It’s funny how getting our largest credit card debt paid off has changed things around here.  We aren’t out of debt yet.  We have a couple more cards to go (both significantly smaller than what we owed the giant card).

Still, the free feeling of escaping that debt just makes me hungrier to do better with all of our money.  It made me curious about other parts of our financial picture.  And that gave me more motivation to get debt free.

Now that’s a circle I’d much rather be running than the old “never get out of debt” circle!

Read on to see what I’m talking about.

The 5 Ways We’ve Saved Money This Week

Ideas for saving money that don't require you to spend money first.

Knowing Our Magic Number

Most people assume they’ll work until a magical retirement age.  That might be 62 1/2, or maybe it’s a bit higher or lower. Personally, I’d rather not focus on age.  (It’s just a number…right?)

You know how goal driven I am.  Give me a goal and I’ll fight to reach it ahead of schedule.  How can I reach an age ahead of time?  Impossible for us non-Marty McFly types.

Instead, give me a magic number.  When I have $X saved up, that means I’m ready to retire.

If you’ve read up on retirement, you’ll see wild stories about people who have to save $18 million before they could ever hope to retire. I say that’s crazy.  Yes, inflation is a real thing.  But you probably don’t need to live on as much as you think once you retire (debt free, of course).

This simple calculator tells you how much you need to invest to be able to retire.  Most people who retire early live well on $24,000 per year.  You could, too, if you had no debts, no work expenses, and were living in an affordable part of the country.

Play with the calculator and find your magic number.  You’ll be surprised how quickly you pass over that bag of chips when you realize it takes you $2 further away from retirement.  Turn it into a number, not an age!

Medium Sized FamilyLast Payment

Last week I told you how we got our biggest credit card paid off.  (Woohoo!)  But I’ve seen one too many stories about people who excitedly pay off a credit card and then forget about that last unexpected bill.  The card company will send you one more bill to cover the interest on your last balance.  I’ve never been so anxious to send $8 to a company in my life.  😉

Slept On It

I’m getting in a better habit of sleeping on purchases.  Sometimes it means missing out on a great sale, but that’s ok.  I often find that I still want the object after time passes, but look at how well I’m living without it!

There were two blogging books that I’ve had my eye on.  Since this is my version of college, I allow myself to spend some of my blogging profits on books and courses if I decide they are relevant to my blogging life.   Still, there’s a ton of info out there, and I want to carefully plan my spending.

To my surprise, I found a fantastic deal on both books recently.  I grabbed both of them.  I can’t wait to devour this information and improve my work!

New Ways to Save

I’ve been coming up with fun new ways to save money.  I want my money saving ideas to be relevant in real life.  That way the whole thing doesn’t come off the rails the first time we have a bad week.

That’s why I built this bingo style money saving chart (which, incidentally, was featured at Business Insider and Budgets Are Sexy-!!).

And it’s also why I put together a spreadsheet that keeps you on track to reach your goal in 52 weeks, even if you have some good weeks and some bad weeks.

Get the free spreadsheet here.

The 52 Week Savings Plan Spreadsheet That Moves With Life

Reading

I’d like to fit more time for reading into my life, and I have been doing a little better at this lately.  But sometimes it looks less like stacking up books and more like listening to podcasts and reading blog posts.

The thought provoking articles I read this week include JD Roth’s Core Tenets of the Money Boss Philosophy and an interesting comparison between mortgage deductions and a 25% off pants sale.

Reading always makes me think a little outside the box, and fresh thinking is always good for the brain (not to mention my self discipline!).

Those are the 5 ways we’ve saved money this week!

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How did you save last week?

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