Debt-Free Resources

The following is a list of resources that can help you become debt free and stay debt free. I have personally used each one of these or have complete trust that they will lead you on a path to debt freedom.

I believe so deeply in them that they are the only products and services offered on this website other than my own. I do have affiliations with most of the companies represented on this page. However, you can click with confidence that any one of these will help you pay more attention and a whole lot less interest.

You Need A Budget

YNAB graph coin rectangle uprightEverybody needs a budget, and You Need A Budget.

My wife and I used to use an Excel spreadsheet for most of our marriage but we dropped that for YNAB (You Need A Budget). YNAB is a beautiful budgeting program with neat features to track spending. Purchase YNAB once and you can install it on all the computers in your house. But that isn’t what caused us to invest in YNAB.

What really got us was when we learned about YNAB’s CloudSync feature. This enables both of us to have a copy of YNAB on her PC and my MacBook while a copy of our data is safely stored in the cloud. She doesn’t have to wait for me to boot up my computer, there is always a copy safely backed up, and I can enter most of the transactions on my iPhone while standing at the register with the free iPhone app (there is also a version available for Android).

If you want to share responsibility of the budget with your spouse but they don’t want to have to manage it as much as you then I HIGHLY recommend YNAB.

 

 

Investing on your own

I am a huge proponent of Financial Planners. That doesn’t mean I think everyone needs to go out and get one right away. Most Planners and Advisors prefer you have a sum of money to start investing before signing you up. How do you accumulate a “sum of money” when you are just starting out? I have some options for you:

Betterment picBetterment: Probably the easiest investment account I’ve ever dealt with! I received some money for Christmas and used it to open an account in under 5 minutes. You can choose how risky of an investment you make, rebalance in seconds, and can open a Traditional or Roth IRA all by yourself! The investments are Exchange Traded Funds, similar to Mutual Funds, mostly from Vanguard and iShares and the expenses are low relative to many managed accounts. Take a tour and see for yourself.

Fidelity: Here you have more options than you can shake a stick at – and you can open an account with as little as $50. They also can set you up with a 529 savings plan, an IRA, or you can buy and sell single stocks (which I don’t recommend when you are starting out).

Vanguard: This one is a bit harder to get into because the initial deposit to start most accounts is $3,000 ($2,000 for educational savings accounts). My wife has an IRA with Vanguard that has done very well over the past decade. This is a good option with low fees if you are rolling over an IRA or 401k.

 

A credit score for debt free people!

eCredable, making every payment countFICO scores are measurements of debt and the mortgage industry has become lazy with their lending practices, at least they were in the 1990s and early 2000s. How am I supposed to prove I’m not a deadbeat to a cell phone provider or insurance agent that can’t look past a one-sided three-digit number?

eCredable to the rescue! I’m so excited that this exists! Now I can prove my credit-worthiness without having to keep a credit card, car payment, or worry about “maximizing my utilization rate” (what does that really mean anyway?). My cell phone payment and electric bill can be used to show how responsible I am. FICO doesn’t do that!

You don’t need to be a member for longer than a few weeks, eCredable will verify your payments in about a month, and most verifications will cost you about $100 total – worth every penny if it helps you qualify for the best interest rates on a mortgage!

Open a free account by using the promo code “SOS” and only pay when you need to get your alternative credit score.

 

Find the work, and the income level, you love

48 Days To The Work You LoveDan Miller’s classic books help us to identify what our true passions are and how we can use them to make money. From 48 Days To The Work You Love to No More Dreaded Mondays, Dan encourages us to identify our unique skills and abilities, locate career paths that are in line with those talents, and even jolt us into becoming our own bosses.

Inside the 48 Days book you will find Introduction Letters and ideas on how to contact a potential employer – even if they aren’t looking. Dan also offers a book called 48 Low Cost or No Cost Business Ideas to get you started. Hey, what have you got to lose by trying?