Don’t pay PMI on your mortgage

You’ve probably heard your whole life that buying a house is one of the smartest investments you can make. A lot of the time that’s true, but not always. And it’s certainly not a smart thing to do if you aren’t financially ready. If you don’t remember the market crash of 2008, I’d recommend you watch The Big Short. It’s a slightly fictionalized movie about what really happened, but you’ll get the idea. Basically, banks gave loans to people who couldn’t afford their houses, and when enough of those people inevitably defaulted on their loans, the market crashed. Reality is

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Have your coffee. It’s more important to focus on income growth

So much of the prevailing advice about how to get ahead with money centers around what you should eliminate from your spending. What can you cut? People love to talk about a Starbucks latte. I think that’s a joke, but we can’t entirely ignore the math. If you spend $7/day on a coffee, you’re spending roughly $2,500 every year on coffee. If you make your own coffee each morning for $500/year, and you invest that $2,000 savings every year, after 20 years that should be worth roughly $1,400,000. That’s not a small number, but it really doesn’t matter. What if

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Do budget category amounts change each month?

When we talk about budgeting, often times we’ll say something like “I put $600 in groceries each month.” We say this as though the amount we put in each category each month is fixed. That is to say, it doesn’t change. If you treat your budget this way, allocating the same amount of money to each category each month, you might need to change that. The reality is that a budget is fluid, no two months are exactly the same. In my house, we have what’s called a budget meeting on the last day of the month where we set

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Do you budget app or budget envelope?

It might seem crazy in this technology enabled world that anyone would choose to use envelopes to manage their money, but there’s a certain simplicity to the practice. An app can be fudged, but when an envelope is empty, it’s empty. If you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say envelope, I mean using envelopes as your budgeting system. Each envelope is assigned a category, and then cash is literally put inside each envelope. Going out to eat? Take the restaurant envelope, etc. You are only allowed to spend the cash in the envelope on that envelopes purpose.

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What’s all that stuff for?

I recently drove past an estate sale and saw dozens of people waiting in line to walk through the house. If you’ve never been to an estate sale, I highly recommend it. Nothing so easily drives home the idea that things don’t matter, than having a bunch of strangers picking through the accumulation of someone else’s life, searching for a deal. Now, I like stuff, and I would never suggest you shouldn’t aspire to nice things, but do it with a purpose. Buying endless quantities of cheap, meaningless trinkets is a quick way to spending your way out of being

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