What I've Learned From My First 3 Months Blogging

This has been a crazy three months. I can’t believe my first quarter blogging is almost over! It’s been a blur!
I started this blog on Valentine’s Day after about 3 months of contemplation. I originally had kind of a general idea of what I wanted to write about, like my journey towards becoming debt-free, why dogs are incredible, and information about mental health. But I wanted to feel restricted in what I wrote, so I threw myself into the lifestyle umbrella.
I came up with a weekly schedule for posting (Money, Wednesday, and Friday). I started out with some theme days: What I’m Reading Wednesday and Friday Favorites. After I got more comfortable (and switched to handwriting my posts first), I shifted to writing lengthier posts with fewer theme days.
Then I decided to do a series about the different pieces that go into creating a successful debt repayment plan. I might have done it a little early into my blog, but that’s okay. I’m trig to decide if I should turn it into an email course or a workbook. Feedback is appreciated!
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Why I'm Using the Avalanche Method

There is a lot of support for the Snowball Method, including an abundance of success stories of people using this method to pay off their debt. But what about the Avalanche Method?
When you search for “Avalanche Method” or “Debt Avalanche,” there are very few articles solely about this method. The majority of what you will find are comparisons to the Snowball Method. Why is that the case?
These are things I frequently think to myself when I’m looking at Pinterest or Googling pay-down techniques. I love the Avalanche Method and it’s worked very well for me over the past two years.
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Goal Check-In: Day 100

Today marks the 100th day of the year! That means its the 100th day of my 2016 goals, including my savings challenge. I posted an update at the 50 day mark to help me stay accountable. Previously, I probably would have bailed on my goals at this time in the year. I’ve made it a goal to post an update every 50 days to help hold myself accountable. Here is my 100 day savings update:
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Friday Favorite: Brain Dump

Have you ever heard of the Brain Dump? If not, you are seriously missing out on a magical tool to reduce your level of stress and increase productivity.
I frequently have about 25+ things running through my mind at any given time: chores, things I need to do, recipes to try, things I need to buy, post ideas, things I need to get/do for the dogs, general ideas, etc.
I can’t even imagine how it is for you parents out there! Read more

Frugal Living: Common Beginning Struggles

In today’s world, you hear a lot about frugality: frugal living, being frugal, the frugal lifestyle, and more. Being frugal is a great lifestyle to adopt. Just be aware when you’re looking to become more frugal: it requires significant behavior change.
Being able to make the changes necessary to become frugal requires some serious motivation. You’re basically deciding to re-learn between 25-75% of your current habits. That’s a pretty big undertaking and even more if you’re committed to long-term change.
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Before You Set Up Your Budget (Plus Free Printable)

Setting up a budget is a huge part of getting your spending under control and outlining your financial future. Budgets are a great tool and I highly encourage everyone to utilize them. However, there are some important steps you need to take before you set up your budget. I’ve discussed tracking spending, and today I want to explore another key step in the process.
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Scout's Cracked Carpal Pad (+ Our Treatment)

Unfortunately, Scout cracked both of his carpal pads last weekend. Carpal pads are E in the diagram below (from Wikipedia):
Paw Pad Diagram
From what I’ve gathered from various articles, carpal pads help dogs to slow down, like brake pads. Apparently carpal pad injuries are fairly common, particularly if your dog spends a lot of time on concrete/asphalt/other hard surfaces. Regardless, they are pretty frightening to see. Don’t worry, I’m not going to include pictures of his gross injuries. Basically, he ripped both of his carpal pads while playing in our backyard. I’m guessing this happened on a rock when he was playing fetch.
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Why I Refinanced My Student Loans

I refinanced my student loans about 3 months ago (December, 2015). I spent about three weeks researching various companies I could potentially refinance through, primarily working off of this list. I compared interest rates based on my current rates, other offers, and repayment terms.
It took me a long time to research the various companies because this is a very large decision. I have been out of school for about 2.5 years, which means I am very early into my repayment. Also, because of the timing of my schooling, I was unable to participate in graduate school grants and subsidized loans. And I chose to go to an out-of-state graduate program. I definitely don’t regret this decision from an educational standpoint because my grad program was amazing. It was, however, a financial blow in terms of my debt (slightly under half of my debt at this point).
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My Husband's Financial Management System

Today’s post is very special because my amazing husband is writing for me! He’s writing about his financial management system.

Hi! I’m Coleman, Michelle’s husband and she asked me to write a post about my financial management system. I typically save a lot of money, not through a hard numbers system, but more a set of guidelines.
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