Enemy of Debt http://www.enemyofdebt.com Motivational Money Management Fri, 31 Jul 2015 14:43:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/31 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-731/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-731/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 14:43:04 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=16779 Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/31

It’s the end of the month, and the beginning of a new budget cycle.  One of my activities today will be to create our budget worksheet for the next two weeks, and make sure Vonnie and I are on the same page. As I started thinking about things that need to be included in our spending plan, I remembered that our car currently has a half a tank of gas, and our van is still over a quarter of a tank. There’s NO WAY we’re using all of our usual gas budget this week.  Is it weird that I’m excited […]

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Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/31

fistpumpIt’s the end of the month, and the beginning of a new budget cycle.  One of my activities today will be to create our budget worksheet for the next two weeks, and make sure Vonnie and I are on the same page.

As I started thinking about things that need to be included in our spending plan, I remembered that our car currently has a half a tank of gas, and our van is still over a quarter of a tank. There’s NO WAY we’re using all of our usual gas budget this week.  Is it weird that I’m excited about this???

Fist pump for underspending on gas, and keep ’em up for my favorite posts of the week!

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Know Your Warranty, Or Pay The Price http://www.enemyofdebt.com/know-your-warranty-or-pay-the-price/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/know-your-warranty-or-pay-the-price/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:32:39 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=16771 Enemy of Debt - Know Your Warranty, Or Pay The Price

I watched my wife cringe as she sat in the living room chair. She paused the television and told me to listen. She was irritated by the high pitched squeal emitted by our air conditioning unit each time it started up. I heard it, but it just seemed like background noise. It didn’t bother me in the least, but it was like nails on a chalkboard for her. It’s been making this noise for years. It squeals for a few minutes, and then it quits. We had someone come out to take a look at it a few years ago, […]

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Enemy of Debt - Know Your Warranty, Or Pay The Price

EOD_WarrantyPic

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I watched my wife cringe as she sat in the living room chair. She paused the television and told me to listen. She was irritated by the high pitched squeal emitted by our air conditioning unit each time it started up. I heard it, but it just seemed like background noise. It didn’t bother me in the least, but it was like nails on a chalkboard for her.

It’s been making this noise for years. It squeals for a few minutes, and then it quits. We had someone come out to take a look at it a few years ago, but it refused to make the noise while the service person was at our home.

The failed service call cost us $80.

After that whenever my wife mentioned something about the squeal I simply pointed out that the air conditioner was working just fine, and my unwillingness to pay for another failed service call.

Sometime after the chair cringing incident, I was in the backyard when the air conditioner started up. The sound emitted by the unit was eardrum splitting in both pitch and volume. It was definitely louder than it had been in previously years. I couldn’t believe that our neighbors hadn’t mentioned something about it. With my tail between my legs, I admitted this to my wife who scheduled a service call the following day.

When the serviceman said that the source of the squeal was in the compressor, my heart sank. I don’t know much about heating and cooling units, but I know enough to understand that it was going to be costly to make our squeal disappear. His estimate was about $1200, but he also mentioned that after rebates it would probably only be a few hundred dollars more to just replace the whole unit. Then he said something that really got me thinking.

“You said it’s been making this noise for a long time, you should have called us right away. Maybe it would have been under warranty.”

While I’m positive that the squealing started after the manufacturer’s warranty had expired, this exemplifies some things that home owners should be aware of:

  • Know Warranty Details : Be familiar with the length and general details of the warranties for the items in your home. If we had done that, we would have known whether the squealing AC was under warranty or not.
  • Save Documentation : Save all the documentation for items you purchase for your home including electronics, furniture, flooring, and appliances. Without having a working knowledge of all the warranties, having the documentation would at least allow us to look it up.
  • Call Immediately If Something Isn’t Right: A small problem can become a big problem quickly. In hindsight, letting our air conditioning unit squeal for years without addressing the issue was a huge mistake. I had no idea what was causing it, and used the excuse of, “it’s working,” to ignore it.
  • Be Persistent:  If the cause of the problem cannot be determined immediately, or like in our case the problem doesn’t occur when the service person arrives, insist that they keep coming back, or keep investigating until the problem is resolved.

Taking advantage of warranties on items that prematurely need service, especially something as expensive as an air conditioning unit or any other household appliance, can save yourself a headache as well as keep something simple from becoming a costly, debt inducing repair.

Have you ever put off a repair and had it escalate into a large bill? Do you have something in your home RIGHT NOW squeaking, clicking or squealing that you’re ignoring? Is it under warranty?

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Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/24 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-724/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-724/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 13:35:19 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=16763 Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/24

In last week’s fist pump session, I mentioned I was taking the day off to make a brisket.  I introduced some new things into my process that I had seen on the TV show BBQ Pitmasters, and the result was the best brisket I’ve ever made.  I had a fantastic day tending my smoker, and turning a 16 pound piece of raw beef into something delicious.  The next day, we hosted some friends to help us eat the brisket and play Card Against Humanity.  Overall, the $50 I paid for the brisket provided two days of fun an entertainment, as […]

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Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/24

In last week’s fist pump session, I mentioned I was taking the day off to make a brisket.  I introduced some new things into my process that I had seen on the TV show BBQ Pitmasters, and the result was the best brisket I’ve ever made.  I had a fantastic day tending my smoker, and turning a 16 pound piece of raw beef into something delicious.  The next day, we hosted some friends to help us eat the brisket and play Card Against Humanity.  Overall, the $50 I paid for the brisket provided two days of fun an entertainment, as well as some great eats.  Here’s some pictures of how it turned out.

Here are the slices of the bottom portion of the brisket called the flat:

Brisket slices

The top, more fatty portion of the brisket is called the point.  It generally has to cook longer to render the extra fat out, and is commonly cubed into what are called burnt ends:

Burnt ends

Fist pump for BBQ, and my favorite posts of the week!

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Cash Only Spending Weekend Success Story http://www.enemyofdebt.com/cash-only-spending-weekend-success-story/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/cash-only-spending-weekend-success-story/#comments Mon, 20 Jul 2015 10:46:51 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=16745 Enemy of Debt - Cash Only Spending Weekend Success Story

Last week Vonnie and I got back on the cash only spending plan that helped us pay off a mountain of credit card debt. Living within our means, and spending only the budgeted cash we have in hand, sometimes require tradeoffs be made. There’s only so much you can do with a finite amount of funds. It took exactly one week for just such a challenge to arise, and for our methodology to validate itself. Our initial spending plan for the weekend included just a few things:   Fire Up The Smoker : I was watching an episode of BBQ […]

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Enemy of Debt - Cash Only Spending Weekend Success Story

CashSpendingPic

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Last week Vonnie and I got back on the cash only spending plan that helped us pay off a mountain of credit card debt. Living within our means, and spending only the budgeted cash we have in hand, sometimes require tradeoffs be made. There’s only so much you can do with a finite amount of funds. It took exactly one week for just such a challenge to arise, and for our methodology to validate itself.

Our initial spending plan for the weekend included just a few things:

 

  • Fire Up The Smoker : I was watching an episode of BBQ Pitmasters in which the contestants made brisket. I turned to Vonnie and said, “I want to make a brisket. Can I make a brisket this weekend?”   We decided that the brisket making would be in our spending plan, and that we would invite friends over Saturday night for a get together to help eat it. After all, we couldn’t eat a 16 pound brisket ourselves. We wouldn’t need to buy much else for the gathering, as our guests would bring side dishes.
  • Movie : Trainwreck has been all over the media the last few weeks. It looks hilarious. Vonnie and I planned to catch a matinee sometime during the weekend.
  • Lady Lunch : Vonnie was invited to go out for lunch with her friends. Planned, purposeful, and in the spending plan. No problem.

These items would not consume the entirety of our weekly entertainment spending, so I had expressed an interest in marking whatever was left towards new running shoes. My current pair are getting towards the end of their life and will need to be replaced soon, but they’re not cheap.  I wanted to save some money out of our weekly budget for the next few weeks in hopes of buying the shoes soon.

Then, along came curve ball #1: Tristan’s Gaming Party.

Every couple of weeks, our son invites his friends over to play video games on their computer. He sets up tables and power strips in our basement, and his friends bring their computers over to our house. They play online games late into the night, sleep a few hours, and then pack it up and go home. Vonnie and I have always said that we would supply all the snacks, soda, pizza, or whatever is needed if our kids and their friends want to hang out at our house. Because if they’re at our house, we know where they are, and that they are safe. I asked Tristan what he’d like me to pick up for him and his friends. The usual chips, soda, and licorice were delivered, as was the customary pizza from Little Caesar’s.

Curve ball #2: Unexpected Dinner Out

Late Thursday afternoon, I got a text from a friend of ours that moved away several years ago. He was in town for the night, and we made plans to meet him and some other friends for dinner.

Before deciding on either curve ball, Vonnie and I inspected the cash we had on hand, and consciously determined that both curveballs were containable within our available funds. However, there was one side effect.

The unexpected spending left nothing to put towards my new shoes.

Had we not been spending only the cash we had extracted from the ATM there would have been a very different outcome. We would have made the brisket, gone to the movie, and spent money on the two financial curve balls. I would have also marched right into the shoe store and bought my new shoes.

Buying the new shoes would have been a $150 over budget purchase.

We made the trade off to buy supplies for Tristan’s party, as well as go out for dinner with our friends and sacrifice saving for my new shoes. I still need new shoes, but getting them will be delayed by a week or two.

The good news is, we’re on budget. Our cash only spending plan WORKS, and that’s better than a new pair of shoes any day.

 

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Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/17 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-717/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-717/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 16:19:39 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=16741 Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/17

I watched an episode of BBQ Pitmasters a few days ago in which the contestants made brisket.  I’m always looking for new tips to help perfect my brisket technique, so I made some notes while I watched.   It put me in the mood to fire up the smoker, so I asked Vonnie if I could make one this weekend.  We agreed to put it in the spending plan.  There’s a chance for storms tomorrow, so I decided to work from home and smoke it today.  All I have to do is throw it in a roaster tomorrow for an hour […]

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Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/17

fistpumpI watched an episode of BBQ Pitmasters a few days ago in which the contestants made brisket.  I’m always looking for new tips to help perfect my brisket technique, so I made some notes while I watched.   It put me in the mood to fire up the smoker, so I asked Vonnie if I could make one this weekend.  We agreed to put it in the spending plan.  There’s a chance for storms tomorrow, so I decided to work from home and smoke it today.  All I have to do is throw it in a roaster tomorrow for an hour or so, and enjoy delicious BBQ.

Fist pump with me for delicious BBQ!

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It Feels Good To Be In Control http://www.enemyofdebt.com/it-feels-good-to-be-in-control/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/it-feels-good-to-be-in-control/#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2015 14:26:27 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=16725 Enemy of Debt - It Feels Good To Be In Control

At the beginning of June, I recognized that we had let all the habits that helped us successfully manage our finances fall by the wayside. My wife and I had a long financial discussion and vowed to get back on track. We even reviewed the actions we needed to put in motion. Then along game a series of life events: Grandma’s Marathon Weekend Wedding Anniversary 4th Of July Vonnie’s Birthday Family Vacation to Wisconsin Dells It would have been fantastic to get our processes rolling in the right direction again before these events since they all required spending a significant […]

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Enemy of Debt - It Feels Good To Be In Control

EOD_ControlPic

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

At the beginning of June, I recognized that we had let all the habits that helped us successfully manage our finances fall by the wayside. My wife and I had a long financial discussion and vowed to get back on track. We even reviewed the actions we needed to put in motion.

Then along game a series of life events:

  • Grandma’s Marathon Weekend
  • Wedding Anniversary
  • 4th Of July
  • Vonnie’s Birthday
  • Family Vacation to Wisconsin Dells

It would have been fantastic to get our processes rolling in the right direction again before these events since they all required spending a significant amount of money. Unfortunately, the best of intentions don’t always equal action, and we rolled through another month of financial free-for-all.

I spent hours this past Thursday night and Friday afternoon figuring out exactly where we were at financially, and how to move forward. I created a detailed financial spreadsheet, then sat down at the table with Vonnie and went over all of it. Again. We created a completely revised monthly budget, a weekly spending plan, and even a planned monthly deposit into savings. When our conversation was over, I did something I hadn’t done in months.

For the first time in months I went to the ATM and withdrew our weekly spending money in cash.

That night, I put gasoline in both vehicles using the $75 weekly gasoline budget. I filled the van completely and paid the $49 bill with cash. I put the remaining $26 of the budget into the car. It only filled the tank to the 3/4th line, but I knew that it would be enough because we don’t drive the car as often.

The purchases were planned, purposeful, and paid for in cash. It felt good. I felt in control.

With the cars gassed up for the week, I walked up our stairs with $29 in my hand. First I knocked on my son’s door and handed him $16. Next I went to my daughter’s room, and set $13 on her desk. Allowance had been paid on Friday, as it was supposed to.

Saturday morning, Vonnie and I created a meal plan for the week. I entered the grocery store with the list in my hand, and the calculator ap on my phone open. Our weekly grocery and household needs budget is $150. When I rolled up next to the self-checkout terminal the total on my calculator said $146.10. After tax was added, the total on the terminal said $148.88.

My calculator had kept me under budget. I was in control of my spending.

All that was left was our discretionary spending money:

  • $38 for a fishing license to go fishing with some friends
  • $27 to buy pizza for my son and his friends for his gaming party

Total discretionary spending: $65

Our spending was well below our budgeted amount.

Sunday night, I counted out on the kitchen counter the money left over. Paying for everything in cash accomplished exactly what it was supposed to:

  • It kept us on budget
  • It made us evaluate closely every potential purchase

It seems like it’s been forever since our purchases were purposeful. It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve felt in control of our finances. It’s definitely been a loooong time since we’ve had money left over at the end of a weekend.

We’re back in control. We’re back on track, and it feels GREAT.

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Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/10 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-710/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-710/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 14:30:44 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=16721 Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/10

It’s been a busy front half of the Summer: Annual Memorial Weekend Party Grandma’s Marathon In Duluth Anniversary 4th Of July Party Vonnie’s Birthday Family Vacation in Wisconsin Dells Whew, I’m worn out, and so is our bank account.  We’ll be coasting the rest of the summer, with no big plans.  That will allow us all to relax, enjoy some good times just hanging out in the summer weather, and for our reserve funds to build back up. Fist pump for coasting the rest of the summer!  What does the rest of YOUR summer look like? Posts That Make Me […]

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Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/10

fistpumpIt’s been a busy front half of the Summer:

  • Annual Memorial Weekend Party
  • Grandma’s Marathon In Duluth
  • Anniversary
  • 4th Of July Party
  • Vonnie’s Birthday
  • Family Vacation in Wisconsin Dells

Whew, I’m worn out, and so is our bank account.  We’ll be coasting the rest of the summer, with no big plans.  That will allow us all to relax, enjoy some good times just hanging out in the summer weather, and for our reserve funds to build back up.

Fist pump for coasting the rest of the summer!  What does the rest of YOUR summer look like?

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Grillin’ And Chillin’ Summer Series: Bratwurst Hot Tub http://www.enemyofdebt.com/grillin-and-chillin-summer-series-bratwurst-hot-tub/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/grillin-and-chillin-summer-series-bratwurst-hot-tub/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 11:51:29 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=16713 Enemy of Debt - Grillin’ And Chillin’ Summer Series: Bratwurst Hot Tub

It’s officially summer, EOD Nation, and that means it’s time for BBQ.  Over the next couple of months I’ll be periodically be sharing some of my favorite summer recipes to help you be the king of the backyard BBQ in your neighborhood! It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of lighting up the grill or smoker and cooking up some delicious food using a live fire. BBQ, like many hobbies, is something a person can always learn new things. There is always a new recipe to try, or a new technique to learn. While I have no problem lighting a […]

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Enemy of Debt - Grillin’ And Chillin’ Summer Series: Bratwurst Hot Tub

EOD_BratGrillIt’s officially summer, EOD Nation, and that means it’s time for BBQ.  Over the next couple of months I’ll be periodically be sharing some of my favorite summer recipes to help you be the king of the backyard BBQ in your neighborhood!

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of lighting up the grill or smoker and cooking up some delicious food using a live fire. BBQ, like many hobbies, is something a person can always learn new things. There is always a new recipe to try, or a new technique to learn. While I have no problem lighting a chimney of charcoal on any weekend, during any season, my grilling frequency definitely picks up in the summer time. Summer is a great time to bust out a new recipe, fire up the grill and invite friends and family over for some grillin’ and chillin’.

That’s what we’re all about here at Enemy Of Debt; finding ways to maximize enjoyment of life through memorable experiences with those we love, while minimizing expenses.

With that in mind, I want to share with you my tried and true method of making world class bratwurst. I want to take you through the entire process from the time you unwrap them from the package, until the time you put them on the bun.

Ingredients/Supplies

  • One package of your favorite bratwurst (10-12 brats)
  • One red onion
  • Two cans sauerkraut
  • One rectangular plastic container
  • Several cans of beer

Marinade

Place your bratwurst in the rectangular plastic container. In between each layer of bratwurst, put slices of the red onion and a generous amount of sauerkraut using a total of half the onion, and one can of sauerkraut. Once all the bratwurst have been placed in the container, fill the container with beer. Allow the brats to soak in the marinade overnight.

Cooking

Light the grill, bringing it to a medium high temperature. Place the brats on the grill. I am a big proponent of flipping meat as few times as possible, except for when it comes to bratwurst. Brats tend to burst and squirt grease on your grill potentially resulting in very hot flare ups. Check and turn brats as often as you need to in order to prevent burning. Continue grilling until they are golden brown on both sides.

Bratwurst Hot Tub

Prepare another round of the marinade. I’m always hesitant to use the same marinade that raw pork products were sitting in, so I make a fresh batch of the beer, onion, sauerkraut marinade. Use the other half of the onion, the second can of sauerkraut, and yes, more beer. Place the marinade into a crock pot, roaster section, or even a pan large and deep enough to hold the brats that you can leave on the grill, as we want our bratwurst hot tub to be hot.

EOD_BratHottub

Bratwursts taking soak in their hot tub!

Once the bratwursts are cooked, place them in the bratwurst hot tub. Allow them to soak in the hot tub for 15-20 minutes before serving to your guests.

By following this technique, your guests will be treated to great tasting, juicy bratwursts. The overnight marinade adds the flavor, and the hot tub adds that extra moisture that will be enjoyed by those at the front of the line, and also those guests that arrive later.

Great tasting bratwurst are an inexpensive way to make your next summer BBQ a hit. The recipe is easy enough to let you satisfy your grill fix, yet still have plenty of time to spend with your guests making summer memories that you’ll cherish forever.

Do you have a favorite summer BBQ recipe? I’m always looking for new things to try!

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Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup 7/3 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-73/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-73/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:43:39 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=16701 Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup 7/3

Happy almost Independence Day Friday, EOD Nation!  Since the 4th of July falls on a Saturday this year, my employer gives us today off. So what will I be doing today?  Oh, I’m so glad you asked……I’ll be spending it reconciling the checkbook and working with my wife to come up with our spending plan for the next two weeks.  We’re a few days late, but life has been busy lately, and I’m glad to have the day off to play catchup with our financial planning. Tomorrow we’ll be having some friends and family over, busting out the grill, and […]

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Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup 7/3

fistpumpHappy almost Independence Day Friday, EOD Nation!  Since the 4th of July falls on a Saturday this year, my employer gives us today off. So what will I be doing today?  Oh, I’m so glad you asked……I’ll be spending it reconciling the checkbook and working with my wife to come up with our spending plan for the next two weeks.  We’re a few days late, but life has been busy lately, and I’m glad to have the day off to play catchup with our financial planning.

Tomorrow we’ll be having some friends and family over, busting out the grill, and celebrating the 4th of July.  Hope you all have a great weekend!

Give a big 4th of July fist pump for my favorite posts of the week!

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Are You Conscientious or a Slacker? http://www.enemyofdebt.com/are-you-conscientious-or-a-slacker/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/are-you-conscientious-or-a-slacker/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 10:16:42 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=16668 Enemy of Debt - Are You Conscientious or a Slacker?

Extremely frustrated, I waited in a parking lot for one last person that was running late. They were supposed to arrive at 7:30am and the instructions clearly stated the youth group would leave the church at 8:00am sharp. It was this person’s tardiness that broke my wife’s perfect parent streak. You know what I mean; the mom who waves to her child as they drive away in excitement to a five-day excursion of hiking, singing songs by the bonfire, and getting yelled at by counselors because you’re making everyone in the cabin giggle when you should be sleeping. Here it […]

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Enemy of Debt - Are You Conscientious or a Slacker?

EOD_Conscientious

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Extremely frustrated, I waited in a parking lot for one last person that was running late. They were supposed to arrive at 7:30am and the instructions clearly stated the youth group would leave the church at 8:00am sharp.

It was this person’s tardiness that broke my wife’s perfect parent streak. You know what I mean; the mom who waves to her child as they drive away in excitement to a five-day excursion of hiking, singing songs by the bonfire, and getting yelled at by counselors because you’re making everyone in the cabin giggle when you should be sleeping.

Here it was, almost an hour later and we could wait no longer. We said our goodbyes and drove off.

I can remember feeling angry, irritated, and a bit resentful at this person who seemed to lack a conscience by making the whole bus load of people wait. I didn’t know who the person was, yet I had determined he/she was a slacker.

Why was I so upset? And what does this have to do with money? Stick around to the end, we’ll get there.

A lack of conscientiousness

The answer came in a completely unrelated email. PsyBlog released a one-minute personality test that reveals how conscientious you are compared to others. I was certain to score a perfect 40 out of 40 because I’m a very conscientious person: I plan ahead, try to pay attention to the details, and understand my actions can affect others.

The results of that survey would tell me another story.

Are you a conscientious person?

Take the multiple-choice survey yourself: One Minute Conscientious Test

Did you score more than 20? Then you lean towards being a conscientious person.

Conscientious people are careful, vigilant and thorough. They love ‘to-do’ lists and plan out their day. Conscientious people tend to do better in school and find the obligations they make to others are important to themselves.

I thought for sure I’d fall into the 30 percent of respondents who were classified as conscientious.

Nope. Moving on…

Not-so conscientious people

Those who are not gifted with extra conscientiousness are laid-back, less concerned with obligations towards others, and are classified as unorganized.

However, they tend to be more fun and exciting to be around at parties. Do you know a few not-so conscientious people? Of course you do – they could be some of your best friends. Actually, my best friend fits perfectly into this group. He is always late and never finishes tasks on time, yet he makes friends everywhere he goes.

How can this be? How can a non-planner who misses deadlines and doesn’t plan ahead be accepted by the well-organized group in our society? To put it simply: we need each other. A person scoring high on the conscientious scale needs someone with a low score to spice up their life.

Alternatively, free spirits need super-conscientious people in their lives or the iPhone would have never been created and their taxes would never get done.

Again, 30 percent of people scored in the lower range of this survey.

Muddled in the Middle

What if you are in the middle? I scored a 20 – what does that say about me?

My natural tendencies are to work on the things I want to, not the things I should. For instance, I’m writing this article a week after the date I set aside on my calendar.

I also follow the Seth Godin philosophy of “Ship it” instead of trying to get every detail perfect before putting it out there. For example: How many grammatical and punctuation errors can you find in this post? 10 points goes to the first person to point them out in the comments below.

Does this make me a not-so conscientious person? I think my response to this morning’s events prove otherwise.

Contrary to what you might think; Those of use who are in the middle (40 percent of the survey respondents) are not perfectly balanced between the two. In fact, I believe those who are on the extreme ends of this survey have an easier time being true themselves.

In other words, it’s more exciting to be on one end of the teeter-totter or the other instead of the guy standing in the middle. That guy (or gal) is expending a lot of energy just trying to stay balanced.

How does this all tie into personal finance?

It is very likely you are either a conscientious spender or you make more than your share of impulse purchases.

A conscientious spender finds joy in making meal plans, creating grocery lists, and measures their wireless data usage to see if they can save $10 by switching to a smaller plan next month.

A slacker, or “free spirit”, makes impulse purchases, spends money when the situation arises, and hates the “b” word (budget). But boy howdy – they can share some stories!

Maybe you’re a muddler like me. I have forced myself into the middle – moving away from my natural “free spirit” tendencies toward super-conscientious behaviors. Why? I realized the importance of having a plan, spending wisely, and looking towards the future.

In my journey to become a more responsible and conscientious person I fight the old tendencies that could get me into trouble. How do I know they will resurface? Let’s just say I haven’t been a very conscientious eater.

Is it better to be conscientious or a slacker?

If your goal is to be responsible with your spending and have some money later in life then you need to be a conscientious spender more often than a slacker. However, slackers are good for the economy: If we didn’t have slackers then a lot of plastic trinkets would be collecting dust on the Dollar Store’s shelves.

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