Free Coffee and Inspiration

We love going to Ikea. Not because we’re totally crazy about cheap, Swedish furniture made in China. We go for the free coffee and inspiration.

Kaffee 1

The Ikea family card is one of those no-brainer additions to your basket of club cards. It’s free, you get some discounts on already cheap stuff. And best of all, have I mentioned the free coffee. Once you’re a member (you can sign up online, or at a kiosk in the store), you and whoever you’re with gets a free coffee from the “restaurant” every time you visit.

Make Your Credit Cards Work for You

For modern day Americans, the credit card is just a part of life. And with most people swimming in debt, these plastic ball and chains are an every day reminder that we better keep swimming, or that debt will pull us right under. But what if there was another way. What if there was a way to make your credit cards work for YOU.

The key to all transactions in life is ending up better off then you started. Whether you trade your labor for payment, or your cash for goods and services, the end of the trade is your goal. But with credit cards, most people get caught in the abyss of lose-lose. Credit cards eat up your future cash flow, and they make everything more expensive (adding interest… and lots of it). So how can we reverse this and make these little plastic cash-suckers work for us?

Plan Spending Every Month

At the beginning of every month, I take about 30 minutes to organize our finances. In this post, I will walk you through my eight-step process.

MonthlyLedger

As Eisenhower famously said, “Plans are useless, but planning is everything.” Writing down what you expect to happen gives you the baseline to compare what actually happens. This process provides an opportunity to improve your understanding of yourself, and to find areas where you would like to improve.

Investing In Peace of Mind

For most of my life I lived on the financial edge. It was only a few years ago that I finally got ahead of living paycheck-to-paycheck. Once I got an emergency fund set aside I couldn’t believe the peace of mind it gave me.

Photo courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu/profile/toadslick

An emergency fund is money set aside for the unexpected. The unexpected will happen, that’s just life. I used to have to scramble and try to work extra hours, or sell something on Craigslist, or worse of all, pull out the credit card.

What Will You Do With More Time?

I’ve been writing a lot about saving money, being productive to make more, and investing to further grow wealth. But why do I want to get wealthy? In short, I think good people being wealthy will dramatically change the world for the better. One reason is that more wealth gives you more time.

Photo courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Carin

Merriam-Webster defines wealth as, “An abundance of valuable material possessions or resources.” Having an abundance of what you need (by saving), or the ability to get what you need faster (by making more or having more productive investments), means you’ll have to spend less time working.

Men Shouldn’t Pay for Haircuts

My calculator told me $150 now could save $200+ a year… forever. Count me in! This is why men shouldn’t pay for haircuts.

Turner Hair Cut

A woman’s hair is more important than a man’s. There’s “angling” and “carving” and… I won’t pretend I have the slightest idea what all that means, but I know my hair doesn’t need all that. A man’s hair is pretty straightforward: X length on the top and shorter on the sides.

Set Up Your Personal Balance Sheet

Financial goals are an important part of our life. Whether saving for future purchases like vacations, or tracking our overall net worth as we work toward financial freedom, I use a personal balance sheet to track our progress.

BalanceSheet

A balance sheet is: “A statement of financial condition at a given date.” It’s a snapshot that shows you exactly where you are at any given moment. It’s a common term in corporate accounting, but is just as relevant for a person or a family.

Five Cars to Buy with Cash

I love my car. It gives me the ability to do things I used to do by feet, bike, or bus much quicker, along with a lot of things I had to rent a car for. But let’s call it like it is: a car is a money hole. If we want to be wealthy some day, we’d better be get our car-buying mindset in shape. Let’s look at why you should pay cash for a car and five classes of cars you can afford depending on your situation.

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There are two tried and true ways to stay poor: buying things you can’t afford, and taking on debt for consumer goods. Most people buy cars they can’t afford and pay for them on credit.

One Unshakeable Financial Pillar: Be A Saver

Whether your financial goal is the peace-of-mind of being secure, being able to live the “good life,” or going all in to become financially independent, the one unshakeable financial pillar to master is to become a saver.

Photo courtesy of www.sxc.hu/profile/asterisco

It isn’t rocket science. Dave Ramsey likes to say personal finance is only 20 percent head knowledge and 80 percent behavior. To get over the mental hurdle, sometimes it helps to strip down a concept to its bare, honest essentials. So here are my six simple steps to saving:

We Use Mint To Tracking Spending

I used to check my bank balance and wonder, “Where did all that money I worked so hard for go?” Once I started using Mint to track my spending habits, I was able to find the problem. As Edmund Burke once said, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” That certainly applies to bad spending habits. If you don’t know where your money goes, it’s going to keep leaving.

Photo courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu/profile/alejaeger

Mint is a free, online budgeting tool. Even if you don’t make a monthly budget, the tracking features are very helpful. And it’s very easy to use. We use it to manage our monthly spending (checking, savings, and credit cards) but you can also link it to loans, investments, and property.