No excuses – pay like a champion (response to the few who say it can’t be done)

    I wrote an article back in spring 2016 about a young couple that paid off $89,000 in 15 months. The article was very well received, as most applauded the couple’s tenacity and hard work. I’d be lying to say the article didn’t help me out, too. It was the 2nd most popular post I’ve published (to date) and has helped introduce me to a few credit counseling clients that I currently work with (more on that below).   As is typical, though, not all reviews were roses and sugarplums.   Many conceded the hard work and the fact that Jon and Heather sacrificed a great deal in the short term to get out of debt, but many have commented that because the couple ended their debt free journey earning $110k/year, their situation doesn’t extrapolate to the majority of regular folks.   I see the argument that big numbers like […]

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Charting the uncharted – one of earth’s most naturally beautiful and dangerous rainforests

At the ripe age of 22 (when you think you know everything then eventually hit 30 and realize you didn’t know anything – I hear this cycle continues) I was blessed with the experience of a lifetime… I just didn’t realize its impact and importance in my life until recently (I’m 31).     Winter – 2007 in Kent, Ohio:   Cold. Snow. Clouds. Meteorology isn’t the most difficult task during Northeastern Ohio winters. And for a guy like me (I enjoy the beach and warm weather), all this time indoors affords one an opportunity to think about their future and, more importantly, what they want out of life.   Me? I wanted warmer weather. And because neither the economy nor my professional connection list was too hot at the time, grad school seemed like the place to gain some knowledge and buy some time for things to pick back up.   I […]

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Not your granddaddy’s wireless plan: stop overpaying (guest blogger – Jon)

Hi, Team! Today, we’re fortunate to have Jon (yes, this Jon) here to blow your mind about those crazy prices some of us pay for wireless service. What are Jon’s qualifications? Well, he and his wife paid off close to $89,000 in student loans in about 16 months. These two are living examples of what good, worthwhile goals can lead to. Consistent readers are probably familiar with the story, if that’s not you, feel free to check out the link above. Either way, thanks for being here! -Mike   When it came time for me to finally get off my parents’ cell phone plan and get my own, Heather and I were pinching every penny I made to get her through school without adding to our mountain of student loan debt.  Money was tight, and I was the only one working, which gave me the motivation I needed to venture […]

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We cut our grocery bill by 30%; more than just making a menu…

Alarm bells and red flags were sounding (and going up) in my brain. I sensed all wasn’t well and that some rectifying needed to be done in the near future. This was going to be one of those conversations where the selective hearing would not be an option. My FULL attention would be required.   Monica and I had just gotten home from work and the gym when the daily question presented itself… again. “What are you thinking for dinner?” It was a simple and straightforward question but even as I asked it I sensed the repetition starting to nag at both of us.   Monica vocalized our collective thoughts. “I’m sick of making decisions all day, then coming home only to decide what’s for dinner. This stops now.” She wasn’t mad at me, just frustrated with the situation we’ve fostered. And frankly, her frustration was warranted.   Whether it’s Monica’s […]

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Work with knowledgeable professionals (financial pillar #7)

Although I don’t typically struggle with self-confidence, I’ll readily admit to the following facts: I am not a licensed investment banker, insurance salesman, accountant, loan officer, doctor, lawyer, or personal trainer. I would probably argue that I could do a portion of some of the jobs above, but if you had any sense about you that argument wouldn’t last too long. And while there are many things I’m pretty good at, I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in more than a couple of fields.   Why, then, would I assume that I am the best person to handle those jobs for my family – all on my own? I can’t possibly know enough about the case law, current accounting practices, most worthwhile insurances, and hottest investment funds that would put our family in the best position possible to succeed. Taking it a step further, I’m definitely not comfortable in settling for […]

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MikedUp Blog’s 1-YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!

Hi, Team!   Well… Year 1 flew by. Whether you’re new to the site or one of our long-time (can I say this yet?) readers, I want to say a heartfelt, “Thank you!” Seriously. You guys rock.   The feedback, questions, and comments I’ve gotten from many of you make this experience worthwhile. Here are a few examples:   A friend I worked with years ago messaged me out of the blue to say that budgeting saved her marriage and that reading my financial articles brings back so many great memories of their re-kindling. Multiple readers have reached out to me for help with their personal finances and fitness. Seriously! This has been a phenomenal experience! I am working with one individual that is halfway through paying off 33% worth of their annual salary in credit card debt. Another was in search of a routine and some motivation to build muscle… […]

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Tomorrow isn’t promised – get up and choose ACTION

We are not guaranteed today nor promised tomorrow, and once today is gone – the time is spent and there’s no turning back to change events or choices. With something so precious – today, now, this moment right here – we owe it to ourselves to live this moment to the fullest. We need to live. With time’s incredible value in my mind, how could I choose to waste it? I can’t. I won’t. I choose to live life to the fullest and I hope you’ll join me.   When deciding what things are most important in life, there are very few that slot in above you own health. How do we prepare ourselves to be our healthiest version? By eating well, exercising, and taking care of our bodies.   Here, we’ll focus on taking care of ourselves by choosing ACTION over the alternative.     So many times I’ve heard others […]

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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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