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

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|9 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