5 Major Money Mistakes I’ve Made (And How You Can Avoid Them)

Lately, I realized that I’ve been sharing a lot of really great things that are going on in my life (paying off our mortgage early, net worth wins and transitioning to my small business full-time). While that news fun to share and can be motivating for those of you reading my blog, I think it’s also important to share some of my money mistakes as well. 

That’s what the financial journey is all about. We’re not always hitting big wins all the time. There are a lot of mistakes, but those mistakes can sometimes be the biggest lessons and help us learn a lot.

And then there are mistakes that just really suck and you don’t learn anything from them!

Here are 5 major money mistakes I’ve made in my life. Hopefully, by sharing these money mistakes, it’ll help you avoid them in the future. 

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Avoid Holiday Debt Next Year With a Sinking Fund

Christmas is a time for fun, family, and giving. Unfortunately for some, the spending associated with this joyous time of year was bought on credit.

According to Magnify Money, this past season Americans with holiday debt added $1,325 of debt on average. Unfortunately for some, the pay off may not be until the next Christmas or even longer.

If we’re still paying off debt from last year’s Christmas, how can we enjoy this year’s Christmas?!

There’s a solution to this holiday debt conundrum and it’s called the Sinking Fund.

The best time to start one is NOW …

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How to Create Your Budget in Mint (for Free) in 10 Simple Steps

If you want to improve your financial situation, developing and living on a budget definitely helps. By doing this, you are creating a detailed map that will guide you to financial freedom.

Mint is our family’s budgeting software of choice. We’ve done some incredible things with Mint:

We are so proud of the progress we’ve made. We attribute this success to working together and staying on a monthly budget with Mint.

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Honeyfi Review: Money Management and Budgeting For Couples

Every relationship usually has a  “spender” and a “saver.” While the old adage says that “opposites attract,” different personalities can make budgeting harder than it needs to be. 

Honeyfi can blend each of your unique money habits into one simple app in a way that both of you agree on, even if your partner would rather eat brussel sprouts than stick to a spending plan.

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How to Complete Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step 1 in One Week

For the past few years, I’ve been volunteering at my church to coordinate Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course. It’s a 9-week course that helps people get out of debt and get into strong financial shape. We just started a new session and our class is focused on Baby Step 1 (save $1,000 in an emergency fund).

This step can sometimes feel daunting when you’re just starting out, but it’s a very important one. When you have money in the bank, it keeps you from going further into debt when emergencies happen.

A few of the class participants inquired how to get through Baby Step 1 fast so they can get right into Baby Step 2 (eliminating all of their non-mortgage debt). I developed a list of 10 suggestions that worked well for me in the past and sent them an email so they could get after it. Here they are:

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132 Empowering Quotes about Money and Personal Finance

Over the 3 years on my podcast, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with a collection of millionaire entrepreneurs, early retirees and personal finance experts. These conversations have allowed me to learn, grow and inspire others to win with their finances and create a better future for their family.

After each episode, I share a quote that motivates me and the listeners of the podcast to take action.

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How to Throw a Budget Party with Your Spouse

My wife and I have had some incredible financial wins during our marriage. We eliminated $48,032 of debt, paid off our $195,000 mortgage and increased our net worth by $800,000 all in the last 9 years. And the one tradition that has been constant throughout the entire process has been our Budget Party.

The Budget Party is a monthly get-together meant to set aside time for me and my wife to have important conversations about our financial future together. We review how we used our money from the previous month, what we want to do with our cash this month and how we’re tracking on our overall financial goals.

Outside of the obvious financial benefits of this activity, these meetings are great for our marriage. We discuss what’s important to us, how we’re going to get there together and how we see our relationship growing over the years to come. With two small children in the house, time for discussion is limited. The Budget Party gives us a little break and helps me feel closer to my wife. 

If all this financial growth and marital relationship building stuff sounds interesting to you, I’ve compiled 10 easy steps for you to build your own Budget Party. This way, you can create your own monthly meeting and strengthen your family tree for years to come. 

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When It Makes Sense to Refinance Your Mortgage (And When It Doesn’t)

Have you ever thought about refinancing your home? Most homeowners I know have entertained the thought at one time or another. They think it’s probably a good idea, but don’t know if it makes sense for them or not. Mortgages are confusing already. Refinancing adds to the confusion and if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can cost you big time. Let’s look at when it makes sense to refinance your mortgage and when it’s a bad idea. 

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How We Decreased our Spending by $20,000 (While Increasing Our Fun by $10,000)

In order to achieve financial independence, you need to first understand what your annual expenses are. That’s how much money you need to live comfortably every year.

Your annual expenses can include things like housing, transportation, food, utility bills, entertainment, travel and the many other things that make your life … well, your life! 

For our family, I’ve found that number to range between $60,000 and $70,000 per year. That number is after taxes and it doesn’t include money for saving and investing. 

With lower annual expenses, it would definitely be a lot easier for our family to become financially independent.

If we’re using the 4% rule to calculate how much to save to become FI, then we’d need $1,500,000 – $1,750,000. Considering I have around $4,000 in a taxable brokerage account at 37 years old, that’s going to take quite a while!

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