The complete step-by-step guide to how I paid off my debt and how you can too.

Photo by Erik Brolin on Unsplash

My credit card debt story is a pretty common one. I didn’t grow up with much financial literacy. When I got to college, I opened up the first credit card that I could and pretty immediately maxed it out.

I tried to pay it down, but I’d pay part of it off and then use it up again over and over. I’d carry a balance and pay mostly interest.

Over the years that followed, I continued to open new cards and spend until I hit my limits. Until one day I had racked up over $12,000 of credit card debt…

No purchase necessary

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Every year around New Years I buy lottery tickets. I rarely buy them at any other point in the year.

It could be that for whatever reason the jackpots always seem high right at the end of the year or that I end up with cash after the holidays and I hate budgeting cash. Or it could be that much like in making resolutions, there’s something about the end of one year and the beginning of a new year that feels magical — as if change and possibility hang thick in the air.

At the end of 2020, I bought…

The drama-free guide to unfriending people.

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Over the years I’ve accumulated many Facebook friends. The reality of these friendships is that most of them don’t exist.

Many of the people from my friends list were people I went to high school and college with. It consisted of people I met once at a networking event or agreed with me on a post from a mutual friend and we declared ourselves “friends” by the tenuous Facebook definition of the word.

For a long time, I didn’t mind all the people I’d accumulated.

There is something oddly satisfying about having a friends list in the four digits. Much…

Yes, drinking enough water does make a difference.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

I have never been very good at getting my water in. There are days at work where I drink so little water, I don’t use the bathroom at all.

I’m also 100% the type of person to dehydrate myself before flying. Even though flying exacerbates dehydration, I won’t hydrate beforehand. I hate using those awful, tiny airplane bathrooms.

I’m aware this type of behavior isn’t good for me or my body. But until recently, that was my relationship with drinking water.

We all know at this point that we’re supposed to get…

Small financial changes meet you where you are and help you transition into who you want to be.

Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

New decade, new year, new you, right? Maybe.

Let’s be real 99% of the time when we make New Year’s Resolutions, they’ve gone out the door by February if they haven’t already fled the building. We mean well when we make them and we fully intend on following through on them.

So why don’t we?

Why we don’t stick to our resolutions

There are lots of reasons we could pinpoint. …

You might actually pay them off someday.

Students throwing their graduation caps in the air.
Students throwing their graduation caps in the air.
Photo by Vasily Koloda on Unsplash

Recently, I asked people about their student loans. Some of the responses surprised me, others were painfully familiar.

But one thing I was curious to learn was what people would do with the money they put towards their student loans each month if they didn’t have student debt.

Here’s what they told me they would do with the money:

  • Pay off credit card debt
  • Travel!
  • Build an emergency savings fund
  • Contribute to a retirement account
  • Save for a wedding
  • Save for a home
  • Get better health insurance
  • Buy a newer car
  • Move closer to work

None of the responses I received expressed a desire for luxury goods or an extravagant lifestyle…

If you’re a freelancer in Los Angeles, here’s your guide to avoid paying thousands in unnecessary taxes.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

As if being a freelancer and dealing with a lack of benefits and higher taxes isn’t enough of a pain, you just received a scary letter from the City of Los Angeles letting you know that you owe thousands of dollars in taxes and penalties for a tax you’ve never heard of.

Back when the dotcom bubble was bursting, the City of Los Angeles decided to scrounge up extra revenue by taxing local businesses. This affects all kinds of small businesses from tutoring and painting to writers. Basically anyone who gets a 1099 or files a Schedule C. …

Go from totally clueless to savvy investor. No fear required.

For most of my life, my only experiences with investing were what I saw in the media. By the time I was old enough to start learning about investing, it seemed overwhelming and confusing. I struggled with understanding what all these investing terms meant and how I should (or shouldn’t) be investing my own money.

I’m old enough to recognize that my experiences are not that unique. If I’ve struggled with anxiety over learning about investments, then there are plenty of other people who have and do as well. …

Your practical guide to improving your credit score based on what needs the most work.

A dart in the bullseye of a target
A dart in the bullseye of a target
Photo by Ricardo Arce on Unsplash

My personal finance journey began with a car.

In 2016, I leased a new car when my old one was on its last legs. I didn’t have much savings and knew I wouldn’t be able to afford what I wanted in a used car. So I opted for a lower monthly payment on what was essentially a very long-term rental.

When I got the car, my credit score was considered “fair” which is one step above “very poor”. I got stuck in a 4-year lease with payments almost twice as high as I had budgeted for. But I also wasn’t…

Don’t know where to begin fixing your money problems? Start here.

Today is my 30th birthday, so here is a round-up of 30 things you can do to improve your finances today!

1. Check your credit score

Utilize a free resource like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame to pull your credit score. They’ll do a “soft” pull which means it won’t ding your credit and you can use your score to see how lenders will view you.

Here is your Credit Score Beginner Crash Course to help you understand what factors make up your score and why it’s so dang important. Once you’re ready, here is a post on How to Improve Your Credit Score.

2. Unsubscribe from 3 store email lists


Kate LaChapelle

Avid reader, iffy on avocados, Kate works in TV finance by day and helps people with personal finances through her website

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