This week: What are personal finance bloggers wrong about?

No question, some of the best things about starting a blog that dabbles in personal finance are the relationships I’ve formed with other bloggers. I’ve never been one to hold virtual friendships in high regard, but these are new times, and these are some knowledgeable and, at times, like-minded individuals. The other thing? They also think talking about numbers sounds like a good time.   With these friendships made through Twitter, Google searches, or other social media platforms come the opportunity to discuss topics we’re passionate about, comment on each other’s posts, and guest post occasionally on other sites. It’s good for the readers to get exposed to other points of view and, let’s be honest, it’s nice to share some clicks now and then, too.   I say all of this to introduce a new approach to this week’s posts.    One of the bloggers I’ve talked with recently […]

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How a $10k IRS bill makes you re-evaluate your tax strategy

  First off – Happy Tax Day, 2017!!   The tax year was 2015 and we had been through some changes financially. Up to this point, we had been a 1-income family for years, no kids, at least 1 of us (sometimes 2) in grad/dental school, apartment living, … You get the idea. But in 2015 we decided to gradually dip our toes into the water of life (this is a complete and total use of sarcasm).   Here were some of our family’s changes in 2015:   Went from 1 income to 2 We quit taking out loans to fund dental school (I hear you – cash flowing college die-hards, but to come out of dental school if your parent isn’t a dentist with less than $200k is considered a huge victory… stuff’s expensive) We had our daughter (technically Monica had our daughter) We bought our first house The 2nd income […]

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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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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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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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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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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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Worthwhile financial resolutions from a guy who lives them (guest blogger – Jon)

Hi, Team! Today, we’re fortunate to have Jon (yes, this Jon) here to talk about worthwhile financial resolutions that will actually make a difference for the new year. 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     1) Learn where your money is going (and how to control it). As good as my wife and I try to be with our money, there have been times when I have opened the credit card statement at the end of the month, saw the total purchases, and was left wondering, “what in the world did I spend $1,200 […]

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