Questions about 401Ks

I am trying a post to try and get some comments. I have questions and I’m testing this out. And there is a picture of my wife and I’s rings from our wedding a couple months ago. That is why I haven’t posted in a couple months. You can find her beauty blog at Katesimmonsbeauty.com

The Situation:

I have a 401K through my company that matches 50% up to 6%. So if I put in 5%, they’ll match with 2.5% and if I put in 10% they’ll match with 3%. Right?

I don’t have any other debts and I don’t have a great need to sock away cash in a savings account now that I have my emergency fund set. I was thinking that I would try putting in 20% or at least 15% for a while and see how it goes. Is that a bad thought?

I know the idea of compound interest and definitely understand the desire to build up a nest for when I retire around 60-70.

But what I don’t know is how it works with future… adventures?

Continue reading

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Vacation time again for the Young Budgeteer. Saving your way to Hawaii.

Mala Pier

You have to know, when I say the Young Budgeteer, I could be talking about myself or I could be talking about all you young people ( of course including the young at heart ) that may or may not be taking a vacation in the near future and want to have a good idea how to save and a good example of how I am saving right now for my vacation to Kona, Hawaii in January.

In in this post, I set out to explain a few things:

  1. Why I have the goal of saving for Hawaii. (Which is to take my wife to Hawaii for the first time; with my parents. Again, why save money if it isn’t for something)
  2. My original idea of how to save
  3. My new way how to save
  4. Cost of the vacation (and how I did it)
  5. What the journey has been like from paycheck to paycheck

Continue reading

The Melt Review: Grilled Cheese Perfection

grilled cheese sandwich

Oh Boy. Oh my… Wow. Okay. Deep Breaths. This.. This is just too good.

These are some of the emotions it takes to write about something so tasty. Thick slices of bacon inside a homemade Mac and Cheese with jalapeno slices stuffed into a Texas Toast grilled cheese sandwich.

The Situation:

If you haven’t guessed it yes, this is an amazing meal to partake of. I was in my office having some casual conversation about food places to eat since I am still a bit new in town (although slowly becoming a connoisseur of foods here.) My co-worker mention this amazing place to get grilled cheese sandwiches that only stopped it food truck at certain places on certain days. Today, it was parked pretty close. Now to get the feeling that I had when I first heard about it, I will share this bit of information.

  • The company started about two months ago.
  • They open from 5:30pm – 8:30pm each night and are usually sold out within an hour or two.
  • After 26 ratings (and counting, it’s been two months remember) on their page, they still sit with a 5.0 rating. That means no bad rating, not even A- ratings. Perfect Ratings so far.
  • A personal reference that they are one of the tastiest places in town.

Hopefully I can be your reference in saying, if you ever get a chance to pass through Pocatello or go nearby, check out the link about the ratings to see where they are and when they will be open.

So back to the situation. I decide it’s time to call in the fiance and weigh in on our Friday night Date Night meal. She agreed after some convincing and we were off.

When we ordered our food, we didn’t wait in line very long. The people we talked to were very kind to us, made a few jokes, didn’t force a tip (which we gave) and then we sat on the lawn chairs outside until it was time to eat. and as the description above states, it was an amazing meal from the start to the finish.

delicious grilled cheese

Here’s how I would grade it:

The Verdict:

Food Quality: 10

If I could say 11 on a 10 point scale, I would. This was one of the best meals I have had in the area. The bacon worked so well with the Mac and Cheese, the jalapenos added some kick, and the Texas Toast was both fluffy and savory to give it the rest of the flavor it needed. THE BEST.

Food Uniqueness: 10

Anyone can make a grilled cheese at home. Only some people decide to put mac and cheese in it. These guys are willing to take a food truck to a business and throw huge slabs of bacon in them. Very, very unique.

Price: 6

This is probably the only big ding I could give. I paid about $10 after adding a small tip and we shared it. At the end I was a touch more hungry after only eating half, but I wouldn’t say it isn’t enough by any means. (And yes, I understand that all the other reviews are 5 stars, but I think this is important for different wallet sized players.) I just didn’t expect a grilled cheese place to cost as must as Texas Roadhouse.

Environment: 10

The day we went was actually pretty cool for a summer day. They provided a couple lawn chairs to sit in while you waited with a canopy above you and some cold water and squirt guns so you didn’t “melt.” It was kind of nice for a hot summer day.

Service: 9.5

A small small knock here. Not because they did something unplanned but because I didn’t foresee how long we would be waiting after we placed our order. It was probably another 25 minutes? Being a grilled cheese place, it was just not my expectation and that is sort of my own lack of understanding of the restaurant. Because their only informational page is a Facebook page, it is a bit hard to know what their menu is or where they will be on a night a few weeks out. Small improvements. Maybe I’ll make a website for them.

And the grand total is… Drum roll please… .. .. .. .. .. 45.5 or 9.1! Not a bad rating at all. Honestly, anything above like an 8 is almost a definite you have to try it.

More to come as I wrap up my trip from Seattle and all of the exciting things we did while we were there. Is there a niche company in your area that you think just blows it out of the water? Do you have a lot of food truck companies? and especially, Do you think you have a grilled cheese that’s good enough to take on this bad boy?

Let me know on Twitter @YoungBudgeteer and let’s, as they say, collab?

Serious Pie : Food Review

Alright. Today, we are going to talk about a very serious topic. That’s right. Pizza. Serious Pie in Seattle. Rated a 4.4 stars out of 5 and a description of their own like this one, we had to give it a try while we were in town.

Serious Pie, pizzeria with a bread baker’s soul, serves up pies with blistered crusts, light textured but with just enough structure and bite. Our attentiveness to each pizza in the 600 degree stone-encased apple wood burning oven preserves the character of house made charcuterie and artisan cheeses from around the world. -Serious Pie

And yes, I had to look up charcuterie which means the preparation of different special meats specifically from pork. And I have to tell you, this was a Seriously good pie. It was a bit more Italian and lacked the regular several cups of cheese that I enjoy, but having chosen what I think was the best thing on the menu, it was well worth it in every bite. I don’t even know that I would substitute it for a regular cheesy pizza.

After cooking in the 600 degree stone pizza oven, they let the pizzas cooldown/finished getting delicious under some red heat lamps like these ones before they bring them out and the party begins.

serious pie cooking

The Situation:

Here is a brief description of our experience. We had been at a conference all day. 7am-5pm. After the conference, we walked around the city, a lot. We’d never been to Seattle and wanted to hit some of the historical and most talked about sights. By the end of the night (around 9pm) we were hungry. After choosing Serious Pie, we got on the wait list for a table and about a half hour later, we were seated. Root Beer and a Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce, Fresh Basil Pizza was ordered. My co-worker got one with fennel sausage but I actually didn’t have the taste for it even though it had meat and a good amount of cheese. Here is a picture of mine:

buffalo mozarella pizza

I honestly didn’t think that I would enjoy a pizza with tomato sauce and small bites of cheese but it turned out to be possibly one of the tastiest pizzas I’ve ever eaten.

The Verdict:

Alright so now the breakdown. How do we take pizza. Well in my earlier post about (link) Costco pizza (link) I talked about different factors so I will keep with those.

Food quality: 10

It really doesn’t get much better than this. Not only was the tomato sauce perfectly sweet to match the salty flavors of the bread, but the cheese was just as wonderful. Almost chewy and quite a nice complement to the rest of it. I can’t say I cared for basil but I didn’t even need it for this mouthwatering meal. Those of you who enjoy fresh basil, I’m sure it added even more to your experience.

Food uniqueness: 10

Unless you are out of the country or possibly in New York, you just won’t find a pie experience like this. As it states before, and let me quote this again:

Serious Pie, pizzeria with a bread baker’s soul, serves up pies with blistered crusts, light textured but with just enough structure and bite. Our attentiveness to each pizza in the 600 degree stone-encased apple wood burning oven preserves the character of house made charcuterie and artisan cheeses from around the world. -Serious Pie

Let the drool set in again. They take it to the next level. Okay, enough said. Let’s move on.

Price: 8.5

I’d say for a Seattle authentic pizzeria, this was pretty good pricing. Honestly, even though it was about $18, which I would have to spend living in Seattle anyways, this was the same price that I paid for that torta I had from Cantina Lena. But this pizza was no joke. It was the best pizza I have EVER had. So for that price in Seattle for my own whole pizza, I would say, “Bravo”.

Environment: 7

Okay, so it was a bar/pizza sit down type of place, so I understand the crowds. They sat us at a 6 person table and had 3 groups of two people across from each other. That wasn’t my favorite, but I didn’t really notice the person next to me the whole time. The rest of what was going on was to be expected of a similar restaurant.

Service: 10

Before we were able to sit down, the host told us that it was a busy night but they would get us seated as quick as possible, got our phone numbers and texted us right at the 30 minute mark she has mentioned to us before for the wait time. As well, the man who helped us order our food, I think this name was Freddie, was one of the most personable people I have been served by. He laughed with us, he gave us some good suggestions, and he let us know the process of the food coming out so we would have a good idea. And it came pretty quick for a pizza. Maybe 10-12 minutes. Again, just a great team.

Overall, in the Young Budgeteer point system, it gets a 45.5 or a 9.1 average. I’m pretty sure it’s my #1 food place of all time so far. And I have to say, these guys really worked to get those points from me. It takes more than just good food or a good group of people to make a restaurant famous and exciting, and Serious Pie does a great job of all of it.

Make sure if you haven’t, to follow me on Twitter @Young Budgeteer and give me ideas of where to go next!

Cantina Leña: Food Review

Hey, Yo, Welcome! It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I figured it was about time to step back into the realm of judging things since that’s the what I’m said to do best. (“You’re judgy” though I don’t think it’s a compliment)

I have been away trying to buy a house as a college grad, taking a Microsoft Certification, and having my initial review from my boss this month. It has been crazy and I can’t believe it’s been a month but I am back. I’ll have more on those subjects later as I’m sure you new college grads will have questions about that. It feels good though so let’s gets started here!

The Situation:

We fly into Seattle and we are looking for something with that Seattle taste to fill us up. The hotel recommends some of the local stores: American Kitchen, Mexican, and pizza. I think my co-worker was thinking something more fancy but he chose the mexican place which turned out to be a spanish bar called Cantina Leña. We sit at the bar and get horchata to start with our waters. It’s a good chill place with pretty much the same bar attitude that you would expect anywhere.

So we order our food. He gets cod tacos and I get something just called a Torta, with about 20 ingredients including shredded pork, guacamole, melted toasted cheese and a bunch of herbs and pickled vegetables. We grab some chips and guacamole while we wait for the rest of the food.

The bartender took our order, mentioned a few things but other than that, never talked to us except of course to take our payment. The environment was slow. I felt like I was drunk just by sitting there without even drinking anything alcholic cause I don’t drink. It was a bit depressing. Couple in the rear arguing about a breakup one of them had, old movie with subtitles on the TV; nobody was happy.

Our food comes and wow. This thing looks good. Pre-amble first, the chips were really well made and the guac was alright. Anyone with a knife and some salt and lime could probably match it. The Torta though, was something special.

torta

Just look at that meat and extras! Lots of flavors, lots of goodness. I was only able to eat one before I was super full. That always bums me out. I’ll have to toss it now that we’re leaving because that kind of stuff just doesn’t heat up well, especially without a microwave. It was juicy and the pickled onions are new to me. Some of the ingredients fell out while I was eating but all in all it was delicious!

The Verdict:

I have to say if I were to judge this place, here is how my breakdown would be:

Food Taste quality: 8.5

The torta had a lot of flavors, sometimes delicious and sometimes pickled onions which I can now say, I’m not the biggest fan of. Other than that, they did a great job of blending the pork with the guacamole and tomatoes on a nice sandwich bun.

Food uniqueness: 9

I think a 10 here would mean that you couldn’t have eaten this anywhere else. Although this torta was not that, there was something to be said for this bar having a very put together Seattle tasting meal.

Price: 5

This torta came out to be about $17 bucks. I understand that Seattle is a little pricier than other cities, but I don’t think that the other factors made me feel like the price was worth it. I feel like I would take a less unique sandwich for $10-12 and feel overall much happier. Because in the end, your satisfactory with the meal includes (or should) the aftermath of wallet depression and how that weighs on your mind.

Environment: 5

This seemed to be the typical bar scenarios. We sat at the bar and the bartender got us some water and horchata, gave us menus and then besides taking our order and our money, didn’t really talk to us much. And he stood there cleaning glasses almost the whole time we were there not doing much else. There was loud music and a silent movie going and just much feeling of relaxation.

Service: 4

I mentioned this in Environment but our service was nothing to be desired. No real conversation, nothing witty or fancy. I gave it an extra two points because our food was out to us pretty quickly.

 

I’d have to say, for my first meal in Seattle, it was just average. I wish I could say it was fancy, but at the end of the night, I went home full of food but not with things to tout. That is not to say that it is not worth going, but I would say to switch out the torta and go with the cod tacos.

I’ll be up and posting more and more as the new month starts and I have better access to internet and my life slows down a bit. (Wedding in 37 days!) Follow me on Twitter @YoungBudgeteer and we’ll talk more fancy foods!

It’s cheesy how much I love this place. Costco Pizza Review

costco pepperoni pizza

I talk about these guys all the time. You would think they were some of my best friends, my crew, or family but really when I say that, I just mean this place in general. I actually have no idea what anyone’s name is at Costco, nor have I thought to ask. Though there are many things that I could talk of in Costco, many of them are exclusive member deals and opportunities that you can only get if you pay the annual club membership.

But my kind of deal is a little something for everyone. Say hello to the Costco Food Court, also known just as their Food Counter.  That’s right. A store within a store. And you would think, “Eh, it’s just them trying to bank off of their membership and bulk sales.” But it’s not. Their selection and quality of food is something to be talked about. So let’s talk about it!

The Situation:

I work about a half mile from Costco. When I used to work in Salt Lake City, my brother and I would go out to Costco every week or so for certain reasons. For example, you can get a huge hot dog/polish dog WITH a refillable fountain soda for $1.50. You can get a churro for $1 or a big cup of soft serve ice cream for $1.35. but really what I am talking about is their pizza. Not only can you get a slice with any amount of toppings for $2 that is about a 1/6 of an 18″ pizza, but you can get an entire 18″ pizza for $10!! That was a good time that I got to spend with my brother.

The Verdict:

I guess the thought is, “Yeah, anyone can get a lame piece of pizza for cheap. That’s what Little Caesar’s is for.” But let’s see what Business Insider says about Costco and it’s pizza.

It’s fairly close to Pizza Hut’s cheese pizza in terms of taste, which is a welcome surprise considering Pizza Hut’s pizza won our cheese taste test out of the three major delivery chains. It’s salty, greasy, and a tad chewy — but those are three qualities that makes cheap pizza taste so good.

They also remark that Costco is the 14th largest pizza chain in the U.S!

And I agree! It’s so good! It’s definitely worth trying out. We would switch it up to hot dogs sometimes, but it’s hard to resist the pizza at that size and price.

The next step, getting a Costco card so I feel like I’m important to them. (haha)

If you’re wondering if it’s worth it, just go try it. Even if it’s just with your husband or wife, it’s quite the cheap and tasty $5 date. Plus, there can be ice cream after!

Have a great week and if you haven’t yet, follow me on Twitter at @YoungBudgeteer!

Finally Selling My Stocks. 4 Steps I Took When I Bought To Make Major Gains.

Macy's Stock

(Disclosure: There is an affiliate links in here. This means that if you click through the link and set up an account (which is also free for you in this case), I will receive some sort of compensation. In this one, we both get a free stock.)

Yep I did it. June 7th. I had recently talked about my dividend income report and I don’t have any plan to stop doing that. I am simply selling while I think my stocks are high and then I’ll buy them again probably when they drop a bit.

I am very happy with the outcome and even if the ones I sold go up and up, I was happy with the deal I got. I mean, pshh.. I made almost 20% on some just in a week.

So because there isn’t much to tell about my selling strategy, (besides, I guess, timing and why) I will talk about each stock and why I chose it and why I sold it.

The Situation:

Here was a short list of the stocks I had:

  • Ford – 5 stocks
  • AT&T – 1 stock
  • Macy’s – 2 stocks

Very simple but I’m not trying to say I’m the best or catch the eyes of the big investors. I’m trying to teach to those who are looking to learn about stocks and investing and maybe dip their feet in. If I make you cry with my measly small number of stocks, there are plenty of big shot investors that are glad to tell you that they’ve won and lost thousands of dollars. But I haven’t. I’ve only gained dollars.

When I bought my stocks, I bought each stock at a certain price as I thought it was going down.

Ex. Ford: I bought it at $10.70 which finally put my skin in the game.

And guess what happened? It went down! My first investment. What a way to start, right? But remember, I said I never lost money in it. You only lose when you cash out below what you bought in.

It continued to go down and when it hit what I thought was a low point, $10.15 (It went to $10.14 and it’s only gone up from there), I bought another share. This means that my average cost was around $10.42ish. So as soon as it went back up past that $10.42, I was making money.

As it continued to move up and down for a bit, I bought a few more stocks and then I held on. Ford eventually went up to $12.00 in under two months and my stocks, which I paid an average of $10.65, made an average of $1.35 per stock.

Bonus: While I had the stock, it paid out dividends and I made $0.15 for every share I had. (5)

The Verdict:

I put in about $200 and with Ford and Macy’s I made 18% and 20% respectively. My other investment of AT&T made about 4% which brought down my average but it was only one stock.

Honestly, this was really fun. My 4 learning points that I would share with you if you feeling like trying it out are:

  • Take time to look at how things move up and down for a while, maybe a month even. We sometimes want to dive in. “If I want to invest, I should just invest, right?” Wrong. Investing in stocks is different then putting it in savings or a CD. It isn’t about having extra money. It takes a little bit more work because your hope is that it will work harder for you than a CD. Watching how a certain stock moves will give you an idea of how it moves and it gives you time to read about the company and some of the news that happens. (One article wrote that Macy’s just gave out a dividend that was way higher than expected. They then said that Macy’s would probably go up to around $40 when Back-To-School sales happened. It was at $29. I bought it at $33 while it was shooting up and it DID go up to $40! $7 in 2 weeks!)

 

  • I always look at the P/E Ratio and I tried to pick ones with under 15. The advice given by most experts is to try and pick under 15 P/E Ratio. So what is P/E Ratio? Price to Earnings Ratio. That means the stock price people are paying compared to the earnings of the company. Basically, if I am a stock with a 20 P/E and you give me 20 dollars, at the end of the year, you should expect that in a year, you will get 1 dollar extra back. High PE usually means that investors think that the stock is in high demand and they think that the stock is going to increase as time goes on and the price now will be worth it. Low PE means that a stock price is a good value for how much the company is earning. Sometimes though, this is seen as the investors not having much confidence in the company’s growth. So pretty much P/E Ratio is how a company’s stock is valued. Is it possibly overvalued? (High P/E) Or is it undervalued? (Low P/E, possibly a good price.)

 

  • I don’t invest in companies that don’t have a dividend. There are 3 reasons for this:
    1. Dividends mean that if I buy a stock and hold it til the next pay out, (every quarter and sometimes every month) then I get free money for owning a part of that company. In my case with Ford, their Earnings Per Share was $0.43 cents of which I got $0.15 for each of the shares I had. If we’re talking simple thinking, it’s like my stock went up $0.15 but it went straight to my account instead of being on the market still. Added Bonus: My stock can still has the potential to go up that $0.15 and earn me that much more. It’s just icing on the cake. Which makers the dividend analogy like a baker giving you some icing without taking it off your cake! (I crack myself up sometimes)
    2. I understand that a company wants to put it’s extra earnings back into the company or it wants to give every a raise in the company. I think that is great. But personally, they made the decision to fund their company on the backs of the investors. Companies that go public say, “You can own a part of my company and if the company grows, your money grows.” But when they get their earnings report each quarter, they made some $100 Million in earnings. You don’t get a take of that even though you partially funded that by owning a share of the company. A portion of that should be yours! So I think it is selfish and I wouldn’t participate in that.
    3. Lastly, and this kind of goes along with 1 and 2, you have to keep your money A.K.A. your skin in the market to hopefully realize the gains. If the company decides to make a stupid decision, (you know, like having their airplane engine blow up or switching their name from pancakes to burgers) then you will suffer as well and your money would have been better spent buying yourself an ice cream that you now kind of need.

 

  • I look at the 52 Week High and the 52 Week Low and I look for items closer to the 52 week low. Now, as I’m writing this, I have the voice in my head of others that say, “But that means it’s gone down from a higher point.” You’re right. In fact, that’s my favorite kind of stock to buy. Why would I buy something that is at the highest point it’s ever been at for the year? By buying near the 52 Week Low, along with my other tips, I know that there is potential for the stock to grow.

The nice thing about the Robinhood app I was using is that it shows all of these indicators in one nice box.

Macy's Price

Macy's Stock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So if you’re looking at Macy’s with my 4 tips, I’ll walk you through what these mean and how they actually play a part in my decision.

  • Take time to look at how things move up and down, maybe even a month. On the left side, there is a picture of the 3 month view of Macy’s stock price. You are able to change it from 5 years, 1 year, 3 months, 1 month, 1 week, and then the current day (which is what you’ll probably be following once you buy.) As you can see, Macy’s had a few ups and a few downs. Right before the upward line that I am highlighted up, they had announced their dividends (and their respective earnings) to be higher than speculated by analysts. There was also an article saying that after seeing their Earnings Call, (where they announce how much profit they made) that the value would go up, (that P/E Ratio) and people would want it more, so they would pay more for it. The article also talked about Back-To-School, a Macy’s super sale, that would probably push their stock price to $40 or more. When I read this, I was almost ready to buy it at $29, but there were a few other things to check.

 

  • What is the P/E Ratio? Looking at the screenshot on the right, we see that Macy’s P/E Ratio is right where we want it. 7.141 shows that if I put in 7.141 dollars now, I should expect growth of 1 dollar in a year. That’s a nice growth of 14% assuming that holds. But in any case, the P/E Ratio of 7.141 is under our mark of 15.

 

  • I don’t invest in companies that don’t give out dividends. This one is easy as well. Looking at Macy’s we see the div/yield of 6.067. That is great. You usually don’t see numbers above 2 and 3 so anything over 4 or 5 is gold. That is another green check for this. For me, this shows that the company cares about it’s stockholders.

 

  • Let’s look at the 52 Week High and 52 Week Low. Sooo.. with this one, I can only see what I screenshot as of now, but before it had the high of $41.33 it was closer to $37 or $38 I think. The low is $17.40. So Macy’s which was around $29 was actually more in the middle. Not the best, but after hearing that the earnings call did amazing, it was worth a shot!

So there is my analysis. For this buy, I had 3 and a half out of my 4 checks and the ones that were green lights, were super nice. In the end it ended up growing about 20% for me before I decided to sell ONLY 2 WEEKS LATER. And how has it done in the last week since then? It’s gone down $3 a share. That was a good time to sell.

Reason for selling:

Honestly, I’ll keep it short. I like when I can trust the market and how things are going, but when people get upset about how things will go with different political things, I figure I won’t let other people’s fear affect my growth so I pulled out. And I’ll be back in in no time at all I’m sure.

You’re welcome to give it a try. I’ll get you a free stock to start if you do it through my personal link here. I have more information on it in my other post about when I bought the stocks and my fears of doing so if you want to check it out.

And that’s all folks. Hope you enjoyed it! Let me know what you thought of my analysis and what I could do to be more clear about certain subjects that I am learning and teaching about. I love feedback and even more, I love sharing what I am learning as I try things out. If you’re anything like me, you are just starting into your new life as a college student or a graduate and you need tips from people going through the same issues and things in life that you are. And I hope I was a good help for that.

Follow me on Twitter to get more of the action @youngbudgeteer and I’ll see you next time!

Podcast and Book Review: Dave Ramsey – Financial Peace

Financial Peace Cover

(Disclosure: There are affiliate links in here. This means that if you click through the link and buy something, A.K.A. the book I’m talking about, I will receive some sort of compensation.)

“Where Debt is Dumb, Cash is King, and the Paid-Off Mortgage has taken the place of the BMW as the status symbol of choice.” —Dave

The Bio:

From Riches to Rags to Riches, Dave Ramsey is a highly acclaimed talk show host as well as a financial expert trying to help fellow humans with their financial struggled. After he pulled himself out of bankruptcy he decided to turn his new found knowledge to those who were struggling with similar situations, be it in church, his neighborhood or elsewhere.

He realized that it would be nice to become somewhat lucrative with this growing audience and at the same time his local radio station was planning on going out of business. He offered to take a slot in their station with “The Money Game” and began his talk show that still to this day takes callers where he answers and helps them to find “Financial Peace.”

The Situation:

The book:

It was about the time I graduated college (about 6 months ago) that I realized that I needed to make sure my own money affairs were in order. If you’re anything like me, you hate when you look in your bank account and there is less than you expected. For me, it’s a rock in my stomach. A little self-coaching is needed, “It’s okay, going out to eat was a great experience,” “Well, I really needed to go down and see my parents, it’s been a while,” “Let’s take a look and see if there are any areas we can work on.”

I’ve always been very money-minded and very strict on what I treat myself to. I started financial book journey by reading a few books on investing and then I read Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad which gave me an idea of how you should take lots of risk because most of the time, it works out and you make more than you lose.

I can’t say I really agree with that initial thought but he does teach some other good points that I mention here if you want to take a quick look. (It’s a pretty funny read because at one point I talk about how he filed for bankruptcy a few years ago haha! What is more funny than that?)

Ramsey’s book was a 180 approach to Robert Kiyosaki’s. While Rich Dad Poor Dad tries to teach you to take risks and get high returns, Financial Peace is all about saving and investing in good return but lower risk items, mainly mutual funds.

The main focus of Dave Ramsey’s book is fighting debt which a lot of Americans struggle with. His ideas of the Debt Snowball Pay Down and his emergency fund savings sheets are fantastic.

If I had one idea of his that I would like to try but I have not found a way to become efficient at is his envelope system. You take money out in cash and divvy it up among your different expenses: Gas, Groceries, Entertainment, etc. You then use the month’s worth of cash in each section and when there in none in there, you don’t use it. (I would allow for SOME leniency.) Probably what works best with this is that you see your money disappearing both at the grocery store and in your envelopes. Interesting feeling to stomach, right? “What if I get to the end and I blew my cash amount?” That sounds like an opportunity to learn or two reallocate appropriately.

I do like that his wife writes a little bit at the end of each chapter, but some of it does sound a bit forced or possibly even made up. For instance, there was a part where she talked about growing up how he was always the smart one with money and she wasn’t so she had him take care of finances. Wasn’t the first chapter where he had several nice suits, cars, and houses and then filed for bankruptcy?

But you kind of have to take it with good intentions, which they have a great deal of.

His Podcast/Some of his Talk Show:

This is a good topic to talk about.

While his book is a good focus on the money aspects and the idea of debt being dumb and mutual funds being the way to go, his talk show and podcast seem to be focused on people’s personal issues.

He takes in calls and allows people to tel him their money issues. He then goes on to explain different deals and aspects of their financial lives that would be the best idea to either pay down their debt or to build the right kind of wealth. Sometimes there is a husband and wife who have $150,000 in student loan debts but they make $120,000 annually and they want to know what is the best idea for fixing that. Sometimes it is a call from a 29 year old who paid off all of his debts and he is wondering what kind of house he should buy and how much he should put down.

Probably the most exciting type of people on his show are those that drive to Tennessee to participate in his personal Debt-Free Scream. Pretty much what happens is they explain that they paid down a sizable amount of debt and sometimes a house as well. They explain what their method was and what changed in the course of that time money-wise. Then they count down to 1 and yell, “I’M DEBT FREE!!!” It really is worth a few listens.

The Verdict:

This is a 9/10 buy for me. Some of this advice is the kind that only seems to hit you when you’re reading a book. As well, if you go to the back, you have the list of documents that come with the book such as a Debt Snowball Pay Down Sheet, a Savings Sheet, and instructions on how to do the envelope method.

This was my second Personal Finance book and a whirlwind difference from Rich Dad Poor Dad. Pretty much if you have some debt and you want a starting point into paying it down or figuring out places to cut down, this book is gold. If you’re otherwise interested in Personal Finance, whether you’re old or young, this book is still a great idea of how Dave Ramsey (another money expert) explains the best way to work with money. And he does have a long track record (as of his initial bad start and redemption) of producing results.

Go ahead. Give it a read. Comment below with what you thoughts of the book or his ongoing podcast and follow me on Twitter at Young Budgeteer for more Book Reviews.

Angels We Have Heard On Pie: A Review on Penny Ann’s Cafe

French Toast

I finally get to talk about one of my favorite restaurants, possibly my favorite, of all time!

Do you like cute little cafes? Are you a breakfast fanatic? Have you ever drooled just thinking about your food or a meal you recently had?

Penny Ann’s Cafe is location on 1800 and Main St in Salt Lake City and houses Award Winning Hot Cakes as well as many other mouthwatering breakfast items. An award for Hot Cakes! Like.. everyone makes hot cakes/pancakes.. what makes these guys so special that even their pancakes are better than other places. Well for one, they’re only open until 2pm so you know they aim to make what they have the whipped cream of your day.

The Situation:

So here I am, I’ve been a customer for a couple years now in their “group”/email list and every year about this time (and for my birthday) I get an email for a Buy an Entree, Get an Entree Free. Sometimes that amount to a $10-12 saving on a nice breakfast. So what do I do? I make plans for a trip to Salt Lake obviously! In this case, I had a trip planned a few weeks before I got my email for my niece’s birthday. (and no, I did not plan around my emails coming in, although that wouldn’t be a bad idea…)

Let me take the suspense away and put a menu up for you.

There are so many things to note about this place before I talk about my experience:

  1. It’s kind of a hole in the wall. There aren’t holes in the walls, but, maybe there are on the outside.
  2. A lot of items come with Hot Cakes, get them. They are a meal in themselves and every bite is a thank you.
  3. Prices: about $10 for entrees; about $4 for pie. ( everything is on the menu )
  4. Anything you like is going to taste great. It’s less a question of if they make good french toast or have a good salad and more of, “Do you like French Toast? It’s great!”  (Jelly Donut French Toast) and “Do you eat salad? It’s amazing!” (Buffalo Chicken Salad)
  5. The entrees are great, but you should go there for the pies. The slices are huge and they taste as if angels are constantly blessing each bite you take. Most of my experience is with the Lemon Raspberry Cream Pie but the chocolate ones are just as delicious and just as beautiful to look at.

My Experience Finally:

I know that I can talk about all of this and even with the menus, it’s a nice thought, but I know that won’t be enough so you just have to trust and dive into those pancakes.

The service was great this time around as always, and the food. Immaculate. Usually I will get the Buffalo Chicken Salad or the Egg’s Benedict, but this time I went with the Jelly Donut French Toast. The food came quick and they remembered our pie order (Chocolate Mousse or Chocolate Peanut Butter) which I think shows some care for their customers.

I 10/10 recommend this as your new breakfast stop if you’re anywhere near Salt Lake City. If you do have questions, check out the menus, call in, or connect with me on Twitter @ youngbudgeteer and we can talk breakfast!