Alright, who are my sports fans? There are few things we all love more than sports. Being in a crowd at a game or having friends over and rooting for your fav team is simply the best feeling. And if you’re a sports fan you know that sports can be downright budget-breaking. According to a Lendingtree.com survey, sports fans will shell out an average of $664 this fall and 33% may take on debt to do so.
Our guest on this episode is Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst for LendingTree, and he’s here to break down how to enjoy sports without going into debt and if you’re a parent, how to afford the sports your kid wants to play. He’s even got a super cool credit card tip that you need to know if you are in debt. As Matt says, “there are few things we love more than sports and in good times and bad times, we’re willing to spend money on sports as an escape to bring us together. Nothing quite unites like the love of sports.” So here’s to loving sports but doing so while balancing your money goals. Let’s start talkin’.
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Matt Schulz 00:00:09
I mean, we don’t think anything about carving out space in our budget for travel and things like that, but it might seem a little silly or goofy to do it for sports stuff, but the truth is, it’s not. It’s just something that we spend money on and that we’re passionate about. So you should treat it as an expense to be managed the way other things are.
Shannah Game 00:00:36
Welcome to everyone’s talking Money podcast. I’m your host Shannah Game.
Shannah Game 00:00:42
There’s no judgment, no dumb questions, just smart conversations about you and your money. So come on in and grab a seat. Everyone is welcome here. Hey, guys. I want to tell you about Kachava, my daily super blend. If you’re like me trying to stay on top of your health and gal your nutrients, then listen up, because Kachava has you covered. Cachava puts everything your body needs in one glass. All the superfoods, all the proteins, all the greens, all the vitamins, all the omegas, all the benefits for your brain, your gut, your skin, your muscles, your heart, your whole health. No more compromise, no more guilt. No other nutrition shake does all of this. They travel to the ends of the earth to source all the most powerful superfoods and then crush them up. It’s so simple. It’s just two scoops of powder, add water, blend it up, and enjoy. I was surprised how seriously delicious it actually tastes. I drink cachava for breakfast every single day, and I feel so energized throughout the day. It is seriously the creamiest. Yummiest and just tastiest way to get my mornings going.
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Shannah Game 00:02:22
I am a huge sports fan myself. I basically love every sport, except I.
Shannah Game 00:02:27
Never really got into baseball or hockey. But anything around sports is just so enjoyable. I think being in a crowd at.
Shannah Game 00:02:35
A game or having friends over and rooting for your favorite team, it is simply the best feeling. And if you’re a sports fan, you also know that sports can be downright budget breaking. According to a LendingTree.com survey, sports fans will shell out an average of $664 this fall, and 33% of those may take on debt to do so. Our guest in this episode is Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst for Lending Tree, and he’s here to break down how you can enjoy sports without going to debt and if you’re a parent, how to afford sports that your kid wants to play. He’s even got this super cool credit card tip that you need to know if you are in debt or if. You’re a sports fan and you’re just. Trying to figure out how to afford all of this. As Matt says, there are a few things we love more than sports. In good times and in bad times, we are willing to spend money on sports as an escape to bring us all together. There is nothing that unites us like the love of sports. So here’s to love in sports but doing so while balancing all your amazing money goals. Let’s start talking. Alright, matt, I am so thrilled to have you join us back on the Podcast today talking about one of my favorite things I know. One of your favorite things, sports. So thanks for being here.
Matt Schulz 00:03:52
Thanks for having me.
Shannah Game 00:03:54
You know, fall is really like my favorite time of the year. We’ve got college football. I love that the weather’s cooler where I live may not be where you are in Austin, but it’s also like a really expensive time of the year for sports fans and parents of kids who play sports. So as we’re recording this, we’re in the middle of college football. We got NFL seasons, NBA, NHL, college basketball is coming soon. We’ve got the World Cup coming up. So it is really like prime time for us as sports fans. But you and I, we were having this conversation a few weeks ago about.
Shannah Game 00:04:30
Sports and you told me the survey by LendingTree that really fascinated me and I knew I needed to have you on to talk about this.
Shannah Game 00:04:37
So this survey says that 41% of Americans spend money on sports this year more than they do any other time of the year.
Shannah Game 00:04:46
And that sports fans plan to shell out about $664 on average. And that many of sports fans, we end up taking on debt because we just love sports so much. So I thought just kind of kick it off. Why do we spend so much money on sports even in the middle of a recession and everything that’s going on right now?
Matt Schulz 00:05:07
Well, it’s because Americans love sports like they love very few things. And in good times, bad times, in between times, nothing tends to bring people together like sports. And I mean, there are so many things that so many people disagree about and get so passionate about, but chances are if you get folks together of different parties, different viewpoints, different everything, and get them talking about their favorite football team, basketball team, whatever, chances are they’ll have some stuff to talk about. So it’s really something that unites people like few things do.
Shannah Game 00:06:03
Yeah, it was interesting when you were just sharing that. So I decided to become an NBA fan when I was pretty small. I think like 1011 years old because my dad loved to watch the NBA, we big Lakers fans and we would go to a lot of Laker games together and we were at a couple of like, really impactful. We were there the night of the riots and we were there the night before Magic Johnson announced that he was HIV positive. So we’re there for some big things. But I really like that I was able to have that connector with my dad. And then I remember, like, just sitting in the stadium, if you’ve had the opportunity to go to a big sporting event yeah. You feel like you’re there with, like, a community of people. And I think especially in these times where we feel really divided, like, having that connector with people is something great.
Matt Schulz 00:06:59
Yeah. And my family had season tickets for University of Texas football for 25, 30 years, and there is nothing quite like being in a building with 1050 other people all cheering and hoping for the same thing. The really unfortunate thing is that whether it’s UT, whether it’s the Lakers, whether it’s practically any sport, it’s becoming a rich person’s thing in a lot of ways now because the average family of four can’t even afford to go to game 75 of 162 in baseball because it’s so expensive all the way down to parking and hotdogs and the whole thing. So I wasn’t surprised to see how much people spend on sports because the truth is that you can really spend as much as you want because there’s so much possibility and things can be so expensive.
Shannah Game 00:08:10
Do you know, do we spend more here in the US. Than maybe people do in other countries? Or is this kind of like a worldwide phenomenon?
Matt Schulz 00:08:19
Well, there’s no question it’s a worldwide phenomenon. And you can just look at the World Cup as the perfect example of that, where you’ll have people traveling to Qatar in November to see all the stuff that’s going on. But to answer your question, I don’t know if Americans spend more on sports than other people around the world do, but I would imagine that we would be probably fairly close to the top. Although anybody who has ever seen the prices of tickets to an English Premier League soccer game or something like that around the world knows that there’s a whole lot of money spent elsewhere, too.
Shannah Game 00:09:10
Yeah. You know, kind of thinking about, like, those big events, the World Cup coming up. And I know that any of these, like, big sporting events there was just the World Series, and I think the average price was somewhere around $3,000 per ticket, which is just nutty to me. But, you know, as a sports fan, I understand really wanting to be in that arena and really wanting to experience that. You mentioned a couple of expenses, but what are some of the other big expenses that sports fans that we actually spend money on? And maybe we don’t even care. We just spend it because we got to get in that building.
Matt Schulz 00:09:49
Yeah, I mean, the biggest cost is the cost of actual game tickets. And it can be, like I said, really expensive. Like hundreds of dollars for not even the Jack Nicholson, Spike Lee courtside seat kind of thing just to get in the building can cost you an awful lot of money, but also merchandise, jerseys and swag and that kind of stuff. But also things like food and beer and tailgating supplies and travel to get to the games and parking. And it just really goes on and on and on. And it all adds up to an awful lot of money that the average family on a budget, especially in a time of inflation, just can’t afford.
Shannah Game 00:10:46
Yeah, and you know, I think we know the statistics somewhere around, you know, the average person doesn’t have more than $600 in savings somewhere around that for an emergency. And so, you know, when we’re talking about the high price of tickets or not even the high price, but like, yeah, when you add in everything else, the parking in the food and the beverages, and you’re adding at least another couple of $100 on top of what you already spent, and then depending on where you live, parking could be ridiculous. When I used to live in La. I mean, it was not uncommon to spend $50 to park. So, thinking about this idea that a lot of people are going in into debt for sports, what are some of the keys to avoid going into debt?
Matt Schulz 00:11:35
Well, really one of the big keys is just something that’s really basic and that’s putting carving out space for it in your budget. We all know that budgets include kind of basic stuff, but the truth is that you should carve out room in your budget for things that you spend money on and that you’re passionate on because it allows you the flexibility to enjoy those things without necessarily having to go into debt. We don’t think anything about carving out space in our budget for travel and things like that, but it might seem a little silly or goofy to do it for sports stuff, but the truth is it’s not. It’s just something that we spend money on and that we’re passionate about. So you should treat it as an expense to be managed the way other things are. So that’s really the biggest thing that you should do.
Shannah Game 00:12:41
Yeah, I’m a big fan of balance in life. We gotta have some fun. We can’t just save and save and save. So as a sports fan myself, and I love concerts, I love music, that’s definitely like a line item that we add in because those are things that we just really like to do and that kind of make life more enriching for us. So I’m also thinking like, okay, let’s say that I have to go wherever, maybe it’s a World Cup. Like, I’ve got to go and I know that I’m going to get into some debt. I know this is going to be a reality. Matt, do you have any tips or ideas for us? What happens if we do have to take on debt? Is there any best practices for how we should think about kind of getting rid of that once we’re back.
Matt Schulz 00:13:31
Yeah. The good news is that if it’s credit card debt in particular, you have some options. And one of them, if you have good credit, is a 0% balance transfer credit card because those can allow you to go up to 21 months without accruing any interest on that balance. And that’s a really big deal. And you need good credit to get one of those cards. There are fees that go along with it, so it’s not a completely free thing, but there’s really not a better tool in someone’s arsenal against credit card debt than a 0% balance transfer card.
Shannah Game 00:14:15
You said good credit. Like, what qualifies as good credit?
Matt Schulz 00:14:19
If you are in the ballpark of 700 FICO score, you’ll probably be okay.
Shannah Game 00:14:25
Matt Schulz 00:14:26
Banks are tightening up a little bit now in terms of who they’ll lend to, but generally speaking, if you’re at or around 700 or maybe even 686, 70, you’ll have a decent chance. But if you get too much below that, then it may get a little dicey.
Shannah Game 00:14:46
So we could go have some fun at our sporting event and hopefully if our credit score is in that range, we could get one of these offers. And then obviously the strategy right, would be that if we had 21 months, let’s say, to pay this off, we had 0% interest, we would want to make sure that we basically divided that how much we owed by that 21 months and make sure that we got that paid off. But let’s say what happens if we don’t end up paying that off after 21 months? What are we looking at then?
Matt Schulz 00:15:19
Well, what you’ll look at then is that you’ll pay whatever the standard interest rate is on that card on the remaining balance there’s. One of the real kind of long lasting myths in the credit card space is that balance transfer credit cards actually have our deferred interest cards rather than zero interest cards, meaning that if you don’t pay off the full balance that you’ve transferred during that 0% window, that you’re going to get hit with a bill for all of the interest that you would have accrued during that time. And that’s really not a good thing. That’s something that you see at retailers where they’re talking about special financing and that sort of thing, but that doesn’t apply, generally speaking, with balance transfer credit cards. If you transfer that balance and you pay all of it but $50 off in that 21 month period, the only amount of money you’re going to pay interest on that balance is that remaining $50. And so that’s an important thing to understand. That’s kind of the cockroach of credit card myth. You can’t kill it. And it’s something that unfortunately may scare people away from using these cards because they may think that it’s just not as good a deal as it actually is.
Shannah Game 00:17:04
I didn’t know that. That’s really fascinating. Yeah, let’s kill that cockroach.
Matt Schulz 00:17:11
Shannah Game 00:17:12
Another thing I wanted to talk to you about is something that’s just on my mind a lot when I’m watching sports is fantasy football and like online betting, which is now legal. And I know if you watch sports these days, you see ads for this everywhere all the time. We’re talking now kind of right after the crypto market just kind of blew up and that was everywhere. So that’s really fascinating. But even like a lot of sporting events are sponsored by these online betting sites. So I’m wondering, are you seeing more debt increase as we embrace this idea of betting on sports?
Matt Schulz 00:17:53
We didn’t specifically ask about whether gambling is specifically increasing people’s debt, but it’s hard to imagine that it’s not because as a sports fan, people have always bet on games, but it’s generally just been kind of under the table and with your buddies and all that sort of stuff. But now that it’s giant business and you get points spreads on Sports Center and all that kind of thing, it kind of changes the game. So I don’t think there’s any question that you have folks who are running up some debt as it relates to sports betting. Are you hearing my dog bark, by the way?
Shannah Game 00:18:49
I am a little bit, yes.
Matt Schulz 00:18:51
Speaker 3 00:18:51
That’s okay. It’s nice ambient noise.
Matt Schulz 00:18:55
Shannah Game 00:18:57
The interview has got to feel like real life, right?
Matt Schulz 00:19:00
Shannah Game 00:19:01
Sometimes you got the dog bark in the backyard, right? Yeah. I’m just thinking like how crazy it is that we’re just like constantly being encouraged to spend more money and that’s what always feels like so really fascinating to me about the financial world. I mean, I’m a nonpracticing certified financial planner and so it’s really interesting for me to look at this, but it’s like this financial world where they want your money to kind of help manage your money and grow for retirement and all this. But it also really feeds off of things like this. Like, going into more debt is actually beneficial to some companies. And I don’t know, it’s just really fascinating me to kind of dig down and see how all this operates and how it’s so easy for us to just go in debt and then, you know, that awesome. Like tip you were sharing about the balance transfer credit cards. Most of us don’t know that, so we just get more and more in debt and then the panic and the fear starts to set in and we just don’t even know what to do about it.
Matt Schulz 00:20:17
Yeah, and it’s interesting, it kind of gets a little bit at the idea of whether there is good debt. I mean, nobody wants to take on so much debt, but I tend to believe that there can be good debt if you get a return on it and you feel like it is valuable and you don’t dive too crazy into it, obviously. And I think one of the things that could be argued that in moderation would be good debt would be something like a World Series trip or a college football game with your parents or things like that, where you bust the budget a little bit, but it ends up turning into memories that you’ll have for your entire life. Like in 2005, the season the Texas won the national championship in college football my family went to Columbus, Ohio for the game between Texas and Ohio State. And we have family up there and all that and we’re able to get tickets. And it was us and 1000 Buckeye fans. And Texas ended up winning the game. And that was kind of a big step towards them winning the national championship that year. And we talk about that game and that trip all the time 1718 years later and those sorts of things, even though they can be a little pricey and you may have to spend a little bit over a few months to pay for that those kind of memories can last you a lifetime. So there’s value in that if you do it in moderation.
Shannah Game 00:22:20
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Shannah Game 00:23:36
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Shannah Game 00:23:37
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Shannah Game 00:24:04
It was such an engaging episode that really breaks down what happened in an easy to understand way in just about 24 minutes.
Shannah Game 00:24:12
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Shannah Game 00:25:44
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Shannah Game 00:26:33
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Shannah Game 00:27:10
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Shannah Game 00:27:57
Another thing that you had the privilege of doing is you weren’t at the World Series actually in the building right, when the Cubs won, but you were actually in the city in the vicinity, which I think is another great way to think about if you can’t get in the building for your favorite sporting event. If you can even kind of get in the vicinity, you’re still there to experience everything going on. And maybe that is a little bit less expensive than actually being in the building, but you still get all of that fun.
Matt Schulz 00:28:32
Yeah, I’ve been a Cubs fan since I was, like, ten years old and tortured.
Shannah Game 00:28:41
Matt Schulz 00:28:42
I’m telling you, like, few fan bases have ever been, but when my girlfriend, now wife, and I got serious, I told her, I was like, just so you know, when the Cubs go to the World Series, I’m going, and they had been terrible for years, and she was like, okay, whatever. Like that’s going to happen. But she didn’t laugh at all. She didn’t go, no, that’s crazy. You know how much that’s going to cost? And so, lo and behold, in 2016, they get to the World Series, and tickets were just outrageous. Like, few sporting events prices have ever been to get into Wrigley Field. And I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to afford to go into the game, but we went up for game three, the first game at, I think the first game at Wrigley. I may have it wrong in 2016, and I used frequent flyer miles and hotel points to go up there and basically have it be kind of a freebie trip, travel wise for my son and I. And we hung around Wriggleyville and kind of took it all in and just saw all the craziness of that whole moment, which was such a big thing nationally, but was something that I’ll never forget, that I was able to do, in part because of credit card rewards and travel rewards, but part because I just was like, okay, I need to kind of put some money aside to be able to do this, to make it possible.
Shannah Game 00:30:33
Yeah, I love that you talk about credit card rewards, too, because I talk about that so often on the show because it’s so easy to forget that you actually have points just kind of sitting around. And those are worth you could exchange those for real things like hotels and airfare and all of that goes to save more money. So if you want to go to your favorite sporting event, you can also be creative and maybe you save on that airfare or that hotel and that goes a long way and helps you not get in so much debt.
Matt Schulz 00:31:07
Yeah, and the truth is that credit card rewards and points and miles and that sort of thing are depreciating assets. So they just tend to lose value over time. So you are better off spending them sooner rather than later. If you’re saving towards a particular goal, then you don’t want to just throw them away on whatever. But if you just have a ton of miles and a ton of points and you’re not sure what to do with them and they’ve just been sitting there for a long time, chances are they’ve gotten less valuable since you got them. So you may want to look into, even if it’s a staycation to earn those hotel points or if it’s something that you’re thinking, well, I’ve been putting off travel because of the pandemic or whatever, use those points because they’re only going to get less valuable over time.
Shannah Game 00:32:13
All right, so we’ve talked about our love of sports and kind of how much we all spend. But I know there’s also another piece of this, another sort of juggernaut of sports spending. And this is sports for kids. This is something that you know a lot about. I’m not a parent, but I can only imagine. So parents also spend a lot this fall on kids sports, whether they have the money or not. And a couple of other stats that really came out to me from the survey was 38% of parents with kids younger than 18 say their child will play on a sports team.
Shannah Game 00:32:51
And 59% of parents whose children play on fall sports say the cost is a big financial strain for their family. So thinking about maybe what sports kind of cost the most and how much on average do you expect to spend as a parent?
Matt Schulz 00:33:11
Yeah, we found that of those folks with kids on sports teams, about one in five say that their expenses are going to top $1,000. And to be perfectly honest, as your kid gets older and progresses into sports, it is very, very easy to spend a $1,000 on your kid’s sports because these select and travel leagues where you get into a higher level. Of competition and you start getting more serious and you start thinking about things like college scholarships and stuff like that. Really prey on people’s dreams and hopes for their kids and make just obscene. Amount of money on these leagues. Whether it’s whether it’s football, baseball, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey on down the line, really basically any sport that your kid is good at or maybe passionate about, you can find. Chances are some sort of league that is going on that will profess to take your kid to that next level, to turn them into LeBron or Tom Brady or something like that. So you really do need to be careful and you really do need to understand what these costs are. And again, carve out room in your budget for these expenses if that’s something that’s going to be part of your life.
Shannah Game 00:35:03
Yeah, so I’m also thinking.
Shannah Game 00:35:08
Let’S just take $1,000 because that’s an example. What if you’re listening and you’re like, OK, I don’t have $1,000 or maybe I have multiple kids so I don’t have three or $4,000 just kind of lying around. This show is about everyone’s talking money. It’s about having these conversations around money. So I would imagine this might open the door to have a conversation with your kid around money. Are there any ways to talk to them and kind of explain about money and how much this costs and kind of weighing out the pros and cons? Is there any way to open up that conversation with your kid?
Matt Schulz 00:35:49
Yes. I mean, as parents you’re always looking for teachable moments and this can certainly be one. You don’t want to give them an economics lesson or you don’t want to talk to them like they’re your accounting client or something, but it is okay to talk to your kid and go mom and dad. These leagues are really expensive and mom and dad are on a tight budget and this league costs a play in and it’s really tough for us to be able to afford it. And we want to understand how much something like this matters to you. And we also wanted to talk to you or let you know that if you do play there, we may need to make some sacrifices around some things and then just kind of have the conversation from there. And sometimes, sometimes a kid will go, oh wow, I had no idea cost that much, I’d rather do something else. Or maybe the kid will be like, what can I do to help? If you have a teenager or something like that, it would be like, can I mow some lawns? Or any of those sort of typical kid kind of stuff. But it’s a way of helping your kid learn the value of money as it relates to something that they’re passionate about. And my son plays soccer and several years ago we had to basically decide if he was going to jump into this to this soccer select league. And when I went to the meeting, I remember being shocked at how much it cost. And I went back to my son and I was like, you know, these are really expensive, and if you want to do it, we probably can make it work, but here’s some other reasons why you may not want to. And also just letting him know that when you have a commitment in a league like that, it may mean that you don’t have time to do other things. And my son ended up deciding that he wanted to just instead of playing for that select league, he wanted to just play in a more recreational league in soccer. So it would allow him to also play basketball and baseball later on. And so that’s a long, long answer to your question. But, yeah, it is important to have those conversations with your kids and to let them know at least a little bit about the implications of these costs.
Shannah Game 00:38:50
Did you ever suggest if your kid wants to play in one of these leagues and let’s say it’s pretty expensive, should they go and talk to the coach or talk to the league, like, see if there are any options available? I mean, have you ever heard of any tips or tricks like that to maybe save a little bit of money or where there might be, I don’t know, like a grant or, I don’t know, but something to kind of help you out?
Matt Schulz 00:39:20
It depends on the league, but there are definitely opportunities in some places in some levels for you to go to the league and say, you know, my daughter just loves soccer and she just really wants to play, but honestly, we can’t afford it. Is there anything that we can do? And you’ll have some of these leagues that will have grants and sponsorships and scholarships and that sort of thing that will be able to help you out. There’ll be some that may say, yeah, you can do it, but would you be able to give a little sweat equity where you coach or you referee or you work at the concession stands, that sort of thing? Those sorts of things are easier asks in kind of recreational leagues in most towns around this country. If you’re getting up to the higher level stuff where you’re talking about college scholarships and professional dreams and all that, those are a little bigger business, and you may not be as likely to get your way, but it’s certainly worth to ask.
Shannah Game 00:40:37
I like that. I like that. What’s the worst case, right? You asked the question and the answer might be no, but at least you’ve asked the question. So I love that advice. And I’m thinking about as we’re ending the year here, getting ready to kind of go in 2023, I’m a big fan of creating a spending plan rather than a traditional budget. We were kind of talking about this idea of building in ahead of time.
Shannah Game 00:41:03
The stuff that you like to do.
Shannah Game 00:41:05
So you feel like you can do that stuff without all the stress and fear that money brings. So as we wrap up. Matt, I’m just wondering if you have any thoughts on how we can smartly plan to really enjoy our sports in 2023 but not end up being one of these statistics that are going to debt and really kind of feeling the pain of our joy of sports.
Matt Schulz 00:41:29
Yeah, it really is about kind of being planful and thoughtful and making that budget or that spending plan and kind of looking ahead to what those things cost. And one thing that I think is really important, whether it’s sports spending or whatever is to go, is when you are making that plan. Any assumptions that you have about what things are going to cost, you may want to just bump those up 5%, something like that. Because it’s pretty easy to assume that things are going to continue to get more expensive for a while. And if you end up kind of guessing wrong and things don’t get more expensive, then great. But if they do, as we all expect they might, it will just mean that you’ll be a little more prepared for that scenario and will make things a little easier on you.
Shannah Game 00:42:34
I think the biggest takeaway in this whole conversation with Matt is something that.
Shannah Game 00:42:38
I share with you a lot, and that’s the idea of balance budgets are boring and they’re stressful. We can all agree on that, but that’s because you’ve been taught that they tell you what you can’t do. But I love Matt’s advice of turning your budget into something that tells you what you can do so you can still love your sports and spend money on your favorite teams, but you can Do so smartly and you can avoid Going into debt and all of that stress that comes with that. You can read more about this survey and get all of Matt’s awesome money [email protected] where you can learn everything from how to acquire credit, how to use it wisely, and everything in between. You can find Matt at twitter at mathschulz , and on TikTok at matt dot schulz. As always, if you enjoy this episode, share it with a friend, someone who, you know, loves sports as well. Help them figure out how to balance it. All right, without going into debt.
Shannah Game 00:43:35
As always, you can have the show notes for all the links to our episode guests as well as the amazing sponsors who make this show possible. I’ll see you back here, my friends, in a few days for a brand-new episode. Episode.