Experience Life While Saving Money

Some Context

Recently, I got an unexpected bonus from my 9-5, so my wife and I were discussing what to do with it.

We agreed to take 20% of it and do something fun, then invest the rest. 20% worked out to about $360. We decided to create an experience with these funds, as opposed to buying some object/item/thing.

You may already know that we are debt free and, by the standards of most, shouldn’t really need to worry about how we spend our money anymore.

Continue reading “Experience Life While Saving Money”

Why I Don’t Save For My Daughter’s College Education

Some Context

I’ve always wanted to help my kids find success in education.

My parents didn’t save a dime for my college education, and not because they didn’t want to.

They couldn’t afford it. They made a series of poor financial decisions, mostly living a larger life than they could afford. We were one of those families that couldn’t pay rent or car payments, but we always had satellite TV. The unfortunate result for me was many years of instability and uncertainty as a kid.

I found out at age 15 that, after asking about options for college, I was on my own.

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2 Lessons I Learned While Paying Off Debt

Charleston Tea Plantation (SC), October 2013

“Oh my god, I love this. Smell it! …

…Aghh, $12.50?? Maybe next time.”

“Babe, go ahead and get it. It’ll be fine, we’ll figure it out.”

She loves all things tea. It sure smells nice, and she did that flirty giggle thing she does when something truly makes her happy.

“But it’s 12 bucks. Chris, stop, I don’t need it that bad.”

Continue reading “2 Lessons I Learned While Paying Off Debt”

On the Side Hustle

The Rat Race

I’ve pretty much always wanted out of the rat race.

I first read about the “rat race” concept when I was 22 years old, working my first IT job as a helpdesk technician. I had become acquainted with a co-worker and software developer in his 40’s. He was constantly trying to think of the next big idea that would make him rich and get him out of his 9-5 job. A couple years later, he wised up, quit his job to start his own business as a barber, and I never heard from him again.

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Pay Yourself First

Some Background

I first read about the “Pay Yourself First” concept in the critically acclaimed book, Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! (referral link), when I was about 22 years old and trying to get myself out from under all of my student loan debt, and just be more fiscally fit in general. I picked that same book back up about three years later to re-read it and gain some inspiration.

That’s exactly what I got.

Three years later, I had accomplished my debt goals.

Three years after that(today): I am 31 years old and 100% debt free with a “healthy” net worth. Continue reading “Pay Yourself First”

I’m a VP, and it’s for the Birds

About 11 months ago at work, I took the opportunity of a lifetime.

Vice President and Director of Information Security

A 12% increase to my already-solid six-figure salary (plus bonuses), an extra week of vacation. More power to effect positive change, and a department with an operation that needed exactly what I was designed (and held a proven track record) for: to build a high-performance team; well-documented and efficient operation; and to dig the department’s reputation out of a stinky dumpster. Continue reading “I’m a VP, and it’s for the Birds”

How to Get the Most Out of Your Paycheck

One of your most useful tools is cash flow, and in most cases this happens to be your paycheck.

It doesn’t really matter what your money goal is, cash flow is probably a key factor in achieving that goal.

Maybe you are paying off debt. Perhaps you are saving for a trip, or maybe you are saving up for an investment opportunity (that’s me).

So your success will depend largely on your ability to both MAXIMIZE the amount of that cash flow, and to MINIMIZE the costs associated with living your life. Today, I will focus on the minimizing costs related to pets, clothing, and eating out. Continue reading “How to Get the Most Out of Your Paycheck”

How Much Fun Money Should You Budget?

How much spending money should I budget

Wow! That is also the toughest thing I’ve ever heard. I mean $25/month is not enough for me to go out eat somewhere or do anything fun.

This was a reply I received on Facebook where someone asked the question, “What have you sacrificed to accomplish debt freedom?”

I posted to say that one of our sacrifices on our journey to paying off over $150,000 of debt was to give ourselves only $25/month each for “fun” money. This would include things like going out to eat, buying things we didn’t need, etc. Continue reading “How Much Fun Money Should You Budget?”