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Frugal Tendencies – Baby Steps

Cut Expenses
Tracking where every single penny comes from and where it goes is extremely tedious, but oh so powerful. I have been able to optimize when to make extra debt payments, avoiding unnecessary interest. I've optimized our savings, allowing me to make those payments to the exact penny. And I've identified recurring expenses that add no value to our family. I understand my family in a whole new way just because I am constantly monitoring our cash flow. What Am I Doing? Developing Frugal Tendencies After seeing a few months of our recent spending, my wife and I spotted some areas for improvement pretty quickly. Below are 10 things we did to immediately free up extra cash in order to accelerate paying off our debts. 1. Turn off the lights In…
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Part III – The Plan

Real Life
The easiest answer to our debt problem is 'oh simple, just make yourself a budget." Budgets are Awful The issue with that solution is I don't like budgets. I believe they are inherently negative. You have $50 to spend on Entertainment this month....you spent $51? Fail! They're also overly constricting. Maybe I knew I was going over my Entertainment budget, so I spent $1 less somewhere else. Sure, I'm still on track for the month and I know that in my head. But if I'm using popular budgeting software, that Entertainment category is flaming red and that can be depressing. I have yet to discuss my desire to become financially independent, I presume that's just assumed. For me (and many other personal finance bloggers I've read) the biggest draw of…
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May 2017 – Debt Progress Report

Debt Progress Report
May 2017 - $537.08 Closer to Even May is officially over so it's time for my first debt progress report. Not a ton of exciting news to report this month as we only improved our debt balance by $537.08. I suppose that's always better than going deeper into debt, but I'm getting impatient. Next month should be much better for a few reasons. I get paid biweekly, so I'll get an 3 paychecks instead of 2. I also made some additional payments towards Student Loan 1 which haven't shown up yet due to statement timing. Although I'm expecting a larger than usual credit card statement due to our vacation last week to offset this some. Nothing to break down at this point. All extra payments are going towards Student Loan 1,…
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Go to Disney World Using Credit Card Points

Travel Hacking
Disney World claims to be the Happiest Place on Earth, I'm not qualified to determine if that's true or not. Either way, I know it's an experience I wanted to provide for my children. I also know it's not the cheapest place on earth. From the travel expenses, to lodging, to the park tickets themselves. Disney will cause most cost-conscious parents to wish upon a star to provide this magical experience for their little ones. In lieu of sacrificing your financial goals, it may seem that your best option is to avoid Disney altogether. I've mentioned before on this blog being frugal doesn't mean depriving yourself. I took my family of four to Disney World using credit card points for 5 nights all for under $700 and it really wasn't that complicated.…
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Part II – The Need to Overcome Debt

Real Life
My wife and I hit our lowest point in April 2016, $170,409.52 in debt. We managed this feat in a variety of ways, but the bulk of our debt resulted from student loans. Neither my wife nor I hold any outside circumstances or institutions responsible for our situation. We had made more than our fair share of bad choices for our borrowing to get that far out of control. The key at this point wasn't to assign blame anyway, we needed some serious introspection and to fundamentally change our behavior. We finally realized the need to overcome debt. I don't believe a change of this magnitude is sustainable without a great reason why. For my wife and I, our reason was our kids. Discovering Our 'Why?' I had been toeing the water…
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Part I – The Debt Spiral

Real Life
I've known my wife since high school. In fact, that's when we started dating. At this point, she's been my best friend for over half my life. The problem with knowing your significant other since high school, is the same issue many large corporations tend to face and spend tons of money trying to combat. Lack of diversity. This is probably the number one reason we allowed ourselves to get so far into debt. When we graduated college, we moved to a new state to spread our wings and start our lives together. We were fortunate enough to have a few thousand dollars in savings, 2 fully paid off cars and minimal student loan debt. Financing our lifestyle Not long after we started working, we absolutely had to have a…
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What’s a frugal, and how did you lose yours?

Real Life
Yea, I know. The way I ended that last post.....annnnnd the blog address itself, doesn't exactly mesh with modern English grammar rules. (If you missed my last post you can check it out here.) How do you go about finding a frugal? Just give me a minute to give you my take on that: It's 2017 and there are only so many '.com' web addresses available that I like, or am creative enough to dream up Why does the word frugal need to be saddled with some quasi-predefined standard attached to it? Who's to say my definition of frugal has to live on the same level of spending as yours? The negative connotation around being frugal is misinformed. I can promise you that frugal for someone who is making $300k a year…
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Hi Everyone! Welcome to my new blog

Real Life
Thank you to everyone for taking some time to read what I have to say! I have been thinking about starting a blog for a few months and decided to just take the plunge. Our Story Over the past year, my wife and I have slowly realized the normal middle class life we have been living has left us with a mountain of debt. We had little hope of the picturesque retirement you see on TV. Between student loans, a car loan, a personal loan and a credit card (whose interest free term date was quickly approaching) we found ourselves $170,409.52 in the hole. This simply wouldn't do. We each began figuring out ways to reduce our expenses, increase our income and otherwise become more fiscally responsible adults. Over the course…
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