Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fiscal Policy

While going through some old paperwork today, I was surprised to be reminded of the full extent of the foolishness of my former ways. I had forgotten both the quantity and the gravity of stupid financial decisions I used to make. As I went through old statements and receipts, I found too many over-the-limit fees, finance charges, late fees, etc. It really was surprising because Jessica and I have basically been running without any of that sort of thing for so long. We do use credit cards, but we pay them off every month. I am a regular follower of the folks over at the "Get Rich Slowly" blog and the author there is always talking about avoiding those types of stupid charges and I don't really ever give it much thought, so it was kind of interesting to look back at the old statements and see that I too used to be a victim of poor financial management.
Looking back, I can't really recall any sort of magical moment that changed me other than getting married to Jessica. She was absolutely mortified at the debt she "inherited" when we were married. I had racked up about 10 or 14 thousand dollars (pathetic that I can't even remember how much it was) in student loans. I can't think of anything else that might have triggered the change. My wife was my financial salvation. Until today, I have taken that for granted with an attitude that "we" have had good luck with maintaining our finances. Turns out, I just have a good leader to follow and she does a great job of keeping on top of all the bills. She is a fantastic money-manager.
Thanks Jessica!

For those of you who don't have a handy Jessica around to whip you into shape, the Get Rich Slowly blog has all the info & techniques you'll need to get started on your own. Not to steal GRS's thunder, but I summarize their formula as follows:
  • Retreat from "consumerism"
  • Eliminate debt
  • Develop and follow a budget
  • Save up a rainy-day fund
  • Save up for big purchases (rather than going into debt to buy)
We're still working on getting a real solid handle on a some of these so I am not trying to hold us up as the shining example or anything (we still have debt, we still have an addiction to consumerism (although it is a bit easier to fight since we live so far from the centers of it,) our rainy day fund is currently anemic, etc.) but I can see the logic in the techniques and aspire to someday have complete control over our finances.

Monday, October 5, 2009


It has been a rough day. As I sit here nursing the wounds left over from a stabbing to the back by a long-time employee and friend which may well contribute to costing me my job, I am trying to figure out how to put a positive spin on things. I guess the good news is that a new opportunity seems to have put itself in my way right at the right time. I guess that is the good thing about life - it always seems to find a way to mix things up and keep it interesting. I re-read the above, I can see that I have failed miserably at keeping this positive. Here's another attempt. My wonderful family loves me, the weather is real nice these days and I still have my freedom.

Onward and upward.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I have always told folks that we haven't seen a lot of snakes out here...surprisingly few as a matter of fact. I don't know what it is about the last few weeks, but they seem to have come out. We killed a 4-foot long black snake in the lawn last week and found this little garter snake (who bites and throws a fit like he is some sort of pit viper) tonight when we dumped a mosquito-infested stock tank. The kids seem to be having fun with the snakes though.

In other news, I finished modifying this little trailer. It was a free boat trailer (for a Hobie Cat catamaran) I picked up off craigslist. I don't think I have any pictures of the original trailer, but you can imagine: the original had carpet covered boat runners, about five feet of additional tongue length, a winch mounted on the tongue on a big tall mast, no gate, no side rails, no floor, no lights, etc. I was thinking about keeping the trailer until I realized that it is not wide enough to even get our 4-wheeler or our riding lawnmower in. What use is a trailer like that? Anyway, it is going back on Craigslist - this time for sale for a couple o hunert bucks.