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Valentine’s Day on a Budget

Image of roses to give loved one on a Valentine's Day Budget

Like most Americans, you may find yourself on a budget during the Valentine’s Day season. You either may not have the extra money to spend or you are being responsible by staying on your budget. Stay romantic and do not worry! Doing Valentine’s Day on a budget will make a memorable experience that will far exceed the trivial dinner out with flowers.

Do a “Budget” Picnic at Home

Doing a picnic from home can be the perfect way to make Valentine’s Day affordable on a budget. There is nothing more romantic and memorable than enjoying a dinner together that you also cooked together. I remember a gloomy, and snowy Valentine’s day where my wife was driving back from work. I surprised her with all of the ingredients for our dinner together, ready to go and laid out with candles. She was so relieved to see that we did not have to leave again to go back out into the cold for dinner. Even to this day, she said that the evening was one of her most memorable experiences.

Do Flowers on a Budget

One of the most enjoyable features of Valentine’s Day is giving your loved one beautiful flowers during an otherwise brown or icy time of the year. Doing flowers on a budget can be a much more genuine expression of love than a showering a mass of delivered flowers. Most people purchase expensive flowers and have them delivered or spend the time to present them in their home. What if instead, you personally or thoughtfully delivered them at work? The personal touch is always best and more endearing. The single rose more thoughtfully and genuinely delivered will far exceed the impact of several expensive bouquets.

Do Romantic Creativity on a Budget

We have all seen the most romantic of gestures carried out with little or no expense. Remember, any romantic gesture – whether a gift or experience to share – comes from your intimate and loving knowledge of the other person. It does not come from your pocketbook! For example, I once gave an illuminated scramble sign to my wife one year. It had a personal message that encourages her every day now over her desk. You need to find something that you can personally customize to make the gift or experience more memorable and endearing. Your spouse or loved one will genuinely appreciate the care and imagination that you put into your otherwise budget-compliant gift.


“Love” credit purchases frequently end up in bankruptcy. When love comes into the equation, emotions drive financial decisions instead of the facts. Below are three common “love” credit situations that commonly caused bankruptcy.

Big Gifts to Show Big Love

Big gifts can easily lead to a big bankruptcy. Still, all the time, expensive gifts are purchased on credit just to show how much a person is loved. Whether it’s a convertible or a motorcycle, the gift has to be usually pretty extreme to make the statement, “I love you THIS much.”

Buying a big gift to show your love is an especially bad idea. It is even a worse idea if you purchase the item on credit. If you are planning a large gesture like this to prove your love, remember that you may also be signing up for a future bankruptcy when you fill out the loan papers.

Cosigning Out of Love

I have personally encountered scores of people who have cosigned out of love for their romantic partner, family member, or a close friend. Such an emotionally-based decision to cosign for someone else’s loan purchase frequently leads to bankruptcy. When your beloved loan partner defaults, you will be in deep trouble if you cannot personally afford to make every single payment associated with the loan agreement. If you are unwilling or unable to “gift” the same item right-out, then you have no business consigning regardless of the situation.

Jewelry Credit Purchases

Nothing shows love in many peoples eyes more than a large credit jewelry purchase. Sometimes even large-stone engagement rings are purchased on credit. Although the gesture comes from the heart, the financials behind the purchase are completely out of order.

Jewelry has very little useful application in the real world. The purchased item is only a gesture of how much you love the person – on credit. Sometimes even the jewelry items will go back to the creditor when payments are in default. Even engagement rings have been known to go back to the creditor in default. The actual value of the jewelry is usually much less than the loan value. Bankruptcy can easily follow if either the loan payments or the engagement begins to fall apart.

Conclusion: Cash or Not at All

Gifts of the heart should be purchased in cash or not at all.  Remember, it is the heart that counts. Love can usually be expressed in much better ways than monetary means. Keep it simple: avoid love gifts so that you can avoid bankruptcy.


Children can be expensive. They can be especially expensive when you do not know when to quit with the gift giving. Parents need to learn how to say “no” and stick to it.  Spoiling children with expensive gifts can eventually lead to bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Can Start with Santa

Excessive gift-giving during Christmas starts a bad pattern of financial irresponsibility at an early age. Young parents feel the need to spoil their children during Christmas. The parents suffer even early-on by making bad financial choices with over gift giving. The children even suffer worse because they can become spoiled and will expect it for the rest of their lives.

Children are satisfied with very simple gifts. It is the thought that counts. Children will usually be satisfied with whatever gift you give them. By making children cherish what they own, they will not constantly seek more than they can afford when they grow into adulthood. This can cause patterns of bankruptcy to develop with both the parents and the children throughout their lives.

Aging Parents File Bankruptcy Over Their Adult Children

If a parent never learns to say “no,” this pattern of financial irresponsibility can continue throughout both the parent and the child’s adult life.  Bankruptcy can often be traced to parents wasting too much of their financial resources on their adult children’s needs.

It is important to be financially responsible with your children starting at the earliest age possible. If you are not modeling and teaching financial responsibility to your children, your children will likely always be needy and out of control with their finances. They will always come to you to bail them out. They will be demanding and angry. They will expect their parents to bail them out or provide the same as they always have in the past.

Conclusion: Start Young

You must model pattern of financial temperament with your children as early as possible. Although responsible gift-giving is an enjoyable experience, the gift-giving must always be restrained. Without this restraint, you could be setting up a future where both you and your children will need relief in bankruptcy.




Emotional decisions can lead to overspending. If emotional overspending goes too far, it frequently leads to bankruptcy. Overspending can be especially common around the holidays when people desire to give gifts to their loved ones.   Below are three common emotion-based decisions that can lead to bankruptcy.

Excessive Holiday Gifts Can Lead to Bankruptcy

The holidays frequently drag our minds into the arena of emotional gift giving. Parents frequently strive each year to give memorable gifts. This can lead to buying high dollar items for the kids or other loved ones.

With gifts, most people are usually satisfied with simple items.   For various emotion-based reasons, parents will purchase items that they cannot afford. They buy them on credit and these purchased items can contribute to the need for bankruptcy.  It also creates a cycle of “spoiling” the children which can lead to lifetime financial problems.

Buying Gifts for “Yourself” Can Lead to Bankruptcy

Adults desire “gifts” too.  They desire to give a “gift” to themselves. Whether it’s a convertible, a fishing boat, or a long desired exotic vacation – adults sometimes emotionally splurge on themselves as well.  They believe life will finally be much more enjoyable after their particular glory item is obtained.  Usually, however, life just gets much worse, especially when the item was purchased irresponsibly on credit.

Sometimes our desires for certain items overrule our logical thinking. Some people will then purchase things on credit even when the payments are nearly impossible. These types of personal “gifts” are on of the greatest causes of bankruptcy. They are also one of the greatest emotional mistakes that a person can make with their finances.

Keeping up with the Joneses Can Lead to Bankruptcy

Other times people will just try to purchase the type of items that they see at their neighbors’ house.  Whether it is a house, a car, or some other sign of financial success, these types of purchases usually end up with financial failure.  “Keeping us with the Joneses” many times lead to financial failure and even bankruptcy.

Some people that own nice homes and nice cars have purchased them paid-in-full. These are the financially responsible people who live out of the abundance of their assets and income. Financially irresponsible people instead of pursuing this type of lifestyle with credit. It is a shortcut in life that has disastrous consequences.  These consequences are many times lead to bankruptcy.

Conclusion: Emotion-Based Financial Decisions Can Be Dangerous

Financial decisions based on emotional thinking are usually poor financial decisions.  These emotional decisions cause people to work their entire life without accumulating any savings.    They grant the desire for an emotional item immediately, but they also bring costly, ongoing consequences that can lead to bankruptcy.


Build Credit

5 Ways to Build Credit

5 Ways to Build Credit

Building credit opens up a whole new world of options and savings that can be enjoyed throughout a lifetime.   Whether your credit is low or you recently filed for bankruptcy, you can still quickly build your credit.   Below are 5 quick ways to build the credit that you desperately need.

Settle or Dispute “Untidy” Credit Reporting

If you can settle debts that cause negative reporting, then you will be able to build your new credit on a solid foundation.   It does not matter how much new credit you can build if there are still several “untidy” spots on your credit report.   If you cannot settle the debt or if something is reported incorrectly, consider disputing the credit reporting.  Sometimes this can remove negative reporting from your credit report altogether.  If you face an impossible credit situation, consider filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Chapter 7 will also give you a solid foundation because it removes all negative reporting of your debts.

Acquire a Secured Credit Card Account

Consider setting up a secured credit card with a bank or financial institution.  This can be a very quick and easy way to build credit.  Make sure that you are able to leave a $500 to $1000 deposit or greater for the security interest.   You will need to find a bank or financial institution that offers secured credit card programs.  Not all banks offer these programs.   The credit that will be reported will be very beneficial.  It will achieve similar credit results as a normal credit card account.  The credit requirements, however, for starting such an account are not as strict or selective.   This can help get your credit reestablish your credit when no one is willing to offer you a conventional credit card account.

Small Bank Loan

A small bank loan is another quick way to build credit.  Whether the loan is secured or unsecured does not matter.  The bank will report your credit either way.  You can many times just start a CD account (certificate of deposit) with the bank where you will leave $1000 within the account as a security.   The bank may not require this and will simply offer you a $1000 loan with no security or restrictions.   If you can progressively build credit with 2-3 banks in this fashion, then you will always have a source for future loan needs in the future.   Over time, the bank will offer you much larger loans with no security required.

Affordable Automobile Loan

Affordable auto loans can also be a quick way to build credit.   Be careful.   Only purchase an automobile with a loan if you can afford to pay off the loan early in 1-2 years.   Although an auto loan can be a great method for building credit, high-balance and high-interest-rate auto loans can also easily drag a person back into financial problems.  Make sure that you can control and afford the automobile loan.   Place up to 50% down or greater when you purchase the vehicle also if possible.

Affordable Mortgage History

Eventually, purchasing a home through an affordable mortgage can also be a quick way to build your credit.  Home mortgages are usually long-term debts.  Consistently paying a large, long-term debt is one of the most powerful ways of building credit.  It can quickly build your credit up to the higher end of the spectrum.   Make sure to set up automatic payments with your banking institution.   Nothing builds credit more quickly and easily than setting up a payment (such as a mortgage or other loan account) on an auto-pay system.

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