Archive for December 2014

3 Money Mistakes I Made in 2014

money mistakes

10417682004_3b94ca084f_zAs I read Kayla’s post on 3 ways she’s getting financially serious in 2015, it reminded me of the money mistakes I made in 2014. Kayla and I both have a commitment to do better financially next year. In the case of my husband and myself, we need to? recognize and own up to our money mistakes before we can truly do things differently in the coming year.

Here are the 3 big money mistakes we made in 2014, and how we’ll make sure they’re corrected for the coming year, helping catapult us toward our financial goals.

The Biggest of Money Mistakes – Looking Down Instead of Up

We did well in 2014 with our spending – sort of.?We spent less than we did in 2013, and our grocery bill for our family of six was less than half of what the average American family of four spends on groceries.?What’s the problem, then, you might ask.? Well, the problem was that our grocery bill this year was $25.53 higher than our “low goal” for the year, and $625.53 higher than our “best goal” for the year. Why is that a problem, given we still spent well below what the average American family spends on groceries?

Because we used those higher averages as an excuse to go over our grocery budget nearly every month this year. We were looking down instead of up, saying “Well, we’re not as bad as so-and-so in our grocery spending, so even though we went over our budget, it’s okay.”?

Friends, that type of attitude is a surefire goal-buster, every single time. That extra $600+ dollars may not seem like a lot of cash, but it’s $600 we could’ve put toward debt this year, pushing us that much closer to our goal of debt freedom. And it all adds up.

When making your financial goals?for this year, remember to keep in mind that you’ll have a much better chance of reaching those goals if you compare yourself with the best instead of with those doing not as well as you would like to do.

Money Mistake #2: Overconfidence

Confidence in your ability to achieve your financial goals isn’t necessarily a bad thing – unless it’s the kind of confidence that slows down your progress.? And that’s what happened to us this year. We got a little too comfy in our routine, confident in our stellar spend-tracking and in the fact that we were “doing better than we used to.”

Well, as the old saying goes, “The Enemy of The Best is Good Enough.” We didn’t do the best that we could have done this year, all because we got too comfortable with that fact that we were doing “good enough.” This type of money mistake is a silent suffocation of goal-achievement. Don’t become so over-confident in what you’re doing that you forget where you’re going. Instead, keep regular tabs on both your end-goal and on your monthly progress, so that you can catch mediocre behavior quickly, and stop it in its tracks.

Money Mistake #3: Denial

The third biggest money mistake that we made this year is that we spent too much time refusing to look at our progress, because subconsciously, we knew that our progress was slower than it should have been. We weren’t “gazelle intense” by any stretch of the imagination. If you’re losing the intensity you need to have in order to reach your goals, it may be because you’re living in denial about your lack of progress. The cure: check in with your goals regularly and document the steps you’re taking to get there. If you find you’re falling behind, devise a plan to get on track quickly.

Making money mistakes isn’t a problem – refusing to correct those mistakes, that’s where the real problem lies. Choose to take some time this week and reflect on the money mistakes you’ve made this year: those mistakes that have pulled you away from your financial goals. Once you’ve defined your mistakes, make a plan of action to correct them, in order that you might have an amazingly successful 2015.


What do you plan on doing differently in 2015 than you did in 2014? What new financial goal are you most excited about for the coming year? What is one area you thought you were doing good at this year but really weren’t?



Photo courtesy of:?Celestine Chua


3 Ways I?m Getting Financially Serious in 2015

Financially Serious

2356143672_f5f88797d5_zAs of this week I?ve been budgeting and blogging for one year. Though I?m still relatively new to both activities (at least compared to some, like John), I finally feel like I?m getting the hang of them. 🙂

Unfortunately, I got nowhere close to my financial goals in 2014. I set some pretty lofty goals and I had no idea what to expect for my first year of budgeting and tracking my spending. Fortunately, we all get to wipe our slates clean for the New Year and I?m bound and determined to make 2015 more successful than 2014 was. Here are three ways I?m getting financially serious about improving my position in 2015.

Track, Track and Track Some More

As I mentioned, I started budgeting and tracking my spending just before the beginning of 2014. Since then I?ve faithfully put together a new budget for each month of the year and tracked most of my spending relative to the categories I set up.

One thing I didn?t do very well with was tracking how I used my ?extra? income from my part-time job, online side hustles, etc. For 2015, my budget will most likely look a little more complex, but in reality it will be a lot easier for me to track how I spend ALL of my income, not just the money I get from my full-time job. By tracking how I use the money from all my income sources, I?ll be able to find my budget leaks more effectively and plug them.

Re-Evaluate Goals As Needed

I?ve always been a fan of having goals, but I?ve always looked at them as being static. Instead of having goals set in stone, I want to use my tracking system to re-evaluate my goals throughout the year. I think it will be more motivating to know that I can adjust my goals up or down as needed to make me more successful. This doesn?t mean I will be slacking off and lowering my goals all the time. Instead, I?m hoping to set realistic goals at the beginning and shoot for the stars with my efforts. If this works properly, hopefully I?ll actually have to increase my goals throughout the year.

Leave Plastic at Home

At the end of 2013 I took all the plastic out of my wallet except for my debit card and a single credit card ?just in case?. Since then, I?ve been irresponsible with my one credit card, using it when it wasn?t really necessary just because I had it readily available. In 2015 I will no longer be carrying my credit card at all. If I ever feel the need to carry it (on a trip or something) I will seek guidance from my readers and supporters first. I think by only carrying cash and my debit card I will be less tempted by things I don?t truly need or haven?t budgeted for.

I?m going to make 2015 my most financially successful year so far by following these three self-imposed guidelines. I can?t wait to report back to you at the end of the year about how they turned out for me!


What are you doing to get serious about your finances in 2015? How often do you re-assess your goals? Do you carry solely cash, a credit card or both?



Photo courtesy of: NapInterrupted

When Budgeting, Little Amounts Add Up with Apps Like Qmee


BudgetingBudgeting is a lot like life. If you try to swallow it all in one bite, you?ll choke. But if you take a micro-view of budgeting and think of it as something you do little by little, day by day, you?re more likely to get your spending under control and see success living by a budget.

When you hear someone talk about how hard it is to live by a budget or read a book on budgeting, it?s easy to feel overwhelmed and want to give up before you?ve even really gotten started. Instead of seeing it as a massive undertaking, learn to look at budgeting as a lot of little things. When you do, you?ll be surprised to see how the little things add up. A coffee here; a dinner there; going out to lunch a couple times a week; even something as mundane as forgetting your sunglasses at home and opting to buy a cheap new pair instead of going without or going back home adds up.

All of the things listed here are little, but when taken together they add up to unhealthy spending habits that can work against us or hinder us from achieving the financial goals we?ve set for ourselves.

What Little Things Can Add Up For You?

In addition to the aspects already discussed, there are ways you can make money, that over time, will add up to real money in your bank account. One of those ways is through something called loyalty searching. If you haven’t heard of it, loyalty searching is getting paid to click on search results that you would have already likely clicked on anyways. As someone who’s on the computer 12+ hours a day everyday conducting literally countless searches on everything under the sun, I see the value in earning incremental amounts of money to do what I would already be doing anyway.

One of these loyalty searching programs is called?Qmee. It’s?a free search-loyalty, cash-reward browser app?that is installed easily into any major browser. The way it works is simple. You sign up, install it and continue searching as you normally would. Whenever you type in a search function that Qmee has a relevant search result for, that result or results will appear to the left of your normal search results. If you click on one of the Qmee results, you earn a little bit of money.

little things add up

Essentially anytime you do a search using a browser such as Google or Yahoo, if Qmee has relevant results to your search, the app pulls up these results and they will appear on your screen in addition to the results you would normally see.

Each click on a Qmee search result that matches what you?re looking for will earn you between 4 and 14 cents typically and the payments are made in actual currency to your PayPal account. A typical user will collect about $5 per month. That?s $60 of free money per year just for doing what you usually do!

It?s just another example of something small you can do that over time adds up to more money in your pocket.


Have you ever tried Qmee, or would you use it to earn a little extra money??How much time do you normally spend online each day?

4 Cheap Alternatives to Cable


cableThe price of cable is outrageous isn?t it? We have DirecTV, though on a lower plan. We have some friends who?re spending well over $100 per month, just for their cable alone and that doesn?t even include what they?re paying for their Internet and cell phone bills. If you want to trim some fat from your budget and are looking for some relatively cheap alternatives to cable then hopefully some of these ideas will help you save some money.

Use Netflix to Cut Your Cable Costs

Netflix has been around for years, but their service is definitely top-notch and it?s affordable! The monthly cost is only $9 per month and there is a wide variety of shows, documentaries, and movies for you to choose from. There is also a slightly more expensive service that allows you to rent a certain amount of recent movies through the mail, though you should be able to take care of your needs with the streaming service.

The great thing about Netflix is you have a number of ways you can stream it. My close friend uses Netflix and he streams it right through his PS3. If you don?t have a game console, then you could still benefit from this service on your computer or your phone. If you want to watch it on your television, many smart TVs today have Netflix aps you can download for free or you can always go the [easyazon_link asin=”B00DR0PDNE” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”wisedollar-20″ add_to_cart=”yes” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”yes”]Google Chromecast[/easyazon_link]?route.

Amazon Prime

If you have ever purchased something from Amazon, you have had the option to sign up for Amazon Prime. This service gives you free two day delivery on many products, but it also gives you access to their online shows and movies. Amazon does have a number of original shows, which have been relatively decent from what I?ve seen and adds another benefit of going this route. The subscription for Amazon Prime currently is $99 per year, which equates to only $8.25 per month. At that price, it could be worth a look at depending on your situation. You can also throw in the new [easyazon_link asin=”B00GDQ0RMG” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”wisedollar-20″ add_to_cart=”yes” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”yes”]Amazon Fire TV Stick[/easyazon_link]?to stream shows as well!

Watch Your Shows the Day After

How often do you DVR your shows so that you can watch them later on in the week when you have more time? If you do this regularly, then why not just cancel your cable and watch the shows on their network website the day after they air?

The option to do this varies by some networks, though is generally free. For some networks the show is available 24 hours after airing and you get to watch for nothing. On ABC however, it?s the same 24 hours but you have to sign up to be able to watch it. You may not be able to store your favorite shows this way, but can be a good alternative to cable none the less.

Use Your Friends and the Local Pub

If you are like many guys, then you probably only care to watch sports on TV. Not only this, but you really only turn the TV on when March Madness or the US Open is happening. If this is the case, then don?t waste your money on cable every month! Just get together with friends that are watching the exact same thing (which makes it more enjoyable for you anyway) or head to the local sports bar to watch the game there. By using this technique, you probably won?t miss watching TV at all when you?re at home, and you?ll be saving nearly a thousand bucks a year by cancelling your cable!



Have you cut the cord on your cable? If not, how much are you paying? If so, what alternatives are you using to watch your shows?



Photo?courtesy of: Mr. TinDC

3 Financial Goals That Will Benefit Everyone

financial goals

15123046681_4ea353a813_zJanuary seems to be the popular time to make financial goals and plans for the upcoming year, but where do you start? Every person, every family, every financial situation is different. A goal to pay off debt?may or may not apply to you, and a goal to save more money may not be an option if you’ve got a heavy load of debt over your head. Here are three financial goals, however, that, if taken advantage of, can benefit everyone.

Financial Goals 101: A Net Worth Increase Challenge

The first financial goal that can benefit everyone is to make a Net Worth Increase Goal. Even if you have no assets and owe loads of money to creditors, every dime you pay back to those creditors means an increase in net worth. Sometime between now and January 1st, calculate your current net worth (assets such as cars, homes, savings vehicles minus liabilities such as loans and credit card debt). Then, pick a percentage amount in which you want to increase your net worth by before the end of 2015. Make the increase percentage reasonable, yet challenging, so that you’re not tempted to simply make minimum payments to debt or savings in order to skimp by.

Find Those Budget Leaks

Nearly every budget has budget leaks. Make a commitment in 2015 to track your spending and find those budget leaks. Then determine how to plug those leaks. Second, look at necessary expenses, and scrutinize them thoroughly to determine if they really are necessary. For instance, can you find cheaper car insurance? Is it possible, with a little more menu planning and discipline, to spend less on groceries? Some budget leaks are obvious, some take a little more detective work to find, but either way, there’s a plug for every single budget leak, provided you’re willing to put the work in to find the leak and commit to the discipline it takes to spend less.

Commit to Spending Less

Every time money comes into your bank account, assess your expenses and see how you can work things to spend as little as possible. You might have a small entertainment fund, for instance, but can you make it even smaller? Or can you commit to only utilizing free forms of entertainment? When looking at buying new clothes, are those clothes a true need, or can you go without and still be just fine. Can you make your favorite restaurant meals at home instead of going out to eat? Sites like the Food Network and similar sites have a large list of restaurant copycat recipes. One of our favorites to make at home? This copycat recipe of Olive Garden’s Alfredo Sauce – it gets rave reviews from family and friends when we serve it.

The take-away for this goal is to work to spend less in every area of life, while still enjoying life.

Even if your financial picture is bright and sunny, you can still use goals like the ones above to paint an even brighter picture, so hop on board this 2015 challenge and see how you might be able to turn your financial goals into financial successes!



What is the main change you’d like to make to your personal finances next year? Can you tell about a time when you set a big goal and achieved it? What is one thing you’re going to work on in order to increase your net worth next year?



Photo courtesy of Mzximvs VdB