How to Start Your Seeds on the Cheap

I love seeing row after row of uniform black plastic seed starting planters in garden centers and greenhouses. They’ve been dutifully watered and sunned, shaded and fertilized by the garden pros in the nursery. They even have the guts to set them out before the last frost of the year, so we can get our gardens started early! After spending so many cold days looking out the windows, dreaming over the seed catalogs, I’m itching to get started with my own seeds, but not quite ready to be outside.   To…

Net Worth & Debt Payoff Progress through 10/31/16

We emerge from October 2016 bruised and bloodied, like the zombies of Halloween. This month was brutal! Have you ever noticed how when you start to track something, it starts creeeeeping along? I’ll spare you the suspense: we are at 1.86% paid down. That’s -0.08% less than last month. While on one hand, it feels stagnant, I’m trying to see it as Staying Afloat. Here’s what went down. Our real estate contract expired October 5, so I went into full-realty mode to market our two properties myself.     (You…

Net Worth & Debt Payoff through 9/30/2016

Let’s just call this month a big fat “How NOT to Use Credit Cards.” Have you seen pins like the one on the right in your Pinterest feed? Beware, advertisers hire wily copywriters to separate you from your money. Even though this pin says transferring a balance is ingenious, and even though I did exactly what it says, I have to disagree with the “ingenious” part. No, I’d have to say it’s the slippery slope of managing your credit. Let me tell you why: You’ve just opened yet ANOTHER credit card. Welcome…

How to Pay for Christmas with Pre-Tax Money

Say what?! Yes, you can pay for Christmas gifts with Pre-Tax Money. I know, I know. It’s in the semantics, but if other strategies haven’t worked for you, this one might. Have you filed for your Flexible/Health Spending Account reimbursement yet for the year, by the way? Have you earmarked that money yet? Let me explain. Open Season is generally around November, so be sure to sign up for this awesome tool to save money and you could have Christmas money saved up for next year with little effort. If…

Bust the Excuse: I Don’t Have Space to Homestead

This is part four of a four part series on why you don’t homestead. If you would prefer to read the posts in order (which is in a random order, by the way) you can click here. I’ll wait right here. Today’s excuse is “I don’t have any space or land to homestead!” I DON’T HAVE SPACE. AKA: I DON’T HAVE LAND. You dont’ have to have forty acres to homestead. You can homestead in a 250 square foot apartment in the city! You’re probably already doing some homesteading and don’t…

Net Worth & Debt Payoff Update thru 8/31/16

Do you ever feel like you’re not making progress with your debt? This month, I’ve felt like I was treading water with our finances. But after digging deeper into the numbers, I can see that we are still improving. It’s small, but it’s in the right direction. We increased our debt payoff from 1.47% to 1.58% in a month when we took a one week family vacation (paid cash!). See the details in the chart below.   So, what did we do this month to attack our debt? One. I opened a…

How to Overcome the Excuse: It Costs Too Much to Homestead.

This is part three of a four part series on why you don’t homestead (and how to bust through those excuses). If you’re OCD or just insist on reading everything in order, you can start here. Otherwise, please carry on. Today’s excuse is “It costs too much to homestead.” IT COSTS TOO MUCH. Because Ma & Pa Joad were rolling in the dough, right? No. I guess it can be expensive to homestead, but if you start with one small change at a time, do your research, and do your best to “make…

Overcoming the Excuse: I Don’t Have Time to Homestead.

This is part two of a four part series on common excuses for not homesteading. If you feel the need to read them in order, you can read PART ONE: I DON’T KNOW HOW here. Today’s excuse is I DON’T HAVE TIME to homestead. I Don’t Have Time to Homestead. Dude. I hear you. You’re busy. It’s a wonder you get all the stuff done that you do every day. And now I’m suggesting MORE?!? Yes. Yes, I am. Is homesteading important to you? If you’re homestead dreaming, stop dreaming and start doing. You’re…

How to Bust Through Excuses for Not Homesteading

This is part one of a four-part series on busting through the excuses for not homesteading so you can live more sustainably. Let’s dig in. “Oh, I’d love to homestead, but I DON’T KNOW HOW.” Oh, honey. This is a terrible excuse for missing out on some real personal satisfaction. Remember when you learned to tie your shoes? At one point in your life, you did not even know how to tie your shoes. So you watched someone else do it every morning. Then you decided you WANTED TO LEARN HOW to tie…

How to Build a Budget in 7 Easy Steps

Want to take a sweet trip to Venice to ride a gondola guided by a singing gondolier in traditional Italian garb in five years? Maybe you want to retire a millionaire long before you hit minimum retirement age? Want to adopt a child in four years, but $20,000 is a lot of money and you don’t know where you are going to come up with it? Have you visualized yourself at the exact moment you are out of debt? What does it feel like? What does it smell like? All of…