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Ask Dave

Dave has answered thousands of money questions over the years.
Find the answer to your question here.

Budgeting

Budget billing for utilities?

Dave says budget billing plans for utilities are a great idea, especially if you're just starting to get control of your finances.

Envelopes and debit cards

Sarah feels her attempts to budget are suffering, because she only uses her debit card to pay for things. Listen as Dave offers some advice, explains the envelope system, and discusses the principles to successful budgeting. It's a great teaching segment.

Laptop dilemma

Lisa and her husband have just started Dave's plan. Previously, they told their nephews they would buy them laptop computers for college. Now, this would mean postponing the Baby Steps or taking on more debt. Dave sets them straight, and reminds Lisa it's difficult to be generous when you're broke.

Rent-to-own? Nope!

Josh wants to know how Dave feels about rent-to-own purchases. He quickly learns Dave doesn't like them on any level.

A Properly Budgeted Christmas

Christmas is expensive! Especially when you're trying to make it special for those you care about. So what's reasonable when you're getting out of debt? Here's Dave's advice on Christmas budgeting.

Save up, self insure

Shelby asks Dave if she should buy coverage offered by the gas and phone companies to cover lines running to her house from the street. Dave says no, and he tells Shelby the best plan for something like this is an emergency fund.

If you know it's coming, it's not an emergency

Melody's husband believes he'll have about three months of down time each year in his new business. He wants them to skip paying off debt, and build up a big emergency fund to cover these times. Dave gives them a better idea.

You still need one

Brad is debt-free, and he serves in the Navy. He doesn't have an emergency fund, but says the Navy provides certain types of relief funds for its members. Still, Dave urges Brad to set aside three to six months of expenses for the unexpected.

Cash flow grad school?

Dan is in grad school. He and his wife have a good income and little debt. He asks Dave if cash flowing school from here on out is a good plan. Dave loves the idea, and he gives Dan a few pointers for making things work.