10 Personal Finance Rules to End Your Debt and Change Your Life

Part of changing your life and getting out of debt is changing your rules. If you develop and stick to a set of rules and maxims, you will greatly increase your chances of success. Much can (and will) be written about each one, but they are pretty self explanatory. These rules are important, though. For example, if you can’t live on less than you earn, you will never be out of debt. Period – end of story.   These are not in any particular order:   10 Personal Finance Rules to End Your Debt and Change Your Life   1. Combine Incomes, Finances and Efforts –  If you are married or a serious, cohabitating couple who are in it for the long-term, it is probably time to join bank accounts and develop a cohesive strategy for debt elimination and retirement. Being married with debt is about sharing the sacrifice and the reward.   2. Live on Less than You Make – This is the most simple to understand, yet the hardest to follow. It is the cornerstone to debt freedom and financial Independence. Everything starts here.   3. Pay Off Debts Smallest to Largest, Regardless of Interest Rates – This goes counter … Read more

Collecting and Stacking Silver Coins and Bars – Pay Yourself First

Owning physical silver, which is the pure collectible form of the industrial commodity, is a form of diversification and hedging. It should not generally be considered an investment, though fearless traders have made (and lost) significant sums of money in short periods of time. It is better suited for those with an eye towards long-term savings. A recent post on Bible Money Matterstalked about the story of the Richest Man in Babylon. The man in the story sought out the advice of rich people, and was told:“I found the road to wealth when I decided that a part of all I earned was mine to keep. And so will you.” One of the best ways I’ve found to do this is buy regularly purchasing silver coins and bars. In uncertain economic times, holding physical gold and silver can be a hedge against inflation and currency devaluation. It is a way to consistently pay yourself and save a portion of your paycheck in a valuable form. Reasons to own physical silver:   CONTINUE READING >

Otok Brać – Vacation from Vacation

The phylloxera swept across the terraced hills of Otok Brać – Island of Brać – in the early 1900s, invading the soil.  Native to North America, the tiny yellow aphids traveled across the sea to Europe in the late 1800s, feeding on vino roots and spreading their wine death like an infestation of involuntary Prohibition.  The people on the island of Brać did not see it coming, and the families stood in awe and despair at the expanse of useless vineyards left in its wake. And the families began to splinter.  Some sought refuge on the mainland of the Dalmatian coast; some found their way to the university in Zagreb, while many began to feed the Croatian diasporas in South America, the United States and Australia. Those that stayed planted more olive trees, knowing that it would be 50 years before they would bear fruit, and that the hard work might mean a better future for those generations to come. The old olive trees watched, some for hundreds of years or more,  and continued to put forth.  The terra rossa soil held them close, and it was the color of blood.   My wife and I arrived on Brać via a car … Read more

Married With Debt

Like most 30 year olds who are married with children, I am in debt. That is what ‘Married with Debt’ means. Is it possible to get married without debt? I’m sure it is, but what fun is that? When I think about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that have passed through my hands over the years, many times leaving my bank account the day they arrived. I become tired of renting my lifestyle. I am tired of living under the thumbs of banks, owing them hundreds of thousands of dollars. I’ve spent so much, bought so much, did so much, but have nothing to show for it but a few gray hairs and some stories. I’m tired of working just for the sake of getting by. And the longer I go with just getting by, the more frustrated I get with not getting ahead. I’m tired of playing by the rules. The rules enslave us in a buy now pay later scheme that ensures we work until we are 70 and die penniless. Time to write some new rules…

What to Do Once You Paid Off Your Car

What do I do once I’ve paid off my car? How do I avoid car payments in the future? If you are like us, you recently made your last car payment and are living life with paid for vehicles. If you ask me, vehicles (cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, etc) are the fastest road to financial ruin. Owning and maintaining them robs so much money from our retirement. It is always interesting to me to see a vehicle parked next to a house that is probably 50% of the value of the house. Now that my car is paid off, it sure does drive better, as Dave would say.  Each month is an extra $280 towards my student loans, and an extra $550 to the same for my wife’s vehicle, which is also paid off.  My four-cylinder sedan saved me a lot of money on gas when I commuted 90 miles each day, but my wife’s vehicle was a bit of a splurge. Having them both paid off now is helping us put an extra $1500 each month towards our student loans. The key to making this work is to keep living like you still have a car payment. Too many … Read more

Who Am I and What Do I Know About Debt?

As the name of this site implies, I am married with debt. This does not mean I am married “to” debt – actually we are getting a divorce! But seriously, I just recently turned 30, have been married for 7 years, and have two daughters (age 6 and 1.5). I am currently an overworked state employee working for my state legislature, and my wife teaches 2nd Grade in a private school. A few years ago we seemed to be on the upward mobility trajectory. Then my wife lost her well-paying job as a public school teacher, and our earnings were sharply reduced. At that point I nearly freaked out and lost my mind, preparing myself for homelessness and the soup kitchen. At that time we only had one child, yet I was absolutely terrified – we had no emergency savings and tens of thousands of dollars in debt, including a large credit card balance. We were lucky to land on our feet as my wife found a (lesser paying) job, we never missed a bill payment or did without the necessities. After the near-disaster, I began to tackle our debt. We paid off approximately $20,000 in credit card debt, but … Read more

Why Have I Started “Married With Debt”?

Since this is the first post, I may as well explain why I am even doing this. There are three main reasons:   1. To give myself something to do as I pay off debt 2. To help others see how they can escape debt slavery 3. To see if readers can help me plot my financial future Give myself something to do as I pay off debt: First, let’s have a confession – I am obsessed with my financial situation. I look at my personal finance spreadsheet every day. It tracks my bills due and bills paid each month, and I use it to track all of my non-bill expenses such as groceries and entertainment. It also tracks how much debt I owe. I am loosely following Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps plan, as well as his debt snowball approach to eliminating debt. I have chosen to do this instead of investing, because I want to be free from the grips of creditors, and also because having debt is like having a negative investment – if you carry a balance on a 20 percent credit card interest rate and you are investing in stocks at 5% gain, you are … Read more