Should I Use a Credit Card to Build Up Points for Rewards?

Get Out of Debt Blog – Month 6

Are Credit Card Reward Points Worth It?October 2009 was sort of a ying yang month. Stocks fell, but I became fully vested in my company’s pension plan. Over a thousand dollar water bill, but my retirement accounts finally exceed $50,000. Our credit cards are paid off, but my wife continues to use them for points. That brings me to the question of the month…should my wife and I continue to use a credit card to build up points for various rewards. For example, we have accumulated 30,000 points in a credit card’s rewards program over the year. The approximate value of merchandise we can purchase with the points is equivalent to roughly $500. I will assume that requires about $1,000 worth of credit card charges each month to accumulate. Now that my wife and I are in a position to pay off the credit card in full each month, should we continue to use the card to build up points for these rewards?

The Best Free Online Budget Tracking Tool

Get Out of Debt Blog – Month 5

Free Online Budget TrackingIf you haven’t been following my quest to get out of a half million dollars in debt, I suggest you begin with My Journey to Payoff half a million in debt or check the Get out of Debt Blog master page.

I’m playing catch-up letting you all know of my progress.  For that I apologize.  I spent quite a bit of time entering my income and expenses for the past year with a new free budgeting tool I found called MoneyTrackin.  I submitted it to be added as a new opportunity here at MoneyStance.com because I think many others would benefit from it as well.  In conjunction with the net worth portion of the contributor rewards spreadsheet, MoneyTrackin is much more granular, produces great reports, and creates detailed graphs that I hope will convey the reality of my wife’s spending habits to help steer her toward my getting out of debt effort.

Is Buying a Rental Property Worth it?

Get Out of Debt Blog – Month 4

Is buying an investment property worth it?If you haven’t been following my quest to get out of a half million dollars in debt, I suggest you begin with My Journey to Payoff half a million in debt or check the Get out of Debt Blog master page.

Last month I talked a lot about getting my wife on board and suggested she read Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover”, but she has yet to and the spending continues.  To make matters worse, our rental property is showing its money eating teeth.  I currently have a vacancy and am in the process of evicting another tenant.  Therefore, only 50% of the building is rented out and paying.  I often ask myself if buying a rental property is worth it.  Maybe I’ll write something later on my disastrous attempt at being a landlord, but in short…I’ve had 5 evictions, over $10,000 in lost rents, forced to invest $30,000 worth of building repairs, and have probably had 3 years worth of at least one unit being vacant during the 5 years of ownership.  

My Wife's Spending is out of Control

Get Out of Debt Blog – Month 3

Get out of Debt Blog Month 3If you haven’t been following my quest to get out of a half million dollars in debt, I suggest you begin with My Journey to Payoff half a million in debt or check the Get out of Debt Blog master page.

Going through the numbers for July 2009 made me sick to my stomach. I felt nauseous and angry that I cannot get my wife to concede that we need to attack this debt before it consumes us. As I said before, I was motivated by Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover Book, but I didn’t want to get as intense as he suggests. We don’t make an exorbitant amount of money, but significantly more than the average Joe. In this I feel we don’t have to pinch nickels and dimes, but rather focus on not spending money on unnecessary items. For example, we can get away with not clipping coupons for hours to save $10 a week. That is a drop in the bucket. What we need to do is stop taking expensive family trips, buying new everythings, and refrain from using credit.

Paying off a half million in debt – Month 2

Welcome to my Get Out of Debt Blog

Get out of Debt BlogIf you haven’t been following my quest to get out of a half million dollars in debt, I suggest you begin with My Journey to Payoff half a million in debt or check the Get out of Debt Blog master page.

After finally going through the budget and tracking every penny, it is obvious why I just can’t seem to get out of debt. Our family’s spending habits are way out of whack. We spend more money on incidental things that I didn’t even think to budget for. In my first post, I estimated what I thought our income and expenses would be and planned on identifying areas that can be cut in order to pay down more debt each month. Now that I’ve seen actual numbers, I’m hoping to just stay within my original estimates. Dave Ramsey would certainly slap me upside the head for reading his “Total Money Makeover” and not going “gazelle intense”. Let’s take a look at the numbers shall we?

My Journey to Payoff half a million in debt

Welcome to my Get out of Debt Blog

Get out of Debt BlogLet me introduce myself.  My name is Alex.  I am a married man with two kids who is in a unique money situation.  Our household income is well above average, but so are our expenses. I’ve been posting quite a bit on other finance forums as to how we can make so much money and still be a half million in debt.  I was approached by MoneyStance.com staff to see if I would be interested in chronicling my mission to get out of debt with a featured blog on this site.  I really need to get all my ducks in a row, receive other’s advice, and have a record of this process…so I gladly accepted.  This will be fun and educational for me and hopefully for you as well.  I’m looking forward to your input.

My inspiration to accept and document this process came after reading Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover” book.  He outlines a series of baby steps for those willing to give “gazelle intensity” toward getting out of debt.  This approach is great for probably 95% of people in debt.  However, I’ll use the free MoneyStance.com budget spreadsheet, and will be taking a more modest approach to getting out of debt.  Rather than squeezing my family into a card board box, selling my cars, picking up a third job, and the like, I'll proceed as best I can without killing all enjoyment.  My wife and I have worked very hard getting great careers and increasing the income generation of our household, but now we need to get a handle on expenses and start paying down this debt. 

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