Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What Makes You Consistent?

So I would say my most difficult problem is getting in a ritual or a routine and being consistent.  I think it affects me on a daily basis.  How do I challenge myself to stay consisten or more importantly how do you?

My understanding is people who are skinny or in shape for the most part have a ritual or a routine on when they workout or what they eat, I lack that.  It is difficult for me to do anything without getting results in a short period of time.  I think for this reason, I am not in top shape, workout regularly, or stay focused one item.

I feel like I am all over the place with things, almost easily distracted.  A great example would be this blog, I would love to write 1x a week or more, but I have trouble being consistent.  I started setting a reminder on my phone to write a blog, so this is my attempt to be consistent with this.

I think alot of this comes down to a little old saying that Nike has "Just Do It".  I think then you create a ritual or routine out of habit.  This blog article is all over the place, but what do you differently that makes you consistent?  Whether it's going to the gym, not eating cookies for dinner, or whatever makes you consistent, share with me please!!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Night Out on the Town

So my wife and I decided that we eat out far to much, it may have helped that for 2 months we didn't have a kitchen, literally!  So for the first 2 weeks of September we were in our old habits of grabbing a pizza for delivery on Friday night and if we didn't feel like cooking to go grab something.  We did budget a small amount to go out to eat, but usually we would just ignore whatever money we put in and go way past the budget whether on my wife's tab or our joint checking account, for some reason if it goes on the wife's card it doesn't cost anything in our minds, we in fact are crazy!  So here's our plan of attack to stop from spending so much on going out to eat.

The envelope plan well sorda.  So we decided to not use our debit/credit card for any meals where we eat out(with the exception of lunch for my wife).   So every 2 weeks we will take out $60 and put it aside for going out to eat(side note don't search eating out in google images, not what I expected, I'm a little scarred).  The goal is to stop us from eating out so much and as an incentive any money that we don't use will go towards our Hawaii trip in November.  So far we are 1.5 weeks in and that $60 is still sitting in my headphone bag(our version of the envelope), so far so good, I will let you know.  Is there anything you do that helps you to save money instead of eating out?  Share baby, share!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Follow the Leader, If Someone Walked Off a Bridge, Would You?

I feel like many of us out there copy what there parents have done with there money good or bad.  I believe it goes the same for friends, TV shows, people you live by.  I'm not claiming this as fact but if your parents have bad financial habits, your best friend has 20 credit cards, you love Housewives of Miami, and your neighbor has a BMW that you look at with envy, chances are you are currently, well screwed!

How do we break bad financial habits?  Read about personal finance, listen to a good podcast, stop watching Keeping up with the Kardashians!(Please everyone stop, only bad things come from that show)  Unless you plan to have a sex tape make millions, marry an Olympian, NBA player, come out with a clothing line, then let's get back to reality a little here and actually care about our own lives.  On a "I hate saying this note"  they are great entrepreneurs, man I feel worse for saying that.

So what do I love, hate, obsess over?  Great question I just asked myself.  Here's a couple books I really enjoyed and would even read again, Super Nerd, i know.

  1. The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason.  This book is by far my favorite book it eases you into personal finance by telling short stories or parables and how it relates to money. 
  2. Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.  By far the most known personal finance book out there, he keeps it simple and has had millions follow his how to steps of getting rid of debt and creating wealth.

  3. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko.  This book has great research that shows who the millionaires are and how they made and keep there money.  They are not driving BMW's or living in mansions, do not keep up with Jones', because they are stupid.  Great insight, great book.

These are great books and there are many more out there and I have read many, many more that are very good, just didn't make the Top 3.  Should you buy these books?  I wouldn't why spend and extra $10-$30 on books that the library lets  you use for free.  Now if you love one of these books or plan to follow the guidelines in one of the books and want it for reference, please go ahead and purchase this book used from Amazon or eBay.

So you haven't walked off a bridge, you are not educating yourself if that person is indeed crazy or if the bridge is going to collapse.  I encourage you to read up and tell me about a great personal finance book you really like(Suze Orman excluded, she hurts my ears even on paper).   

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Money is Always on Mind, Every Morning at Least-Thanks Dave Ramsey

I like many of you out there are a creature of habit.  Some must have that morning coffee, bowl of cereal, leave at exactly in between 7:00 and 7:05, or in my case I change my routine to create some sense of spontaneity, but it's still a habit.

Right now I have been going with the morning coffee, made at home(trying to save that $10 a week and I prefer to be all jacked up by the time I get to work) and Dave Ramsey podcast every morning on the train.  I like Dave Ramsey and my other options are listening to Pandora cut in and out like a bad DJ or staring outside(p.s. the buildings or walls don't change much).  So about Dave Ramsey..................

I like to listen to someone telling me to pay items with cash, stay away from credit cards, and that he has made mistakes but here is why you should not do what I did.  It creates a mindset that if you spend money with bad decisions, you are going to pay for those bad decisions.  He is a strong believer in debt makes you a slave to the lender, I couldn't agree more.  I struggle everyday to get in this mindset, this is another reason why I listen to Dave Ramsey every morning.

Here's what I want to do with my money.  Put tons of money in my 401K, pay off every cent of debt I have today, fix up my house, pay off the house, and invest in stocks, other houses, take tons of trips.  This morning dose of Dave Ramsey reminds me to keep things in check, Rome was not built in a day, cliche yes, but very true.

I have a budget, I have a plan.  I don't want a 30 year mortgage, I want my mortgage to be paid off in 7 years, is it possible, absolutely I ran the numbers to know.  I read something by Zac Bissonnette said and I'm summarizing here, but poor people think about how financial decisions affect them this month or this week and wealthy people think in 5, 10 and 20 year blocks.  That makes sense to me, when buying a car the poor guy is thinking can I afford the payment of $200 month, the wealthy guy is paying cash and thinking how much money per month he is saving over a 5 year period.

So in summary every day is a battle with money, but the key thing is I may lose a battle today and go buy my lunch or spend money on something I don't need, but I will win the war, with God's help and with great influences around me.  Right now my biggest influences on money are my wife(smart lady and cute to), her family(they have great advice that gets funneled through my wife),  and personal finance blogs, podcasts, and books.  Make sure to surround yourself with great influences, if your brother likes to drive his leased BMW on his Wal-Mart cashier hourly wage, you might want to find a better influence

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Just Thinking About Money-Spending Money is Getting Old

Our house is getting very close to finished with what we have included in our mortgage(FHA 203K).  That is a great thing! I'm ready to live in a house without dust, strange men coming in and out(sounds bad intentionally), and things that are half done.  This is not to say the house is done.  Like any house you want to do so many things.  For example we had the contractor create a couple closets, but in reality it's just a door with an entrance, more work to be done, more money to be spent.  But like many people we can deal with what we have.  A fan where a light should be, closets with just a pole to hang clothes, slowly we can take care of this and the key is do little by little and keep it in just our unit.

So we have decided for the most part(no big projects expected) we are done with spending money, honestly I'm sick of it.  So until we get some rental income in our pockets we will be making good with what we have, which is a lot, we have been blessed.  The only money we will spend is to create income.  We will take whatever rental income we receive and use the money to fix up our "Garden Apartment" aka the basement.  I knew coming in this was going to be a process, it's been 2 months and I feel like we are on the right track.

So let's not spend money this Labor Day weekend, let's clean up and fix up what we have and be thankful for what we have.


Friday, August 31, 2012

Automatic Plan-Make things Automatic-Make Paying off Credit Cards a Priority

Automatic Plan-Make things Automatic-Debt, Savings, and Investments

  1. Figure out Where all of your Money is Going
  2. Make things Automatic-Debt, Savings, and Investments
  3. Make paying off Credit Cards a Priority
  4. Add additional payments to the Debt you like the least
  5. Pay off home early
  6. Make sure you and your loved ones are taken care of
  7. Build wealth and give!

If you have read my blog before you know I hate credit cards.  I have done almost everything wrong with credit cards, besides maybe paying late and who knows maybe I did!  Here is a small list of stupid things I have done with credit cards:

  • Pay for my entire Spring Break and not have money to actually pay that
  • Balance Transfer and not be able to pay off the debt before the 0% ends
  • Open up Store Credit Cards with very high interest rates
  • Use the Card to Buy inventory for my business
  • Basically live off of my credit card for 3 months

All of these bad ideas, all of them cost me so much money over the course of probably 12 years of credit cards.  I now have $0 credit card debt and love it.  So what did I do to accomplish this,  I chose the credit card I hated the most, easy selection for me Citibank and paid them off first.  I took every dollar I had and threw it at the credit card.  Spare change, refunds, extra money from side jobs, raise, bonus, whatever I had all towards paying this off.  It worked, it took some time but it worked.  I then had another credit card that I owed money on and due to a small financial windfall paid that off as well.  But it would have been the same thing, take every extra dollar you have and put it towards those stupid credit cards.

Once you have accomplished paying off your credit cards, stopped accumulating any more debt, and have officially cut up those credit cards, pat yourself on the back step 3 is in the books.  Make paying off your credit cards a priority, they are the worst.  They have the highest interest rate, get you into the most trouble, and overall are just a curse for 99% of the world.   So cross it off the list and say good-bye credit cards.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Automatic Plan-Make things Automatic-Debt, Savings, and Investments

  1. Figure out Where all of your Money is Going
  2. Make things Automatic-Debt, Savings, and Investments
  3. Make paying off Credit Cards a Priority
  4. Add additional payments to the Debt you like the least
  5. Pay off home early
  6. Make sure you and your loved ones are taken care of
  7. Build wealth and give!

    Make things Automatic-Debt, Savings, and Investments

    There is a reason companies want you set up on an automatic plan, whether it be student loans, car payments, or a gym membership.  If you set it up to come out automatically versus writing a check and doing it yourself, there is much higher probability that the company gets paid.

    So let's all be really smart and copy exactly what companies have been doing for years to get our money. 

    • Most important thing, Pay Yourself-Even if it's $25 every pay period set it up to come right out of your check into your savings.   
    • Because you know where all your money is now going from Step 1, you should have a good idea of your expenses.  The easiest thing to do is have everything set up at one central location.  You can set up your Bill Pay and all of your Savings Transfers.  After you have that set up there may be one or two bills that is easier to go through that company.  An example is my student loans, if I set up an automatic debit through my student loans I get a discount in my rate and still automatic, good for everyone.
    • So if you haven't already start or set up your 401k with your work.  I have read many different ways to look at this, but I recommend starting with whatever your company matches.  If they match 3%, set up 3%, it really is a foolish thing not to use this.  Let's say you make 100K to make things easy.  You set aside 3% of your pay before taxes and have 3K in your 401k at the end of the year, well at the end of the year they match this total, so you now have 6K.  That's a good amount of money for just agreeing to save!
    So you know where your money is going and now you have everything set up to where you want your money to go and even better yet it's automatic.  I think this is a great start, just make sure to monitor the comings and goings.  I like to make sure right before I get paid to make sure everything looks right and is going

    Thursday, August 9, 2012

    Automatic Plan-Figure Out Where All Your Money is Going

    Automatic Plan.  So you have to start somewhere, no it doesn't instantly make you rich, but it can in the long run.

    You need to know exactly how much is coming in and more importantly in Step 1 is Going Out.  For some people it is easy, they use online banking so they can take a look at the last 3 months of transactions and get a great idea of what they are spending.  Even download it to Mint.com, Excel spreadsheet(personal favorite) or whatever financial software or online tool you use to figure if your money is going towards groceries or new clothes. Just remember to make sure you keep an eye out for ATM and Bank withdrawals, chances are you don't remember where that $60 went on Friday night after work, well maybe you do, but you have chosen to suppress that memory of buying everyone you recognized a "Happy Friday Cocktail".

    By my calculations this is f***ing impossible.  It's not this is a weather spreadsheet, let's just do plus and minus today.

    So you have some tools that you can use, but being old fashioned in this case works as well.  Save all your receipts for 30 days, every receipt, write it down because it matters.  Buy a special notebook to keep track of everything, don't forget you need a receipt for that.

    OK great you have written down everything that is going out, Congratulations!!!  I mean it, this was so tough for me.  I knew I was spending to much, I didn't want to admit it, but when I looked at the numbers I knew something had to happen.  Well almost done with Step 1, we just have to figure out how much is coming in, should be pretty easy take your last month's paychecks that are for normal hours and add them up.  Easy to say if you are working a 9-5 for a company, if you are Self-Employed take whatever you pay yourself in a given month and if you don't do this do it now give yourself a salary.

    So by my calculations all we have to do is take What's Coming In (Minus) What's Going Out=What We Have Left.  Seems simple enough, just have to sit down, take some time and figure these numbers out.  I know it seems like this isn't that important, but we are building a house and we need a foundation, no cracks in this fine looking base(Slapping the Base reference here).  Also I don't care if your number is negative $4,000, negative $40, or positive $400, we really are looking for our base number something that we can use for that fine looking base.

    1. Figure out Where all of your Money is Going
    2. Make things Automatic-Debt, Savings, and Investments
    3. Make paying off Credit Cards a Priority
    4. Add additional payments to the Debt you like the least
    5. Pay off home early
    6. Make sure you and your loved ones are taken care of
    7. Build wealth and give!
    Here's another more experienced blogger's perspective.  Here is a great article by J.D Roth from Get Rich slowly.


    Fitness-Joe Rogan Made Me Do It-Day 4

    I have discovered a small portion of the Vegan world.  Day 3 was a success for eating Vegan and Fruitarian.  I purchased some mini corn dogs, or veggie corn dogs, whatever is in those things.  They were very good, much better than I anticipated.  So I did eat the whole box, so that probably ruined whatever weight loss this would have for eating the delicious pieces of goodness.  Day 5 will have every good intention of completing this small journey, but I will be arriving in Nicaragua Friday night and eating only fruits and vegetables may not be on the menu.  I will give an overview as soon as I can, but so far Vegan is..........

    Day 4

    • KIND bar
    • banana
    • strawberries
    • Vegan burrito
    • blackberries
    • Cliff bar
    • Blueberries
    • Banana
    • Almonds

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    Fitness-Joe Rogan Made Me Do It-Day 3

    Joe Rogan is doing me some good or at least the idea that he put in my head.  Day 2 went pretty well much better than Day 1.  I didn't overeat on the nuts, had less of the bean salad from the night before.  I feel good. 

    Big challenge today, no coffee!!!  I went with a morning Jamba Juice of Greens and Apples.  Here's what's in it:  Apple-Strawberry Juice, Green Vegetable Juice (Carrots, Spinach, Bell Pepper, Kale, Spirulina, Lettuce), Peaches, Mangos, Bananas, Ice.


    • Gonna try a Vegan restaurant so who knows
    • nuts
    • strawberries

    • Gonna check out the grocery store, nothing planned, but fruits and vegetables are on the menu

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012

    Why I think Dave Ramsey's a Genius, But I Want My Own Plan!

    I agree with Dave Ramsey, his way works, but why can't others.  I instead of going with his steps I am going with my own priorities.  I think that you need to live and enjoy things while you are young.  I believe that you need to pay for items in cash or have money saved.  For example if I want to go on a trip and it costs $2,000, then I will have $2,000 in the bank before I take that trip.  I will put together a couple of steps showing what I believe and what I am currently doing.


    Here's the process:
    1. $1,000 to start and Emergency Fund
    2. Pay off all debt using to Debt Snowball
    3. 3 to 6 months in savings
    4. Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
    5. College funding for children
    6. Pay off home early
    7. Build wealth and give!
    I have a plan, but Dave Ramsey has a proven plan so he wins.  But here has been my working plan.

    Automatic Plan

    1. Figure out Where all of your Money is Going
    2. Make things Automatic-Debt, Savings, and Investments
    3. Make paying off Credit Cards a Priority
    4. Add additional payments to the Debt you like the least
    5. Pay off home early
    6. Make sure you and your loved ones are taken care of
    7. Build wealth and give!
    I'll go into more details as the blog moves on, but my approach is geared more towards the person who has all there bills online, the person who gets online statements.  Be Young, Have Fund, Drink My Kool-Aid.

    Fitness-Joe Rogan Made Me Do It-Day 2

    So how am I doing Fruitastic, maybe Vegantacular.  These are not words in the English dictionary, not like I've been paging through the book looking for these words, but my guess not there.

    Day 1 went well, no meat, mostly fruit and veggies.  So I stuck to the plan so far unless dairy is a no go(which it sorda is), then I failed.  I had some greek yogurt and milk/cream in my coffee.  I went a little crazy on the nuts(no funny punch line needed), so that was my biggest downfall.  But I ate and felt full, don't feel like I overate at all.  I really wanted a pizza and a soda, but will power held out.

    Here's what Day 2 looks like:

    • Coffee with cream/milk
    • apple
    • grapes
    • salad with veggies and some oil/cilantro dressing
    • carrots
    • Bean salad
    • Nuts
    • Yogurt

    Monday, August 6, 2012

    Fitness-Joe Rogan Made Me Do It-Day 1

    So i'm starting it out right with my Vegan/Fruitarian Diet.  Here is my diet schedule for the day:

    • Bluberries-Carton
    • Apple-1
    • Coffee with milk
    • Bean Salad-1 pound container
    • Rasberry-Carton

    Fitness-Joe Rogan Made Me Do It

    I have been listening to Podcasts like it's 1994 and I only have one CD.  Also by the way my first CD, Coolio It Takes a Thief.

    I listen to lots of genres, sports, business, comedy.  Today and throughout the last 2 weeks I have been listening to Joe Rogan, yes that crazy mofo from Fear Factor(shown below) or for you fighting nuts, he commentates for the MMA.

    So he is on some crazy stuff  Just in general, but he's a smart dude who researches everything and has his beliefs.  So although pretty intense he is fun to listen to.  So who does he has on his show but a paleontology diet guy, so I get excited and listen to all this eat like a cavemen diet info.  One word, SOLD. 

    Well about 15 Google searches later and I will be going for a week of a combination of Vegan and Fruitarianism, leaning towards the later.  Here are a couple Wikipedia links to give you a general description of the diets.  I will write a blog every day, but I will not publish them all until I get back from Nicaragua.  So Monday-Friday, Vegan/Fruitaranism.  I am not trying to save the world, I love steak, burgers, turkey, I could actually go on an all meat diet, but for another day.  Just doing this because I need a change.  Let's do this.

    Sunday, August 5, 2012

    What's Your Priority-Retirement, Travel, Cars, Boats

    So recently my wife posted on Facebook about our upcoming trip to Nicaragua(she's there now, I leave in 5 days).  One of our family friends said "Don't you two ever stay at home" and this made me realize something, we have decided to make travel and vacation a priority. Now we didn't put it up on a bulletin board or write on our goal lists(well not entirely true, going to Nicaragua is one of 2012 goals).  But we have eliminated or tried other items as a priority, here's a brief look.

    Retirement-Now don't get me wrong we save money in our 401k, have some money in an IRA, but to say we make it a priority would be a far fetch.  To me making retirement a priority is maxing out your IRA, 401K, or buying our home we plan to retire in.  While we are making a conscious effort to save for retirement, I can't say we talk about our retirement or retirement income daily, weekly, or even monthly, although I'm pretty nerdy so I try to talk about this with the wife from time to time.

    Boats and Cars-Yes we own a car, no we don't own a boat.  As you can see not a big priority for us.  Let's start with the easy one, boats.  I do not own a boat, do not have a desire to own a boat, don't own a lake house, don't fish.  So this is not a priority pretty simple for me.  Cars on the other hand a little more complicated.  My wife owns and needs a car for work, she owns a 2007 Toyota Sequoia, it is fully paid for and like our previous retirement discussion we make a conscious effort to take care of the vehicle, but we are not planning on owning 2 vehicles or upgrading to the new 2013 model, we are happy with the vehicle and see no immediate need for anything else.

    Travel-So without even knowing it, travel and vacation have become a priority.  We like to take trips, whether it is to see family or go some place we have never been before.  When we were dating due to being far away from each other we would basically go on vacations as our dates, we deemed ourselves the "Vacation Couple".  In my 2012 goals I wanted to travel to Nicaragua Hawaii and they are booked and scheduled.  We made travel a Priority!  

    The lesson I took from all of this is it's ok to spend money on things you really love to do, if you love driving your 40K BMW that's great, but you have to make that your priority, but don't try do everything.  I didn't mention that we drive a Mercedes, have a nice boat, and travel the world.  We know that to stay within our means we have decided to make travel and vacations a priority.  I hope everyone does the same.

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

    Credit Card-Necessary Evil or Necessary Tool

    So as I look back, I see numerous errors I have made with my credit card, here are just a few:
    • Purchase my Spring Break Cancun on my C.C.(this doesn't mean Country Club)
    • Do balance transfers with the hope to pay off the bill before interest rate goes up, while still buying stuff on my C.C.
    • Living off my C.C
    • Not keeping track of what I actually spend
    Trust me the list could go on, but this hits some pretty major violations on what credit card companies want you to do.  I have since paid off my credit cards, with the help of my wife and have begin using my credit card as a tool.  There are many things I don't like about using a credit card, but I have decided to stick by these 3 major rules:

    1. Keep track of what I am spending
    2. Make sure I have enough money in my checking/savings to pay the bill by the due date
    3. Be very careful, remember how much I dislike Citibank I do not want to give them any money ever
    So just recently I went through and put together a spreadsheet on what I spent(We are using the card for Housing expenses only with one exception of our most recent Hawaii Trip).  I noticed that per our savings we are able to cover the entire balance.  So I followed Rule 1 and 2 with paying extra attention to Rule 3.  Now we do need to be very careful because the card was intended to be used for house purchases only, so if there was a Rule #4 I would have violated it.  I did however follow all the rules and know that the balance can be covered. 

    The lesson I take out of this is I want to not use my Credit Card ever again and it may be possible in the near future, but as of right now I am treating it like both a Tool and Evil, if I do use a credit card in the future it must be this way!

    Sunday, July 29, 2012

    Owning a Home-Weekend at the Home Depot aka More Work

    As my weekend winds down, which means me laying on the couch watching some shows online, I realize my life has been taken over by the Home Depot!  I guess it's not so bad, plus this is what we want, to have our home look nicer and do it  at a low cost by doing it ourselves.

    We woke up Saturday morning with the plan of buying some doors for the house, just the major exterior doors.  I figured about $200 each  for the side exterior doors, which had an ugly color and needed new locks and the front door in between $300 and $400 for a nice wood door.  All of this would be installed by none other than D & G Construction(Donovan and Garcia or me and the wife).  So $800 worth of doors sounded a little crazy to me, so we looked over the doors and decided that they were in decent working condition, just needed some help to make them "PoP" or by my definition have them be noticed.

    So we could paint the side doors and install some new door handles and they should be good to go, sounds easy, ha ha I laugh at that statement.  So after some help from the Home Depot and some brushes, paint, locks, we were in on the side doors for about $50 total.  That's a savings of about $350!  Read that again, we had working doors and we needed some paint and some locks and we have a fresh new look.  My wife gets 99% of the credit on painting and the locks.  The color next to it is what it looked like, we still plan to update the trim, but we are heading in the right direction.

    My project proved to be quite harder and probably a bit more expensive, but I did get an electric sander out of the deal.  My door is an old door that needs some TLC, or whatever is greater than that.  After trying out a couple stains on the door, which should look pretty nice.  We realized that the door hates us, it took me about an hour to get the screws out of the door, to take it off the hinges.  This could be from painting of the screws about 45 years ago, maybe the screws being a little stripped, not sure, but I am sure that's sarcasm.

    What did this all mean? More Home Depot visits.  Here is a list of stuff we bought to hopefully make this work.

    • Deadbolt and Handles-$50
    • 2 Cover plates(covering the 1945 handles that are know where to be found)-$15
    • Extra long door plate to close the door(I'm new to this, I'm sure it has a real name)-$12
    • Stain-$12
    • Sealant-$10
    • Sandpaper-$5
    • Drill bit for my 12 Volt drill(this didn't work out to well BTW)-$8
    • Electric Sander with Sanding paper-$56
    • I'm sure there is more but that's the bulk of it
    So this is just an estimate, but about $175, which means another savings of about $225!  I'm gonna take it. 

    Now I learned a lesson that apparently I did not in 6th grade Tech Ed class, thanks Mr. Larson, but if you are stripping the paint from a door, don't do it by hand or with your battery operated drill.  But I made some headway and I'm about 75% done with the sanding I want to get done.  The inside of the door frames is what the original color looks like.  Take a look, not bad.  So this is how some of my Saturday and Sunday were spent.  I'm hoping to finish up the sanding and staining by Tuesday and have this door hung and ready by the end of the week.

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    Owning a Home-Free on Craigslist

    We have large expenses with our home, anything from the kitchen appliances to putting little things in and around the house.  We have begun using Craigslist to get some of the things that we need for our home, some of it costs like the lawnmower I bought(stupid, stupid)  http://financeandfitnessdreams.blogspot.com/2012/07/owning-home-lawnmower-from-craigslist.html.  One thing that happened yesterday while we were looking for a queen size bed for our spare bedroom, a Craigslist post said the items were for free, one of my favorite and most cautiously optimistic words, FREE.  Is this real, is this safe, is it worth the hassle?  I suggest reading on to find out!

    I immediately emailed and/or text the Free post, while simultaneously asking my wife if this was something she wanted(Happy Wife, Happy Life).  My wife the frugal, one in our relationship, said yes with the caveat of making sure that we wouldn't just throw it away.  Smart idea on her part, I was willing to take the risk, the gambler in me I suppose, plus I didn't want to take the risk of having someone else snag this deal. 

    After texting and reading over the ad the bed was less than a year old and lived in a decent area of the city, both pluses.  I showed up and talked everything over and turns out he is a graduate student just finishing up school and moving out of the country for quite some time and did not want to take the time to sell everything, he really just wanted to get rid of it quickly.  His one catch was that we had to take the IKEA dresser along with the bed, sold, well it's free but yes sold!  Everything was in working order and looked in great shape.  Now we officially have a guest bed and didn't pay a dollar for it.


    • I learned from this experience is to React Quickly, this ad was posted and I responded within 15 minutes. 
    • Make sure you Research what you are getting into, I asked questions, researched the address, looked things over as much as possible online.
    • Be reasonable.  Don't expect a brand new flat screen TV if you are getting it for free, think more 1998, huge black TV about the size of a dishwasher.
    Overall once again I can put this on the smart buy list, I'm sure people would say no to this, but it will be cleaned, it will always have a cover and sheets, and don't forget this is for our guest bed, not the Ritz Carlton.

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

    Owning a Home-Buying Appliances

    Finance is about saving money and making money.  !So viva la casa y la finanzas! 

    Today after some research we have decided to buy our appliances for our home.  We are buying appliances for the rental Unit 1 and for our Unit 2.  We looked at Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, basically all the big box stores.  We ended up going with a place closer to home and recommended by our contractor, Abt.com.  They have great appliance packages, we were told and researched that Frigidaire is a good brand and less expensive than the other major appliances.  The house did come with a brand new GE stove so a stove was not needed in the package.  This is the package we purchased for right around $900 not including tax.

    Since we wanted an upgrade and the wife wanted something a little nicer and not to forget we will be living in the house for the foreseeable future, we went with a GE stainless steel package, shown below.  This package is right around $2300 not including tax.

    So all said and done right around $3400 with tax to have all the appliances on both floors, I'm happy with that.  We will also be purchasing a Washer and Dryer in the near future but that's for another day, Labor Day to be exact.

    So the results here was to do our research, ask for recommendations, and go with what we liked.  In the end I like our decision.

     Wondering how we paid for it?  Me too!  I'm just kidding.  We used our Citibank Dividend Credit Card(I hate Citibank, strong words I know), but we are only using this card since I've had it for quite some time to put all of our house expenses under one roof(funny guy over here).  We will be paying the card off fully each month, I have almost the entire amount saved up from my eBay business, the rest will be paid from savings.  I know we can get better cash back and such, but we just bought the house and to go through the hassle of applying with new addresses and researching which card is better all for a small amount of money is not worth it for me.  I will fight another battle, another day, with another financial institution.  Viva la finanzas!

    Monday, July 23, 2012

    A Book I'm Starting to Read Today

    Retirement Without Borders by Barry Golson with Thia Golson-

    I'm 30 and not close to retirement, but I'm 7 years away in my mind!!!

    Owning a Home-Lawnmower from Craigslist to Sears

    Recently my wife and I purchased our first home together!!!! Multiple exclamation points needed for that one.

    We went through and purchased a 2 flat on the NW side of Chicago, it needs some work(dont' they all), but we are involved in a 203K loan, where we are having everything fixed and included in the purchase price. While a contractor is doing the heavy lifting, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. Many things cannot be done by a contractor, mowing lawns, changing locks, cleaning, etc. This becomes how our weekend was spent.

    We need many things and we are a semi-frugal bunch, so not always new with the best brand name. We needed a lawnmower and so began the search on craigslist, I finally came across a cheap $25 lawnmower and despite my gut telling me to say no, the idea of a cheap lawnmower and a trusting seller got the better of me.

    Fast forward to 2 days later and I am at Sears buying a new lawn mower, but all is not lost, we were able to find a Clearance Lawn Mower(returned) for a unbelievable price of around $70, so to protect our investment we purchased the 3 year warranty plan and left with a *brand new* lawn mower and 3 years of worry free mowing. So all in all $135 for a new lawn mower with warranty, I'm happy with that.

    Many people say don't buy the protection plan, I tend to agree with them most of the time, but peice of mind and a questionable item that was returned and I feel we made the right decision, what do you think?

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

    Getting Back on Track-Past and Present

    So like my life and yours, everything changes. Sometimes you write everything down and sometimes you fast forward and start over. I am going with the latter. I hope to start writing quite more often. Many things have changed. God bless all for the better in my eyes. I have a wife, new job, location, home, a little bit of everything. I want to share my and hope that I will continue this throughout as I work hard and enjoy life. Thank you for the opportunity to share.