Items I Can’t Live Without

One of the ways to achieving financial independence is to hone your skill at determining wants versus needs. As you travel the journey to financial freedom, you may find yourself selling things you bought in the past, but have found that you don’t really need. We talk here often about developing “adult” money skills. These are things like being able to spend money to save money, and in this case, dealing with “sunk costs.” Selling something at a loss to reverse a bad decision shows you are able to isolate the purchase of it, and analyze the current benefit. Materialism Becoming less materialistic is what I’m driving at, here. But don’t confuse that with an elimination of materialism. If you want to live in a modern society and have friends, you will need to buy and own things. What you should be striving for is another “adult” money goal – spending more money in the short term to buy something that will last longer. For example, if you spend $50 for shoes that last six months, you will have owned four pairs of shitty shoes in a two year period. Compare that to the “money adult” who pulled the trigger … Read more…

My 2014 Financial Plan

Rather than prepare a list of financial goals, something that would certainly be daunting once compiled, I’ve chosen to instead craft a solid financial plan ahead of 2014, with a goal of sticking with it for 2014. This is certainly a form of mental trickery, and I freely admit that. Most effective personal finance tools are simply mind hacks, or new ways to think about everyday things. In fact, my overall philosophy on money rejects many “accepted” conventional thinking, such as the idea that you need millions to retire, that you must work until 70 before you can retire, that you must fully pay for your children’s college education, etc. By breaking free of these ideas, you are free to write your own financial story. Back to my plan. I consider this a mind hack because rather than trying to follow a monthly list of goals, I’ll just need to follow one plan. And by creating and phasing in its implementation in November and December of 2013, my plan will be fully automated by the end of January, meaning if all goes well, the only thing I’ll need to do to sustain it and hit my subgoals is to stay employed … Read more…

The Dream Realized: My Husband’s New Job

LBalke

The following is a staff writer post from Libby Balke. She’s an amazing writer, work-at-home mother of two, and has been married almost 8 years. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Libby or Crystal. A few months ago, I told you about my husband’s search for a new job in our new town. At the time, I used Langston Hughes’ oft-quoted poem to encapsulate how my husband – and I – were feeling about the deferment of his professional dreams. Many of you shared encouraging words with us on that post, and I want to thank each and every one of you for those kind thoughts; they were a light, both for me and my husband, who read every last one. That’s why I’m so thrilled to come back here today and share with you the exciting news that my husband has just received a job offer to become a police officer at a department about 20 minutes away from our new home. Although he was left foundering for just two months – a very manageable timetable, considering what many Americans have gone through over the past five years – it was a process wrought with frustration … Read more…

What Happens To A Dream Deferred?

LBalke

The following is a staff writer post from Libby Balke. She’s an amazing writer, work-at-home mother of two, and has been married almost 8 years. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Libby or Crystal. Maybe it’s because National Poetry Month (April) just wrapped up, but lately, I’ve been silently repeating the old Langston Hughes poem – the one that gave rise to the title of Lorraine Hansberry’s quintessential mid-20th century play, “A Raisin in the Sun,” – over and over and over again. In case you’re not familiar, I’ll refresh your memory: What happens to a dream deferred?       Does it dry up       like a raisin in the sun?       Or fester like a sore—       And then run?       Does it stink like rotten meat?       Or crust and sugar over—       like a syrupy sweet?       Maybe it just sags       like a heavy load.       Or does it explode? Or maybe it’s because this poem kind of symbolizes my family’s life – and, in particular, my husband’s life – these days. You see, yesterday, we packed up all our things and moved out of our first house, the place we called home for the past almost-seven years. Our Dream Deferred Tomorrow, my husband … Read more…

Fact or Fiction: Everything’s Old That’s New Again

LBalke

The following is a staff writer post from Libby Balke. She’s an amazing writer, work-at-home mother of two, and has been married almost 8 years. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Libby or Crystal. The linens I’ll sleep on tonight are nearly eight years old. The car I’ll use to drive my daughter to preschool in the morning was purchased four years ago next week. My favorite pair of jeans – the ones I still consider to be “brand new” – have been hanging in my closet since August 2010. There’s an old saying that everything’s old that’s new again – but in my household, I’m starting to wonder: at what point do our belongings start to feel old? When Everything’s Old When you feel like you live in a world where everything’s old, you may start to feel dissatisfied with what you already have. Sure, you may own that 13-year-old car, but when it feels old, clunky, and headed for the junk heap, you are more tempted to see the newer things your friends, family members, and colleagues have and feel jealous. I’ve got a perfect example. For years, I’ve been perfectly happy with my ancient … Read more…

Moving Out of Town for Your Spouse’s Job

LBalke

The following is a staff writer post from Libby Balke. She’s an amazing writer, work-at-home mother of two, and has been married almost 8 years. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Libby or Crystal. We’d been married 14 months when I got an unexpected phone call that would change the course of my life – and my husband’s life – forever. I was sitting at my desk at a backwoods TV station in the South, getting ready to produce the 5:30pm news, when my phone rang; I didn’t recognize the number on the caller ID, but since it was my work line, I picked up nonetheless. It was a news director at a TV station hundreds of miles away, asking if I’d be interested in interviewing for a job for which I hadn’t even applied. Turns out, I was – and within four weeks, my husband and I were packing up our tiny apartment and moving out of town for the second time in a year. Moving out of town – or, even more, out of state – can be a heartrending experience. There are the nuts-and-bolts of the move itself: things like selling your house or … Read more…

A 3 Step Way to Guilt-Free Vacation Spending

We have been trained as a culture to feel guilty when we do things for ourselves. Let’s face it, if we are going into deep levels of debt to pay for, we should feel guilty. But if we can afford it, we deserve a guilt-free way to spend it.

Vidova Gora, Brac

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