Y’all have seen the ads: some smiling beautiful person is trying to tell the world how much easier their life is since they “paid off” their credit card bills by using their HELoC (Home Equity Line of Credit). It might have been on TV, in the newspaper, on the radio, or even online. It’s touted as the “smart” thing to do. There is so much wrong with this idea, I am not even sure where to begin!
First, let’s tackle the erroneous notion that you can “pay off” debt by borrowing (more debt). Yes, a HELoC is borrowing…it’s borrowing against the equity of your HOME. Dave Ramsey has a cute but very true saying: “You can’t borrow your way out of debt.” He is 100% right on that point.
Now let’s look at the (lack of) wisdom in this strategy: The notion that taking unsecured credit card debt and moving it to a secured debt situation is “smart”. Credit card companies will scream, holler, and cry blue murder if you don’t pay them …
Trust me I have had personal experience with this … but the worst they can do is ding up your credit report (and score) then discharge the debt and sell it to a collection agency who usually has as bad or worse phone tactics.
Continue reading “Would you Pay Off Credit Cards with a HELoC?”
Most people who want to get out of debt quickly will make a budget, then start cutting.
Naturally, the first thing you need is a budget! Once that is drawn up and you see where your money is going (and how much) here are the most common budget items that go on the chopping block and get sacrificed:
- Eating out: Restaurants can kill your cash flow fast. trust me on this one, it is a vice I struggle with myself. While dine-in restaurants can take large chunks out of your budget at one time, my problem has always been the convenient
and “cheap” fast food drive-through while out and about and pressed for time. Yes, that’s a double whammy: the food is less than nutritious and it hurts the budget. When I first started out on the budget last year, I allocated only $20 per week for all eating out.
- Cable or satellite television: This one waited until last summer to go on the chopping block. Now I am not even sure why I waited! Since there is no “a la carte” channel choosing option available in our area, we were paying for 60 channels and only watching about 15 of them. Last fall, I decreed that until the cable company offers the “Nerd Channel package” we weren’t going to bring this back (nerd channels: Sc-Fi, TLC, Discover, A&E, History, etc. You know, stuff “only nerds watch” that I do enjoy.)
Continue reading “Common Sacrifices to Get Out of Debt”
Y’all asked me to post about how my experiment with putting my teenage son on his own food budget is going. Tonight was our first stab at it, and the testing ground was perhaps the most challenging of all: Wal-Mart. Yes, I turned my 14 yo son loose on a Wal-Mart with $45 and his own shopping cart!
I would call tonight’s shopping expedition a smashing success. I fussed at the teenager to make a list, informed him he had to buy his own milk, juice, fruit, pasta, and what-not. I figure I can cover him on things like condiments and margarine, but he is *SO* on his own with the milk.
Yes, he objected to the milk idea, but I held my ground then pointed out an obvious benefit: with his own milk he won’t hear me throw a fit when he decides to drink a tall glass of it at every single meal and snack time.
I guess it was a huge eye-opening experience for him in the dairy case, since he only bought himself a half-gallon instead of a full gallon!
Continue reading “My experimenting – My Teenager Son on Budget”
I went grocery shopping yesterday with my teenage son, since he’s been grumbling that I don’t get him enough of the foods he likes.
Big mistake. Actually, BIG MISTAKE. Things kept “jumping” into the cart when he thought I wasn’t looking.
By the time I got to the deli counter (and was quite happy to see all the sale signs) I was getting quite fed up with my son’s antics. He was bouncing into the chip aisle, the pop (soda) aisle, and through the freezer aisles as I waited for the lady to slice up all the cheeses for me.
It was then I got this “brilliant idea.” I am going to stop grocery shopping for my son completely! Instead, I am going to give him the money I would usually spend on his food (he for some strange reason is a vegetarian) and then I will let him get his OWN grocery cart and buy his own groceries.
Continue reading “I´m Putting My Teenage Son on a Budget”
How about a useful post? One of the common “excuses” for not doing a budget is “I never know how much money I am going to make/bring home because I am not on a set income.”
Bah! (Fiddlesticks!) That excuse is just weak! If you work on commission or tips you can still make a budget. Irregular income is no excuse, you still need a battle plan for your money.
While most of our household income is fixed (about 75% of it) I still bring home some irregular income because I work on tips. I still need a plan for what to do with that money, or it ends up burning a hole in my pocket and “disappearing” like unbudgeted money usually does.
When you don’t have a guaranteed income level, you need to shift to a prioritized spending plan, where you list out your expenses in the order of importance.
If you have no fixed income, then your entire budget is a list of spending priorities:
Continue reading “Tips for Budgeting for Irregular Income”
By incorporating natural elements into your living space, you can create an environment that is relaxing to you and your family. Small changes to your decor can add ambience and character to your home.
Bringing the outdoors in can be done on a large or small scale, and can be suited to any budget.
Earth-Toned Color Scheme
An easy way to create a warm and inviting home is to choose an earth-toned color scheme. Because earth tones complement one another, you do not have to choose a single shade for your living space.
If you are choosing an earth tone for your walls, consider the size of the room. Lighter tans, grays, and greens suit a small room well, while deeper shades work better for larger rooms.
You can create definition in a space by choosing a light tone and a dark tone. By using two complementary tones together, you will prevent your living space from looking drab.
Continue reading “Natural Home: How to Incorporate More Earth into Your Life”
Everyone’s heard of the so called ‘carbon footprint’. But what exactly does it mean? Basically, it’s the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by a person, organisation/business or event.
The drastic increase in the emission of CO2 (carbon dioxide) is the main cause of global warming, also known as man-made climate change. There are certain things you can do to lower your carbon footprint. By doing so, you’re helping the planet more than you may think.
Before I go through the ways you can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, it’s essential to understand that CO2 is a consequence of burning carbon-based fuels such as gasoline/petrol, diesel, kerosene, coal, oil and gas.
The goal is to reduce the use of devices which are powered by carbon-based fuels. I know it sounds daunting but as they say, starting is half the battle. Here are 5 tips that will help you get started:
Continue reading “Reduce your carbon footprint”
While taking care of the earth and working towards a cleaner, greener future for all would ideally be the goal of every college student, it goes without saying that many students do not have the environment in mind at all when worrying over all the other details of university life, from scholarship applications to course schedules, social engagements to dorm life. However, for those students who seek to be more environmentally aware, here are a few ways to accomplish earth-focused goals.
Increasingly more popular due to the demands of the general student population, online university credit courses are definitely one option for going green while gaining a degree. The beauty in choosing online class options whenever possible is that the carbon footprint of your academic career doesn’t have to be dependent upon your major.
Every online university course should help students cut back on commuting times since they won’t need to be driving to classes, and this reduction in fuel emissions is the common result of all online courses. In this way, online electrical engineering courses can be just as green as online biology classes.
When online classes aren’t a reasonable possibility, students can still choose to make their class schedule as green as possible by choosing to fill their course schedules with consecutive classes. Alternatively, students could also commit themselves to only driving to and from campus once a day.
Continue reading “Green Degree”
Genetically modified (GMO) foods have been in the headlines a lot lately. These foods have a gene inserted into them to help develop a certain characteristic, usually in relation to disease resistance or pests. Despite all the articles about these foods, it is hard to know what exactly the controversy is. What it all boils down to is one question: are GMO foods safe?
People who oppose GMO foods claim that they are not safe. One potential concern is that the food themselves are toxic and will harm humans. Another concern is allergies. Will a gene from a peanut inserted into another plant cause a reaction in someone allergic to peanuts?
Are the genetic changes going to result in other species dying out? There are few studies about this issue, and many of them are inconclusive.
Continue reading “GMO Foods: What’s the Controversy?”
Going green is one of the best things you can do for yourself and the environment. One of the easiest ways to do this is by buying an Eco-friendly car that will cut down on harmful pollution and will help to make your drive more fuel-efficient. Here is a look at the top 5 Eco-friendly cars to buy in 2014.
Chevrolet Cruze Eco
The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Eco is a sleek Sedan that provides drivers with a combined MPG of 33 at a relatively affordable price. Although it runs on gasoline, its high gas mileage allows for much less pollution sent out into the environment. This 4-door vehicle also comfortably seats 5, perfect for any family.
Toyota Prius V
The 2014 Toyota Prius V is easily one of the best Eco-friendly cars that Toyota has ever made. This hybrid vehicle has a combined MPG of 42, which is the highest of any SUV on the market.
Continue reading “Eco-Friendly Cars”