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Showing posts from March, 2017

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 30: Treat Yourself

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!


Congratulations!!! 

Does anyone else think "Treat Yo'self" from Parks & Rec? If not, you are not living life right. Check out that show STAT! We are done guys! Thanks for staying with me if you made it the whole 30 days! I am proud of you! This is not easy work! So go ahead, give yourself a treat. Now don't spend all of your hard earned cash but maybe get yourself an old guilty pleasure like a new book or a ice cream cone or a new pair of workout pants. Or take a bubble bath or a nap- it does not need to cost anything! 

My next step is putting all of my bills, budgeting, insurance, and all the other important documents that need to be organized in case anything happens to me, in a binder that I update annually. Since I am the…

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 29: Set up Monthly and Quarterly Check Ins

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!


Check your short term goals monthly and your long term goals quarterly. 

If you have a partner, include them. I love showing Tyler how much debt we have paid down. He gets excited too to see us achieve our goals. We are due for a quarterly sit down to evaluate our long term goals. We did so probably close to 6 months ago so we are overdue. Don't follow my example on that! But I am going to plan a night here in the next 2 weeks for he and I to bring out the laptop and check out our goals from before and make sure we are still on target. Promise!

Stay Tuned for Day 30: Treat Yourself! 

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 28: Check Out Hidden Fees

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!


Check how much you are paying in fees for different accounts you have.

Are you paying for your checking account? What about for identity protection on your credit card? Or how about an annual fee for your credit card? Really assess all of your statements and bills and make sure you know EXACTLY what you are being charged for. And check it regularly to make sure something didn't sneak past you.

Stay tuned for Day 29: Set up Monthly and Quarterly Check ins! 

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 27: Set Weekly Calendar Reminders

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!


Once a week, take a look at how much you spent.

To me this is the bare minimum. When you have 2 or more people spending money from an account, you got to keep an eye on it. Sundays tend to be the day where I sit down for 30 minutes and make sure I got everything captured. It was hard to get into a rhythm at first, because habits, but once I got that habit established, I feel weird if I miss it. Trust me, if you do it regularly, you will have no surprises!

Stay tuned for Day 28: Check Out Hidden Fees! 

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 26: Tell Your Friends and Family

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!


Stay on track by telling others about your goals.

This is a biggie. If you do not tell your loved ones that you are trying to change your spending habits, they will expect you to behave the same way. This is hard. I get it. If you are used to going out to eat with your coworker every week, you may have to find a new way to catch up, like bringing your food instead and chatting in the break room. Or maybe instead of going to a brand new movie, check out the dollar theater or Redbox. In general, people just want to spend time together. Bring back game night. Make dinner with your friends instead of going out. Now that the weather is getting nicer, go for a walk instead of grabbing a drink. Or get the bottle of wine at TJ's for $5 instead of the…

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 25: Use Only Cash for One Week

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!


Now that you know your budget, go to the ATM and take out the amount of cash. Using cash for one week makes you more aware of money going out the door.

Now I will confess this is not one I have done. The idea of having cash in my wallet (besides a $20 or something) makes me uncomfortable. BUT since I manually track my spending, after I make a purchase I immediately track it on my spreadsheet, which helps me be more accountable. I have purchased things and then track it and think, that was totally an impulse purchase. I know there are some who swear by the cash in envelope method where you divide your budget out and then spend what is in each budgeted envelope, but that just seems too complicated for me. I prefer to not have so much bulk in my wal…

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 24: Revisit Expenses

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!


Take another look at all expense and explore ways to cut them back even further if need be. The goal is to ensure you are spending no MORE than 80% of your paycheck.

Now that we are 24 days in, are there still ways that you can cut back? I know it can be hard and gradually changing your expenses really is the best way to do it. Cutting back cold turkey can be tough and then if you decrease some of the things you did for fun that cost money, you now might be wondering, what do I do with myself? If this feels too painful, go back to when you set up your original goal. Why did you decide to do this? Where are you headed? Is skipping the concert worth getting out of debt? Ultimately it is your choice. I realized I missed my gym membership and getting…

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 23: Rollover Old 401ks!

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!


Roll your old 401ks to an IRA or Roth IRA. Each rollover should take 10 minutes and some can even be done online.

When you transfer your place of work, what do you do with your 401k? This happened to me when I left the bank and started to work at the hospital. I had a nice chunk of cash in my 401k and I couldn't combine it with my 403b. So I rolled it over into an IRA. Now, don't make the mistake I did and just let it hang out for several years. Fortunately last year I met with an advisor (see day 20!) and we got my rollover IRA into a product with Fidelity where it is no accruing interest. Don't hesitate to ask for help! Just make sure it is with someone you can trust! 

Stay tuned for Day 24: Revisit Expenses!

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 22: Choose Your Allocation

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!






















Are you 30 and plan to work to 60? If so, invest in stock index funds (70-90% your money in 2/3 US and 1/3 foreign funds). The remaining should be a blend of bond and alternative ETFs. 

Essentially when you are young, invest in stocks where there is more risk. The younger you are the more risk you can take because you have time to build it up. As you age though, gradually move over more money into bonds so you can secure it. Your advisor should tell you this so if you are not hearing that from them, ask! 

Stay turned for Day 23: Rollover old 401ks! 

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 21: Explore Investment Strategies

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!


Using a mix of low-cost ETFs or index funds is best for beginning investors; Vanguard, Betterment, & Personal Capital offer great strategies.

As mentioned yesterday, I have worked with my financial advisor at Fidelity to help me choose my investments. I am not an expert so they do offer a service where they do the investments for me for a small fee. I am not a huge fan of the fact that I am paying a fee for this service so I may make a change in the near future. According to a study, presented on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, a cat choosing the investments had just as success as financial advisor (see clip here) so I am not sure spending money to have someone invest for me is the best option. But then again, I do not feel knowledgeable …

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 20: Find Your Advisor

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!


If you have at least $100K in invest-able assets, seek a financial advisor to help you devise a plan to maximize retirement savings, optimize tax deductions and more. 

At my work there is a financial advisor we can meet with whenever we want. I have taken advantage of this as I find it helpful to make sure I am on the right track. I also have called Fidelity (which is where my rollover 401K from the bank I used to work at and my current 403b) and chatted with some really friendly people when I have had questions. I think I am quite nervous that I am not doing all that I should so I reach out to these advisors at least annually. Then we also have an accountant because we have invested in a local brewery and we want to make sure we fill out all of …

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 19: Check In

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!


We' re more than half way through! Take a few minutes to reflect on how you're feeling financially. Ask yourself if you're worries, confident, or feeling successful.

This is such a crucial step so please do not skip it! For me, taking a hard look at my finances caused me a great deal of stress. Hell, it still does from time to time even though I feel like it is well managed. There are days when I think the debt we still have is overwhelming or that even though I have been saving for my retirement for 13 years, I should have waaaaay more money in there. Or the car breaks down. Or the dogs need to go to the vet. Whatever it is, money is stressful! So if you are putting off doing this cleanse or keep thinking "Yeah, yeah, I will get…

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 18: Savings Outside of 401k

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!


If 20% of you take home pay is more than $18,000 annually, you should look to save in a brokerage account.

This is an area that I would like to look into more. As Tyler and I get our debt paid down more and more, I want to then build up our savings and investments. We have dreams of having a rental property as well, which will be an excellent investment. We are not quite there yet, as we still have a fair amount of debt to pay down before we will be growing our savings.

Any one have a brokerage account? Any advice?

Stay tuned for Day 19: Check In

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 17: Re-examine "Memberships"

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!


Using traditional cable? Consider options like Hulu or Netflix to cut costs. Cancel unnecessary subscriptions like Birchbox or DollarShave Club.

This is an area where I have saved quite a bit. We used to have Direct TV and Qwest internet bundled together and it cost us $175 per month! We really looked at how much we were watching TV and realized that we used Netflix way more. Since we are not sports fans, there really was no reason to keep the cable. So we canceled that and our internet was then $60 per month. I called Qwest and since I am a loyal customer, I was able to get that down to $35 per month. I looked at our cell phone bills too. We were paying $188 per month for 2 cell phones and I analyzed what we were using. Turns out we both don'…

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 16: Find Alternative Ways to Save

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!

Don't eat out for 1 week (that includes happy hours or coffee runs). Compile a meal plan for the week (3 meals a day, snacks, and drinks), build a grocery list and cook.

Today's post is one very near and dear to my heart. Tyler and I have fairly strict grocery lists, we meal plan and we rarely get any sort of food outside of our home. Of course there might be other ways to save money but how you eat is a biggie. You gotta eat 3 meals and day and while it might seem cheap to

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 15: REST!

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!


You're half way there! Good job! You deserve a breather! 

Stay tuned for Day 16: Find Alternative Ways to Save

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 14: Discover Your Net Worth

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!

Find your net worth. A tool like Personal Capital will total up your assets (bank accounts, 401k, home value) and subtract any debt (credit card, student loans, mortgages). 

This is something I do quarterly to see how we are doing with all of our investments and paying down our debt. It was overwhelming at first to get everything organized but doing it has helped me a lot with knowing if I am making headway with my financial goals.

Stay Tuned for Day 15: REST! 

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 13: Set Up an Emergency Fund

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!

Multiply your monthly spending by 3 and by 6 (if you spend $2,000/month your range is $6,000-12,000). Put this much money into savings separate from your everyday checking. 

Life is full of unexpected events. Being prepared financially for an emergency is not only super helpful but a huge stress relief. Living paycheck to paycheck sucks. I have been there. Having a savings account that you do not touch is a must have to feel financial freedom. Again, focus on paying down debt FIRST and then start building your emergency savings plan. 

Stay tuned for Day 14: Discover Your Net Worth! 

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 12: 401k Check in

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!

If your employer offers it, make sure you are enrolled in your 401k. For 2016, the max contribution is $18,000 for anyone under 50, $24,000 for 50+. 

I started off working at a bank when I was 16. I was fortunate enough to have parents who set an example for me, plus an opportunity to learn about finances at a young age. I have always had a retirement account. It was something I did right away so I did not get used to the larger paychecks. I made sure to take advantage of what my company is willing to contribute as well so I always contributed the minimum to maximize that benefit. Now, my goal is to gradually get to where I am contributing $18,000 per year. With every raise I get, I increase the percentage that goes into the 401k, so I don't …

30 Day Financial Cleanse Day 11: Think About Refinancing

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As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital, a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!

Refinance high interest debt like a mortgage or student loan (examine anything over 4%). Prioritize this if you have ANY high interest credit card debt. 

If you are paying a lot in interest rate, consider refinancing. This might be a really great option for you, especially depending on your credit. Last year Tyler and I refinanced a car loan, savings us 2% in interest, as well as transferred a credit card balance to a new card with half the interest! It did affect my credit score having the new account lines open but it allowed me to spend less money overall and my credit bounced back just fine as I paid things down. 

Refinancing though is not always the option, depending on where you are. For example, it I were to refinance my student loans now I…