Father’s Day Scavenger Hunt

My wife knows better than to ask me what I want for Father’s Day, or for that matter any other occasion that involves gift giving. My answer is always the same, “The best present you could give me is to not spend any money on me.” She never listens to me. She has to get me something, even if it’s under the disguise of “from the kids.” She understands, though, that it’s not necessary, or in our best interest financially, to purchase an extravagant gift. Quite frankly, Vonnie has taken gift giving on a budget as a personal challenge. I […] Read more »

What My Friends and Family Don’t Know….Only Hurts Me

At mile 19 of the Twin Cities Marathon in 2003, I found my family, as well as my brother-in-law and his family cheering me on. Seeing their familiar faces provided me the instant mental “pick me up” that I so desperately needed to keep going.  When you’re being challenged in life, having people there to support you can make all the difference. However, as I work to achieve the very difficult task of getting out of debt, I am missing the support of many of the important people in my day to day life. Because they have no idea what […] Read more »

Baseball Season is Here, New Rules, and How Much Did You Pay For That Bat?

I asked Tristan to bring me his baseball bag so we could check the condition of his equipment and see what needed to be replaced for the upcoming season. After all, tryouts started the next day. “Parent fail” for waiting until the last minute. Inspecting the equipment, we found he would need new baseball pants, cleats, batting gloves, and all sorts of other equipment. Not unexpected, as kids tend to outgrow these sort of things from year to year. Surprisingly, however, he’s used the same baseball helmet for years now. Why his melon doesn’t get any bigger is beyond my […] Read more »

I’m In Debt, But I Party Like a Rock Star

It all started in 1997 as a housewarming party at Vonnie and I’s first home. We hosted both our parents, and a few select close relatives. We decided to make it a tradition, and this year we hosted our 16th annual Memorial Weekend Party. It’s grown over the years, and quite frankly, it’s achieved almost legendary status. Friends and family come from out of town and stay not only at our home, but also the homes of our neighbors. A great time is certainly had by all that attend, however with all it’s fanfare comes a lot of work, and […] Read more »

I’m Not Paying For Your Mistake, Even If You Are Only 13

I’m a night owl, commonly staying up several hours later than the rest of my family. I use this time to do various tasks that I never seem to find time for during the day. So it wasn’t out of the ordinary when I decided to take up a late night activity to resolve my checking account spreadsheet with my online banking portal. With my wife and daughter comfortably sleeping, and my son hiding out in his room playing Xbox, I sat down at my computer around 11:00pm and got to work. 11:05pm: I notice a debit from Microsoft for […] Read more »

I’m Hot Because I’m Bald

What comes to mind when you think of the stereotypical, sexy, attractive male? If the covers of magazines and romance novels are any indication, it’s a tall, tan guy with washboard abs, and of course a head of thick, long flowing hair. However, there are signs that this viewpoint is changing. Earlier this week, my friend and fellow blogger Suzanne Cramer wrote a post asserting that financially responsible men are attractive. Well, I’ve got some news, and it’ll knock the socks off of Suzanne and other women who share her viewpoint. Bald men are more attractive because they’re financially responsible. […] Read more »

Togetherness Is The Best Kind of Family Therapy.

It had been a really rough week for my family. A close friend of ours that lived in the neighborhood had passed away recently, and we had spent the entire week in crisis mode spending time with the family and other neighbors in support of each other. As most families, we have a daily routine. Dinner at 6:00, homework at 7:00, our favorite shows of the evening after that. That routine had been completely disrupted and my wife and I felt like our children had suffered from lack of attention from us. On my way home from work , I […] Read more »

Do You Trust Me?

“Unless Vonnie wants to go along to the mall with me…” our friend’s voice trailed off. Sure, I’ll go. I can look for a spring coat for Tori,” said my wife. A new spring coat for our daughter was in the budget, as previously discussed while planning our spending for that weekend. The coat was actually the final expenditure for the weekend as it drew to a close that Sunday afternoon. In a whirlwind of activity, I got ready to go to the gym, Vonnie and her friend put on shoes, grabbed their purses and headed out door with my […] Read more »

The $57 Jar Of Candy

Imagine a large glass jar filled to the top with your favorite kind of candy. How much would you pay for it? $10? $20? How about $57? This past weekend, Vonnie and I attended a benefit for her aunt who was recently diagnosed with cancer. There was a wonderful outpouring of support from the community through donations of items to sell in a silent auction. Vonnie, being her usual rock star self, visited business throughout our community and accumulated a dozen or so items to contribute to the auction. We also put together a basket of items we personally donated, […] Read more »

Being Debt Free is NOT the Goal

I recently registered for the Twin Cities marathon, which will be held in October of this year. It will be my third marathon, so I’ve been through the training before. However, as a refresher, I dusted off a marathon training book I had purchased several years ago and began reading. The first chapter is quite inspirational. It reflects upon the time and effort it takes to train for a marathon. By the time race day arrives, months of work have been put in, and hundreds of miles have been logged in preparation of the big event. The thing that stands […] Read more »

Money Problems Are All I Have

The caller ID showed an incoming call from the wife of a couple with which my wife and I are close friends. I answered the phone with a quickly forgotten  humorous remark as the voice on the other end was shaky, asking for a favor.  Our friend and her teenage daughter were having a huge argument and they needed a third party to step in and mediate the situation. Our friends are working through marital issues, and have recently separated as they attempt to work through them. Their teenage daughter has taken it especially hard, and is very angry.   The […] Read more »

Did You Get What You Wanted for Christmas?

  Photo Credit: Carolwrightgifts So, how was your Christmas? Mine was simply fabulous. In fact, it was the most enjoyable Christmas I’ve had in years, thanks for asking. What made this Christmas so different? Come with the spirit of Christmas past as we revisit the Pizel family holiday tour of 2011: First, we see a family of four sitting in their living room on Christmas morning. There aren’t as many presents under the tree as their had been in previous years, but the kids don’t seem to notice. Both children got several gifts that were at the top of their […] Read more »

My Journey Out of Debt Has Brought Me Closer To God

In November I had a series of posts published in the CareOne Community discussing positive things that have resulted from my journey out of debt. This post was meant to be the last in that series, but I held back writing it because quite honestly I wasn’t sure if I was comfortable revealing this previously undisclosed part of me to my online friends.  However, as the weeks have gone by, I have felt a growing desire to write this post. As is typical of many young children, I gave my parents a hard time about having to get up on […] Read more »

An Uncomfortable Conversation

With me sitting on the edge of our bathtub, and my wife brushing her teeth as she prepared for bed we began a very serious budget discussion. We were on day three of a week long visit from our Kentucky friends and were burning through our discretionary funds at an alarming rate. We needed to reign in our spending, and ensure we kept ourselves on budget, or we were going to run out of money fast. The next day the four of us were planning on going shopping for the supplies needed for Thanksgiving Dinner. As a group, we had […] Read more »