Remembering my biggest money mistake yet

All of us make terrible mistakes with our money. Some of us more than others, but inevitably we all do it every once in a while. Since it’s the start of a new year, it’s always a great time to reflect and make sure we don’t repeat the same mistakes we’ve made before. Think for a second about your biggest money mistake. What was it? The biggest mistake I’ve made so far is buying a car on an impulse. I was 19 at the time, and I’m only 23 now, so I’m sure I’ll probably make a worse decision one of these days, but it was certainly a nightmare to remember for the rest of my life. Here’s my story:

When I was a sophomore in college, I was pretty above average money-wise. I had only accumulated about $12,500 in student loans halfway through my undergraduate education, I didn’t have a credit card, and I had over $2,000 saved in the bank. The only problem with a 19-year-old with that much money in the bank? Poor decision making skills.Continue reading “Remembering my biggest money mistake yet”

Don’t argue Dave Ramsey on credit cards

I’ve read a number of blog posts and articles in the past few days that attempt to refute Dave’s steadfast belief that there is no good reason to use a credit card. These articles I’ve stumbled upon (here’s one) all go on to explain the benefits of using credit cards, and I just smile and laugh to myself because they’re completely missing the point of Dave’s philosophy.

If you watch or listen to just one episode of the The Dave Ramsey Show, you should pick up on one thing really quick: It’s not always about logic and numbers for Dave – It’s about behavior and behavior change. Cut up your credit card? Good luck using it again. The idea of behavior change is why Dave recommends listing your debts smallest to largest and paying off your smallest debts first, rather than paying off high-interest debts first. The psychological satisfaction of quickly paying off a small debt (and repeating) is going to do more for you than slowly ticking away at high-interest debt. As Dave always says, if this was about math you wouldn’t have gone into debt in the first place.Continue reading “Don’t argue Dave Ramsey on credit cards”

An easy do-it-yourself method for managing bills

How do you keep track of your bills and recurring expenses? Do you use Mint.com, your bank’s bill payment system or some sort of financial software? Maybe you just keep track on paper. For me, every solution I’ve tried is too much to keep up with. Something always ends up not working the way I expect it to, or things don’t sync up right, or not all of my bills or accounts can work with a certain app, and so on. That’s why I use a good old-fashioned solution: a spreadsheet.Continue reading “An easy do-it-yourself method for managing bills”

I can be debt-free in two years

I’m a big numbers guy, particularly with my personal finances. I’m always calculating how much extra cash I can afford to pay down on debt each month. But I haven’t seriously considered how quick I could become debt-free since I was a freshman or sophomore in college. With my part-time income at that time, it seemed like it would take forever to be debt-free. But I’m not living on a part-time income anymore. Taking another look at the numbers the other day, I realized I can be completely debt-free within two years if I live dirt cheap and live on a ‘beans and rice, rice and beans’ diet.Continue reading “I can be debt-free in two years”

My rant on credit scores

Our society places too much emphasis on credit scores. And sadly, I’m not much different myself. I am somehow proud that I have a high credit score. I use Credit Karma’s free credit tools and keep an eye on my credit history to make sure my information is accurate. For God’s sake, my credit history has been growing since I was about 12 years old or so.

When I was a kid, my mother added me as an authorized user on one of her credit cards but never gave me access to it. So, from the age of 12, my credit report shows that I’ve had a $10,000 line of credit in good standing (thankfully she has only ever charged a few bucks a month on it and always pays it off in full).Continue reading “My rant on credit scores”

No financially sound reason exists to get a payday loan

I read a blog post the other day that listed the pros and cons of getting a payday loan, why you should get one, and things to remember when you do get one. It was completely horrible and misguided financial guidance. In fact I assume it was written by someone in the evil industry. The post was so cringeworthy that I decided to leave a comment linking to this video below from John Oliver’s popular HBO show Last Week Tonight.Continue reading “No financially sound reason exists to get a payday loan”

Killing the loyalty cards, foregoing the false pleasures

With winter weather settling in, it’s really tempting for me to drive down the street to the nearest Starbucks and get a hot, delicious drink. I have a Keurig at home, but it’s just not the same. I’m falling for the marketing gimmick – and come on, I’m a marketer for a living!

My typical Starbucks total is about $5 a visit. A cup of coffee at home is almost free in comparison. So why do I go? For the same reason I buy an iPhone every year – it’s the way the product or company makes me feel. But unlike Apple, Starbucks has an extra-sneaky marketing trick up their sleeve: a super effective loyalty program. I visited Starbucks maybe 3 or 4 times a year prior to joining their loyalty program. Now I go about three times a week or so and I’m determined to reach Gold status – if you couldn’t tell by now it’s certainly not helping me reach my get-out-of-debt-by-25 goal.

Continue reading “Killing the loyalty cards, foregoing the false pleasures”

The secret ingredient to a great personal finance blog

Thinking of starting a personal finance blog? You have to be completely transparent.

I know this is only my fourth post on Dimes to Dough, but I’ve been following a lot of top personal finance bloggers and industry leaders for a long time. When I think about the people in personal finance I relate to and respect the most, I think of people like Pat Flynn, Mr. Money Moustache, and Dave Ramsey. What’s so unique about these three? They’re super transparent.Continue reading “The secret ingredient to a great personal finance blog”