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Vacation on a Dime

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Over the years, my mindset has shifted a bit in regard to my thoughts about debt payoff. While I was once full hair-on-fire extreme to the extent that I made my own baby wipes and re-used bath water to water household plants, I’m now more moderate and balanced. A large portion of my monthly income goes toward debt and/or savings (48% of income in August; 44% of income in July, etc.). But I also make sure there’s room in the budget for some “extras” that I never used to allow myself.

Labor Day Weekend 2022

One example is with travel. We used to only travel to see family in Texas. We’d go twice per year and travel in the car.  But my kids are now 10. They’ll graduate at 17 so they only have 7 more years at home and probably only 2-3 more years that they actually want to hang out with me before the teen years set-in! Ha!

I want to be able to see and travel and do-the-things while we’re able. But that doesn’t mean we have to break the bank. Over Labor Day weekend, we wanted to get out of the extreme heat in Tucson (105*F still over labor day) and get to see and experience a part of the state we hadn’t been before. So we loaded up the car and headed up to Fool Hollow Lake in Show Low, AZ. Show Low is a small, piney town higher in elevation. The daytime temps were in the 70s/80s and nighttime lows were 50s/60s F. It was PERFECT camping weather!

Price Breakdown

The best part was the entire “vacation” was done on a dime! We already owned all the basic camping gear (e.g., camp chairs, tent, sleeping bags, lantern/flashlights, etc.). Our costs came to:

  • Campsite 2 nights, $60
  • Gas $73
  • Food $55 < came from normal grocery budget

Our total price, then was only $188 for the full weekend, or $133 not including the food since that was part of our normal grocery budget. Can’t beat that!

Food & Entertainment

I packed all our food. Bacon and eggs for breakfast. Lunches were homemade bento boxes with cheese, meats, and crackers for the first day, rotisserie chicken wraps second day, and PB&J the day we left. All with fresh fruit and veggies. We had two dinners – foil pack chicken night one, and sausage wraps with pasta salad (pre-made at home) for night two. Chips and trail mix for snacking. And smore’s for dessert, of course.

We were camping at a lake with gorgeous weather so, of course, we did lake stuff! The kids swam, we blew up our inflatable kayak and kayaked a bit, and hung around the camp reading books/magazines. There was a beautiful nature trail/hike that we did, too. All with no money spent out-of-pocket.

I know tent camping is not for everyone, but we really enjoy it for a night or two away, especially when you have gorgeous weather and scenery! And you can’t beat the price tag!

What did you do for the Labor Day holiday? Any other campers in the group?

4 Tips to Get Your Business Out of Debt

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Running a business takes a lot of skill and practice to get it right and make the most of it. Despite your best efforts, however, you may end up in debt and need to make your way back to level ground in order to grow. Here are four tips that can help you get your business out of debt and back on good footing for the sake of your future.

1. Set Up a Plan B

The first thing you need to do is to come up with a solid plan. This should have a backup option you will fall back on if things don’t work out like you want them to. While it may sound as if it’s too late, it’s never too late to have a plan for your business. When you have a plan that will work, it can save you from sinking even further into debt than you currently are. You should have a plan for everything, including a period of slowed activity in your business such as the pandemic the world experienced in the first half of 2020. The volume of trading across the seas dropped by 9.5% while global trade decreased by 16% when compared to the same period in the previous year. There are so many businesses that went through similar things, so it’s important to have a Plan B in place.

2. Work on Your Budget

The next step you need to take is to work on your budget. If you have one already, it’s a good idea to work on it again because, clearly, it may not have been the best one to have in the first place. Take a break and make sure you know your expenditures and income so you have a clear idea of what you’re working with. When you set a good budget, it should allow for only the necessary expenditures in your business while minimizing the rest. The aim should be to make increase your savings as much as possible while you lower your expenditure. Stay prepared to work on your budget as many times as it takes to perfect it and you may have a better time in the future.

3. Enlist a Professional Accountant

If you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to enlist the services of a professional accountant. They can help you get your finances in check and evaluate your business to see if there are any leaks of money that can be stopped. Let them know from the start your intention is to get your business out of debt so they can come in with a plan of action right from the start. This plan will save you a lot of time you may have spent on trial and error, not knowing what to do in order to get a specific result. A good accountant will explain a few details to you. One of which being that the IRS can audit the tax returns of any business within three years of its filing. They can also collect back taxes owed for up to 10 years.

4. Come Up With a Plan

Finally, come up with a solid repayment plan that involves lowering your expenses and maximizing your income. This plan should be solid enough to cater to different scenarios. If you can spare the money to do so, then it’s a good idea to hire a debt-reduction company. They could provide you with valuable insights into a workable way forward. These include helping you see the importance of details you may have missed before, such as cyber security. Keep in mind that in 2012 alone, 87% of small businesses experienced a security breach. This means it’s not just big companies that have large profit margins are at risk of a cyber attack.

With these four tips, you can start to get your business out of debt. It may be a bit hard at the start, but with some practice, you will soon be good at debt reduction and will be in a better place to grow your business.