Thursday, November 29, 2012

Black Friday at Belk and Miscellaneous Stuff

The wife and I decided to go out last Friday to Belk. They had some pretty good deals on dress shirts and ties, so we figured we would go check it out.

First of all, even though it was at 10:30, people were crazy. The store looked as if a bomb had been dropped inside of it with clothes thrown everywhere. The lines to check out were unbelievable. I really considered not even buying the two things I had in my hand, but I liked what I found a lot and we had saved our Christmas gift cards from the year before.

So, as we were checking out, the cashier has to ask if you would like to sign up for a Belk credit card and save 15% on your total for opening the card. The couple in front of us had not spent a lot of money. I think their bill was $60. But, to our disbelief, they obliged and opened the card! I was shocked. I couldn't believe they had opened a credit card with Belk to save $9 on their bill! I wanted to shake them and ask them what they were thinking. Is this the problem with America? People will open a credit card account at the drop of a hat to save $10 on their bill? I might would sympathize with someone spending $1000 or more because the 15% might be worth it, but I would not do this. If they think think about it, even for a second, most companies will charge interest around 25% (some way more) on their cards. So, of course they offer an upfront incentive, they will make so much more off you in the long run so that the initial 15% means nothing to them.

We have a credit card that has a $9,000 limit on it. We only have this card for emergencies. We never use it for regular purchases or for any other reason than an emergency. It is not our Black Friday shopping card or our weekly meal out to eat card.

On another note, that same Friday, we put up our Christmas tree! We love Christmas, a lot. It is a very happy time of the year. In years past, we have sponsored a family of 4 for Christmas, but this year we decided to "adopt" a family in Africa. We donate to them through World Vision and correspond with them regularly through the mail. They are a beautiful family from Niger and both of the parents are subsistence farmers. They have two children 10 and 7, both who go to school and help in the fields. We are going to send them an extra monetary gift in hopes they use it better than we would (*Cough* Chipotle *Cough*). When I have a bad week, I find myself constantly thinking about them and how lucky I am, student loans and all!

Hope everyone finishes their week strong!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Hi guys! So sorry for the lack of updates on the website. We took some time away to enjoy Thanksgiving and do some things around the house with our week off.

It was certainly a busy week. We had the family over to our new home on Thursday for lunch. That required a lot of work to get the house ready, but it it was worth it!

We have noticed that our house is extremely drafty. I am not too happy about this. I just see dollar bills flying out of the window. In the summer, we had spray foam put in the attic to help control this, however, it is cold downstairs. Not too sure what to do about this. I would love to have an audit done, but I think those are $200?

Anyway, Rebekah and I had to put new tires on the car yesterday. We spent $252 on two new front tires! Ugh! I really do not enjoy the upkeep of the car. However, it is a lot better than having a car payment. Hopefully we are in the clear on the car for a while except for the $20 oil change probably in January.

We were also able to put $1,000 in savings! We did not pay any extra on debts this month because we want our savings to go up a little bit. We now have a little over $6000 in there. The furnace in the house is 17 years old, so I am wanting to stash some money away just in case we have otto replace that this winter. I think $6000 is pretty comfortable, so we should be ready to begin getting rid of some debts.

I will be posting a Black Friday observance post in the next couple of days. We saw some wild things when we went to the Belk down the road on Friday.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I really do not like cars

We took our car into the shop the other day and found out we have to replace the catalytic converter, $400. And, we have to buy two new front tires, $250. Why do these things have to be so expensive? We just spent $600 on it in September. Now, two months later, we have to spend another $650. Then, he started saying the new car phrase. It has got me a little scared. We sold our other car because this one was supposed to last us to at least 200,000 miles (@ 119,000 now). There is no way we can accrue more debt, especially a car payment. We have been working so hard. We will start to put a little money into a fund each month and pay cash for a piece of junk car to avoid going into debt.  However, this should still be a couple years away. We do not have to replace the converter yet, but he said it will be within a year or two. So, it is something we have to start accounting for. 

I am really looking forward to the week off coming up. I feel like I am running myself into the ground. Thank goodness for Thanksgiving!

 Hope everyone ends their week strong! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

I am not lovin' it

In 2009, I bought stock in several companies for a total of about $300. Since then, that money has grown to $2,500. I bought in at a good time and was able to reap some rewards so I sold this stock ahead of the fiscal cliff. 

Since then, I have been looking into getting some dividend stocks. I went and checked out a list of dividend aristocrats. These are companies that have raised their dividends over a period of 25 years or more consistently. With the looming fiscal cliff, I am trying to hedge my positions with some companies that are not going anywhere and will not fluctuate with the market. 

The other day, I bought $1400 worth of McDonald's stock; I got 16 shares. I figure this is a pretty safe investment and this company is certainly not going anywhere with a market share of $88 billion. However, they, of course, had their first decline in sales in 9 years so the shares have plummeted about $2.50 since I bought in. Just my luck. I am going to hang on to this for the long run because it has consistently returned 10% a year. Not to mention the dividend is 3% and looking to be increased, hopefully. 

In addition, I had about $300 left over from the MCD purchase, so I bought into a small company called Diana Containerships. It is a small global shipping company that has a whopping 20% dividend! I bought 44 shares of this stock at roughly $6 a piece. I am looking to hold this position for a while and see what happens. Hopefully they will not decrease their dividend and I can get some decent growth out of it.  

I think I will continually update you guys on my positions. I also have some other stock in Sirius XM. I bought 250 shares of this in '09 when the stock was $.05 a share. It currently trades around $2.80. I have made quite a bit of money off this one, but I am going to hold this one because I believe their debt is increasing and Liberty Media (bailed them out before bankruptcy) is looking at a share buyback program. Hopefully I will be able to make some more money off of it. 

I will keep you up to date on how these stocks are doing regularly. Hope everyone has a great weekend! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Doing Some Research

After writing my last update, I decided I would take it upon myself to do some research on tax write-offs related the home. I was particularly interested in interest on a mortgage. When we bought our home, I was told by our mortgage officer we could write off the interest on the loan each month. They should send us a form 1098 in the mail come new year to let us know the interest that was accrued on our loan. We will definitely be able to write off our interest this year, but the tax breaks are set to expire at the start of 2013 apparently. This was a big incentive for us to buy a home in addition to the low mortgage rates which we locked in at 3.75% (will not change; fixed, woo-hoo!). After reviewing a couple of websites, it seems that neither presidential nominee (and now President Obama) was looking to extend the tax break. As we near this "fiscal cliff", I am worried about the prospect of having this break renewed. I really do not mind paying taxes. I appreciate what they go towards such as schools, parks, roads, and plenty other privileges. But, I do mind when our tax dollars are not spent well. I do not like paying legal fees for lawsuits within my county or country and plenty of other topics that would be better-suited for another blog. I am worried that if this tax break is not renewed, we will have another fall in the housing market. I do not think it has recovered enough to get rid of incentives. In Atlanta, there are still a number of foreclosures, and homes are just starting to sell here. Without some type of reward, people will be less likely to buy a home. For us, we would have never bought a home if we knew would not have been able to write off the interest on our home. 

In addition, I discovered we are also able to write off the PMI on our loan. If you do not know what PMI is, it is abbreviated for Private Mortgage Insurance. Homeowners who are not able to put down the conventional 20% on a home will have to get PMI. It protects the bank in case you default on your loan so they do not lose their money. Banks get the great end of the deal because the homeowner has to pay for it (we pay nearly $200 a month for this). So, this PMI will stick around until you have paid roughly 20% of the  loan premium, which, on average, is 5 years for the homeowner. At that point, the bank is required by law to automatically cancel the PMI. It is a major pain to have this PMI. It is an added expense that you will never get back. It would seem to make sense if the bank did not charge this PMI fee, their mortgage holders would have an easier time making payments on their loans. I am not sure they understand how much $200 a month is on top of the mortgage. However, being able to write this off is going to be nice. I could not find any articles on this break expiring anytime soon. I sure hope it does not!

So, after this research, being able to write $8,400 from the interest and $2,400 from the PMI will decrease our taxable income a ton! I will be so looking forward to paying off some of this debt with that money. It should be a sizable chunk we get back. If you want to check out a good article on the mortgage interest, here is the article

Monday, November 5, 2012

Post-Halloween Updates

Halloween was crazy. We had roughly 1300 pieces of candy and they were all gone by 7:30. The kids could start coming in the neighborhood at 6. Wow! We just turned the lights off and went inside after. I have never seen anything so crazy. There were parents walking around asking for candy in addition to their kids! I of course, told them all no, but I was still amazed to see that parents will go trick-or-treating!

We just went to Sam's Club and bought the cheap generic stuff. We got all that candy for roughly $60. Not too bad I guess, but still $60 that was not spent on debts...

Onto the dryer...we bought a dryer box and our handy man installed it for us and it worked! Hallelujah! I was very worried about this. All together it cost us about $190. I guess that is not too bad, but it was certainly an unforeseen expense. I am not too sure how much I enjoy owning a home. We had a fireplace company out the other day to check out our fireplaces (2). It was $199 for them to come clean and inspect the fireplaces! I thought this was a little ridiculous because all they did was vacuum and sweep them out. I think I could have done this on my own. However, the gentleman that did come over told us that our fireplace in the living room had an open vent. So, this apparently means if we use this fireplace, we will spread heat out through the chimney and cause a fire. The only way to fix this is to get a new chimney!! I asked how much that costs and he said a very rough estimate would be $4,500! Needless to say, we will only use one of our fireplaces and pretty much never fix that one. One of the major reasons we bought the home we did was because of the two fireplaces and the coziness it would bring during the winter months. Ugh! It never ends.

Since this is our first time owning a home, we are unsure about the interest on the loan. Will we be able to write this off on taxes? I believe so. But, is this one of the tax breaks that is set to expire come 2013? If so, which president will push to renew this bill? I think the interest on our loan is $700 a month!! If we can write all that off on taxes, we are talking about an $8,400 tax break. This is a big deal to us. We are talking about a significant debt reduction if we can get somewhere around $10,000 back on taxes.

We are getting ready to pay some more on debt soon, so I will post an update when we make those payments. Have a great week everyone!

Friday, October 26, 2012

As Promised

Here are the pictures of our neighborhood. I took a picture of a couple more decorated homes and then a picture of our home. It will be clear which ones are debt free and which ones are not.

This house is clearly debt free. They are spending a lot of money on decorations. There are quite a few in their yard. It was very nice with the tombstones and creatures rising out of the ground. They also have some decapitated heads hanging from their tree. 
This house had it all! They have a guillotine in the far left of the picture. On top of their porch their is some wolverine zombie thing cutting another creature's head off making it roll down the roof. They had dry ice to create an eerie smoke affect and then all kinds of lights and other little props. The dogs were definitely scared of all the props and would bark at them. That was rather humorous. 

And then you have our home. The lame tombstones in the front with the skeleton fence lining. All of this was from 5 below for about $50. We are clearly the ones who are trying to pay off debt. Everyone else has some crazy props in their yard. We will probably not get any visitors this year. Actually, thinking about that, it may not be a bad thing. We are only going to spend $50 on candy and once we are out, we are out. We will give everybody a high-five. 

Everyone have a wonderful weekend! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween Spending

So, when Rebekah and I bought the house we did in May, we had heard stories of Halloween. Apparently our neighborhood welcomes an average of 4,000 trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. Our subdivision is an old, unique Victorian style neighborhood. All of the homes have their own features about them which is what drew us to this neighborhood. It seems that a lot of our neighbors really dress their homes up for Halloween. They have just started decorating this week with different types of props, coffins, ghosts, fencing, and even one house is turning their separate garage into a haunted house. It is going to be pure craziness!

Rebekah and I went to this store called 5 below. It is pretty new in Atlanta and we loved it! It had a lot of Halloween decorations for pretty cheap. We got 4 tombstones, some fencing, and 4 sets of lights and it was about 50 bucks. I did not think this was too bad, however it was certainly not something we budgeted for. We will wait until after Halloween and stock up on the decorations that have huge mark downs. However, this is not the expensive part. Finding a way to buy 4,000 single pieces of candy will be! We talked to several neighbors about their candy purchasing and most say they spend between $250 and $400 on candy!! I was like are you serious?! Heck no! I will never do that. I will give these kids Ritz crackers and beans before I spend that much on candy. They were not even buying the good stuff like Snickers and Twix. They were buying the generic stuff with hard candies and candy corn. If you guys know of any place to buy some cheap candy, I would be appreciative. We have heard of this website online called Candy Warehouse that supposedly has a good deal. If all else fails, we will head to Costco and get it there, but I really do not want to spend a lot of money on this.

Dryer update...we sort of have it fixed. We have to buy something called a dryer was only $30. I hope this is going to work. If not, we are going to have to cut in through our guest bedroom's closet. That sounds way more expensive. Right now, we are only $80 in the hole for this. We paid our contractor $50 for what he had done so far. We are waiting on the dryer box to come in and we will hopefully be all set.

We are also selling an old mattress for $600 on Wednesday! Woo hoo! Maybe I should use this money for the Halloween candy...Argh!!!

Hope you all have a great week!

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Cost of Homeownership

When Rebekah and I bought a home we were warned of the amount of work we would have to do. However, I really do not think we could have imagined. It seems literally every week it is another thing. Recently, at the house, we have had trouble connecting our dryer to the wall unit to remove the fluff and push it to the outside of the house. We have upstairs laundry in the smallest of holes in the wall and there is not enough space to connect the hose. We tried and it just tore. It turns out they built this for compact washers and dryers not our ginormous LG washer and dryer we got when we got married.

It was now time to hire someone and we brought them in yesterday. The guy had to cut into the sheet rock and remove about a foot of piping and it still did not work! UGH! I just see dollar signs all over the place on this one. If it weren't such a hazard I would forgo this and worry about it later, but he told us our house could catch on fire. So, I will gladly spend the $500 of anticipated cost to keep the house from going up and keep my wife happy, which is after all the most important.

In addition, we did some yard work over the weekend and we had to go buy some Bermuda sod to fill in this ugly patch of dirt. It was only $40 but it was still another unexpected cost incurred. I will try to post some pictures of our yard from when we bought in May to now. I always love showing before-and-after shots. It really makes us feel proud of our work. Good news is our electricity bill went from $240 down to $77! Woo hoo! I have just kept the air off and it really has not been too hot in the house. Hopefully I will not have to turn it on until December, doubt it, but maybe.

It is little things like this that really put a damper on our motivation. It seems like each month when you think you will have a couple hundred extra dollars to throw at debt life has to happen. This is the reason why it is SO important to get some money in the emergency fund! We have been working at this slowly but surely. We will be able to pay for this out of our emergency fund and not worry too much, but it is unsettling having to worry about something like this. I thought we were supposed to use the emergency to go on vacation? Geez.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Quick Update

Rebekah and I have paid some more on our loans...we paid $470 (originally $500, woo hoo! Progress!) to my student loans, which is the minimum, and another $100 to my other student loan whose minimum is $95. This number is starting to decrease a little bit thank goodness. We will get paid on the 15th and we should be able to throw a little extra at the loans. We are cutting back our going out to eat and other things this week. I didn't even by the raisin bran cereal made by Cascadian Farms this week! I bought the factory brand frosted flakes instead, a savings of $1.50. So, we are trying to cut back as much as we can. It is difficult, but I knew it would be when we started it. I must say not having to pay any money to credit cards is wonderful! Paying those off was such a relief! We can now focus our full attention on our loans and get them taken care of quicker. I cannot imagine the day we send our last payment off to FedLoan. I have thought about paying it in pennies when that day comes. Is that a good idea? I would obviously pay a ton for shipping, but I think it would be worth it...

On a non-financial note, we are running a 5K at Emory University this weekend. This 5K is to support the Winshape Cancer Center. This is an incredible center that helped my uncle before he passed away from Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma last summer. I find it important to give back to people or organizations that gave something to you. They allowed me to have a few more days with my uncle before he passed which I cherish more than anything. So, we will be running this race for him. I really hope my time is good...I think I am going to shoot for no more than 24 minutes. I will let you guys know how it goes.

Hope you all have a great end to your week!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dang you Chipolte!

(What DOESN'T look good about this?) 

Why does their food have to be so good? Couldn't they overcook their chicken, or use some moldy cheese, or a stale burrito?

Rebekah and I go to Chipolte probably once a week. We spend $15.09 for a chicken and veggie burrito (sometimes a bowl when feeling healthy) and one drink that we share to save money. That is $60.36 a month on Chipolte or $724.34 a year! I think we practically keep the place running. We have been doing a lot better about not visiting Chipolte more than once a week, but it is tough! Having an extra $60 would certainly help us get out of debt faster, but we do enjoy having some semblance of a life. Rebekah and I go out to eat once a week (sometimes twice) to reward ourselves for making it through the week. Being teachers, this is no easy task.

This is an area that Dave Ramsey and I disagree on. Dave says you should not step foot inside of a restaurant while you are paying off debt. You should eat rice and beans and beans and rice. I think you should reward yourself for working hard to pay off debt. Otherwise, you may lose motivation and ultimately quit. Paying off debt is certainly no easy task and having something to look forward to every Saturday night makes the week a little easier.

We have some more loan payments coming up on the 15th. I will try to do a post before then on income. I hope everyone has a great end to their week and a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Moving Along...

Yesterday, we paid $2,142 to one of our student loans. This loan had a $30 a month payment and 6.8% interest. We were extremely excited to get this loan paid off since it is a higher monthly payment due to the interest on it.

Next up, we are going to work on a $2,400 student loan with 6.8% interest and a $31 a month payment in which $18 goes to interest and $13 to principal.

It is easy to see how many Americans will take student loan debt with them into their 30's. It seems like all of the payment goes to interest and none to principal.

Also, I will be reorganizing the loans on the side of the website. Rebekah's loans were grouped according to monthly payment. Unlike mine, where I can designate how much I want to pay on each loan. So, it will take a little longer to see some major progress happen, but we are motivated to get these loans gone! Hopefully we will see a big difference soon.

Sorry for the short post. I have to get ready to teach. Hope everyone has a great day!

$13,000 down and 14.5% done!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Another Big Month!

Rebekah and I used the money from the car sale to pay off our Citicard and our Brandsmart card which we used to buy our TV. Between those two cards we had $3,954.83 on them. Paying them off is a 5% reduction in our debts. This is a huge burden lifted off of us. We never were able to get rid of these it seemed. We were paying $100 a month on each of them so this will free up an additional $200 a month to apply to the student loans. We should really start to see all of our sacrifices pay off now.

It is still a long road ahead, but in one month we have cleared up $11,000 in debt and increased our monthly budget by $700. I am thinking this is where the hard part begins. We will not be able to payoff large chunks of debt each month like we did. It will be small wins each month, but hopefully we will continue to be motivated to pay off debt.

If you hear of any awesome blogs that I could check out to follow other peoples' journey through debt that would be great. One that is really awesome is It is very encouraging and I would highly recommend that you check it out. Hopefully I will have an update for you as we start the new month.

As always, thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tilling Up Debt!

Good to be back.

We had a lot of things going on this month, so I apologize for not writing more. I am still working out a schedule for this blog, so I should get more consistent with my posts (hopefully).

This month we laid down some sod in the backyard. I spent about a week preparing the backyard. I had to move some dirt, drop some weed killer, buy top soil, and then till the land. It was some hard work, but it is good to see the fruits of our labor with the final product. The tall fescue sod is starting to perk up a little bit. I am, however, nervous about our water bill as we have to water it for 45 minutes each morning at 6 am. We also have some white grubs underneath the Fescue that apparently eat the grass roots and destroy your lawn, so I am in the process of locating Nematodes to spray into the soil to kill them.

On to the debt. Last month, my wife and I decided to hire a financial adviser to help provide us with some insight on our debt. She is a family friend and absolutely wonderful to work with. She looked over all of our debts and typed up a proposal for us. We have a plan of action and we are going to stick to it. I want to share one of the more interesting things we found out from our meeting the other day. She showed us our plan and told us that if we paid the minimum on our Citi card (no interest and $20 minimum) we could pay off our debts 7 years faster by applying that $80 elsewhere, as we are currently paying $100 a month on this card. My wife and I were shocked to say the least! We know the credit card will eventually have interest, but in the mean time we will continue to pay the minimum on it so we can attack our student loans more vigorously. So, after sitting and talking through our plan, we should be debt free in 2 years and 11 months. This will all depend on our commitment to the plan, as things are likely to come up that aren't planned!  However, it is encouraging that we can hopefully be debt free by 28, as many people in America aren't debt free at that age.

Here is a picture of our finished back yard for your enjoyment...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Is College Worth It?

Ever since I went back and decided to get a Master's in Education, I have struggled with accepting the debt I had to take on in hopes of making more over the long run.

In Georgia, teachers make roughly $4,000 more with a Master's than with a Bachelor's. One would think over the span of a career of 30 years, a teacher could expect to make $120,000 more with Master's. However, considering the rising cost of tuition to go to not only an undergraduate program, but also a graduate program, it makes one think. Especially, since about 54% of recent college graduates are underemployed or unemployed. Some of them take jobs that pay $25,000 a year and with a burden of student debt upwards of $100,000, college is setting them up for a life default and student loan payments instead of mortgage payments. My wife and I are extremely lucky to have the jobs and income we do at only 25, but we feel sorry for our friends that struggle to breath financially because of living paycheck-to-paycheck. Luckily, teaching at an underprivileged school in an area of high need such as math and science, can have $17,500 of their student loans forgiven as long as they teach for 5 years at that school. You better believe I am only 2 years from this and I will apply for that forgiveness.

Back to my thoughts, I paid exactly $31,000 to get my graduate degree. If I deduct the $31,000 from the $120,000 I can expect to make over my career, I will only net roughly $89,000 over my career, not including accrued interest from the loans, which most run at 6.8%. I am not sure if netting $89,000 is worth delaying having kids with my wife for 5 years until we are completely debt free and have $10,000 in a college savings account for our first child that we can afford to continue to contribute to until they are 18. Having children is our dream. We look forward to those years of our lives, but we need to be able to take care of them appropriately. In the state we are in, we cannot afford to do that because we pay almost 60% of our take home pay to debt!

So, back to the question, is college worth it? I am not sure. Of course I wanted to go to college. I wish someone would have told me what life would be like with $90,000 in debt by the time I am 23. I might have second-guessed myself. Or, I would have gone to a school that accepted the HOPE scholarship in Georgia and not a private school in Tennessee that my family said they could pay for, but obviously could not.

I do not regret going to a private college. I had a wonderful liberal arts education that taught me a tremendous amount of information that I now use everyday in my teaching. I met some incredible people and developed lifelong relationships with each of them. I would never trade the memories and experiences I created in college, not even for the $90,000 back. College was without a doubt the best 4 years of my life. However, it set me up for living about 8 years in debt (hopefully less, but realistically 8), unable to travel or have children. I feel like I am going in circles with this and of course there is no true answer and only opinions.

I would love to read some comments on other people's thoughts on this.

Bye Bye, Hallie!

These last few weeks were crazy! My wife and I decided to sell one of our cars. It was a 2007 Honda Accord Coupe (pics to follow) named Hallie. It only had 68,000 miles on it and blue-booked it at $14,000. We still owed about $7,000 on it and were paying $320 a month towards that. So, we sold the car for $13,750 and made a little over $6,000 on the car sale! Woo hoo! We are using this $6,000 to pay down some other debts that we have. With one big swoop, we just got rid of $13,750 of debt! Making this decision was certainly not easy and big props to my wife for going out of her comfort zone to sell her car. However, this is a decision that will pay off in the long run.

All we have now is a 2002 Honda Accord that was a gift for my graduation from high school. It is paid off and has 116,500 miles on it. We just spent $800 to get it cleaned up and make sure the mechanics were good, which obviously they weren't because we spent $800! We are hoping my Honda lasts us another 5 years, or 200,000 miles. We should have paid off all of our debts long before this time allowing us to pay cash for a new car as a reward to ourselves for being crazy.

In addition to selling the car, we finally got rid of Comcast! Woo-hoo! I had been wanting to do that for so long. We were paying $125 a month for their service. Since cancelling them, I switched over to AT&T for internet only at $29.99 a month. This will save us an additional $95 this month to apply towards our debt. This was also not an easy decision. This is a major compromise on my part. I love being able to watch football on the weekends. It breaks my heart that I do not get ESPN. However, I was able to go to Bestbuy and purchase an RCA indoor antenna for $11. I get all of the major channels like CBS, NBC, Fox, and ABC plus about 20 other local channels. Luckily, I still get most of the games and CBS and ABC will always play the big games on Saturdays and I will get some good NFL games on Sunday through NBC and Fox. All of these channels come in HD and look BEAUTIFUL on the TV. I am very excited about free-HD. We also signed up for a subscription to Hulu Plus for $8 a month to get all of our shows we may miss.

In addition to the Comcast savings, when I cancelled my wife's car insurance with USAA, it saved us $57 a month! I am very excited about this. From now on, we will be able to apply approximately $472 extra a month to debt. Moreover, when we use our $6,000 profit from the sale of the car, we will be able to clear up an additional $100 a month by paying off one our student loans. So, we basically just gave ourselves a $572 raise per month or $6864 over a year. Pretty awesome I would say!

I do want you guys to know that it is NOT this easy. We have been married 2 years and we always talked about it for two years, but we never made an effort. We would get ready to start the program and then something would happen to prevent us from being aggressive like we are now. Luckily, the timing has worked out for us now and we are being really intense about reducing our debts. I can't wait to see how much debt we are able to pay this month.

Next up are those dang student loans! In the mean time, I will start to post some other websites I look to for inspiration. I will also talk about some of my investments I have made. I would love for any of your insight and expertise in the matter. I find investing really interesting and fun and I am always looking for ways to increase my wealth too.

As always, thanks for reading. Here is a picture of Hallie to send you off...
Bye Bye, Hallie!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Welcome to my new blog!

This is my first time doing this and I am going to try to learn the ropes of blogging pretty quickly. 

I am creating this blog to try to encourage other young professionals who may be swamped in debt from student loans and go on to a financially free life. 

I have been married 2 years now. In that 2 years, my wife and I have both graduated with Masters degrees in Education, bought a car, a home, adopted 2 dogs and a cat, and never thought about student loans until August, when the payments started rolling. We pay almost $800 a month in student loans. With a car, house, and a couple of small credit card balances we pay just over $3,000 a month to debt! We are drowning from this. We would like to have kids in the near future, but with debt it is impossible. We also would like to travel  and see this beautiful world, but we can't because we can only afford a small amount of savings each month. 

I am writing this blog as we begin our journey to becoming debt free. I am hoping this will bring encouragement to people who may be in our same place. We are going to try and follow Dave Ramsey for the most part. I do not believe everything he says, but we will do a debt snowball and try to get that rolling ASAP. We have a couple of ideas that will get this rolling and I will keep you all updated on this as it happens. We are planning on beginning this in September. I will update you guys on important things each week and link other blogs that have some ideas to help get out of debt faster.

Moreover, I really enjoy discussing and reading over investments. At night, I will spend countless hours looking into mutual funds, stocks, and precious metals to understand more about them. I am the kind of person that really researches something before I pursue it, especially when it comes to money. I really enjoy looking at the past performances of stocks and mutual funds to grasp where their future may be headed. When I was in college, I invested $400 in stocks in 6 different companies. That money has now grown to $2,500. If I only I had invest all of my saved money at the time!! So, I learned my lesson and when I see a deal, I jump on it instantly. I will discuss some of the stocks and funds I may be pursuing to get feedback from any of the readers. I am by no means an expert on anything and I enjoy feedback and thought to gain a different perspective on a topic. 

Feel free to contact me for any questions. Thanks for checking this out.