This time, the Debt Free Divas are putting a little more cash on the table to spark your competitive spirit. Fall is here and we have exactly 12 weeks until Christmas. Yes, I’m talking about Christmas. Have you seen the crazy commercials already trying to pry money from your pockets? We need to be proactive.
We’re on the cusp of one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year. The National Retail Federation reports that Americans spent an average of $730 on holiday spending in 2013. How much of your total landed on credit cards subject to interest? This year, let’s try Christmas with no strings attached. Will you pledge to take no new debt into 2015? To that end, we’re giving one lucky winner $250 towards the holiday spending.
Yakezie Challenge Part Deux
- Created on 29 September 2014
If at first you don't succeed (as with a debt free journey or coaxing a 9 month old into a much needed nap), try again. I came across the Yakezie challenge as a new blogger. This is a great community of personal finance and lifestyle bloggers who really were central in the development of the Debt Free Divas blog. The challenge goal to lower your blog rank is doable. Plenty of great bloggers that I heavily respect have walked this road before.
Life happens. Plans change. Priorities evolve. Well, I'm back. My current rank is 575,000 and my goal is 200,000 by the end of 2014. I must commit to regular, weekly posts and support other bloggers reach their target in the challenge. That I can do. As with the Power of Community experiment, the momentum to reach goals is supercharged with the power of accountability. My original goals haven't changed. I may have back-burnered the challenge before, but that wasn't the end of the story. Has your debt free journey hit a snag or bend in the road? Let's dust ourselves off and jump back into these challenges with both feet. Let's do this!
Weekend Reading – Saving More of Your Hard Earned Dollars
- Created on 26 September 2014
Great information abounds when looking for topics on personal finance. I want to start sharing a few of the inspiring posts that I hope will be useful. As you wind down for the week, how about ramping up on your weekend reading. My goal, as always, is to keep inspiring #teamdebtfree to achieve our debt free dreams. I run across a lot of great stories and love to share. This first blog crawl (I’ve never done a bar crawl, so this will have to do) is all about saving money where you are.
10 Thankful Things
- Created on 25 September 2014
The SITS blogging group has challenged us to get back into blogging by naming ten things for which we’re thankful. Welcome to those stopping by from the Back to Blogging challenge. Counting your blessings is a great way to express contentment even if circumstances aren't yet desirable. Dumping debt can be an arduous process. Without an appreciation for the process; you may have trouble maintaining focus. I’ll post my ten. Feel free to add your thankful things in the comments below.
Fall In To Better Rates
- Created on 23 September 2014
Autumn is upon us. I hope everyone enjoyed the summer. As we prepare for a change in seasons and refocus (if you’ve fallen off) on eliminating debt, I encourage you to review your rates. What interest rates are you carrying on existing balances? Have you been penalized with penalty interest rates due to late payments? Did a teaser introductory rate expire and convert to exorbitant highs? Working a debt snowball can create tunnel vision. The smallest debt may receive all of your attention. However, before the hustle and bustle of the holiday madness sets in, let’s make sure interest rates are in the best possible position.
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).