Financially Fit

How Is Alcohol Abused?

How Is Alcohol Abused?

In most parts of the world, alcohol is legal for adults to both purchase and consume. As a result, beverages that contain alcohol are available almost everywhere, and clearly, many adults partake. Since use is so common, it might seem hard to determine who is drinking alcohol in an appropriate manner and who is drinking in a manner that could lead to alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Experts suggest there are key signs to look for.

Binge Drinking Alcohol

Binge drinking is one such sign of alcohlism. This type of drinking, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, involves consuming alcohol with the intention of getting drunk. For men, that means drinking five or more drinks in about two hours; for women, that involves consuming four or more drinks within two hours.

Excessive Alcohol Use

This type of alcohol abuse pattern is easy to spot. These are people who sit down and attempt to down a great deal of alcohol at the same time. There’s intent to this drinking that is hard to hide. But this isn’t the only type of alcohol abuse out there. People may also abuse alcohol if they:

  • Take in alcoholic beverages and drive
  • Drink alcohol throughout the day
  • Consume alcohol in order to feel a buzz, without drinking in a binging manner
  • Feel the need to drink every single day
  • Drink a large amount of alcohol in social situations

These are all very different drinking patterns, but they have one thing in common. People who drink like this have lost some modicum of control over their consumption. The beverages drive their behaviors. It can seem like a subtle distinction, but it’s an important one to understand, as people who don’t amend troublesome drinking behaviors can become people who have symptoms of alcoholism.

Difficult drinking patterns can shift electrical activities within the brain, and when that happens, people might have little to no control over how they drink or when they drink.

 

Source https://americanaddictioncenters.org/alcoholism-treatment


How Coronavirus Is Affecting the Economy: What You Need to Know

If you’ve been following the news this year, you’ve seen and heard one word being repeated over and over again: coronavirus.

Just saying it out loud is enough to make you want to grab a mask, wash your hands, and become a hermit. But you know what’s even more dangerous than a virus? Fear. That will creep in, eat away at you, and cause more destruction than the threat of any illness ever could.

So stop reading headline after headline, take a breath, and don’t panic. We’ll walk you through (calmly) what something like this means for you and your money.

How a Global Epidemic Impacts the Economy

If you don’t remember every single detail of your high school economics class, you’re probably wondering how the heck a virus can mess with the stock market and global economy. Hang on and we’ll break it down for you:

Different countries across the globe depend on one another for things like goods and products—such as clothing, car parts and cell phones. Buying items and manufacturing parts from these countries boosts the global economy.

That said, quarantining people to prevent the virus from spreading can slow economic growth. This happens when things like travel bans, trade being cut off, and production plants shutting down get in the way of countries being able to produce products that the rest of the world relies on. This makes the use of goods and services come to a standstill too. All of that rolled together with the fear being fed to us has the potential to cause Wall Street, the stock market—and people—to freak out.

In order to give the economy a jolt, the Federal Reserve even lowered interest rates by half a percentage point.1 Doing this, they hope, will encourage consumers to keep spending and keep the economy healthy. And if you’re in the market for refinancing your home from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year—that’s very good news for you. You could lock in a crazy low interest rate now, which would save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

The truth is—yes, watching a virus like this spread makes us all super uneasy. And our hearts go out to all those who have been devastated by the coronavirus. But don’t let your concern turn into anxiety and panic. We’ll all get through this.

How to Stay Calm if You’re Investing

It’s natural for your heart to race when you see fearful headlines scroll across your television and newsfeed. You’re only human. Unsettling news about stocks dropping and a virus spreading can really do a number on your portfolio (and your morale). But here’s something the mainstream media isn’t telling you: Don’t freak out.

Did you get that? It’s important—so important that we’re going to say it again.

Don’t freak out.

Here’s what you need to do to keep your peace of mind through it all:

Remember your goal.

What was the idea behind your investing in the first place? You were probably thinking of the future and how investing now and leaving it alone for many, many years would eventually bring you a hefty return on your investment. And that logic still applies!

If you have investments right now, it’s natural to feel shaky. But don’t make any knee-jerk reactions based on what you see on the news. Remember that when investing, you’re in it for the long haul. So keep your sights there. Don’t get so tripped up by the bumps in the road that you lose focus of the truth: Investing is for the long term, not the short term.

Talk to your financial advisor.

If you still feel unsure, get on the phone and call up your investment pro. Sometimes, just talking things out with the person you’ve trusted with your investments can really help to calm your nerves.

What Does This Mean for Your Money?

If you’re investing, take a big breath, calm down, and remember that a rocky day, week or month won’t impact your investments 20 years from now.

Will the market take a hit? It sure could. But guess what? It will bounce back. It always does. And when it recovers, you stand to make a nice return. But if you pull out when things look bad, it’s a dumb move because you’re out of the game completely. You can’t time the market. Jumping off the roller coaster while it’s going is never a good idea (those are the only people who get hurt, actually). Don’t let your emotions take control of your money. Now is not the time to pull your investments, go into doomsday mode, or cash in your 401(k) for gold coins. Ride the wave here—ride it down and ride it back up again.

And if you aren’t in the place where you can invest yet, our advice to you is simple: Stay the course. Get your own household in order by making sure you have an emergency fund in place. It puts a buffer between you and life and gives you peace of mind despite the chaos going on around you.

If you’re not already working the 7 Baby Steps, it’s time to start paying off debt, sticking to a budget, and cutting back on expenses. Bottom line? Keep moving forward and stay on your path no matter the ups and downs the stock market takes.

Maybe you aren’t investing or haven’t set other financial goals, and now all this talk about the stock market is making you take stock of your own money situation. If you don’t even know where to start, it’s time to take our three-minute assessment and get a free customized plan for your money.

Don’t Let Fear Rule You

Above all, remember not to let fear of the unknown control you. You have the power to decide how you’ll react. Don’t drain your checking account buying an endless supply of water, paper towels, and face masks the U.S. surgeon general has said you don’t need.2 Despite what you see shared on your social feed and what the talking heads keep drilling into you, there is always hope. And guess what? You can rise above any panic-filled sound bite you hear on the news.

The Bible tells us, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34 NKJV).

That means there’s enough things to deal with today. Don’t spend your time worrying about all the “what ifs” and whether or not the sky’s going to fall tomorrow, next month or ever. Focus on the here and now.

People can speculate all they want to, but in reality, none of us can control what the stock market or the world economy does. But the good news is, you can control what happens in the spending and saving habits of your own house. Keep working the plan, leave your investments alone, and wait for this to pass. But while you’re at it, go ahead and wash your hands (properly, for 10 to 20 seconds please)—you can never go wrong with that!

 

Source https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/how-an-epidemic-can-affect-the-economy


How to Deal with Loneliness During Social Distancing

The calls for “social distancing” are echoing around the world. For lots of people, it’s no longer an option—it’s a government mandate. Communities are banding together to protect the most vulnerable, and people are avoiding public spaces and large gatherings. Restaurants and stores have shut their doors. Many workers have relocated to their homes, while others have been laid off. The demand for other jobs (nursing, delivery drivers, etc.) has gone through the roof, placing significant stress on workers, systems and established routines.

We’re being forced—ready or not—into a fight against an enemy that we can’t see, hear or fully understand. We are throwing punches in the dark. Like annoying, overbearing little league parents, everyone is yelling at us and telling us what to do, armchair quarterbacking every step as if they know how to handle things. But in reality, we’re up against something we’ve never faced before. And worse, it feels like we’re fighting alone.

And when I say “we,” I’m not being cute or trite. I’m experiencing this too. My family has been out of town for the past week as this has unfolded, and I’ve found myself scared, lonely and feeling out of control . . . and I’ve been a crisis responder for years!

Here’s the truth: Sudden fear, confusion and instant disconnection is a toxic recipe for panic, anxiety, misplaced rage and addiction. Regardless of who you are, where you’re from, or how tough you think you are, the only way to get through the coming days/weeks/months is to remain connected to one another. Loneliness will cripple us physically, unwind us mentally, and make it impossible to be spiritually whole. Loneliness is poison.  

When our brains recognize that we’re disconnected and lonely, it sounds the anxiety alarms. The anxiety alarms can feel like accelerated heart rates, waking up throughout the night, emotional outbursts, and obsessively checking any and all electronic devices in an effort to find connection. When our alarms are ringing at full blast, we make dumb decisions (toilet paper for a respiratory illness, anyone?). But the damage goes beyond being impulsive. Chronic stress actually impairs our immune system.

The only thing that silences the alarms is connection with other people.

Obviously, we’re facing a big challenge. We’re quarantined at home, and the places where we’d normally connect—church, school, gyms, coffee shops—are shut down. But I’ve got some good news for you: Even during a global pandemic, it’s possible to take care of yourself, fight loneliness, and enjoy meaningful connection.

7 Ways to Deal With Loneliness During Social Distancing

Below are the seven things I’m doing right now to quiet the alarms and keep myself sane while being totally alone (my family arrives back home in a few hours, and that will present another set of both joys and challenges . . . I’ll blog on that soon). These are not theories or cheesy steps you’d find on Pinterest. These are the actual things I’m doing to keep myself well, whole and connected during these strange times. I’m sharing them because I believe they can help you during this time too.

Here we go:  

1. Limit social media and news consumption to twice a day. Period.  

From this point forward, I’m only checking the internet in the midmorning and late afternoon. For me, this even includes TV and movies. While it feels like things are changing minute by minute, they aren’t. Protect your heart and mind and just turn off the electronics.

2. Call and have in-person conversations with friends and family.

Over the past few days, I’ve spoken with Todd, Trevor, Craig and Buddy—four of my old college roommates. I’ve talked with some old friends, Melissa and Jeff, and several folks from my work community. I’ve used FaceTime and spoken to family members and mentors. And of course, I’ve called my mom every day. Connecting through voice or FaceTime—not texting—is critical. Texting passes along information—it doesn’t offer connection. Call your loved ones.      

3. Take multiple walks outside every day.

Nature is important for your heart, mind and body. Movement is critical for physical and mental health. Seeing other people (from a safe distance) is healing. I’m going out of my way to greet every person I pass on the street, I’m walking long distances (regardless of the weather), and I’m lifting weights in my home every time I pass by the dumbbells. Get outside and move. 

4. Read both fiction and nonfiction.

Somehow, we’ve developed a perception that reading fiction is a waste of time. This is ridiculous. Picking up good fiction books allows our frontal lobes (the part of our brain that processes information and solves problems) to take a break from trying to fix everything. Reading allows us to enter new worlds, detach, and use our imaginations in ways that television doesn’t.

5. Serve in any way that you can.

Service to others allows us to keep our community strong and grounded. And of course, service will look differently for each of us. It might look like ordering a pizza and tipping the driver an obnoxious amount of money. Or it might be sending money to your barber, even though he’s not cutting your hair this month. If you don’t have the extra cash, service may be handwriting letters to people in your church. It may be checking on your neighbors and making sure they have what they need. Or it may just be grabbing a trash bag and picking up trash on your neighborhood walk. Whatever it is, find ways to serve. Start right now.   

6. Do a quick checkup of your financial and physical needs.

I took a realistic inventory of what my family and I need to take care of our financial needs, both now and over the next few weeks. We’re facing two possibilities: that this gets wrapped up soon, or it gets worse in the coming days. There’s a fine line between wise planning and pathological hoarding. Before you go to the store, make a list of what you need, stick to it, and honor others in your community by only getting what you need. And if you have a working water hose, you don’t need bottled water.

7. Pray and practice mindfulness.

This situation has reminded me in a very real way that I control very few things in my life. I can only control my thoughts and my behaviors. That’s it. Prayer keeps me grounded when everything feels out of control. If you have an established faith or church community, carve out extra time to pray, and even host virtual prayer gatherings to bring people together. You can also practice mindfulness through any number of meditation apps. Or simply put away your devices, sit still, breathe, and focus your thoughts on being present where you are. Also, keeping a gratitude journal has numerous mental health, spiritual and wellness benefits. Do it.    

We must honor the calls to be good citizens and practice social distancing. We must also do everything in our collective power to remain connected to our friends and loved ones, to our physical, spiritual and mental selves, and to our local communities. We must be intentional and kind. And I know that we can do this. If you have existing mental health challenges, or if you’re experiencing fear or anxiety in a way that feels debilitating or scary, please reach out to your local medical doctor or mental health professional immediately.

A new reality is upon us. I’m convinced that if we accept this break from our previous routines with gratitude and openness, and we become deeply intentional about connecting with ourselves, our roommates, our families and our communities, we will emerge from this more deeply connected to the people we love than ever before.

Source https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/how-to-deal-with-loneliness


How To Negotiate A Bargain

You’ve heard Dave say that you need to negotiate in order to get a good deal. If you’ve never tried to wheel and deal before, the very thought of it can be intimidating. But, it certainly doesn’t have to be that way—once you learn the rules of negotiating, you’ll become a bargaining pro!

When you set out to search for a bargain, always keep in mind the three ground rules for proper negotiation:

  1. Never misrepresent the truth while bargaining.
  2. Never have intentions to harm the other party.
  3. Create a win-win deal.

Flash the Cash

Dave has found that win-win deals really work, so don’t be afraid to ask for a deal. And learn how to use the power of cash. Cash is emotional, visual and has immediacy, so use it to your advantage!

Demonstrate Patience

Remember that you need to demonstrate patience when hunting for a good bargain. Never get married to a purchase. If that happens, your chances of getting a good deal are slim. Know when to exercise walk-away power, and use it when necessary. If you can show that you have the ability to say no, then you hold the upper hand in the bargain. Dave’s key phrase is “That’s not good enough!” After you exclaim that, shut up. Sometimes silence can be the key to getting the deal you want.

Find the Deals

A final key to finding good bargains is to know where to find deals. Common places to find great deals include:

  • Garage/estates sales
  • Public/online auctions
  • Coupons
  • Individuals
  • Repo lots
  • Flea markets
  • Refunds/rebates
  • Foreclosures
  • Pawn shops
  • Classified ads
  • Consignment shops
  • Conventions

Keep in mind that you can always trade something of value when trying to negotiate. Consider exchanging something you own or barter your services in exchange for a good bargain. Babysitting, running errands, and mowing a lawn make great trade services.

But the most important thing to remember when trying to get a good deal is to ask yourself, “Can I use this? Do I really need this?” If it’s something you don’t need or can’t use then it’s not a good deal.

For more great bargaining tips, check out Dave’s Financial Peace University. In this class, he reveals the power and influence that marketing has on your everyday buying decisions, as well as the seldom-used secrets of buying only big, big bargains.

 

Source https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/how-to-negotiate-a-bargain


15 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

We hear it all the time: “Eating healthy on a budget is impossible!” And the truth is—nope, it’s not. Did you know plenty of healthy foods are actually budget friendly? It’s true! You know what isn’t budget friendly? Processed junk. Yeah, we said it.

And get this . . . we’re not talking about only beans and rice here (although, that’s a perfect example of healthy and cheap). There are plenty of ways you can stick to eating healthy on a budget!

Cheap Foods for Eating Healthy on a Budget

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Rice and beans are healthy for you, and they’re pretty dang cheap too. Cook up a veggie medley on the side, and you’ve got yourself a super inexpensive and healthy meal. You can even get fancy and do black beans and brown rice. Throw in some salsa and have yourself a fiesta.

But you don’t have to survive on just beans and rice to master eating healthy on a budget. Here are some budget-friendly ingredients to add to your grocery list:

  • Eggs
  • Multigrain pasta
  • Multigrain bread
  • Oats
  • Russet potatoes
  • Cottage cheese
  • Spinach
  • Tuna
  • Dried lentils
  • Baby carrots
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Brown rice
  • Chicken breast
  • Apples
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Oranges
  • Kale
  • Peanut butter
  • Broccoli
  • Onions
  • Dried beans
  • Quinoa
  • Yogurt
  • Frozen fruits
  • Frozen vegetables

Best Places to Buy Cheap Groceries

There’s no denying marketing works—even food marketing. Somehow, we’ve gotten it into our heads that in order to “eat healthy,” we have to shop for groceries at the well-known, specialty “healthy grocery stores” (you know the places).

Those kinds of stores might have things on sale, sure. But there’s no need to do all your grocery shopping for the week there. And guess what! Lots of other stores sell fruits, veggies and other healthy food items at slashed prices too. Here are the top 13 American grocery stores with the cheapest prices!1 You can use this as your go-to grocery store list when eating healthy on a budget:

  1. Aldi
  2. Market Basket
  3. WinCo Foods
  4. Food 4 Less
  5. Costco
  6. Walmart
  7. Trader Joe’s
  8. Walmart Neighborhood Market
  9. Lidl
  10. Amazon
  11. H-E-B
  12. Peapod
  13. Sam’s Club

 

15 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

1. Plan your meals.

That’s right—it’s meal prep time! And guess what? It really isn’t as hard as you might think it is. Making a plan for your meals is kind of like making a plan with your budget. It might take some practice at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be golden!

Spend one night a week planning the meals you want to make for the next seven days. Depending on when you go grocery shopping, these meals might use up what’s left in your fridge or be based around your grocery shopping list for the week. Either way, just make sure you have a plan and stick to it.

 

2. Shop for produce that’s in season.

Shopping for a watermelon in December is probably going to cost you—and will it even taste good? We’re willing to bet it probably won’t. Unless you have a pregnant woman in your house who has to have watermelon this very instant, just skip it and shop for fruits and veggies that are actually in season. Your wallet will thank you!

A great place to buy produce in season is your local farmers market. Now, not everything at a farmers market is going to be cheap. But hear us out—you never know what you’re going to find.

Walk around the entire place before you buy anything. This way, you can take note of who has the best-looking food at the best prices. Some vendors will even cut you a deal if you buy multiple items or pay in cash. And if you head to the market later in the day, prices may be marked down to help them sell the last of their items.

You don’t need to do all your produce shopping at a farmers market. Just stick to grabbing a few essentials that fit in your budget. Don’t forget—you can always negotiate prices too.

Bonus tip: Buy extra of the fruits and veggies that are in season and freeze them. You can enjoy them over time and not feel rushed to eat five containers of strawberries before they go bad.

 

3. Stop buying processed food.

Hey, you know what isn’t healthy and racks up your food budget? Processed food. We’re talking about things like chicken nuggets and pizza pockets, refined sugars, boxed mashed potatoes, frozen dinners, prepackaged meals, cookies, hot dogs, potato chips and other salty snacks. They’re not cheap, and they’re not doing your health any favors, either. And you’re trying to eat healthy here, remember?

A good rule of thumb: Stick to the outer edges of the grocery store when you shop. The closer you go toward the middle aisles, the more processed the food gets.

 

4. Go meatless.

It’s no secret that eating meat all the time isn’t the healthiest option. Give your body and budget a break and go meatless for a while. Maybe that means you cut it out for the month (gasp) or just go a few nights a week without it. There are other (cheaper!) ways to get protein these days, like dried beans and lentils.

When you do buy meat, just be picky about what you purchase. Stick to lean cuts of meat that are on sale.

 

5. Make enough food for leftovers.

Making healthy food at home—win. Making healthy food at home with plenty left over for meals during the week—double win. Be on the lookout for meals that can feed you and your family for days on end. Meals like chili, stews and casseroles are going to be your best friends in this department. Slow cooker and Instant Pot recipes are great for this too!

 

6. Don’t eat out.

Yes, this no-brainer did make our list. Even though we all know this is a huge part of eating healthy on a budget, not enough of us actually make it a priority and stick to it. When you’re super hungry, it’s just a little too easy to swing by the drive-thru or build-your-own-burrito line. But just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s the wisest decision.

You know what’s an unexpected side effect of following Dave Ramsey’s plan to become debt-free? Losing weight! It’s true. A lot of people who go through Financial Peace University and start living on a budget find they’re not only shedding the debt but they’re also shedding the pounds!

“When we started Financial Peace University in July of 2017, we were so incredibly excited to start eliminating debt! After a couple of months of following our budget well, including what we spent on groceries and on carryout food, we found ourselves slowly becoming more and more healthy as we both started to lose weight! Seventy-five pounds down later between my husband and I combined, we are $40,000 down in debt with $19,000 more to go and healthier than we’ve ever been!”

— Amanda H.

7. Bring your own lunch and snacks.

Think about it: If you’re packing your own snacks, you’ll probably be more likely to reach for the carrot sticks and hummus. If you wait until you’re standing in front of the work vending machine, your options are basically just potato chips or crackers—and it’s going to cost more too.

 

8. Stop buying soda.

It’s crazy how easy it is to drink your calories (and drain your budget) just by pumping your body full of soda. Even “healthy” fruit juices can be packed full of sugar.

To save cash (and calories), try switching to water and straight-up black coffee as your beverages of choice. It might sound like weird and unusual torture at first, but you’ll be surprised by the big impact it can have over the long haul.

 

9. Buy in bulk.

Buying food in bulk can be great, but we fully admit it doesn’t always make sense for your budget or your health. So, let’s just be clear: We’re not talking about the 60-ounce bag of caramel kettle corn here. But if you notice the go-to hummus you eat every single day is $4 for 10 ounces, but it’s $6 for 32 ounces, then maybe that’s worth the bulk buy.

Keep your eyes peeled for good deals, crunch some numbers, and you might just find yourself some bargains!

10. Check the clearance aisle.

Yeah, we’re serious. Did you know most grocery stores have some kind of clearance aisle or dedicated manager’s markdown shelf? There might be random things you don’t need, but every now and again, you can find bread, meat, spices and even produce that the store needs to clear out ASAP. Their markdown is your gain! Just be sure to check expiration dates.

 

11. Buy generic.

If you’ve been around here for more than five seconds, you’ve probably heard us sing the praises of opting for generic items instead of name-brand products. And there’s good reason for it—more often than not, generic items are cheaper and taste just as good as their competitors.

But are they just as healthy? The answer here is simple: You’ll need to read the labels and check.

 

12. Don’t buy everything organic.

“It’s organic! It’s better for you! Price doesn’t matter! Buy it now!” Sound familiar? Listen, we aren’t here to argue with health-food gurus about the benefits of organic products. But just keep in mind you don’t have to buy everything organic.

A great rule of thumb is to buy organic fruits and vegetables if you eat the skin (think apples, strawberries, cucumbers, zucchini). For produce that you have to peel or cut open (oranges, watermelon, cantaloupe, avocados), you don’t have to go organic.

And if you really want to do a deeper dive, check out something called the Dirty Dozen. It’s a list of the top 12 worst fruits and veggies covered with pesticides. Yuck! Two words to combat that: veggie wash.

If you still want to go organic but can’t stomach the cost, look for organic fruits and vegetables in the frozen aisle. You can get way more bang for your buck there! And what about the vitamins and nutrients in frozen produce? Despite what Grandma always said, one study found that frozen fruits and veggies don’t lose their nutritional value!2

 

13. Stay away from high-priced ingredients.

You’ve stopped going out to eat and are pretty proud of yourself. Not only are you saving money and dropping pounds but you’re becoming something of a wiz in the kitchen too. You can’t wait to impress your friends with your Bluefin Tuna Tartare recipe.

But hold it there, Julia Child. Make sure you’re not buying pricey specialty ingredients that you’ll only use once in these to-die-for recipes. Things like specialty cheeses, spices and meats can really send your grocery budget overboard.

 

14. Dilute your drinks.

So, you’ve (reluctantly) sacrificed the soda, but you’ve replaced it with juice and kombucha. Okay . . . points for being healthier, but those drinks are still going to add up in your grocery budget.

To save you some dough, try to stretch them out by diluting your kombucha with mineral water (it’ll still be fizzy) and cutting the juice with water (it’ll cut the sugar too).

 

15. Buy ingredients you can repurpose.

This one is super fun and makes having leftovers feel less left over. Let’s say you decided to cook up a whole chicken for dinner one night. You and your fam eat some slices of meat, but there’s a ton of chicken left over. Nice!

The next night, take that leftover chicken, shred it up, and make tacos. On day three, toss the bones in the Instant Pot and make some bone broth to use as the base of the soup you eat that night.

Boom! You just got three meals (and maybe even some leftovers for lunch) out of that one whole chicken!

How Do You Budget for Food When You’re on a Diet?

Keto. Paleo. Whole30. Gluten free. Vegan. There are plenty of different diets to follow out there—and they all can impact your budget. Whether you’re following a specific diet because you want to lose 15 pounds, because of a food allergy, or just because it makes you feel better, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Look for places that offer cheaper versions of the food you need. Gluten-free bread is expensive, but stores like Costco and Aldi have cheaper options than many other specialty stores.
  • Avoid diets that make you purchase “their food.” If you find it’s truly a must-have to eat a company-based product in order to stick to the diet, then add a line item to your budget specifically for your special diet. This is where you’ll budget for those shakes and bars that companies sell.
  • If you can, stick to simple and skip the fad diets. Eat less sugar, drink more water, up the protein, cut the carbs, and eat more fruits and veggies.

Eating Healthy on a Budget—You’ve Got This!

We know it doesn’t always feel like it, but eating healthy on a budget is totally doable! Just like everything else that truly matters in life, it requires being intentional, planning ahead and making the tough choices. But don’t let that scare you away from giving it a go. Give these tips and tricks a shot and see if you find it easier to figure out how to eat healthy on a budget. You can do it!

 

Source https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/eating-healthy-on-a-budget


A Financial Plan that Works

The book The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey on top of a planner working with notes on the Debt Snowball.Before The Dave Ramsey Show joined the talk radio airwaves, Dave was counseling people one on one with his tried-and-true money principles. Seeing the need for a relatable and proven financial plan to get your money in shape, he wrote The Total Money Makeover, a follow-up to his first book, Financial Peace.

The Total Money Makeover is Dave’s how-to approach for living out the Baby Steps in everyday life, complete with shots of inspiration from people who have worked the plan and made it to the other side to scream, “We’re debt-free!”

What Is a Financial Plan?

A financial plan is your map to get from where you are to where you want to be with your money. It’s the process of setting goals and thinking through the steps it will take you to reach them. Remember: Each person’s financial plan looks different, depending on their short-term and long-term financial goals.

But no matter what your goals look like, it’s important to think about where you want to be and then figure out how you can get there. That’s why you need to create a solid financial plan that’s easy to understand.

A Financial Plan That Works

With so many self-help books and thousands of new ways to do a budget on the market today, it can be . . . overwhelming, to say the least. But you can trust that we’re here to cut through all the self-help clutter out there and help you make a financial plan that will work for you and your family.

Say hello to The Total Money Makeover. In a no-nonsense kind of way, this book walks you through the steps you need to reach financial peace.

The 7 Baby Steps

Dave breaks down the 7 Baby Steps and walks you through each stage of the journey. Dave wouldn’t tell you to do anything he hasn’t already done himself—he fought his way out of debt and bankruptcy using this exact plan! Whether you’re trying to save money for retirement, invest, or pay off debt with a plan that actually works, you’ll find out how to do it with the Baby Steps.

Baby Step 1: Save $1,000 in a Beginner Emergency Fund
Baby Step 2: Get Out of Debt Using the Debt Snowball
Baby Step 3: Save 3 to 6 Months of Expenses in a Fully Funded Emergency Fund
Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of Your Income for Retirement
Baby Step 5: Save for Your Children’s College
Baby Step 6: Pay Off Your Home
Baby Step 7: Build Wealth and Give

Saving for Emergencies

Otherwise known as Baby Step 1, this step is crucial for when life happens. And we all know life has a way of showing up unannounced and unwelcome—and it’s usually not free.

When the A/C unit goes out during the hottest week of the summer or your pipes burst while you’re on vacation . . . there’s nothing to do but fork over the cash to fix it. But instead of letting your Mastercard cover it with interest (and making payments for the next two years), what if you could pay for it with cash on the spot? That’s why you need an emergency fund.

How to Pay Off Debt

If you’ve spent even five minutes listening to The Dave Ramsey Show, you’ve probably heard that we’re pretty serious about helping people get out of debt. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Debt sucks and we don’t want you to waste even one more dollar on your past when you could be planning for your future.

That’s where the debt snowball method comes in. It’s the best way to get out of debt—and we aren’t just saying that. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: List your debts smallest to largest, regardless of interest rate. Pay minimum payments on everything but the little one.

Step 2: Attack the smallest debt with a vengeance. Once that debt is gone, take that payment (and any extra money you can squeeze out of the budget) and apply it to the second-smallest debt while continuing to make minimum payments on the rest.

Step 3: Once that debt is gone, take its payment and apply it to the next-smallest debt. The more you pay off, the more your freed-up money grows and gets thrown onto the next debt—like a snowball rolling downhill.

Step 4: Repeat until you’re completely debt-free!

Investing for Your Future

What if your financial plan actually led you to the retirement of your dreams? What if your plan included a way for you to live and give like no one else? Guess what—it can.

The Proven Plan to Reach Your Financial Goals

When The Total Money Makeover hit the shelves, it skyrocketed to #1 on The New York Times best sellers list in its first week—and has continued to spend more than 200 weeks there. Today, over 6 million copies of the book have been sold worldwide, giving people the hope and strategy they need to create a financial plan and take on their own money makeover.

The Total Money Makeover gives you a simple, straightforward plan for breaking bad money habits and beating debt—and it works! Here’s a sneak peek into what you can expect to find in Dave’s best seller.

Commonsense Financial Advice Your Grandma Would Give You

The Total Money Makeover doesn’t list sophisticated or hypothetical tips that are hard to understand, and you don’t need a corner office (or a three-piece suit) to understand them either! These are simply the same nuggets of advice your grandparents followed. Live within your means. Don’t mess with credit. Save for a rainy day. Quit trying to keep up with the Joneses. These tips may seem obvious, but they stand the test of time.

Busting the Money Myths

Sadly, most of us have accepted money myths as gospel and use them as a standard for making financial decisions. Some we just grew up with, and others are societal norms we’ve bought into—hook, line and sinker.

Here are a couple myths Dave calls out in The Total Money Makeover:

Myth: A credit score is the only way to show how great I am with managing money.
Truth: “Bankers, car dealers, and unknowledgeable mortgage lenders have told America for years to ‘build your credit,’” Dave said. “[The FICO score] is not a score that says you are winning with money or that you have a million dollars; it mathematically says you LOVE DEBT.”

Myth: Having a credit card will help me build wealth.
Truth: “When you play with snakes, you get bitten. I’ve heard all the bait out there to lure the unsuspecting into the pit,” Dave said. “Broke people use credit cards; rich people don’t.”

Success Stories From Real People Who Have Been There

As you flip through the pages, you’ll follow the journeys of everyday people who have been in debt, worked their way through the Baby Steps with dedication, and completed their own total money makeover.

David and Tayelor used credit cards as their income and lived paycheck to paycheck until they started on their own financial plan. After cutting up their credit cards and becoming debt-free, they now live their lives without fear of the future.

Autumn is a single parent. She was living off of $400 a month and drowning in $100,000 of credit card debt. After following the plan, she paid off her car loan, continues to pay off her debt, and even owns her own company!

There are thousands of stories from incredible people just like you who decided to make their financial plan, chipped away at mountains of debt, paid off their homes in record time, and are on the path to becoming everyday millionaires.

Source https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/a-financial-plan-that-works

 


10 Money Traps to Avoid

young woman surfing the webY’all know I’ve got your back. That’s why I want to talk about some of the common money traps out there—so you know what to watch out for.

You might be cruising along, making good progress on your money goals, then suddenly you get hit with one of the 8 gazillion marketing messages you see every day—some deal “you don’t want to miss” or a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. For a second, you might think about checking it out. Who wants to miss out on a sweet deal, right?

Don’t do it. You know better. Here are 10 money traps to stay the heck away from!

1. No-Money-Down Plans

Want a new mattress? How about a payment plan with no money down? Never mind the fact that you’re financing a freaking mattress—now you also have zero “equity” in that mattress.

I realize that putting 0% down might sound legit (especially if it’s one of those memory foam mattresses—those things are the bomb). But the no-money-down trap is just another way to get you locked into making long-term payments on stuff you need to be paying for up front. Instead of putting no money down, here’s a better idea: Save up some cash and put all the money down!

2.  Car Leases

We’ve all been there. You’re driving your old Honda, minding your business, when your friend rolls up in a brand-new BMW with tinted windows, high-quality speakers, and heated seats.

Bruh.

You love that BMW. And wouldn’t it be great to trade in your Honda for something like that? Who cares if you don’t have all the money for it right now—that’s what leases are for, right? Wrong.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that ya boy appreciates a nice car, but only if I can afford to pay for it with cash. Leasing is the most expensive way to drive a car. Just don’t even go there.

3. Timeshares

Picture this: Someone offers you a free vacation. The only catch? You have to come to some “business meeting.” Sounds pretty easy. The problem is that in this meeting, you’ll get pressured to buy a timeshare.  

Timeshares are usually marketed to people who can’t afford them. And if you ever want to sell one, good luck. You can’t give the dang things away. You might as well put your money in a trash can and light it on fire. 

4. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs)

About ten years ago, ARMs were the hip, cool thing. Then the housing market crashed, and a lot of the banks that made stupid loans either went under or had to get bailed out. (I could make a joke about how someone was willing to lend a helping arm, but I’m not going to.)

Whether it’s a three-year or a five-year ARM, you know that your interest rate will adjust, and you’ll have no control over where it goes. You’re playing with fire when you get an ARM. Instead, play it safe with a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.

5. Risk-Free Trials

One of the shadiest ways companies get you to pay more than you planned is by encouraging you to sign up for a “free” trial of something, like a streaming service or digital subscription. Usually, these trials cost $0–1 up front (you activate the trial by putting in your debit card information). The companies expect that people will forget to cancel, and then the monthly payments—which are way more expensive after the first month—will just get charged to their account. And way too often, that’s exactly what happens.

It’s happened to me. It’s happened to my friends. One friend of mine wanted to read the full version of an article in a digital newspaper, so she paid $1 for the trial period and planned to cancel the subscription later. Well, guess what? She forgot to cancel. The real monthly fee of $40 per month kicked in after the trial period was over, and she ended up losing over $300 by the time she realized what was happening.

Yeah, don’t do that. (And make sure you know where your money is going, people.)

6. Surprise Contest Winnings

If you ever get an email saying you won a contest or the lottery, but you don’t remember entering, and they ask you to pay a fee in order to claim the prize, it’s a scam. And do not click on pop-ups that say you won an Amazon gift card or something crazy like that. It might sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people fall for that stuff. Sorry, I know you wanted that Amazon gift card.

7. Payday Loans

Life happens. Sometimes we have unexpected financial emergencies—the transmission goes out, your HVAC unit dies, you have way too much fun on the dance floor and wind up in the ER with a broken ankle . . .

You panic. Your emergency fund won’t cover the bills, so maybe some quick cash from a payday loan place would help? Bump that!

These guys are the worst of the worst in the financial industry. Payday loans are nothing but trouble, and you’ll end up paying crazy, ridiculous interest for that loan. 

Pick up an extra job or side hustle. Sell some stuff you don’t need. But please, whatever you do, stay away from the payday loan shops!

8. Investment Scams

Don’t ever give your money or personal details to someone who offers unsolicited investment advice or pressures you to invest in something ASAP so you don’t “miss out.” You might get a phone call or email that seems legit, but watch out if they promise a high return with zero risk.

Just like your grandma always says: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

9. Credit Cards

Let’s be real, guys: Credit card companies hook you by offering you all this free stuff just so you’ll sign up. But that’s what got me in trouble when I was a college student! I wanted the free pizza and t-shirt that came with applying for a credit card, and before I knew it, I had racked up a ton of debt like it was nothing.

And don’t even get me started on those stupid reward points. All the airline miles, cash back, and discounts are just strategies to get you to use credit cards—and go into debt as a result. Usually, once you factor in taxes and hidden fees, the rewards end up being way less rewarding than you originally thought anyway. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

10. Student Loans

The lie that you have to take out student loans in order to be able to afford college is maybe the biggest money trap in our country today—and it’s led to an over $1.6 trillion student loan crisis.1

You guys, there are plenty of ways to pay for college totally without loans. Choosing an affordable school, applying for grants and scholarships, having a job, and knocking out some credit hours at a community college before transferring to a four-year school are just a few of the ways you can save thousands on your education. Trust me, the student loan industry does not want you to win—they want your money. Don’t give it to them.

If you want more tips on avoiding debt like the plague, check out my new book Debt-Free Degree. It’ll give you a step-by-step plan for cash flowing your college education so you can graduate with zero debt and be ready for the future!

Source https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/money-traps-to-avoid


A Financial Plan that Works

Before The Dave Ramsey Show joined the talk radio airwaves, Dave was counseling people one on one with his tried-and-true money principles. Seeing the need for a relatable and proven financial plan to get your money in The book The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey on top of a planner working with notes on the Debt Snowball.shape, he wrote The Total Money Makeover, a follow-up to his first book, Financial Peace.

The Total Money Makeover is Dave’s how-to approach for living out the Baby Steps in everyday life, complete with shots of inspiration from people who have worked the plan and made it to the other side to scream, “We’re debt-free!”

What Is a Financial Plan?

A financial plan is your map to get from where you are to where you want to be with your money. It’s the process of setting goals and thinking through the steps it will take you to reach them. Remember: Each person’s financial plan looks different, depending on their short-term and long-term financial goals.

But no matter what your goals look like, it’s important to think about where you want to be and then figure out how you can get there. That’s why you need to create a solid financial plan that’s easy to understand.

A Financial Plan That Works

With so many self-help books and thousands of new ways to do a budget on the market today, it can be . . . overwhelming, to say the least. But you can trust that we’re here to cut through all the self-help clutter out there and help you make a financial plan that will work for you and your family.

Say hello to The Total Money Makeover. In a no-nonsense kind of way, this book walks you through the steps you need to reach financial peace.

The 7 Baby Steps

Dave breaks down the 7 Baby Steps and walks you through each stage of the journey. Dave wouldn’t tell you to do anything he hasn’t already done himself—he fought his way out of debt and bankruptcy using this exact plan! Whether you’re trying to save money for retirement, invest, or pay off debt with a plan that actually works, you’ll find out how to do it with the Baby Steps.

Baby Step 1: Save $1,000 in a Beginner Emergency Fund
Baby Step 2: Get Out of Debt Using the Debt Snowball
Baby Step 3: Save 3 to 6 Months of Expenses in a Fully Funded Emergency Fund
Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of Your Income for Retirement
Baby Step 5: Save for Your Children’s College
Baby Step 6: Pay Off Your Home
Baby Step 7: Build Wealth and Give

Saving for Emergencies

Otherwise known as Baby Step 1, this step is crucial for when life happens. And we all know life has a way of showing up unannounced and unwelcome—and it’s usually not free.

When the A/C unit goes out during the hottest week of the summer or your pipes burst while you’re on vacation . . . there’s nothing to do but fork over the cash to fix it. But instead of letting your Mastercard cover it with interest (and making payments for the next two years), what if you could pay for it with cash on the spot? That’s why you need an emergency fund.

How to Pay Off Debt

If you’ve spent even five minutes listening to The Dave Ramsey Show, you’ve probably heard that we’re pretty serious about helping people get out of debt. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Debt sucks and we don’t want you to waste even one more dollar on your past when you could be planning for your future.

That’s where the debt snowball method comes in. It’s the best way to get out of debt—and we aren’t just saying that. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: List your debts smallest to largest, regardless of interest rate. Pay minimum payments on everything but the little one.

Step 2: Attack the smallest debt with a vengeance. Once that debt is gone, take that payment (and any extra money you can squeeze out of the budget) and apply it to the second-smallest debt while continuing to make minimum payments on the rest.

Step 3: Once that debt is gone, take its payment and apply it to the next-smallest debt. The more you pay off, the more your freed-up money grows and gets thrown onto the next debt—like a snowball rolling downhill.

Step 4: Repeat until you’re completely debt-free!

Investing for Your Future

What if your financial plan actually led you to the retirement of your dreams? What if your plan included a way for you to live and give like no one else? Guess what—it can.

The Proven Plan to Reach Your Financial Goals

When The Total Money Makeover hit the shelves, it skyrocketed to #1 on The New York Times best sellers list in its first week—and has continued to spend more than 200 weeks there. Today, over 6 million copies of the book have been sold worldwide, giving people the hope and strategy they need to create a financial plan and take on their own money makeover.

The Total Money Makeover gives you a simple, straightforward plan for breaking bad money habits and beating debt—and it works! Here’s a sneak peek into what you can expect to find in Dave’s best seller.

Commonsense Financial Advice Your Grandma Would Give You

The Total Money Makeover doesn’t list sophisticated or hypothetical tips that are hard to understand, and you don’t need a corner office (or a three-piece suit) to understand them either! These are simply the same nuggets of advice your grandparents followed. Live within your means. Don’t mess with credit. Save for a rainy day. Quit trying to keep up with the Joneses. These tips may seem obvious, but they stand the test of time.

Busting the Money Myths

Sadly, most of us have accepted money myths as gospel and use them as a standard for making financial decisions. Some we just grew up with, and others are societal norms we’ve bought into—hook, line and sinker.

Here are a couple myths Dave calls out in The Total Money Makeover:

Myth: A credit score is the only way to show how great I am with managing money.
Truth: “Bankers, car dealers, and unknowledgeable mortgage lenders have told America for years to ‘build your credit,’” Dave said. “[The FICO score] is not a score that says you are winning with money or that you have a million dollars; it mathematically says you LOVE DEBT.”

Myth: Having a credit card will help me build wealth.
Truth: “When you play with snakes, you get bitten. I’ve heard all the bait out there to lure the unsuspecting into the pit,” Dave said. “Broke people use credit cards; rich people don’t.”

Success Stories From Real People Who Have Been There

As you flip through the pages, you’ll follow the journeys of everyday people who have been in debt, worked their way through the Baby Steps with dedication, and completed their own total money makeover.

David and Tayelor used credit cards as their income and lived paycheck to paycheck until they started on their own financial plan. After cutting up their credit cards and becoming debt-free, they now live their lives without fear of the future.

Autumn is a single parent. She was living off of $400 a month and drowning in $100,000 of credit card debt. After following the plan, she paid off her car loan, continues to pay off her debt, and even owns her own company!

There are thousands of stories from incredible people just like you who decided to make their financial plan, chipped away at mountains of debt, paid off their homes in record time, and are on the path to becoming everyday millionaires.

 

Source https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/a-financial-plan-that-works

 


What to Do if You’re Drowning in Debt

What to Do if You’re Drowning in DebtWhen you’re drowning in debt, it often feels like the world is caving in around you. Your thoughts are swirling and just won’t stop. You’re not sleeping, and you’re worried if your next paycheck will be enough to provide for your family. And then the questions fueled by endless worry begin: How will I make ends meet? How in the world will I cover my mortgage/rent this month? Will these debt collectors call my boss (how embarrassing)?

You’re not alone. In fact, 78% of Americans today are living paycheck to paycheck.1That means you’re not the only person who’s ever been in debt. In fact, Dave knows what drowning in debt feels like all too well. But he decided enough was enough. And so can you. Choose—right this moment—to start changing the way you interact with money.

Did you know that personal finance is 80% behavior and only 20% head knowledge? That means with a plan—and a lot of hard work—you can be standing on solid ground in no time. And who knows? You could even become an everyday millionaire. We believe in you!

What to Do When You’re Drowning in Debt

1. Get on a budget.

Doing a budget is one of the most important steps you can take when you’re drowning in debt. A budget is the very thing that will show you where your money is going and why you feel like you’re drowning. But you don’t have feel that way any longer—and a budget will help!

When you’re making your zero-based budget, you might be tempted to account for all of your extra expenses first.

But first, you need to make sure your basic needs are met. We call these the Four Walls, and they are:

  • Food
  • Utilities
  • Shelter
  • Transportation

Now, after you’ve budgeted for groceries, water, electricity, your rent or mortgage, and gas to get you to work (in that order), you can start assigning any leftover dollars to other pressing needs. Do you have student loans or a car payment? Are those hospital bills piling up? Or maybe your dad’s birthday is coming up and you at least need to send a card. Whether it’s $50 or $500, all expenses must go in the budget. Need to go to the doctor this month? Yup—make sure to put that in there too. Remember: Income minus expenses should equal zero!

2. Cut back on the “extras.”

Now that every dollar has been accounted for, it’s time to see where you can cut back.

Take an inventory of any automatic payments that routinely come out of your bank account. Maybe you have a $7 subscription to the clean beard club. We’re not knocking beards—especially clean beards—but these kinds of expenses add up quickly. Plus, that free gift they offered you when you signed up is probably long gone, leaving you with a subscribtion you keep forgetting to cancel every single month—and more beard oil than you know what to do with.

Don’t get us wrong, we love a good mail day just like the next person. But whether you’re drowning in student loan debt or drowning in credit card debt (or just plain debt), you’ve got to make some pretty big changes. You guessed it: We’re talking about cutting back on these nonessential items and getting your “want-itis” under control. Here are some tips:

  • Make coffee at home (skip the $5 lattes until you’re no longer drowning in debt).
  • Cut back on your grocery bill by cutting coupons and going without the kids so you’re not tempted to overspend on Oreos. Psst: Leftovers are your friend.
  • Don’t even step foot in a restaurant unless you’re working there.
  • Sell everything that’s not nailed down.

3. Pause all investing.

Really? Yep. Saving for your future when you’re living paycheck to paycheck (or worse) isn’t the best idea. At least not yet. If you’re still trying to pay off credit cards, an upside-down car loan, or a huge pile of student loan debt, it’s time to press pause on your future investments . . . temporarily. This temporary pause frees up extra cash you can use to pay down your debt.

Don’t worry, you’ll come back to this once you’re debt-free.

4. Don’t take on any new debt.

None. We know it’s hard (and maybe not what you’ve been used to), but trust us—taking on debt robs you and your family of a secure financial future. Your choices right now can and will impact future generations of your family tree. So don’t take on even another penny of debt.

Get out your favorite scissors and do some plastic surgery (or as Dave calls it, a plasectomy). The best part? No medical experience required. Yup—we’re talking about cutting up those credit cards.

You may feel your heart start to race and your hands begin to sweat. But let us remind you: Having a credit card for emergencies seems like a good idea until your next “emergency” looks like your next afternoon coffee run. When you cut up those cards, you’re choosing to put an end to the merciless cycle of debt for good.

5. Increase your income.

Now that you’re on a budget and you’ve decided to stop taking on any new debt altogether, it’s time to figure out how you can increase your income. Take a second job or pursue a side hustle that will give you the extra income you need (as quickly as possible) to throw at your debt. Whether that’s working at your local coffee shop, mowing lawns, or driving for a ride-hailing service like Uber or Lyft, you’ve got to bring in more cash.

We get it. No one wants to work around the clock. But in order to see that mountain of debt turn into a valley, you’ve got to start doing something different. Remember: This isn’t forever. You won’t be skipping out on time with family and friends for the long haul. But in order to get on the right track, you’ve got to start making sacrifices now.

6. Start working the debt snowball.

Now that you’ve got some extra money coming in each month, it’s time to start paying off your debt with something we call the debt snowball method:

  • List your debts from smallest to largest—no matter the interest rate.
  • Attack the smallest debt with everything you have. Did you sell the couch? Great—throw your earnings on this debt. Keep putting anything extra you make toward this debt until it’s gone.
  • Once that debt has been paid, take the minimum payment (plus that money from your second job) and throw it at the next largest debt while paying minimum payments on the rest.
  • Keep this snowball rolling until you’re debt-free!

Want more debt snowball tips? Sign up for this free, three-day email series that will send helpful tips and encouragement straight to your inbox.

7. Stop the comparison trap.

Comparison is one of the worst things you could do while you’re getting out of debt, and social media is one of the biggest culprits. If you’re scolling through your news feed and see your friend (whom you haven’t talked to in years) on a European vacation with her mom, that doesn’t give you permission to plan a fancy vacation too. Nope. Europe will still be there when you’re completely debt-free.

When you’re in debt and going after your debt with gazelle intensity,* it’s hard not to compare your financial situation with other people’s situations. But here’s the truth: You don’t actually know their financial situation. We don’t know if your friend put her fancy vacation on a credit card. But we do know that once you’re out of debt, you’ll be able to plan these trips of your own. Listen: The Joneses are broke. If you’re falling into the comparison trap, it might be time to take a much-needed break from social media.

8. Start (or keep) working the Baby Steps.

Have you heard of the Baby Steps? These seven steps are the proven (and practical) way to help you change your life. And now that you’re standing on more stable ground, you’ll want to follow these steps all the way to building wealth and giving.

Baby Step 1: Save $1,000 for your starter emergency fund.
Baby Step 2: Pay off all debt (except the house) using the debt snowball.
Baby Step 3: Save 3–6 months of expenses in a fully funded emergency fund.
Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of your household income in retirement.
Baby Step 5: Save for your children’s college fund.
Baby Step 6: Pay off your home early.
Baby Step 7: Build wealth and give.

It may feel like you’re drowning in debt right now. But like we said earlier, it doesn’t have to be this way. Once you’ve had it with debt (and we hope you have), you can climb your way out of it. And remember: You’re not alone in this.

Take our free, three-minute assessment to find out where you stand with debt. We’ll give you a curated list of next steps and resources to help you get started on your journey to financial peace.

Source https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/drowning-in-debt

 


How to Stop Spending Money

How to Stop Spending MoneyNo matter where or how we shop, the temptation to overspend on random stuff follows us everywhere we go. Yup, we’re talking about the aisles right next to the store’s checkout lane. Mini hand sanitizers, gum and that magazine with the latest news on the royal family?! It seems they’ve thought of everything—or that’s what they want you to think.

With so many ways to shop (online, on our phones and in-store), how can we avoid making mistakes that bust the budget? Don’t worry, we’ve got the scoop on how to stop spending money so you can start actually winning with money.

Reasons Why You’re Overspending

People spend money for so many reasons, and if we’re just a little honest with ourselves, most of those reasons can be chalked up to emotions. Many times, we can blame our overspending on five things:

1. Social Media

Need we say more? Picture it: It’s Saturday morning, and before you realize it, you’re scrolling through your social media feed to catch up on what your friends are up to. And before your feet even hit the floor, you’ve spent $30 on that new, life-changing thing you thought you needed.

If you’re honest, you didn’t have to work too hard to picture it (because you lived it last weekend). Let’s face it: We all want what we don’t have. And we want it because we think it will make life that much better.

But social media makes the comparison game even stronger these days. With Pinterest, your friend’s post about their brand-new couch with those perfect pillows and that popular blogger’s sponsored posts about that incredible, all-inclusive resort . . . where does it end?

Newsflash: It won’t. All of these things just drain your budget, steal from those future financial goals you have . . . and steal your joy.

2. Not Tracking Your Spending

It doesn’t matter how large (or small) your income is—if you’re not tracking your spending, you’ll never be in control of your money. In fact, you’ll always feel like your money owns you.

Listen: Living paycheck to paycheck is the pits. If you’re wondering where all your hard-earned money went each month, it’s time to start tracking it! Stick with us, and we’ll show you how.

3. Shopping to Feel Better

Some people like to joke about being a shopaholic, but compulsive spending, otherwise known as retail therapy, is a thing. For most of us, spending on impulse just because we want it now is the problem. We see something and buy it beforewe think about what’s in the checking account (or about our financial goals, for that matter).

4. Paying With Plastic

If you haven’t noticed, you spend more when paying with plastic. Whether that’s a credit card (everyone loves shopping with someone else’s money) or a debit card, the research is the same.1 When you spend with cash, you feel it. You feel those crisp (or wadded up) green bills leave your hand, and it hurts. Something inside of you cringes. Just moments before, you had money, and now, you don’t.

Think about it, when you’re shopping with plastic, it’s easy to spend more, because you don’t physically see the money right in front of you. So, the next time you make a purchase, pay in cash, and you’ll see exactly what we mean. Plus, there’s no overspending—you can only spend what you have with you. 

Here’s the good news: You can overcome these overspending habits with a little planning, self-discipline and long-term thinking. Here’s how we suggest you stop spending money.

 

8 Ways to Stop Spending Money

 

1. Know What You’re Spending Money On

Making and sticking to a budget every single month is what is going to help you get out of debt and stay out of debt.

If this is your first time budgeting, you might be surprised by how much money you’re spending each week or even each month on little things, like coffee, lunches or that snack shop at work that your spouse doesn’t know about.

When you make your first budget, you need to make sure your basic needs (or your Four Walls) are covered. These are:

  • Food
  • Utilities
  • Shelter
  • Transportation

While these are the necessities, they can also offer an opportunity to cut back on the extras. You really don’t need to go out to dinner every night or buy new clothes every week. And if you are, it’s time to invite Marie Kondo into your life.

2. Make Your Budget Work for You

Now, you’re ready to create a monthly spending plan for everything from gas to going out to eat. This is also called a zero-based budget. This means your income minus your expenses needs to equal zero and you’ve told every single hard-earned dollar where to go. Just remember, it’s a working budget. You have to keep coming back to it in order to stay on track.

If this is your first budget, you’ll want to give yourself grace. It takes a few months to make your budget work for you. But if you’re an expert, take another look through your monthly expenses for other ways to trim your spending.

Do you really need to spend money on clothes every single week? Probably not. What about that gym membership you haven’t used in eight months? It’s time to get really honest with yourself and start trimming the fat out of your budget. Answering these questions can help put you on the path to spending your money with intentionality.

Use a free budgeting app, like EveryDollar, to create your first budget in 10 minutes. You’ll be able to plan your budget, track your spending, and monitor your debt and savings progress each month.

3. Shop With a Goal in Mind

We’ve all been there. You’re out of shampoo and toothpaste. So, with those two items in mind, you make a quick run to Target. But as soon as you walk through the door, you feel the gravitational pull toward the dollar spot and fill your basket with a bunch of those colorful cell phone chargers and water toys for the kids that you swear will get used all the time.

After a few impulse buys, a quick trip to the store for a few essentials just got . . . expensive, thanks to a few seemingly harmless purchases.

But does anyone really plan on getting sidetracked while they’re out shopping for essentials? Probably not. But if you often get caught in this scenario, you might want to make a point to avoid the stores that trigger overspending.  

4. Stop Spending Money at Restaurants

Changing how you spend money on food is one of the easiest ways to save money. And we all know that going out to eat gets expensive fast. If you’re spending $15 on lunch four times a week, that’s $60 a week—and $240 a month! Imagine how quickly you could pay off debt with that kind of money!

Consider this: Instead of heading into the grocery store and wandering up and down the aisles, create your meal plan for the week, make a list before you go, and then stick to it. If you need to leave the kids (or your spouse) at home to save even more, don’t think twice about it. Planning your meals in advance means lowering your overall food costs.

Speaking of lunch, bring your lunch to work every day. We promise—it doesn’t have to be complicated! Set aside some time on Sunday afternoons to meal prep, or take 15 minutes each night to make a sandwich or pack up some leftovers for the next day.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t ever treat yourself to a nice dinner on a special occasion or Sunday morning brunch—just make sure it’s in the budget.

5. Resist Sales

Who doesn’t love a good deal? Retailers know their customers, and they also know the irresistible pull of a flashy (and perfectly placed) sales rack. But how much is all this saving really costing you?

If you buy a sweater you never intended to buy just because it’s 25% off, you’re paying 75% more than you would have. Sorry, shoppers, that’s still called spending, not saving.

Avoid these shopping traps by making a list before you go! Then, practice some self-discipline once you’re there. If you see an item on sale that isn’t on your list, it wasn’t meant to be.

6. Swear Off Debt

If you’re serious about getting your overspending under control, you have to swear off debt—for good. After all, debt steals from your income. Not only that, you’re stuck paying on the loan or credit card (plus interest) until it’s gone for good. It’s true: Your debt owns you until you pay it off once and for all.

We live in a world where just about anything can be financed or borrowed, which can give you a sense of financial security. But that financial security isn’t real. It makes you think if you can afford the payment, you can afford the new car, house, or big purchase. But in reality, if you don’t have the cash to pay for something right now, you can’t really afford it.

So, go ahead. Make the decision to cancel your credit cards, and commit to living debt-free from this moment forward. And just as a refresher: Credit is an enabler. It enables you to overspend. But without it, overspending isn’t an option.

7. Delay Gratification

If you’re having trouble sticking to your new budget and shopping list, imagine how you’ll be using that must-have item a month from now.

Will that sweater still look good after a few washes? Will your kids still be playing with that overpriced toy set? Will those cheap shoes last through the season?

The majority of the time, the answer is: Put it back. But what if you still want it? Then, you wait. Work it into next month’s budget and revisit your feelings in 30 days. If you still love it, you’ll be able to buy it without the guilt, because it’s already in the budget.

8. Challenge Yourself to Reach Your New Goals

Put your willpower to the test by buying just the bare necessities for one month. You’ll be amazed by how little you actually need.

You’ll also be able to identify the things you don’t necessarily need, but simply like to have. Do you like using your gym membership because it helps you stay active? Keep it. Does your weekly visit to the chiropractor keep your back in tip-top shape? Keep going. If it fits into your budget (and doesn’t cause you to go into debt), you can spend money on it.

The key to stop your overspending is creating better money habits and being intentional with what you spend your money on. Don’t step into a store again without a budget and a plan! That plan can be right at your fingertips with EveryDollar. This free app makes it easy to create (and stick to) your budget. 

Source https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/the-cure-for-excessive-spending