master your moneyI don’t have an aha! money moment. There’s no life-changing, turnaround moment that put me on track with my finances. That would make for a more interesting story, but the truth is, my parents have always been pretty good with money. They taught me some valuable lessons that stuck, and they allowed me to fail just enough to learn from my failure.

One of the biggest lessons they taught me was the power of control.   [click to continue…]

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Student loans are no joke. In the United States, student debt is growing at a rate of over $2,000 per second. A YouTube viewer asked me to dig into federal student loan repayment options, so in this video, I do just that. Here are a few things I discuss.

[click to continue…]

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This is a guest post from Dan at The Daily Prep, where you can find tips and resources for learning to be self-sufficient.

One of Dave Ramsey’s biggest contributions to the financial world has been the introduction of his “envelope budget.”

The concept is simple. Buy a box of envelopes and label one envelope to match every category in your budget: rent, utilities, eating out, etc. Then withdraw your budgeted amount for each category in cash, and put that amount in the envelopes. When the cash is gone, it’s gone.

While the logic is sound, the day-to-day realities of the envelope budget can be frustrating. It involves lugging around multiple envelopes of cash everywhere you go. As soon as you break a bill, you’re carrying around a fistful of coins as well. Online purchases, sending money via PayPal, transferring money from one envelope to another, and a hundred other things become a hassle once you’re dealing in physical tender.

Before you abandon Uncle Dave’s envelope budget, however, there is a solution.  [click to continue…]

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buyer's remorseLast week, I made the most impulsive, mindless spending decision I’ve made in a while. And I regretted it almost immediately. I plopped down $1,500 on a dress. Final sale.

To be fair, it was a wedding dress, and wedding dresses are expensive. On the other hand, they don’t have to be. When I got engaged, I told myself, “I refuse to spend a lot of money on my dress.” It was a very conscious decision. (By the way, I have zero judgment for anyone who DOES spend a lot on a dress. Money is just a tool, and we all use it differently).

Ditching Your Spending Plan: How It Happens

I’ve approached my wedding the same way I approach my budget: spend lavishly on the stuff I love, then mercilessly cut back on everything else. So my fiance and I agreed on and prioritized the expenses that mattered to us most. When I went to try on dresses, all of that went out the window. “You have to make a decision soon,” the salesperson said. “Or your dress won’t come in time.” It would’ve been one thing if I saw the dress, knew it was expensive, then gave it considerable thought and declared, “You know what? I’m changing my budget to make room for this kick-ass, gorgeous dress.” It’s less about the money and more about owning your own spending decisions. But I just handed over my credit card, scared and unsure.   [click to continue…]

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saving money
I was a nerdy kid. In school, I genuinely enjoyed pretty much every subject–except for history.

History seemed so old, unrelatable and, well, boring. I could not get into it. Then, one summer, my parents and I visited my dad’s family in Indiana. On the way, we stopped at a historical marker, and I looked down at some old, rusty loop on the ground. “That’s a hitching post,” my dad said. “Abraham Lincoln was here. He might’ve tied his horse to that.” Something clicked. I thought, “Holy crap. That old guy I read about was HERE? In this same spot?”

It seemed surreal to me that Lincoln’s boots might have touched the same dirt now on the soles of my beat-up Reeboks. Suddenly, I understood why people found history fascinating. Reading about it, I felt nothing. But taking action–visiting and experiencing history–changed my entire perspective.

I think the same thing is true with personal finance. You can read about money management until your eyes bleed. But nothing will make you care about your money quite like action–even a tiny action.  [click to continue…]

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