Tag Archives: supplemental income

Amazing Tales of People Who Got Out of Debt

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It can happen to anyone.

Everything in your life is going fine.  Good, stable job, appropriately priced living space, transportation costs under control, etc.  Then, one day, something happens.  Either it is traumatic and crushing (like becoming unemployed), something joyous (you have a baby – or, twins!), or something of such apparent inconsequence that it barely registers on your radar (…a new credit card arrives in the mail).  Whether monumental or seemingly minimal, an event occurs that steers you off your straight and sensible economic track.  Before you know it, you’re swimming, nay, drowning in debt.  Now what?

While there appears to be an unlimited resource of online articles, instructions and advice on how to climb out of the debt abyss (Solving the Credit Card Debt Enigma, Facing The Final (Bankruptcy) Chapter: 7, Divorce Yourself from Financial Woes), it’s one thing to read about how to theoretically do it; it’s another to hear from people who actually have.  Here is an assemblage of brave souls who tackled their debt head on, and the specific methods they used to remove the money owing albatross from their backs for once and for all.

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You don’t have to get into Harvard to figure out that Harvard Business School isn’t cheap.  The businessinsider.com highlighted the intriguing circumstances of Joe Mihalic, a grad from said institution who left with an impressive diploma …and a student loan debt of $101,000.  After two years of making payments on this sizable loan, Joe wasn’t seeing any significant results ($22,000 paid back to the banks only saw an actual decrease of about $10,000 – because of the high interest fees).  He knew he had to makes some changes: “Joe took a two-pronged approach, decreasing his spending and increasing his revenue. He got a weekend gig as a pedicab driver, started a landscaping business with his friend, bought a flask to skimp on booze spending, got a roommate for his Austin home, temporarily stopped his 401(k) contributions, and did the usual lunch-eating, restaurant-skipping money-saving tricks. It worked. In under a year, he shaved off his entire debt-load.”

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In a story featured on time.com, Master Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, Rachel Gause explained the tactics she was able to put into place to eliminate her debt (which totaled $179,625), and which allowed her to control her future expenditures.  Guase explained “I use the envelope system. Before I get paid, I do my budget. Then I have 13 envelopes—one for groceries, one for clothes and shoes, one for charity, one for dining out, one for gas, and so on. I go to the bank, take the money out, and divide it between the envelopes.  I don’t spend anything that doesn’t come out of those envelopes. Debit cards are nice, but swiping is less emotional. Cash makes me more aware of what I’m spending my money on. If I run out of money for something that month, I don’t buy it. But I’ve never run out of money for something important—now I’m more aware of how much I’m spending.”

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Even if you make a lot of money, you can owe a lot too.  After a decade of healthy spending, Travis Pizel and his wife Vonnie (both of whom have high paying jobs) had collectively racked up a credit card debt to the tune of $109,000, according to the Pizel blog Enemy of Debt.  They realized the best way to combat the intimidating figure was to find a debt management plan that worked for them.  By condensing all of their credit card payments into one figure of approximately $2,500 per month, and adhering to a strict budget, they found that the new order and structure made things easier for them.  With 100k in the books, they are on the fast track to becoming entirely debt free quite soon.

College tennis star Ja’Net Adams was doing very well for herself after graduation, as reported by forbes.com.  She lost her job, however, in the dark days of 2008.  Soon after she and her husband were facing the precipice of a  $50,000 financial chasm.  Ja’Net knew she needed to land another full time job, but also was wise enough to focus on supplemental income as well.  She explained “I started coaching private tennis lessons for $25 an hour, and my husband taught basketball lessons for four or five kids at a time, at $25 per child. This earned us $500 a week.  Then I sought out easy ways to help reduce our expenses, like downgrading to basic cable, scaling back on our cell phone plans, and being conscious of how wasteful habits—like failing to turn off the lights after leaving a room—affected our utility bills. These simple adjustments saved us hundreds each month.”

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Maureen Campaiola was able to devise a three year plan to eliminate $79,500 in credit card and student load debt, states wellkeptwallet.com.  Her inspiring story involved a rollercoaster of economic ups and downs, but ultimately she came away with some extremely helpful wisdom in the debt management forum.  Here are some of the unapologetic tips that she cultivated:

“Cut up your credit cards and don’t look back. You don’t need them and you don’t need the points.

Track your income and expenses religiously. Evaluate it regularly and make adjustments to your spending plan to meet the financial demands month to month.

Be willing to make sacrifices. If you’re not willing, you won’t be successful. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it is the truth.

Ask yourself if you need something, BEFORE you make the purchase. If you can’t honestly answer yes to that question, don’t buy it.”

If you find yourself in debt, even if the figure isn’t as astoundingly high as some of ones just listed, there are clearly a variety of steps you can take to help yourself become fully debt-liberated.  Along with the helpful suggestions supplied by the people above,  another method to reduce debt is to sell off any unneeded valuable items in your possession.  If you have diamond jewelry that fits into that category, check out diamondlighthouse.com.  We help people find the very best prices for their diamond jewelry, every day.  Whether you have a one carat sized engagement ring, or a set of diamond earrings totaling 10 carats, we will find the best price for you.  As evidenced from many of the debt eliminating stories in this post, every little bit can help.  Find out more here.

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-Joe Leone 

Tips for Buying a Home

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Ever get that feeling like you just want to put down some roots?  You’re not alone (obviously: usnews.com reports that census data indicates that for the last 5 consecutive years, 600,000 new American homes were acquired annually).  As you contemplate this decision (the purchase of what is for most people the most expensive item they will ever possess), you naturally are wondering “What are the smartest moves I can make?  What should I avoid like the swine flu?”  With home buying season in full swing, here are some useful tips on how to get the most bang for your buck and the best house on the block.

Keep your money like your letters: stationary.

Wheeling and dealing just months prior to attempting to close on a home doesn’t send the best message to creditors and banks.  In fact, it freaks them out like a creepy clown who offers you glistening red cotton candy.  It’s best to keep your money stable and it’s “not wise to make any huge purchases or move your money around three to six months before buying a new home.” states hgtv.com.  Just…be cool.

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Get ready to make yourself comfortable.

If you can’t stay in one location for the next few foreseeable years, then you are NOT ready to buy.  Unless you’re a professional “house flipper,” who knows the intricacies of the market, bouncing from home to home is not a stellar idea.  “With the transaction costs of buying and selling a home, you may end up losing money if you sell any sooner.” reports money.cnn.com.  Don’t forget: each time you purchase a home there are “closing costs,” which can be devastatingly high, even when the overall market is seeing a spike.  Your helpful attorney still needs to get paid, like a boss.

Make a list, check it twice.

Before even viewing your first potential new living space, you should make a list of all the things that you absolutely can not live without (hard wood flooring, functioning pipes, garage door operator, the Clapper, etc.)  Further down on the list, clearly demarcate the items that you would strongly like to have (lemon yielding trees, glossy garden gnomes).  Then, you can scribble at the bottom some “would-be-nice” features (within Fresh Direct delivery radius, chic gothic porch lights, sexy neighbors).  When inspecting homes, bring along your list.  Foxbusiness.com supplies the advice: “If you fall in love with the house and your checklist shows that the house has none of your must-haves, it will at least make you pause and think.”  Meaning, if you’re all but ready to cut a check for a modern one bedroom ranch style home, and then you refer to your list and realize you have 8 kids, please do not make the purchase.

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“I’ll have to ask my agent…and my Aunt.”

At this point you are well aware that a real estate agent can possibly find you the perfect home – of course when utilizing an agent you’ll have to pay their fee (check out Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing” to watch some of these 6 figure commissions get handed out like Skittles).  If you want to avoid such a cost, or just want to keep all options open, try simply asking around.  You’d be surprised to see what results a few emails sent out to friends and kin could drum up.  Some sellers elect to not use an agent either, and will list their property “for sale by owner.” Investopedia.com suggests “driving around the neighborhoods that interest you in search of for-sale signs.”  You may find your dream house right on your fantasy block.  And lest you forget, there is always the ever expansive internet to scour for permanent lodgings, just try not to become overwhelmed by the multitudinous sea of choices.

Foresight for sore eyes.

“When it comes to investing, the best place to invest is in an up-and-coming area,” says frontdoor.com.  This may seem obvious, but it can be very tempting to look the other way if you find a lovely house…that is in a rapidly deteriorating location (ie – if the neighboring homes all come with pit bulls on the lawn and screams/death rattles from within, it’s best to move it along).  The safest bet is to buy in an area that looks as if it’s expanding and developing, or at least is just stable; you can always make improvements to your home, you can’t to the neighborhood.

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“Lowest Mortgage Rate” Ads:  Worst.  Thing.  Ever.

A quick Google search on ‘ways to finance a new home’ will leave you bombarded with a slew of sparkly “lowest mortgage rate” advertisements.  Caveat emptor!  Forbes.com warns that “these ads are typically paid for by lead-generation firms that pass on your personal information to pushy mortgage lenders.”  It’s the ole ‘bait and switch’ move.  Many a plucky and unsuspecting new home buyer has fallen prey to these louche-like tactics, becoming proselytized into confusing and rigidly binding mortgage contracts.  Just stay away from these and anything that resembles them, and, if possible, consult with a financial planning specialist.

Speaking of mortgages…shop around!

Various banks and lenders can offer you different types of mortgages/loans.  You need to pick the one that is right for you.  For instance, there are long term loans, with a “fixed rate” (which is lower than an “adjustable rate” loan, where you have more leeway, and are not necessarily locked in for decades.)  “You might be one of those people who never plans to buy another home, so maybe you’re more interested in a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage,” offers howstuffworks.com.  Even if you’re a commitment-phobe, you’ve got to be thinking about the big picture, and what makes the most financial sense with your lifestyle (real estate purchases for the novice are no place to be acting out any “Mad Max” fantasies of reckless abandon – let’s stay grounded and keep it real…estate.)

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Become a supplemental-case.

One of the shrewdest things you can do before making a massive purchase is to supplement your income.  Not everyone is adept at playing the market or has a yacht that they can hock.  However, there is one asset that many Americans are in possession of: a piece of diamond jewelry.  Either a diamond engagement ring, vintage diamond earrings that were handed down from Nana, a diamond tennis bracelet gifted by an opulent and impetuous former lover; a lot of different people have a lot of different diamonds.  If you have a diamond that is one carat or higher, it can go a long way in aiding the initial financing of a home.  The liquidation of a diamond engagement ring can significantly help with the down payment of a property.  The most important thing to do if you are in this boat (and, again, don’t actually own a boat), is to find a trustworthy intermediary with a great reputation.  Enter Diamond Lighthouse.  Our unique diamond selling platform allows for people to get the true, fair value for their diamond jeweler.  We don’t buy diamonds, we help you sell yours and take a commission from the sale = we want to get you the most money possible.  Find out everything there is to know on this topic right here.

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Let Diamond Lighthouse find you the best value imaginable for your diamond jewelry, as you begin your new home purchasing journey.  Remember, at the end of the day, there’s no place like home.

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-Joe Leone