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Need some motivation to workout, get a little more fit, and feel more energized? Join the 14-day Back to School Fitness Challenge! It’s just $7 through the end of today!
If you’ve been following me on Instagram recently, you know that I finished a 21-Day Squat Challenge.
I have never done squats for 21 days in a row. In fact, I thought I despised squats. But I decided to challenge myself to sign up and do it anyway when I saw my friend, Sarah Haley, was running the challenge online.
To my great surprise, I ended up actually sort of falling in love with squats. And I even got some of my best friends to join me in the challenge, too!
I think my favorite part about challenge was that it pushed me but it was something I could easily fit into my life. And it made me feel so accomplished and energized. Plus, I loved the accountability of the worksheets, the videos, and the Facebook Group of women who were doing it alongside me, too.
When the 21 Days of Squats Challenge was almost done, I realized that I was going to really miss having the accountability and the daily workouts planned out for me. So I reached out to Sarah Haley and said, “What’s next?? Can you please offer another similar challenge? Because I loved this one so much!”
14-Day Back to School Fitness Challenge
And that’s when she told me about her 14-Day Back to School Fitness Challenge she was working on. I was all YES! YES! YES!
She just launched it and I already signed up! If you need some inspiration and motivation to get in a little exercise each day, I’d love to have you sign up and join me!
The workouts can be done in just 10 minutes a day — and right now, it’s only $7 to sign up for the Back to School Fitness Challenge (the price goes up tonight to $14)!
When you sign up for the Back to School Fitness Challenge, here’s what you get:
Downloadable Print Outs that you can print out (or save to your phone) to help you remember all the exercises and keep track of your progress.
Video tutorials to teach you the correct way to perfect each exercise as well as follow-along workouts
Daily accountability through check-ins on the private Facebook Group where you can share your progress and struggles with all the participants.
Music playlists to keep you motivated
THIS YEAR’S BONUSES: Self Care Snacks e-Book & Sweat Stretch Download (an additional $10 value)
Go here to sign up for the 14-Day Back to School Challenge. But hurry, because it’s just $7 through midnight tonight on August 30, 2019!
Let me know if you sign up! I’ll make sure to look for you in the Facebook Group! The workout challenge officially begins on September 4, 2019. [...]
It happens every month: The credit card bill is due. You dutifully send your minimum payment on the due date — but watch the balance grow ever larger.
But what if you could pay half that amount every two weeks instead of one payment every month?
More payments, you say? Thanks, I’ll pass.
But what if the new payment schedule could save you hundreds of dollars?
Biweekly payments are a simple way to reduce your balance and the amount you pay in interest. Here’s what you need to know.
How Do Biweekly Payments Work?
You may have already heard of — or received offers for — biweekly payment plans for debts like your mortgage. Here’s how one works:
Let’s say your monthly payment for a debt is $500. If you pay that amount each month, you’ll make 12 payments each year for a total of $6,000.
If you make biweekly payments, you pay $250 every two weeks. But because there are 52 weeks in a calendar year (thanks to that wacky Gregorian), you’ll make 26 half payments or 13 full payments each year, for a total of $6,500.
That reduces your principal by $500 in one year and thus reduces the amount of interest you’ll pay on the remaining balance. Depending on how much you owe and how your debt is structured, you could shave months or years off of a payment plan.
An amortization schedule is a table listing regular payments for the life of a loan. Each amount includes a little more toward principal and a little less toward interest as your balance goes down.
You can check out your loan’s amortization schedule and online biweekly payment calculators to see just how much you’ll save by paying off principal early.
How to Decide if a Biweekly Payment Plan Is Worth It
There are three questions to ask about your debt before switching to a biweekly payment plan, according to Brian Walsh, Certified Financial Planner and manager of financial planning at SoFi, a personal finance company:
1. What is the interest rate on the debt?
Before you start planning out a new payment schedule, you should first know if it’s worth your effort. That starts with knowing how much interest you’re being charged on a debt.
“We consider good debt as anything with an interest rate below 7% and bad debt, anything with an interest rate above 7%,” Walsh said.
Rather than paying off “good debt” early, you can often put your money to better use by investing in IRAs, 401(k)s and other accounts that offer a higher interest rate than the one you’re paying.
Considering biweekly payments for a student loan? Current interest rates on direct federal loans for undergraduates is 5.05%, while Direct PLUS Loans for parents or graduate students is 7.6%.
So if you have a mortgage charging 5% interest and an IRA earning 8%, you’ll make more money in the long term by continuing with your current monthly debt payment plan and putting that extra money toward your IRA. But if you have an auto loan charging 9% interest, you should consider a biweekly payment plan to pay down that debt faster.
2. Are there any prepayment penalties associated with the debt?
Before starting a biweekly payment plan, review loan contracts to be sure it doesn’t include a prepayment penalty. If it does, you’ll be charged extra for paying off a loan or a large portion in a single payment, which could offset any benefits you reap in interest savings.
3. Can you apply the extra payments toward principal?
This question typically requires you to simply tell your lender — via phone, email or letter — that you want extra payments applied toward your principal amount, not the interest. That allows you to pay down the debt faster and avoid paying extra in interest.
When it comes to meeting all three criteria, there’s typically one debt that’s a clear winner, according to Walsh.
“Whenever we come across credit cards, to me, that’s a no brainer,” Walsh said. “People should be setting up biweekly and more frequent payments when it comes to a credit card.”
Why You Should Set Up Biweekly Credit Card Payments
If there’s ever a chance you’ll carry over a balance from month to month on your credit card, biweekly payments can save you hundreds in interest, according to Walsh.
A grace period is the time between when a statement closes and the due date. The 2009 Credit Card Act requires that if a credit card company offers a grace period, it must last at least 21 days.
The problem with credit card debt is that unless you pay off the full balance every month, you lose the grace period credit cards typically offer and start accruing interest on a daily basis.
By making biweekly payments, you’ll not only knock out more of the balance, you’ll avoid accruing additional interest in those 14 days between payments.
Why Biweekly Mortgage Payments May Not Be Worth It
So credit card biweekly payments may sound all well and good, but what about knocking out most people’s biggest debt, the mortgage?
Not so fast, say the experts.
Using a biweekly payment plan to pay down your mortgage typically isn’t the best financial decision, according to Jason B. Ball, a certified financial planner with Ball Comprehensive Planning in West Linn, Oregon.
To illustrate this, Ball offered a scenario using the example of a house purchased for $300,000 with a down payment of $50,000 and an interest rate of 4.2%:
Traditional Monthly Payment
Total Interest Paid
25 years, 8 months
Here’s how much you can expect to save by making a biweekly payment as opposed to a traditional monthly payment:
Time: 4 years, 4 months
“In our example, it looks to save about four years,” he wrote in an email. “It is also interesting to note that most people do not live in their home that long. The typical buyer could be expected to stay in a single-family home roughly 12 years before moving out.”
Yes, you’d save on interest (although not as much if you move out before you finish paying off the mortgage), but Ball notes that at 4.2%, you could put your extra payments to better use by investing that money in higher yielding investments like a 401(k).
And although it might make you feel better about not having a mortgage hanging over your head (and there are other benefits to paying off your mortgage early), there’s a good chance a paid-off house won’t help you out that much financially even if you do decide to stay there when you retire.
“If you put all your money into your mortgage, you may be house rich at retirement, but you need to look at how you will turn that asset into a monthly paycheck at retirement,” Ball wrote. “Typically, pre-paying the mortgage yields a lower probability of retirement success than other options.”
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