It's hard to sacrifice. We're a full year into our projected five-year Debt Management Plan to get out of debt, and after all the budget cutting, downsizing, and life-simplification projects, I'm finding that I'm not yet done cutting the excess fat out of my life in order to effectively live within my means.
Your final payment has been made, and you've contacted your CareOne representative to let them know you will be finished with your plan. Wow! You are officially debt free!
When I signed on, I had A LOT of debt. When I learned I would not be debt free for five years, I was discouraged and thought about not doing it...then I figured out how long it would take me if I tried to do it on my own. Yikes. Now, in a blink of an eye, I am about two years away from being completely debt free.
I would like to share with you some of the things we have done to improve our limited income situation. It has been a long journey and we have learned that to be successful in supplementing a limited income you need to change the way you think about money and everything around you.
So, my savings goal has certainly changed; however, the remaining habits have stuck and should continue not only throughout the rest of the year, but for the rest of my life.
Across America, the sounds of school buses are again filling the crisp morning air. Children run toward the bus stop with backpacks filled with pencil boxes, folders, notebooks, and lunch boxes. School lunch proposes a dilemma for many parents. Should you send a lunch from home, or have them eat school lunch?
People buy used cars and houses all the time, why would purchasing other items used be any different?
I find myself looking back on the last twelve months and reflecting on the experiences of the year. Our experiences make us who we are and shape how we will handle future situations.
This happened only by pure luck, but was there a way to have this sort of lunch available to me all the time? As I was pulling out of the driveway, I noticed a squirrel climbing the tree in my front yard with a nut in his mouth, and my new lunch strategy was born. I was going to be a squirrel.
Bringing up financial issues with your spouse or significant other is never easy. In many relationships, couples differ when it comes to finances.
I think we can learn quite a bit from the wealthy when it comes to priorities and money. They know where to put it, how to invest it, but more importantly, where not to spend it.
Well, for obvious reasons, for a long time my "can't say no" was credit cards. I was young, and they were great; I could buy what I wanted, when I wanted, and nothing came out of my bank account!
All of the signs were there, big, bold and flashing in my face. I just chose to ignore them, ignore them......and ignore them. That didn't work out so well for me!
For those of you with me, those who are getting closer and closer to the goal of wiping out this debt, please take a moment with me and enjoy the feeling of knowing that this day is coming.
Sure, I have an idea where I slipped up or what areas I did well in, but it is always harder to see it in black and white. Although it is hard, I hope it is something everyone is doing.
In fact, I know I have said and thought the same exact thing: "How do you expect me to save when I live paycheck to paycheck?" or, "I have heard it is better to pay off your debt before putting money in savings.
Sometimes there is great irony in being in debt. I can't tell you how much money I frittered away needlessly in the name of being a "savvy shopper."
It can be difficult, embarrassing, and emotionally painful to let others know we are struggling with debt. The important thing to remember is that it is during the hardest times that we all need support. Not only the support to keep us from despair, but also the support that will give us motivation to stay on track.
My main objective was to simplify my lifestyle and stop to smell the roses along the way. It's been nine years since I retired and I'm very happy. I feel my road map to retirement made all the difference.
We hear "experts" clamor daily about the importance of communication. Communication with your children, employer, and spouse are all very important for various reasons. I had always viewed myself as a great communicator. I tell my family I love them every day, I call my parents several times a week, and I'm not afraid to talk about my feelings. However, the day my wife asked me to add up our credit card debt, because she wanted to know the total, I realized that there was a major hole in my communication resume.
Introducing Cheryl, our very first DMP graduate!
Bank mergers are a fact of the marketplace, especially in a churning, staggering economy. The best defense is to be informed, because you can be sure that rules and policies and methods of operation will be changing.
Then I think about how many people suffered and are still suffering, and I wonder how much money would be enough to protect me if I weren't so lucky? My emergency fund amounts to a little over six months' worth of living expenses.
My nine-year-old daughter looked me square in the eyes and asked, "Daddy, why don't you just ask for help?"I couldn't answer her. What a simple question.
I devote so much time each day to thinking about money.
In addition to the blogs, be sure to check out the new CareOne Groups:
Are you finally out on your own and figuring out how to balance your finances? If so, this is the group for you. In Starting Out, you can talk about the challenges you are dealing with in a group of like-minded people.
Do you feel like you are finally understanding what being a "grown-up" is all about and are settling into your adult life? If so, this is the group for you. In Settling In you can connect with others who are just like you.
Struggling to balance all that an established lifestyle has to offer? The balancing it all group is for you. Discuss the challenges you face when your responsibilities at work, at home and with family and friends all compete for your attention.
Are you currently retired or planning on retiring very soon? If so, this is the group for you. Times have changed and so has retirement. Learn how others are redefining retirement.