Category Archives: How To Guides

What to Do If Your Spouse Won’t Talk About Money

Even in today’s world of automated budgeting software and other sophisticated technology, money remains a hot button topic for many couples. There are usually types of people in a marriage: one spouse who enjoys managing money, and another spouse who is care free. Dave Ramsey refers to these roles, respectively, as “the nerd” and “the free spirit.” What do you do if you’re the nerd in your relationship and you find that your spouse won’t talk about money with you?

This may leave you feeling like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. After all, life is full of many competing demands, and managing your money is just one of them. It can be incredibly hard to go it alone and be the family Chief Financial Officer without any input or support.

Maybe you’ve tried to get your spouse on board with managing your family’s finances. It’s possible that you’ve even read books or taken courses to try to prove to your spouse that your finances are important. And your spouse still won’t talk about money without becoming distant or angry.

If this is you, I’m here to tell you there is hope! Do not give up! 

It's hard to work on your finances together, especially when your spouse won't talk about money. The right strategies can help you get on the same page.

Keys to Getting a Reluctant Spouse to Talk About Money

I don’t have all the answers, but my experience as a husband, “the nerd,” and school teacher/administrator have provided a wealth of experience in mitigating conflict and bringing them to lasting resolution.

They key to finally getting your spouse to talk about money with you and ultimately get on the same page with you lies in the development of mutual understanding, respect, and teamwork. Read on to see how you can implement steps to improve these aspects of your relationship!

Know Your Spouse’s Dreams

If your spouse won’t talk about money or other important matters without becoming disconnected or irritable, it could be a sign that you’re lacking connection in other areas as well.

When was the last time you and your spouse laughed together? When did you last discuss your hopes and dreams for the future? When was the last time you really blocked out other distractions and focused on each other?

A long time ago, I learned an important lesson reading several books by Dale Carnegie:

People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.

If you’re the type that plans out a budget, sits down with your game face on, and is ready to share your brilliant plans with your spouse before you do anything else, expect failure. I know this to be true because I’ve been there.

When I learned to listen to my wife’s feelings, ask her about her day, and form an emotional connection with her before talking about money, she stopped resenting our financial conversations and grew to look at them as times in which we connected and discussed our hopes and dreams for the future.

I can also tell you that a powerful thing happens when you have an understanding of your spouse’s dreams: it becomes much easier to talk about money as a tool to help you reach those dreams. Now we know that we won’t be able to bring her dreams and mine into reality unless we remain on the same page with money.

Start Small and Appreciate the Little Victories

If your spouse won’t talk about money matters currently, it is important that you realize that this isn’t likely to change over night. You need to be patient! It will be far easier for you to change your mindset than it will be you to change your spouse’s mindset.

The best way to begin having productive money discussions with spouse is by introducing healthy discussion gradually. You might mention an interesting tip you recently read, mention your desire to plan a family vacation, or just happen to be playing your favorite debt free scream YouTube video when your spouse walks in the room.

The point is that you need to ease into financially-related conversation in a gentle, non-threatening manner. And the best way to do that is by talking about money topics that don’t involve either of you.

Continue to Set a Good Example

While you are working on building a base of healthy money conversation, maintain your own good habits with money. If you keep a monthly budget, make sure it stays up to date. Continue to do everything you can to manage your family’s money responsibly. Even if your spouse won’t talk about money, it is likely that he or she will notice your good attitude and actions.

Remember, according to basic learning theory, we learn better when we are shown how to do something verses being told how to do something. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, your example is being noticed and it is is making a difference.

What Not To Do If Your Spouse Won’t Talk About Money

The unfortunate reality is that it can be incredibly frustrating if your spouse won’t talk about money with you. If he or she continues to do his or own thing with money, it might make you angry. You might even begin to lose some trust in your spouse.

Don’t Quit

It's hard to work on your finances together, especially when your spouse won't talk about money. The right strategies can help you get on the same page.You may want to throw in the towel, hit the mall for some retail therapy, or trade in your set of wheels for something newer.

Remember that it is always easier to justify emotions than to justify actions. If you give in now, you’re damaging any good will that has been building up in this area. It is far better for you to continue to do things yourself the right way than to give up.

Keeping yourself from acting on your emotions may cause a blow up at some point. Do your best to avoid yelling or displaying anger. The truth is it won’t help.

No Name Dropping

The odds are high that your spouse won’t talk to you about money because he or she has felt attacked in the past. As tempting as it may be, don’t bring outside names into your discussion. Avoid mentioning your spouse’s parents (or your own) at all costs.

This is not the time to mention an article from a finance blogger you read or bring out the “Dave Ramsey says” tool kit. Appeals to authority are rarely effective during money fights. In fact, they’re a good way to ensure your spouse won’t talk about money for a long time!

Where to Turn If You Really Need Help

When many couples are on the brink of divorce, counseling is often a last resort. Please don’t misunderstand me: I am in NO WAY insinuating your money fights are this serious. However, if you and your spouse can agree to work together, a money intervention could be the thing you need to get on the same page.

If your spouse agrees to work with you, I recommend you check out the ONLY online personal finance course I endorse: Budgeting for Budget Haters.

This couples-friendly course is designed by my friend Adam Hagerman, a certified financial planner (CFP) and accredited financial counselor, and is designed to help couples (and singles, too) achieve financial freedom.

When you sign-up Adam will personally help you:

  • It's hard to work on your finances together, especially when your spouse won't talk about money. The right strategies can help you get on the same page.Gather the right information needed to create your budget
  • Set smart financial goals and use them to avoid the debt/savings roller coaster
  • Create an annual budget and plan like you’ve never planned before
  • Budget for periodic expenses
  • Budget for the fun stuff and incorporate guilt-free spending
  • Budget with a variable income
  • Prioritize debt repayment
  • Use budgeting software (with on screen instructions!)
  • Talk money with your honey
  • Set up your budget so it requires low maintenance
  • And much more!

I’ve personally reviewed Budgeting for Budget Haters and feel it is one of the best step-by-step money courses today. If you want access to a top professional who will walk you through every step of the way, Budgeting for Budget Haters is for you!

You can try the course out 100% risk free for 60 days. If you’re not satisfied after completing all of the forms and related course steps, Adam offers a 60-Day Money Back Guarantee.

If you’re serious about Taking Back Control of Your Life and Money, sign-up for Budgeting for Budget Haters today using our link for FinanceSuperhero readers and secure your spot in the course for only $97 (or two monthly payments of $57).

Do you have a spouse who won’t talk about money (or other touchy topics)? What tips do you have for managing this kind of difficult communication?

It's hard to work on your finances together, especially when your spouse won't talk about money. The right strategies can help you get on the same page.

A Guide to Planning a Home Renovation From Start to Finish

This “Guide to Planning a Home Renovation From Start to Finish” post is underwritten by Hearth. Hearth specializes in educating consumers regarding home renovation products and helping them find the best offers to avoid overpaying for renovation projects. All opinions expressed are mine.

The process of renovating your home can be one of the most stressful and overwhelming experiences as a homeowner. Decisions regarding paint colors, decor, flooring, and themes are challenging in their own ways, but larger projects introduce new sets of challenges and excitement.

You may be excited about renovating your home, or it may be your only option if you purchased your home at a higher price point than what you could sell it for today. Either way, a reasonably priced and well-executed renovation project could be just what you need to make your home more enjoyable and livable for your family.

In the past year, my wife and I experienced the home renovation process when we opted to finish our 800 square-foot basement. We were fortunate that our project went according to plan and stayed on budget.

The sad truth is that many people have a worse experience when starting and completing home renovation project. Selecting a space, creating design ideas, determining a budget, hiring a contractor, and completing a project can be incredibly stressful and costly.

Even in the age of HGTV, the average consumer is poorly-equipped to make smart decisions when it comes to home renovation projects. This is especially true for millennials.

This guide is designed to help you navigate the home renovation process from start to finish and make the process smooth and enjoyable. Whether you’re new to home ownership or a longtime homeowner, this guide will help you avoid costly home renovation mistakes every step of the way.

A home renovation project doesn't have to be scary or stressful. This guide will help you plan your remodeling project on budget from start to finish.

Starting Your Renovation Project

According to a recent study by Hearth, 45% of millennials surveyed expressed a strong desire to renovate their homes. Starting a renovation, not just as a millennial, is often the biggest hurdle to leap based on several factors:

  • Existing debt obligations (student loans, auto loans, credit card debt)
  • Lack of basic financial literacy
  • Little understanding of which renovation projects will maximize return on investment

Fortunately, a wealth of resources is available for anyone considering a renovation. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) recommends consumers consider their reasons for remodeling and develop a vision for how their completed project will add value to their lives in the future.

Highest Value Renovation Projects

Understanding your potential return on investment is critical before starting a new renovation project. The simple reality is that few projects instantly increase the value of your home in proportion to their cost, but many projects lead to increased values and high returns on investment over a period of just a few years.

According to a article, the following projects feature high returns on investment:

  • Fiberglass insulation in attic
  • Steel entry door
  • Stone veneer (manufactured or real)
  • Kitchen remodel
  • Siding replacement
  • Bathroom remodel/addition
  • Universal bathroom redesign/remodel
  • Basement finishing

Determining What You Can Afford

One of the most critical components of any home renovation plan is a budget. The sad reality is that many people skip this stage entirely and rush into their project without a plan to pay for it.

As a result, many people exhaust their cash resources and take on high APR credit card debt in order to complete their projects. The previously mentioned study by Hearth revealed that an alarming 16% of millennials are likely to refinance a home renovation project using credit cards.

Credit cards are admittedly convenient, and 0 percent APR financing offers can be alluring. However, financing large home renovation projects using credit cards can trigger unexpected high payments and crippling interest charges once promotional offers expire in 6 to 12 months.

A wise rule of thumb when planning a renovation budget lies in estimating total project costs and adding 15-20%. My wife and I used this technique when planning our basement renovation, and it helped us to determine how much cash we could afford to spend (without exposing ourselves to financial emergency) and whether we would need to seek affordable financing to complete the project.

Ultimately, we qualified for a small loan with low payments at an interest rate which was lower than our current mortgage interest rate.

Considering Financing Options

Once armed with knowledge of how much you need to borrow, it is best to research financing options from a variety of sources. One common renovation mistake is applying for a loan with only one lender and accepting their offer right away.

Many borrowers fear that applying for multiple credit offers is too time consuming, damaging to their credit score, and exposes them to identify theft. These worries may have been relevant in the past to varying degrees, but today’s processes have largely eliminated these worries.

The Hearth Advantage

For example, a borrower who is seeking attractive financing options for a home renovation project can receive multiple personalized offers just by filling out a secure 60 second form with Hearth.

Hearth’s process is quick, won’t impact your credit score, doesn’t require fees or collateral, and will provide personalized rates from leading companies like SoFi, LendingClub, Prosper, and BestEgg.

Unlike other companies, Hearth is not a lender. They work with lenders on behalf of borrowers to gather pre-qualified offers for personal loans. Collecting these offers does not require a hard credit pull until the final stage of application, which is why the initial process does not affect your credit score.

Once your offers have been gathered, Hearth simplifies the process of considering your options by helping you compare interest rates, fees, total interest cost, monthly payments, and more. Unlike other companies, the core of Hearth’s service lies in educating consumers to make wise decisions.

All offers gathered by Hearth are sent directly to your email inbox and are valid for 30 days. Applying for one of these loans is as simple as one click. At this time, you will need to provide further information to your chosen lender to complete your application. Assuming you provided accurate information from the start, the final terms and rates offered by your lender are likely to be similar or the same to those quoted initially by Hearth.

Once your application is complete and approved, funds are typically dispersed in 1 to 14 days. This is important, as quick access to cash can often be a difference maker when securing a contractor.

If you’re not sure whether you’re ready to dive into your renovation project, Hearth has created a useful quiz to help you determine your readiness for your remodel. It asks important questions about your project plans and provides actionable advice based upon your responses.

Starting Your Home Renovation Project

As in nearly every industry, money talks and cash is king. When starting your home renovation project and selecting a contractor, having cash in hand can help you compete for top contractors in your area, many of whom would rather be paid in cash than on credit.

The process of choosing a contractor to oversee and complete your project is far less stressful when financial concerns have been removed from the equation. With a funded loan and cash in your account, you are in better position to take your time interviewing multiple contractors, check their references, compare bids, and check reviews with the Better Business Bureau.

Before choosing a contractor, be sure he/she is licensed in your area and has appropriate liability and worker’s compensation insurance (for subcontractors). Any history of complaints or unethical behaviors are cause for concern.

You will be working with your contractor for the length of the project, so it is also important your personalities mesh well. You want to work with a contractor who is an excellent communicator and is able to show you in-depth plans and timelines for completing your project.

Make Your Renovation as Smooth as Possible

Home renovation projects can be very exciting, but the truth is that they can be scary and stressful. At a basic level, any remodeling project involves trust, as a relative stranger is redesigning a huge part of your life.

The best way to make your renovation as smooth as possible is to minimize your risk exposure from the very beginning. You can avoid contractor conflict, running out of cash, and taking on high interest credit card debt, and risking foreclosure thanks to home equity issues when you take advantage of sensible lower interest personal loans.

Despite sensationalist headlines to the contrary, the American Dream of home ownership is alive and well – and it doesn’t end when you buy a home! Making your house a home may require changes. Simply put, home renovation decisions can have a lasting financial impact for years -even decades- to come.

If you’re serious about making your renovation process as smooth as possible for yourself and your contractor, start by making the right decision about how to pay for it. You can review your options and make the most-informed decision by planning your project well, considering responsible lending options with Hearth, and selecting a well-reviewed contractor.

Related Reading:

Disclaimer: Shogun Enterprises Inc D/B/A Hearth is not a lender, does not broker loans to lenders and does not make personal loans or credit decisions. This article does not constitute an offer or solicitation to lend. Hearth will submit the information you provide to a lender. Providing your information to Hearth does not guarantee that you will be approved for a personal loan. Hearth is not an agent, representative or broker of any lender and does not endorse or charge you for any service or product. For more information, please visit and

This article is not intended to provide legal or financial advice is purely provided for entertainment and informational purposes only. All opinions contained herein are the property of


How to Determine Your Financial Priorities

Imagine the following scenario. You are down to your final $100 in your checking account, your savings and emergency funds have been wiped clean, and you’re faced with the following obligations: filling up the gas tank in your car, buying groceries for the week, paying your cell phone bill, and buying birthday gifts for your niece. How would you determine your financial priorities?

Fortunately, most of us don’t face such difficult circumstances when determining how to spend the money we earn, but the overall concept still applies. Allocating your income each month can be a challenging juggling act whether you earn $2,000 or $10,000 per month.

The sad reality is that many families float along month after month without a financial game plan. It’s not uncommon for high-earners to live paycheck to paycheck because they don’t have a grasp on their personal financial priorities. And even those who make efforts to spend wisely forget to adjust their game plan when major life events (think child birth, job change, sale or purchase of a home) come along.

No matter where you fall on the financial game plan spectrum –from no plan at all to a perfectly executed one—it is critical to be sure that your overall plan aligns with your financial priorities and values.

Read on to learn how my wife and I establish and evaluate our financial priorities –and how you can do the same!

No matter what your financial strategies, it is critical that your overall money plan aligns with your financial priorities and values.

Why You Need to Define Your Financial Priorities in the First Place

As stated above, defining financial priorities for your family is a critical piece of your overall game plan with money. If you agree with this concept, skip ahead to the next heading. If you find yourself challenging or questioning this, there are several reasons why it is important.

  • Progress is hard to achieve without an understanding of your financial priorities. Think of heading out on a vacation without knowing your destination. This might be fun for a while, but if you do it continuously you’ll end up nowhere, even if you are making decent time.
  • Without defined priorities, it is easy to float from one goal to another without careful thought and planning. This may cause you to be unprepared for major financial events like college, weddings, and retirement.
  • If you do not have ranked financial priorities, you will most likely finding yourself multitasking with your money. Aside from research which proves that multitasking doesn’t work, multitasking with money is especially dangerous because it lengthens the time for completion of even the simplest tasks.

Building a List of Your Priorities

When you’re ready to begin building a list of your financial priorities, you may feel overwhelmed by where to begin. I recommend two approaches that have worked for me and my wife; though both are different, I believe they will effectively lead you to similar conclusions.

Values-based Planning

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve probably noticed that I frequently refer to Values. Simply put, I define values as your personal principles or standards of what is most important to you in life. In your quest to Take Back Control of Life and Money, ensuring that you make money, spend money, save money, invest money, and give money in alignment with your values is critical.

When it comes to determining your financial values, I recommend asking yourself a few simple questions:

  • What is your main reason for earning money?
  • What use of your money do feel is most fulfilling?
  • How do you best contribute to your overall financial well-being?
  • What kind of legacy do you wish to leave behind?

Answering these questions may not be easy, but your answers will reveal what is most important to you. A proper understanding of your values can help you identify and rank your financial priorities. For more information on discovering your values, sign-up below to receive my FREE Money Values Toolkit.

Following Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps

No matter what your financial strategies, it is critical that your overall money plan aligns with your financial priorities and values. A values-based approach may seem too time consuming for some people, especially those who are extremely busy. The 7 Baby Steps, as created by personal finance expert Dave Ramsey and pictured to the right, represent a ready-made plan for defining your financial priorities and translating them into an actionable game plan.

Related Reading: 7 Ways Dave Ramsey is Right About Money

When my wife and I first were married, Dave Ramsey’s teachings in The Total Money Makeover and Financial Peace Revisited helped us narrow our focus and define our financial priorities. They helped us discover that we value Dependability, Giving, Stewardship, and Order.

Translating Priorities into Action

As a result, we did what few newlyweds do: we committed to a budget, chose to live in an inexpensive rented town home instead of high-priced corporate apartments, rarely went out to eat or bought new clothes, and focused on being content with what we had.

Having a clear understanding of our financial priorities helped us to define a vision for our future. This vision led us into action to pay off a small car loan, save for a house down payment, secure term life insurance policies for each of us, and pay off my student loan debt over the course of the first six years of our marriage.

Related Reading:

Final Word

Understanding your financial priorities is important, but acting on them is what matters most. Once you’ve narrowed them down yourself, you can begin to Take Back Control of Life and Money and experience deep fulfillment.

What are your current financial priorities? How often do you review your priorities and plans with money?


How to Talk About Money With Your Spouse

How comfortable are you when the time comes to talk about money with your spouse? Not very, in all likelihood. According to a recent article from the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA), the three leading causes of divorce are “basic incompatibility” (43%), “infidelity” (28%), and “money issues” (22%).

In fact, one survey respondent said, “Many couples lack the communication skills necessary to navigate financial disagreements in their marriage. The emotional connection of money with safety and security in many people makes the financial disagreements more salient than other disagreements.” Another said, “I have long believed financial disagreements to be the most common cause of marital conflict. . . Now we have empirical evidence. . .”

Most of us don’t require empirical evidence to prove that it can be stressful to talk about money with your spouse; we experience it for ourselves often enough to know the truth. My wife and I agree on most things when it comes to managing our finances, but even that hasn’t stopped us from having some heated conversations from time to time.

Money fights are a leading cause of marriage stress and divorce. These tips will help you to talk about money with your spouse in a healthy and happy way! Let us show you how to share your feelings without blaming the other person, agree to a budget that works, and eliminate silly money fights before they start.

How to Talk About Money With Your Spouse and Get on the Same Page

However, the truth is that my wife and I rarely have fights or disagreements about money because we have a system that helps us stay on the same page. It works for us because it has helped us define our vision, values, and financial goals as a couple. Finding this common ground didn’t happen overnight; in fact, it took a long time! But it was worth the effort and patience spent to reach the level of teamwork and support we now enjoy.

I hope that the following guidelines and principles will help you to talk about money with your spouse without unnecessary drama, arguments, and fights. I can’t promise that it will lead to conflict-free conversation – in fact, that would probably be a bad thing. But I am confident that our system can help you and your spouse improve your communication and help you reach agreements when discussing financial matters.

Basic Ground Rules

When you talk about money with your spouse, it is important to realize that the entire conversation is similar to taking a walk on thin ice. Over the years, my wife and I have learned to embrace the following principles to keep our financial conversations on track.

1. Avoid using the word “you”

Think about the last time you went on the defensive during a conversation or argument. Did your spouse make an observation about your words, actions, or character?

The truth is that “you” based statements can quickly derail any positive momentum and feelings of good will in a conversation with your spouse. Worse, it can turn minor disagreements into a full-blown shouting match.

Instead of using phrases like “You spend too much money on clothes,” or “I hate when you act like a cheapskate in front of my life,” search for a way to share your own feelings without labeling them as a response to the words or actions of your spouse.

2. Do not place blame on your spouse

Part of the reason why the word “you” is so divisive in conversation is because it places blame on your spouse. However, placing blame, even when it is deserved, will rarely lead to any kind of meaningful resolution to ongoing financial disagreements.

how to talk about money with your spouse without fightingConsider, for example, the phrase “You spent $125 on shoes last weekend, and now our checking account is almost overdrawn.” We can break it down clearly into the following components:

Action/Cause: You spent $125 on shoes last weekend
Result/Problem: Our checking account is almost overdrawn

More broadly, a disconnect surrounding spending on shoes within the budget clearly exists. Rather than placing blame, discussing the matter factually and unemotionally is an approach which is more likely to lead to change.

Consider these subtle changes to the original statement:

“I noticed a $125 charge on our statement a few days ago. Can we talk about our budget line item for shoes?”

This statement is emotionally neutral, and it is followed by a question intended to invite a response and keep the conversation moving forward. Best of all, it articulates the problem without placing blame and invites a teamwork approach to solve it.

Use a Talking Piece

In my experience as a school administrator and teacher, my training in the basic principles of Restorative Justice have influenced my thoughts on conflict resolution. Without a doubt, a single person’s domination of the conversation is one of the biggest problems impacting couples locked in money disagreements.

The solution to helping you talk to your spouse about money without one of you dominating the conversation is simple: use a talking piece.

You can select any object to be your talking piece. The main point is simple: you may speak only when you are holding the talking piece, and you must pass the talking piece to your spouse at an agreed upon time interval. (It is not necessary to use a timer, but you may if you wish.)

What Should You Do If You and Your Spouse Have Big Money Disagreements?

The general advice above will help most couples have financial conversations without becoming quickly derailed, but digging deeper into the details of money problems will require more nuanced conversation and planning.

In particular, some basic preparation is necessary before you talk about money with your spouse in order for the conversation to be focused and fruitful. I recommend that you and you your spouse spend time individually recording your responses to the following simple questions.

  • What do you think is working with regard to how we are handling money?
  • What isn’t working?
  • How does our current budget (or normal spending, if you don’t have a budget) reflect how you would to spend, save, and give money?
  • How does our current budget (or normal spending) fail to align with our family values (i.e. what we care most about in this world)?

Your individual answers to these questions should reveal your individual and collective financial strengths and weaknesses. Based upon your individual answers, you will easily find areas of agreement and opportunities for getting on the same page with money.

Eliminate Conflict Before It Starts

Inevitably, you and your spouse will have areas in which your values overlap and areas in which they do not. Creating a budget is one of the quickest and easiest ways to eliminate conflict over your differences and how they lead to spending.

Over the years, I have heard a number of excuses and complaints about budgets.

  • Budgets are too restrictive.
  • Budgets are for people who have money problems.
  • Budgeting doesn’t work for us.

Related Reading:

If you identify with these complaints, consider these counterpoints.

  • Many people report feeling like they have received a pay raise when they go on a budget for the first time.
  • If billionaire Warren Buffett uses coupons when he takes Bill Gates out for lunch at McDonald’s, creating a budget is not beneath you; swallow your pride.
  • Call it whatever you wish – a budget, a spending plan, an agreement – but financial success simply does not happen by accident. If you do not have a plan for managing your money, you will continue to struggle and experience money fights.

If you do not yet have a budget, follow the link below in a new tab. I will show you how to create a budget that works in an easy-to-follow, step by step manner.

Read: Budgeting for People Who Suck With Money

Allow Some Free Spending

Many people wrongly assume that living on a budget means you must discuss every single financial transaction with your spouse. A basic spending allowance, or blow money, is one of the best ways to ensure that you are not embroiled in constant money fights with your spouse.

The process is simple: set an amount that you and your spouse may spend individually each month – no questions asked – and withdraw that amount in cash at the beginning of each month. If you agree to never spend more than this amount without discussing it first, you will eliminate many money fights before they even begin.

Try an All-Cash Month

In a world full of credit and debit cards, cash is often an afterthought for most couples. However, the truth is that for most people, spending cash is much more emotionally-impactful than swiping your card. Research has proven that spending cash actually activates the pain center in the human brain.

Try a one month fast from your credit card and debit card and see how it impacts your spending habits. No, you don’t have to cut up your credit and debit card and never use them again. However, you and your spouse may learn a lot about your tendencies during a cash-only month.

Money fights are a leading cause of marriage stress and divorce. These tips will help you to talk about money with your spouse in a healthy and happy way! Let us show you how to share your feelings without blaming the other person, agree to a budget that works, and eliminate silly money fights before they start.

Last Resort

For most people, the above advice will be sufficient to help you talk about money with your spouse and solve your financial disagreements. If you still find that you and your spouse are having frequent disagreements after implementing them, I have one more recommendation.

My friend Adam Hagerman, a certified financial planner (CFP) and accredited financial counselor, created the only online personal finance course I endorse: Budgeting for Budget Haters.

I’ve personally reviewed Budgeting for Budget Haters and feel it is one of the best step-by-step resources on creating a budget available today. If you want access to a top professional who will walk you through every step of the way, Budgeting for Budget Haters is for you! You can try the course out 100% risk free for 60 days. If you’re not satisfied after completing all of the forms and related course steps, Adam offers a 60-Day Money Back Guarantee.

Adam’s course is one of a kind, and when you sign-up he will personally help you:

  • Budgeting for Budget Haters | talk about money with your spouseGather the right information needed to create your budget
  • Set smart financial goals and use them to avoid the debt/savings roller coaster
  • Create an annual budget and plan like you’ve never planned before
  • Budget for periodic expenses
  • Budget for the fun stuff and incorporate guilt-free spending
  • Budget with a variable income
  • Prioritize debt repayment
  • Use budgeting software (with on screen instructions!)
  • Talk about money with your spouse without fighting
  • Set up your budget so it requires low maintenance
  • And much more!

As a member of Adam’s course, you get a LIFETIME membership to access four hours of video guides with step-by-step instructions to build a budget that will work for you, access to downloadable forms, worksheets, and spreadsheets, and access to your own personal financial coach who is able to answer specific questions. This last benefit alone is worth HUNDREDS! And as the course is updated over time, you receive all updates at absolutely no cost.

If you’re serious about Taking Back Control of Your Life and Money, sign-up for Budgeting for Budget Haters today using our link for FinanceSuperhero readers and secure your spot in the course for only $97 (or two monthly payments of $57).

Again, Adam could charge $500+ for this course, but he has the heart of a teacher and wants to help you gain financial freedom.

You have literally nothing to lose and Control of Life and Money to gain, so sign-up for Budgeting for Budget Haters today!

Final Word

Money is a stressful subject, and it can be difficult to talk about money with your spouse, especially if you regularly disagree with each other. With the right mindset and a process in place, you can start having fruitful conversations and get on the same page with your spouse.

What tips do you have to talk about money with your spouse?

Money fights are a leading cause of marriage stress and divorce. These tips will help you to talk about money with your spouse in a healthy and happy way! Let us show you how to share your feelings without blaming the other person, agree to a budget that works, and eliminate silly money fights before they start.

Create a Winning Action Plan to Reduce Your Financial Stress

If we were to conduct an informal poll on the street today and ask people what they are most stressed about, money would be one of the most common responses. It is easy to assume that financial stress exists only for low income families or those dealing with some sort of unusual crisis, but the truth is that everyone, rich or not, deals with financial stress on a regular basis. In fact, many people literally become ill because of their money worries.

A 2015 study by the American Psychological Association revealed that money is the leading cause of stress among adults under age 49. Respondents reported losing sleep over their worries, experiencing elevated blood pressure, and the compulsion to check their account balances, among other side effects.

I can attest to the cold fact that financial stress is scary, even crippling. I’ve experienced a wide gamut of money-related worries myself, including health concerns, job loss, and student loan debt. Each time, the burdens I experienced impacted my ability to function normally.

When we experience financial stress, the psychological weight of our worries not only impacts our abilities to perform usual day to day functions; it also makes it much more difficult to form and act on a plan to wipe out the cause of the financial stress.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or burdened by your financial situation, whether it involves job loss, enormous debt, feeling stuck in your job, or lack of a long-term game plan for your money, your situation is not hopeless. Set aside a block of time, grab a pad of paper, and follow the steps below to create an action plan to crush your financial stress.

Money is the leading cause of stress in the world today. You can reduce your financial stress by creating a winning action plan today! This guide is a quick read and the steps described take only minutes to complete.

Where to Start? Write Down the Causes of Your Financial Stress

When you are stressed about money, it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the exact causes. You may be dealing with immediate, time sensitive stress, like debt collectors and their annoying phone calls or late payment notices in the mail. You may be overwhelmed by long-term tasks that you’ve been putting off for years, such as getting life insurance, forming a will and trust, or refinancing your mortgage.

The best way to start to eliminate your financial stress is to do a brain dump. Grab a pad of paper and create a specific numbered list of everything money-related which is currently causing you to experience stress.

It can include things like regular bills, insurance matters, car registrations, taxes, mortgage refinancing, life insurance needs, scheduling medical appointments, and grocery shopping. It may also include far-off future events to plan for, such as weddings, college, retirement goals, long-term care plans, estate plans, and more.

When you create this list, remember: nothing is off limits! If it involves money and it is bothering you, write it down!

Related Reading:

Scan Your List for Quick Wins

Once you’ve finished your list, scan through it several times to look for quick wins, i.e. items that you can tackle right away to reduce your stress. For example, if you have a stack of unpaid bills sitting on your desk, pay them right away and set-up auto pay with your bank to avoid future stress.

From here on out, make it a habit to take care of future quick win items as soon as they arise. The following guidelines should help:

  • When bills arrive in the mail, pay them right away.
  • Handle all mail items only once. When you open it, decide right away what action is necessary based on the nature of the mail, i.e. pay the bill, file the document for later use, or shred it.
  • Schedule reminders in your calendar or mobile device for any time-sensitive financial events.

Rank Remaining Items

Now that your list of items causing financial stress is smaller, it is time to rank remaining items according to their priority. The most effective way to do so is by ranking items according to their urgency and overall importance.

To rank the remaining items by urgency, or time sensitivity, use a scale of 1-5. Rank items which are not time sensitive as a “1” and urgent items as a “5.”

Next, rank your items according to their overall importance in terms of financial weight. This extra step will serve as added protection to make sure that expensive and potentially costly items don’t slip through the cracks (i.e. missing a mortgage payment, failure to pay your federal tax obligations, etc.).

At this stage, it is easier to rate and sort the remaining sources of financial stress according to the four quadrants below.

Transferring the items on your list to the chart above will provide a visual action plan and reduce your financial stress because you will be able to clearly see what action is needed. Start by addressing the Urgent/Important quadrant, then Urgent/Not Important, followed by Not Urgent/Important and Not Urgent/Not Important.

The Best Way to Reduce Financial Stress

The method described above is not a magic bullet to prevent financial stress, but it does represent a simple and effective plan to reduce it in a manner of minutes.

No matter what obstacles your present situation has placed in your way, the presence of an action plan can provide the hope that you need to channel your emotions into action. Grab a pad of paper and pen and create your plan today!

How do you cope with financial stress?

Money is the leading cause of stress in the world today. You can reduce your financial stress by creating a winning action plan today!

The Best Resources to Refinance Debt and Pay It Off Faster

Millions of people feel stuck in debt. You might be one of them. The weight of payments could be crushing your motivation and hope. You might be wondering how you’ll ever pay off your debts, if you should refinance debt, and where to start sorting through your financial mess.

A recent NerdWallet study revealed that the average American household with any debt owes over $136,000 in debt including mortgages. The consequences of such high debt levels range from minor inconvenience to financial devastation. High interest rates, long terms, hidden fees, and cumbersome payments and have led countless people to a fork in the road: refinance debt to gain some breathing room or pay it off early.

I know exactly how awful the weight of debt can feel. My wife and I were drowning in over $17,000 of student loan debt as recently as 2016. We were two of the lucky ones; we were able to trim our budget and lifestyle, take a few steps to increase our income, and pay off this debt in only 54 days.

Related Reading: How We Paid Off $17,000+ in Just 54 Days

But this isn’t reality for everyone. Your circumstances might not allow you to pay off debt so quickly. You could be in debt so deeply that even paying minimum payments or interest payments is stressful or very difficult. Perhaps you’re already on a bare bones, beans and rice budget and still find yourself struggling.

Maybe you’re reading this because you know that the chance to refinance debt could be your last hope.

Should You Even Bother to Refinance Debt?

If you're in debt, the choice to refinance debt could be the spark to start paying it off quickly. Check out these helpful resources and crush your debt! We'll show you how to refinance student loans, use personal loans responsibly to refinance debt, review your options to refinance your mortgage before rates go up, and much more! If you're looking to stop wasting money on high interest payments to lenders, you need to read this article!Whether you have a car loan, mortgage with a high interest rate, home equity loan, or student loan debt, it may be possible to refinance debt and save thousands of dollars in the process. Unless you’re able to pay off your debts very quickly, you at least owe it to yourself and your family to see if you can save money by refinancing.

Please understand that refinancing debt is not a cure for the problem. When you refinance debt, you still have to pay it back. It’s addressing the symptoms, not the cause.

However, if you can pay back your debt on more favorable terms by refinancing, that’s a huge victory. It could reduce your monthly payments and free up money in your budget to pay down your debt much faster.

The decision to refinance debt shouldn’t be entered into on a whim, but when done correctly, it has the potential to change your life forever.

Imagine a life with no debt and no obligations. Imagine sending the money that you currently pay to creditors directly into investments and watching your money grow each year.

How great would it be to never have to work again because your investments are generating enough income to support all of your family’s needs?

The sad truth is that you’ll never know what that feels like if you continue to be stuck in debt. If you’re ready to get serious about paying off your debt and want to pursue refinancing to kick start the process, read on.

How to Refinance Debt and Jump Start the Payoff Process

Start by collecting your free credit report and credit score. You need to know this information when the time comes to apply with companies to refinance debt. Many companies list their credit score requirements for those looking to refinance debt, so you’ll want to know your information before applying. Also, you want to be sure that there are no inaccuracies on your report.

You can get your free credit report and score in a matter of seconds when you sign-up with Credit Sesame. It is 100% free. They won’t ask you for your credit card information, and their service is secure thanks to advanced encryption technology.

The best part about Credit Sesame is that their report will help you examine the big picture of your debts and determine which ones are worth refinancing and which ones aren’t. Also, you’ll be armed with accurate knowledge of your situation, which will put you in the best position possible to negotiate with lenders.

Sign-up for Credit Sesame for FREE here.

Most debt freedom experts recommend that you collect a credit report and score from multiple services simply to compare the two for accuracy. Another great resource for grabbing your score for FREE is If you’re looking to save money on an auto-loan refinance, they are a great place to start.

On the other hand, if you’re dealing with high amounts of credit card debt, MyFico may be able to help you kill two birds with one stone. Their Ultimate 3B Report pulls your scores and reports from all three major bureaus and will even help you analyze low interest credit card offers to reduce your rates and perform balance transfers.

You can learn more about MyFico's services here.

Next Steps

Now that you’re armed with your credit report and scores, you’re ready to get down to reviewing your options to refinance debt and speed up the repayment process.


At the time this article is published, mortgage rates remain low but are on the rise. According a recent CNBC article, mortgage refinance applications have been on the rise in recent weeks due to a projected increase in interest rates.  If you still haven’t taken advantage of these historically low rates, now is the time to apply and consider your options. You could save thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage.

The quickest way to discover your refinancing options is to fill out a short form offered by GuidetoLenders.  After supplying your zip code and a few other basic pieces of information, you’ll receive a list of free, no obligation quotes. You can start the process here, or alternatively, you can use the calculator below.

Student Loans

According to Student Loan Hero, Americans owe over $1.4 trillion in student loan debt, spread out among about 44 million borrowers, and you may be one of them. Depending upon the year you graduated, your repayment rates may be between 3.4% and 8.25%.

Again, refinancing debt isn’t the magical solution to debt woes, but it can speed up your repayment process significantly. I consistently find that LendEDU offers the best look at refinancing options for people who are serious about saving money and getting out of debt as fast as possible. It takes about 90 seconds to fill out their quick form and receive quotes from up to 12 lenders, including Earnest, LendKey, and Citizens Bank.

Click here to check out your student loan refinancing options with LendEDU.

You should also check out direct offers from SoFi. If you qualify, you can receive a $100 welcome bonus when you complete your refinance. With current fixed rates as low as 3.375%, you could save thousands of dollars. Again, it only takes a few minutes to see if you qualify but you could save thousands of dollars.

Personal Loans

Finally, if you have miscellaneous debt from credit cards, auto loans, or other higher interest personal loans, it’s worth checking out available rates on personal loans from two companies I recommend. If you’re dealing with sky high interest rates, you really need to make this a priority.

Prosper is a peer-to-peer lender that may be able to help you depending on your unique circumstances. In the interest of full disclosure, they can be very helpful to some people and not so useful for others. However, it is free to check your rates and it will not impact your credit score, so you have literally nothing to lose by checking out your options.

Another similar option is available through Lending Club. With APRs as low as 5.99%, you could save hundreds or even thousands when you refinance high interest debt. Again, checking out your options is FREE and won’t affect your credit score.

Note: Lending Club even offers options for investors, too.

Final Steps

Whether or not you refinance debt on your journey toward debt freedom, know this: you can pay off your debts much faster than you think you can if you’re willing to plan ahead and sacrifice.  Refinancing your debts won’t solve your money problems, but it may be the spark you need to start the process of freeing yourself from debt forever.

Be sure to revisit the resources above, gather a few quotes to fully consider your options, and develop a plan of attack today. Life is too short to continue on as a slave to debt.

Have you refinanced debt in the past? Do you have any debt that you could refinance to speed up the repayment process and save money?

If you’ve experienced a refinance in the past, tell us about the experience!

If you're in debt, the choice to refinance debt could be the spark to start paying it off quickly. Check out these helpful resources and crush your debt! We'll show you how to refinance student loans, use personal loans responsibly to refinance debt, review your options to refinance your mortgage before rates go up, and much more! If you're looking to stop wasting money on high interest payments to lenders, you need to read this article!

If you're in debt, the choice to refinance debt could be the spark to start paying it off quickly. Check out these helpful resources and crush your debt! We'll show you how to refinance student loans, use personal loans responsibly to refinance debt, review your options to refinance your mortgage before rates go up, and much more! If you're looking to stop wasting money on high interest payments to lenders, you need to read this article!

Clever Kitchen Cleaning Hacks for Cheapskates and Clean Freaks

Have you noticed how well TV commercials, magazine advertisements, and internet ads hit your pain points? They never fail to remind me that laundry is a tedious chore, making dinner at home is stressful, and gosh darn it, I haven’t been on a vacation in a long time! Marketers are at their best when they remind us that kitchen cleaning is one of the worst tasks of all.

Of course, taking the pain and stress out of cleaning the kitchen is always a simple matter of finding just the right cleaning product, appliance, or accessory, right? At least that’s what they want us to think! I’ve been convinced to drink the kool-aid and buy several products in the past, and you probably have as well.

I was being strung along and duped time and time again, always thinking that the next product would finally make kitchen cleaning easier. One day I realized something: my grandma didn’t have access to any of this stuff when she was a newlywed homemaker in 1942, and her kitchen was always spotless. 

Maybe products had nothing to do with the key to taking the stress out of kitchen cleaning after all!

Advertisers want to you to believe the lie that kitchen cleaning requires costly products. Your inner clean freak will love these amazing and cheap hacks! We'll show you how to clean your counters, sink, refrigerator, microwave, pantry, and more using simple and basic products like vinegar, dish soap, ammonia, and salt. You'll save money, clean your kitchen, and protect your family from dangerous cleaners and chemicals at the same time.

Kitchen Cleaning Hacks to Simplify and Save

So I started researching simpler methods of kitchen cleaning by asking family members, reading articles, researching on Pinterest, and experimenting myself. In this post, I’m going to share with you the most clever kitchen cleaning hacks that I’ve discovered – I hope they will take the stress and monotony out of cleaning your kitchen and also help you ditch expensive products and save money.

A Simple All-Purpose Cleaner

Over the years we have tried all sorts of cleaners in the kitchen: Lysol, generic disinfectant wipes, orange-based cleaners, and the list goes on and on. I often felt like no matter what I did I could not rinse our counter top surfaces well enough to ensure that we weren’t ingesting chemicals. And I wasn’t a big fan of spending over $3 on most bottles.

Several of our family members shared their natural, inexpensive solution: an all-purpose cleaner made with water, dish soap, and vinegar. When combined these three ingredients are an excellent degreaser, adequate disinfectant, and very safe.

To create your own all-purpose cleaner, follow these steps:

  • purchase an empty spray bottle from your local Dollar Tree
  • Simply add two parts vinegar, one part liquid dish soap, and two parts water to your spray bottle, replace the nozzle, and shake vigorously
  • (optional) Some recipes recommend heating the vinegar first and omitting water, but we have found that the addition of water makes rinsing easier

This cleaner is not only useful for kitchen cleaning; it can be used to remove grime from shower days, clean dirty windows, and more.

Clean Your Stained White Ceramic Sink

When we moved into our home in 2013, our white ceramic kitchen sink had seen better days. Every time I cleaned the kitchen was a sobering reminder that our nearly-new kitchen hadn’t been maintained properly.

One day, we invited neighbors over for dinner, and they shared their simple trick for making their white ceramic sink look new using only water and bleach:

  • Run your hot water until it reaches its hottest temperature
  • Use your sink stopper to plug the drain
  • Add 1/2 cup bleach to the sink (Note: it is always a good idea to wear protective gloves/eye wear and open a window to provide adequate ventilation when using bleach)
  • Allow the water level to rise high enough to cover any spots that are discolored
  • Let the water sit for 1-2 hours, then scrub all sink surfaces
  • Rinse thoroughly with cool water

I use this simple trick once per month while tackling other kitchen cleaning chores to keep our sink looking new.

Freshen Up Your Smelly Garbage Disposal

kitchen cleaning hacks and orange peelsI love having a garbage disposal, but from time to time the smells radiating from our disposal become pretty unpleasant. Most of the time I can take care of the smell by plugging the disposal with the stopper, filling up the sink with warm soapy water, and running the disposal after unplugging the sink.

When this simple fix fails, we grind orange or lemon peels with cool water in the disposal. Even after forgetting to run the disposal for a day or two, orange and lemon peels neutralize odors quickly and easily.

Use Dryer Sheets to Remove Baked on Foods

My favorite meal growing up was my grandma’s meat loaf and scalloped potatoes. Even as an adult, I look forward to the days when my Mom breaks out the recipe. The only downside to this meal is the baked on residue that remains long after dinner is finished.

If you’ve spent hours and hours scrubbing similar baked on foods and suffered from dishpan hands, there’s a simple solution: fabric softener sheets, i.e. dryer sheets.

Simply fill the baked on pan or dish with a few drops of dish soap, the hottest water from your sink, and a dryer sheet; let it sit for a few hours or overnight and gently scrub the pan or dish in the morning, if necessary.

Make Your Stove Burners Shine Like New Without Scrubbing or Using Harsh Chemicals

Dealing with gross, greasy stove burners/grates is a nightmare. Over the years I’d tried just about everything until I stumbled upon a great solution from Vivienne at The V Spot back in 2012.

Simply place your burner grate in a large enough, durable plastic bag and add 1/4 cup ammonia. Seal the bag as tightly as possible so the fumes can work their magic and place the bag outside or in the garage (ammonia smells BAD!).

The next day, the fumes will have loosed or removed entirely all of the built up layers of food debris and grease. Wipe the grates clean with a damp sponge and you’re done!

Clean Your Coffee Pot With Salt

I worked at a movie theater during high school, and the coffee pot in the concession stand really took a beating. Cleaning the carafes was one of the jobs I hated most because the stains were very tough to get out – that is, until one of my supervisors taught me a simple trick.

You can clean your carafe simply and quickly by allowing it to return to room temperature, adding a mixture of salt (Morton salt works best) and ice cubs, and shaking vigorously. Just be sure to rinse and wash your carafe with warm soapy water to avoid running salt through your coffee maker.


Reuse Old T-Shirts as Cleaning Rags

All T-shirts have a wearable shelf-life, but you can reuse them as kitchen cleaning rags when that time comes.

Effortlessly Clean Your Filthy Microwave

There are few chores I used to dislike as much as cleaning dirty, cooked-on microwave splatters.

Now, cleaning even the worst splatters is an easy two step process. First, microwave 1/2 cup of common vinegar in a microwave safe mug on high for 1-2 minutes and let sit for another minute. Second, wipe all of the interior surfaces of your microwave with a rag or paper towels. Repeat the process for large splatters, if necessary.

Use Dollar Store Bins to Organize Everything

If you’re looking to reduce the time and frustration of kitchen cleaning, getting organized is a simple and effective step that will pay off now and in the future. The quickest and cheapest way to improve your kitchen organization depends upon your ability to master the art of dollar store hacks.

We use dollar store storage bins in our pantry to catch loose items and organize pantry stables in similar groups. One bin holds coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and K cups, while it’s neighbor organizes snack foods like nuts, popcorn, granola bars, and small chocolates. Two other bins hold Italian food staples (like pasta and sauces) and miscellaneous baking supplies (food coloring, confectioners sugar, vanilla, chocolate chips, etc.).

In the past, our horrible organization made kitchen cleaning a time-consuming nightmare because we had to remove each item individually and replace it after cleaning out the pantry. Making use of inexpensive organization tools has cut that time in half!

Use Your Dishwasher Wisely

If you find kitchen cleaning to be boring, you haven’t likely read your dishwasher’s owner’s manual. It’s not likely to be riveting reading material, but loading your dishwasher according to manufacturers’ specifications is the number one way to ensure that it cleans your dishes effectively each and every time. 

Here are a few additional universal tips:

1. Ensure that dishes are arranged so dirty sides face the spray pattern of your dishwasher
2. Do not over-fill detergent
3. Make sure flatware does not “nest” together
4. Never stack items

Following these tips and loading your dishwasher based upon the manufacturers’ recommendations will ensure your dishwasher is efficient.

Use Reusable Microfiber Cloths

For some jobs, however, old t-shirts just won’t cut it. For the past few months we have been using washable microfiber cloths to lessen our paper towel costs. If you use an antibacterial microfiber you’ll greatly reduce the risks of cross-contamination that can occur when you use the same sponge to wash dishes, clean the sink, and wipe down counters and tables.

I was concerned that they would not hold up well over time, but washing the cloths hasn’t damaged them a bit. I also love that they hold up to 8 times their weight in water, which a paper towel definitely cannot do!

Baking Soda in the Refrigerator

My wife is extremely sensitive to smells, so when she opens our usually-clean refrigerator I often brace myself. Keeping an open box of baking soda in your refrigerator and freezer is a simple fix for even moderate odors.

Some people recommend replacing it every three months, as it loses its odor-absorbing ability after that time. I find that you may get away with more time if you do not over fill your refrigerator and properly sealed stored foods in air tight containers. Either way, it is a good idea to write the “opened” date on each new box of baking soda when swapping them out.

Make Your Stainless Steal Appliances Shimmer

Though I don’t have stainless steal appliances in my kitchen, I have to admit that they look incredible when they’re well-maintained. A friend recently shared the simple kitchen cleaning hack that she uses to keep her stainless steel refrigerator looking new.

Begin by cleaning the surface of your stainless steel appliance using gentle soap and water. Rinse and allow the surface to dry completely. Then apply a few small drops of olive oil to a soft cloth and work it into the surface by going with the grain. Finally, be sure to remove any excess oil with an additional clean cloth or paper towel. That’s it! Your appliance should look nearly new again.

Satisfy Your Inner Clean Freak

Kitchen cleaning will probably never be fun (unless you’re Danny Tanner), but it doesn’t have to be a miserable or expensive experience either! The tips above can take the time, stress, and expense out of maintaining a clean kitchen. Pick out a few to try and get started this week!

Try our kitchen cleaning hacks and let us know how they worked for you in the comments section below! If you have any other helpful tips, share them as well.

Advertisers want to you to believe the lie that kitchen cleaning requires costly products. Your inner clean freak will love these amazing and cheap hacks! We'll show you how to clean your counters, sink, refrigerator, microwave, pantry, and more using simple and basic products like vinegar, dish soap, ammonia, and salt. You'll save money, clean your kitchen, and protect your family from dangerous cleaners and chemicals at the same time.
Advertisers want to you to believe the lie that kitchen cleaning requires costly products. Your inner clean freak will love these amazing and cheap hacks! We'll show you how to clean your counters, sink, refrigerator, microwave, pantry, and more using simple and basic products like vinegar, dish soap, ammonia, and salt. You'll save money, clean your kitchen, and protect your family from dangerous cleaners and chemicals at the same time.

The Biggest Reason Why Budgets Fail and the Easy Solution

If you’re like most adults, you have a love-hate relationship with your budget. You love the hope and optimism your budget gives you at the start of the month, and you hate tallying up the numbers at the end of the month only to realize that you didn’t stick to your budget – again. It is a discouraging cycle, to say the least. And it causes many people to abandon budgeting once and for all and leaves them wondering why budgets fail.

The biggest reason why budgets fail isn’t just about numbers or behavior. Budgets don’t fail or succeed because you switched from Excel to paper-and-pencil. And they don’t fail because you missed a day recording purchases. The truth is that most budgets fail because you haven’t given yourself a good enough reason to follow it.

A budget is easy to create and very hard to stick to consistently. The real reason why budgets fail is so simple that it may surprise you. We'll show you how to create a budget that won't fail you - yes, a budget that you can actually stick to consistently - just by taking a few simple steps. You'll even gain access to a FREE, 10 page printable toolkit!

Examples of Why Budgets Fail So Easily

When many people set-up a budget for the first time, they follow a simple template or pattern their budget on an example they have seen. This practice makes sense, but it isn’t fail-proof.

Part of the reason why budgets fail is the fact that many people simply copy budget parameters without considering their own realistic circumstances. For example, if you use the popular app Every Dollar to create a budget, the app guides you to create your budget based upon the following recommended percentages:

These categories and recommended percentages are definitely a great starting point when building a budget, but blindly following them without considering the specifics of your situation can doom your budget to fail.

Blindly following percentages is just one reason why budgets fail
Click to see larger version (Source: EveryDollar)

For example, maybe you aren’t big on recreational activities. Or maybe you work from home and don’t own a vehicle. In those cases, blindly allocating 5-15% of your total budgeted spending to those categories wouldn’t make realistic sense or add any value to your life. Failing to give each dollar a specific purpose in this manner is one example of why budgets fail.

A second example of common budget failure is setting unrealistic goals. For example, if you’re currently spending an average of $900 per month on groceries for two people, aiming to cut this spending down to $450 in one month isn’t very realistic. It would be much more sensible and achievable to gradually reduce the budget to $450 over the course of 3-4 months.

Similarly, a third reason why budgets fail so often lies in creating a budget that is too restrictive. When you create a budget, think of it less as a drill sergeant trying to inflict misery and more like a coach who is encouraging you to win. It’s much easier to follow a person, or in this case, a budget plan, when you know that it is leading you to where you’re trying to go.

Prevent Budget Failure By Creating a Values-Based Budget

If budgets fail because they blindly follow templates, set unrealistic goals, and tend to be too restrictive, how to create a budget to help you Take Back Control of Your Life and Money becomes clearer:

A successful budget is one which combines recommended percentages with your realistic circumstances and is designed to help you achieve the financial goals that you value the most.

If you’re going to create a budget that will succeed, you have to start with a vision of what financial success looks like to you! The best way to create this vision is by identifying your values.

Why are values the key to a successful budget? Your values are what are most important to you. When you identify your values, you realize the important reasons why you decided to create a budget in the first place.

Simply put, a budget without values sets empty, meaningless targets. If you don’t understand and feel the significance of your budget goals, you will not stay motivated to stick to your budget once the initial excitement wears off.

This is similar to filling a jar with coins for no specific reason.

Put another way: Values are the driving force for meaningful goals. Show me a significant goal, and I will point out the values that underpin the goal. Values are the reason that Michael Jordan became the greatest basketball player of all-time after getting cut from his high school team. His love for Competition and Accomplishment gave him all the fuel and motivation to stick to his goals, work hard, and become the best.

Again, the reason why budgets fail is because we haven’t given ourselves a good enough reason to follow them. Identifying your values and linking them to your budget solves the problem!

Stop Your Budget From Failing and Start Winning With Money Today!

I strongly believe that the reason why budgets fail is they focus too much on “how” to manage money responsibly and not enough on “why” it matters. A values-based budget can help you fix the problem.

If you’re ready to take the next step in fixing your budget problems by identifying your values, I’ve created a FREE printable resource to help you.

The MONEY VALUES TOOLKIT is designed to help you create a budget that is built on a foundation of your Values. It will help you

  • Discover your Purpose and Values
  • Review and improve your budget in light of your Values
  • Create Values-based goals to stay on track with your budget

This 10 page guide is a great value, and again, it is FREE. Simply use the form above to become a FinanceSuperhero subscriber and you’ll receive an e-mail with instructions to download your printable PDF toolkit.

What struggles keep you from sticking to your budget? In your opinion, what is the reason why budgets fail?

The Ultimate List of 123 Free Activities For a No-Spend Weekend

When it comes to saving money, the best trick in the book has always been to spend as little money as possible. Better yet, spending absolutely no money for a short period of time can help you keep some serious cash in you wallet. The only problem? This can be boring unless you know how to use free activities to your advantage.

Our goal is that the list below will help you to crush boredom once and for all and always have a list of free activities ready to reference. If you’re serious about saving money and still having fun, pin this post now so you can refer back to it whenever you’re looking for great, new no-spend things to do.

You want to have fun with your family, but it can be expensive! These 123 free activities will help you have many awesome no-spend weekends!

123 Free Activities to Save Money and Still Have Fun

In this post, we’re compiling the ultimate list of no-spend activities to help you save tons of money and still have fun at the same time. Most of the items on this list will appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds. The majority of our suggestions are great for families with kids young or old as well as teens, college students, and young professionals. See for yourself, and enjoy the Ultimate List of Free Activities!

  1. Take a Walk Around Your Neighborhood
  2. Redecorate/re-arrange Your Family Room
  3. Ride Bikes
  4. Visit a Museum
  5. Listen to New Music on Pandora
  6. Read a Book (Fun fact: the average millionaire reads at least two non-fiction books each month!)
  7. Binge Watch a Favorite Show on Netflix (You technically already pay for it!)
  8. Attend a Free Concert
  9. Bake Simple Desserts
  10. Play Video Games
  11. Watch a Classic Movie
  12. Go for a Hike
  13. Prepare Meals for the Week Ahead
  14. Go to the Beach
  15. Deep Clean a Room in Your House
  16. Check out New Shows on Hulu (You can get a FREE 30-day trial here!)
  17. Play at the Park
  18. Learn a New Card Game
  19. Go Window Shopping (Just leave your cash and cards at home!)
  20. Go for a Run/Jog
  21. Write a Short Story
  22. Call an Old Friend
  23. Clean Out Your Closet
  24. Take Online Surveys
  25. Look Through Photo Albums
  26. Play a Board Game
  27. Have a Garage Sale
  28. Draw or Color
  29. Visit a Forest Preserve
  30. Reorganize Your Pantry
  31. Have a Backyard Campout
  32. Go to the Library
  33. Read About a New Career
  34. Take a Free Class Online
  35. Play With Your Kids
  36. Walk Your Dog
  37. Invite Friends Over
  38. Start a Simple DIY Project
  39. Clean Your Refrigerator
  40. Go on a Picnic
  41. Build a Fire
  42. Enjoy Some Silence!
  43. Check Out Trending Videos on YouTube
  44. Do Yard Work
  45. Have an Indoor Campout
  46. Build a Fort With Your Kids
  47. Watch TV (You can get a FREE, no obligation trial for SlingTV and watch over 20 channels if you use this link – and you can cancel any time!)
  48. Clean Behind Large Appliances
  49. Organize Important Papers and Records
  50. Start a New Craft
  51. Call Your Parents
  52. Read a Magazine
  53. Browse Pinterest
  54. Make a To-Do List
  55. Plan a Vacation
  56. Organize Photos on Your Phone
  57. Touch Up Scratched and Scuffed Paint
  58. Clean Your Baseboards
  59. Look at Old Yearbooks
  60. Find New Blogs to Read
  61. Play a Musical Instrument
  62. Write a Poem
  63. Volunteer
  64. Search for Your Dream House on Zillow
  65. Clean the Basement
  66. Write a Letter to Your Future Self
  67. Play I Spy (This can be fun for adults, too!)
  68. Check Your Credit Score and Report
  69. Review Important Insurance Policies and Coverages
  70. Get a Mortgage Refinance Quote
  71. Build a Tower of Cards
  72. Play a Sport
  73. Build With Legos
  74. Watch Old Family Movies
  75. Look at Your Wedding Album
  76. Plan a Staycation
  77. Set-up an Automatic Savings Plan
  78. Organize Your Garage
  79. Research Your Family Tree (Use a free trial on and cancel anytime!)
  80. Make a Vision Board
  81. Create a Family Budget
  82. Design a List of Long-Term and Short-Term Goals
  83. Take a Spiritual Gifts Test
  84. Make Up a New Recipe
  85. Prepare Freezer Meals
  86. Review Your Net Worth
  87. Host a Neighborhood Pot Luck
  88. Visit Open Houses
  89. Play Online Games
  90. Swap Out Pictures in Frames
  91. Organize Your Kitchen
  92. Clean Your Car
  93. Brainstorm Ideas to Start a Blog
  94. Research Grad School Programs
  95. Do Basic Strength Training
  96. Check out the Smithsonian Archives
  97. Play Dress Up With the Kids
  98. Make a Family Calendar Using Google Calendar
  99. Take Photos Using Instagram
  100. Play Charades
  101. Help a Friend in Need
  102. Play Two Truths and a Lie
  103. Make Homemade Playdough 
  104. Go Rollerblading
  105. Eat Free Samples at Costco or Sam’s Club
  106. Build a Marble Run Out of Cardboard
  107. Create an “I’m Bored Jar”
  108. Build an Obstacle Course
  109. Play Hide and Seek
  110. Make Slime (Here is a recipe that does not contain Borax)
  111. Play Games With SideWalk Chalk
  112. Cut Up Old T-shirts to Use as Cleaning Rags
  113. Clean Your Microwave Effortlessly (Just microwave 1/2 cup of vinegar for 1-2 minutes, let set for 2 minutes, and wipe clean)
  114. Sort Your Books and Sell Some
  115. Make Your Own Family Scavenger Hunt
  116. Build Your Own Musical Instruments
  117. Have a Wii Sports Family Tournament
  118. Have a Pillow Fight
  119. Build Your Own DIY Ball Maze Game (Using a cardboard box and toilet paper rolls)
  120. Hold a Family Olympics Competition
  121. Play Laundry Basket Skee-Ball
  122. Build a Maze
  123. Create Your Own Game

What are your go to free activities to save money? How do make a no-spend weekend fun?

25+ Best Items to Flip and Make Money (and Where to Find Them)

Over the years I have done many odd jobs to make money: lawn mowing, shoveling driveways, painting, consulting, tutoring, and teaching music lessons, among others. I got the side hustle bug from my Grandpa, who often worked three or more jobs at once. Grandpa had an incredible work ethic, but he was also always on the lookout for items to flip to score a profit.

Buying items to flip is a smart way to make $1,000+ every month. We'll show you 25+ items, where to buy them, and how to sell them.When I was just a boy, Grandpa and I drove around to flea markets, garage sales, and stores in search of items to flip to make money. Grandpa was a pro, and he successfully flipped many items, particularly dozens of utility trailers, for crazy profits. As the saying  goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Grandpa knew that, and he was willing to comb through piles of junk in search of items with value or potential.

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If you have a similar mentality or are willing to learn, there are many ways to find items to flip yourself and make hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month. In this post we’ll identify over 25 of the best items to flip, where to find them, and how to sell them. This isn’t just a side hustle you see on TV – real people are doing it right now in your area, and you can get started yourself if you follow the steps below.

Step One: Know What Items to Flip

The number one key to successfully flipping for profit is knowing what items are valuable. Whether you are searching, you need a clear vision of the items that will actually resell for a profit.

There are always exceptions to every trend, as most experienced flippers will tell you, but in general, the following items tend to carry good resale value:

  • Antiques (all varieties) – People love old items, and nostalgia has a funny way of affecting an item’s value.
  • Tables and chairs made of real wood – You can find these at almost any thrift store or estate sale. They often need sanding and a new coat of finish to look brand-new, which makes your potential profit margins high.
  • Vintage lamps – Lamps can be hit or miss, but many vintage lamp styles are currently in style.
  • Upholstered chairs – I have seen many disgusting chairs get new life after a professional reupholstering. Older chairs with wooden legs were built to be reupholstered, not just thrown out when they experienced wear and tear. You can do it yourself or pay an upholsterer.
  • Record players
  • Jukeboxes – Many people are in the market for record players and jukeboxes which have been retrofitted with Bluetooth speakers. If you’re a competent DIY-er with a bit of creativity, you could make a big profit on this project.
  • Porcelain sinks and bathtubs (rare, but a good find if they are in good condition) -This job isn’t for the faint of heart, but reglazing clawfoot bathtubs can often be profitable. Here is a helpful guide.
  • Canvas paintings – Often old canvas paintings are worth very little, but once in a while you may find a good one!
  • Picture frames – Vintage picture frames are highly-sought after items. They tend to stay in families for generations, but sometimes they pop up.
  • Brand-name clothing with price tags still attached – This is a big potential money-maker! Be sure to inspect clothing very carefully, as most sellers will not honor returns or refunds.
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Old coffee mugs
  • Vintage kitchen tools, such as meat grinders, butcher tools, etc.
  • Vintage Pyrex and Tupperware containers
  • Original edition board games
  • Sports memorabilia
  • Legos
  • Light-up ceramic decorations – My parents still have a light-up ceramic Christmas tree that my aunt made for them when I was young. They have become very rare finds.
  • Vintage Mason jars – Concerns surrounding BPA and other chemicals have made Mason jars very popular.
  • Video game consoles (Atari, NES, SNES, etc.) and game cartridges – Many old-school video games are worth far more than the average person understands. If you are or were a gamer as a kid, this is your chance to put that knowledge to good use! You can often find games for as cheap as $1 and resell them for over $50 if you are smart. Read more here.
  • Vintage rugs
  • Most older items with “Made in the USA” tags or imprints
  • Vintage globes – You’ll be mostly limited to local reselling of globes, but it can still be quite profitable.
  • Records and record sleeves
  • Old cameras and camera lenses – I’m not a photographer, but I have heard that many older SLR lenses work well on newer camera models.

This list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a great starting point for newer flippers. You can often resell many of the items without repairing or refurbishing them, while items in need of repair may not require too much effort or special skill.

I recommend keeping a fully-charged mobile device with you when looking for items so you can quickly check their value online using Google, Ebay, or other sites. This will help you determine the approximate value of an item you are considering purchasing and also quickly calculate potential profit after any necessary expenses to repair or sell the item.

Step Two: Where to Find Items to Flip

Once you know what items to flip for a profit, you can begin searching for new items to get started. Your own home is a great place to start, as you likely have many items sitting around in your basement, attic, or garage. If you’re in doubt about the value of a specific item, a quick Google search can usually give you a ballpark figure.

After searching your home, garage sales, estate sales, thrift stores like Salvation Army and Good Will, and discount wholesalers like Big Lots are good places to turn. At garage and estate sales in particular, flash cash to score the best deals on items to flip, and don’t be afraid to leverage “walk-away power” in your favor. People used to chase me and my Grandpa down the street as we drove off to give him the deal he wanted after he ended negotiations!

Step Three: How to Sell Your Finds

After you’ve purchased items and repaired/refurbished them (if necessary), it’s time to sell them. Thanks to the power of the internet, this task is much easier today than it was for Grandpa many decades ago.

Buying items to flip is a smart way to make $1,000+ every month. We'll show you 25+ items, where to buy them, and how to sell them.First, I recommend trying to sell your flipped items in the least expensive way possible to start. If you have many quality items ready to sell, have a garage sale. List them for sale on your personal Facebook page and post well-lit pictures. You can also find and join local garage sale and item swap Facebook groups in your area and request to join them. Many people try to use these groups to unload junk, so your quality finds will really stand out, especially if you take crystal clear pictures and provide vivid item descriptions.

Second, selling items on Craigslist is still a perfectly legitimate way to flip many items. Your exposure will definitely be higher than on Facebook groups, but the Craigslist interface is a bit old and clunky, in my opinion.

Third, Ebay and Etsy are other options for selling your items. Even if you’re not already familiar with them, listing items is easy.

Final Words

Some people may have personal and ethical reasons why they may not want to flip items for profits. I personally believe there are both honest and dishonest ways to find items to flip and make a profit. If you can resell items that provide value to others, help them save money, and also earn money for yourself at the same time, go for it! On the other hand, if you’re ruthlessly out to put your local thrift stores out of business, it’s probably time to reevaluate your approach.

Whether you’re looking for an interesting money making hobby or hoping to earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month, finding items to flip for a profit is a great opportunity. It requires patience and a discerning eye for diamonds in the rough, but you can make significant money if you build your business the right way.

Have you ever flipped items to make money? What items were your biggest money makers?

Buying items to flip is a smart way to make $1,000+ every month. We'll show you 25+ items, where to buy them, and how to sell them.
Buying items to flip is a smart way to make $1,000+ every month. We'll show you 25+ items, where to buy them, and how to sell them.