Our Experience with an Emergency Fund

“How we looking, Don?”

“Well, I can’t pass your inspection unfortunately, because I can’t get the ‘check engine’ light to go off.  It’s reading a transmission malfunction code, which you also saw indication of when the light flashed around the D symbol on your gear shift indicator.”

“So, how do we get this taken care of?”

“Having driven it around, I can tell the transmission is on it’s way out, and it will be unsafe to drive soon.”

“So I need to replace the transmission?!”

“It’s looking that way.”

There I stood in the mechanic’s office, facing a $3200 repair on a used car that we had purchased less than one year prior.  I was starting to freak out a bit.

“OK Don, let me talk to my wife.”

I […]

By |July 2nd, 2015|Money|0 Comments

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [038]

– We are halfway through the year!  Tomorrow the second half of 2015 begins!  If your goals for 2015 included getting control of your finances or getting on a budget, you don’t have any time to lose!  Start today, and get your budget planned for tomorrow!

– You need two primary sources to build your budget each month: your bills and your calendar.  What are your bills for this upcoming month?  What do you have going on this coming month that will affect your budget?  These change each month, so it’s important you adjust your budget for it!  Most likely, you’ll be hosting a barbecue, traveling to the beach, visiting family, buying fireworks, and running the AC a lot!  Your budget should reflect that.

– Taxes and accounting most often […]

By |June 30th, 2015|Money|0 Comments

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [037]

– Disability insurance is a MUST-HAVE!  I don’t care about short-term disability as much as long-term disability.  An emergency fund will help you through a short-term disability, but what’s going to happen long-term, six months and beyond?  A young adult has a much higher likelihood of being permanently disabled than being killed.  That makes disability insurance just as important as life insurance!

– Financially speaking, a permanent disability is much more devastating than death.  Overall, death is obviously worse.  But if looked at from a purely financial perspective, with a disability, you not only lose your income but you still have to have your basic needs met, and you may need some sort of specialized care.

– The most cost-effective way to get disability insurance is to go through your […]

By |June 23rd, 2015|Money|0 Comments

My Chat with His & Her Money

I was honored and thrilled to have the chance to spend some time with Talaat and Tai from His & Her Money and share our debt-free story.  They are doing great work helping people navigate the challenges of marriage and money and inspiring people to make major changes with their lives.  They’ve got a great blog and podcast with new episodes and inspiration weekly.  You can see their write-up and post about the podcast here!

By |June 17th, 2015|Money|0 Comments

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [036]

– In a day where so much of our personal information like name, address, bank account information, and credit card numbers are shared online, some sort of identity theft protection is well worth the minimal cost.  I cover Nancy and myself for less than $13/month with Zander Insurance’s ID Theft Protection.  We consider it a form of insurance.

– In most ID theft cases, unless you’ve given someone express permission to use your accounts, you’re not liable for the money or credit that’s been stolen.  Just like if someone stole your checkbook and wrote bad checks from it, you’re not liable.  But one thing you must do in all ID theft cases where you don’t want to pay for it is get a police report.

– No matter what […]

By |June 16th, 2015|Money|0 Comments

We Had a Baby!

Wow wow wow what a whirlwind 3 weeks it has been!  We are celebrating three weeks with our little Milly Elizabeth Ray tomorrow, and we are so, so grateful.  I have a new respect for all parents, mine included.  It has been a challenging yet incredibly wonderful time.  Mama and baby are doing great!

Thanks for bearing with me as the blog has not been up to its usual schedule these last few weeks.  I fully intended to have more posts written ahead of time, but trying to fit everything in before the birth (including a new brand and website for Nancy) left me with too little time.  I have a bunch of ideas pent up waiting to be discussed and worked over!

Many, many people left congratulatory […]

By |June 15th, 2015|Life|0 Comments

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [035]

Let’s talk about the vehicles available to you for saving for college. 

– There are lots of tax-favored investment strategies for college and supporting minors as they head off towards college.  The Coverdell Education Savings Account is very flexible and allows you to contribute $2000 per year per child, tax-free, though it is inferior to 529 plans in some ways.

– 529 Plans are administered state-by-state, and therefore have some different rules and guidelines.  Oddly enough, you can choose another state’s 529 plan for you if you want to, though you may sacrifice some home-state benefits.  Two parents can contribute up to $28,000/year into a 529 plan, which is calculated by the federal gift tax exemption of $14,000 per person per year, up to a grand total of […]

By |June 9th, 2015|Money|0 Comments

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [034]

– Buying/selling a car is a big decision with BIG financial implications!  Your choices on this front can cost you big time!  One of the most important things to realize is that a car is likely the largest purchase you’re going to make that will go DOWN in value.  Other purchases this large (property, investments, etc.) will go UP in value.  It’s one thing to buy a house that goes up in value with debt, another thing entirely to buy something that goes down in value with debt.

– Buying used is definitely going to be your best bet, avoiding payments to keep your cash flow up.  This means you might have to wait longer to upgrade your car.  But if you put the equivalent of the average car […]

By |June 2nd, 2015|Money|0 Comments

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [033]

– There are tons of software options out there to help you manage your budget.  If free is the biggest factor for you, and you don’t mind ad placement, Mint.com is probably the most robust and full-featured.  As all of the software mentioned today, they have a great mobile app.

– Dave Ramsey’s team recently released EveryDollar, a strong web-app based on their principle of giving “every dollar” a name and a purpose.  It has a great free option, while EveryDollar “Plus” costs $99/year for premium support and really smooth bank account integration.

– Another big player in this game is You Need A Budget (YNAB).  I’m a big fan of this one.  It’s a robust personal finance tool with a solid backing philosophy and method for a reasonable […]

By |May 26th, 2015|Money|0 Comments

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [032]

– While I don’t recommend electronic payment via bank draft for dealing with debt collections, I LOVE it for your regular monthly bills.  You’re not in an adversarial or standoffish with vendors you’re using, so they’re not going to mess you up.  If they made a practice of over-charging consumers, they would have the FTC, the BBB, Chamber of Commerce, and any number of other organizations all over them.

– What we do: set up auto-draft for all of our utilities, but still get paper bills.  This way, I have to open the bill, look it over, and I have that reminder to get the next budget up-to-date with that information.  We get paper bills but pay online.

– You cannot check out mentally if you have auto-draft […]

By |May 19th, 2015|Money|0 Comments