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 »

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 »

We Live in an Awesome House that We Almost Certainly Can’t Afford

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Fun Fact: If you type “rhododendron” as “rotodendrum,” or “rodadentron,” spell check just basically looks at you and says, “You really should have paid more attention in school.” I had to Google that sucker.

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You people better buckle up, because I’m about to get real with myself on a number of levels with this post. Come to think of it, I guess I had better buckle up too…

We live in a rad house that we purchased a year ago this past June. We’ve had 3 homes go on the market in our gated community this year, and each has been listed (and sold) for $1-$1.5 million bucks. At the same time we’re kind of “out there” in the country, so it’s a really nice quiet community mostly filled with hard-working blue collar Contractors and Boeing Engineers who have built a hell of a good life for themselves and their families.

Our house wasn’t a million dollars for sure, but we do get million dollar views. We have views of both the Cascades and the Olympics, and I tend to post buttloads of these photos on my Instagram Account.

I mean, just look at this view I get to experience from my back yard:

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(Ignore the  ratty lawn in the middle one. I hadn’t mowed yet this year.)

Now I know what you’re thinking right now; you’re thinking, “Awesome, d*ck. Great of you to post on your blog about your awesome view and house. Maybe for tomorrow’s post you can show us your killer sports car. JERK.”

BUT IT GETS EVEN BETTER! The absolute BEST part of my house?

I don’t think I can afford it.Read More »

I Suck at the Side Hustle and Need Your Help

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I’ll keep at it and see if there is something I can find out there, but it’s been 6 months of not having much luck. I’m totally fortunate in that I’m not looking for a primary source of income before they come and shut my lights off, but at the same time it’s killing me as a highly-motivated person to think about the hours I’m wasting that I could be using to dig out that much faster.

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Obviously there are two pretty straightforward ways to get out of debt:

  1. Pay off your debt.
  2.  Make more money so that you can pay off your debt faster.

In other words, your debt is what it is. It ain’t going away, and so if you’ve got a lot of it like I do, it’s really just a matter of trimming what you can where you can to focus every possible cent onto paying that debt down.

As step #2 also calls out, bringing in extra income helps, as long as you maintain your focus and use that extra income to get out of debt that much quicker. If your boat is filling with water, you can scoop it out much faster with a bucket than with a spoon.

My problem is not the focus part. We are so insanely committed to paying off our debt that I could probably require life-saving brain surgery and still have a tough time deciding if it was worth it over putting that money towards one of our higher interest accounts.

No my problem is getting that extra income. That side hustle. I’m just not good at making that kind of thing happen… or maybe deep down I just don’t want to be good at it.

I work a lot already, so please don’t think that I’m a lazy person. I hold a 40-60 hour a week job for a software company, and I’ve been working for this same company for almost 20 years now. Along with this, I have taught at local universities, and have a semi-regular freelance job as an illustrator for a company I’ve been fortunate enough to work with for the better part of 15 years.

What I do know however is that I’ve still got some extra time. Think like 2-3 hours every night after my wife and kids go to bed, and an extra 10-15 hours on the weekends. I stay up that late anyway, but usually it’s consumed with dumb things like playing videogames or noodling on a guitar.

Monetizing on that 2-3 hours is what’s eluding me right now, and it’s driving me nuts!Read More »