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debt-free

Money

3 Ways Millennials Are Like Frogs in Boiling Water

July 11, 2017

I am sure you are familiar with the old frog in boiling water story.

In case you were living under a rock and haven’t, it goes something like this…If a frog is suddenly placed into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death.

The story is generally told as cautionary tale so people are aware of even gradual changes lest they suffer eventual undesirable consequences.

Now, I cannot speak to the veracity of the story as I have never attempted to boil a frog nor do I have plans to (nor do I encourage you to do this! LOL) However, I have experienced and witnessed a modern day frog boiling if-you-will of Millennials who are clueless as to what’s happening to until it’s too late and they’re stuck.

What am I talking about?

Debt.

The American culture has been sold, hook line and sinker, on the debt lie. This belief that debt is normal, even inevitable, to receive an education, drive cars, or to maintain a certain lifestyle. It’s nearly all but assumed that Millennials will accrue not only student loan debt but also credit card and car payments.

And you know what? It’s boiling them (and eventually our economy but that’s another post) to death.

Before you label me Chicken Little and close out this post, let’s sit down and review together the cold hard data and facts of what debt is actually doing to Millennials (and even the economy at large).

What you choose to do with that evidence will be your own choice but I at least want to put the information in your hands. You can decide if you want to hang out in the warming water or jump out while you can.

(As I typed that I tooootally had the image of Morpheus from The Matrix in my head and felt like a real B.A. Blue pill/red pill scene anyone?)

Delaying Marriage, Family, and Home-buying

Every single year, the most recent college graduates achieve a new milestone – being more indebted than every class prior to them. Yikes!

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that majorly indebted Millennials with low paying starter jobs aren’t likely going to prioritize taking on even higher levels of responsibility of marriage, child-rearing, or buying their first home.

While some Millennials actually aren’t interested in pursuing the classic American Dream (hey, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea), a large majority do want it but they don’t feel like they can swing it financially. While I am firmly in the camp that debt shouldn’t deter you from marrying or having children, I understand and empathize with those who feel paralyzed by their debt and decide to wait.

Actually, I am quite mad for them, as their student loan payment is crippling their dreams, desires, and opportunities. We now have a generation that feels the need to plan their life around their debts and that’s frustrating. Wasn’t debt sold to us as a way to “get ahead” or “invest in our future?”

Now we’re delaying and sacrificing our future on the altar of debt. Hmmmm.

How About a Whopping Dose of Stress, Anxiety, PTSD, and Depression

What do you get when you combine stagnant wages, looming uncertainty about retirement, economic uncertainty, non-existent savings, increased cost of living, and crushing amounts of debt?

A Millennial Stress Cocktail that’s what.

It’s not shocking to see the latest research pointing to Millennials being more stressed financially than any other generation in the workforce. In a recent study, it’s reported that 79 percent of Millennials with student loan debt felt a moderate to significant impact to reach their financial goals.

It’s obvious that people feeling incredible financial pressure aren’t as productive on the job as those without the same burdens. While over half of Millennials report financial stress in their life, 36 percent have even exhibited PTSD symptoms related to their financesdenial, avoidance, hypervigilance, even nightmares relating to their finances. (Warning sirens anyone???)

We’ve seen these symptoms with individuals and couples we’ve worked with. Many times it means watching people bury their head in the sand about all things financial. They grow insanely uncomfortable and stressed out just speaking of their debt, so it’s far easier for them (or so they believe) to drop the subject altogether and not face it. 

Working To Pay Others Instead Of Pursuing Their Dreams

When Millennials finally secure a job post graduation, it’s a time of celebration. But a few pay cycles in, a gut-wrenching truth hits hard: Millennials’ #1 wealth building tool is actually a debt re-payment tool.

After they take out taxes, add up all their debts and payments, make sure the bills get paid, all of a sudden there is hardly anything left to save or pay off debt faster. Their hard fought for income now simply passes from their bank account into Navient’s. They’re simply working to pay back debts and aren’t free to use their entire paycheck to pursue their dreams and desired adventures…or if they do, they just rack up more debt, stalling current and future momentum.

Over half of Millennials are living paycheck to paycheck (which let’s be real, isn’t just a Millennial problem). While many Millennials are saving for retirement, studies show they aren’t saving enough to cover their financial needs later in life. So in some ways, debt is forcing them to burn the candle at both ends, sacrificing their now and their later.

How Do You Jump Out’?

I know, some of you might be thinking, um yea I didn’t need you to spell out how debt is affecting my life – I already feel it and am pretty depressed myself…thanks giving me more anxiety.

Others of you might be thinking, welp, it’s Millennials faults for signing up for so much dang debt so let them reap what they sowed.

I think this information needs to be more widely known and more than that, I want you (if you’re a Millennial feeling the weight of debt) to know that you don’t have to accept this as the norm anymore.

You CAN face your debt head on, punch it in the gut, slay the giant, and live your life with freedom and peace.

Don’t be the frog. Don’t let debt boil your hopes, dreams, goals, and mental health to death.

As someone who burned the debt bridge as a 20-something back in 2012, I’m inviting you to jump out of the water. I’m throwing you a life raft. Jonathan and I paid off $24,500 in student loan debt and credit cards in 7.5 months and we want to share with you our proven game plan for throat punching debt and showing it who’s boss. You can be debt-free and we can get you some quick momentum.

Sign up below for our FREE 5-day e-course.

Over the next 5 days we want to help you dream about what life could look like without debt, asses your current financial reality, unpack common emotions that impact our relationship with money, start budgeting so you don’t have to wonder where the heck all your money went, and share our #1 tip for accelerating your financial progress.

Your hopes and dreams matter to you and we want to help you see them become a reality, so snag your free 5-Day E-Course now.

Look forward to hanging out more real soon! 🙂

Money

Don’t Get Fooled By A Phony Black Friday Deal

November 22, 2016

Black Friday in only a few short days away.

That might invoke love or hate in some households but in ours? We love it.

Growing up, Black Friday was an extension of an already awesome day – Thanksgiving. I remember having a second serving a pie while scanning the toy ads with my trusty permanent black marker. Of course I circled about $100,000 worth of toys knowing full well I’d only get 1-2 items but it was a lot of fun to dream. We’d hit our pillows that night knowing that in a few short hours we would hear mom and dad getting up to go sniff out and snag the best deals to be found.

When we got older, we actually got to join them in going out, hunting down the bargains, and meeting people in line at all hours of the night. It was super fun (and no I never saw anyone get run over or punched or anything you see on YouTube…because Nebraska). Jonathan and I have continued the tradition into our marriage and absolutely love being part of the action.

Ahhh. Black Friday. 🙂

Y’all know we are Dave Ramsey peeps. We are deal hounds who have a knack for sniffing out and snatching the best of the best prices available.

But aren’t all prices and items on Black Friday the best of the best?

No, my friend, they are not. And that is what I want to walk you through in this blog post. If you plan to shop this Black Friday, I want you to know you’re getting the best deal you possibly can.

Craigslist/Ebay

Wait, what? Why would I look for a used item on Black Friday when all these brand new items are deeply discounted?

Jonathan and I have found stellar deals on used items the day of Black Friday or the weekend following because so many people ran out and bought new items and now need to sell their used ones to make room. And when they already have the new item, they are much more willing to take lower offers just to get the old one out the door.

The year Josie was born, I was stocking my cloth diapers and I knew that Rumparooz Black Friday sale was 25% off brand new inventory. So I went on Craigslist and a Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade group and used that sale as leverage in my offer to buy barely used diapers for 50% off…when typically they would have sold for about 25% off.

And that’s how we do.

Do Your Homework

Is that 85 inch TV on sale for $139 actually worth it? This is where you have to put your detective hat on and do some sleuthing.

Black Friday is all about padding the bottom line for these stores. Some of their “deals” are actually duds, as you could walk in the store anytime of the year and buy the item at that price. (Totally happened to me once when I was a teenager…went back to The Nebraska Furniture Mart months later and my $19 DVD player was still $19. All that after I had stood in the cold for 3 hours to buy it.)

Market Watch LLC claims that 42% of the prices they are seeing on 2016 ads are the same as last year! So look at past Black Friday ads for insight. If it’s an Amazon item – check CamelCamelCamel to watch price comparisons.

Pay Attention to Quality

Sometimes stores will not specify the brand of the item being discounted – which matters in certain areas like a refrigerator or a computer and not so much on pajamas. While in your mind you know that a Black Friday LG washer and dryer set sell for $900 for a set, buying random-no-one-has-ever-heard-of-it brand set for $500 might seem like deep savings but if it’s nothing but junk that will break within a year, you should’ve just spend a little more for higher quality.

Read item reviews. Take the actual model number and input into Google and read all the reviews associated with the item. Or check out The SweetHome to read tested reviews on common household items. Sometimes stores use low end models (or even known brand models that didn’t sell well) to draw people in during Black Friday just to get rid of last year’s inventory. Be careful to make sure you aren’t buying a pig with lipstick.

Use Technology

Times are a changing and our smart-phone world has even crept its way into Black Friday. There are many apps you can use to ensure you’re getting a great deal even while out and about shopping.

Or hey, if crowds aren’t your thing, go ahead and Black Friday shop from the comfort of your own home online. Most of the deals these days are also available via the company’s website! One year I pounded the pavement all night long looking for a black peacoat in my price range. I got home in the wee hours of the morning, empty handed and exhausted as could be. I jumped online to Wilson’s Leather and what do you know? The perfect coat at way better prices that the brick and mortar stores I hit up.

Pay With Gift Cards

One last tip I’ve got for you is to buy discounted gift cards to shop with on Black Friday.

If you already know you are buying something at Sears, why not buy a gift card at 5%-15% off to maximize even more savings? We do this all the time with stores we regularly go to: Chipotle, Starbucks, Ebay, Target, Old Navy, you name it. Free money, people! And if you can combine a coupon on top of these Black Friday and gift card discounts? Even better!

I hope that helps you snag the best deals out there this Black Friday! Last and certainly not least – don’t Black Friday shop unless you have it in the budget. Any sale that makes you go deeper into debt and/or wasn’t planned for at your budget meeting isn’t a sale we’d recommend.

Adoption

Growing Our Family Piece by Piece: Day Six Update

September 29, 2016

Six days down and three to go in our adoption puzzle fundraiser!

Shout out to everyone who shared our post yesterday! We appreciate that so very much and know your shares are working since not only are people we know giving to the puzzle but strangers! You want proof, check out this guy:

Hi guys I just wanted to let you know that your story popped up in my Facebook newsfeed from two different people and I am rarely on Facebook so I really felt called to donate!

Yup – because of y’all. 🙂

Yesterday a heavy majority of our paperwork got turned in, which is a huge weight off our backs. Now clearances need to come through and the home study meetings are all that stand in the way of us being officially approved to adopt again! Oh and the funds we are trying to raise but you know what? God will provide. He will. As long as we work diligently and prudently with our time and resources the Lord will bring whatever we lack.

I had a strong sense of his providence yesterday while riding in the car ad listening to Hillsong’s Oceans. (Sorry to anyone at the intersection of 132nd & Harrison who saw that ugly cry). I asked the Holy Spirit years ago to lead my life and do whatever he wants with me to bring glory to God. There have been some major ups and downs already in this adoption process (can’t go into detail) but I’ve been begging for peace and it came. We are right where we are supposed to be no matter how things turn and bend ahead. Being confident of that leaves little room for fear…just for love.

Today I want to throw out a challenge. Many of you already have BUT if you are someone who’s life has been positively impacted by the presence of True Good & Beautiful or through Jonathan and I’s friendships/mentorship/whatevership we happen to have – would you join us in this adoption puzzle? We sincerely thank you for considering it.

What kind of progress did we make on Day Five?

  • 237 pieces sold

  • $5,925 raised!!!!

  • 15.80% of our goal of $37,500

Here’s a virtual picture of the puzzle’s progress:

puzzle-day-06

If you would like to donate, please do so below. If you know of anyone who has a heart for adoption, please share our story and invite them to consider joining the journey.



Donate w/ Squarecash

Money

The May Budget Breakdown

April 29, 2015

Howdy.

Here we are again. Time for some good ole budget accountability and fun!

In these posts we will write-up typical expenses that may get overlooked for the particular month. Then we have a photo link up portion where YOU can upload a photo of your budget committee meeting for the month!

So, what expenses might you expect in the month of May?

  • Mother’s Day (I can’t believe we FINALLY get to budget for this!!!) 🙂
    • Brunch
    • Flowers
    • Gifts
    • Crafts
    • Etc.
  • Cinco de Mayo Party
  • Spring Cleaning Supplies
    • Mop, Broom, Vacuum
    • Organizational boxes
    • Filing Cabinet
  • Birthday gifts
  • Wedding gifts
  • Graduation gifts
  • Summer travel
    • Extra gas money
    • Flights
    • Rental car
    • Hotels
  • Memorial Day
    • Party with friends
    • Grilling supplies
    • Wreath’s for graves of Veterans
  • Animal expenses
    • Flea/Tick medications for animals you plan to take out into the woods/hikes
  • Summer supplies
    • Bathing suits
    • Sunglasses
    • Sunscreen
  • Entertainment
    • Entry fees for fun races (Rugged Maniac)
    • Blockbuster movies (Avengers)
  • Yard supplies
    • Gasoline for mower
    • Landscaping
  • Utilities increase
    • Air conditioning
    • Fans
  • Summer Recreation
    • Hiking Supplies
    • Camping Supplies
    • Swimming pool pass
    • State Parks pass

Again, these are some expenses we’ve found ourselves budgeting for this month, so they might be applicable to you or not. Some of these expenses are best budgeted for as a sinking fund...like vacations or gifts. About this time of the year we have to book a lot of travel for the summer months and it’s helpful if several months of flight expenses don’t hit all at once in the same month.

Now it’s time for your part!

[inlinkz_linkup id=520737 mode=1]

Money, Our Debt-Free Story

Our Debt-Free Story: Part 3 – WE’RE DEBT FREE!!!

September 2, 2014

This is Part 3 of a 3-part series. Be sure to read about Our “We’ve Had It!” Moment and Our Secret Weapon.

We left off in part two when we were knee-deep in debt but with gazelle intensity and a laser focus to pay it all off ASAP. We even shocked ourselves and beat our “debt-free date” by nearly five months!!

How did we do that?

Let me tell you…

So there we were, Spring 2012, with between $15,000-$18,000 of student loan debt left to go when we got the tax return funds and threw it towards the loan. The numbers fell significantly that month and momentum started rolling like crazy.

At this point, we sort of snapped and went scorched earth. We also found out we would likely be moving in two months time, so we started thinking about all the things we could purge from our household and turn into quick cash to pay towards our loans.

Sometime in April, I gathered up items from our house in the living room and began listing them on Craigslist left and right.

Bicycles. Nintendo. Lamps. Throw pillows. An HDTV Television. A desk we dug out of a dumpster. A chair we got for free.

If it wasn’t nailed down, it was on the “discuss to sell” list. In a two week window, we had people at our town house nightly, one after another, purchasing items from our living room garage sale. 🙂

We ended up with a couple thousand dollars from our sales…but still had to live in the place for a few weeks before moving. Yup, it was rather uncomfortable sleeping on a blow up mattress, having no lamps, furniture, or Nintendo to play with. But we were brimming with happiness and joy at seeing more progress on the student loans. It became like a game to sacrifice more and more so we could see the debt fall quicker…so we happily played board games under a light bulb on a string in the closet.

With this continued surge of momentum, we saw the debt fall below the $10,000 mark in early May 2012!!

To keep the gazelle-like intensity up, we decided to sell my car and drop down to a one car family. It sounds harder than it was, since we actually work together. The times we actually needed two cars was far and few between. This got us some extra cash to throw at the debt and lowered our car insurance bills and gas costs.

To top it all off, we had unusual circumstances that summer. We moved out of our apartment in May but didn’t find a place in Denver to live straight away so we put all our belongings in a storage unit. We traveled that summer working on our fundraising and staying with family. Upon moving to Colorado, a family invited us to stay with them while we searched for housing. With those circumstances, we didn’t have any rent and minimal food expenses from June through August, which was a MASSIVE help in our debt snowball.

In late July, we saw the numbers really plummeting and we were just ITCHING to get it all paid off the next month. We received a few special donations in larger lump sums which gave us the extra cash flow to pay the loans off earlier than we ever anticipated. We kept living on a bare bones budget and scraping money our of thin air, hoping we could have an August debt-free date.

On August 15, 2012 we had finally scrounged up enough to sink our last loan and become 100% debt-free!!!!

Wahoooo!! 🙂

To celebrate, we made doughnuts and started forming a plan for the next baby step, the fully-funded emergency fund! A few months later, we traveled to Nashville and did our Debt-Free Scream on the Dave Ramsey Show. Someday we will tell our “post-debt-free story” and the unique challanges and freedoms that come with each baby step.

Until then, here’s wishing financial peace for everyone reading this! You can enter our Financial Peace University Giveaway to jump start your journey!

Money, Our Debt-Free Story

Our Debt-Free Story: Part 2 – Our Secret Weapon

September 1, 2014

This is Part 2 of a 3-part series. Be sure to read about Our “We’ve Had It!” Moment.

Welcome back!

At the end of our Debt-Free Story Part One, we left you hanging with us having our “I’VE HAD IT!” moment.

We were officially sick and tired of being sick and tired. We didn’t want to see hundreds of dollars being shipped off to Sallie Mae on a monthly basis. We were inspired to kick her to the curb using Dave Ramsey’s baby steps.

There we were, fuming with excitement, so what did we do next?

The budget.

We had our very first “Teixeira Budget Committee Meeting” on December 30th, 2011 to plan our January budget.It was quite simple back then. We grabbed a pencil, paper, and some envelopes for cash. (vital to all beginner budgeters…since when cash is gone it’s gone and it’s a built it “stop” to spending)

Looking back, it was actually hilarious since we fumbled our way through varying categories and were bad at estimating the cost of things. I think we budgeted $50 for groceries for the month. Yea…that needed adjusting! 🙂

Despite being bad at budgeting from the first go, we had tremendous amounts of zeal and passion for it. We were finally a team. We were on the same page. Nothing could stop us from getting that very first baby step done – $1,000 in a mini emergency fund.

We found a way to shuffle the budget around to compensate for our under-funding certain categories and over-funding others and by the end of January we had baby step one completed! We were on track to paying off our student loans within one year’s time.

We then turned our gaze towards that pile of debt. As the months crept by, we not only got better at creating a budget but also sticking to the budget! We found that the more realistic we were about our budget and stuck mostly with cash, we were having great success not over-spending or feeling guilty for the spending we did do. By cutting discretionary spending, it allowed us to begin throwing more lumps of mula towards our loans.

We cut our lifestyle. HARD. We wanted to literally live like no one else…so later we could give and live like no one else.

Here’s what I mean by cutting our lifestyle based on a typical monthly budget back then:

  • Blow money: $0
  • Entertainment: $5 (a couple red box dvd’s)
  • Restaurants: $0
  • Vacation: $0
  • Groceries $120
  • Gas: $50
  • Clothing: $0
  • Date Night: $5 (an ice cream cone to share)
  • Birthday gifts: $0
  • Vacation: $0

Obviously we had some fixed expenses like rent and healthcare but every category relating to our lifestyle was bare bones. It actually was barely enough. Sometimes we rode bikes to work when we were almost out of gas money. Or we would make pb&j sandwiches for days on end with baby carrots and celery on the side when we wanted to stretch the grocery funds. Or instead of buying a new mattress, we slept on a (clean!!) donated mattress from someone’s old RV.

Did we need to do this?

No.

We were squeezing thousands of dollars from our budget every month. We could have decided to be a little softer on ourselves. Seen more movies. Gone out to eat. Taken a road trip. Bought whatever we wanted at the grocery store.

But at what cost? Months and possibly years longer to get out of debt. 

We wanted it done NOW. Our desire to become debt free was so intense we literally were willing to sacrifice everything but necessities to meet that goal. We would rather suffer a short but intense time of delaying gratification than several years of lukewarm spending/paying debt.

In March, we got tax refund and combined it to the funds we’d scraped up our of that month’s budget for an extra large payment towards the student loans. That is when we started to really feel momentum pulling us. Dave calls it the “debt snowball” since it starts small and over time gets larger and larger with more momentum.

We were officially weird and gazelle-intense. Friends and family thought we were taking things just a little too far….and that is exactly where we wanted to be! 🙂

The debt started falling rapidly and with every dollar thrown at it, our confidence and excitement grew. We quickly went from first-time fumbling budgeters to budget pros with a goal no one could stop us from reaching!

Stay tuned for next time as we talk about how we were able to beat our initial goal of a one-year debt payoff by nearly five months! And jump over to win a FREE Financial Peace University class membership!