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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

100. Save money - Make Your Own Laundry Detergent!

Laundry. Every family has to do it. With a family of 4 laundry piles up. ;)


Here's a recipe for a home-made laundry detergent that will save you money. We've used this for 6 months and so far it's great!

These are all the ingredients needed:

1 Box (4 lbs.) Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

1 Box (55 oz.) Arm & Hammer Super Wash Soda

1 Box of Borax (4 lbs.)

1 Tub (3 lbs.) of Oxyclean

3 Bars of Fels-Naptha Soap

1 Bar of Irish Spring Soap

If you let the soap sit out for a week, prior to mixing all the ingredients, it makes it easier to grind. However, my wife didn't do that though and it worked just fine.

Of note we have an HE washer and it has worked just fine.

Grate the soap and mix the other ingredients together in a 5 gallon container. Feel free to put it in different containers for storage.


The process takes about 45 min to an hour!

That should work out to about $10-$15 for 4-5 gallons (512-640 oz) of laundry detergent!

I hope this helps. What tips have helped your family save money? :-)


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Monday, September 29, 2014

99. What is the difference between Revolving and Installment Credit?

Often there is confusion over what the difference is between revolving and installment credit. Revolving utilization is a very significant part of FICO scoring - installment utilization is not. A person really wouldn't get much of a FICO boost for paying off installment loans first for example.

Revolving credit is basically when you are pre-approved for an amount of credit at your disposal for discretionary use.  Most revolving accounts will have a pre-specified limit available, while some have an "unlimited" credit limit.  Both monthly balances and payments "revolve" around the debt you have accrued. Typically you can get no interest offers with revolving credit.

Installment credit is basically when you sign a specific contract and receive a certain amount of cash upfront, typically for the purpose of a specific purchase, with specified contract terms for its monthly repayment. Of note you don't have additional, discretionary credit to draw upon. Installment loans can offer no interest offers but are less common.

Most installment loans are secured by personal property, such as a mortgage, auto loan, or other loan. Therefore installment loans are much less likely to become delinquent should times get tough. Revolving is usually the first to become delinquent.

Do you have a better understanding of revolving and installment credit now?  Hope it helps. :-)


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Saturday, September 27, 2014

98. What have we done to cut expenses and reduce our debt?

Here's some of the basics we've done to cut expenses and reduce our debt:

*Got rid of the home phone. 
*We ate out less. 
*We negotiated our service contracts (cell phone, internet, etc). 
*We started using coupons.
*We got on a budget.
*We used the cash envelope system.
*Cut down on Christmas giving 
*We cut magazine subscriptions
*Started taking meals to work or brown bagging it
*Started buying clothes for kids/maternity at consignment stores (Just Between Friends for example) instead of paying full price
*We started going to the grocery store and only buying what was on our grocery list (avoiding impulse buys). 
*We decided not to shop while hungry (when hungry you buy more when and don't necessarily buy the right stuff). 
*We stopped being brand or company loyal. We saved over $60 month on car insurance by switching from Farmers to Progressive for example.
*We cancelled our Sam's membership and share one now with a relative.

*Never had cable or satellite but that's a good opportunity too. Think Netflix or Amazon Prime.
*Neither of us smoked but quitting can literally save thousands of dollars

*Another good opportunity is to limit consumption of alcohol

*In October 2014 we plan on attempting a NO SPEND month

What about you? What have you done over the years to cut expenses and reduce your debt? 


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Friday, September 26, 2014

97. Tips for Clearing Up Data for the iOS 8.0.2 Update to Your iPhone

With the new update to iOS 8.0.2 for iphone I needed to clear out some data. Here’s two easy ways to do so. (Note: I highly recommend backing up anything to your computer that you’d like to keep.)

How do I delete my “documents and data” on my iPhone?

To clear documents and data go to Settings
--> General --> Usage. This will then show you all of your apps. I simply deleted a bunch of them including games, etc. that I don't use anymore. I also deleted a lot of my saved text messages. Go to your text messages and click “edit” on the top left. Then click the red minus sign on the left and click the red “delete” button. I was running about 300 feeds and hadn’t cleared them. It freed up a lot of space!

How do I delete my “Music” on my iPhone?

To clear pictures go to Settings --> General --> Usage --> Click on Music and then swipe right to left to bring up the delete option.

If you wish to delete a single song, you must first turn go to your Music app then click the bottom right “songs” tab with a note. You will then be able to swipe right to left to bring up the delete option inside of the "Music App"

Hope all this helps! Don't forget to backup your iPhone every two to four weeks! 


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Thursday, September 25, 2014

96. What do you think of a NO SPENDING month?

What do you think of a NO SPENDING month? Have you done it? Did you stick to it? What were the rules you used? Any tips?

Considering doing it in October... Seems like a good way to reset our spending patterns, save some money, pay off some debt, and/or kick-start our budget.

As I understand it the rules are pretty simple: no spending on anything outside of our absolute necessities, and eat from our food pantry/freezer as much as possible. No shopping at stores. No shopping online. The main goal is to stop spending. You set a budget of say $200-300 and that covers everything - gas, essential groceries (milk, eggs), etc. Then focus on other things the rest of the month. 

It's a great time to spend more time as a family too. Playing board games or just enjoying each others company at home. 

I've heard it is amazing how much one's perspective can change after a month of seeing what you can go without!


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Monday, September 22, 2014

95. What are your favorite Dave Ramsey quotes?

What is your favorite Dave Ramsey quote? Here are some of my favorite Dave Ramsey quotes. 

What is your favorite Dave Ramsey quote? Here are some of my favorite Dave Ramsey quotes.

“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”

“Normal is broke. So be weird.”

“You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.”

“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”

“Fear is the enemy of hope.”

“Change is painful. Few people have the courage to seek out change. Most people won’t change until the pain of where they are exceeds the pain of change.”

“Debt is normal! So why be normal?”

“So content people may not have the best of everything, but they make the best of everything. That is who you want your children to be.”

“That stupid saying "What you don't know can't hurt you" is ridiculous. What you don't know can kill you. If you don't know that tractor trailer trucks hurt when hitting you, then you can play in the middle of the interstate with no fear - but that doesn't mean you won't get killed.”
"If broke people are making fun of your financial plan, you’re on track."“Don’t take financial advice from broke people.”

"Broke people giving financial advice is like a shop teacher with missing fingers."

If the Red-Faced Kid (‘I want it, and I want it now!’) rules your life, you will stay broke.”

“Act your wage.”

“Stupid is not illegal.”

"Work is a surefire money-making scheme."

"If you want something you've never had, you'll have to do something you've never done."

"You can't work three hours a week and make $100,000. Get rich quick doesn't work. Crock pot mentality always defeats microwave mentality!"

"Poor is a state of mind. Broke is, 'I'm just passing through.'"

“I'm not against people having new cars. I'm against them having you. We spend a tremendous amount impressing somebody at the stoplight who we'll never meet. It makes you broke and keeps you broke.”

“Let some one else take the butt kicking on devaluation.”

“To think that the handling of your personal finances is merely a matter of math control is naive. You must get better control of all aspects of your life. Until you do, [even the best advice] will have little effect but will instead be neutralized by the other habits in your life.”


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Sunday, September 21, 2014

94. Encouragement and A Plug In for Financial Peace University with Dave Ramsey

Given some of my reservations here (On Dave Ramsey)also here (FPU, ELPs, and Dave Ramey, and  here (Credit Cards, Rewards, and Dave Ramsey)... I thought I'd put a plug in for Financial Peace University with Dave Ramsey.

Particularly again (Imagine Yourself Debt Free!) on the debt reduction program through FPU he offers, teaches, and encourages which is IMO fantastic! 

We took FPU in 2011 (audio) and 2012 (videos). Our household income has more than doubled since then. We are saving about 17% of our income a month. We are somewhere between baby steps 5 (fully fund kids college) and 6 (pay off mortgage early). We are actually prioritizing #6 since our kids are young but we're investing a little each month for them too.

We have a 30 year mortgage we are on track to pay off in 17 years assuming no raises, etc. Would like to pay it all off in 10 years or even maybe 6 years if we really push ourselves. 

I'm here to say Dave Ramey's debt reduction program works. So keep at it if you're doing it! If you haven't yet starting getting rid of your debt today is a great day to start! 

Here's some of my initial suggestions:
1. Make the resolution to spend less than you make.
2. Save that initial $1000 or $2000 in an emergency fund.
3. Continue to educate yourself.
4. Motivate yourself to set clear and achievable goals for your budget.
5. Cut expenses in your budget. {Always a good idea to get someone to help you with this...}
6. Use the debt snowball method (or the Avalanche as you see fit} to pay off debt.
7. Have a sit-down meeting and make sure your partner/spouse are on the same page.
8. Have monthly or bi-weekly accountability.
9. Increase your household income.
10. Set financial goals for short-term and long-term - E-fund, Budget, Debt Snowball, Giving, Investments, Kids {if applicable}, Retirement. 
11. Stop making excuses.
12. Dream big. Get rich slow. You CAN do it!

I recommend taking a FPU class to learn and grow with others. A lot of local churches offer the course at least on a yearly basis. It's also good to hear others struggles and victories. But if you'd rather just buy and watch the videos click here

Here are the FPU lessons:

1. Super Saving
2. Relating with Money
3. Cash Flow Planning
4. Dumping Debt
5. Buyer Beware
6. The Role of Insurance
7. Retirement and College Planning
8. Real Estate and Mortgages
9. The Great Misunderstanding

Look forward to continuing to grow and learn on this journey we are all on towards being debt free!


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