100 Days Challenge: Are you ready to change your life?

100 days challenge

Remember those resolutions you formed around January 1st? How’re you doing on them? I, for one, have failed hard at multiple of mine, and that’s what today’s post is all about.

Today (September 22nd) marks 100 days until 2017! Crazy, right? This means you’ve still got 100 days to get yourself back on track with saving money, not spending money, eating better, and working out…or for me, all of the above. Here’s how it works:

Consistency transforms behaviors into habits. Adopting good daily habits can only happen if you consistently engage in those habits every day. For the next 100 days, focus on engaging in one activity for 100 days in a row. By the end of the 100 days that daily activity will become a daily habit. Engaging in an activity for 100 days helps create the neural network infrastructure necessary to forge a habit (apparently this really only takes 21 days – but who doesn’t want to finish the year strong?). (more…)

The Payoff Series: Tales from Real Life

Welcome to Part Three of a 6-part series I’m doing on personal loans, credit card debt, and refinancing – the Payoff Series. If you’re new here, go back and check out Part One and Part Two!


Debt consolidation allows borrowers to roll multiple old debts into a single new one. Ideally, that new debt has a lower interest rate that makes payments more manageable or lets borrowers pay off the total more quickly.

Many people try debt consolidation, but not all emerge better off.

Some borrowers wind up in worse shape, either because they run up their credit cards again or because their debt remains overwhelming despite the better repayment terms. Others succeed because debt consolidation is part of a bigger plan to gain control over their finances.

So the first step in debt consolidation is simply to consider whether it will actually work for you. In Part 3, I’m going to show you exactly how I made the decision to refinance my credit card debt.


Whole 30 Without Using Your Whole Wallet


Oh hey there friends. As many of you know, I’ve been struggling with eating better (and within budget) since starting this debt payoff journey. The need to stick to my food budget got a little harder last weekend, when I decided to take the Whole 30 challenge. Essentially, you’re supposed to eat almost entirely organic, whole, foods…while eliminating a lot of cheap fillers like beans and quinoa. For more information and/or to be inspired to take your own Whole 30 Challenge, read It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways.

I’m doing Whole 30 mostly because of some physical symptoms I’ve been having that I thought might be related to a food intolerance, but I also thought it might help me become more disciplined with my groceries and eating out. Since I cannot easily eat out at restaurants, I figured my budget could take the hit to groceries in the hopes that I’d be saving a ton by not eating out or buying drinks (alcohol is off limits too). Anyways, after two weeks of buying Whole 30 ingredients, I thought I’d share some tips on how to do the Whole 30 without using your whole wallet. (more…)

The Payoff Series: Refinancing: Where, When, How?

Welcome to Part Two of a 6-part series I’m doing on personal loans, credit card debt, and refinancing – the Payoff Series. If you’re new here, go back and check out Part One!

payoff series

Refinancing credit card debt means paying off your current debt-load with another loan. Refinancing is different than debt negotiation. In debt negotiation or debt settlement, you work with your lenders to reduce the total principal you owe by offering a fast, lump-sum payment. Refinancing means you will still have monthly payments, but they will be to a different lender. The ultimate goal in refinancing is to secure a better debt situation than the one you are currently in. To gain those benefits, you must enter the process carefully.

Step 1: Figure Out the Details of Your Debt

How much debt do you really have? Do you owe on a car, an appliance, or student loans? Take an inventory of all of your debt, including interest rates and minimum monthly payments. Now, depending on that information, make a list of which debt ought to be refinanced (a.k.a. the high-interest debt). This is likely going to be your credit card(s).

Step 2: Determine What You Can Pay

Budgeting is key to making any credit card debt refinancing work in the long run. Use at least six months of bills to effectively budget all of your income and spending. Determine where you can make cuts in order to pay off the highest possible amount each month. Once you have this number, determine how long it will take you to pay off your existing debt if no interest were applied. Next, consider how long it will take you with a given range of interest rates. For example, use 6%, 10% and 12% interest over 3, 5 and 10 years. What would your monthly payments be? This will help show you what interest rate you should seek.

Step 3: Read the Fine Print

Paying off your current debt in one lump sum may come with penalties. These penalties should be expressed in your initial credit card contract. Speak with your current lender to determine if there are any fees or penalties that apply in your case. These fees will be part of your expense in refinancing your credit card debt. (more…)

We Tried It: Sweepstakes

we tried it- sweepstakes

Us Dames work hard for our money, as I’m sure you do too. So when we come across an opportunity to bring in a little extra cash, we figure why not give it a try? Today’s money making opportunity? Sweepstakes.

I first thought about giving sweepstakes a try when I saw one of those TV specials on TLC called Sweepers or some such. It was pretty much a neighbor of the extreme couponers show. In it they followed three people who made their livings by winning sweepstakes. They each had their own strategies but basically spent about 6-9ish hours a day sweeping. Then they would sell their prizes and live off the earnings.

Now I wasn’t about to spend all night sweeping, but I figured from math that if I spent an hour or so each day working on it, I’d eventually have a little extra something to show for it.

And thus the experiment was born. (more…)

Making a Difference with Canadian Budget Binder

making a difference

Hi friends,

Just wanted to let y’all know that Dames in Debt was recently featured on Canadian Budget Binder! We were part of the 2016 Making A Difference series! You can read our post here, just look for the Making a Difference headline.

Thanks so much for helping us take our personal finance journey way further than we ever thought possible! And check out Canadian Budget Binder while you’re at it!

<3 from the Dames

The Payoff Series: Personal Loans & Refinancing

Last week, I told y’all about a 6-part series I’m doing on personal loans, credit card debt, and refinancing – the Payoff Series. Welcome to Part I!


It’s no secret that America is in a debt crisis – student loan debt is in the trillions, the government itself is battling its own debt, and regular consumers are adding mortgages and credit cards to the mix. The average American household has $15,000 in credit card debt, and the average interest rate on those credit cards remains above 13%.

Debt Stress is No Joke

And how are people handling all that debt? Not well. One in five people consider money a taboo subject, according to a recent Harris poll. It’s also the No. 1 cause of stress, according to the survey, ahead of work, family and health concerns. 23% of Americans — and 36% of Millennials — experience a debilitating degree of stress surrounding their finances.  So unless you’re expecting a windfall from a long-lost relative (which is pretty depressing), it’s up to you to come up with a game plan to manage your finances.

The obvious solution is to hurry up and pay off the debt, but in the meantime, there’s another way to save money, an especially helpful one if you are in the “post-grad plateau,” at the early stage of your career with higher income potential just around the corner. With the average annual percentage rate (APR) for fixed-rate credit cards around 12.5% and variable-rate credit cards closer to 16%, you could save thousands of dollars by refinancing credit card debt with a low interest personal loan. (more…)