There’s a scene in one of my favorite movies where the lead character steps into a batting cage, then takes fastballs to the chest to toughen up. He takes them all, screaming and grunting with the thud of each ball against his body.
With the completion of our debt management program (DMP), through which my wife and I destroyed $109,000 of credit card debt, that’s exactly how I feel right now. Whatever life has to throw at us, we can handle it. With hard work and determination, we can overcome any challenge and achieve any goal.
Which is good, because we’re not done yet.
We have one line of credit managed by a creditor that wouldn’t work with our program, as well as two store credit cards that we intended to take care of ourselves. It took every ounce of effort we had to stay on course with our program, so we used the last 55 months to concentrate on those debts.
Now that the program is complete, it’s time to concentrate on the remaining lines of credit. [ continue reading... ]
If you spend a considerable amount of time reading up on personal finance, you may feel guilty about spending money on yourself. It’s as if you’re a failure for spending money on something you enjoy — but which others may deem frivolous. When it comes to money, however, there should be an equal balance.
Money is a tool. It’s meant to help you build a better life. And, while saving and investing are certainly important, so is enjoying your life now.
With that being said, here are three things I allow myself to spend money on guilt free: [ continue reading... ]
When it comes to money and relationships, things can get a little tense. I know that my husband and I sometimes have different financial priorities, and that it affects our relationship.
We haven’t, however, had a lot of fights about money recently.
Some of that has to do with acceptance of each others’ priorities, while some of it is a result of our increasing income (more money to go around). We’re fortunate in that regard, since it means we can reach our shared goals — and still have enough left over to spend on our individual priorities.
If you’re trying to avoid fighting about money with your significant other, there are some things you can try. Leo Willcocks, stress consultant and author of the upcoming book DeStress to Success, offers his suggestions for avoiding undue stress during financial discussions: [ continue reading... ]
Few things can strike dread into the heart of the average American like tax season. Considering the complexity of filing taxes — and the potentially high stakes for making a mistake — it’s no wonder that anywhere from 20% to 25% of taxpayers wait until the two weeks before April 15 to prepare and file their taxes.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to make tax season easier or more enjoyable — but you can avoid some of the mistakes that accountants and tax preparers see over and over again.
Here are the top four mistakes your tax preparer would love to help you avoid: [ continue reading... ]
In the last decade, online savings accounts have become commonplace. Not only do they traditionally yield better interest rates on your savings (for instance, the difference between 0.5 and 3%) — they cost both banks and consumers less money to operate.
Although some people have switched from traditional savings accounts to higher-yield online savings accounts for longer-term investments, the concept of online checking accounts hasn’t become as popular. This may change when more people catch on to their growing benefits.
Like online savings accounts, online checking accounts charge fewer service fees, don’t require minimum balances, and are extremely convenient for those who are technologically inclined. Until recently, however, there weren’t any other major incentives for switching to online banking — and, admittedly, most people want immediate access to the funds in their checking, which is a feature most online formats struggle to provide.
As of recently, that is no longer the case.
What’s the big, ground-breaking development in online checking accounts? Many of them are now interest-bearing, and significantly so. [ continue reading... ]
Four years ago, I started my life as a blogger. I was delighted to be bringing in the extra income, but I didn’t think about the tax implications. As an independent contractor, there were exactly zero taxes taken out of my pay.
That same year, our adjustable rate mortgage adjusted down, resulting in less interest paid towards our mortgage and less deductions to claim on our taxes. Together, those two events resulted in a tax underpayment of $2,000 the following April.
We were still in the first year of our debt management plan, and our budget was extremely tight. We didn’t have the funds to pay, nor did we have a credit card or line of credit to use. I gave the IRS a call, explained the situation, and asked what our options were.
The gentleman on the other end of the phone gave me five priceless pieces of advice: [ continue reading... ]