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Preparing for Christmas with No Debt?

November 16th, 2008 at 05:59 am

I don't know how much you spend for Christmas, but more then anything I hope you don't get into debt. A time that should bring happiness and cheer, can be diminished because of debt.

For that reason, the best way to not get in debt during the holidays is to prepare at the beginning of the year, like January. That means changing your habits. The best method to achieve this is by developing a Christmas list in advance. Matter of fact, set up a saving's plan just for Christmas spending from January to November. Next, determine the amount you want to spend on gifts, and divide it by the number eleven. For example, if the shopping amount is $500.00 divide it by eleven, which is $45.45 per month. Lastly, set up a separate bank account to deposit the $45.45 automatically, or set the money aside in an envelope each month and hide it. If you stick to your plan, by December you will have $500.00 set aside for Christmas shopping!

A few additional ways to enjoy a debt-free Christmas is to use a piggy bank to store spare change. Let the money accumulate, then deposit it every month into a bank account. At the end of the year you will be surprised to see how much you have saved. Finally, use your God-given talents for gifts: bake goodies, do hand-made gifts, or cook a meal for a group of family or friends.

There are so many other ways to walk away debt free at Christmas. What ideas do you have?

A complaint got me two free dinners with dessert

August 27th, 2008 at 11:42 am

The other day I blogged on restaurants’ prices going up. Well, I'm not one to complain and not do something about it. So I emailed the owners of the restaurant to tell them what I thought about their prices going up. It wasn't a mean email, just factual. I really didn't expect to get an answer, but I did.

They thanked me for my comments, explained why their prices are increasing, and the direction the restaurant is going. Then the amazing part, they thanked me for being a loyal customer, and said, “To bring in the email, and me and a guest can have lunch or dinner with a dessert and beverage on them. Also, they invited me to the grand opening in their new building in October.

Okay, I'm so EXCITED!!! Now, I am a loyal customer for life, at lunch time of course, the prices are cheaper. I even put a great comment on a blog for them on Atlanta's major online newspaper today.

I'm a nice "complainer," that seems to walk away with free stuff. What happens when you complain?

Does giving more set you free from debt?

August 6th, 2008 at 11:05 am

The more you give the more you receive. That is what the Bible says, and I believe it is true. However, if you give will it help you get out of debt? Probably not!

You see, you can give away a lot of money and material things, and be down right foolish when it comes to managing your finances. Therefore, while you may reap a harvest, you may let the harvest slip through your hands. Paying off debt takes discipline, patience, and self-control. It also takes basic common sense and a strategic plan.

You can give, give, and give until you're blue in the face. Then you can receive, receive, and receive. However, it's what you do with what you get. Don't get mad at God when you feel like you've been duped. Maybe you did reap based on your giving, but what did you do with what you reaped? Did you pay-down debt, pay bills, save, invest or give more? Or did you buy a new car, bigger house, bigger toys, and pretend to be rich for as long as it would last?

Thing is, we should give because it's the right thing to do, not because of what we may get out of it. However, if you reap abundance be a good steward over it, manage your resources and money properly, and you may actually be set free from debt.

Don't let debt ruin your relationship...

July 14th, 2008 at 06:14 am

A few days ago I read an article that stated, "60% of couples fight about money." That number seems high, but my guess is that the percentage may be even higher. Debt or over spending really does take a toll on people emotionally and physically. And it brings to surface other underlying problems as well.

However, I don't want to dwell on the negative. I would much rather find solutions to overcome debt or money problems in relationships.

Here are a few suggestions.

- Realize in marriage you are a team, so as a team create a strategy to eliminate debt and spend wiser.

- Create a realistic plan. One that is doable and livable.

- Allow open and honest communication about your fears, strengths, weaknesses, and financial goals.

- Meet weekly to look at your progress, tweak the process, and get status reports.

Has debt or over spending caused problems in your relationship? What have you done to move pass it in order to move forward? If you've done nothing, what do you plan to do?

Embrace a New Mindset to Get Debt Free

July 11th, 2008 at 06:47 am

One thing I know for sure, the road to debt free living means embracing a new and different mindset. The old way of thinking regarding money has to be thrown out the window. A new attitude and mindset has to embrace the lifestyle change.

So how do you to get a new mindset, so you can joyfully walk through the process to get debt free?

1. reject the way the world has programmed you to think about money.

2. make a decision to do the opposite of what the world is doing with money.

3. make a commitment to stay focused on your new lifestyle to eliminate debt and live debt free.

4. create a plan and strategy to get debt free.

5. keep motivated mentally by surrounding yourself with like-minded people.

What have you purposely done to embrace a "new" mindset while you are going throught the process to get debt free?

Cheap and Free Entertainment...

July 5th, 2008 at 06:07 am

I love to have FUN! But how do you do that with a family of three without going broke?

Well, if you're like me, you think of ways to have fun that are either "cheap" or better yet "free." Here are five ways we have a really great time and don't break the bank.

1. go to the park

2. go to "free" Regal Cinema movies during the summer. Every week during the summer at 10am (all over the country), they have free movies. Did I say FREE?

3. have a "potluck" party with family and friends. Everyone brings their favorite dish.

4. go to the library to read, relax, and learn.

5. free concerts at the park, lake, church, or downtown concert series.

What do you do for cheap or free entertainment?

6 Ways to Save on Utilities

July 3rd, 2008 at 05:13 am

When I think of ways to cut cost, I look at every spending category. Every little bit saved adds up.

Utilities if not watched can take a chunk out of your monthly expenses. Never think that you have exhausted every way to find extra money to save or pay off debt.

Here are 6 ways you can save on utilities each day to lower your energy bills.

1. turn off the lights when you leave a room.
2. cook twice a week in large portions instead of daily.
3. unplug electrical things like irons, tv, lamps, radios, etc. when they are not in use.
4. use the dish washer once or twice a week or not at all.
5. wash and dry clothes only when you have a full load.
6. try to not use the gas and electric during peak hours. Check with your utility company to find out what their peak hours are.

How much are your utilities each month? Is that an area you can start saving? Can you add some suggestions to the list?

Need Cash? Here's what you do...

July 2nd, 2008 at 05:24 am

These are hard times! Many people are struggling to make ends meet. If you are in need of "quick" cash, here are some suggestions to bring in cash immediately.

- Have an extra room? Get a roommate. The deposit and first months rent can easily bring in $500-$700 dollars. Rent month-to-month with a rental agreement.

- Look around your place and find things you do not use, like, or do not want. Sell on www.craigslist.com or www.sell.com.

- Have a yard or garage sale, bake sale, or babysit for family or friends.

What do you do for "quick" extra cash?

You Can Save Money on Food

July 1st, 2008 at 09:05 am

Food is a HUGE expense for most people. Whether it's going out to eat, grocery shopping, or snacking. Food can be expensive. Do you know how much you spend weekly, monthly or yearly on food?

I love to eat, but I also love to save money. So I've discovered a system that allows me to do both.

First, I cook only twice a week (there are three in my family). On Sundays, I cook three one-dish meals, three vegetables, and a dessert. Takes me only 1.5 hours. I do not usually have to cook again for another 3-4 days. Go to www.receipes.com for cooking ideas.

We go out to eat around once a week or week-and-a-half. But we use the "early bird" specials. Meaning at a fine-dining restaurant we can get a $20 entree for $10. Or we use two-for-one coupons. Also, go to www.restaurants.com to get coupons at more than half price to eat out.

Bottom line: eating is enjoyable! Nothing wrong with that. So how much do you spend on food monthly? Are you looking for ways to cutback? What are you doing to save on food?

Living for Needs not Wants

June 30th, 2008 at 02:56 pm

In 1991 when I lived in Puerto Rico, I discovered what my REAL needs were. I need a roof over my head, water, food, and good health. I couldn't get a job because I never got a phone. So a way to communicate would be nice.

Have you discovered what your absolute needs are to survive? Or have you been programmed like the rest of the world to believe your wants are your needs?

What would you say your absolute needs are?

Choices not Sacrifices

June 30th, 2008 at 02:50 pm

People hate the word sacrifice. It leaves a bad taste in their mouth. However, in order for people to pay off debt, they do need to make some sacrifices. Nevertheless, we'll say "choices."

Are you serious about getting debt free? If so, what choices are you willing to make to change your lifestyle and spending?

Frugal Life Gets More Frugal

June 30th, 2008 at 02:47 pm

My husband and I just decided to sell our other car and go down to one car. We realized that our lifestyle allowed us to have one car. Having one car could save us around $2,500 a year in gas, insurance, tags, and maintenance. It's a small price to pay.

What about you, can you go down to one car to save money? What would you do with an extra $2,500 a year?