The 7-Step System Proven to Financially Set You Free

Today, I’m going to share with you something about which I’m very passionate! When it comes to helping people get out of debt and get ahead with their money, it’s hard to beat the Baby Steps.

What are the Baby Steps you ask? It’s what millions of people worldwide will attest to helping them get control of their money. It’s what Dave Ramsey put together about 25 years ago as he worked his way out of financial ruin.

It’s what my wife and I have been following for the three years of our marriage. And it works.

Now, without wasting time, let’s get an overview of the Baby Steps to start! Then we’ll go a little more in depth on each one.

The 7 Baby Steps

Baby Step 1: Save $1,000 in a beginner emergency fund.

Emergencies are a part of life, whether we like it or not (we don’t)! That’s why you need an emergency fund! You’re going to start out with $1,000. It might not seem like much but it will just be enough to get you by while you pay off your debt. Don’t freak out. Keep your pants on till step 3 at least.

Baby Step 2: Pay off all debt except for the house.

This is where your wild comes out! You’re going to pay off debt like there’s no tomorrow.

Or, uh, like there is a tomorrow and a collector is going to call you..

Anyway, the point of this step is to rid yourself of all non-mortgage debt. That means everything. How are you going to do it? Use the debt snowball.

The Debt Snowball

This is where you pay the minimums on all the debts you have except for the smallest one. Then you put all you possibly can towards paying off that smallest debt. Once that’s gone, you do the same with the next smallest one. When that’s gone, you do it on the next one.

It might not be the best way to pay off debt mathematically, but it will help you gain momentum which is what we care most about. Most people would think they should pay off the highest interest rate debt first. Ultimately, it’s up to you, but if you stick to the debt snowball, you will gain momentum and will knock it out. People do it all the time.

Baby Step 3: Save 3-6 months of expenses for emergencies.

This is where your finances get just a tad more comfortable! You already have your $1,000 emergency fund (presuming there wasn’t an emergency that happened within the last paragraph). Now just expand it to 3-6 months!

Make sure you don’t get confused here — it’s not 3-6 months of incomes, just expenses. Calculate your expenses for a month and just multiply it by 3 or 6. Now, this is going to depend more on you and your comfort level. Do you have consistent income or inconsistent income? Do you have a high or low risk tolerance? Choose how many months you want covered based on that.

Make sure you save this fund into a place you can get to it quickly. That means no investing with it. Just throw it in a high yield savings account and watch it grow slowly but surely.

Baby Step 4: Save 15 % of your income for retirement.

Did someone say retirement? Travel?

This step takes some extra self discipline because you have to be willing to give up a good chunk of your money to ensure you don’t have nothing in the future.

Wherever you work, go to your HR representative and ask about a retirement account. Most employers have them. If they offer an employer match, make sure you take advantage of it!

One thing to note: You want to be putting your retirement money into a tax-favored account. That means putting it into a Roth 401(k) and a Roth IRA. These will allow you to pay taxes on the money you contribute now, and then, when you retire, you’ll be able to withdraw the money plus all the growth at no tax rate.

Baby Step 5: Save for college for your children.

Some parents like to ensure their child never has any debt. Other parents find they prefer to teach their child the value of money by making them pay for everything in college. My parents did somewhat of a hybrid. It’s completely up to you.

Baby Step 6: Pay off the house early.

Don’t wait till the end of the mortgage! Throw some extra payments on that now as you are able. Make sure it goes straight to the principle. This will be your last EVER debt!

I am so unbelievably excited to pay off our house early. It’ll still be a while but I am motivated.

Also, just so you know, Baby Steps 4, 5, and 6 are to be completed simultaneously.

Baby Step 7: Build wealth and give.

Continue what you’re doing except now you can add more money into that retirement account! Maybe you want to start investing in real estate. Now’s the time!

And most importantly, give outrageously. Generous people are attractive people.

Do the Baby Steps Work?

Absolutely. They have worked for millions of people.

Here’s why I like the Baby Steps. Out in the world are gobs of people trying to help you hack your life financially. They’ll tell you about credit card churning, traveling on credit card points, etc. just to make a little extra cash. I like the Baby Steps because it’s simple. There are no if’s and’s or but’s. It works the same way for everyone, regardless of life circumstance, salary, etc.

And it’s a proven method that will work for you too.

Why a Self-Proclaimed Money Nerd Doesn’t Use Credit Cards

I’ve been asked on a few occasions why I don’t use credit cards.

“I mean, you get points and cash back and if you pay it off, it isn’t a problem, right?”

Yes, true! I love rewards. I sign up for a lot of rewards programs to take advantage of saving money. And there are some tempting benefits to credit cards.

Credit Card Pros

  1. Security: Credit cards have great security. If your card number is stolen and illegal purchases were made without you knowing, all it takes is a call to the credit card company to have it taken off your account. They’ll send you a new card and you’ll still have access to your money in your bank account.
  2. Credit: Credit cards give you the opportunity to build credit so it’s easier to get loans if you need them.
  3. Rewards: Credit cards allow you to get rewards on the money you spend on a regular basis whether that is through cash back or airline points.
  4. Insurance: Credit cards can give you an extra layer of insurance on items you buy. Some provide some extra comprehensive insurance on a rental car, or maybe theft protection of items purchased in the last 90 days.

So why don’t I want to take advantage of these benefits? Do I just not see how I could make credit cards work for me?

I can see it. I really can. I’m so aware of my financial status, I could easily make the benefits work for me and make me more money.

Let’s get into why.

The Dreaded Cons

The credit card is a product. In 2019, the average American’s credit card balance was $6,194. And just this year, the average credit card interest rate was 15.78%.

That means the credit card companies are making billions upon billions of dollars from people who can’t afford to use credit cards.

Credit cards are heavily marketed in America. It’s pretty clear why. The companies make a ton of money off people who can’t pay them off every month.

I think everyone uses the excuse that credit cards are okay because you can just pay them off every month. But statistics show real life looks different than intentions.

Here’s Why I Don’t Use Credit Cards

I love talking money with people so much that I got training to be a financial coach from Ramsey Solutions. I want other people to enjoy the freedom of no debt.

The reason I don’t use credit cards is because I want to show people that they can live without them. Those who come to me for financial coaching are more likely to be those who need to quit using credit cards entirely to get their financial lives back in shape.

Those stats I showed above? People who need financial coaching are the ones paying over 15% in interest on their credit cards. Sure, credit cards carry some great benefits, but not for these people.

And I can’t in good conscience use credit cards while I tell other they shouldn’t. I can’t do it.

I don’t want someone who is deeply entrenched in credit card debt to say, “Well, Caleb uses credit cards and pays it off every month. I can do it too.”

I want them to say, “Caleb is proof I don’t have to use credit cards any more and he can support me in that decision.” That’s why part of Dave Ramsey’s baby steps involves cutting up the credit cards and never using them again. Credit cards are designed to make money for corporations, not you. So I want to support people who need to do this by not using credit cards myself.

Some Other Benefits to Ditching the Credit Cards

Personally, I’ve found a couple other reasons I don’t need to use a credit card.

  1. Debit cards have similar security measures. I am on our checking account fairly frequently. If there is a fraudulent purchase, all I have to do is inform the bank as soon as I see it and they will take care of refunding me that money and sending me a new debit card.
  2. I don’t need credit. I don’t like payments at all so I have committed to paying for everything with cash from here on out. Contrary to popular opinion, you actually don’t need credit to purchase a house. If you go with a company that does manual underwriting (like Churchill Mortgage), you can still obtain a mortgage with a great interest rate, no credit needed.
  3. I find it is far easier for me to track my finances just based on using a debit card. I never have to wonder if I have enough money in my bank account to pay for my credit card bill because every time I purchase anything, that money is take straight out of my account. Seriously. I have to legitimately live below my means because if I don’t, I run out of money. I’m much more careful that way.

I Understand Why People Like Credit Cards but…

There are some nice benefits on the surface. I just can’t justify it myself with the type of financial help I want to provide to people.

I honestly don’t have a problem with people using credit cards. People will do what people will do. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t encourage someone to get rid of credit cards if I had the chance. In fact, if I ever coach you in your finances, you can bet I’ll encourage you to cut them up. But money is such a sensitive topic, I don’t want to push people away because I’m giving them unsolicited advice on credit card use.

And I know that not everyone is the same. Many people pay for food on credit cards because they don’t have the money to pay for it any other way. If that’s you, please please please fill out this form below so we can talk about your situation. I promise to give you hope.

Do you use credit cards? Why or why not? I want to hear from you in the comments below!

What are you going to NOT buy today?

What are you not going to purchase today? I want to know in the comments!

Black Friday is all about spending money and getting killer deals. I love me a good killer deal. I’ll probably get some today to be honest.

And by all means, get some Christmas shopping done or pick up that item you’ve been eyeing for a while. Just don’t go buy stuff for the sake of buying stuff.

I fear that many people are just like me in that it is so easy to make excuses for purchasing things when there are good deals. Black Friday is a PERFECT excuse for a spender like me. Though I’m more of an online shopper than an in-store one.

Amazon Prime, yo. ✌🏻

Regardless, if something is a good deal, it doesn’t mean you have to purchase it. We don’t want to steal from our future by frivolously spending money now. 

If you are going to buy something today, go for it, but be intentional about it. Don’t make an impulse decision!

Now, tell me what you didn’t buy! Personally, I did not buy some new tennis shoes even though my current pair are wearing out. Let me know in the comments down below!

How to Break Down a Budget so it’s Simple

Budgets are daunting if you aren’t a numbers person. Just getting it set up for the first time is challenging. How are you supposed to know how much money to put into each category? What’s the “responsible” percentages? How to adult?

11 Hilarious Memes About Adulting and Money

Below is a breakdown. 

  • 10% in Giving
  • 10% in Saving 
  • 25% in Housing 
  • 5-10% in Utilities
  • 10-15% in Food
  • 10% in Transportation 
  • 5-10% in Medical/Health
  • 10-25% in Insurance
  • 5-10% in Personal
  • 5-10% in Recreation
  • 5-10% in Miscellaneous

Now, of course, these aren’t perfect for everyone. These are recommended percentages straight from Ramsey Solutions based on research and experience. Percentages are going to be different based on your situation. 

If you have a higher than average salary, some of your categories are going to be much smaller! Like food in particular.

These percentages are a great place to start. Get started budgeting today and break down your spending into these categories. See what percentage you’re putting into each per month. How are you going to have to change your finances in order to hit these targets? 

Let’s look at an example

Let’s pretend you make $50,000 per year. After taxes, you would have about $3300 left per month. Let’s break this down so you can see exactly where you’d be at.

Giving: $330

Whether it is 10% of your pre-tax or your post-tax income, what organizations are doing important work in your eyes that you want to give to? Personally, Bailey and I are Christians and give to our church because we believe in it’s mission.

Giving is important because this is how you keep a healthy perspective of money. I know for me, it keeps my greed in check and reminds me that I’m merely a manager of the money I have.

Saving: $330

Ultimately, we want to get to a higher savings rate than 10%. This is a healthy start, though. Keep in mind, the goal is to hit 15% in saving for retirement. But if you aren’t used to saving, 10% is a great way to get you to that fully funded 3-6 month emergency fund.

Housing: $825

This means keep rent below this if you live in an apartment or a house. Or it means keep your mortgage payment at or below this including property taxes. We’ll cover insurance in a minute.

Utilities: $165-$330

Get your electric, gas, sewer, garbage and water below this all together!

Food: $330-495

Food is an important one and here’s why. Most people spend way too much on food!

People go to the grocery store with no plan, buy things they didn’t plan to buy, get name brand items when generic is almost identical, AND spend far too much eating out.

Food is a simple section of the budget where money can almost vanish without you realizing it. Keep your food budget in check!

Transportation: $330

This will include anything from gasoline to maintenance on your car(s).

For transportation, Bailey and I have two lines. One for gas and one for car maintenance. Maintenance is hard to factor in since it’s not a consistent monthly expense (some months, we spend absolutely nothing on maintenance even though our cars are 180k+ miles). However, if you start a sinking fund for maintenance, it’ll be ready to go when your car isn’t!

Health/Medical: $165 – $330

You’re going to get sick and bad things will happen so be prepared! Of course, insurance does take care of a lot of health and medical things, but you still need to pay for anything from doctor’s visits to medications to deductibles to bandaids. Maybe even bandaids with Olaf on them.

Insurance: $330 – $825

So much insurance!

Home insurance, renter’s insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, health insurance, identity theft coverage – it all counts. Shop around. Get an insurance broker who can shop around for you. They know the industry and can find the best rates while comparing all your options.

Personal: $165 – $330

This is Bailey’s and my favorite section of the budget. We call it the blow funds. I wrote about this recently and you can read it here.

What I love about the blow fund is it is designed to give you some flexibility in your budget. I am convinced that we spend less money on frivolous things because we have blow funds. Then we keep ourselves to a certain amount of personal money instead of spending far more money on a bunch of little justifications.

Make a personal category and let yourself splurge a little each month. Just don’t go overboard!

Recreation: $165 – $330

Here’s the section for any of those entertainment items like clubs, concerts or going to the movies. Though, you might be saving a little money in this category with current Covid restrictions!

Miscellaneous: $165 – $330

Last one. This is for all the miscellaneous items that come up throughout the month. For example, our dog, Jack’s collar broke and we have to purchase a new one! Or we need paint for repainting our living room.

How was I not expecting that?

Regardless, this all goes into miscellaneous. Plus, then it won’t screw up any of my other categories.

Wait! Before you make your new budget!

Here are a couple very important things.

  1. This did not include paying off debt.
  2. This is only a guideline.

If you are in debt, I recommend paying it off as quickly as possible. This means sacrificing some serious money in a lot of those above categories so you can make some progress on your debt payoff.

Check out Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps in order to get some good direction on paying off debt and getting ahead financially.

Remember, this percentage breakdown is a guideline.

Not everyone’s percentages are going to be the same. Personally, our savings rate is a little higher because we’re preparing for some big home renovation projects coming down the line.

Also, remember you have to make your percentages add up to 100%. If you take the higher number from all of those category ranges, you’ll be over 100% and that’s a good way to go further into debt!

Budget is important. Don’t put it off.

The important thing is start budgeting today! A positive view of money starts with telling it where to go versus wondering where it went. There are lots of great apps you can use for a budget. Check out some that I think are great options here.

If you find you need more help getting your finances in order or even just getting a start on budgeting, shoot me an email at or sign up for a free call below. I’ll coach you through paying off debt and making an effective budget! First session is always free. Start today, don’t way till tomorrow. ⁣

So how’s your budget looking? Are your percentages in the right place? Do you even have a budget? If you are in need of budgeting help, I’m happy to do a free budget review. Just contact me through my website and we’ll start getting you on the right track.

Budget How-To: The Blow Fund

This week we covered a sinking fund. Basically, it’ just a section of the budget for setting aside a certain amount of money per month in preparation for a predictable expense. A couple examples we used were anything from Christmas savings to saving for a house or car. Today, we’re going to look at a type of sinking fund: The Blow Fund.

The Blow Fund

What is the blow fund? I actually took this term from our pastor when he mentioned off hand how he and his wife budget fun money. Each month, he and his wife get the same amount of money put into their blow fund. And each is allowed to blow their money on anything they want without having to talk to the other.

I liked that idea a lot when Bailey and I were engaged so we implemented it into our first budget.

$30 a month.

Not a lot but hey, one of us was in college. We had other expenses!

Since Bailey graduated, we splurged and upped our monthly blow fund money to $50 each. Okay, maybe it’s still not a lot.

Unlike a sinking fund for tires where you reach a goal and stop saving (like $600), the blow fund doesn’t leave the budget. Every month the same money is set aside for this. It can continue to grow. Last October I had $400 in my blow fund!

What about monetary gifts for birthdays and Christmas?

We actually put these in our blow funds as well. I know some people who don’t but my opinion is that, if someone gives Bailey a gift for graduating from college, it’s a reward for pushing through. I’m fine with her getting to spend that on something she likes. And if we get money for birthdays or Christmas, we put that in our blow funds too.

Some people handle that differently. This has worked well for us though.

Why a Blow Fund is Important

I assume you don’t need me to lecture you on why a blow fund is important.

“I’m just glad you are telling me to spend money on frivolous purchases!”

Yeah, pretty much. But there’s a lot more depth to a blow fund than that.

A blow fund gives you some space in the budget for buying something you couldn’t justify otherwise. It gives you permission to be a little irresponsible.

That permission is important because it’ll help curb those frivolous desires otherwise. Instead of thinking “Ugh, I can’t buy that because we have to be ‘responsible'” it’s more like “Oh, I could buy that with my blow fund. But if I do, I’ll have less blow fund for something else so maybe I shouldn’t.”

If you give yourself no space in your budget for fun money, chances are you will actually spend far more on frivolous purchases than if you budgeted for it.

Don’t Go Overboard!

This is where you have to be careful. Don’t. Go. Overboard.

You go overboard and you could drown. Financial drowning is no fun.

Bailey and I kept our blow funds at a minimum while we were on one income and she was in school. $30 each, that’s it.

Now, we’re up to $50 each. Overall, that’s not a lot. It’s a small percentage of our budget but it does give us just enough space to spend money on some fun things we couldn’t justify otherwise.

A friend of mine tends to go overboard with his blow fund. He budgets out every month for the necessities and he also budgets a blow fund. But if that particular month brings the desire to purchase a radio for his motorcycle helmet and there isn’t enough money in the fund, he shifts money around so he can put more in the fund. It happens every month pretty predictably.

I want you to understand a blow fund is a great tool but you have to control it. Keep it consistent, don’t throw more in your blow fund just because you have money. Every time that happens, it takes away from your other goals like retirement (or another sinking fund!).

What do we spend our blow funds on?

Recently, Bailey has been obsessed with Happy Planners. She got one and now has an addiction to purchasing stickers for it. Like, all the stickers. She has used her blow fund to purchase 20 books of stickers.

She has over 16,000 stickers.

But she has a blow fund. That many stickers wouldn’t fly if it were coming out of our normal budget. But she can spend it how she wants!

I, on the other hand tend to save up for technology or larger things in general. Last year, I bought a used iPad and a used Apple Watch. I haven’t regretted either purchase!

Financial Coaching Designed for You

As always, if you find you are in need of help, set up a time with me for free and we’ll talk your money and your goals. I’m a Ramsey trained financial coach and I love talking money and providing hope. Just set up a 30-minute call with me and I’ll listen to your situation and help you determine what needs to happen. My guarantee is if you don’t make progress, you get your money back. I promise the investment in coaching will give you payback many times over. And the first session is free.

Budget How-To: Sinking Fund

Today we start a new series! We’ll be covering different categories of a budget to give you practical knowledge for starting or improving your own budget.

A budget is the building block of good finance. That is what will help you track your money and hit your financial goals.

The Sinking Fund

This is a fund created for anything that is predictable enough to save for. If it’s predictable, start a sinking fund for it.

One easy example is Christmas.

Christmas happens on the 25th of December every year! That’s the definition of predictable.

Creating a sinking fund for Christmas is as easy as this:

  1. Start one in your budget.
  2. Figure out how much you’ll spend at Christmas.
  3. Divide that number between the number of months till Christmas.

Example Time

The average person spends about $900 on gifts at Christmas. Let’s say our average friend, Steve, didn’t thinking about Christmas until this month, October. Steve can create a sinking fund then budget $300 for it in October, November, and December and boom! Steve doesn’t have to shell out $900 in December because he prepared in October and November as well.

Better yet, our average friend doesn’t have to pay off that $900 in January because he wasn’t prepared.

Budgeting App: EveryDollar

This is my favorite budgeting app. It helps you budget by encouraging you to give every dollar a place. Then you won’t be spending “extra cash” on coffee or Chipotle because you have it. Every extra dollar is given a place so that you can reach your financial goals more quickly.

It’s harder to take money from your savings category if you want to eat out!

I have a sinking fund for new tires and here’s how to make it on EveryDollar.

  1. In the first image, I created a new line in my budget and named it tires. I added $50 to the line. Then I selected “Make this a fund.”
  2. In the second image, it shows instructions for how to use a fund for saving. I selected the blue “Make this a fund.”
  3. In the third image, I set a savings goal of $600.
  4. In the fourth image, I can see that after 12 months of saving, I have enough saved in a sinking fund for new tires!

Christmas is coming. Start saving today!

I hope you understand the importance of creating sinking funds. Christmas is coming, set one up today! Think through whatever else may need a sinking fund. Tires? A home downpayment? It works for anything.

Financial Coaching Designed for You

As always, if you find you are in need of help, set up a time with me for free and we’ll talk your money and your goals. I’m a Ramsey trained financial coach and I love talking money and providing hope. Just set up a 30-minute call with me and I’ll listen to your situation and help you determine what needs to happen. My guarantee is if you don’t make progress, you get your money back. I promise the investment in coaching will give you payback many times over.

What You Need to Know about the Payroll Tax Holiday

Payroll tax: That’s what your employer withholds from your every paycheck to send to the government. If it weren’t for your employer withholding this, you would have to shell out your entire tax payment come April 15th.

Needless to say, payroll tax withholding is nice because it takes the confusion out of paying taxes (ok, only some of the confusion). However, in August, President Trump announced that because of an Executive Order he signed, there would be a payroll tax holiday from September 1st to December 31st of 2020.

This was to help combat the economic woes that arrived with Covid-19. The intention, according to the president, is for this payroll tax to be forgiven. However, this could be h entirely dependent on how the election goes this November. President Trump says if he is reelected, he will have the payroll tax forgiven for the last quarter of 2020. If not, there are no guarantees that this will be forgiven (honestly, there aren’t any guarantees if he is reelected either).

How this applies to you

Each company is given the opportunity to choose if they want to continue withholding taxes for their employees or take advantage of the payroll tax holiday. In the case for me and Bailey, both of our companies chose to continue withholding payroll taxes from our paychecks.

We don’t have to do anything to prepare for tax season. We just keep managing our finances like we’ve always managed it.

However, many companies and organizations are not withholding payroll taxes for the last three months of the year. This means that if the payroll tax is not forgiven, these company’s employees will be responsible for paying back that tax next year.

Here’s an example

Let’s say you get paid $1000 gross (that means before taxes) for every paycheck. If payroll tax is 7.5%, that means $75 are withheld from each paycheck, leaving you with $925 after taxes. If you get paid twice a month, that means you are paid $8000 during the tax holiday and $600 would normally be withheld by your company for payroll tax.

If your company continues to withhold tax, nothing changes for you. If your company does not withhold taxes during the payroll tax holiday, you would receive $600 more than normal over the last 4 months of the year.

Here’s the kicker: If congress forgives that $600 that was not withheld for payroll tax, you’re good to go. If it is not forgiven, you’ll be responsible for paying back that $600 to the government.

Let’s make this even simpler.

Here’s what you need to do

Ask your HR department if they are still withholding taxes or not. If so, you don’t have to do anything. If not, take that money and throw it in a savings account. Don’t touch it!

Pretend like that money doesn’t exist. Then, if they payroll tax is not forgiven, you can pay it back without issue. If it is forgiven, you can take that money in savings and use it for whatever you need (I recommend debt payoff is that applies!).

Financial Coaching Designed for You

As always, if you find you are in need of help, set up a time with me for free and we’ll talk your money and your goals. I’m a Ramsey trained financial coach and I love talking money and providing hope. Just set up a 30-minute call with me and I’ll listen to your situation and help you determine what needs to happen. My guarantee is if you don’t make progress, you get your money back. I promise the investment in coaching will give you payback many times over.

Side Hustles: 32 Ways to Earn Extra Cash

If you’re anything like me, you may be thinking about new ways you can make more money. Personally, I’ve been working on Bailey’s and my new house this summer and the expenses just keep adding up. Our salaries certainly pay us enough to live (and then some) but we have some serious goals for this house in terms of fixing it up and paying it off.

“What are some ways we can make some money on the side?” I thought.

Turns out, this is an excellent topic right now. For one, I’ve been thinking about my own side hustle options quite a bit. Another reason is because a lot of people are out of a job. Everyone and their brother is looking for new ways to make some extra cash.

That answer is side hustles. Chris Guillebeau, the host of the Side Hustle School Podcast and author of several books on the topic, has said many times something I think is particularly relevant right now. “Everyone should have a side hustle. Then, if they ever lose their job, they’ll have something to fall back on for some extra income.” Boy, have people ever lost their jobs. So let’s look at some options we have for side hustles.

The other day, I ran across this article titled “32 Ways to Make Extra Money.” It covers anything from products to services with varying amounts of flexibility. First, I’ll go over my favorites listed, then I’ll tell you about directions I’m heading with my own side hustles.

Image from Click for full article.

Caleb’s Top Five

  1. Tutor: The first on the list is tutoring and it lists out several online options where you can sign up your services. You may not have been top of your class and because of this, you’ve never considered tutoring. I never did until someone called me asking if I was interested in tutoring their son in college trigonometry. This wasn’t my strongest discipline of math but I was fine at it so I decided to give it a try. I ended up meeting with him for about two weeks as he crammed for finals he didn’t think he’d pass. He did pass, and I came away from it with a nice wad of cash and the belief that I could actually tutor if I wanted to. What can you tutor? It doesn’t have to be something in college either. It can be a subject for elementary school students!
  2. Drive for Uber or Lyft: This is a side hustle that you can start today. Or maybe tomorrow depending on how long it takes to get approved by a company. If you have a car in reasonable condition, you can drive people home from bars and events. And you’ll get some great stories while you’re at it.
  3. Deliver groceries: Again, this is a side hustle you can get up and going in no time. Especially now with a pandemic, people want their groceries delivered to them so they don’t have to visit the store themselves. Bailey worked with a company named Shipt for a few months and really enjoyed it. Right now, I can count at least five people at our church that work for Shipt on the side. Another similar company is Instacart.
  4. Start an online business: This was one I have been working on recently. I got a Cricut which I use to cut vinyl stickers and sell them online. I literally just started it but I have sold two stickers thus far. And it’s a fun, creative outlet for me to make something that others love. Here’s a couple stickers I’ve made:
  1. Get paid for your creative skills: This has been the biggest side hustle for me over the years. I’ve been paid for filmmaking side gigs since 2013 now. My sister, Atalie, is a photographer so I’ve been able to film a lot of weddings as a result.
  2. (BONUS FAVORITE) Start a blog: Ha! Obviously, I like this option but it is a hard one. You certainly don’t get any money at the start. I’m still trying to make money with it. But, based on your readership, you can make a lot of revenue off advertisements and affiliate links. I’ll have to get back to you on how this one. 🙂

Just Start

It’s really really easy to get paralyzed from the fear of starting something new. Especially if it involves starting a business where people can reject your product or service.

Trust me, I know.

The point is to get started. You don’t have to have an official business started. You don’t have to have a website or business cards. You can start by just posting what you do on social media or signing up with a company like Shipt or Uber.

When your budget needs a little extra breathing space, side hustles can really help. And if you want some help making that budget work for you, I’m happy to talk!

I’m a Ramsey trained financial coach and I love talking money and providing hope. Just set up a 30 minute call with me and I’ll listen to your situation and help you determine what needs to happen. As always, you make progress or your money back.

My Book Graduated and Clueless is Now FREE

Good Monday!

I want to let you know that as of today, my book Graduated and Clueless is now free! You can get the ebook from Amazon as a Kindle copy as well as from Barnes and Noble as a Nook copy. The paperback is also available from both locations.

This book was a real passion project for me. When I was nearing graduation from college, I had no idea how to handle anything from housing to retirement savings. So I wrote a book outlining my experiences combined with a ton of wisdom from those I know and those whose books I read.

My book contains chapters on housing, job searching, insurance, finances, retirement, time management, dating, marriage and more!

I truly hope that others learn from it and don’t experience the level of cluelessness I did when exiting the college atmosphere.

Till next time!


I’m Co-Leading a Financial Peace University Class this September!

Hello hello!

I’m pretty excited to share that in September, I will be co-leading a Financial Peace University class at our church! For those who don’t know, FPU is a 9-week class created by Ramsey Solutions. They designed it to help people pay off their debt, build wealth, become financially independent and be unbelievably generous.

A lot of the writing on this blog revolves around pursuing passion in a responsible way. Master the Simple to Become the Expert. That’s partly why I’m so excited about this class — I have passion for this.

Shortly after Bailey and I got married, we took Financial Peace University online and learned a lot about finances, budgeting, retirement, insurances, real estate, and mortgages. I’ve also listened to well over 100 hours of the Dave Ramsey Podcast. So I’m very familiar with the organization and the financial principles they teach.

To anyone who has read my book or followed this blog, it’s no surprise that I like Dave Ramsey and the resources his team has built to help people.

Here’s why I like Financial Peace University and why you should take the class.

1. It aligns with my beliefs

What FPU teaches it biblically based. Stewardship is a significant theme in the Bible and Ramsey’s program focuses on that as a goal.

What God calls us to do with our finances is to be stewards of the money He has given us to manage. Just take the parable of the talents. In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus calls people to be wise with what God has given them.

Plus, the Bible clearly states in Proverbs 22:7 that “the borrower is the slave of the lender.”

2. It’s not a Get-rich-quick scheme

What Ramsey teaches is not a get-rich-quick scheme — he literally says it’s slow and steady that wins the race. He teaches that becoming wealthy comes from consistent saving and investment through intentional decision making.

This means taking responsibility for personal choices. No one can make your money behave but you.

3. It focuses on generosity

Something I love about the Ramsey plan is that it doesn’t focus on becoming filthy rich for the sake of having money. FPU focuses on creating flexibility in your life while being unbelievably generous.

Generosity is one way how we show God that we trust in his provision for our lives. And with wealth and no debt, you can do a lot of good through giving to others.

Live like no one else so that later you can live and give like no one else.

Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace Univeristy

4. It creates hope

One of the most inspiring parts of Dave Ramsey’s show is the “Debt Free Screams.” In these, normal people come into the headquarters and tell Dave about their story and how they worked their ways out of debt. In the last 17 years, people who have done the screams have paid off a combined half of a billion dollars. That’s just the people who have told Dave about it in studio. That’s inspiring and hopeful.

And that’s why I’m excited to help teach this class.

If you live near Columbus, Ohio, consider joining our class. I would absolutely LOVE to see you there!

Plus, if you use this link to sign up, you’ll get $20 off your registration!

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments or you can email me at!