‘Napkin Finance’ Review: 4 Things I Learned From This Book

The book Napkin Finance is photographed on a brown table with a pink highlighter and purple coffee mug.

Napkin Finance by Tina Hay uses visual infographics to make topics such as budgeting, debt, retirement, investing, entreprenerhip and cryptocurrency more digestible. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

As a bookworm and a personal finance nerd, I love reading a good book about money. That’s why I was so excited when The Penny Hoarder launched a virtual book club in January to read and discuss personal finance books.

Our first book club pick was “Napkin Finance: Build Your Wealth in 30 Seconds or Less” by Tina Hay.

This book uses visual infographics to break down a wide range of subject matter, including budgeting, debt, retirement, investing, entrepreneurship and cryptocurrency. Hay refers to “Napkin Finance” as a “visual guide to money and finance.”

Here are a few of my major takeaways from reading the book.

4 Things I Learned From ‘Napkin Finance’

“Napkin Finance” stood apart from other personal finance books I’ve read because of the way the material was packaged. In addition to learning more about topics like retirement and taxes, here are four things that resonated with me.

1. Visuals Aid In Comprehension

As I mentioned earlier, “Napkin Finance” is full of colorful infographics, which are drawn up as though they were doodled on the back of a napkin (hence the name).

Hay came up with the concept while attending Harvard Business School. She would sketch out different financial concepts to better understand them.

“Visual learning is a classic concept,” she said. “Mozart, DaVinci [and] Freud all used visual images and graphics to solve their biggest problems.”

Hay worked with a team of designers to create unique Napkin infographics for every chapter. She said the use of visuals helps make financial topics less intimidating and leads to higher comprehension and better retention of the subject matter.

If your eyes glaze over reading dense blocks of text about the stock market or macroeconomics, you might find the pictures and charts in “Napkin Finance” more enjoyable.

2. Repetition Helps Retain Information

One thing I quickly picked up on when reading “Napkin Finance” is the use of repetition.

Each chapter is broken into multiple sections, and each section leads with a Napkin infographic explaining a different financial concept. After the Napkin, there’s additional text expanding on the topic. At the end of each section are key takeaways — the most important things you should know. Then, each chapter concludes with a quiz to test your knowledge.

Reading — or viewing — something once isn’t always enough for it to stick in your head. When that material is presented over and over again, however, there’s a better chance you’ll retain the information.

3. It’s Okay to Be Lighthearted About Money

Too often, financial information is presented in a way that feels stuffy and boring. “Napkin Finance” deviates from that by incorporating humor and lightheartedness into the material.

“We actually have comedians that write for us and help us come up with these one-liners … kind of like fun sayings,” Hay said. “They just add some humor and lightness to a topic.”

The section on debt ends with the one-liner: “Not all debt is bad. Some is just misunderstood.”

The chapter on retirement includes this quote from author Jonathan Clements: “Retirement is like a long vacation in Las Vegas. The goal is to enjoy it to the fullest but not so fully that you run out of money.”

4. Learning a Little About a Lot Highlights Your Knowledge Gaps

“Napkin Finance” isn’t a book that hones in on one specific topic, like getting out of debt or paying for college. It covers those subjects but also touches on how to start a business, how to file taxes if you’re a gig worker, the difference between mutual funds and exchange-traded funds and so much more.

There are 12 chapters, and each is further broken up into four or more sections. You’ll get an introduction to a lot of different core concepts, but those introductions are pretty brief.

The benefit of knowing a little bit about a lot of things is that you’ll discover where you want to take a deeper dive. For example, reading “Napkin Finance” helped me realize I ought to do more research when it comes to cryptocurrency. Had the book stuck to topics I’m already very familiar with — like budgeting and saving money — I may not have come to that understanding.

Why I Recommend Reading ‘Napkin Finance’

If you’re a visual learner or someone looking for a fun approach to learning about money, “Napkin Finance” is a book you should check out.

It doesn’t take financial literacy too seriously but after reading the book, you’re likely to have learned a few new money concepts and come away with some topics you want to explore further.

“Napkin Finance” is an easy read. It’s a good coffee table book that you can pick up and flip to different sections. You don’t have to start from the very beginning and read it in chapter order. The book is an extension of NapkinFinance.com, which includes even more infographics simplifying various financial topics.

If you’ve read “Napkin Finance,” please chime in your thoughts in The Penny Hoarder Community’s book club forum. We’d love to hear from you.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Credit Card Debt and How to Fix It

  • Credit Card Debt

We’re living in a throwaway society hellbent on spending money we don’t have for things we rarely need, and this attitude has led to a lifetime of debt for millions of Americans. Credit cards are at the epicenter of this issue and have contributed billions of dollars to America’s rapidly escalating debt crisis.

The average credit card debt is between $5,500 and $8,000 and every year millions of Americans are crippled financially as a result of this debt. With that in mind, what can the average debtor do to clear credit card debt and get back on their feet?

How Credit Card Debt Works

190 million Americans have a credit card and the majority have at least 3. For many, a credit card is a rite of passage, a plastic permit that welcomes them into adulthood and all the responsibilities and obligations that go with it. But while most Americans have them, very few actually understand how they work.

  • Why have I paid $5,000 of interest on a debt of $20,000 when the interest rate is less than 20%?
  • Why am I being charged small amounts of interest when I clear my card every month?
  • Why is my debt high but my interest low?

These are very basic and common questions relating to credit card debt and we’ll answer them all in this guide.

How is Credit Card Interest Generated?

First, let’s tackle the big one, the question on the minds of many new credit card users but one that most are too embarrassed to ask: How does credit card interest work?

All interest is calculated as an annual percentage rate, known as an APR. This rate makes it easier for a user to compare cards, but the number itself isn’t exactly clear and obvious. After all, if you’re being charged a 20% annual rate on a $10,000 debt, you should pay just $2,000, but most credit cards charge much more.

That’s because the interest compounds and is calculated every single day. As an example, if you have an interest rate of 15% then you’re being charged .041% every day. If you have a balance of $10,000 on day 1, the interest will be added, and the balance will grow to $10,004.10. The 0.41% charged at the end of day 2 is levied against the new balance and this continues every day, which means the balance will have grown by $130 by the end of the month.

The greater your balance, the higher the interest rate and the faster your balance will grow. 

This is also why some users may find themselves paying very little interest despite having a large balance. If your balance is $20,000, but you repay $10,000 in week 1, add $5,000 in week 2, pay $15,000 in week 3, and add $20,000 in week 4, you have the same balance at the end of the month, but it hasn’t had 30 days to compound on the full $20,000.

That leaves one question: Why am I being charged interest if I repay my balance?

This is often the result of cash withdrawals. Not only do some credit card companies charge you a flat fee for making cash withdrawals, but they also charge high-interest rates, often up to 27%. Cash advance fees and cash withdrawal fees are levied when you withdraw money from your credit card using an ATM, but they are also charged on payments made in casinos, lottery ticket purchases, money orders, and some foreign currency purchases.

How Much Credit Card Debt is too Much?

There is no upper limit—it all depends on how much you earn and how comfortable you are with that debt. $10,000 is an insurmountable sum to someone who earns $2,000 a month and has a family of four to feed, but it’s insignificant to someone living alone and earning a 7-figure salary.

To estimate how much is too much for your financial situation, you can use the debt-to-income ratio. This calculates your total monthly income and compares it to your combined monthly payments. As an example:

Monthly Income:

  • Salary = $4,000 
  • Bonuses = $500
  • Investments = $500 

Monthly Debt Payments:

  • Credit Card 1 = $500
  • Credit Card 2 = $250
  • Credit Card 3 = $250
  • Mortgage = $1,000

Total Debt-to-Income Ratio = 40% ($2,000 is 40% of $5,000)

This ratio won’t directly impact your credit score, but it’s used by mortgage lenders and other lenders to determine your creditworthiness.

The ideal score is less than 20%, while anything above 50% is considered high. Some lenders will refuse anyone with a debt-to-income ratio greater than 43%, others set the bar much lower. 

This ratio is just as important for assessing your own financial situation because the higher it climbs, the closer you get to missing monthly payments and filing for bankruptcy. Many debtors struggle because they bury their heads in the sand—acquiring more debt even though their income remains the same—and never truly understand just how deep into the red they are until it’s too late.

How Does Credit Card Debt Affect Your Credit Score?

There are several ways that credit card debt can impact your credit score, some more damaging than others:

  • Applications: Every time you apply for a new loan or credit card, you run the risk of initiating a hard inquiry, which can reduce your FICO Score by as much as 5 points. Credit scoring agencies allow for something known as “Rate Shopping”, whereby all applications for the same credit type are bundled into the same inquiry if they occur within a fixed period. However, this doesn’t apply to credit cards and each one can trigger a hard inquiry.
  • New Accounts: Your score suffers every time you open a new account. 10% of your score is based on new credit accounts while a further 15% is based on credit length. A new credit card will directly impact the former and indirectly affect the latter.
  • Payment History: The more cards you have, the greater your risk of missing payments. Payment history is the single most important part of your credit score, accounting for more than a third of your total score, and this drops every time you miss a payment.
  • Credit Utilization: Your credit utilization score accounts for 30% of your credit score and compares all available credit against total accumulated debt. If you have two credit cards with limits of $10,000 each and balances of $9,000, your credit utilization will be 90%, which is poor. You can improve this score by clearing debt, increasing credit limits, and keeping cleared cards active.
  • Credit Types: 10% of your score is based on credit variety. If you only have credit cards, this aspect will suffer. 

Average Credit Card Debt in the US

The average credit card debt is somewhere between $5,000 and $6,000 per user and $10,000 per household, while the average user holds between 2 and 4 credit cards. The problem with the average credit card debt is that every survey, site, and credit agency arrives at a different figure.

According to a leading and highly quotable financial site, the average credit card debt is $8,000 per user and $16,000 per household. However, if you ask Experian, the figure is closer to $6,500 per user and $11,000 per household, and if you ask the Federal Reserve it’s a fraction under $5,700.

It’s all pretty confusing, to say the least, but that’s because everyone gets their data from different places. Financial sites use limited surveys that ask several hundred or several thousand consumers and then extrapolate. But ask yourself this, if a random person approached you with a clipboard and asked you how much credit card debt you have, would you be honest with them?

Probably not. And even if you were, just because you and 200 people have $20,000 worth of credit card debt doesn’t mean that everyone else in the country has the same.

Other average credit card debt statistics are built using credit report data. This is a little more reliable, but it’s not without its flaws. The average person considers credit card debt to be an unpaid, rolling balance, as opposed to one that is accumulated on day 1 and then cleared on day 30. Credit reports don’t differentiate between the two, which skews the results somewhat.

Needless to say, it’s hard to arrive at an exact figure for average credit card debt in the United States, but we can say with relative certainty that it’s one of the highest averages in the developed world and is enough to cause serious concern for every single debtor.

Consequences of Missing Credit Card Payments

What happens if you miss a payment? How long do you have before it hits your credit report and how costly will it be?

Let’s find out.

What Happens if you Miss a Single Credit Card Payment?

In the first instance, you will be charged a late fee, which can be around $30 to $40 and is charged even if you’re late by a single day. You may also incur a penalty rate, which typically maxes out at 29.99% APR, nearly 10% higher than the average credit card APR.

If you miss your payment by 30 days, it will show on your credit report as a derogatory mark, reducing your score by up to 100 points. The exact reduction will depend on how high your score is to begin with, but it’s enough to significantly reduce your creditworthiness at any level.

If you have missed a payment or are expecting to do so, contact your credit card company as soon as you can and discuss your options with them.

What Happens When You Stop Paying a Credit Card?

After a few months of missed payments, your account may enter collections. Debt collection agencies buy bulk debts of similar ages and types and then contact the borrowers to seek repayment.

They purchase debts cheaply, so their profit margin is huge, and they’ll often request a single, lump-sum settlement or several large monthly payments. They can contact friends, family, and even your place of work to track you down and they can also offer you settlement amounts and repayment plans. The agency may also sell the debt to another company, after which the process will repeat. 

However, they can’t divulge information to anyone but the debtor and there are strict rules governing what they are allowed to say and do. 

If you refuse to agree on a settlement or a repayment plan, they may sue you, although this is rare. They can also continue to contact you even after the statute of limitations has passed and if you agree to pay them then the debt may become valid again.

How Long Does Unpaid Credit Card Debt Stay on your Credit Report?

A credit card debt can remain on your credit report for 7 years from the date that it was charged-off. A charge-off means that the debt was officially declared as a loss by the creditor. The closer you get to that 7-year period, the less of an impact it will have on your score, and as soon as those 7 years are up then it will disappear.

Methods for Paying Off Credit Card Debt

As scary as your credit card balance may seem and as crippling as the debt may feel, it’s actually one of the more manageable debts and there are multiple debt relief options and pay off strategies. 

It sounds crazy when you consider how high the average credit card debt is in the United States, but it’s worth noting that this debt is unsecured, creditors are quick to sell it to debt collectors, and if you die or declare bankruptcy, they’re forced to form a queue behind pretty much every other type of debt.

Pay Off Strategies

Payoff strategies should always be considered before you look at debt management, debt settlement or a debt consolidation loan. They won’t reduce your credit score, charge significant fees or require you to obtain additional lines of credit or personal loans.

There are two main pay off strategies:

  • Debt Snowball Method: List your credit card debts from the smallest balance to the biggest and then focus your attention on clearing debts from the first to the last.
  • Debt Avalanche Method: List all debts based on interest rates, from highest to lowest, and then work your way down the list.

These methods require you to make extra payments while continuing to meet your monthly payments. This is easier said than done, but there are a few tips that can help you out:

  • Spend less and budget more.
  • Stop wasting money on luxuries.
  • Use cash from unexpected windfalls.
  • Sell unwanted items online or in a garage sale.
  • Ask for a promotion or raise.
  • Take on a part-time job.
  • Use your skills to enter the gig economy.

Debt Settlement

The debt settlement process was made for credit card debt and it works best when you have a lot of debt and derogatory marks.

As discussed already, your credit card company won’t wait around forever. If you don’t meet your obligations, they’ll give you a few months, report to the credit bureaus, and then sell your debt to a debt collector for cents on the dollar. 

This means that both the creditor and collector are inclined to settle your debt for much less, as it’s still more than they would get by selling or discharging it. A debt settlement company will use this knowledge to their advantage and settle for a fraction of the original balance, often saving debtors as much as 50%.

Their fees are charged as a percentage of the debt or a percentage of the money saved, but these fees are only taken when the settlement process has been finalized. This process can take 3 to 5 years and in that time you will be required to cover the settlement amounts, field phone calls from collectors, and deal with a lot of hassle, but at the end of it your debts will be cleared and you’ll have saved a lot of money.

A debt settlement program is one of the cheapest ways to clear credit card debt, but it’s not without its issues. The debt settlement company will ask that you stop making monthly payments, which reduces your credit score and increases your chances of being sued.

If you come into a sum of money and have had a few missed payments, you can try some personal debt settlement. Just contact your credit card company and offer a settlement amount. Start low and negotiate from there with the understanding that it may require multiple letters and phone calls and won’t happen overnight.

Debt Consolidation Loan

A debt consolidation loan uses one large loan to pay off many smaller ones. A debt consolidation loan company will give you a loan large enough to cover your debts at an interest rate small enough to reduce your minimum payments.

Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, there is one big issue.

While debt consolidation will reduce your monthly payment, it will do so at the expense of your loan term and total interest. You may pay several hundred dollars less per month, but you’ll be making that minimum payment for years to come

Balance Transfer

A balance transfer entails moving all your credit card debt (typically up to 5 credit card balances) onto a single credit card. There are specific balance transfer credit cards created for this process and they all offer a 0% APR introductory period that can last anywhere from 6 months to 18 months. In this time, you don’t pay any interest on your balance and only when that period ends will that interest start accumulating again.

The idea is simple: Use this trial period to clear your debt so that when it ends, you have a smaller balance, will accumulate less interest, and clear your debt quicker.

  • Balance transfer cards may charge a higher-than-average APR once the introductory period ends.
  • There may be additional fees.
  • You can transfer anywhere from 1 to 5 balances.
  • You can’t transfer balances to cards owned by the same credit card companies.

You need to pay a small transfer fee, often between 3% and 5%, but, in most cases, you’ll save much more than you’ll spend.

As an example, let’s imagine that you have a credit card debt of $20,000 split between several cards. The interest rate averages out at 25% and you have a combined minimum monthly payment of $800. In three years, you’ll clear this debt entirely but, in that time, you’ll pay over $8,000 in interest.

If you move the balance to a card with a 0% APR that lasts for 18 months and pay a 5% transfer fee, that balance will grow to $21,000. If you continue to make your minimum payment of $800, you’ll reduce that balance to just $6,600 once the introductory period ends. You can then clear it in just 10 months, paying less than $800 interest.

Debt Management

A debt management program can help you to consolidate your debt without adding many years to the term and many thousands to the balance. Its debt consolidation offered by nonprofit companies. They will assume control of your debts and agree terms with your creditors to make your payments more manageable. 

All future payments are processed via the debt management plan, after which they will be distributed to the relevant creditors, including credit card companies and loan providers. There are many benefits to debt management programs, but they’ll also ask that you close most of your credit accounts, leaving only one account open for emergencies. This will reduce your credit utilization ratio and could reduce your credit score significantly. 

Bankruptcy

It seems silly to place bankruptcy on a list of debt relief options. It’s a last resort, after all, and not something you should rush into. However, if you feel like your debts are getting the better of you and you have nowhere else to turn, it’s an option worth considering.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy will seek to liquidate your assets and use these to clear your debts. If you only have $10,000 worth of assets and $20,000 worth of debts, it doesn’t matter—they’ll still be discharged, and you can still move on. There are some debts that can’t be discharged, but credit card debt is not on that list.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is less destructive and allows you to create a structured repayment plan, ensuring your creditors get what’s owed to them but in a way that doesn’t cripple you financially. Bankruptcy is expensive and will leave a negative mark on your credit report that remains for years, but it wipes the slate clean and allows you to carefully rebuild.

  • Bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for 7 to 10 years.
  • The process can cost up to $4,000 in filing fees and attorney fees.
  • You will be required to see a credit counselor.
  • Debts accumulated within 90 days will not be dismissed in bankruptcy.
  • Bankruptcy can seriously reduce your credit score.

If you need more help filing for bankruptcy, we have numerous guides covering the many aspects of this legal process, including Chapter 13 vs Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and How to Rebuild Your Credit After Bankruptcy.

Other Credit Card Debt Relief

The debt relief industry is huge and there are a multitude of ways you can pay someone to help you clear your debt and rediscover your financial freedom. But there are also a few ways it will clear on its own.

Circumstances in Which Credit Card Debt Can be Forgiven

Unlike student loans, the government doesn’t hand out a free pass for credit card debt just because you work in the public sector. However, there are a few ways it can be forgiven:

  • Debt Acquired as a Minor: If you accumulated the debt before you turned 18, then technically you did so illegally and are not obligated to repay it. This doesn’t apply, however, if it was co-signed.
  • Statute of Limitations: All debt has a statute of limitations and when this passes, you’re no longer legally responsible for it. This law changes from state to state and debt to debt.
  • Stolen Card: If the debt isn’t yours and was accumulated via fraud, you can have it forgiven as per the Fair Credit Billing Act.

What Happens to Credit Card Debt When You Die?

If you reside in a Community Property State, your spouse may be responsible for your debt when you die, but only if it was accumulated during the marriage. However, in every other state, the creditors will be forced to collect from your estate. If there is no money in that estate or it goes to debt with higher authority (such as tax debt or medical debt accumulated within 6 months of death) they won’t get anything.

Summary: Credit Card Debt isn’t as Bad as you Think

Debt is always bad. It can leave you stressed, anxious, and tired—it can impact your sleep, your confidence, your health. However, credit card debt is generally one of the easier debts to escape from. 

On the one hand, it comes with high-interest rates and can trap you in a cycle of persistent debt. On the other hand, there are a multitude of escape routes, creditors are more open to accept settlements, and if all else fails you can always file for bankruptcy or wait for the statute of limitations to pass.

Don’t let credit card debt get the better of you, fight back, use payoff strategies and debt relief programs, and regain your financial freedom!

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

Drummer Joey Waronker is Selling His Spanish-Style Home in Los Feliz — Recording Studio Included

A stunning 1934-built mansion located in the Franklin Hills neighborhood of Los Feliz, California has hit the market, and it’s a doozy for any aspiring or established musician. 

The home, located at 3892 Franklin Avenue, is owned by acclaimed drummer Joey Waronker, whose body of work includes collaborations with Roger Waters, Beck, Thom Yorke, and R.E.M.

The musician has chosen to part ways with his Los Angeles home, and he’s enlisted the help of Steve Clark of Compass to market the property to prospective buyers. The three-bedroom, three-bedroom house is being marketed with an asking price of $1,990,000. 

The fabulous home is the epitome of Spanish boho chic, mixing modern amenities with a cozy, intimate and highly creative flair. It boasts a stylish and artistic vibe inside and out, and features 2,675 square feet of living space. 

The enclosed front patio, adorned with lots and plants and flowers, welcomes you inside via an elegant entryway featuring original wrought iron work.

house for sale 3892 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles CA
3892 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Image credit: Compass

You then enter an exquisite living room with exposed beams, a cozy restored fireplace, and large picture windows letting in abundant natural light. Beautiful French doors open onto a spacious patio that overlooks the yard; did we mention that the house offers sweeping views of Los Angeles?

3892 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Image credit: Compass

SEE ALSO: Wiz Khalifa’s Fun L.A. Pad Comes with a Dab Bar, Weed Wall, and Gumball Machine

3892 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Image credit: Compass

The property also incorporates an intimate study, perfect for working or studying, a formal dining room for entertaining guests, and a vintage-style kitchen equipped with all the modern-day amenities you could ever need. 

3892 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Image credit: Compass
3892 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Image credit: Compass

Upstairs, the master bedroom offers privacy, intimacy and a soothing ambiance that encourages relaxation and rest. It also features French doors that open onto a private balcony with expansive views of the lush surroundings. 

3892 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Image credit: Compass
3892 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Image credit: Compass

Heading downstairs, you’ll find a second kitchen, a separate entrance, and an additional bedroom and bathroom. This is where you’ll also find the highlight of this property: a professional recording studio designed by renowned acoustician and studio designer Vincent Van Haaff.

Complete with high-end recording equipment and high-quality musical instruments, this studio is a dream come true for any musician. Those working in the music industry, as well as those who are aspiring artists, would definitely feel at home in this studio, and they could work and get inspired while in the comfort of their own home. 

3892 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Image credit: Compass

Related: Take a Tour of Lenny Kravitz’s House, a Massive 1,000-acre Farm Compound in Brazil

3892 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Image credit: Compass

It’s no wonder that the house comes with its own state-of-the-art recording studio, given that current owner Joey Waronker is an established and acclaimed musician and producer.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Waronker is best known for his work as a regular session musician with Beck and R.E.M. 

Throughout his career, Waronker has also recorded music with Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Johnny Cash, Sia, Rufus Wainwright, the Doobie Brothers, Leonard Cohen, and many more. He’s also played drums on Roger Waters’ 2017 album Is This the Life We Really Want?, and joined Waters’ band during the Us + Them Tour. 

Waronker joined forces with Thom Yorke, Flea, Nigel Godrich and Mauro Refosco to play material on Yorke’s The Eraser album in three Los Angeles dates in October 2009. The band, now called Atoms for Peace, toured the U.S. in 2010. Waronker is also part of the experimental band Ultraista, formed in 2008. 

More real estate news

Hit Songwriter Ali Tamposi Is Selling Her Gorgeous Mini-Compound in Los Feliz
Bravo’s “Flipping Out” Star Jeff Lewis’ Personal Home is on the Market
Once America’s Most Expensive Home, This Bel-Air Mansion Sold for $94 Million
Scott Disick’s New Flip, a Stunning Contemporary Farmhouse, Hits the Market for $6.89 Million

Source: fancypantshomes.com

14 Items You Should Never Put Down the Drain

No one wants to worry about their toilet overflowing or their sink refusing to drain. Luckily there are ways to avoid the build-up that leads to these unfortunate scenarios. We have 14 items you should never put down the drain. These things will either clog up the pipes in your home or leak chemicals into our marine environment. Regardless, they should be avoided whenever possible.

graphic of a household cleaning productgraphic of a household cleaning product

1. Household cleaners

Many household cleaners contain chemicals like bleach that mix with the water and leak into the waterways. These chemicals can be deadly for marine life and cause erosion in your pipes.

How to dispose of household cleaners

Read the label on the cleaner to find the correct way to dispose of the product. Be sure to recycle the container if it’s recyclable.

Eco tip

Purchase all-natural cleaning products that are water-soluble and designed to safely go down the drain.

graphic of medicationgraphic of medication

2. Medication

If you are getting rid of unused, unwanted or expired pills, it’s important that you don’t flush them. The city waste treatment isn’t able to filter these medications, so they end up in the ocean. These pills leak chemicals that can impact aquatic animals by interfering with growth and reproduction.

How to dispose of medication

The FDA suggests discarding your unwanted medicines by mixing them with an unappealing substance like dirt, cat litter or coffee grounds in a sealed plastic bag. Then dispose of this in the garbage can. Be sure to remove your name and information from any prescription bottles before tossing them.

Eco tip

Rather than tossing these medications, bring them to a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day or controlled substance public disposal location. These programs have a secure process that disposes of them in a way that protects the environment.

graphic that shows paintgraphic that shows paint

3. Paint

Whether you’ve just repainted your home or are working on an art project, don’t pour your leftover paint down the drain. Paint is flammable, releases dangerous fumes and will stick to your pipes. The chemicals in the paint also can get into the waterways and be deadly to marine life.

How to dispose of paint

When done painting, be sure any excess paint is off the brush by scraping it against the edge of the can. If you have a large amount of paint you need to dispose of, find a household hazardous waste facility in your area that will take care of it.

Eco tip

Plan for your project. Use a decorating app to envision the color on the wall to make sure it’s the right one and then calculate the exact amount you’ll need. If you have too much paint and don’t want to take it to a disposal facility, try listing it for free on a selling app.

graphic that shows microplastics in a facial cleansergraphic that shows microplastics in a facial cleanser

4. Microplastics

Microplastics or microbeads are little bits of plastic that are used as filler in many health and beauty products. These plastics get into the oceans and are harmful to marine life. Not only is it bad for fish to consume these plastics, but humans can end up eating the fish that have this dangerous plastic in them.

How to dispose of microplastics

It’s impossible to catch these microplastics from going down the drain. Instead, you have to actively avoid products that have these plastics.

Eco tip

Avoid products that have colorful beads or list polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP) as an ingredient.

graphic that shows coffee groundsgraphic that shows coffee grounds

5. Coffee grounds

A highly debated topic is if it’s okay to dispose of coffee grounds in the sink. While many foods can be put down the garbage disposal, coffee grounds pose a problem. They tend to clump up in water and create a build-up in your pipes.

How to dispose of coffee grounds

These coffee grounds should be disposed of in a trash can, added to your compost pile or repurposed into a coffee ground DIY project.

Eco tip

Use the coffee grounds as fertilizer in your garden. If you don’t have a yard, add them to the plants on your balcony or windowsill.

graphic that shows plant growing in an egg shellgraphic that shows plant growing in an egg shell

6. Eggshells

While some garbage disposals can handle eggshells, most sinks can not. To err on the side of caution, resist putting the remnants of your breakfast down the drain. The shells break up into small, sticky pieces that attach to the inside of your pipes, causing a clog.

How to dispose of eggshells

You can throw these shells in the garbage or add them to your compost pile.

Eco tip

Try repurposing the shells by using them as containers to grow an herb garden in. You can even keep the herb plants in the original egg carton.

graphic that shows pastagraphic that shows pasta

7. Pasta

Another food that can cause a sticky situation is pasta. The noodles grow in size when they absorb water so if you put them in a wet drain, they will become enlarged and block the passageway.

How to dispose of pasta

Be sure to scrape any leftovers into a garbage bin.

Eco tip

It’s easy to cook too much pasta and be left with a feast. Instead, read the packaging to see how many servings of pasta it makes. This way you won’t have too much left over.

graphic that shows a flour baggraphic that shows a flour bag

8. Flour

You’ve probably experienced the thick paste that combining flour and water creates. Avoid producing this paste in your pipes whenever possible.

How to dispose of flour

If you’ve spilled a large amount when baking, use a vacuum to clean up the mess. For smaller counter spills, wipe the extra flour into a garbage can.

Eco tip

Transfer your flour to a reusable container that’s easy to use. This will keep the flour fresh for a long period of time and prevent spills.

graphic that shows oil in a mason jargraphic that shows oil in a mason jar

9. Grease, fat and oils

Grease, fat and oil should never be disposed of down the drain. These liquids, hot or cold, will dry and easily cling to the sides of the pipes. This plumbing backup will prevent water from coming through and can cause issues for your whole apartment complex or even neighborhood.

How to dispose of grease, fat and oils

Grease, fat and oils should be disposed of in a trash can. Let them cool and then spoon the solid leftovers into a container that can be thrown away. We suggest putting this container in a plastic bag that can be zipped or tied closed so animals won’t get into your trash.

Eco tip

It’s not advised to compost this leftover grease. The smell will attract all kinds of unwanted animals. However, you can reuse the grease and fat. After cooking, let it cool and strain the room temperature liquid into a mason jar to use for another recipe. You can store the mason jar in the fridge until you need it.

graphic that shows cotton ballsgraphic that shows cotton balls

10. Cotton balls

Cotton balls and Q-tips are commonly used in the bathroom, so it can be tempting to dispose of them in the toilet. This is a sure way to cause a clog. Cotton absorbs water and gets caught in pipe corners.

How to dispose of cotton balls

These should be disposed of in the trash can.

Eco tip

Try using reusable materials like a washcloth whenever possible. If you do use cotton balls or cotton swabs, be sure they are made of cotton rather than synthetic materials. Cotton can be composted.

graphic that shows collecting produce stickersgraphic that shows collecting produce stickers

11. Produce stickers

When you wash your produce in the kitchen sink, it’s likely that a produce sticker comes off. While this little paper might seem harmless, it doesn’t dissolve in water and can block screens, filters or pumps at the water treatment plant.

This has also become an issue for those who compost. They peel the fruit with the sticker and all the waste goes into their compost bin. Unfortunately, these stickers won’t decompose because they are made from vinyl or plastic.

How to dispose of produce stickers

Remove any stickers you find on produce and throw them in the garbage. Most produce stickers are not recyclable.

Eco tip

While there is a push for creating more sustainable PLU sticker alternatives, nothing has stuck. Rather than throwing them in the garbage, you can try collecting the stickers and have your kids create sticker art. Check out Stickerman Produce Art for some inspiration.

graphic that shows hair in a hair brushgraphic that shows hair in a hair brush

12. Hair

Have you ever had to deal with a clogged shower drain full of hair? It’s not a pretty sight. The same clog can happen if you flush hair down the toilet or bathroom sink. Whenever possible, try to prevent hair from going down the drain.

How to dispose of hair

Get a sink hair catcher and dispose of it in the trash.

Eco tip

Brush your hair (with an eco-friendly bamboo hairbrush) before you shower to prevent any loose hairs from going down the drain.

graphic that shows paper towelsgraphic that shows paper towels

13. Paper towels

While paper towels might seem interchangeable with toilet paper, the material is very different. They are thicker and not able to dissolve in water. This means paper towels should not be flushed because they will get stuck in the pipes and create a clog.

How to dispose of paper towels

Paper towels are usually made from recycled paper, so the fibers are too short to be recycled again. They also can’t usually be recycled because they contain dirt, food and chemicals that aren’t able to break down. This means to dispose of paper towels, you’ll have to throw them in the trash.

Eco tip

Try removing paper towels from your life. Replace them with cloth napkins and dish towels. If you have a large spill, use a sponge to clean it up.

graphic of kitty littergraphic of kitty litter

14. Kitty litter

Some brands of cat litter claim to be flushable, but it can still have a negative impact on your pipes and the ocean. Cat litter is designed to be absorbent, so when it’s flushed it absorbs the water and grows in size. This may cause a clog. In addition, the chemicals from the cat litter and the toxins in the feces can get in the local waterways and harm marine life.

How to dispose of kitty litter properly

Instead of flushing kitty litter, throw it away in a trash can. Be sure the trash can has a lid, or else other neighborhood animals might get into it, making a mess.

Eco tip

Look for more “green” litter that is made from recycled newspaper, wood shavings or other more natural recycled elements. This will be safer to dispose of because it doesn’t produce dust that clay litter does.

How to unclog your drain the natural way

Even if you’ve avoided putting these items down the drain, there can still be build-up that causes a clog in your drain. Rather than pouring another chemical down the drain or waiting for a plumber to arrive, try unclogging it with baking soda and vinegar.

  • Step 1: Pour a pot of boiling water down the drain.
  • Step 2: Add 1 cup of baking soda down the drain and then pour in 1 cup water and 1 cup of vinegar.
  • Step 3: Wait about 10 minutes for the solution to mix in the drain.
  • Step 4: Pour another pot of boiling water down the drain to clear the pipes.

If this natural cleaning method doesn’t work, you should contact your landlord or property management with a maintenance request. Professionals will have a better idea of what the issue is.

infographic of items to never put down the draininfographic of items to never put down the drain

Sources:

The Nest | mnn | Independent

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Queen Frontman Adam Lambert Sells Hollywood Hills Home for $2.92 Million

Adam Lambert, American Idol alum and current lead singer for legendary rock band Queen, has long been looking to part ways with his Hollywood Hills digs.

The singer recently re-listed his three-bedroom, 3,049-square-foot home nestled above the Sunset Strip for $3.35 million, after a failed previous attempt at selling the contemporary home. The house was first listed for sale back in 2017 for $3.995 million, with different representation.

But it wasn’t until The Agency’s Emil Hartoonian and Nicholas Siegfried took charge of the listing that the right buyer came in sight and Adam Lambert’s house finally sold for $2.92 million.

Granted, that’s $430,000 less than Lambert was asking — and $75k shy of what he paid for the home six years ago — but it’s worth noting that the artist has long moved on (he bough a $6.5 million house in a neighboring area back in 2018). But that doesn’t mean we won’t take a moment to soak in his former home’s beauty, and bid it a proper farewell.

adam lambert's house in hollywood hills
Adam Lambert’s house in Hollywood Hills. Image credit: The Agency

From the outside, Lambert’s house oozes rock star coolness. The architecture of the Los Angeles home is reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s clean-cut lines and geometric details. Most of the living spaces inside offer views of the outdoor swimming pool, and light flows in through massive, floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the house. 

The 1947-built house looks fresh and modern, but it also has a timeless vibe. The main level houses a light-filled, spacious living room, perfect for entertaining guests, and it features a sliding glass wall connecting it to the outdoor pool area. 

inside adam lambert's house in hollywood hills
Adam Lambert’s house in Hollywood Hills. Image credit: The Agency

The lower level also houses a fab designer kitchen featuring a massive kitchen island, marble finishes, high-end appliances, and an intimate breakfast setting. The kitchen also offers views of the poolside area. 

adam lambert's house in hollywood hills
Adam Lambert’s house in Hollywood Hills. Image credit: The Agency
adam lambert's house in hollywood hills
Adam Lambert’s house in Hollywood Hills. Image credit: The Agency

Upstairs, the master bedroom offers stunning views of the city lights and the glamorous Hollywood Hills. The suite also incorporates a gorgeous walk-in closet, a master spa, as well as a private terrace overlooking the pool. 

Adam Lambert’s former home also includes an additional suite that comes with its own private entrance. This room could be used as a private studio, a home office, a gym or even a home theater. 

adam lambert's house in hollywood hills
Adam Lambert’s house in Hollywood Hills. Image credit: The Agency

The private gated estate is also perfect for entertaining guests or just relaxing after a long day. The poolside lounge area offers complete privacy, right in the heart of Los Angeles, incorporating comfy couches and offering views of the house and the Hollywood Hills. 

Adam Lambert’s house in Hollywood Hills. Image credit: The Agency

According to the Los Angeles Times, Lambert won’t be moving far, as he paid $6.5 million back in 2018 for a bigger home just a mile away, in Hollywood Hills West.

Adam Lambert first rose to fame in 2009 after finishing as runner-up on the eighth season of American Idol. Since then, he has sold over 3 million albums and 5 million singles worldwide, with his second studio album, Trespassing, released in 2012, premiering at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 — making Lambert the first openly gay artist to top the charts. He followed that success with the release of his third album, The Original High, in 2015.

On top of his successful solo career, Lambert has been collaborating — and going on several worldwide tours — with legendary rock band Queen as lead vocalist for Queen + Adam Lambert. A recent Netflix documentary called The Show Must Go On: the Queen + Adam Lambert story chronicled how Adam Lambert took over from the legendary Freddie Mercury as the frontman for the rock group.

More celebrity homes

See Travis Scott’s New House: a $23.5M Ultra-Modern, Yacht-Inspired MansionSylvester Stallone Sells Villa Set in an Exclusive Golf Community Full of Celebrity Neighbors
Tour Dakota Johnson’s House in Hollywood, which She Calls ‘Her Anchor’
10 Major Celebrities — and Celebrity Couples — Who Call Beverly Hills Home

Source: fancypantshomes.com

FHA Will Insure Mortgages in Forbearance, With a Catch

Last updated on June 23rd, 2020

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) finally announced a new policy, which is temporary, to endorse mortgages where the borrower has requested or obtained COVID-19 forbearance.

Mortgagee Letter 2020-16 temporarily reverses the FHA’s existing policy that doesn’t permit FHA insurance for mortgages in forbearance.

The agency said the policy ensures “the safeguards of the FHA program continue to work for new homeowners facing a financial hardship due to COVID-19.”

Now before mortgage lenders get too excited about this, there is a major hitch. They must sign an indemnification agreement with the FHA that leaves them on the hook for 20% of the original loan amount if it goes bad.

What Are the Requirements for Insuring FHA Loans in Forbearance?

  • Borrower must be experiencing a financial hardship due directly or indirectly to COVID-19
  • Mortgage must have been current at time of request for forbearance
  • Mortgage must satisfy all requirements for FHA insurance at time of closing
  • Mortgagee must execute a two-year partial indemnification agreement

Aside from that pretty significant piece about lenders being liable for 20% of the original loan amount, there are also some general requirements that must be met.

First off, the borrower must be experiencing a financial hardship directly or indirectly related to COVID-19 and in a forbearance plan.

Additionally, they must have been current on the mortgage at the time they requested the forbearance.

In the letter, the FHA says “forbearance provided to borrowers experiencing a financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to COVID-19 is not considered the provision of funds by a Mortgagee to bring and/or keep the mortgage current or to provide the appearance of an acceptable payment history.”

In other words, the loan won’t be insurable if the borrower was already behind on the mortgage before asking for a break on payments.

Like any other FHA loan, it must satisfy all requirements for FHA insurance at the time of closing.

And as mentioned, the originating lender must execute a two-year partial indemnification agreement for 20% of the original loan amount.

The somewhat good news for lenders is that they’re only on the hook for that 20% if the mortgage goes into foreclosure and results in a claim to the FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance (MMI) Fund.

But it could lead to lender overlays, like higher credit scores or a max number of forborne payments, to limit the likelihood of these loans going sour.

May Have Been an Alternative to Raising Mortgage Insurance Premiums

forbearance rate

HUD Deputy Secretary Brian Montgomery said, “This policy helps address current and future capital issues for all lenders, including those who are not equipped to hold mortgages on their balance sheets for extended lengths of time.”

While maybe true, it doesn’t explain how they’ll pay those claims if lots of homes go into foreclosure in the two-year indemnification period.

However, the FHA did add that it won’t require upfront payments by lenders or an adjustment to FHA mortgage insurance premiums for such loans.

And added that it would “generally result in a reduction of the claim amount FHA would need to pay to the lender for defaulted mortgages.”

Lenders might have time on their side since the housing market is on pretty good footing and mortgage rates are super cheap, meaning housing payments should be more or less affordable.

Foreclosures also take quite a bit of time these days, so depending on when that clock starts ticking, there may not be too many claims.

Of course, I don’t know how comfortable lenders are sitting around and wondering if a home loan will go bad at some point. And it’s a two-year period to sit around and wait.

Earlier this week, the MBA said 11.82% of outstanding Ginnie Mae-backed loans (FHA/USDA/VA) loans were in forbearance, while Black Knight reported today that 12.3% of FHA/VA mortgages are now in forbearance.

But the number of homeowners in forbearance plans decreased for the first time since the crisis began, with 34,000 fewer homeowners in forbearance as of June 2nd thanks to a 43,000 decline among government-backed mortgages.

Read more: Fannie and Freddie Will Buy Loans in Forbearance

About the Author: Colin Robertson

Before creating this blog, Colin worked as an account executive for a wholesale mortgage lender in Los Angeles. He has been writing passionately about mortgages for nearly 15 years.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

Ua-Private, Historic New Jersey Colonial Mansion Is Looking for a Buyer

An opulent, yet extremely elegant mansion built way back in 1913 by Arts and Crafts movement developer Herbert J. Hapgood is up for sale in New Jersey. Located at 195 Boulevard in the planned community of Mountain Lakes, the house sits comfortably on 2.3 acres of lush, landscaped land, and offers all the modern-day commodities, while still maintaining its original Colonial charm. 

The five-bedroom, five-bathroom home is being marketed by Susanne Sylvester of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, with an asking price of $1,895,000.

Seamlessly blending the classic Colonial Style with contemporary features, having been renovated in 2016, the property is a legitimate architectural gem. 

house for sale at 195 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes NJ
195 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes NJ. Image credit: Coldwell Banker

Back in 1910, local Dutch engineer Lewis Van Duyne enlisted the help of developer Herbert J. Hapgood to turn his vision for the rural woodland of Mountain Lakes into reality, by building a planned community of homes, today known as ‘the Lakers.’ The community took just 10 years to build, and to this day it maintains what is probably the highest concentration of Craftsman-style houses in the country. It’s also been added to the National Registry of Historic Places. 

The mansion at 195 Boulevard in Morris County, N.J., still boasts that Arts and Crafts, Dutch Colonial vibe, even though it underwent a renovation in 2016. The house offers plenty of open, airy spaces, inundated with natural light, and a cozy, warm ambiance due to the neutral color palette and the use of exquisite, rich materials and fabrics like wood and velvet. 

house for sale at 195 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes NJ
195 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes NJ. Image credit: Coldwell Banker

SEE ALSO: John Wick’s Real-Life House in New York is as Mysterious as Our Favorite Badass Character

house for sale at 195 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes NJ
195 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes NJ. Image credit: Coldwell Banker

The home incorporates five bedrooms, five full bathrooms, as well as a three-car garage and an additional 12 uncovered parking spaces. The rooms are spacious but warm, airy but cozy, impeccably decorated and equipped with all the necessary modern amenities. 

The living space is exquisite; there is a massive living room, a luxurious dining room, an elegant lounging area with an old-school, wooden bar and plenty of space for entertaining guests, as well as a laundry room, utilities room, mud room, sun room, pantry and storage room.

house for sale at 195 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes NJ
195 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes NJ. Image credit: Coldwell Banker
house for sale at 195 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes NJ
195 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes NJ. Image credit: Coldwell Banker

SEE ALSO: Robert Downey Jr. Lives in this Charming Windmill House in the Hamptons

house for sale at 195 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes NJ
195 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes NJ. Image credit: Coldwell Banker
house for sale at 195 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes NJ
195 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes NJ. Image credit: Coldwell Banker

There’s also a master bedroom, beautifully crafted with a walk-in closet, abundant natural light and a working fireplace. In fact, you’ll find fireplaces and old-school ceiling fans throughout the house, in most of the rooms and common areas. The house is equipped with all the modern-day sensors and security systems, as well. 

The outdoor space that surrounds this luxurious estate is even more impressive, the house being completely secluded and protected by tall, luscious trees and vegetation. There’s a giant pool complete with enough poolside lounging space to entertain friends and family. 

Next to the fabulous pool, there’s also a 1,000-square-foot cedar pool house addition that features soaring cathedral ceilings, window walls, a full bath, and a gourmet granite grillmaster’s kitchen. 

house for sale at 195 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes NJ
195 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes NJ. Image credit: Coldwell Banker
house for sale at 195 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes NJ
195 Boulevard, Mountain Lakes NJ. Image credit: Coldwell Banker

If you’re interested and want to see more of this fab home for sale, check out this video to get a taste of what it might actually be like to live there. 

More beautiful homes

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Timelessly Elegant, Architect-Owned Townhouse in the Heart of Manhattan Back on the Market for $17M
Newly Listed $1.8M Condo Spans an Entire Floor of a Stylish Pre-War Building in Cobble Hill
Rare 250-Year-Old Townhouse in the Heart of Old Town Alexandria Asks $2.2M

Source: fancypantshomes.com

The Budget Mom’s Secret: Managing Money Her Own Way

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in June 2019.

Kumiko Love is known online by the moniker The Budget Mom, but money management didn’t always come naturally to her.

Having a finance degree didn’t make her immune to money issues. Not long after graduating college in 2011, Love was staring down a mountain of over $100,000 of debt — a combination of student loans, credit card debt and medical bills. She had poor spending habits and couldn’t stick to a budget.

“I got really depressed over my finances,” says Love, a divorced mom of one. “Here I was a financial professional and I couldn’t even figure out how to manage my own income. And for me, that was not only embarrassing but it was really frustrating. I wanted to excel in my field and I felt like if I couldn’t do it with my own finances, how was I going to help other people?”

A Budgeting Journey Begins

Love’s money management struggles didn’t come from lack of trying. She experimented with a bunch of budgeting methods but continuously found herself giving up on each one.

Love felt disconnected from her money when she recorded transactions electronically with an Excel spreadsheet. Budgeting for an entire month at a time didn’t translate well to getting paid twice a month. Using cash envelopes for everything, including bills, was too much of a headache. Personal finance guru Dave Ramsey wanted her to save just $1,000 for emergencies and then funnel money toward debt, but that didn’t feel like enough of a safety net.

“Every single time, I felt like I was failing because I wasn’t reaching my financial goals the way I thought I should be,” Love says. “In fact, I got so frustrated and stressed out I just gave up.”

For about a year, she didn’t attempt to budget her money. Though she paid her bills on time, she wasn’t saving money or tackling debt.

Love eventually hit an “aha” moment when she learned about the psychology and emotions behind spending and money management while studying to earn her Accredited Financial Counselor designation.

“It really sparked a new positivity in me,” she says.

Instead of viewing her struggles as failures, Love flipped her perspective and started examining the ways she found small successes with each budgeting method she tried. She picked apart each strategy, focusing on which elements worked for her. From there, she was on her way.

Creating a Budgeting System on Her Terms

Love combined key elements of three budgeting methods — calendar budgeting, paycheck budgeting and the cash envelope system — to come up with a custom method she dubbed the budget-by-paycheck method.

She uses a calendar to stay on track of expected expenses and bills throughout the month and creates a budget each time she gets paid. The cash envelopes come in handy for variable expenses — categories like “food,” “fun” and “beauty.” Using cash makes her budget tangible and prevents her from overspending. Love also has envelopes set up as sinking funds to save for future expenses like travel, holidays and her son’s birthday.

Throughout the month, Love tracks her spending and saving, and she closes out her budget at the end of the month to analyze her progress.

As for that mountain of debt?

“I paid off all my debt, which is a huge, huge thing for me,” says Love, who quit her job in 2019 to work full-time on The Budget Mom. “I am now able to save for the things that I want.”

How Becoming ‘The Budget Mom’ Changed Her Life

Love came up with the budget-by-paycheck method in 2015. By 2016, she decided to share her story, blogging as The Budget Mom.

She started The Budget Mom because she felt like she never got the whole picture when she was looking for budgeting help online.

“I was getting thrown examples and step-by-step instructions, but the burning questions that I felt could really help me weren’t being discussed,” Love says. “When someone gave me an example about budgeting, the first question I always had [was], ‘Why?’”

Love not only strives to share the reasons behind her spending and saving strategies, but she’s very transparent about her finances on her blog, in YouTube videos and in Instagram posts.

“I didn’t want to just tell people how to budget,” she says. “I wanted to show them what it really looked like for a real person to use a real budget in their real life. I wanted them to not only see my numbers but be able to explain to them: I’m feeling this way, this is what I’m thinking, and this is why I’m making this financial decision.”

Love says she wants her audience to feel confidence, hope and inspiration when connecting with her platform.

I didn’t want to just tell people how to budget. I wanted to show them what it really looked like for a real person to use a real budget in their real life.

These days, Love’s life is very different from when she was a recently divorced mom trying to raise her little boy alone.

“I was struggling to even figure out how was I going to make my monthly payments to now running a successful 7-figure business, being debt free,” she says.

Love’s son, James, is the inspiration behind what she does. He’s the reason she won’t give up on budgeting again.

“When my son was born, something happened to me,” she says. “I discovered a love that I didn’t know existed … but on top of that I felt a whole bunch of pressure. Here I was, a struggling mom and now I have this itty bitty human that’s completely dependent on me and my decisions.”

James has had a front seat to his mom’s budgeting journey and has naturally picked up important lessons about money along the way — shaping him into a conscious spender.

“We went out to get ice cream and we went to the park and before we left the house he said, ‘Mom, how much money do we have in our fun envelope?’” Love recalls. “He knows that whether or not we go and get ice cream depends on how much is in mom’s fun envelope.”

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com