Author Archives: Nii and Renee

Goodbye student loan debt… Hello 2018!


On December 5, 2017, we kissed our student loan debt goodbye… all $662,900 of it! That’s right. We’re free of student loan debt after 38 months! You might remember that by April 2015, after paying off our private loans in 6 months, we set a goal to pay off our federal student loans in 3.5 years. Like the song says, we “finished paying Sallie Mae back!” four months early! Read the rest of this entry


Budgeting for Baby!

bootie money

We are very excited to welcome our baby boy into the world, into our lives, and into our hearts! Having been married for four years, we are more than emotionally ready to extend our family beyond husband and wife. Being emotionally ready to have a baby is one thing; being financially ready is another! Read the rest of this entry

5 Reasons we’ll never lease again!

Photo from Consumer Reports

It’s about that time! Our car lease is finally coming to an end, and we need to find a new vehicle. Renée had leased a car back in 2011 before we were married. So, when her lease came to an end three years ago, we were faced with the decision to either buy with cash, finance, or lease a car. Well, that May we decided to lease again, a decision we deeply regretted by October when we realized that we no longer wanted to live in debt. Read the rest of this entry


Our year of failure was a success!


Happy 2017! We are super excited to share this update with our readers! Last New Year, we themed 2016, the year of failure. You might be asking, “Why would anyone theme an upcoming year “a year of failure”?”  Well… keep reading!

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You surprised me with a new car… Was that in the budget?


Renée was recently reminiscing of when Nii surprised her with her first smartphone in 2011 while still dating. “While I appreciated the gesture, my phone bill shot up because, now, I had a data plan.”  Renée’s budget is something Nii did not consider with his surprise. The surprise did not include Nii paying the monthly bill, and Renée’s income did Read the rest of this entry


Don’t swipe up! Don’t swipe down! 4 reasons we carry cash


You’ve probably heard King Bach’s rule “don’t swipe left, don’t swipe right” when looking at pictures on someone else’s cell phone. Well, in the Darko household, we have a rule… don’t swipe up, don’t swipe down! Instead of using a debit or credit card, for many of our purchases, we use cash . Here’s 4 reasons we carry cash: Read the rest of this entry


3 month challenge to build a $1000 starter emergency fund


The rain was blinding. Nii insisted we leave the hospital in the storm rather than wait for it to ease up. We had taken two cars to work. Renée backed out of her parking space and right into a hydrant. In five minutes, we went from not having a care in the world to needing a car repair of about $1000. Luckily, we had started an emergency fund a few months earlier. We paid cash, incurred no debt, and our car insurance premium didn’t increase. If this happened to you, would you have the cash or would you have to use your credit card? Read the rest of this entry


Greetings from Ghana: Why we want to be debt free!

Why do you want to be debt free? Coming to you from our medical mission trip in Accra, Ghana, we talk about why we are striving to become financially free. For some of you, it means working for yourself, being able to travel freely, or staying home with your kids. We’d love to hear what your “why” is in the comments. Thanks for keeping up!


I love you… Let’s make a budget together!

pic taken from

pic taken from

Budgeting… the 6th love language?

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a book about how individuals express and receive communications of love – 1) gift giving, 2) quality time, 3) words of affirmation, 4) acts of service, and 5) physical touch. We would add budgeting to that list. Yes! Budgeting is an expression of love. You could also call it distribution of resources. But, considering that disagreements over money are the number one cause of marriage stress and divorce, it’s only logical that making and following a budget is an expression of love. Here’s why! Read the rest of this entry


The Darkos’ Top 5 Money Podcasts!


Here at Team Darko, we’ve had some very interesting lessons to learn over the past year. Having two MBAs in the household, we were knowledgeable about business finance, but we still had a lot to learn about personal finance. We got the message about being frugal and saving money growing up. But, what about making our money work for us? Stocks, bonds, and other various vehicles to grow our money… We have a lot to learn about those. Read the rest of this entry