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

6 Ways to Love Your Husband Financially

A little while back, I did a short series on How to Love Your Wife Financially (part 2).  I know for a fact there was a decent amount of wives sharing that article with husbands, so I thought I would help the guys out on this and let them share one with the wives as well.  Marriage is a two-way street, and I’m of the belief that both partners can always improve on something!

For the previous series I interviewed Nancy, to find out how she felt most loved in relation to our money.  I got her input on this as well, but since I know what makes me feel most loved, I interviewed myself for this one.

Ladies, here are some ways you can love your […]

By |May 18th, 2015|Life, Money|1 Comment

New Album from My Sister

No, “My Sister” is not a band.  Literally, my sister, Jess Ray, has recorded and recently released her best work yet (in my opinion) in the new album Sentimental Creatures.  She’s a talented artist and musician, and this album is a treat.

It’s full of beautiful, relaxed folk and deep lyrics that will get you thinking about life in a deeper way.  The album is available on iTunes and Bandcamp as of this week!  Listen for free on Bandcamp.

If you’re local to Raleigh, she’ll be putting on a pretty sweet release party tomorrow night, Saturday the 16th of May at the Old Depot on West Davie Street, downtown.  You can get tickets here.

By |May 15th, 2015|Faith, Life|0 Comments

Unexpected Baby Expenses (and How We’re Handling Them)

So we’re closing in on our due date here for Baby Ray; less than two weeks!  We laughingly refer to our due date as our “fake” due date, since who really knows when this baby’s going to arrive.  It will come when it wants to, from what we’ve heard from literally everyone who has told us their birth story.

As it draws closer, we’re learning more about what it’s going to cost to do this baby thing.  It comes with some expenses that we didn’t expect – or at least I didn’t – so we’re navigating those as they come.

Here are a few in particular that we’ve experienced, and how we’re dealing with them:

Nursery decor.  I’m a simple man.  I believe in function over form.  So of course this […]

By |May 14th, 2015|Money|7 Comments

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [031]

Things aren’t always happy and great with our money – maybe you’re dealing with past debt that’s in default.  

– When cleaning up old, bad debts, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be dealing with a frustrating debt collector.  You’re protected by the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which determines how and when collectors can contact you, how they can speak to you, and what tactics they can use to get the money that’s owed.  You can see a summary of it’s provisions here.

– If you have a lot of bad back debts, don’t try to tackle them all at once.  Save up enough money to handle a few of them, and contact them one at a time.  Settle the debts using […]

By |May 12th, 2015|Money|0 Comments

Starting Up? Buy Used!

Last week, I met a guy, gave him $2000 cash, and walked away with a like-new camera for Nancy’s business.  Yes, professional-level cameras are that expensive.

But if I would have bought it brand-new online, I would have paid $2500.  In-store? More than that, plus somewhere around $175 in tax.  That one choice to buy used saved me $500 (at worst) or nearly $700 at best.  Include the accessories he threw in, an extra battery, a hand strap, a nice bag, two memory cards, and the savings was more in the $800-1000 range!

We’re making money, so why do we buy used?  And we’re professionals, so why do we risk buying used?  Answer: because we like making money.

On top of that, I guess old habits die hard.  It’s how […]

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

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [030]

– Summer is around the corner.  Did you put some money in your budget for vacation, travel, and spontaneous family outings?  It’s time to start thinking of those, if you haven’t yet!  It may take a few months of piling up cash to pay for that travel or vacation you have on the calendar.  Don’t let it sneak up on you!

– Summer also means new bathing suits, flip flops and other summer gear.  If you’re using an envelope system, maybe you’ve let some money pile up in the clothing envelope – this is a great time to let pull that money out make good use of it.

– When that HVAC system inevitably shuts down at the hottest part of the summer, you avoid putting the […]

By |May 5th, 2015|Money|0 Comments

Making Things Happen! Conference Recap

Nancy and I were privileged again to speak at the Making Things Happen! Conference in March.  This is a semi-annual highlight for us, as we enjoy getting to share our story and our hearts on winning with money!

Nancy is a main conference speaker, and we share the responsibility of leading a small group.  I get my turn on day two, when I get to share some keys for winning with money in a small business setting, some personal tips, and really try to help people realize that how they handle their money affects their ability to “make things happen” in their lives.

This year, a recurring theme that kept popping up in a few different contexts was contentment.  At the end of day two, I did some […]

By |May 4th, 2015|Money|0 Comments

Dave Ramsey’s EveryDollar Review

Dave Ramsey’s team made a big splash into the financial software market last month, joining the likes of Mint.com, You Need A Budget, and Quicken to offer their own personal finance software.

Meet EveryDollar, primarily a budgeting tool with a module to help you track your progress through Dave Ramsey’s baby steps.  Nancy and I have used it for the last two budgets that we’ve created.  Like any software, it’s got a learning curve, but I’ve found it to be fairly intuitive.

The name, EveryDollar, comes from Dave Ramsey’s instruction on how to create a budget.  He regularly says, “When creating a budget, you’ve got to give every dollar a name, on paper, on purpose, before the month begins.”

This part is vital to having success with budgeting.  If plan your […]

By |April 30th, 2015|Money|3 Comments

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [029]

–  There are over 8000 mutual funds in existence!  How do you find one that’s good for you?  When looking for mutual funds, look for funds with long, solid track records.  I don’t care what they did in the last 1-, 3-, or 5- years, because I’m not investing for the next 1-, 3- or 5-year periods!  I’m investing for the next 30, 40, 50 years!

– Any old crap mutual fund could have done well in the late 90’s, the mid-2000’s, or from 2011-present.  I don’t care about that, I want to know what their average annual return has been since the fund’s inception, which should have been a long time ago!  I don’t invest in funds that are less than 10 years old.  The […]

By |April 28th, 2015|Money|0 Comments