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Hi! I'm Mike and this is my wife, Jen!  Since we began this site, we've learned to live more frugally, completely eliminate our debts, create new income, radically increase our net worth, and live altogether better lives!  Sign up below for instant access to our members-only toolbox, including our exclusive guide:  15 Steps to Fix Your Broken Finances and Live a Better Life!

Friday
Apr042014

The LTNE Report -- March 2014 (Hello Spring!)

We are back from our vacation, renewed and ready for a great spring and summer!  I hope you are too!

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This month was a little meh, overall, but not bad.  Big events in our net worth included paying our tax bill to Uncle Sugar, so we endured a temporary dip there.  

Passive Income is up from last month, but still well short of our $1000 goal that we want to hit by the end of 2014!

Passive income this month was derived from the following sources:  Amazon.com purchases through our site, Dollar Shave Club sign-ups, aWeber email list management sign-ups, and sign-ups for the free Ready for Zero debt reduction / financial aggregator service.  Thanks! Plus, we continue to generate passive income by using cash rewards credit cards that we pay each month!  

We continue to draw down our P2P Assets for our eventual transition:

But the interest from our P2P loans continues to roll in!

In fact, here is what a month's worth of transfers look like in our bank account (both Prosper and Lending Club).  Nice huh?

Site traffic is down from last month.

Our financial focus continues to be aggressive mortgage debt reduction, remaining zero balance with all other sources of credit, monthly investments into our Vanguard funds, drawing down our P2P loans and reinvesting them, all while keeping spending down to reasonable levels.  Next month we should see a pop in our net worth as we build back our savings after this year's tax bill and accelerate our investments (that is, if the stock and housing markets cooperate!).  

Thanks for tuning in!  See you soon!

Monday
Mar172014

Our (Hopefully) Frugal Spring Vacation

It is nearly time for the LTNE crew to head out on a long trip to enjoy a week-long spring break.  I've written a few times on frugal vacations, but thought I'd put a few thoughts down as we approach another family outing.

First off, we are staying at a resort this time; though this would normally break the bank, we received an offer from the resort for a room big enough for our family for slightly over $100 a night.  Not bad.  Considering this puts us next to the ocean, with a nice pool, as well as other amenities, we feel pretty good about the value.

Despite the great price, the resort lacks a kitchen in the guest rooms, and cooking our own food on trips is one way we try to stay healthier, alongside saving some fat cash by not eating out all of the time.  We can overcome a lot of this, however, as we're pre-cooking some bacon, boiling some eggs, taking our hot water heater so we can easily make morning oatmeal, and we'll stop at a grocery nearby and pick up cold cuts, cheese, fruit, and so on.  All of this we'll keep in a cooler.  Basically, breakfast and lunch each day will be covered inexpensively.  Also, box wine for the adults can't be beat for these sorts of trips!  Our daily caffeine will be provided by the K-Cups we're packing as well.  

When eating out, we already typically forego a lot of the unnecessary expenses like drinks (beside free ice water, of course) and appetizers.  Since the average dinner in an American restaurant is typically too big anyway, we often can order a couple of meals short and everyone still leaves happily fed.

On the agenda is quality beach time (free), bicycling (free), pool time (included with the room), spirited Uno matches (free), and we'll probably go at least once to the movies and do some other things like play some sports and do some cultural events.

The biggest cost savings come from our willingness to drive (though it is going to be a long one!) versus flying, which would have cost us over $2000 for airfare alone.  Given the joyless experience that is flying these days, this isn't much a trade-off anyhow.  

No doubt there are cheaper options, but this trip checks all of our boxes and gets us a week of fun pretty inexpensively.  Now let's hope we get far enough south that we can enjoy some sunshine!

Any thoughts on inexpensive family vacations?  Let me know in the comments below!