Stuff happens…

What a crazy, horrible weekend. The wife and I had plans to do our food shopping, meal prep, and then just hangout and grill this weekend. Before we started with everything though we wanted to take out dogs to the dog park so they could get some running in and be a little worn out while we were out. After about 5 minutes of being in the park our older dog bebe, blew out her ACL. I carried her to the car while Ash stayed with our other dog. After about 3-4 hours at the vet we finally went home with some meds and instructions. The vet wanted to treat the leg as a soft tissue injury and after a few days we could see if it really was a torn ACL. Once we got home and Bebe couldn’t put any weight on it at all we knew she had torn it.

After I left the park with Bebe, Ashley stayed for a little bit longer with our other dog so he could get some exercise, plus we didn’t want him in the car jumping around and possibly hurting Bebe. Later on that night we noticed he was licking his paws and limping so at first we thought he was just trying to copy his sister but then we noticed he had hurt his pads and was missing a patch on one and had a deep laceration on his other pad. So now this morning we are getting ready to take the dogs back to our normal vet so they can patch him up and we can get some more of an idea on what we need to do with Bebe.

Both of our babies are passed out and hurting and it breaks the heart but we’ll all get through this. We love our dogs more than anything so we’ll listen to what the vet suggest for Bebe and hopefully Charlie can get bandaged up today and will be good in a week or so.

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The return to analog

About an hour ago I received an email from Apple advertising the new generation of the Apple watch. While the thought the idea of having the watch sounded cool for a second I quickly dismissed any need for yet another digital tracker on my body. The phone is bad enough and I have every security feature enabled on that to prevent ads and location tracking (if it’s even possible). Lately I’ve been stepping away from the digital domain as much as possible and trying to live a more analog life. I deleted Facebook after this last round of privacy issues and have curtailed my digital footprint to what is required for work and trying to obtain somewhat unbiased news.

As far as my social media footprint these days I have my LinkedIn account, Instagram, and Twitter. Both my Instagram and Twitter are more related to following beer and dog accounts. Beer accounts for upcoming releases and dog accounts because well…dogs rule and seeing happy dog stories always seems to make my day a little bit better. Last year I took about 6 months off from Facebook and one of my wife’s friends thought I had died because I was no longer on and she offered condolences. I briefly came back on the site just to realize how much of a time-suck it was. Then after this last round of privacy issues in the news I decided it was time to move on. I permanently deleted my account and didn’t say goodbye to anyone. Most people can reach out via the wife if they need to but I just feel like I had people on there that I was probably never going to interact with again in a face-to-face setting and honestly had nothing in common with other than we went to high school or college together.

I was on my computer recently and noticed my hard drive was getting full. I decided to start looking at what was taking up space on my drive and noticed I just had a ton of junk files, horrible videos wasting space and tons of shitty pictures. Then I went to my iTunes folder to look at music and I had over 100G of music. I don’t even listen to music on my computer anymore, most of what I listen to is via Spotify. I had about 1/4 of my usable drive being taken up with music I didn’t listen to or give a shit about. All of my music is actually backed up onto a separate hard drive so I deleted 90% of what was on my computer.

Go back and look at your photos sometime on your computer, you take a ton with your smartphone and all of them get backed up instantly to your computer when you hook your iPhone up or if you use iCloud. I’m here to say that not every pic is good and it was definitely time to go through and do a digital scrub. I’m still not done with my photos but I feel really bad for my wife. While I had about 5k-6k, she has about 15k-20k. She takes pictures of her food, hair, outfits, etc and all of it goes to the cloud. Her hard drive was filled with photos of pretty much everything she has eaten and worn for the last 5 years. She was so frustrated because her old laptop slowed down so much because it was so full of shit it was just easier for her to get a new computer and start fresh. She still has all of the those photos in the cloud though that she needs to go through because it is taking up space that she is paying for.

Computers and social media are here to stay and they do serve a great purpose for providing information to us in nearly real-time but I think we’ve started losing a part of what makes us human because we are constantly focused in on what others are doing. We are consuming information these days and not creating and not creating is making us lazier and lazier on a daily basis.

 

Another update

Everything is going really well these days. Got to the point where the only debt left is my truck and I just owe about $4k. I’ve upped my Thrift Savings Plan amount up to $700 per check so I max out my 401k contributions for the year. I’ve also been able to start a separate Roth IRA that I’m putting $200 a month into as well so I have an investment that I can take a little bit more control of as far as where to move my money if and when I need to.

My wife has her debt down to about $800 that she just incurred because we had to buy a new dryer when our old one took a dump on us.  We’re going to take our first real vacation in a little over a month to Rome and while we’ll probably put some stuff on the cards we’re definitely prepared for it and prepared to pay it off afterwards.

Nothing else to report, life is good being relatively debt free. We really just got to the point where we realized something is always going to break and you will always have some sort of debt but being able to control it is the big thing.

Busy month

So I had two work trips in July about a week apart where I flew out on a Sunday and came back Thursday. Both trips were work related and allowed for some great networking but having to eat out all of those days definitely hurt the bank. My first trip was to the Baltimore area and my second was to Chicago for the NCMA World Congress conference. I’m happy I went but man did I drop some cash.

My mom, who lives in Florida, was in Chicago for a reunion and my brother, who lives in Costa Rica was in Chicago on vacation so we had two nights where the family got to have dinner. We had a great meal at Gibson’s Steakhouse and we treated Mom because she’s always treating us even though we’re grown and can pay our own bills. Everyone in my family has been there a million times but surprisingly it was my first time eating there. The food was amazing and even though my steak was $60 it was totally worth it.

I also have a cousin who is an event manager for one of the hotels downtown and she had the cast of one Emmy award winning show in there because they were filming in Chicago. Also had the dancers of another show in there as well so it appears my cousin is doing really good, plus she booked 7 or 8 hockey teams for when they come to town to play the Blackhawks.

Since its only been a few weeks since I posted totals I’m not going to bother this time but progress is always being made. Little goals that are being hit feel great and even though there is a ton of shit I would love to buy I stop myself 99% of the time. In fact the only thing I’ve bought lately have been t-shirts for working out since I keep dropping weight.

On the physical side of the house I’ve lost 15 lbs in the last month or so with CrossFit & diet and I know my strength has definitely gone up. Even on my trips I was very self conscious about what I ate and really only cheated once or twice. Now that I’m home and have no trips for the next couple of months I’ll just be hitting the gym, eating good and putting some money away for a trip for the wife and I.

Nothing more for right now so have a good rest of the month, all three days of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another one bites the dust

So I’m happy to announce that I made my last payment on a card this morning. I had to do the math to make sure I was good but $858.51 was made early just because of the fact that I have 3 pay periods in June. That just leaves me my truck and house now. With only the truck left the plan is to pay it off at $1770 a month for 5 months. The reality is I can do $1400 a month and pay it off by December and give myself some breathing room to buy some Christmas gifts and do some nice things for the wife the summer/fall.

Every time I make an update on my everydollar app I just feel like I’m in control of my finances and even when unexpected things pop-up it’s not the end of the world now. The wife and I can have a quick talk about it and move on because we aren’t struggling to find the money to do stuff.

Have a good 4th of July everyone and keep working for your own Independence day.

Last Payment

The Bills

Revolving Debt: $0.00 (last update $3,132.46)

Vehicle: $8,156.91 (last update $8,713.51)

House: $183,647.59 (last update $184,383.47)

Total: $191,804.50 (last update $196,229.44)

Difference: $4,424.94

 

 

 

My favorite month

So as luck would have it the month of June is great for a lot of reasons. First and foremost is that it’s my birth month. Second is the fact that there are 3 pay periods for me in the month. Lastly, I also got my bonus this month. So with the extra paycheck and the bonus I’m actually able to pay off another bill. When it’s all said and done I will have put $3132.46 since my last statement (15 May) towards one bill. I had to do my numbers to make sure I would have enough for food, gas, etc but this bill is done come 30 June.

So next month when I start I’ll have my truck and my house and that is it. All of my revolving credit will be at $0.00 balance. I will owe $8700 on my truck but with the snowball I’ll be putting $1800 a month on it for 5 months and it will be done and after that is the house. I plugged my numbers into the debt snowball spreadsheet that I use and I created a different spreadsheet specifically for the house so I could get my formulas as close as possible to what we were actually seeing with the way we put extra down towards principal. In a perfect world we would have a ton of money to put down at the beginning of the month and everything would be easy. Unfortunately, we each put $125 per paycheck throughout the month towards principal so even though the numbers for my spreadsheet are close it was just easier to do some computations and make up my own formulas and spreadsheet.

So the wife and I have been doing really good about planning all or most of our meals. At the beginning of June I went to a local butcher and they have a variety of meat packages for everything from family packages to grilling packages, etc. The wife and I got a variety package and a package for two that came with enough protein for her and I for the month. The really cool thing is if you spend over $200 you get another 10lbs of cut up chicken. So that is 3 whole birds, or 6 nights of dinner for her and I, already cut up that we can grill or throw in the dutch oven. The worst part about the meat is that everything comes wrapped in butcher paper so we have to unpack everything and put it in foodsaver bags. In the grand scheme of things it’s not bad at all and more importantly we have a well stocked freezer and we know where our next meal is coming from.

Since we know what meat we have now, our veggie shopping is a lot easier as well. We can do our menu for the week and do our veggie shopping on Friday/Saturday at the farmers market and pull what we need from the freezer at the same time. We do our breakfast and lunch food prep on Sunday together and after that we have some wine or a drink on the patio.

So around April 22, Ash started the whole30 diet. I supported her but I didn’t do it with her, I like my beer way too much. But a lot of what she was making was really tasty so I started making my meals more whole30/paleo friendly to support her. She stuck with it, which I’m extremely proud of her for doing, and she lost 11 or 12 pounds and 3 inches. So after her 30 days she did start drinking wine again in moderation but neither one of us has had a real craving for sweets or breads, etc. So I just started doing a regular paleo diet and joined a local crossfit gym. I go 3-4 times a week right now and I can see how it’s addictive to people but my gym is close to my job and not my house. So on days when I telework I don’t make it to the gym.

Moving right along

Well I’ve been busy paying bills off and everything is really coming together. I paid off my Visa last week so that money will snowball onto my next bill. The good news with that bill is that I’ve only got 2 months of payments on it until it is at a zero balance. The only thing I have after that is my truck and the house. As long as everything goes to plan the truck will be paid off by Nov/Dec this year (about 9 months earlier than planned).

Other than that, the wife and I have just been trying to lead/live more productive, healthier lives. We definitely plan our meals and our diet for the week and although it would be nicer to be able to make our meals further out we just don’t have the fridge/freezer space at this time.

For the 3 people that read this I would say the biggest thing that helped us was using the EveryDollar webpage/app. Knowing where the money goes has been the biggest eye opener for us. I also had to realize that there are things that are cool to have but not required. I love my craft beer but trying to chase stuff down and spend the money I was for it was kind of ridiculous looking back. I have enough booze in the house and my taste aren’t so crazy that I can’t have something off the shelf and be happy with it. I think the bigger thing is seeing that I spent $X.xx amount of money on something later and then asking why did I do that.

Hope everyone had a good Memorial Day weekend.

It has been a few months since I posted my breakdown of where I am with my bills so since there are some big gains I figured I would post again. So looking at EveryDollar I have 60% of my money going to debt/home. 35% of my money goes to debt and 25% to the house. Surprisingly with that much money going out I still feel like we do quite a bit and we aren’t sacrificing anymore than we did before. It was more just a change of mindset.

The Bills

Revolving Debt: $3,132.46 (last update $6,445.76)

Vehicle: $8,713.51 (last update $13,056.92)

House: $184,383.47 (last update $190,07.17)

Total: $196,229.44 (last update $209,575.85)

Difference: $13,346.41