Pay yourself first (financial pillar#6)

When there are credit card payments, student loan payments, rent, mortgage, car payments, utilities, groceries, …, and the good ‘ole gym membership competing for those precious budget dollars, it can be so easy to ignore savings. In this post, I’ll show you why it’s vital to save monthly. How will we do this? By paying ourselves first. That’s right – before all of those other bills. Don’t worry, if we do this right your lights won’t get shut off on you.     This is financial pillar #6 for us millennials Please click on the following links to view the introduction post (We had a huge financial crisis, now what?), or preceding posts in this series. Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.   1) Do what you love 2) Protect your income 3) Sit down and make a budget 4) Eliminate ‘bad debt’ 5) Learn to live below […]

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Our toddler – future hostage negotiator

Have you heard the quote:   “My wife wanted a cat. I didn’t want a cat. So, we compromised and got a cat.” Can’t remember where I heard it or who they stole it from, so, apologies all around. But it illustrates an important point. Take it away Mick, “You can’t always get what you want.”    Yeah… Not sure that Mick ever met our toddler – Clara. Our advanced 1 year-old (23 months old) would vehemently denounce any such notion that something could be unattainable. I suspect most her age would say the same…   For example: I had Mac-n-cheese yesterday. Whaddya mean I can’t have it today, too? I want to swing! “Honey, it’s below freezing and a blizzard outside…” No factor. SWING!! Hey. I saw you guys playing cards yesterday. Let me see those things today so I can bend ‘em, chew ‘em, and hide ‘em in various […]

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Learn to live below your means (financial pillar #5)

Learning to live below your means is not simply making a budget and sticking to it. Living below your means is a change in mindset. It’s practicing financial discipline – it’s an ethos. A foundation that will provide you freedom in the rest of your life. Freedom to choose, to vacation, to live the life you desire. But more than that, the practice of living below your means will show you that happiness doesn’t come with material possessions. Happiness and fulfillment come in the journey. And it’s this journey of being financially disciplined that will allow all of our following financial pillars to exist.     This is financial pillar #5 for us millennials   Please click on the following links to view the introduction post (We had a huge financial crisis, now what?), or preceding posts in this series. Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts in […]

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The 3 Best Apps to Keep Your Business Running Smoothly

Hi, Team!   This isn’t your typical post.   It’s an article I wrote on for use on a different site and they decided not to use it, so I’m sharing it here with you. I know we don’t typically cover tools for business improvement but please give it a read and let me know if you’d like more or less of this sort of thing. Thanks for reading!     As the boss, you’d be lucky to fit your list of job titles onto a sheet of legal paper, let alone a business card. All of these added responsibilities keep us constantly on the move.   The faith once placed in desktops now pours into our smartphones and the shiny, task-completing apps they house. But with all those products in the app storefront, it’s hard to know which to trust.   No worries, we’ve got you covered.   Here are The Best 3 Apps to Keep Your […]

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Why you should start P90X3; and a complete review (…it’s a workout program)

It’s that time of year again. You know, the time when years transition from 1 to the next, bad habits are shunned for good, and resolutions are made.   Let’s put aside for a moment that about 88% of those granite-clad and unbreakable New Year’s resolutions fail, and call this what it is. Some of us are big-time into fitness, some will join our tribe, and another group will join then fall off the fitness train after a variable period of time. Either way, a decent percentage of the population is working out this time of year. And whether you’re new to the game or just looking to freshen up your routine, most of us are keeping an eye out for a new program, exercise, or sequence of moves.   Here, I committed to P90X3 for 13 weeks and it was all for you guys.   Just so I can go […]

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Are you missing the ‘Golden Era’ for an opportunity to refinance?

Short answer: Current market and personal conditions are leading Monica and me to consider refinancing right now.   Long answer: This decision depends on many variables that are unique to you.   First off, I’ll give you the background of our situation and the reasons for our decision to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to refinancing, then I’ll cover the important factors to evaluate when considering a mortgage refinance of your own.   Where we’re at   We bought our house in March of 2015 with an ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage). Initially, this option sounded great for where we were financially. The rate was incredibly low, 3.875%, and would remain fixed for 7 years. This would’ve kept us at 3.875% until March 2022, and then we’d have a significantly smaller balance and only 23 years left on the term of the loan.   The downside   That whole “Adjustable Rate” thing had me concerned. […]

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Mailbag – do I track cash transations?

“Mailbag” is a new wrinkle to the blog. As our subscriber and reader numbers continue to grow (thank you!), so do our shares and site visitors (click here if you’d like to join the team). With this, I’ve received some questions and comments in response to past articles.   If a tweet or quick response isn’t enough for me to sufficiently answer, I’ll write about it on the site. Mailbag’s first installment is below.   One last thing. I’d love to hear any questions or comments you have, blog related or – dare I say – otherwise… Let me know. Who knows, you could be referenced in a post!     Question   Ok, so you talked about keeping track of all the money you spend down to the very penny. Using a money app on my phone is how I had done this, manually logging every purchase with a date and not […]

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How a sensible waterpark philosophy almost killed our marriage

Don’t get me wrong. I love family time, attending sporting events, and summer walks to the splash pad, but when it comes to certain activities there’s a switch that triggers in my head.   The opportunity to compete physically, for example. I also get crazy about vacations. Most especially during the lead-up. Christmas, a great book, and some weekends can all flip the switch. Monica knows the importance of keeping my building excitement in check for most of these types of activities.   “Hey, chill out…” Is really all I need to hear to detach from the situation, take a breath, and dial it down a notch or 2.   There was a time early in our relationship when that wasn’t always the case.   In those situations, excitement would build and I’d run at a red-line pace until the game ended, gathering dispersed, or until I crashed.   That’s all well […]

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Respecting limits: and determing a response after you find them

This article isn’t about football but I will use a football observation to illustrate my point. Don’t run away if sports aren’t your thing… Also, this is more of a ‘think piece’ than I’ll typically write. I hope you enjoy it. If not, let me know and I’ll keep these thoughts in my head and off the virtual page from now on. Either way cheers to a phenomenal 2017!!     So, Clara had been put to bed, Monica and I were relaxing on the couch for a minute and watching the Thursday night NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders (December 8, 2016).   Oakland had the ball and they were driving against the Chiefs, who kept their opponents in check for a majority of the game. In large part, this was due to the stellar play of the Chiefs’ linebacking core. These 4 guys […]

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MikedUp Blog’s 7 best posts of 2016

Well… that happened quickly.   We’re 70 posts and 9 months into MikedUp Blog’s young history and it’s hard not to reflect back with excitement at the progress.   After our first year-ish I started thinking about doing a best-of post, so naturally, I pitched the idea to Monica.   “The top 10 posts of 2016,” is where I started.   “How many posts have you done? 10 seems like a lot. I do think it’s a good idea, though.”   Constructive feedback – and focus group green light – in hand, I set out to pare it back but still give a solid recap.   The criteria   Here’s where we get imaginative.   It would be both boring and a cop-out to just pick the most read posts. Although those will have their place, I’ve also added some less prolific articles that still deserve a top spot.   […]

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