Tuesday Tip Jar: Author David Bach

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Welcome to another “Tuesday Tip Jar” where I will share awesome savings and financial tips as I find them. I might not have something for you every Tuesday, but when I do, you’ll find it here!

If you’ve got a financial tip you think others would benefit from, please send it to me via my contact page at the top of the blog!

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Today’s quick tip comes in the form of the author who originally inspired me to get serious about my finances and dig out from my debt.

I listen to a podcast called, “The School of Greatness” hosted by Lewis Howes. While the pretentious name of the podcast might initially be off-putting to some, the fact of the matter is that Lewis has guests on of all shapes and sizes that focus on helping you to make your life better. Subjects have ranged from meditation, to inspiring stories of overcoming odds, to financial improvements, and everything in between.

Back in February or March, he had New York Times best-selling Author, David Bach, on his program. David was getting close to launching a book called, “The Latte Factor,” and was on a promotional tour for it.

I was impressed with how straightforward David was, and how relatable his approach seemed to be. He wasn’t about complex algorithms and financial wizardry (at least on the surface), he was about simplifying the process of saving and building wealth. For a dumbass like me, this was music to my broke ears!

While “The Latte Factor” hadn’t hit shelves yet, I liked what David had written enough that I went home and researched some of his previous books. One that struck a nerve for obvious reasons was his book, “Start Late, Finish Rich,” that focused on how to build wealth rapidly if you made some less-than-optimal decisions in the first half of your life.

The book was wildly encouraging, making sure to reinforce time and time again that it’s never too late to start saving and investing, but also reminding readers that the longer you wait, the less you’ll have later in life.

After finishing “Start Late,” I moved on to what most people know David for, which is his book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” and then eventually his latest book which is a fiction/financial education story called, “The Latte Factor.”

I don’t want to give David’s techniques away, because I think it’s important that you read his advice in the full context of his books, but I will say that they have helped to totally change my life. I am now (slowly) building some wealth, while at the same time finally paying off the debt that has been crushing me all these years.Read More »

Putting Our Money Where Our Mouth Is

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I hope you get some ideas from this post that help you tackle your finances. This blog has been beyond cathartic for me, and I hope it’s helped a few of you. If you’re in a situation like we were (are), get serious about finding ways to fix your problem. Everyone’s situation is different, but I can almost guarantee you can find at least something in your spending habits that will help!

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We all have those friends who make proclamations that we can tell are destined to fail from the moment we witness said friend’s plan of execution. Here are a few of the more common ones I’ve encountered:

Musician

The Proclamation: “I’m going to get serious about pursuing a career in music, and be a Lead Guitarist for a metal band!”

The Execution: Purchasing of “the 100 easiest riffs in rock history” book from the used bookstore and practicing for 30 minutes a week in the garage.

The Result: Lead Line Cook at Chili’s.

Weight Loss

The Proclamation: “I’m going to dedicate to finally shedding these extra pounds and getting my summer body back!”

The Execution: Cookies.

The Result: Beaches are overrated anyway.

Acting

The Proclamation: “I’m going to make a legitimate run at finally being a serious actor.”

The Execution: Booking a commercial for a local Kia dealership in your hometown… in Iowa.

The Result: Iowa.

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There are lots of examples like this, but you get the idea.

So, when my wife and I decided to make the proclamation that we were going to do away with our debt and seek true financial independence once and for all, I was deeply concerned that we would fall into a situation like this where our intentions were pure, but our executions left much to be desired, and thus we’d be in the same mess two years from now.

As of this past Friday however, I’m now convinced we will achieve our goals. Trading in a car that I loved and put so much of my identity into (right or wrong) on a used economy vehicle has helped me prove to myself just how serious I actually am.

While this was the decision that ultimately convinced me, I thought it might be beneficial for some of you in similar situations to see what we’ve done since January of this year (2019 for those who might read this in the future) right up until now:

Credit Cards
When we started this journey, we had 12 (!) credit card and student loan accounts. Here is the breakdown of how we’ve tackled each:

  1. Toys R Us (29.99% interest) – CLOSED – Paid off. GONE!
  2. Bank of America (23.99%) – CLOSED – Paid off. GONE!
  3. Lowe’s (23.99%) – CLOSED – Paid off. GONE!
  4. Furniture Store (23.99%) – CLOSED – Paid off. GONE!
  5. Wells Fargo Loan (17.49%) – CLOSED – Scheduled payoff is September 2019.
  6. Care Credit (29.99%) – CLOSED – Scheduled payoff is September 2019.
  7. Macy’s AMEX (27.99%) – CLOSED – Consolidated to 12% Marcus account.
  8. Macy’s Store (27.99%) – CLOSED – Not a typo… we had 2! Consolidated to Marcus.
  9. Discover (14.99%) – CLOSED – Scheduled payoff 2020.
  10. First Tech PLOC (13.99%) – ACTIVE – No charges since January.
  11. Navient Private (7.5%) – NOT ACTIVE – Scheduled payoff is sometime before I’m 80.
  12. Navient Federal (4%) – NOT ACTIVE – Scheduled pay off is sometime before I die.
  13. Marcus (12%) – NOT ACTIVE – Not a revolving line. Scheduled payoff 2020.

In total, we have closed all of our accounts but 1, which is the lowest interest rate and has a very low credit limit, allowing us a safety net while we build savings. Of the closed cards, we have paid off 4, and will close out two more before the end of the year. We are going to work as hard as we can to have all of them eliminated by the end of 2021, or 2022 at the VERY latest. By the end of the year alone, we will have paid off close to $50,000 in credit card and student loan debt!

Not bad! So how did we do it? Keep reading!Read More »

The Road to Financial Independence – The Thrill of $9 Dollar Jeans

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I was determined to get a deal though. The deal bug was now crawling up my leg, looking for a nice juicy piece of flesh to clamp down on.

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Up until about four weeks ago, I wasn’t even aware of the entire Financial Independence movement. I may have heard the term thrown around on a post here or there, but overall the overall concept was about as foreign to me as people who don’t eat peanut butter on their hamburger. (You should seriously try it.)

As I started to understand what FI meant, I’m going to be honest that I went through some growing pains in my understanding of the effort. My initial thought was, “These just sound like a bunch of uptight tightwads that replace toilet paper with their read newspapers to save a buck.”

Slowly I began to realize though that my perception was skewed via the Facebook groups I was reading. The collection of posts all cumulated into a belief that every person on the group was cutting every possible corner that they could to save a buck, and I frankly didn’t like the sounds of that at all.

What in fact was happening was that each person on the group was making the money saving changes that made sense for them. Some were switching to LED lightbulbs in their homes, some were buying used cars to reduce loan length and cost, others were probably using newspapers on their backsides.

So I started to settle into this mindset instead. What were the things that made sense for me? I was frankly already doing a lot of things out of shear necessity, given our financial situation, but very quickly I got bitten by “the bug.”

We all know “the bug” I’m referring to. The bug is that thing that you kind of hate doing at first, but then it becomes a challenge, then kind of fun, and then an activity or action you extract great satisfaction from.

I got bit by the gym bug many years ago. At first, I hated the gym. I f*cking DESPISED the gym. Yet I kept going, and slowly started to enjoy it. Eventually I flipped the script and got to the point where I get really bummed if I don’t make it to the gym on a scheduled day.

With FI and frankly just being more frugal with my dollar, I was not a fan. I hated the fact that I had to actually start looking at price tags on things, and comparing, and shopping for the best deals. IT WAS A LOT OF WORK! I just wanted to grab the brand that I knew because it was familiar and walk out with it, even if it meant paying more because it had a “Swoosh” or similar well-know symbol stuck all over it.

And yet this past week I think I had a breakthrough!Read More »

Tuesday Tip Jar: Side Hustlin’ with Four-Legged Friends

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Welcome to another “Tuesday Tip Jar” where I will share awesome savings and financial tips as I find them. I might not have something for you every Tuesday, but when I do, you’ll find it here!

If you’ve got a financial tip you think others would benefit from, please send it to me via my contact page at the top of the blog!

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My wife and I absolutely love animals. Currently we own 1 Black Lab (Sylvester), 1 Chiweenie (Hoppa), 1 cat (Rico), 1 tortoise (Stormy), and 2 Hermit Crabs (Shelby and Bubba.) Previously we’ve owned lizards, snakes, bunnies, a pig, and many other dogs and cats. By the time I’m done writing this post we’ll probably have a guinea pig, because they are cheap and my daughter won’t shut up about getting one. I think we’ll also make the leap and get chickens next year. We’re all very excited.

Fun Fact: My 11 year-old son did *not* in fact name his pet tortoise after the pornstar/stripper/Trump buddy, Stormy Daniels, but thanks for asking! (I get asked a lot.)

As my wife and I looked for awesome side hustles to bring in some extra scratch, one of the options mentioned to me was Rover.com. Rover is a site that allows two things:

  1. It allows others to watch your pets for you.
  2. It allows you to become a pet sitter for others!

Their plan is relatively straightforward. My wife (who will be primarily responsible for the animals while I’m at work) filled out a simple questionnaire that asked things like if our yard was fenced, what dogs and cats we have, and what size of dogs we’d like to take care of. It took about 15 minutes to answer fully, and after adding a few pictures of her, our pets, and our home, we were off and running!

(You can sign up for sitting cats as well, which we did.)

The site allows you to offer the following services:Read More »

Don’t Be Envious, Be INSPIRED!

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The moment I start to even feel jealous for a second though, I snap myself out of it by telling myself how good it will feel to be in that position one day. I’ll look back on this point in my life, and remember the stress and frustration, and SWEET MAPLE SYRUP will it feel good to know I don’t have to deal with that ever again.

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I am a part of quite a few Facebook Groups now that revolve around finances. While they run the gamut in terms of what subsection of financial independence they deal with, the one I’m currently pretty involved in is the ChooseFI group. I’ve mentioned this group in other posts, but essentially it’s a group of fans of the ChooseFI podcast, who post on a pretty broad range of topics.

One of my favorite posts that they do, for example, is every Friday the admins make a post that asks, “What was the ONE THING you did this week to make your life easier, happier, wealthier, more efficient, etc.? Take action each and every week and let us know!”

It’s a great topic, because the responses can be at both ends of the extreme, and everywhere in between. Some people will say things like, “I figured out a way to make toothpaste out of old shoelaces and saved $1.89!” While others are like, “I bought my 2,983rd rental property all while being President of the United States!”

Obviously I made the responses up, but the point is that you find some really valuable and cool things in the replies, some of which will be popping up on this blog in the form of future Tip Jar tips.

However the group can frankly be a bit overwhelming at times for someone in my financial situation. I would say that better than half of the posts on the group are people hitting some really killer milestones:

“We paid of the house today, and are debt free at the age of 32!”
“I have $100K in cash. How should I invest it?”
“We went to Disneyland and paid for the entire thing in cash!”
“We have so many golden toilets that I turned one of them into a pet bed!”

Again… made that last one up, but it would be pretty frickin’ sweet if you think about it…

I on the other hand would be making posts like this:Read More »