K. W. Callahan

K. W. Callahan

K. W. Callahan graduated from the nationally top-ranked Indiana University Kelley School of Business with a degree in management and a minor in criminal justice.

He spent over a decade in the hospitality business in both operations management and finance before turning his attention to freelance writing. He has had articles published by Chicago Parent Magazine, Stressfree Living Magazine, Life123.com, Poweropt.com, and is a featured contributor for Yahoo! Lifestyle, Finance and more.
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Contributor since
2/18/2009

Education/Experience

Degree in business management from Indiana University with a minor in criminal justice.

Motto

Efficiently. Effectively. Economically.
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  • Financially Making the Best of a Small Home
    While it’s not always easy being squeezed into a space just a third of the size of our previous home, we’ve found that if we try hard, we can turn those lemons that a small living space provides into lemonade.
  • Options for Buying Silver
    If you’re thinking about getting into the precious metals market but don’t have the funding available to buy gold, here are some options to consider when it comes to gold’s little brother, silver.
  • Monetary Motivators for a Stay-at-Home Parent
    Coming from someone who has been in the at-home role for over six years now, I can say that while rewarding, the position can pose many challenges – financial and otherwise – even to someone who likes being around the house.
  • We Don’t Let Early Money Rules Dictate Our Marriage
    Life changes, and jobs, incomes, living locations, kids, and overall costs can change with it. However, we didn’t let the money rules we put in place early on in our relationship dictate how our lives and marriage progressed.
  • How We Analyze Our Expenses
    Over the years, and as I’ve gone from single life to family living, I’ve relied upon certain tools and documentation to help me better analyze expenses.
  • Lower Summer Gas Prices Could Save Us Hundreds This Year
    After all my hard work, it’s somewhat defeating to find that gas prices are soaring, making many of the things we like to do more expensive. This year however, we might not be paying as much at the pump…at least we hope not.
  • We’re Ready for the Next Recession
    Sure, the stock market is up, and the housing market – at least in certain areas – seems to be doing better, but overall, things may not appear all that rosy.
  • We’re Not Running Our Finances Like the Federal Government
    While we’ve watched friends, family and even our own government dig themselves into debt or pitch money away recklessly, we have no desire to follow suit.
  • How to Handle a Working Vacation
    A vacation might not seem like a vacation if you’re working, but over the years -- as a self-employed individual -- I’ve actually learned to enjoy working vacations.
  • Home Prep Before Vacation Leaves Us with Peace of Mind
    Going on vacation can have us leaving our troubles behind. Sometimes that’s just the problem though. While those troubles may disappear from our minds as we arrive to our destination, they could be quite real while we're away.
  • The Power of a Partner in Life or Business
    Whether in life or business, making a go of it on your own can be difficult. Having a partner there to assist though can make the path to success a little bit easier.
  • Financial Pitfalls While Traveling
    Having worked in the hotel business for a number of years, I saw many things. And some of what I saw left people suffering financially due to things that could have been prevented with a little knowledge.
  • Money Moves I Made Before Becoming a Stay-at-Home Parent
    I still remember the excitement and nervousness surrounding my move to become a stay-at-home parent. It was kind of like starting a new job except my boss was someone much smaller than me and who I loved dearly.
  • I’d Never Buy Paper Precious Metals
    When I mention “precious metals” some people might conclude that I’m referring to trading such items in the metals markets, buying in selling in non-physical form. However, I would never buy precious metals that I couldn’t actually see or hold.
  • If the Economy is so Great, Why Are We Still Shopping at Dollar Stores?
    We’ve been shopping at dollar stores for years now. I’ve been a long-time fan, and now my wife and children have joined the club.
  • We’re Not Falling for Reports of Increased Household Wealth
    While we’re doing slightly better than during the recession, we’re not falling into the trap of complacency that can be created by reports of rapidly growing household wealth.
  • Staying Motivated After the Self-Employment Honeymoon Is Over
    I still remember the excitement I felt about having the opportunity to move into a self-employed role, and the vigor with which I tackled my newfound career. That first year was a whirlwind of emotions, successes and failures.
  • Trying One New Money-Maker Every Year
    Freelance writing, a new writing site or contest, online resale, consignment resale; they’ve all been money-making endeavors that I’ve tried throughout the years. Some such options were successes…others not so much.
  • Creating a Cyclical Financial Schedule
    From my time spent in hotels, I took some of what I learned and applied it to our family’s own personal finances, in turn, coming up with a cyclical financial schedule that works for us.
  • Finding the Inspiration to Save
    Getting inspired and motivated to save money can have a major impact upon a personal financial situation.
  • Getting Ready for Garage Sale Season
    It doesn’t always take a lot to get your garage sale off on the right foot. And getting ready for garage sale season a month or two in advance can make your life easier when the time to sell rolls around.
  • As an At-Home Dad, I’m Happier Working Part-Time
    As an at-home dad of two, over the years I’ve found that I’m happier working while also handling the childcare duties. There are several reasons – both intrinsic and monetary – why this is the case.
  • Why I Can Laugh When the Market Goes Down
    I decided to take control of my financial situation. Now, when the markets take a dive, I find myself largely laughing it off.
  • Is It Time to Flee Illinois?
    I’ve lived on and off in the state of Illinois for almost a decade now. And while I can’t say I’ve ever been a real fan of the state, it does have its perks; government fiscal responsibility however, doesn’t seem to be one of them though.
  • When Your Team’s #1, it Might Be Time to Job Hunt
    Collegiate sports is big business. And while colleges and universities might be raking in the cash when their teams are hot, it doesn’t mean that alumni might not cash in on a team’s top ranking as well.
  • How We Stay Out Consumer Debt
    Sometimes it can require a little effort and perseverance, here is how we manage to largely stay away from many of the trapping associated with the modern consumer-based society and the debt associated with a consumer lifestyle.
  • Measuring Our Family Finances with “The Pizza Test”
    I’ve noticed a trend that tends to correlate the types of pizzas we eat – and how much we spend on said pizzas – to just how our family is doing economically; I call it, “The Pizza Test”.
  • Finding Extra Money in Our Cash
    We often think of heading to a regular job, becoming self-employed, or even having a garage sale to make some extra money. However, sometimes there’s actually money to be made in our money.
  • Considering These Mortgage Questions Made Homeownership More Affordable
    Making the call as to whether to go with a 15-year or 30-year mortgage can be a major financial decision. It can affect a variety of factors when it comes to personal finances and the overall success or failure of a home ownership experience.
  • Avoiding These Bills Keeps Us Out of Consumer Debt
    Rather than prioritize, here’s how our family completely avoids several of these most common bills.
  • The IRS is Not My Enemy…I Hope
    I’ve been doing my own taxes since the ripe old age of 16. And if the IRS comes calling, I know they aren’t my enemy and are free to sit down with me and review my taxes. Heck, they might even find a mistake as they’ve done in the past.
  • Aspects That Make a Huge Difference in Our Income Tax Bill
    I’ve been doing my own taxes since I was just 16 years old. And during that time, I’ve found that certain aspects of my personal and family situation can make a huge difference in how much income taxes I (and now we, since I have a family) pay.
  • 3 Underappreciated Items to Look for at Garage Sales
    There are certain items in particular that I’ve realized some people tend to under-appreciate and therefore undervalue and that I look to pick up at garage sales even if I’m not particularly in need them.
  • Carrying Proper Internal Controls From the Business World to Self-Employment
    Internal controls can be important to regulating and protecting the finances of a business or organization. Having worked in hotel finance, I realize just how valuable tight internal controls can be to keeping things honest and accurate.
  • 3 Steps That Helped Us Pay Down Our Mortgage Faster
    After three years of payments on our own mortgage, we had cut an additional 30 months off our mortgage timeframe, saved ourselves nearly $3,000 in interest, and further reduced our future mortgage interest obligation by nearly $20,000.
  • Money Moves That Have Backfired
    It seems like dealing with money should be simple. We earn it; we use some of it to pay our expenses, and then we save the rest of it, hoping that it earns us something extra in the meantime. However, the handling of money often becomes more complicated.
  • Why I Budget Like I’m Single
    Even though I have my wife to work with, adding her income to mine and helping to split expenses, I still find that budgeting like it’s just me on my own helps to bolster our personal finances.
  • Soaring Child Care Costs Are Keeping Me at Home
    Having children can be one of the most rewarding events in life. It can also be one of the most expensive. And lately, it seem like the cost of child care just keeps going up.
  • Saving Big With Our Tiny Home
    I make no secret of the fact that it’s hard living in a tiny home with two small children. Four of us crammed into a two bedroom, one bathroom condo certainly presents a variety of challenges.
  • Playing the Lottery Offers More Than Just Potential Monetary Benefits
    While we’re not habitual lottery participants, typically only playing the Mega Millions when there is a large jackpot, we’ve found that there are certain peripheral benefits that surround playing the lottery.
  • Multi-Generational Living Has Its Advantages
    While there can certainly be downsides to the situation, it doesn’t have to be as bad as some opponents of the situation make it out to be.
  • Questions We Asked Ourselves Before Choosing a Mortgage
    Realizing just how much choosing the right mortgage can save, there were certain question my wife and I considered before making the decision to take on our most recent mortgage.
  • How We Compensate for Expenses We Tend to Forget
    While we’ll never be able to catch every expense before it hits, we’ve developed a pretty good plan to minimize the effects of such costs.
  • 4 Critical Financial Aspects to Understand by Age 30
    While I’ll agree that for many people, it’s not necessary to understand every little aspect of their money, throughout the years, I’ve realized that there are certain factors that are more essential to know about when it comes to personal finances.
  • A Personal Inflation Rate Helps Even the Playing Field
    Our lives are filled with purchases that seem to get more expensive each year. This inflation can range from the fuel we purchase for our vehicles to the cost of our health care coverage and medical costs.
  • 3 Ways Our Home Fleeced Us
    Depending upon the situation, a home can be even more costly than expected, and it can fleece its owners of their hard-earned cash. This was what happened to us with our first home purchase.
  • How Taking a Long-term Approach Has Helped Us Financially
    Taking a long-term approach to personal finances is something that I’ve done since college, and it has helped our family significantly in certain areas.
  • Before We Buy, We Ask These Questions
    When it comes to spending money – or saving it – we often just have to ask ourselves a few simple questions in an attempt to reason out our purchases before we make them.
  • How We Got Out of Debt and Stayed that Way
    Not having debt of any kind hanging over my head is something that many people don’t experience until retirement…sometimes ever. However, becoming debt-free doesn’t have to be as hard as some make it out to be.
  • How a Welfare Past Created a Financially Independent Future
    I was only six at the time, but I still remember standing out among others in the lunch line at school with my tickets for free lunch. We were poor. And as a child, I guess it didn’t bother me as much as it does now.
  • If I Ever Get Another Job, I Won’t Take it for Granted
    As someone who has been self-employed for nearly six years, it’s hard for me to listen to people complain about their jobs.
  • I’m Ready for a 1929-Style Market Crash
    As Mark Hulbert of MarketWatch points out, there is a frighteningly similar correlation going on between the market action of 2012-present and that of the market moves during 1928-29.
  • If the Minimum Wage Goes Up, My Tips Will Go Down
    While I respect what people in the food industry do and how hard they work, if the minimum wage goes up to $10.10 an hour, my tips aren’t likely to remain the same as they have in the past.
  • Budgeting Tools I Picked Up From a Single Parent
    As an only child growing up with a single-mother, I picked up a few valuable budgeting tools from her lead. While my mother was no financial genius, she knew how to stretch a dollar.
  • Choosing Between a 15 and 30-year Mortgage
    When we bought our last home, we put time not just into selecting the property but selecting the mortgage as well. Here are the main factors we considered when choosing between a 15 and 30-year mortgage.
  • Furnishing Our Living Room for Just $43
    Our family managed to utilize several cost-cutting options when furnishing our own home. And in the process, we created a living room space with furniture that fits our personal style, looks great, but only cost us about $43.
  • Our Financial Relationship Involves Plenty of Give and Take
    Being open-minded and willing to try new things when it comes to our personal finances helps us continue to improve and strengthen our financial situation.
  • Conducting a Cost-cutting Drill
    Doing a cost-cutting drill can make it easier to enact expense reduction measures quickly and effectively in a real financial crisis.
  • Free Hotel Amenities Can Make for Huge Savings
    Certain free amenities can be a perk of your hotel stay. But some such amenities can be more valuable than others.
  • Performing Preventative Maintenance on Our Personal Finances
    Like owning a home or a vehicle, it’s often cheaper to make minor repairs ahead of time in an effort to keep them from growing into costlier issues.
  • What We’d Do to Retire Early
    A recent MarketWatch.com survey polled people to find out just what they were willing to do to retire early. This got me thinking about the steps that we’ve taken – and are willing to take – in an effort to work towards early retirement.
  • We’re Debt-free for 3 Simple Reasons
    We’ve been completely debt free for almost two years now. And while the road to get to this point hasn’t been easy, when I look back as to why we’re currently in the situation we’re in, the reasons are relatively simple.
  • Inflation’s Low but Our Costs Are Still Rising
    Factors that are largely outside our ability to control have recently had our family’s costs rising by much more than the economists are reporting.
  • We Didn’t Get Married Until My Wife Paid Off Her Student Loans
    When I made the comment to my future wife that we weren’t getting married until she paid off her student loans, I was joking. Although, from the way it lit a fire under her to do so, maybe she didn’t take it that way.
  • Our Multi-million Dollar Retirement Savings Failure
    When I look back at some critical junctures in our financial path, and the decisions we’ve made regarding them, I can see how our mistakes could add up to have huge retirement planning repercussions.
  • Staying Faithfully Committed in Our Financial Marriage
    Through just a few simple steps, my wife and I have remained faithfully committed to one another in our financial marriage.
  • How We’ve Saved Thousands in Moving Costs Over the Years
    From apartment to apartment, apartment to single-family home, and single-family home to condo, we’ve moved to a variety of living situations in a number of places. And in the process, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to cut costs.
  • 4 Reasons a Budget Can Fail
    I’ve been budgeting since I was in college. And while I’m typically pretty successful in my efforts to lay out and abide by a budget, sometimes things don’t go as planned.
  • Finding Spending Patterns Help Us Budget Better
    Creating a budget can be a great tool to better organize and maintain your personal finances. I’ve been using a budget since I was in college, and it’s helped me better control and understand my spending in a variety of ways.
  • Having a Child Changed Our Financial Lives
    While we are reasonably responsible when it comes to our finances, we are often surprised at the kid costs that crop up and the ways those costs have altered our financial lives.
  • Essential Information That Helped Us Find an Apartment
    Having lived in six different apartment locations over the years, I’ve picked up some essential information that has helped us cut costs during our time as renters.
  • When it Comes to Investing, Squirrels Might Have it Right
    Maybe we humans, in all our infinite wisdom, should take a page from the squirrel’s book and spread out assets out a little bit. I know I do.
  • Buying Our First Home Taught Us Some Valuable Things
    We learned quickly some of the crucial financial elements that are involved in buying a home and just how much they can help our hurt us when buying a home and acting as homeowners.
  • Buying US Silver Coins May Offer Triple Protection
    By buying US silver coins – whether American Eagles or pre-65 dimes, quarters, Ben Franklin half dollars, etc. – there are several layers of protection built into such an investment.
  • Freelance Income is a Rollercoaster Ride
    I’ve been self-employed as a freelance writer for over six years now. And I have to say, for all the benefits the job entails – being my own boss, choosing my own schedule, and doing work that I enjoy – a stable income isn’t one of them.
  • Rotating Financial Focus Helps Keep Things Fresh
    Changing things up occasionally can help keep financial life fresh and avoid constantly focusing on the same stuff.
  • Understanding Personal Finances Too Well Can Be Depressing
    While gaining a financial education can pay off in a variety of ways – helping me budget better, forecast future expenses, know what my personal inflation rate is – at times, it can also be somewhat depressing.
  • Critical Factors to Consider Before Becoming Self-Employed
    Along the rough road of self-employment, I’ve learned a few critical bits of information I wish I’d know before I started my adventure.
  • Developing the Right Retirement Scenarios
    To ensure that we’re prepared for any number of situations that may befall our financial future, having considered a variety of retirement scenarios can better prepare us for potential pitfalls.
  • Battling Back From Our Biggest Retirement Setbacks
    The financial pitfalls we encounter along the way to retirement can put substantial dents in our progress towards our golden years. But sometimes those failures are also what we learn the most from as well.
  • Pushing Myself to Save by Seeing the Big Picture
    Even when you have extra income, it can sometimes be hard to save. And if you’re self-employed like I am, and margins are slim to begin with, it can be even more difficult.
  • A Pre-Retirement Sabbatical Can Refocus Goals, Help You Be Better Prepared
    If you’re lucky enough to take a year, or even a multi-month period of time off from work before you retire, it can be a real opportunity to test out just what your retirement future might be like.
  • A Key Element in Finding a Good Job After Graduation is Starting Early
    Many people will probably have to put some effort into a college job search, and getting started early can help not only relieve some of the stress and pressure involved in the process but help find a job that fits him or her well.
  • Rising Interest Rates Won’t Affect Us
    According to CNBC’s Bob Pisani, “The belief that 2014 will see modestly higher interest rates is the primary story so far, and that belief is affecting stock pricing in the first three days of the year.”
  • The Reasons for Credit Card Popularity Are Exactly Why We Don’t like Them
    Rather than paying cash for a $3 coffee or for a $2 hamburger, people like swiping their credit card instead. And it’s the exact reason that credit cards are so popular that our family doesn’t like them or use them regularly.
  • How We Keep from Bingeing After a Financial Fast
    In our family we usually do a pretty good job at restraining ourselves from overspending. In fact, you might even say that we regularly go on financial fasts in which we spend little more than necessary.
  • We’re Not Giving Up Cable to Retire Early
    While the numbers are enticing, our family isn’t ready to give up cable to better plan for retirement just yet.
  • Evening the Scales of an Income Imbalance
    Through it all, my wife and I have been able to strike a pretty even financial balance even when one of us is out-earning the other.
  • Should Retirement Be a Combination of Making and Saving Money?
    I’m sure that for many current and eventual retirees, retirement means a time of spending money rather than making it or saving it. However, being able to combine all three could make for a substantially more secure retirement.
  • These Time-tested Techniques Increase Our Financial Security
    Whether it’s due to a debt issue, bailout, budget issue, tax adjustment, government program, or similar item or issue, it seems like once we get through an impasse or regulation, we’re only looking towards the next.
  • Why Wait to Reduce Housing Costs?
    We decided to make a push early on in our adult lives to reduce our housing costs. And while it hasn’t been easy, we’ve made significant headway in our efforts.
  • A Simple Fix for an Inefficient Accounts Receivable System
    As someone who came into an inefficiently utilized accounts receivable system when I took over my finance job in the hotel business, I know just how bad a poorly handled system can hurt collection efforts.
  • Worst Case Scenario Planning for Retirement
    When it comes to our retirement planning, I try to lay out scenarios that would negatively impact our situation and plan our retirement if not to avoid such situations, at least be prepared to handle them without their devastating our retirement finances.
  • How Self-employment Can Affect Retirement Planning
    I think my current self-employment dream is slowly killing my retirement future, but I’m taking steps to reduce the impacts of my current employment role.
  • Is it Wrong to Keep Finances Separate in Marriage?
    Once we were married, we combined certain aspects of our financial life such as both having our name on our home title and having shared bank accounts. However, we still bill-split, track our own expenses, and gauge individual income.
  • Even when a Home's Value Rises, Equity Can Still Fall
    After the housing market bubble popped, I began to hear people change their tune about homes. Before that market collapse, a home was an “investment”…after the collapse, it was just “a place to live”.
  • Mistakes Can Be Costly When Transitioning to Self-employment
    Had I to do it over again, I would pay more attention to the following factors that affected my transition into the self-employment world.
  • What If Expenses Stay Flat or Even Increase in Retirement?
    I’m trying to plan things out now so that we’ll be better prepared for the shock should our expenses go up in retirement.
  • Financial Education From a Single-Parent Upbringing
    Being raised in a single-parent environment brought with it both benefits as well as disadvantages.
  • Getting More Personalized Service From Banking Representatives
    I’ve spent time to get to know some of my bank branch personnel, and I can tell you that it gets me better service, more personal attention, and quicker problem resolution. Some of these people even know me on a first-name basis.
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