Happy New Year from Be Frugal Live Wealthy!!!

Happy New Year!!

Hope everyone had a Happy New year!!  Were you able to stay up until midnight or did you fall asleep at 10:00 pm or so?  I spent the weekend with my family in Port Angeles; we had a great time with friends that we hadn’t seen in a while.

Now that the New Year is here it’s time to  get back to work on our finances.  Did you let the tracking of your expenses go by the wayside and therefore overspend on your Christmas and entertainment?  Did your savings take a  hit because of overspending?  Do not let this take you off of your course of financial independence, get right back on your horse and keep riding!  How do we do this?

  • Take stock of your accounts – In order to pay off your Christmas and other Holiday bills how much did you have to pull from your other accounts such as savings and emergency?
  • Write down all your spending so you can assess the “damage” – This will help you see where your money has gone, what you spent on gifts, etc and help you analyze your spending habits for next year.  If you haven’t opened them you may even be able to take the gift or item back.
  • Recommit to living sound financial principles – Spend time with your family analyzing your Christmas spending and help them understand that you may have to tighten your belt a little.  This may mean cutting out on movies, going out for dinner, and other cost activities at least until you get back on track.

If you do this you’ll be able to get back on track and look forward to a happy and prosperous new year. Continue reading

So you want to have a holiday party…and not go broke

So you want to have a few friends over during the holidays but you don’t want to break the bank.  Here are some suggestions that might help you be  terrific, smooth, and have a great time also.

  • Schedule your party in the evening after dinner or in the afternoon after lunch, then you won’t be expected to serve dinner.  You can serve appetizers or snacks to your guests
  • If you choose to have dinner invite your guests to bring a salad or side dish and you provide the main course.  This won’t only cut down on the money you spend but also on the preparation time for your party.
  • If you choose to decorate your home keep it simple yet homey
  • For entertainment have a game night and ask everyone to bring their favorite game or create an opportunity for everyone to mingle.  It may be more fun to be able to reconnect and create new friendships. Continue reading

Why Be Frugal, Live Wealthy?

I’ve named my blog Be Frugal, Live Wealthy and I wanted to take a minute to explain why I’ve so named it.  Be frugal, live wealthy is not just something we do or an act, but it’s the way we live.  Being frugal is a way of life.  Dictionary.com defines frugal as economical in use or expenditure, prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful; meager, scanty.  It’s choosing the no name brand over the name brand when they’re equally good, sometimes even produced by the same company.  It’s making sure you live according to a spending plan, living below your means when making a decision to purchase extra items.  It’s making a choice not to go further into debt just because you “have” to have that new item you’ve always wanted.  Living wealthy is an act of looking to the future; towards retirement and working towards a time when you’ll be able to have enough time to spend the way  you wish and have enough money to live the way you’d like.  It’s looking long-term to what’s important instead of short-term to what you want now.

Live Wealthy means to have a long term view of your finances.  It means to make sure you have the appropriate plans in place to save for retirement.  It also means having the right amount of insurance, even though it may cost you more to purchase it.

If you make a goal to be frugal and live wealthy you’ll be able to live within your means, have a more financially stable life, and enjoy a greater peace of mind.

What do I get for the person who has everything…and pay for it?

Some of you may have already finished your Christmas shopping, but for most of us we haven’t finished-some of us haven’t even started.  If you fit the latter then let me give you a few tips: 

  • Make a plan for those for whom you’ll buy
  • Determine how much you’ll spend on Christmas presents.  Add 10% for overspending
  • Put a dollar value of how much you would like to spend on each person
  • Add all the individual dollar values up, and see if the sum of the individual gifts exceeds the total you wish to spend
  • If so, adjust your individual gifts
  • If not, take your money and go purchase the gifts.
  • When you’re out shopping is when you’ll have to be careful
  • Check circular ads for good deals
  • Check Ebay or Craigslist for good conditioned, used products

Welcome to my personal finance blog

I’d like to start this blog by introducing myself, my wife, and family.  We’ve been married for several blissful years and have had many great experiences as a family, and have enjoyed spending time together.  We had most of our life in order except for one part—the financial part.  Does this sound like some of you?  Don’t get me wrong; we weren’t extravagant.  We didn’t have high priced automobiles or lavish clothing.  Looking back on it we were lulled, month-by-month, into a false sense of security.

 From the time we were married we didn’t really have a clue how to manage our money.  The thought of managing our money didn’t cross our mind, so we overspent monthly, and went further and further into debt, putting more than necessary on our credit cards.  This was fine in the mid to late 90’s because we had an ace in the hole–Microsoft stock.  You see, my first job out of college was at Microsoft;  and we had purchased several shares of Microsoft stock.  During the mid to late 90’s this became our life preserver.  We spent, spent, spent, and when we got further into debt we would sell some Microsoft stock and bail ourselves out.  When we got back out of debt we’d slowly go back into debt.  Sell Microsoft stock and the cycle would recur again and again.  We never really learned how to manage our finances.  This was fine until the stock flattened out and wasn’t so lucrative.  There went our life preserver!  We purchased a home in 2000.  We continued to overspend, and this, combined with a flattened stock aided in our personal finances spiraling downward even faster.  Purchasing a home coupled with going further and further into debt the only thing to do of course is to refinance, right?  We refinanced a couple of times and brought our debt load from $110,000 to $160,000 and our monthly payment from $800 to $1400.  This made it difficult on personal finances.

 In 2004-2005 I started to see a little glimmer of light and started looking for ways to improve our finances so we could live a higher quality life, get out of debt, help our girls through college, and look towards retirement.  I began learning more about managing personal finances; one thing led to another, and I got to the point where I didn’t just want to get myself out of debt and live wealthy, but I wanted to help others live wealthy also by sharing my experiences.  I hope that others won’t make the same mistakes we have made.  I’ll be writing a weekly blog dedicated to helping others with their personal finances.  If you’d like to make a comment or have a question please make a comment on the blog or email me directly at groche7293@comcast.net.

Thanks, and live wealthy!!

Greg

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