Browse Category by Smart money

Live within constraints.

Four years ago Zach spoke on Boundless Creativity via Boundaries, Constraints, and Limitations at Ignite Denver. He’s been saying it for years, and it still holds true today. The more we restrain ourselves, the more creative we are.

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Look at us laughing at how little we spent on our wedding day!

I remember back in 2007 we had a budget of a whopping $2,000 for our wedding, including my dress! This is not a joke. My parents have always provided well for me and my 4 siblings, but they’ve never had a lot or money. Zach and I also had very little money. When we got married we were both going to school full time, and I was working as a Cosmetologist. So we had to make this budget work. If I remember correctly, I think we spent closer to $1,500!

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Debt Free Living, Small living, Smart money

Easiest way to save money.

Zach has been out of college and in the workforce for 8 years now. For the past 8 years he can count on one hand how many times he has paid to go out for lunch, impressive! Going out to eat for lunch is such the norm and most people don’t think twice about how much money they are spending. Based on the idea of paying $10 a day (which I wouldn’t be surprised if this number was actually higher) 5 days a week… you are looking at $200 a month. Now, what if you are a double income family, and both of you are eating out every day? That’s $400 a month!! Four. Hundred. Dollars!

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Buying houses, Move forward, Planning, Small living, Smart money

New Airbnb in Louisville, CO

This last week I made a trip back to Colorado to visit our good friends (and our family Photographer) Ashleigh and Ian. I made the trip because they decided they wanted to rent out their spare bedroom on Airbnb. This was extra special because they purchased their house from us!  It was a lot of fun to be back in Louisville (although it was all of 36 hours) and get them squared away.

Have you ever considered renting your house out on Airbnb? Or, rent out a spare bedroom? Tell us about it!

Airbnb, Business planning, Debt Free Living, Planning, Small living, Smart money

Our Airbnb Rental. Sort of.

After years of considering and trying to find a way to have a full time airbnb rental. We have one! Kind of. As you probably already know by now, we are big Airbnb fans. We use it to find places to stay when we travel, and we also use it to rent out our home when we are gone. We. Love. It.

We initially thought about renting out our basement bedroom several months back, after we added a door in the laundry room. Having a second entrance made it feel like, why wouldn’t we do this? After a lot of excitement we ultimately decided that a few extra dollars wasn’t worth the hassle.

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Airbnb, Investments, Small living, Smart money

My inner JLO vs granola.

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This concept is one I learned from one of my best friends, who also happens to be my sister in law, Emily. She once told me how she had this inner struggle of her JLO vs granola and I couldn’t believe how much it resonated with me, and I adopted it as my own. So here it is.

There is a part of me that wants all things glamorous, and this is my JLO. I want a big house with a spa like master bathroom, gourmet kitchen, my own office, beautiful decks overlooking amazing views and a large open living area. I want a brand new van that smells new and rides like a dream. I want cute clothes that make me feel like a babe, and lots of them. I want eyelash extensions. I want a manicure, pedicure and massage every week.

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Debt Free Living, Planning, Small living, Smart money

My engagement ring, and why it says so much.

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When Zach proposed to me, he defied all rules. He didn’t ask my Father’s permission, he went against his parents advice, he didn’t kneel down on one knee, and he asked me to marry him with a simple, white gold band- no diamonds. We were sitting in his car parked on a street that had maybe a little bit of a city view and that’s where our eternal commitment to each other started (I later found out he was so nervous he was just driving around with me in the car looking for a place to propose).

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Be decisive, Debt Free Living, Move forward, Small living, Smart money

How to control your pre-approval process, and come out ahead.

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When you are a part of a gift exchange at work, or with your extended family, and there is a max budget for the amount to be spent on the gift, what happens? Most people feel like the max budget is how much they have to spend. If the budget is $30, most likely everyone spent the full $30. Even if that budget is simply to make sure people don’t over spend, it somehow becomes the minimum budget for most people.

This is what can happen when you get pre-approved for a home loan. You fill out your application, give all the information and documents needed to get pre-approved and you are told the maximum amount you can borrow for your home purchase. I can tell you from first hand experience that a lot of the time, this amount becomes the homebuyer’s budget. But, when getting pre-approved, does the bank take into account how much you want to save towards retirement or  how much you need to save to go on the awesome trip you’ve been planning to Brazil? Nope, they only look at your debt to income ratio, and your credit score (of course there’s more to it, but these are the big ones).

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Be decisive, Buying houses, First time homebuyer, Investments, Planning, Smart money

How to do a real life fixer upper.

After watching season after season, and loving, HGTV’s Fixer Upper I couldn’t help but be critical of the fact that the buyers budgets were just not realistic for the average American. Of course, it’s a show, and I shouldn’t expect full transparency. But after having multiple buyers ask me if they can just “take out an extra loan for repairs on a fixer” I thought it would be good to set the record straight. In this video I go over the most commonly used methods of financing the repairs on a house as well as share a realistic approach that anyone can do, even you!

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Buying houses, First time homebuyer, Fixer Upper, Investments, Smart money

The power of starting small.

When purchasing your first home, or even subsequent homes, it’s tempting to buy the nicest, biggest house your budget can afford. A house you can grow into and raise your kids in for years to come. However, if you want to invest in real estate, the most affordable way to do that is buying a home as a primary residence (more on this in a later post). So when you purchase a home, making sure the home fits your current needs, along with the needs of the near future (1-2 years) is important, but being cautious of A. Your spending B. rentability and C. being motivated to move into another house sooner than later, is important.

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Buying houses, First time homebuyer, Investments, Small living, Smart money