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SHE'S GONE

Uncategorized Apr 12, 2018

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I just sold my 2016 Honda CR-V!  I bought it brand new and still owed about $21,650 but I felt like it was time.  Car payments make a huge difference in any debt free journey especially when they are around $400 a month!  That's not taking into consideration the taxes, maintenance, insurance, and gas.  I decided that to make my goal of being debt free by 30, I needed to cut this expense.  The car dealership was looking at me like I was sick or something was wrong but I told them I am completely fine.  I just have a goal that I need to get to and I am determined!  They admired me for being so young and thinking long term.  It was an easy decision for me and it all happened in less than a week.  I bought a 2010 Mazda CX-7 for $5,850.  I paid most in cash and the rest I financed.  Just like that I got rid of over $15,000 in debt!  My new balance is $51,748.91!  #debtfreeby30  

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RETIREMENT 101

Uncategorized Apr 07, 2018

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One word: underrated.  Retirement is key to your wealth building.  Yes, you can be frugal and save as much as possible.  Yes, you can aim to be debt free and be intensely paying off your accounts but what are you doing for your future self.  Is your future self broke while your current self is comfortable?  The good news is you can start saving for retirement at anytime.  The bad news is the longer you wait the harder it is going to be on your current self to build a comfortable nest egg.  

Let's do the math really quick.  Let's say we have a 25 year old that makes $30,000 a year.  In order to have $500,000 by retirement at age 65, they would only have to put away 8.5% of their income or $212/month.  Now let's take the same example and make it a 45 year old.  To have the same amount save by retirement, they would have to save 41% of their income or $1,025/month.  See the difference?

Let's start with the types of retirement...

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A MINOR SETBACK

Uncategorized Mar 28, 2018

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If you have been following my blog and social media, you know that I am on a journey to be debt free by 30. This is going to take a lot of work but I am up for the challenge! 3 more years and counting!

Well, this week I had to get about $2000 worth of housework done and trust me the contractor took no time to cash their check! I feel like the work was a must as it will save me money in the long term but what about now? What about what I set out to do?

Sometimes, you have to weigh your costs with the potential benefits and once I did that, the money is well spent. But, because I made that sacrifice, I am going to have to work that much harder to get to my goal.

Adversity means nothing when you have determination.

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THINGS I LEARNED FROM MY DC TRIP

Uncategorized Mar 25, 2018

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I just came back from traveling Monday.  I hope you all did not miss me too much!  I decided to take a trip to DC.  Visiting the many museums has been on my bucket list since high school.  I am a true nerd!  So, for this birthday, I decided to go ahead and cross it off!  But, booking this trip and being able to reflect by myself, brought out some good financial prospectives.  Enough with the backstory, let's begin!

Travel to DC
I have a rule.  Any trip 600 miles or less, I will drive.  This has two purposes.  One, the trip is short enough that I can stomach being in the car for that amount of time.  Two, it saves me valuable money that I can put towards spending at my destination.  So, for this trip to DC, I mapped it from my home.  It was only going to be a 314 mile trip (equivalent to a 5 hour drive +/-) so it passed my "drivable rule".  I also figured I can use my vehicle to get around while in the city but...

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FILING TAXES

Uncategorized Mar 10, 2018

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I have been filing my own taxes since I got my first job at the age 16.  It blows my mind when friends and family members tell me how they pay an arm and a leg to get their taxes done.  Most people can file their taxes completely free thanks to the federal government!  Did you know that 70% of all tax payers are eligible for their free file program?  Click on the link below to learn more.

IRS Free File Program
To get started, go here. Based on your income, you have the option of filing electronically for free or filling out a form to send in by mail. There are a variety of software offers to choose from. I have personally used TurboTax every year with no issue. Always be sure to go through this page to get the free offer! If you go directly to the provider's website, they may try to charge you. No more splitting your refund with the tax professional!

First Time Tax Self-Filer
With TurboTax, the website walks you step-by-step through the process. It literally...

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A NEW APPRECIATION FOR LIFE

Uncategorized Mar 01, 2018

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I have been diagnosed with asthma my entire life.  I never really had any issues with it flaring up.  I can count the times I've had issues on one hand (literally).  This past Friday caught me by surprise.  

I had a severe asthma attack and because I never have issues, I did not have an inhaler or anything on hand.  As I stood in the bathroom trying desperately to catch my breath, I thought about how I got to this point.  My body started to feel weak and I collapsed to the floor.  How did I allow this to happen to myself?  My body decided it was done trying to keep up with me and told me it had had enough.  In this moment, there was nothing left for me to do.  I had been so used to stretching myself so thin and for so long, that it had become part of my persona.  Those who know me, know that I am the "Jill of all trades" but is this what it gets me?  Is this what happens when you are the go-to person for so many people?...

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IT'S TAX SEASON

Uncategorized Feb 07, 2018

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During this time of year, Americans usually fall into one of two camps.  Either they are excited because they are expecting a big tax refund or sad because they know they will end up going.  No matter what camp you fall into, I want to explain why neither scenario is ideal and some tips to keep in mind before next tax season.

How Do Taxes Work?
First, it may help if I explain how income taxes work.  Every working adult is subject to federal and state income taxes.  If you live in certain states like Florida, Texas, or Washington, there is no state income tax and you are just liable for federal taxes.  It may help to think of the government as a corporation.  Income tax is its greatest source of revenue.  It uses those taxes to fund infrastructure projects, medicaid, medicare, food stamps, etc.

When you are hired at a company, one of the first forms you fill out is a W4.  This tells your employer how much federal income tax to take out of each...

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A LITTLE EMERGENCY FUND

debt saving money Feb 04, 2018

The infamous emergency fund!  Most people know what it is but do you have anything saved for a rainy day?  Right now, I have a little over $1000 saved in case I need it.  Why not 3 - 6 months like you read and hear about from financial experts?

Well, the short answer is because I have debt.  Would you borrow money at, let's say, 6% interest to fund an emergency fund?  I wouldn't.  Especially not when it is only making 1.30% sitting in a savings account.  My small emergency fund won't be like that forever.  I will eventually have a 3 - 6 month emergency fund but I won't start working on that until I have tackled most if not all of my debt.  The way the job market is now, if I were to lose my job, it would not be difficult to find another one even if it was something I didn't love to do.  So, I feel comfortable having only a little over $1000 to fall back on.

When I first started out, I scraped up that $1000 starter emergency fund very...

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METHODS TO TACKLE DEBT

debt Jan 28, 2018

Now that you know what is on your credit, checked your credit score, and called your creditors, let's talk about paying debt down.  There are a couple of different ways to accomplish this potentially monstrous task.  You can either use the snowball method or the avalanche method.  In this post, I will explain how they work so you can make the best decision based on your circumstances.

Lining Up Your Debt
If you have been following the steps in "The Importance of Credit" series, you should have a list of all your debt whether it is handwritten, in a spreadsheet, or in an app.  Everything except your mortgage should be listed.  Don't discriminate!  Car loans, student loans, personal loans, credit cards, all of this has to go!  Can you imagine not having any payments?  Just the thought is overwhelming!  Once you pay off debt, you can invest more, save more, have more money to spend on things you love!  There are a variety of tools you...

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THE IMPORTANCE OF CREDIT (PART 3)

credit debt Jan 21, 2018

Ok, so now we know what's on our credit and our credit score.  Let's clean it up a little!  I want to start with collection accounts since they are the most detrimental to your score.  Never pay anyone to do this for you!  It is pretty simple and I am going to walk you step by step.

1.  Call the creditors - I must admit this is the most daunting task but you have to get it done.  On your credit report, it will tell you who is reporting the debt and their contact information.  This step is just for fact-finding.  You do not want to mention anything about paying the debt.  Remember when I told you collection accounts fall off after 7 years?  Well, if you mention that you will pay, that 7 years will start all the way over!  Keep the conversation short and simple.  The conversation should go something like this:

You: Hello, I was checking my credit report and noticed that (insert company here) was listed.  I wanted to see...

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