Monthly Archives: November 2007

Swamped! 2 Trailers Full And We Still Have More Stuff For The Yard Sale!

Wow.  My wife and I have been so busy this week, getting ready for the big yard sale on Saturday.  So far, I’ve filled up one covered trailer, one standard trailer, and the back of my pickup truck – and we STILL have stuff that we want to sell.  Basically, we are getting rid of anything that we don’t use (or plan to use in the next year).  This includes old clothes, old toys, several books, even an old lawn mower.  I detest “clutter” – and we keep our house pretty well organized – so I am AMAZED that we have so much stuff.

The new baby will be born in April (a little girl!) so we are cleaning out our dining room and re-purposing it as a nursery.  It’s good to get rid of the stuff we don’t use – and it will be fun to get newer stuff for the baby and the baby’s room.

Speaking of the baby, my wife had an ultrasound yesterday and the baby is doing well.  Right now, she weighs 13 ounces.  Isn’t that awesome?  My wife has had to deal with “morning sickness” – but she’s super excited about the new baby.  My daughter, 8, and my son, 3, cannot wait until April.  Of course, as you can tell, I’m over-the-moon happy about having the new baby – and it’ll be cool to bring her home to a newly organized, uncluttered home.

I am excited to announce that I received a cost-of-living pay increase at work.  I’m sitting down later tonight (when I have a few minutes) to write out my goals for 2008.  I’ll have a 2007 goals update in the next post.

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Making A Break With The Past – Changing Habits And Thinking Long Term About Personal Finances

I enjoy “running the numbers” –

What will happen if I save “x” dollars for “y” years?

What will my balance be if the rate goes from “q” to “r”?

Can I retire in “z” years?

I’m fascinated by the mathematics of personal finance – but I am also keenly aware of the emotions behind our purchasing, borrowing, and spending habits. Bad habits are hard to break and good habits are difficult to establish – It’s hard to start living on a budget, it’s hard to focus on debt reduction, it’s hard to care about insurance, dividends, and investing.  For years, I struggled to properly manage my finances.

I’ve struggled to figure out “why” I used to be such a poor money manager, and I think I’ve come up with a few answers.

1.  I really didn’t have anyone to talk to about personal finance issues.

2.  I felt like the “magic day” would come and I’d “make enough” and I wouldn’t have “worry about” money.  (Sound familiar?)

3.  I was so busy with life (getting married, have kids, working hard) that I never took the time to think “long term”.

4.  I was lazy.

Combining all of these things, I had to make a “break” from the ways of my past.  Now, before you get the wrong impression, let me clear up a few things.  I have never bounced a check, I’ve never missed a payment, I’ve always worked hard, I’ve always had a good credit score, and my family has never gone hungry.

I’m not really talking about “failing” as a financial manager – I’m talking about “being average”.  I was the prototypical “paycheck-to-paycheck” guy.  I made a good living, my wife worked, and my kids had plenty of toys, food, and clothing.  The problem was – I WAS STANDING STILL.  I wasn’t really moving backwards or forwards.  I was, as they say, treading water.

Three years ago, I decided to change my life and the way that I manage my finances.

1.  I started to use a monthly budget.

2.  I started to talk to my wife (and eventually my kids) about money and it’s role in our future.

3.  I stared the blog that you are reading right now – so that I would have a place where I could openly and freely talk about this important topic.

4.  I promised myself that I would get out of debt and that I would never borrow money again.

5.  I started to open up to friends and family members – and I committed myself to “being different”.

6.  I stopped waiting for “good things to happen to me” and I purposed in my soul to “make good things happen for my family and for those around me”.

7.  I organized my financial documents and I established “how much money/debt/savings” I really had.

8.  I committed myself, fully – emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually – to being the best money manager that I could be.

9.  I learned to admit, to myself, that I knew very, very, very little about “one of the most important aspects of life” – personal finance management.

The takeaway?  Getting started can be difficult – but I can PROMISE you – it’s worth it!  Analyze the things that you are doing (or not doing) and make the decision to CHANGE.

(One more quick thing  – Stop COMPARING yourself to other people.  We all have variables – kids, illness, income level, where we live, where we work – that affect how much we can save, how quickly we can pay off debt, and how much we can contribute to our retirement plans.  The key is – DO THE VERY BEST WITH WHAT YOU HAVE!  The chairman of Coke doesn’t manage Pepsi.  He manages Coke.  You don’t manage your neighbor – you manage you.)

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Woops – How My Mistake Might Help Some Folks Track Their Debt Reduction Progress

If you missed the last post, scroll down just a bit – or click here.

As you can see, there’s a chart titled “SavvyFrugality”.  This chart should not have been posted here.

Instead, it should have been (and now is) posted over at my other site, the No Credit Needed Network.

I created the No Credit Needed Network as a free resource –

Basically, members can create a debt reduction chart or savings chart and share their progress.  I update the site two or three times a day.  If a member has a website, I’ll link to that site from the NCN Network homepage.  So far, more than 300 folks have joined the NCN Network – and more are joining everyday!

For more information, please read the No Credit Needed Network FAQs.

By the way, if you are new to No Credit Needed – I also produce a podcast – No Credit Needed Podcast – and I have a weight loss blog – No. Calories Needed.

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