Finding balance in a chaotic world

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January 2018
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What’s the Score?

I periodically check my credit report each year to insure that everything is correct on it. You get one from each credit bureau for free each year, so it just makes good sense. This time I also had my credit score pulled, mostly to see what it actually was. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was over 800 (out of 840) meaning I have very excellent credit. I was pretty pumped about that, like getting an A in school, but then I wondered why? Read more »

Finances and Kids

Earlier this week I was reading the forums over at the Art of Manliness (a great blog by the way) and someone asked the question “When is a good time to teach kids about finances?” The general response was “when is not a good time?” This really struck a chord with me because I’ve wanted to talk to my daughter, Hope, about money but since she is only 6 I wasn’t sure it would stick. Still, in reading that post, it made me think about it more and I decided that even though she won’t understand the details, she should understand the basics of a budget and when to save and when to spend. So, I’ve drafted up a plan. Read more »

Budget Crisis – Adverted!

In September, expenses piled up a lot. When we sat down to do the budget in August, we knew that some out of the ordinary expenses needed to be accounted for. In a nutshell, my kidney stone and Hope’s broken arm both had associated bills due. August is the hot month in Oklahoma so our electricity bill soared thanks to the air conditioning. Finally, some other needed but still price expenses reared their ugly head. Ultimately, our outgo exceeded our income by about $300. Now the great news about this is that thanks to the budget we knew all about this at the beginning of the month. Similarly, sticking to the budget meant that we saved money in previous months for just such an occasion. So we rode out September without much of an issue. Then we sat down and did October’s budget. It too was $300 over. How could this be? Read more »

The Joneses

TVOn many financial blogs there is a lament that one reason so many people have such a large debt load is that they are trying to “keep up with the Joneses” those mythical neighbors who always have newer and nicer things than us. I think this mentality really cuts to a fundamental issue about us as Americans. We visit a friend of ours and they show us their brand new 42” plasma flat screen TV. It is quite nice and boy it would be nice to have one in our living room. When you get home, your TV suddenly looks puny. You grow disasstified with it and find yourself looking at the TV ads in the Sunday paper and soon you are comparing brands and features. Shortly thereafter, you are unpacking your brand new TV and showing it to your friend. Read more »

Keeping Inspired

Go for itWhen Amy and I were paying off our debt I knew it would take us a couple of years to finally retire all of it. As I mentioned in a previous post, it was reading Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover that first inspired us to do it. However keeping going for two years would take continual reinforcement as I am easily distracted and discouraged. Seeing progress always helps and as one of our debts disappeared, that kept me going for a few months. Still I knew that I could fall into old habits if I wasn’t careful. So I looked for inspiration and found it in the blog Get Rich Slowly. Read more »