Tuesday Tips for your Money [007]

- Think ahead for your Christmas shopping.  How much are you going to spend on your spouse, mom, dad, siblings, friends, etc? Write it down, and that will help determine the price range of gifts you look at for them.

– Don’t forget the Christmas events and “obligations” that always happen but surprise us every year.  Office gift exchanges, a hosting gift for that friend who throws the party, money in the red bucket, tips for your postman/garbage man/recycling man/dog groomer/etc. etc. ad nauseum. 

– Let’s say you have some 2014 money that you know you want to give away this year – maybe it’s come from a Christmas bonus, a small business draw, or you’ve just been socking it away.  Giving before the end of the […]

By |November 25th, 2014|Money|1 Comment|

What Are You Thankful For?

Oh, why I’m glad you asked!  My mom always forced us to make a gratitude list when we were young around Thanksgiving, which we hated.  Like many things, I’m thankful for it now.

Gratitude takes your focus off of what you lack and places it on the blessings you have.  It crushes selfishness and inspires generosity.  Gratitude removes angst and frustration and promotes peace instead.  It’s a powerful thing!

That being said, I’m thankful for…

– My amazing wife, who is an incredible life partner, friend, lover, confidant, business partner, counselor, encouragement, and blessing to me.

– The tiniest member of our family, who will be arriving in May!

– Jesus.  I’ll never be able to fully grasp the profundity of the gospel.  It’s new every year.

– Freedom.  While […]

By |November 24th, 2014|Faith, Life|0 Comments|

We Have Some Exciting News to Share!

We’re very excited to announce the tiniest member of our little family:  Baby Ray, due May 27, 2015!

Nancy and I are thrilled, but we were a little surprised when we found out in late September.  I came home from a half-day financial conference, and Nancy said she wanted to chat.  We sat down outside on our back porch, and she had a little gift box prepared.

I opened it, and inside there was a balloon, some confetti, a note, some baby socks, and the cutest little baby hat with tiny ears on it.  I didn’t understand right when I opened it, but I picked up the hat and said, “NO!  Are you SERIOUS?” and dropped the hat like it was a hot potato.  When Nancy […]

By |November 20th, 2014|Life|2 Comments|

Tuesday Tips for Your Money

- According to the excellent book The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley, the typical millionaire spends less than 1% of his income on a vehicle.  The average car buyer (who is not a millionaire) spends the equivalent of 30% of his net income on his vehicle.  How much did you spend on yours?

– In fact, over one-third (36%) of millionaires buy used cars!  So much for our “need” to have a new car.  If you want to be a millionaire one day, it’s wise to learn from the methods of millionaires!

– It’s wise to always consider the opportunity cost of something when you commit.  What else could you do with that $400/month car payment that you won’t be able to do?  Invest, save, pay […]

By |November 18th, 2014|Money|2 Comments|

Money-saving App Review: Hotel Tonight

Nancy and I visited Washington, D.C. last week, as a combination birthday and work trip (she had a photo session up there).  We were loosely planning it, taking it slow, and not being really intentional about getting things lined up for the trip.  That’s very unusual for us.

We had poked around on AirBNB.com and a few other travel sites trying to find a good place to stay, but never settled on one.  Finally, the day before our trip, I jumped on an app I hadn’t used before called Hotel Tonight, and checked out what they had available in D.C. for the next evening.

Hotel Tonight (which has both iOS and Android versions) appears to really focus on finding great, last-minute deals at great hotels.  When I first […]

By |November 17th, 2014|Money|0 Comments|

4 Things to Consider Ahead of Christmas

Christmas is coming, y’all!  I’m excited.  I love Christmas, but not as much as Nancy (who would play Christmas music year-round if I didn’t complain).

Having worked retail, we started getting our Christmas merchandise pushed out to our store in August and September.  Now I try to contain my Christmas celebrations to the month of December, because I think it keeps the season special.

Now I don’t know if little baby Jesus intended for his birthday to become all that we’ve made it.  That being said, there’s simply some things you have to do and consider to make sure that the Holidays don’t screw up the progress you’ve made.

If you haven’t started thinking about the financial impact of Christmas, it’s time!  You may need to prepare this month. […]

By |November 13th, 2014|Money|3 Comments|

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [005]

- When planning our cash flow (budgeting), we always look at two sources to help us think ahead: the bills and the calendar.   Bills show us what variable utilities like electric and water will cost.  Our calendar helps us look ahead to events and trips that will cost money this month or in the months to come.

– If you’re committing to living with no debt, looking ahead and planning for larger expenses becomes imperative.  Divide the amount you need to spend by the number of months you have to save to show how much you need to save each month.  If you need to replace a computer to the tune of $1000, and you have five months to save for it, we’ve got to be saving $200 each month.  A savings tracker spreadsheet can […]

By |November 11th, 2014|Money|0 Comments|

Birthday Week Recap

I missed my first Tuesday Tips post in some eight months last week, as I took a day off from blogging on my birthday, November 4th.

We’ve had a big week, so I thought I might share a few highlights.  We headed up to Washington, DC on my birthday, as Nancy had a session up there and I had the flexibility to join her!

Yes, Nancy and I are Segway nerds!  Nancy’s sister suggested we start using the hashtag #SegRays whenever we go do a Segway tour.  I first got a Groupon for a downtown Raleigh tour, and it was fun as could be!  Some time later, we went on a tour of downtown Nashville, and Nancy has been on a Segway tour of the Biltmore estate. […]

By |November 10th, 2014|Life|1 Comment|

The Fastest Way to Free up Significant Cash

What would you do with an extra $400 each month?   Think about it for a second!

Would you pay off debt?  Build up savings?  Start investing like you really mean it?  Give?  Go on a trip?  At the very least, you could do something fun, right?  $400 more blow money, fun money, food, or entertainment would be sweet.  Of course, I’d hope that you do something truly productive with it!

I don’t know anyone who would turn down an extra $400 each month!  That’s nearly an extra $5000 each year!

What’s the fastest way to get that $400/month?

Get rid of your car payment. 

I’m sorry to disappoint those of you who don’t have car payments; you’re already experiencing the benefits of living without any car debt!

Car payments have […]

By |November 7th, 2014|Money|0 Comments|

Making Things Happen! – Recap

It’s kind of hard to explain Making Things Happen to people who maybe haven’t been there, but I’ll do my best.  I was privileged to be a part of Making Things Happen last week with 80-some other amazing people.

Most people come to Making Things Happen thinking that they are gonna get the kick in the pants and the information they need to go out and make their dreams happen.  And they do get that (and so much more), just maybe not in the way they expected.

Making Things Happen is not about getting stuff, achieving things, being someone you’re not, or doing what doesn’t really matter.  MTH is about realizing anew what matters most – deep down inside – and making the necessary (and hard) choices to do the things required to get […]

By |November 3rd, 2014|Life, Money|9 Comments|