How I Made $34,000 Without Really Trying Jun27

How I Made $34,000 Without Really Trying

There are many important factors in financial success. But for sure there are 2 key ones. Income and expenses. One comes in; the other goes out. Generate income. Dave Ramsey calls the need for more income getting a bigger shovel. You need more than you live on. You don’t need to live within your means, you need to live below your means if you are to save for emergencies and old age.  Life always costs more than we anticipate. Spend less. That means not getting everything we want (saying no to yourself and the kids), not eating out as much, and looking for bargains. Some people clip coupons. Some make things themselves. There are many ways to save, and those little savings can add up to big ones. Recently I’ve been able to save BIG with a few minor changes, netting me over $34,000! 1. I cut the cable, well the DirecTV satellite service. Instead of $65/month for TV (I had the lowest package), I am now the proud owner of a digital antenna ($20 used from Amazon) and a Roku box ($68 refurbished Roku 2XS from Amazon). In addition to live TV through the air, I get TV and movies through Amazon prime  (for $79/year) and Netflix streaming for $8/month ($96/year). Savings=$605 per year. 2. I refinanced my house, lowering my interest rate from 5% to 3.75%, saving me almost $200/month or $2400 per year. Over the life of the loan, depending on how fast I pay it off, I will have saved at least $36,000. 3. I shopped for different car and home insurance. I worked with an insurance broker who shopped around with different companies and got me great rates (and better coverage on my house). Savings=$421/year. Just these 3 relatively simple steps will save me about $3,426 this next year! That’s $34,250 over 10 years! That money changed from an outflow to an inflow! I made over $34,000 without really trying! That is money that can be saved, given to charity or used toward other priorities. It will certainly more than cover my student loans. What is your time worth? I probably spent a maximum of 3 hours shopping for new home and auto insurance. If I save $421 this year, then I my efforts paid $140/hour. Not bad wages! How can you save money? Resist the temptation to go with the status quo. Don’t be afraid of change. For example, most people stick with the same insurance company because it’s comfortable, even if they think they can save money elsewhere. You can’t be afraid to escape your little comfort zone and explore. The savings can be huge! Then you can pay off debt, give, or save for the things you will need or want later. Sit down and make a list of potential ways to save money. Here are some ideas: Do you really need a home phone as well as a cell? Don’t keep the landline just because you’ve always had it! Would it be worth joining a warehouse club to save on groceries and other expenses? Cut the grass yourself instead of paying someone else. Unless your legs are broken or you’re very old, can’t you do it yourself? Don’t buy a new car. Whats wrong with the one you have? I bought my Acura new in 1990 and am still driving it 240,000+ miles later! Think of the goals you could achieve if you didn’t have financial pressures! I promise it will SO be worth your...

Living In The Box

We live in a world of social conformity. Even if we don’t like it, people like to stuff us into boxes. It’s hard to move in a box. It’s hard to breathe. It’s hard to be yourself. Do you put others in a box? Check out this funny video about labels, polarized thinking and very small boxes. It highlight the antithesis of critical thinking and respect. God gave us brains and hearts. Let’s use them...

Vacation Spending Jun22

Vacation Spending

We tend to spend too much money on vacation. It’s like we cast our logic to the wind. Maybe we’re in the “I deserve it” mode. Then things end up costing more than we thought. Check out this great article by Dave Ramsey so you don’t end up bringing your vacation home with you (in the way of credit card debt)....

Finding Your Why Jun21

Finding Your Why

What do Martin Luther King, Apple, and the Wright brothers have in common? They think, act, and communicate the same way–and it’s opposite to everyone else. So says Canadian, Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. Sinek says our lives and careers function on three levels: What we do How we do it, and Why we do it. He claims we usually only understand the first two, but success comes in understanding the third. Why. Sinek claims a key to the success of any career or business, is having a complete understanding of why you do what do, then being able to communicate that. The following is taken from an interview Sinek did with the EntreLeadership Podcast. “A why is born out of our own experience.  It comes from us. Our why is formed entirely probably by the time we’re 19 or 20. And so the rest of our lives are really the opportunity to bring our why’s to life. ” The decisions we make either keep us in balance with our why (meaning our how/what are in balance with our why) or they’re not. And the times it is, everything feels good, everything seems to go perfectly, everything we touch turns to gold, we enjoy everything no matter how hard we work. “When things are out of balance, everything becomes a struggle, passion goes down, stress goes up, we become more obsessed with our competition than with ourselves. “And so to find yourself you really go backwards. You don’t ask the outside world, you look at your own life or your own business, and you look for patterns. “There are consistent patterns, which is when everything seems to be great. You see a commonality, which is...

Finding God In Brokeness...

You can’t be satisfied. Life is difficult. You don’t know the secret. The Idolatry of God: Breaking Our Addiction to Certainty and Satisfaction is available here. Have you read the book? Post your thoughts below after reading...

It’s Not About The Nail...

People are different. They have different communication styles. Some people are verbal processors and need to talk about their stuff. Other people don’t care to listen to verbal processors, or not very long; they feel if someone shares their problems, it is their job to help. Sometimes this happens between men and women. No wonder we have relationship difficulties. Heres an awesome short video that highlights the...

Finding Your Jobs Jun11

Finding Your Jobs

As I watched the live broadcast of the recent Apple Developer’s Conference, I couldn’t help but think of the late Steve Jobs. He was the mastermind of Apple hardware and software that became synonymous with cool and elegant productivity. Then I remembered something Jon Acuff had said in an interview: “What’s your Steve Jobs? not, What’s your version of being Steve Jobs?” The question is, “Who are you?” not, “Who do you want to be like?” I’ve been watching Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview on Netflix. The interview was recorded in 1995, after Jobs had been fired from the company he created, and a year before returning. Can you imagine having your creation ripped from your arms and being thrown to the curb? (We forget the hardships successful people have endured and think we’re the only ones who experience pain and rejection.) Even in what must have been a very dark period, Jobs had a very strong sense of who he was, and continued to attract creative designers and engineers to develop new products. He was an innovator who was constantly pushing the boundaries of technologies; he changed all our lives. He had passion and believed in beauty and elegance. He was never satisfied to accept the status quo. Even in hardship, he remained true to himself. He never tried to be Bill Gates, or anyone else. Uncovering our true identity is a life-long journey. As we grow, we morph, adapt and hopefully become more of who we want to be. There is the temptation to lose our moral compass, give up, compromise, be tempted to deviate from our core, or worse, pretend to be someone we’re not. Fakes are never as good as the real thing. The authentic is always better. As Acuff...

How Old Is Your Money? Jun04

How Old Is Your Money?

How old is your money? I recently visited the Santa Rita winery in Chile, South America. There I learned about the winemaking process, tasted a few wines and laughed with friends. It was fantastic! During the tour we descended into the cellar to see the oak barrels and neatly stacked bottles. Instead of being bottled and shipped soon after the fermentation process— to be aged in the truck on its way to you— the wines in the cellar are being saved for later. As they sit there for a few years, they get better. They also pay dividends to the winery, as they will sell for a lot more money. I am a big fan of You Need A Budget, otherwise known as YNAB. This is software for your Mac, PC and smartphone to help you budget and keep track of your spending. I have been using it for about 1 ½ years; it is making a tremendous difference in my financial health; I’m getting control of my money! YNAB teaches sound financial habits through webinars and podcasts. One recent podcast was about aging your money; it reminded me of the winery tour. YWAB teaches four principles, one of which is to live on last month’s income. By using money that is at least 30 days old, you can break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. It may take a few months to reach this goal, but it is attainable if you work at it. Doing this has been very helpful and reduced my stress related to money. In addition to living on last month’s income, I’m also putting more money into my older-age account, saving for a time when I will likely have to slow down. Like a well-aged wine, that “old” money will be sweet at a time when my earning power will likely be reduced. And over time, that money will be worth more because of the interest it earned. Are you spending money as fast as you get it? Does it come in on Friday and is gone by Monday? Or worse, do you buy on credit? That is like trying to make wine before you’ve planted the grapes! Spending money you don’t have is pure speculation. Break the cycle. Check out the software and the philosophy behind YNAB. Take advantage of free online classes and give the system a try. Do what you must to create a buffer between you and your money, and give some a chance to rest before you spend it.  ...