Author Archives: Adam

About Adam

Adam is the founder of this site. He is a twenty-something man just trying to spread the word on sound financial planning. You can find him on Twitter! You can also contact him via email if you have specific questions or comments.

Debt Update: Finally Settling Down

Phew, what a month. I moved (sort of), started a new job (kinda) and became a full-time husband (finally). So financially, it wasn’t the most amazing month ever but it was still good. I received my first new paycheck and my pay jumped up about $80 for the two weeks. Anything helps, especially now we are used to living on the lower income.

Looking ahead, May should be a good month for us. We get an extra paycheck due to how the paydays fall and the increase in my paycheck should help.  Here is how we did for April!

I’m Still Here….

Just wanted to give you a quick shout out and let you know that I am still alive. It’s been pretty hectic for me the past few weeks. I moved back to Maryland, started my new position and visited family in PA (twice). So, needless to say, the blog has taken a back seat.

Our debt repayment is still going strong and we should have a pretty good tally at the end of the month.

I hope to get some posts up starting next week as things are finally starting to settle down a bit. I have a few good posts up my sleeve about budgeting and financial things you still need to do even if you are in debt. In the meantime, check out the post I had over at Frugal Dad last week.

Don’t Become a Financial Bully

Have a great weekend!

Debt Update: Another One Bites the Dust!

March was another good month for us in terms of debt reduction. We were able to pay off the personal loan and send some more money to our family member loan. In all, we paid off $2,139.82 in March. Not too bad at all!

This is the month I start my new job and where we really start attacking out debt. We will not longer have higher grocery bills, two rent payments, etc. My salary is also going to increase this month!

With all of those factors considered, I am anticipating our debt snowball (amount over the minimum payments) to average about $1,500 a month. That should help us get that family loan done in less than 1 year. We can’t wait!

Here is our updated debt spreadsheet:

Use Your Credit Card as an Emergency Fund?

A few months back when I wrote about how our small emergency fund saved us, No Debt Guy commented on how having an emergency fund in cash may be counterproductive. Here is what he said:

I have often wondered if having an emergency fund is the best way to pay off debt or is it counter productive?

For example if you are carrying at credit card balance of $2,500 and have $2,500 in your emergency fund you would be better off paying off your credit card and rebuilding your emergency fund.

What if you have an emergency? You can still take a cash advance from your credit card and you are no further ahead.

This does take some serious discipline, but you will save interest costs.

He does make some interesting points. However, I feel that one needs to be SUPER cautious with that type of system.

Most of you are probably in some type of debt. It’s why you’re here. You’ve probably overspent with credit cards and bought things that you didn’t need. I know I have. So, shouldn’t your main goal to be rid of credit cards forever? Like Dave Ramsey often says, “no one EVER told me they got rich by using credit cards”. I have to agree with that point. When I was using my credit card that gave me cash back, all I could think about was hitting that $50 mark so they could send me a check. So, I would spend more money to earn 1%-3% back. Talk about counterproductive! There was no way I was going to get rich by playing that stupid game.

So, I figured I would come up with a few reasons why it may be counterproductive to use a credit card (or any other line of credit) as an emergency fund. Here are some things to consider:

You May Redefine What an Emergency Is

It’s been said before that using a credit card makes you susceptible to spending more. So, wouldn’t using your credit card for an emergency be the same thing? If you car breaks down and you only have $1,000 to fix the problem, wouldn’t you shop around? I know I would. However, if I were using a credit card I would be more likely to just give in to the initial price and pay it. It’s only on a credit card, right?

I think you may also redefine what an emergency fund is. For example, would you typically use your cash emergency fund to pick up a small amount of groceries if you are out of grocery money for the month? Probably not. But if you have that credit card to fall back on, you might just head to the store when you may have some things to eat at home. If you are like me, you would probably pick up more items too!

You’ll Miss the Experience of Paying With Cash

Most people say that it’s harder parting with cash than it is using a credit card. I’m a little more skeptical but I still think it’s true. However, I think having a cash emergency fund makes you learn to handle money better. I mean, you got into credit card debt by using credit cards. How is still using a credit card in emergencies going to make you any better at handling money?

* * *

Personally, I love having a cash reserve. It just makes me sleep better at night knowing that I can actually hand someone cash if I have a financial emergency. Handing them a piece of plastic would be much harder to handle knowing what I’ve been through financially.

How about you? Cash or credit?

Packing Lunch For Work Just Got Easier

Over the past two years of reading personal finance blogs, I’ve seen plenty of articles on packing lunches to save money. As much as I love the idea, I just couldn’t make it work. I absolutely HATED packing my lunch. Every time lunch rolled around, my sandwich was the soggiest thing I ever touched. It was disgusting.

It was so disgusting, I often found myself heading out to Subway or the local pizza shop for lunch (even with a soggy sandwich in the fridge). I was averaging about $7 a day and that added up to about $140 a month. Talk about a budget buster! Peer pressure also played a role but that’s no excuse.

Well, I am here to say that I found a solution. I started taking everything for my lunch in separate pieces. In other words, I assemble my sandwich at work and not at home. Wow, does that make a huge difference! I love packing now. I’m not sure how much my colleagues like the mayo, cheese and ham in the fridge, but they will have to live with it (and hopefully not eat it).

All I know is, we will now be saving about $140 a month on me not eating out for lunch. Also, I will be able to take leftovers to work once I start working in DC. You always need some variety!

Have any tips on motivation for packing your lunch? Sometimes it’s not as easy as you think….

Debt Update: February 28, 2010

February was a short month in terms of days but a big month for debt repayment. We managed to eliminate $2,532.86, our biggest month ever! This was in addition to replenishing our emergency fund (about $800) that was depleted from paying some estimated taxes in January. We feel great about what we were able to accomplish this month. It’s even more uplifting knowing that in the next few months, our income is going up and our expenses are going down thanks to the new job.

We were able to pay a big chunk on the personal loan in February and by this time next month, it will be gone. We also started paying on the family loan for personal reasons. We just wanted to get started on it and the family member could also use the money due to some unforeseen circumstances. Another great reason not to get into a family loan. Now onto the spreadsheet!