Posts in Habits & Strategies
Two Cents Tuesday - Pay off debt the smart way

We've been talking a lot about debt these days - last week I shared some tips on how to set up a strong foundation before paying off debt, so you can avoid binge-debting. (Check out that video here).

If you've set up your foundation already; you've saved up a little cushion, and you've stopped the bleeding, you're ready to power through some debt payoff. Where do you begin? Is there a smart way to do it? Are you supposed to avalanche it, snowball it, or something else?

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Two Cents Tuesday - Do this BEFORE you pay off debt

Do you find yourself getting into debt, working hard to pay it off (finally!) and then...getting into more debt? Does that credit card bill never seem to move that much, no matter what you do? 
 

In debt. Boo.

Debt free. Yay!

Debt, again. Boooooooo.

If this cycle sounds familiar, you're not alone. This is such a common situation that I coined a phrase to describe it - binge debting.

Binge debting is common, difficult to break out of, and psychologically and motivationally very demeaning. It can make you feel hopeless, dumb, and ashamed. 

There is, however, a cure.

Just like with binge dieting, binge debting's more well-known cousin, the solution lies in fixing the underlying issues.

The underlying issues that lead to binge debting? Lack of cushion (savings), and lack of planning (a budget).

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Two Cents Tuesday - What's the deal with credit card points?

If you’re like most folks, you probably use credit cards. Maybe you’re working on paying them off, or maybe you’re like a lot of people and use them for points.

Getting rewarded for spending money you were going to use anyway? Sounds like a great thing, right? Just switch the card you pull out of your wallet and there you are. Points! As long as you pay off the cards at the end of the month, you don’t pay interest, and then you get all these magic points. Win-win, am I right?

Not so fast.

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Two Cents Tuesday - Get More Vacation For Less Money

Do you wish you could travel more without having a vacation-budget-hangover?


What do you like most about traveling? Checking out new places, spending time with family or friends away from the hustle of everyday life? Are you more of a staycation person, a backpack through Europe person, or a rent-a-house-with-the-whole-family person?


In this week’s Two Cents Tuesday video, I’m talking about why the answer to the above questions can help you save a bundle on your next vacation.

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Two Cents Tuesday - Spring Clean Your Finances

In this Two Cents Tuesday video, I’m talking about some spring cleaning you can do to your finances. After all, spring often feels like a mini-new year. A great time to reexamine things and check in on your goals, like:

  • Getting life insurance like the good adult that you are

  • Figuring out how retirement savings works when you’re self employed

  • Start budgeting, if you don’t already

  • Setting aside assumptions about what gets a spot in your budget - and what doesn’t - and looking at it with fresh eyes.

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How to make your life easier and richer (with science!)

Humans are great short term thinkers, and pretty poor long-term thinkers. We want things and we want them now. This makes things like paying down old debts, saving for the future, and cutting carbs oh-so-tough. Not paying debt and eating pasta is just...better than the alternative. At least, until a few years later when we’re cursing our younger selves and trying to repair the damage that was done.

A big part of this reason is that in essence, we’re actually of two “brains” here - an emotional (short term) brain, and a logical (long-term) brain. As one author of a study on economic behavior said, “Our emotional brain wants to max out the credit card, order dessert and smoke a cigarette. Our logical brain knows we should save for retirement, go for a jog and quit smoking.” Even the most logical among us has felt this tug, and it’s telling to know that we’re really hardwired to respond to short-term stimuli. Flashing lights, great sales, oncoming tigers.

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YNAB 101: How to Get Started

So you’ve decided to try out YNAB.

Maybe you’re doing it because your brother-in-law keeps pestering you about it; you saw it on Reddit, or or maybe you found my blog post drooling about how much I love it.

If you want to know how to get started using YNAB, you’re in the right place! I’ve been using YNAB for over a decade and teaching other people how to use it for several years. YNAB is my jam. I love walking people through it, step by step, so that they not only learn how and why to use this magical, life changing money management tool, but also how to make it fit their actual life.

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