How I Spent $300 Too Much on Vacation – And What to do About it Part I


Is this us? Nope, since it was cloudy our entire time….but at least we got to spend time together.

Recently I had a lovely vacation with Mr. RichMama. We had nice (but not crazy) hotel room on a wonderful seaside island in the Northeast for 3 nights and 4-ish days. We got a good deal on the room – about $125 a night so all we had to pay for were meals and entertainment. The place we stayed in was quaint and not too much to do in the way of entertainment – beach, swimming, golf and eating – which was just fine with us. However, I realized as I jotted down just about everything we spent, that we went over our vacation budget (I’d given us a rough budget of about $800) by $300 – YIKES… I am sure this has happened to many of us out there – after all, you’re on vacation, so who wants to stick to a budget. But we always have to pay the piper, so this series  is about what we’re going to do for the rest of the month to make up for it for all the extra dough we spent in the first 3 days of the month.

Since we paid for things with a mix of cash and credit card our spending budget for the month is already depleted and we’ll have a balance to pay off at the end of the month. So I need to cut our ongoing expenses and/or make up the shortfall with extra income.

Plus, I’ll take any tips on how you guys would make up for this shortfall – except of course for pulling the money out of savings – which is possible, but not as much fun – at least for a RichMama.

So the first step was realizing just how much we spent – most of this was on room, and dining out. A round of golf was surprising affordable and the only ‘shopping’ we did was buying some t-shirts for the kids.

I wrote down each purchase on my Phone notes app and then added it up afterwards – and nearly had a panic attack and then calmed down, realizing that this problem can be addressed.

  1. First money saving step – no more eating out for at least a week. The night we got home, we got take out – pizza – due to time constraints but that was it. The next morning I bought the weekly groceries (spent $250) and I that’s it – we’re not going out until at least the 15th of the month – not even for pizza. I’ll let Mr. RichMama go out for lunch during the week, but the kids and I will be dining inside – Note this is made easier by the fact the kids are camp all next week so we have pre-planned activities (and since I already paid for this, there’s no sense in cutting this out to recoup some cash). Estimated Savings – $50
  2. We skipped the fair.  And didn’t tell the kids…the annual fair/carnival is town and normally we would take the kids and spend a lot of money in about three hours on rides, food and junk…so we’re keeping quiet on it (helps the kids are young) and not going   $75 Saved
  3. Make more money – I have decided (especially since we’ve already committed to another vacation expense this month) that I need to make some extra money this month – as a consequence I am working harder on my freelance writing, accepting more jobs and bidding on more.  So far I have managed to add about – $50…(Working takes time and I have three kids underfoot so there’s a limit to how much work I can take on without giving up sleeping…or everything else.)

So will I make it? I will give you an update next week – and in the meantime – please let me know any tips you have!


How to Be a Rich Mama

Attention Hard Working Moms


Dear Mom,

Do You Struggle With Handling Your Family’s Money?

Are your finances a nightmare? It’s time to wake up from that bad dream and create a better reality…Are you worried that you don’t understand money…and how you spend it?

On the 30th of the month, do you find yourself scrambling to pay the bills? Or maybe you just make it, but find that you have nothing Do You Struggle to Understand Money?left for savings?

Do you look around and wonder why other families have it all, yet you never seem to be gaining any ground? Are you worried that you’ll have to work for the rest of your life… That there’s no cushy retirement waiting for you down the road… That you’ll never be able to live the life you deserve.

Does this sound familiar: You work hard, but you never seem to have enough. You can’t get a handle on your expenses. Your credit cards are maxed out all the time.

And now with the economy the way it is, you’re not just worried. You’re Terrified.

Do You… fight with your partner about money all the time… have to say NO to your kids when they ask for almost anything…Constantly wonder if you’ll be able to buy groceries, a new car, or if you can afford date night?

And You’ve Tried to Make it Work…

You’ve tried living frugally. And it worked for a while. You were able to pay off some debts. Maybe put away a little something in the bank.

But you were utterly miserable. You missed the little treats that make life more fun and enjoyable. And like a spending junkie, you went into a buying binge to dull the pain. All your good intentions went flying out the door, and you never looked back.

You’re running out of control, and you’re scared. Scared for yourself. Scared for your spouse. And especially scared for your kids.

Listen, there’s a way out of this money hell hole.

What you need is a simple plan that will help you achieve big results through small steps.

Read that again:

YOU CAN CHANGE THIS VICIOUS CYCLE…You Can Create the Foundation of a Wealthy Family

Here’s Where I Come From…

I was once like you. I wasn’t always the RichMama – I was the SpenditAllMama – it seemed like as soon as we made dollar we spent it – and it wasn’t on big things like trips or eating out – it seemed like the little things were killing us – money slipped through our fingers like the finest sand.

And then we got a wake up call – kids. Once I started having kids I wanted to have more for them – so my husband and I worked harder, thinking that if only we could just make that little extra bit of money – we’d finally feel secure. Protected.

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks – I was working so hard to make a better life for my family – I was barely seeing them. I was robbing them of my time and attention – I wanted to quit…or work part time – maybe even freelance – anything that would give me more flexibility.

So we started to crunch the numbers. And I cried. We had multiple credit cards, all maxed out, no emergency savings, car payments, student loans a huge mortgage. Even our retirement funds were in disarray spread out here and there. While we’d been working our tails off, we’d been neglecting our most important boss — our families.

So we (mostly me) got serious – I switched into Rich Mama mode. I vowed that within 18 months I would be able to quit my full time job and spend more time with my kids – but only if we paid off all consumer debt – like our credit cards, learned to live on one income, and saved for our emergency fund.

And I became a savings and personal finance junkie, reading and learning everything I could about paying down debt, budgeting, spending, saving, reducing interest rates, investing – you name it.

At first I was paralyzed…and then I started taking action, focusing each day on one small step. Making check lists and worksheets and knocking down debt, figuring out spending and coming up with methods to put more cash in our pockets.

And it worked…..In less than a year, I quit my full time job, launched a part time consulting business and was able to stay home with the kids – with no credit card debt, a working spending plan for each month that allowed for vacations, new clothes and yes the occasional latte.

Not to mention our total financial life was better organized. We were saving, maxing out on our retirement accounts and were able to save for major purchases – like a new car, without going back into debt.

But it took me lots of trial and error to get it right – and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone…so I took all I learned and created a simple program that takes what took me months to figure out and gives it you in a step by step weekly program

Our Schools Have Failed Us…

Most of us learn nothing about money in school. Sure, perhaps you learned how to balance a checkbook in home economics…but or perhaps you took a macro economics class and learned about the markets…But since most of us barely use checks anymore, and you’re probably not in the business of shorting emerging markets….all of that school stuff was pretty much useless…

Until Now…What you were missing was the right kind of FINANCIAL EDUCATION – one that teaches you how to thing in terms of dreams and goals, dollars and sense – and how to manage the multiple and often conflicting needs, wants and desires of a family…where every new video game in the short term can undermine the family vacation in the long term…OR worse – send you into a whole heap of credit card debt…for things you can barely remember needing.

You can’t make big changes all at once. Your mind and heart will eventually reject them and you’ll only feel like a failure.


Get a Financial Education

By getting education – the right kind. The kind that will guide you step by step, week by week to creating a workable, livable, scalable plan for building real wealth for you and your family…You need to learn how to become a RICH MAMA…

When you’re a Rich Mama, you can have it all. Sound sleep knowing you have enough money to pay your bills and then some. A healthy retirement account so you don’t have to work forever (or work at all). Money set aside for your kids’ education. Money in the bank for new school clothes? Wouldn’t you like to know your family had a real GET RICH SLOWLY PLAN?

So What Can You Do….

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Module 4: Saving Money on a Day to Day Basis

Module 5: Short Term Savings

Module 6: Long Term Savings

Module 7: Using Your Credit Cards Wisely

Module 8: Getting Out of Debt

Module 9: Ways to Bring in Extra Cash

Module 10: Should You Refinance Your Mortgage?

Module 11: Checking Your Credit Report Regularly

Module 12: Why a High Credit Score is Important

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“The Rich Mama Academy” includes all the tools you need to build a comprehensive plan for Creating Family Wealth


… paying all your bills on time

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When you join The Rich Mama Academy, you’ll have the tools you need to take control of your financial life again. Well, everything that is, except the one thing that I cannot give: your commitment to act.

You see, The Rich Mama Academy is only for those who will actually implement the lessons. You don’t have to do everything in the system, of course. That’s not realistic.

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Your Questions About Household Budgets That Work

Laura asks…

Anyone know a good book or ideas on budgeting your household checkbook?

I made over 100k last year and my wife blew threw it as quick as I made it…I worked over 500 hrs overtime! I need a budget that is practical. Does anyone know of a good book or ideas?

richmama answers:

To start a budget…it is very important to write down where the money is being spent so you can identify where you can cut down and save.

You can do this on a monthly basis or whatever suits your situation, list down your expenses as

fixed payments like rents or motgage payments, car loan payments, student loan payments.etc. These are expenses that you need to pay and which are fixed amounts

expenses that you can control like groceries, utilities, petrol , other basic necessities

The above expenses are the ones which you can’t avoid, though they are controlable.

Deduct the expenses from your income and you will see whether you have excess cash or you have a deficit.

If you have excess cash from the process above, you can start planning on what to do with the excess, it is a good idea to put away some as savings….but don’t forget to have fun too if you can afford it. You can’t just work and not have fun!

Use a credit card only for convenience, meaning charge your expenses but pay all the balance at the end of the month to avoid paying interests which are extremely high. If you can’t pay your credit card balance, it means that you spent beyond your means. The credit card statement serves as a list of your expenses which can help you keep track of your spending. It is very easy to forget how $100 in your pocket was spent, so make sure you write down everything. Quite hard at the beginning but very helpful!

Good luck…I am sure that when you do this, you will have a better understanding of where your money is going.

Robert asks…

Could you run a household budget this way, and not bankrupt yourself?

A Household‘s budget is based upon 40-per-week of income from the employed. The Employed decide that they wish to work fewer hours, but insist that since working less (taking in less revenue) doesn’t cost anything (other than lost income), that they can continue to live on a budget based on a 40-hour work week, but only if they did not add anything to their budget (no new spending).

Would this plan work in your house? Why do “conservatives” continue to believe that revenues (income) can be cut without corresponding cuts in the budget?

Do not bother answering with a question. It’s a waste of everyone’s time, including your own. Snide comments that do not answer the question are best left untyped, as well.

If “trickle-down” is being cited, please support with data what is being asserted. 30+ years of hard data, and real life experience, prove trickle-down an abject failure at doing what we were told that it would do.

richmama answers:

No You couldnt..

Fact of the matter is, we DONT believe “Why do “conservatives” continue to believe that revenues (income) can be cut without corresponding cuts in the budget?”…….quite the opposite

In the 1980’s we TRIPLED revenues to the Feds by cutting taxes, and the Dems spent every penny of it and then some. It was only after we dug our heels in 1995, was change made. Tax rates WERE higher, but still not at the record levels they were back 40 years ago.. One could say that REP’s proved that holding the line on budget spending was the cause of our record surpluses in the late 1990’s, and only after Congress decided to go on future spending binges, did we get back in trouble.

People dont seem to understand the concept that government should NOT run continual surpluses. If they are in surplus for more than a couple of years, then they are taking too much in taxes, and that tax should be given back to those that paid it..

Please dont try to rewrite history… It is all there in black and white…

Helen asks…

I have $ 2,500 to invest in cd’s. Where to invest?

I have been doing lots of work on my household budget, projecting income and expenses for the next 3 to 5 years. I am totally debt free including house, and have a big emergency fund, and have an ample amount of money in mutual funds and retirement funds.
I still have a minimum of $ 2,500 that I want to put into CD’s, probably a 1 year Cd. Where do I find the absolutely higher interest that I can put this money ? Search internet sites for best rate? Take whatever my local bank is offering on cd’s ?

richmama answers:

My stock broker is offering one 1 year cd that pays 5.2% as the highest offering. Most are quoted at 5%. 6 mo t-bills pay 5% currently. That will give you a benchmark to shoot for.

Mary asks…

Why do people on both sides believe economic myths?

Conservatives think cutting the deficit in a recession is a good idea (disaster, one of the things that started the Great Depression and made it come back in 1936). And they think that the stimulus hasn’t worked (wrong, latest estimate from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office is that it saved 2.5 million jobs).

Liberals think that ending wars is good idea for the economy (wrong, war is an economic stimulus, WW II forex ended the Great Depression)

Why can’t people learn a little bit about Keynes and monetarism and realize that the economy doesn’t work like a household budget? All it really takes is a few hours of reading and thought to realize that most people have things backwards.

richmama answers:

I don’t care about the economy when it comes to ending war, I care about human life.

I agree that war can be good for an economy, but North Americans can manufacturing more than destruction.

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Your Questions About How To Pay Off Mortgage Quicker

Joseph asks…

How do you get out of a mortgage when the other won’t sell and can’t assume the loan because of bad credit?

The mortgage is about 5 years old on a house I part own in Colorado. I’ve been trying to get off the title and mortgage but my ex-fiance seems to blow me off each time. I don’t care about the money I just want out he can have the house. I’ve told him several times but I guess he does not qualify for an assumption. Now what? I’ve told him over and over again I don’t want to take this to court….but it may be my only option. My credit is getting hit hard because he pays the mortgage late, a lot. I can’t afford the house after a career change. He’s been paying by himself for years. I told him I want to sell it or just get me off the mortgage. Quick Claim will get me off the Title but not off the mortgage! The mortgage is what is affecting me credit score. It’s a fairly new ranch style home in golf course community big corner lot….it will sell if he’d let it. Please help no one seems to have any answers! I’ve more then paid for my mistake of going in on a house and being naive!
Thank you for everyones suggestions. I’m very stressed about this. I’m the co he is the primary. Also he has been late paying the mortgage twice (in a row recently)by 30 days. I found out by my credit report… he never informed me he was having problems coming up with the mortgage. I would have paid if I would have known to keep my credit at good standing. Also it’s a 30 yr.

richmama answers:


Sharon asks…

How can I fix this mortgage problem with my home’s title?

I’m trying to sell my home, but it seems an unexpected mortgage comes up on the title check. That mortgage has been paid off over 10 years ago, and I haven’t been paying any mortgage since then. The mortgage company that held the mortgage has been sold and bought numerous times by other companies and I’m having trouble trying to get verification for the buyers that the mortgage has been paid. I need to do this quick so the buyers don’t back out. What can I do?

richmama answers:

In the quickest scenario you will need to find some kind of proof relating to the pay off of the mortage regardless of what it is and then record an affidavit stating that the attached proof represents the pay off and describing all of the recording information regarding the mortgage. You really should get a real estate attorney to quickly help you. The title company can also assist you in the needed research showing who bought and or was supposed to service your original mortgage. The lender who gave you the money should have all that information as a starting point.
To get legal help go here:
American Bar Association: or
Buena Suerte

William asks…

Is it possible to payoff your home mortgage with a home equity line of credit?

My loan is for 30 years 75K. I was told that you can pay it off alot quicker with a line of credit. Has anyone on here done it and how?
I didn’t think it was possible or financially beneficial. I’ll stick to my 300 extra towards principle every month.

richmama answers:

Sorry but no one here knows what they are talking about.
Here is how it works. You have a heloc for 75K at say 4% interest only with a payment of $250.00 per month. Now lets say you have a rate of 6% right now which gives you a payment of $450 per month. You save $200 per month and add to the extra $300 per month that you are sending in to your principle.
Here is the break down.
On your current loan(using the numbers above) if you continue to pay the $300 extra per month, your loan will be paid off in 140 months (11.66 years) with a total of $29,252.87 paid in interest.
If you take the savings of $200 per month and add that to the extra $300 for a total of $500 and send that in as extra to the principle on a heloc, you will pay off the loan in 123 months(10.25 years) and pay $16,383.83 in interest.
The reason this works is because an interest only loan is the only mortgage that will recast (re-amortize) when an extra payment is made to the principle. This means that every time you pay on the principle the following month you interest charges are based on the new lower loan amount.

Richard asks…

How can my husband and I make some quick dough?

My husband and I are 30 000 in debt with our loans. We’d like to pay them off quicker, without using the money we currently work for so we can enjoy life a little more. Anyone know how to make quick money legally?? I’ve thought of flipping houses but Im not sure we can get a mortgage at this point.

richmama answers:

There is nothing like quick money on internet. If you believe you can make money quick then you are a possible victim to scams. There are many scams. But, You can make money here. There are simply too many opportunities and sky is the limit when it comes to the earning potential. You have to learn and find time to set it up and get it running. You hard work will eventually get you through.

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Your Questions About How To Pay Off Credit Cards For Less Than You Owe

Laura asks…

How to get credit card companies to settle for less than amount you owe?

I am just over 30 days deliquent with my credit cards and want to settle them to pay off. No one will even consider it. I have a way to get money to pay them all off, but only if they can accept a lesser amount. What are my options besides bankruptcy or consumer credit counseling.

richmama answers: – transfer balance to one of these credit cards. It will provide 0% interest rate for 12-18 months.

Charles asks…

Will credit collection company usually settle for less than owed and if so how much?

A couple years back I lost my job. I had about four different credit cards with four different companies open at that time. Unfortunately, when I lost my job I could not longer pay on any of these which resulted in all of these accounts being sent to collections!! I am now in the process of trying to pay off everything and repair my credit to buy a house. I am about $4700.00 in debt and have the money to pay it off in one big lump sum. Will the credit collection company settle for less then this? If so how much? Is it better to call each company I had a credit card with (Capital One, Target Etc..) and tell them that in the past I had an account with them and they sent it to collections and now I have the money and would like to pay it off in full for less? Will they do this? Please Help! Thank you ! God Bless

richmama answers:

They will negotiate, LISTEN to the others here concerning admitting all the debt and the desire to come clean.
Your credit already damaged, why should you pay them years of trumped up late fee and over limit fee at $35.00 for who knows how many months.
Your actual debt to these guys is probably less than a third of the current balances.

Here are a couple of legit sites to help YOU from paying what you really shouldn’t.

Good Luck!

Richard asks…

How legit are these for paying off debt?

How legit/what do you know about those cheesy, gimmicky “consolidate your debt into one low monthly fee at less than the amount you owe“? Are they a scam, or would this work in my case?

My family and I owe:
over three thousand in credit card debt (2 different cards)
over one thousand to an attorney

richmama answers:

No, do not fall for these ads. It would take you forever to pay off your debt with these agencies. Your debt isn’t really that high. You could manage it by yourself. First step is not to charge anything else and to pay as much as you can to each card every month. Ask the attorney if he could put you on a payment plan that would be manageable. The more you pay on the credit cards the better. You need to get it down to the point that you can pay them off. In the future, never put more on a card than you can pay off at the end of the month. This saves you from getting interest tacked on. Good luck

Daniel asks…

Serious credit card question…Please respond?

Ok I have a serious question and before I start please do not answer with you shouldn’t have been so stupid in the first place. It is done with and happened in the past. I had roughly $15-17,000 in credit card debt and chose to settle on most of my credit cards. I was able through the help of my family to settle to pay them all off. Most went to charge off status and I was getting calls everyday. I was also making next to no money so I was unable to pay off during that time. I did not want to declare bankruptcy but now this year when tax time comes I will more than likely have to declare around what I believe to be $3-4 thousand on my taxes. My total gross earnings for 2008 is around $10 thousand dollars. Will this help me to not have to owe as much on the 1099 c gifted tax that I will have to put as earned income. I just dont have that kind of money to pay the IRS in March. Also, if I am able to pay the IRS the gifted money why wont the creditors delete my record as settled for less than full amount ???? The credit card companies get the money I settled for and the difference that was owed to them from the IRS when they sent that form in… so in reality they get their money all of it??? Right?? So I end up paying this why cant these marks be deleted??? I had an excellent credit score of 758 before these mistakes and now the last time I checked it is at 654. I am just asking if there are any credit specialists or people with the knowledge of how this works. I am sorry this is so long but I needed to ask this question.

Thanks for your help.

richmama answers:

First off, you might not get the 1099-Cs for 2008. Even though the creditor accepted the settlement in 2008, until they actually write the amounts off their books, you won’t get the form.

The year you get the form you have two avenues:
1. Add it to your tax return (1040, line 21) and pay the tax.
2. Get IRS publication 4681 and determine if you are insolvent and if so, by how much. If this covers the debt, then you can postpone including it in come with form 982 (see the publication).

For example, you settled the $15,000 in debt for $5000, you could get a 1099-C for $10,000.

If your income jumps from $10,000 to $20,000, your tax bill would jump from $105 to $1256 as you are still mostly in the 10% tax bracket.

To claim insolvency, you don’t look at income, you look at assets and debts. You pretend to sell everything you own (including the shirt off your back) and determine that just prior to the debt cancellation, could you have paid EVERYONE every penny you owed. (That’s including the full $15-17,000 in debt.) If the answer is no, you are insolvent. If you could have paid all but $3000, then $3000 is the degree you were insolvent.

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