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4 Aug 2008   ·   26
Money Saving Mom

Blogging for Profit – Part 1

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked in person or by email
how one can make money online. I’m no expert and still have much to
learn but after lots of reading, learning, and trial and error over the
past few years, I have found many ways to make a very decent income
online.

Since one of my passions is helping moms come home so they
can be there for their children, I’m always happy to share what I’ve
learned in hopes that it will encourage those of you considering
"making the plunge" from two incomes to one or that it will help those
of you who are struggling to make it on one income.

Despite what some of the ads might portray, making money online doesn’t just happen; it takes work–lots of work. But if you stick with it, the work eventually can really pay off.

Over
the next few days, I want to share about one of my
favorite ways to make money online–blogging. I believe that blogging
is something anyone can do and anyone can also make money off of it.

As
I said, though, it takes time. You cannot just put up a blog, write a
couple of posts, and expect the money to start rolling in. No, it takes
time, effort, and consistency.

So, my first piece of advice for anyone who would like to make money blogging is to be prepared to be in it for the long-haul. This might seem like a no-brainer but I think sometimes people miss the big picture when it comes to making money online.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about choosing a blog topic and the actual writing of
the blog. These are important facets that you must have in place before
just jumping ahead to making money blogging. Because, as we all know,
if you don’t have traffic, you can blog all day, but you’ll never make
a penny.

Have you made money
through blogging? If so, how? Share with us, we’d love to hear! Once I
lay the foundation here, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite blogging
money-makers and those which haven’t worked for me.

Related: Darren Rowse, the ProBlogger, tackles a related issue on his video post here. It’s worth watching.                                  

Originally published October 2007.

4 Aug 2008   ·   65
Money Saving Mom

How to keep meat from breaking your budget

Meat
can be a budget-breaker, can’t it? Because we’ve only budgeted $40/week
for groceries, I’ve learned to get really creative when it comes to
meat. There are many things we do to help stretch this, here are a few of my favorites:

1) Don’t serve meat as the main thing at a meal.
When we serve meat for dinner, unless I got some incredible sale on it,
it is not a stand-alone thing. I have come up with lots of recipes
which are hearty and delicious, but that don’t require using $8-$15
worth of meat to pull off for our little family. We do eat soup and we
do eat casserole, but I try to be creative and use lots of variety.

I
also try to make sure that dinners are a hearty affair around here. My
husband might be thin, but he can eat like you wouldn’t believe (As an
aside, how come guys can eat so much and never gain a pound?!)! If we
have chili or a similar bean type of soup, we’ll serve it over steamed
brown rice and sprinkle cheese on top. If we have chicken noodle soup,
we often serve it over mashed potatoes (I know, talk about a carb-rich
meal! But it’s delicious!).

Start thinking outside the box when it comes to the dinners you serve and have fun being creative. If it flops and doesn’t go over well, you don’t have to make it again.

2) Have at least 1-2 meatless meals per week.
Yes, I know, a lot of people turn up their noses at the thought of
going vegetarian a few times a week but if you get creative, you can
come up with quite a few hearty meatless meals. Try making spaghetti
casserole or lasagna without meat in it (I put extra chunky sauce with
lots of onions and diced tomatoes in it and double the cheese and we never
even miss the meat). Or try serving breakfast for dinner sometime.

3) Never buy meat unless it is marked-down or on sale.
I usually always get meat on sale or marked down and will not pay
anymore than $2/meal for meat. Watch for the sales and mark downs and
stock up! Ask your grocery stores when they mark meat down and make
sure you shop at those times.

4) Make the main dish go further by starting out dinner with soup and bread or salad and bread.
If you’re already somewhat filled up before the main course hits, you
are bound to eat less! Plus, starting out with a nice big salad and
fresh bread will add so much to the meal!

5) When you buy meat, cook it up ahead of time and freeze it in meal-size portions.
I’ve found when I divvy the meat up ahead of time, it somehow stretches a lot father. If the thought of going meatless is too much for you
right now, consider cutting back on some of the meat in some
of your meals. You might be surprised at how little you miss it.

6) Get creative with leftovers.
My goal is to never throw food out. Every once in a while it
does happen, but it is a rare occurrence. Constantly be looking for
ways to remake meals to stretch them farther and eliminate waste.

How do you keep meat from breaking your budget? What are some of your favorite meatless meals?

2 Aug 2008   ·   5
Money Saving Mom

Super Savings Saturday: The I’m-On-Vacation Edition

I was gone most of yesterday at FishMama’s house and when we got home, it was a mad-scramble-dash to get out the door and onto our first destination of our 10-day vacation, so I didn’t so much as even consider getting on the computer yesterday afternoon and evening.

However, I did steal out bright and early this morning to head to Starbucks for a few hours while everyone slept in so I could wade through my overloaded inbox (finally done! If you emailed about the ebook sale, you should have heard back from me!) and get a little blogging done.

I debated even posting Super Savings Saturday since I don’t have any pictures to share, but I decided you could post your links without me. So leave your links below and inspire us all with the great deals you got this week.

Oh and for the record, I don’t have a picture, but my husband did our grocery shopping and he got some sweet deals including blueberries for $2/lb, free Blue Bunny icecream bars, free razors from Wal-Mart, and a super CVS run! I love that guy; not only is he a wonderful husband and father but he almost rivals me in bargain-shopping. I got me a good one. 🙂

————-

How’d you do this week? Post about the deals and bargains you were able to snag this week on your blog (with pictures, if possible!) and then come back here and leave your link below.

1 Aug 2008   ·   8
Money Saving Mom

Frugal Friday: The vacation edition

It’s Frugal Friday over on my other blog. After a big week with lots of unexpected curve balls and exciting blessings, I’m a bit brain-fried so I skipped out on sharing any wise words. But you’ll certainly want to check out the wealth of knowledge and practical tips shared by my readers. And we’d love to have you join in the fun by leaving your own tips, too.

We’re leaving today on a 10-day trip to visit family and go to a lake in Arkansas; we’re so excited as it’s been a long time since we’ve been on a family vacation!

I’ll still be blogging while I’m gone, though I’ll probably take a bit of a slower pace than usual. I’m going to be re-publishing a lot of the most popular posts from my old blog and will also pop in a share good deals here and there.

We’re rather spoiled because my minor car accident earlier this week damaged our car and it’s not safely drivable so we get a free rental car while we’re getting that situation worked out. And that means we get to take the free rental on vacation with us. Yay!

(I have to admit, I was not all that happy with someone backing into me and damaging our car and transmission–especially right before we were going to leave on vacation and right after we’d just gotten our cars up and running again–but it has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We get to take a more reliable vehicle on vacation and don’t have to worry about the possibility of breaking down somewhere, hopefully! I’m thanking God for His provision for us!)

Have a wonderful Friday!

1 Aug 2008   ·   30
Money Saving Mom

Reader Tip: Save time and money by starting your own cooking club

262343bakingbowlsjugwoodenspoonsw_2

Yesterday, I posted a review for Social Suppers and wanted to share a tip Amanda had recently emailed in which might be a more-suitable option for many of you who are on tight budgets. Amanda wrote:

I wanted to tell you about a cooking club that I am a member of.  It saves me time and money because I am less likely to eat out and more likely to plan ahead and try and match my dish to coupons or sales.  Also, it gives my family a chance to try foods and recipes that we might not otherwise try.

We have 8 busy moms who are members of our cooking club.  Each month they have the option to participate or not. Each member makes a main dish for all the other participating families and freezes it (and usually keeps one for her family).   We meet in someone’s garage to swap and go home with fully-stocked freezers of ready to thaw and reheat meals that are great for those super busy days.

We also did a side dish exchange this month, too. I made beans and received a dozen fresh ears of corn (a member’s family owns a local farm), cheesy potatoes, and twice baked potatoes. We have done soup groups, brunch groups (so we all have non-burnt toast on Mother’s Day!), sweet groups (for entertaining around the holidays) and appetizer groups (for New Years or Super Bowl time).

I love this idea and would totally join a group like this (anyone in this area interested?)! Does anyone else do something similar? If so, tell us about it!

Graphic from AllPosters.com

31 Jul 2008   ·   113
Money Saving Mom

Input needed: I’m buying a laptop tonight

After a series of unfortunate events, I am buying a new laptop. And, because we’re leaving on vacation tomorrow and I need to have it in hand as soon as we arrive home, I’m buying it tonight.

I knew this purchase was inevitable as the problems with my laptop have continued to increase and the 3-year warranty is almost expired. The plan was to buy one before the end of the year and I have had the money set aside for it for a number of months.

Being the frugal person I am, though, I held out for as long as possible but the time has come to hold out no longer since my laptop is completely shot. (I’ll spare you the extensive run-down of problems it’s experiencing, the biggest of which is that you cannot get on the internet and it randomly freezes up after around 2-3 minutes of use.)

So, Jesse and I will be ordering a new laptop online tonight and I thought I’d ask all of you bargain-shoppers here for some input on how I could snag the best deal. I’m really great at scoring grocery deals, but electronics are a bit out of my league.

I’ll be getting a Dell (sorry, Mac people, it’s impossible to change my mind so don’t even try!) and I need something that can withstand lots of use and abuse and last me for at least a few years.

Where should I look? What should I get? And how can I score the best deal? Any and all feedback is welcome and appreciated.

31 Jul 2008   ·   22
Money Saving Mom

Review: Social Suppers

101_0310

Recently, I had the opportunity to do a complimentary session at Social Suppers, a company with locations in Missouri and Kansas that offers meal assembly options for the busy family. I’ve always wanted to try out one of these stores and so I jumped on the opportunity to do a review in exchange for two weeks’ worth of meals in my freezer.

I very much enjoyed my experience and was impressed overall with the concept of this business idea. While I am not convinced it would save a number of us (myself included) money, I definitely saw how it could be a great option for those of you who are extremely busy and have more money than time right now. It might also be something to consider splurging on for stressful and chaotic seasons of life (such as before or after a move, during pregnancy, or right after having a baby).

PROS

–The convenience is incredible. Walking in and having all of
the recipes picked out for you, the groceries shopped for, the portions
divided up, the chopping done, and everything ready to go is, well, quite
an amazing thing. You just make your meals, package them up,
and leave the dishes for someone else to wash! We made the equivalent
of two weeks’ worth of meals in about an hour and a half total. When
else will that ever happen?

101_0301

Social Suppers is very child-friendly. The day I was scheduled for my session, I called and asked if my daughter could come with me. I fully expected that a place dealing with meal-prep and assembly would not be thrilled with me bringing along my three-year-old, even if I promised she’d behave. Contrary to what I expected, I was enthusiastically encouraged to bring my daughter with me.

The staff at Social Suppers was very helpful and inclusive of Kathrynne. They went out of their way to make sure she enjoyed herself and was able to participate in the meal assembly. Kathrynne and I made a very special memory during our mother-daughter meal preparation session and she’s enjoyed eating the food more knowing that she helped to prepare it.

101_0307

–Social Suppers offers a wide variety of fairly nutritional meals. I noticed very few meals with ingredients containing MSGs, corn syrup, or food coloring. Many of the meals had vegetables as part of the dish and the beef they use is higher quality. Another great thing about making up the meals yourself is that you can choose to omit ingredients according to your family’s health needs and preferences. 

CONS

–The prices are rather high. While they claim to have meals which cost only $2.50 per serving, from my calculations, many of them are more like $4-$6/serving and that price does not include side dishes. Since I try to have our entire dinner be $2/person or less, the prices at Social Suppers are definitely higher than I am used to paying and seemed quite exorbitant to me. Granted, it is less expensive than eating out, but it’s quite a bit more than I would normally feel comfortable paying.

–The menus are not out-of-this-world.
We’ve now eaten the majority of the meals we made and while most of them were fairly good, we thought some of the dinners were rather bland and the servings were on the small side. Maybe it’s because we eat a lot and maybe it’s because I am forever tweaking recipes in order to get them "just right"? No matter the case, we weren’t incredibly impressed with the taste factor for most of the meals.

Note: If any of you are interested in trying out Social Suppers, you can get free assembly on your meals from now through August 31, 2008 by using promo code MSM08. You can call ahead with your requests and then just stop by and pick them up.

29 Jul 2008   ·   112
Money Saving Mom

Ask the readers: Long distance plans?

We had a busy and eventful last few days and I’m taking half a day off from blogging to take care of some things on the home front here. I’ll back this afternoon to share some more great deals. In the mean time, would anyone like to share some input on Amy’s question?

I wondered if you’ve got any good tips/advice/comparisons on long distance calling
plans. Currently, we have unlimited long distance with our home phone
but are considering canceling all of that. Have you researched
whether it’s cheaper to have a cell phone only and use it for
everything, have a calling card and keep a land line with no long
distance, or have you discovered something else? – Amy

What does your family do for long distance calls? What have you found to be the least expensive option? What works best for your family? Tell us in the comments section.

25 Jul 2008   ·   58
Money Saving Mom

Super Savings Saturday: You gotta see this to believe this!

I think this shopping trip takes the cake for my best shopping trip of the year…

101_0407
(Click on picture to enlarge for the full effect–the entire table was stuffed with food and household products! Please especially take note of the BOX of Pampers–100 diapers in all!)

Total spent out of pocket?

$49.60!

$2 under the $51 budget I had (We budget $40 per week, but I usually don’t spend all of it and "roll over" the extras to the next week.)

After almost three weeks of little-to-no shopping–thanks to a well-stocked pantry, fairly-dismal sales, and my attentions and energies being focused elsewhere–I guess I made up for it this week.

Since the deals usually linger at Target and Wal-Mart for a month or more and they are a bit more of a drive, I save my coupons and just hit both stores once every 4-6 weeks. This was the week to hit both of them and hit them I did!

At Target, my total before coupons was $83. After coupons, it was $38. And then I paid with gift cards I’d earned free from referring a few folks to eBates. So I spent $0.00 out of pocket!

Best deals at Target: $0.89 Natural Skippy peanut butter (on price cut to $1.89, used $1/1 Target coupon), almost-free Electrasol (combined Target mailer coupon with $2.25 manufacturer’s coupons), free Joint Juice and Powerade, Physician’s Formula Organic blush for $0.67 (on clearance for $2.67, had $2/1 peelie on it!), very cheap crayons and school supplies, Pantene Beautiful Lengths for $0.79 each (used $2/2 coupon from Target mailer and 2 $2/1 manufacturer’s coupons) and a HUGE 100-pack of Pampers on clearance (clearance price: $23, used $4/1 Pampers mailer coupon plus $5/2 Pampers Target coupon).

Between the clearanced box of diapers, another pack of diapers I bought, and the 2 mega packs of refill wipes, we should have enough diapers and wipes to last us for six weeks!

At Wal-Mart, I spent $8.61–I got free Schick razors (used $2/1 coupon from recent insert making them free), bought more Muir Glen tomatoes, used my three last $3/1 Planter’s coupons to get free Kettle roasted peanuts by buying Kool-Aid (anyone want some? We don’t get near Kool-Aid!), bought Luvs diapers for $2.47 (used $5/1 coupon), got one package of Yo-Plus yogurt for $1.08 after coupon, and 2 packages of Kotex for free (used $1/1 coupons).

I spent $11.02 at Hen House and I got three bottles Old Orchard juice for $0.68/bottle (on sale for $1.68, used $1/1 coupons), three boxes of Curves bars for $0.98 each (on sale $1.98, used $1/1 coupons), Farm Fresh whole milk from a local farm, a dozen eggs, and English muffins.

Next stop was Hy-Vee where I spent around $13.56 and got lots of peaches and pears, frozen veggies, cottage cheese, orange juice, free Huggies CleanTeam wipes (the small packs are priced at $0.97, used $3/2 coupon and got the overage!), and 3 packages of chicken (two packages were manager’s special SmartChicken thighs on special for $2 each!).

Our last stop, Aldi, we spent $16.41 and got odds and ends: Sugar, 2 packages cheese, cucumbers, kiwi, carrots, tortillas, butter, toilet paper, and 3 loaves of bread reduced to $0.59 each, 2 packages of hot dog buns reduced to $0.39, and 2 packages of hamburger buns reduced to $0.25! The buns are all going straight into the freezer to save for later–I couldn’t resist such a great deal!

We are now well-stocked for the next two weeks and I’ll probably only have to make a small trip to the store for more produce and milk and the best deals next week. Yay!

What is so exciting to me about getting all of these great deals is that these were in direct answer to prayer. I prayed specifically before going into each store and I also prayed for God to give the girls grace to be cheerful and obedient. I never expected to make it to all of those stores with the girls by myself in one afternoon (I was planning to split it up over two days and stop when they started getting tired–but they never reached that point so we just kept going!). Nor did I expect to get such great deals.

God is always faithful to do "exceeding abundantly above all that I could ask or think": the girls ended up having a blast with me (there was almost no complaining at all!) and we snagged quite a few more deals than I had planned on. God is good.

—————–
How’d you do this week? Post
about the deals and bargains you were able to snag this week on your
blog (with pictures, if possible!) and then come back here and leave
your link below.

23 Jul 2008   ·   105
Money Saving Mom

Help me out here! Should I switch my coupon organization system?

Couponclippings

Anyone who has read my blog for more than a few months knows that I’m a big fan of clipping and filing every coupon you think you might use. I got into this habit because I used to shop almost exclusively at Kroger where the deals and mark-downs were plentiful and I was often able to snag unadvertised specials for free or almost free every week thanks to having all my coupons clipped, organized, and handy.

However, as most of you know, our Kroger stores were bought out a few months ago (I’m still agonizing over the loss!) and while I’ve continued on with my clip-and-file-every-coupon system, I’ve noticed I rarely have come upon any unadvertised deals or mark-downs. And I do mean rarely, as in non-existent. Well, I did find one mark-down one time, but I didn’t even have a coupon for it.

In seeking to streamline and be more efficient, I’m seriously considering keeping my inserts whole and just clipping out the coupons I need each week as I plan my shopping trip. This would save me the hassle of having to spend a lot of time clipping and filing; it would also save me the trouble of going through my coupon box for expired coupons every month, too.

But I’m really tossing and turning over breaking tradition and completely revamping my whole coupon organization system as I know it. It’s become so ingrained in me to clip and file all my coupons in my coupon box as I’ve done it this way for going on eight years.

Does it really work to just file the inserts and clip out the coupons you need? Do you find yourself having to pass over a lot of the deals when you’re at the store because you don’t have the needed coupon with you? Can anyone reassure me that I really will not end up spending twice as much at the grocery store if I don’t clip all the coupons? Do you think I’m up to the challenge of a complete revamping of my system? 

Any feedback or thoughts would be much-appreciated.

Note: For those of you who may need a point of reference, here’s my current system and here’s the system I’m considering switching to.

22 Jul 2008   ·   50
Money Saving Mom

Reader Tips: Harvesting and putting up food

1029061assortedfreshfruitsofberries

Carrie wrote:

I just thought I’d write and remind your readers to look into picking their own berries. I just paid $0.80/pound for 75 pounds of strawberries. At the store, they would have cost $1.80/pound for frozen berries, so I just saved $75!

You can pick the fresh berries, use what you are able to use in the first few weeks and then freeze the rest to use in fruit smoothies, fruit salads, muffins, and more!  I put up about 500 pounds of fruit each
summer! (We have a family of 9 so it’s not really that much!). When the fruit is expensive all winter, we still can enjoy
an abundance of it!

If you don’t know where to find a local place to pick berries, check out LocalHarvest.org. (Thanks, Lori!)

And, if you are interested in learning more about canning, freezing, drying, and root-cellaring fruits, vegetables and herbs, be sure to check out the new Carnival of Home Preserving. Maybe someday I’ll actually learn how to can–it’s on my long list of things I want to learn how to do!

Do you harvest fruit and veggies and "put them up" in some way or shape for the Winter? If so, tell us what works for you. How would someone like me who knows nothing about canning get started doing this? I’d love to hear your ideas and advice!

Graphic from AllPosters.com

18 Jul 2008   ·   10
Money Saving Mom

Super Savings Saturday: The I-Took-A-Break-From-Bargain-Shopping Edition

If you read this post, you likely clued in to the fact that I didn’t do any shopping of any kind this week. In fact, it’s been almost 14 days since I’ve done any shopping of any kind!

Jesse did make a quick stop to buy milk, bread, and a few other essentials, but I didn’t step foot in any store all of this week and almost all of last week, too. To tell you the truth, it felt really nice.

However, after only one quick shopping trip in two weeks, we’re running quite low on some essentials so I’ll certainly be making a fairly large grocery run this next week and I definitely refreshed and ready and ready to do some more deal-scoring! (If only I had all my coupons in order, though! Anybody want to come over for a coupon organization party?! It’s amazing how quickly they can get out of hand when I let them be for a week or two!)

—————–
How’d you do this week? Post about the deals and bargains you were able to snag this week on your blog (with pictures, if possible!) and then come back here and leave your link below.

18 Jul 2008   ·   48
Money Saving Mom

Extreme Frugality: What would you give up?

Over at the wonderful blog, Days to Come, Jeana is doing an incredible series of posts on Extreme Frugality this week. You must run, not walk, over there and read them here, here, and here. Good stuff.

Jeana recently gave up couponing in order to simplify her life and I applaud her decision. While I doubt I would ever completely give up coupons, I’ve found that I’ve greatly simplified things in the past two years–especially since having two children. I’ve cut back considerably on the deals I’ll do, the time I spend planning and shopping, and I have learned that it’s okay to take a break from bargain-shopping.

Many people often wonder why, if I’m such a minimalist, do I have a website which encourages people to buy stuff? It might seem like a contradiction on the surface, except you forgot one important point: by and large the deals I post here are for food and household products–stuff that 99% of most Americans buy at least a few times per year.

One of my goals in blogging here is to not only help everyday, average Americans find ways they can save money on items they would already be buying anyway, but I also aim to alter your mindset. (You mean you hadn’t figured that out? Maybe I shouldn’t have told you!)

You see, I would wager that the majority of Americans would never consider buying the bulk of their groceries on sale with a coupon or stocking up on a good deal to last them until the next good deal. Most people might buy a few items on sale, clip a few coupons, and save a few quarters each week, but the thought of buying almost everything on sale with a coupon is very foreign to a large percentage of the population. When people start grasping these sorts of concepts and applying them to shopping at the grocery store, it often not only saves them a few hundred dollars or more each month, it also often begins to completely change the way they think about life in general.

So while I’m glad to share deals and encourage you to save money at the grocery store, my hope is that what you glean here will not stop with the clipping of coupons. Instead, I hope the things shared here will cause you to consider making other much more substantial life changes: beginning to live below your means, getting on a budget, developing self-discipline, putting a financial plan in place, thinking long-term, and be willing to go against the flow to make sacrifices now to benefit you long-term.

Speaking of thinking and planning for the long-term, Jeana asked a really great question to kick off her series which I thought we would all do well to consider. She wrote:

Lately I’ve been thinking about how over the past few years we have
found new ways to save money as paycuts and higher costs have squeezed
on our budget. I’ve been asking myself, "What is the next thing I would give up or do differently if I had to lower costs?" and then trying to do that next thing now
to put us one step ahead of the next big squeeze. I’ll be writing about
some of the new things I’ve been trying soon. For now, why don’t you
tell me: What’s the next thing you would do to create some wiggle room
in your budget, if you had to?

What would you give up or do differently if you had to lower costs? Is this something you could go ahead and cut from your budget now in order to give you more wiggle room for later? In addition, I’d love to hear how using coupons at the grocery store may have affected your thinking on other areas of life. Tell us about it in the comments section.

17 Jul 2008   ·   82
Money Saving Mom

Donating items for a good cause: Share how you’ve blessed others recently!

Toothbrush

Have extra brand-new toothbrushes lurking at your home that you’d like to donate to a good cause? Go here to read about an opportunity to donate them to a dental outreach for children in Honduras.

And while we’re on the the topic of giving, I’d love to hear what opportunities you’ve had recently to bless others with your free and almost-free coupon bargains. Tell us about your random acts of kindness and generosity in the comments section and let’s all encourage each other to take time to help out those in need!

16 Jul 2008   ·   58
Money Saving Mom

The Debt Avalanche: What Do You Think?

I read an interesting article by Consumerism Commentary last week (hat-tip to The Simple Dollar) on "the Debt Avalanche":

If you have a certain amount of money available to pay off a portion
of your debt each month, even if that certain amount changes, there is
a mathematically correct way of paying off that debt. You can call this
approach the Debt Avalanche. It is similar to Dave Ramsey’s popular “debt snowball” method, with one small but important detail: With the Debt Avalanche you will pay off your debt faster and pay less total interest to banks and lenders.

The simple calculation for the Debt Avalanche
requires only the interest rates for each debt account. This assumes
that all debt accounts have the same tax liability, but if that’s not
the case, determine your interest rate after taxes for this calculation.

Read full article.

When my husband and I got married, we purposed to stay out of debt if at all possible while he went through law school. Now that law school is behind us and we’ve avoided debt this long, we’re really determined to completely avoid debt in every way, shape, and form for the rest of our lives.

We’ve sought to debt-proof ourselves through a number of means: living on less than we make; living on a strict budget; building a six-month emergency fund; communicating openly and honestly as a husband and wife about finances; and investing in good life, health, and disability insurance. Only God knows whether we’ll be able to completely avoid debt our entire lives, but we are quite determined to do everything we can to keep from being enslaved to it.

While you all well know that I am a huge Dave Ramsey fan, since I’ve never been in debt, I personally can’t say what works or doesn’t work with regards to getting out of debt. And I don’t necessarily think the same exact steps will work 100% perfectly for each and every person and situation.

So, what do you think? I know a number of you readers are seeking to get out of debt and I’d love to hear what is working for you. Do you think that Dave Ramsey’s "Debt Snowball" method is the method for debt reduction? Or would you agree more with Consumerism Commentary’s proposed "Debt Avalanche"? What has worked for you?