Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I haven't posted in a while and its not really because I haven't had anything to say. Admittedly, what I do have to say is probably a little boring, but the main reason is that I am debt-depressed. I knew when I started this blog that our situation would get worse before it gets better, but I am really getting tired of debt (even if it is currently necessary). Over the last month and a half, we not only didn't pay off any debt, we wound up over $3,000 more in debt. Much of this is because of my decision to pay off debts that we can't "re-use", but it just feels like no matter how hard I try, it doesn't get any better.

For instance, I got a new 0% intro APR credit card to help pay off one of my big credit cards. I transferred $2,900 to the new card and planned to attack the old one. However, shortly after the payment, they raised my credit limit by almost $2,000. With our home needing renovations before we can rent it, we decided to use the old card to pay for it, and now we have just over $600 left on a $10,000 card. It is pretty depressing.

On the bright side, I paid off my personal loan this morning which is a big thing. I do wonder if I should have kept putting the extra money towards credit debt. Times are tight right now though, and I have little doubt we would have found a way to use it.

I mentioned in an earlier post how we sold our SUV to save some money. Well, we used some of it for new tires, and the rest is going to be used to build a trailer to transport our black labs. Well, I bought one last night at Harbor Freight. It is a 4' x 8' trailer and it cost $250 (which is $50 cheaper than it usually is). The weird thing is that it comes disassembled. So I will try to put it together myself and build a suitable dog box for it. I'll probably post pictures so you all can laugh at me.

So, that's why I haven't really posted all that much. If you read this blog, please send me some encouragement.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Frugal or Cheap?

All I can say is "Wow". I have been trying to be frugal since I have decided to get out of debt. My wife thinks I am a cheapskate and that I am keeping her from some of the "finer things" of life.

I'll admit, I try things to save money that can be a little ridiculous, but I think most of them work, and I am not oppressive about it...more of a nag really. But this blogger is SERIOUS about getting out of debt. So much so that his family had a revolt against him...

We Need To Be Debt Free

I hope my desire never turns into this. My wife wouldn't have lasted as long as his family did.

The Tires Cost How Much ?!?

Sometimes I feel like a Whack-a-Mole. Every time I think I have everything figured out and we are on the right path, a big rubber mallet hits me in the head and knocks me back down. This time the rubber mallet was the tires for our car. Let me explain...

A few months ago, we bought a used Camry. It only had 22,000 miles on it, and it didn't even occur to us to check the tires. I hate to admit it, but we got swept up in the excitement of car-buying. Anyway, the tires were pretty well shot and we knew we were going to need new ones in the near future.

Leaving that part of the story and moving to another simultaneously occurring storyline...

When we bought the Camry, we already had two cars. One SUV that we have had paid off for a while, and another car which will be paid off in the next couple of months. It seemed gluttonous to keep all three, but we use the SUV to transport our dogs who have pretty much destroyed the back of it. So, we kept all three and were paying insurance on them all.

Well, this bothered me. I asked around and found out that it is legal to transport dogs in a trailer (I know how weird that sounds, but desperate times call for desperate measures). So, I decided to sell the SUV and use the money to pay for a small trailer and new tires for the Camry. This way, we save money on insurance every month and get a couple of big expenses paid for as a trade-off.

So, I put the SUV on craigslist and within the first 24 hours it was sold for $1,300. This couldn't have come at a better time because the day before, one of the tires on the Camry had blown out.

With our $1,300 in hand, we went to Sam's Club to get new tires that very night. The tire department was closed for the day so that was a little deflating (pun intended). We started looking for tires anyway, and could only find one match and it was $180 per tire! Apparently, that year of Camry has some very rare tires. After shopping around, we found someone who had off-name tires for about $600 total. Everyone else was around $800 by the time the tires were mounted and so on. It bugs me that we are going to have to go through this a couple more times when the car gets older, but it is the only way.

Meanwhile, trailers are expensive, especially enclosed ones. I did find a little utility trailer from Home Depot for $500, but it doesn't have any kind of a box for the dogs to be in. I may end up buying it and making a box for them, but my wife thinks that will be pretty ghetto...and she is probably right.

Oh well,

"Sometimes you gotta take what life gives you, cause life is like a mop. And sometimes life gets full of dirt and crud and hairballs and things and you gotta clean it out. You gotta stick it in here and rinse it off and start all over again. And sometimes life sticks to the floor so much that a mop, a mop, it's not good enough. You gotta get down there with like a toothbrush, you know, and you gotta really scrub 'cause you gotta get it off! But if that doesn't work, you can't give up! You gotta stand right up! You gotta run to a window and say, "HEY! These floors are dirty as hell, and I'm not gonna take it any more!"

Stanley Spadowski (Michael Richards) - UHF

Monday, June 9, 2008

I Think I'm Pretty Handy-ish

Well, the rush is over. We have had all of the guests that we are going to have and it is time to buckle down and move out of our house. Here's the back story...

When we bought our current house, I considered myself a handyman. The simple projects around the house like drywall, trim, and basic carpentry, were well within my skills. I watched DIY Network and HGTV, so that makes me an expert. Well, I am pretty good at it, but I also have ADD and I don't do very well when it comes to finishing things. So, we have several rooms in our house that are about 75% done.

Well, with my wife's graduation, we were set to have visitors. So, we started making to-do lists and I found myself getting overwhelmed. One day, she started naming all of the things that needed to get done and I kind of blew up at her. I decided to just go ahead and hire a contractor to finish everything. We didn't really have the money, but it seemed the way to go. We went to Lowe's and asked for some names of reputable people, and they recommended one guy very highly. So I called him and explained the situation. I said that I was in over my head and I was looking for help. He said "Well, some of us are meant to work on houses, and some of us aren't."

So, basically he lost the job. I may not be the best handyman, but I think I am pretty respectable.

Anyway, I have found that I always work better with a time constraint and I think that is true for my wife as well. We decided to work really hard every night after work and on the weekends (basically the times we should have been working on the house anyway), and we got it pretty well completed. There are still a few loose ends, but the house is almost done. We actually had a cookout last night and everyone made the obligatory "What a nice house you have!" comments.

Next step is to find a renter and we will be one step closer to moving.

I put this post in my blog because I am sure it saved us a bunch of money doing it ourselves, and it made us feel really good about what we had accomplished.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My First Comment!

Thanks to the Himz-es for posting!

New Cell Phone Blues

I love my wife... a lot. She is absolutely perfect for me, and I could not imagine my life without her. What I am about to post is not really her fault, but it is an interesting story about her.

For Christmas, her parents bought her a Palm Treo. Being the cheapskate that I am, I scoffed at it because she had a phone and a PDA already and she has a reputation of not being very gentle with her cell phones. In fact, the phone she replaced was a cheapie that had replaced a fairly new and very nice Motorola RAZR which she had dropped in the toilet. Oddly enough, we still have the RAZR in our office. I assume this is because we are hoping for some sort of an immaculate restoration or something.

But I digress...

She got this new phone, and she has been very good to it. I have to admit that I am jealous because my phone was actually cheaper than her cheapie phone.

Side note: My cheapie phone was bought to replace the other cheapie phone I had left on the plane in Mexico on our honeymoon.

Anyway, she wanted the phone because there are some programs that will help her in her new profession, and this does seem to be the case.

So, let's leave that story and move over to a different one...

About that same timeframe, I started my new job with the Federal Government. As a federal employee, we get a discount on our cell phone service which I promptly applied for. However, immediately after this. our monthly bill increased by $60-$80 a month! After examination, the culprit was wife was using the internet on her phone. We talked about it and she agreed to only use it for emergencies so I expected the bill to go back down.

When the next month rolled around, it was almost the same amount. Once again, we looked into it and it was a data fee. She suggested that it was overrun from the last month because she had definitely not been using the internet.

This month, the bill not only did not go down, it went up another $20! At this point, we realized something else was going on. My wife did a little searching and found out that one of the professional programs on her Treo automatically updated every Sunday at 1 AM. Each time it did, we were charged about $30 in data fees! Suffice it to say, this has been fixed and should make next month's bills a LOT more manageable.