Frugal Fun: Taking the Entire Family to a Baseball Game for Cheap

Who doesn’t love going to a baseball game? A warm summer day.  A cold beer.  A hot dog.  Your favorite team.  Your friends and family.  Honestly, what could be better?

baseball game for cheapIt’s all great … until you see your empty wallet or your credit card bill. Major League Baseball games, along with the other major sports, are expensive and a real hit to a family’s budget.

You want to have a great (and carefree) time with the family on a Saturday afternoon. You want to give the kids some fun ballpark food – hot dog, soda, popcorn, pretzels, ice cream, and water ice.  And you want to get them a baseball, hat, shirt, and that giant foam finger that’s become a cliché.  Sure, it’s all part of the ballpark experience.

But, it comes at quite a hit to the wallet. That’s why I’ve compiled a few ideas here to help your family have that ballpark experience at a much more budget-friendly cost.

Attend a minor league baseball game instead of an MLB game.

I know it might be tough for you as an adult to sit through a minor league game. If you’re like me, you want to watch your favorite MLB team (Phillies for me) and that’s it.  However, I do appreciate baseball the game itself.  I can have any baseball game on TV and be completely happy.

For the family, go to a minor league game or an independent league game. Everything is much cheaper – from the tickets to the food and merchandise.

The caliber of play may not be the same as the MLB, but the caliber of fun will be. In the end, that is all that matters.  Plus, your budget will be happy too!

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House Poor: What it is and How to Avoid it

Have you ever felt like a complete and utter failure?  I am talking about a total breakdown, tail between your legs, wondering how life will go on from here … flat out FAILURE.  That’s how I felt on that fateful day in the stairwell at my auditing job while speaking with my wife. I had finally come to grips with the fact that we had to move because we were house poor.

That meant selling the house where we started our married life together in 2011.  Here we were, less than 5 years later, having to sell it.  We wouldn’t see the fifth year anniversary of our wedding or closing date in our home.

house poorIt was the realization of our EPIC FAILURE.

It was the house our first child (Davey Joe) came home from the hospital to. The home where my wife become a rock star real estate agent in the area and we spent countless nights scheming for her to continue her rise.  The neighborhood where we spent at least two summers planting countless miniature U.S. flags for July 4th.  The house and a community that we called home was now quickly going to become a place to visit.

The holidays around the dining room table that we got for free. We hauled the damn thing in a rented pickup truck for a half hour or so hoping that it wouldn’t tip over into traffic.

The blood, sweat and many tears that went into painting walls, laying floors, and hanging crown molding. My wife and in-laws did the majority of the work while I went to my job.

It was the home where we learned our pug had lymphoma. But, the little girl beat the odds and was cured.

We experienced ups and downs while we lived there for sure. That said, we loved that house.  We loved that neighborhood.  And we loved that town.

Unfortunately, we were the very cause of our own downfall. We created the circumstances that lead us to have to sell our first home and relocate.

Let me explain where we went wrong and how we bounced back.

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How I Paid Off $20,000 in Student Loan Debt

Remember when you just graduated college?  The very last thing you ever thought about was student loan debt.

After all, you were so excited to take on the world.  You thought you had a plan for your life and, if you were lucky, you had a job lined up before graduation.

paid off student loan debtNo, you didn’t worry about budgets.  You probably didn’t even know what debt was.  Wasn’t a bill something your parents paid?

Then, you get your first paycheck and it’s not as big as you would hoped.  Taxes and all other fun stuff rob you of that juicy gross income.  Further, you get smacked with a student loan bill that you may have not even realized existed.

When Anna and I were just starting out, we neglected to keep a budget.  We paid for the big television package that had all the interesting business channels that we enjoyed watching.  Yes, we are news and financial nerds.

One Saturday night, in particular, we sat down to watch some TV before bed and on came Dave Ramsey on the Fox Business Network.  His opening line was (which is all too familiar to us now) was about living like no one else, so that someday you can live like no one else.

That line really stuck with us.  And it lead to a big mindset shift for us.

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Have a Frugal Easter Holiday

With Easter right around the corner, do you find yourself waiting for just ONE MONTH without a holiday?

frugal easter holidayJust one month so you can play catch up and ACTUALLY SAVE your goal savings amount. I understand you and a lot of other people out there are with you.

As parents, we are constantly pulled in two directions. Do we save money?  Or do we buy our little one that extra gift or two?  You tell yourself it’s what your parents did for you.  You rationalize it by thinking it’s a holiday!

Again, I’m with you and I get it. My wife and I are navigating these waters as well with our young son.  It’s not an easy thing.  You see the little face and you just want to give them the world.

However, we all need to be role models for our children. To do that, we sometimes need to make the difficult, but necessary decisions.  Can you say adulting?   (Side note: I hate that term and my spell check doesn’t even recognize it).

That’s why I found some top blog posts from the last few years that I wanted to share as we prepare for Easter. I know Easter isn’t as expensive as Christmas or the child’s birthday, but candy, baskets, and presents can begin to break any well-intentioned parent’s budget very quickly.

Fear not. I found some great tips from other amazing bloggers that can keep you on budget this Easter holiday.

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Become Financially Independent in Your 30s

I have always wanted to become financially independent in my 30s.  It has always been a goal of mine.  It all started for me around 2007 and it coincided with meeting my wife in 2006.  She introduced me to Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.  Kiyosaki talked about his Rich Dad, who understood how money worked and built businesses.  He was his friend’s father.  His Poor Dad (his own father) was a schoolteacher and was a slave to money.

become financially independent in your 30sKiyosaki spoke about how he learned that having a business is a bridge to building wealth and introduced us all to the E/S/B/I triangle.  E for Employee, S for Self-Employed, B for Business, and I for Investing.  The goal was to move away from being an employee or self-employed (which Kiyosaki called owning a job) and move into the B/I side.  Your goal was to build a business that you could use to invest  From there, you could build true, sustainable wealth.

And I was hooked.  I wanted financial freedom really bad.  These days it’s called “Financially Independent, Retire Early,” or FIRE.  Yes, it’s still a strong desire of mine and one that I’m committed to achieving in the coming years.

What about you?  Are you new to the concept of financial independence?  Have you ever considered it?  Consider some of the points below as a way to jump start your FIRE goals!

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Emergency Fund: Why You Need this 5 Step Savings Plan

We’ve all been there in some fashion: having to put a big unexpected expense on the credit card because we didn’t have an emergency fund.

emergency fundYou go in for your state inspection and you find out that your car needs new tires.

You wake up one morning to find out the toilet in your guest bathroom fell through the ceiling and is now in your living room. (This actually happened to my parents’ place at the Jersey shore.  Luckily, they weren’t there at the time and a contractor let them know).

Your little one gets sick and you have a high deductible. You take him to the emergency room and thank God he’s alright.  But, hooray!  We have more bills to pay!  Emergency room visits aren’t cheap.

The point is life happens. Expenses sneak up on you here and there.

If you’re like many people out there, you’re likely not prepared for them.

So, what do you do? You put them on your credit card.  That’s what everybody does, right?  Not exactly.  The Credit Card Catastrophe might be a reality for those in your inner circle, but there are actually people out there who are prepared for life’s emergencies.

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Debt Paydown: 9 Ways We Paid Off $60,000 in Debt

Are you in need of a major debt paydown?

I’ve been in thousands of dollars of debt a few times in my life.

debt paydownThe first was when I graduated college in 2006.  I left school with $20,000 in student loan debt.  Four years later, I was debt free.

That was until I bought my wife her engagement ring for $10,000.  Fortunately, it appraised for double and I paid the ten grand off in a year.

In 2016, we paid off $30,000 in credit card debt.  We accumulated this debt beginning in 2015.  My wife and I were working in real estate together.  She worked the business full-time and I helped manage things on a part-time basis in addition to my full-time job as an auditor.

Everything changed for us in the middle of March 2015.  It was when my wife saw the 8-week sonogram of my our son, Davey Joe (David Joseph).  My wife fell in love immediately.  It was indeed love at first sight.

After the appointment, we got in the car.  She turned to me and said, “I’m done.”  I asked her what she meant.  She proceeded to tell me that she wanted to close up shop with our real estate business and focus exclusively on nesting and motherhood.

We purchased our $455,000 at that time in a rather expensive zip code in 2011.  We bought that on an auditor’s and teacher’s salary.  My wife left teaching to become a real estate agent.  With our real estate business, we had $250,000 coming in annually.  Now, we were going to drastically drop that down to $75,000 — my salary alone.

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Budget Tips: 6 Ideas That Actually Work

BUDGET.  ​It’s that dirty word that nobody dare even whisper.  It’s so dirty it might even be considered a four-letter word (even though it has six letters).  The word strikes fear budget tipsinto all those immune to accountability and responsibility.  I can hear the audible gasps and sighs coming through the screen.  But, have no fear.  We’re going to walk you through this and give you some excellent budget tips so you can finally begin your journey to financial fitness.

Now, it’s time to learn about these 6 budget tips that actually work.  You can begin fixing your financial situation right away.  Ready?  Here we go!

Budget Tip #1: Figure out what your weekly expenses are and begin tracking every expense.

We all must learn to walk before were can run.  The same goes for this.  You need a budget before you can hope to squash debt or achieve financial freedom.  You need to be able to run 3.1 miles before you can run 6, 13.1 or 26.2 miles.

Your “walking” from a financial sense is budgeting.  And “walking” for budgeting purposes is getting all your expenses accounted for.  Begin by using every single one of these budget tips.

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