Tuesday Tips for Your Money [016]

- According to the US Census Bureau last year, 25% of American households have nothing saved.  Are you one of them?  It’s time to jump on it!  What would you do if you had a major negative financial event?

– According to Money magazine, 75% of Americans will experience a major negative financial event in any given 10-year period.  When I asked a group of folks I was speaking to if they had experienced a major negative financial event in the last decade, at least 75% of them raised their hand.

– Bad stuff is going to happen, so we have to make savings a priority.  If you had to pay cash for a life-saving surgery for your sick child, you would find a way to do it, because it […]

By |January 27th, 2015|Money|0 Comments

What do Debt-Free Goals Look Like?

Nancy and I sat down this weekend and discussed some of our finances.  The question, in essence: What do we want to do better or differently in 2015?

In a goal-setting sense, I think getting out of debt is easy.  You know how much you’re in the hole, you know what it will take to get out of that hole, and you know each milestone along the way that will take you there.

I even feel like building an emergency fund or saving for a down payment on a home is also straightforward.  How much are your monthly expenses, multiply that by four or five, and you’ve got a hard number to work towards for your emergency fund.  How much house do you want to buy, and what […]

By |January 26th, 2015|Money|4 Comments

How to Run Your Business Debt Free [Part 2]

Today I’ll continue my tips for how to run your business debt free.  Check out Part 1 here.
2) Buy bargains.
Right now, stop justifying the top-shelf equipment, furniture, supplies, and services.  Every dollar you spend in your business is a dollar that doesn’t come home with you! Start searching out and buying bargains to keep your costs down.

I cannot tell you how many thousands of dollars we have kept in our pocket because we bought used, bought on sale, or bought cheaply and restored.  We’ve been buying used camera gear since the beginning; that alone has saved us thousands, and we’ve never bought a dud.  We buy furniture and other big purchases on sale, and I’m making upgrades to our computers so we can continue to use them […]

By |January 22nd, 2015|Money|0 Comments

How to Run Your Business Debt Free [Part 1]

We sat at our kitchen table – an awful green-topped card table – in our 500-square foot apartment on the side of a mountain outside of Boone, NC, and discussed the future of Nancy Ray Photography.  Earlier on that year, Nancy “Miller” had done her first two weddings on her own, for friends of ours.

We faced the same questions anyone else starting out faced:   How do we grow this business?  How do we get the word out?  What do we need to succeed?  What does “success” look like?  And, most importantly for our discussion today, How are we going to fund it?

Like many businesses, there’s a great temptation with photography to go out and buy all the best gear, a souped-up computer, and a brand to […]

By |January 21st, 2015|Money|0 Comments

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [015]

- If you’re trying to execute a budget for the first time and find yourself overspending on discretionary categories like food and entertainment, using cash, organized into envelopes by category, may be the way to go.

– Organizing those cash envelopes is easy, and it provides immediate feedback on your spending.  OK, I’ve got 1 week left in the month and $100 left in the food envelope.  Also, various studies have shown that when using cash, you spend 10-20% less than when using a card of some sort.

– When just starting out with cash envelopes, keep it simple – two to four categories will do!  Don’t overcomplicate it.  Get the money to fill the envelopes from the bank at the beginning of the month, then use […]

By |January 20th, 2015|Money|0 Comments

How to Travel on the Cheap

What is it about travel that is so fun?  Nancy and I love to travel.  I think it’s the power of new, immersive experiences.  Media and the digital world will never replace the experience of immersing yourself in somewhere new, seeing with your own eyes, and touching with your own hands a new place and culture.  That’s why travel will never go out of style.  It expands our world.

We’re thankful that our work can sometimes take us places at times that we wouldn’t necessarily go on our own.  In the last few years, we’ve been grateful to visit Austin, TX, Charleston, SC, Washington, D.C., the NC mountains (multiple times), Nashville TN, and a few other great spots for work, in addition to some other personal […]

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

How to Buy a Home With no Credit Score

There was always one issue that would trip me up on the Dave Ramsey system.  There was one piece that wouldn’t quite fit, that didn’t have a perfectly clean answer that really worked when you tried to live it out.

I know his system well.  I can answer questions about the system in the spirit of how he would – albeit not as concise or witty as Dave himself would do it.  I’ve studied and lived on those principles and the Baby Steps for seven years now, and we’ve even become completely debt free.

But one question always nagged at me.  I never had a really clean, clear, exact answer.  That question, in so many words, was as follows…

I love the Dave Ramsey plan, but if I follow the […]

By |January 15th, 2015|Money|1 Comment

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [014]

- Now is the time to execute on the priorities you want to have.  The things that are most important to you need to happen with your money first, not last!

– What are your priorities?  Giving, saving, investing, debt payments?  Those things need to happen at the top of your budget, before you make all your lifestyle decisions.  You should make your lifestyle decisions in the context of what you want to do with your money.  Most of us make our giving, saving, and debt repayment decisions in the context of the lifestyle we want to live, which is backwards!

– I first learned about this from the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, where Robert Kiyosaki describes this concept as “paying yourself first.”  Paying yourself first (thinking in terms of saving/investing) […]

By |January 13th, 2015|Money|0 Comments

Put the Past Behind, and Press On

This week, I’ve had some doubts about the goals I posted.  That ugly voice inside, that sinister naysayer that tears you down and gets to you when you’re weak has been doing what it does best – talking, talking, talking.

Pastor Stephen Furtick calls it “the chatterbox.”  Seth Godin refers to it as “the lizard brain.”  Whatever you call it, the voice’s purpose is always the same: Throw you off your game, and distract you from the important and great things you set out to do.

One of the chatterbox’s most common tactics is to remind you of past failures.

“Why are you trying that again?  You failed miserably and embarrassed yourself last time.”
“What makes you think anyone cares?  No one listened last time you had something to […]

By |January 8th, 2015|Faith, Life, Money|0 Comments

And the Winners are…

After a random drawing, I’m excited to announce the two winners of the 2015 book giveaway are…

Heather and Debbie C.!

Heather said this about her 2015:

In 2015 I want to commit to hand drawing more as a discipline to really “work out those muscles” so to speak and get better at sketching the world around me. In a practical sense, my husband and I also really want to keep track of our budget better and continue to save toward our dreams for our family. Both of these books look like they would be helpful for us but after reading the reviews, I think the Simple Wealth book would be really great for us to read right now.

Debbie C. said:

Will, great idea! 2015 will be a year of […]

By |January 7th, 2015|Money|0 Comments