3 Steps to Living Debt-Free

By Randy Tramp


We were 30,000 dollars in debt. We needed out—fast.

That began a journey of discovery. For the next few minutes, I’d like to relate to you my findings.

Starting with credit cards. Not only did we need to pay them off, but we also needed a new mentality; one, I’m proud to have obtained.

(1)  Pay off your credit cards monthly.

It may sound like a simple thing, but unless you have this cemented into your thinking, you’ll never rise to financial freedom.

To get our cards paid off, we tackled one at a time. With laser determination, we conquered the highest interest card. Once zeroed, we directed all the money to the next one. It snowballed until we had every card paid off.

Today it feels good to get a monthly reward check.

We didn’t stop there.

(2)  Make payments to your savings account.

With the credit cards paid off, we had extra money each week. Immediately that extra money was designated. Emergency fund. Car savings and regular savings.

Lowered stress happens when you plan for emergencies. Having extra cash when something breaks down keeps a family in smooth waters. You may be asking, “We have a hard time paying our bills, how can we save extra?” Let me answer that, by saying this: “Start with a small amount and be consistent.” If it’s ten dollars a week, keep putting that amount in your savings. Over a year’s time, it’ll be over five hundred dollars. Put more in – well you can do the math.

We’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years by paying for our vehicles with cash. How? We make monthly car payments—to our savings account, then use that money to buy a car.

(3)  Pay Extra on your Mortgage.

You’d be surprised at how a few extra dollars to your mortgage interest adds up. It does.

I’ve calculated my mortgage considering my retirement. When I hit that age, both our houses will be paid off.

The last thing I want to talk about is giving. I know it’s a non-stopper in conversations. That’s why I put it last, even though it should be first.

We’re wired to be selfish and self-centered. Nothing flows when we live in that nature. Giving creates a flow, allowing God to bless. I’m not speaking give a dollar and get two back. Blessings come in all different forms.

Give, and it will be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38 (NIV)

Our journey was one step at a time. Are you ready to join me?

Click to tweet: Lowered stress happens when you plan for emergencies.

Writing Prompt: Think of a way one of your characters in your current WIP can give a blessing, expecting none in return. Write it.

Randy Tramp is a freelancer, writing articles for newspapers and magazines. He’s just published his debut novel, Night to Knight.
He served in the Navy for eight years, supervised inmates at a Federal prison for twelve years and ministered as a children’s Pastor for twelve years. During this time, while on a missions trip, he taught African’s about children’s ministry.
His passion is to see families strengthened and relationships restored. He and his wife Kim are parents of eleven children (eight adopted) and five grandchildren, ranging in ages from two to thirty-two.
You can connect with Randy at:

Night to Knight

night-to-knightSpecial Forces Mark Steele commands an operation to save two American Missionaries. He’s injured and dismissed from the Special Forces. Not wanting to take a desk job, the Navy discharges him. Mark becomes discouraged until he discovers a new purpose in life—locate and return abducted children to their family.

To protect his wife from emotional stress, Mark doesn’t tell her. During one of Mark’s missions, Kaitlyn finds a crumbled paper in the wastebasket next to his desk. She calls the number and hears a female’s voice, then Mark’s voice in the background. “We’re a married couple headed to Phoenix,” Mark says…

Read more about Randy’s book here.



Best Treasure Hunting Movies


raiders of lost arkI love to watch a good movie full of intrigue, romance and treasure hunting. Who can forget one of my all time favorites, Raiders of the Lost Ark? Harrison Ford became my favorite new hero and the suspense left me breathless.

And how could we talk about treasure without mentioning pirates? Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl combines Jack Sparrow the pirate with treasure and romance.

Another one I’ve watched over and over is Romancing the Stone. A writer living the adventure of a lifetime is my kind of movie.

For an oldie but goodie, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre with Humphrey Bogart combines a hunt for gold with greed in the desert.

And last but not least, The Goonies, a movie about a group of kids hunting for a pirate’s treasure to save their homes from foreclosure. I loved Sean Astin in this movie!TheGooniesPortada-Frikarte

What are some more movies or television series that deal with treasure hunting?

And speaking of treasure, leave a comment to be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card to be given away on Monday.

On a Treasure Hunt

TrailerPainting_t620I told you a bit about my “treasure-hunting” uncle in an earlier post [here]. He and my aunt have both passed on, having never really hit it big. But they always had that hope. They were always on a treasure hunt.

Perhaps Uncle Bill’s forebears went West in the late 1800’s along with thousands of others, seeking gold. Few of those struck by gold fever found the treasure they sought. But many stayed on, having found a treasure of a different sort.

This picture is not of my treasure-hunting family, but this is kind of how they started out, that first trip. What sent them down this path? A friend told them about a summer vacation destination where they could dig for gems. They hopped in the camper and set off. After talking to the owner and operator, it seemed like a good post-retirement source of income.

Not everyone finds treasure buried in their backyard. I’m not sure I’d recognize it if I did. Many gems in their raw form just look like rocks to me. But just for you, I found a list of destinations, if you’re interested in a treasure-hunting vacation. I’ll list a few of them, but there’s a better list available at Travel Channel’s History site [here].

gemstonesWhat’s your preference in gems? Opals? Emeralds? Diamonds? My personal favorite is aquamarine, since that’s my birthstone.

  1. Opals: Bonanza Opal Mine, Denio, Idaho, or Juniper Ridge Opal Mine, Lakeview, Oregon
  2. Emeralds: Emerald Hollow Mine, Hiddenite, North Carolina
  3. Diamonds: Crater of Diamonds State Park, Murfreesboro, Arkansas
  4. Aquamarine: Gem Mountain Gemstone Mine, Spruce Pine, North Carolina

Are you close to one of those, or passing through there on your next vacation? Might be a good day trip or aside to your other plans. In case you aren’t aware, the Blue Ridge Mountains are gemstone rich!

If you prefer precious metals like gold, Roaring Camp in Gold Pine Grove, California is a good place to go.

There are also Thunder Eggs or Geodes, found in Rockhound State Park, in Deming, New Mexico. Find meteorites in Glorietta Mountain, New Mexico, and Brenham Township, Kansas. Dive for Jade in Jade Cove in Big Sur, California. And pick up some turquoise at the Royston Mine in Tonopah, Nevada. I love turquoise and always thought there was only the blue-green variety. Until I visited The Grand Canyon last summer and found white, pink, and purple turquoise in the nearby gift shops.

Many people find these treasure hunts great fun, as well as an educational experience for their children. This would be especially true of the dinosaur fossils found in Devil Hills, South Dakota. Wherever you choose to look, treasure is often near. Many times we have to search for it or dig for it. But it’s there.

Happy hunting, treasure seekers. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…” Matthew 6:21 NKJV

Betty Thomason Owens


One Man’s Junk


By Jennifer Hallmark

You’ve heard the expression, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure? Never has that been more true than today. Numerous reality and television programs have sprung up promoting these modern-day “treasure hunts.”

Programs like Antiques Roadshow have been around in the U.S. since 1997. Antique and sometimes junk enthusiasts bring in their treasure to be appraised. Some find their inherited item worth thousands while others discover there is only sentimental value to be found.

There are several reality shows along the lines of Storage Wars. When rent is not paid on a storage locker for three months in California, the contents can be sold by an auctioneer as a single lot of items in the form of a cash-only auction. Storage Wars follows several buyers as they purchase storage units and dig through the household items and clothes, hoping to find a safe full of money or antiques worth a mint.

My last example is American Pickers. The show follows antique and collectible pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz as they travel primarily around the United States, buying (“picking”) various items either for resale, for clients, or occasionally their own personal collections.**

Once again, we follow people on their treasure hunt from the comfort of our living room. No stress and strain on our part, though we don’t get the treasure either.

Join in the fun! Name some television programs you watch that showcase treasure hunting in some form or fashion. Or maybe a fun thrift store or dig store you like to hunt through for your own treasure. Leave a comment and maybe we’ll join you in your treasure hunt…