I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 3/1

I got an email from my daughter’s teacher telling me that Tori had a part in her Elementary School Assembly yesterday.  So Vonnie and I showed up to watch our daughter help teach her schoolmates about integrity.  What we didn’t know was that she was one of two people voted by her class as a person of integrity and would be receiving an award during the assembly. So. Proud. Of. Her. Another person that I’m extremely impressed with, and very fortunate to have met in person at last year’s Financial Blogger’s Conference, is Cait from Blonde on a Budget.  She’s […] Read more »

My Secret Weapon In the Fight Against Grocery Overspending

“Ha, I did it again!” I exclaimed to myself. My total was illuminated on the screen of the grocery store checkout register: $110.57.  It was the third week in a row that I was within just a few dollars of my estimate, and right on budget for the week’s groceries.  I had certainly done all of the pre-shopping steps to ensure success at the grocery store. I meal planned for the week, made a list of the items I was going to buy, and yes I had even estimated the prices of all the items.   Unfortunately, I’ve followed these […] Read more »

I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 2/22

You’ll have to forgive me, I’m a bit cranky at the moment. If you haven’t heard, winter storm Q is making its way through the Midwest (I have a brother-in-law in Omaha, Nebraska that is supposed to get up to 18 inches of snow!)  I woke up this morning to find 5 inches new snow on the ground, with a couple more yet to come.  Given the weather, I didn’t make my usual trip to the gym this morning.  Not because I didn’t want to drive around in the snow, but because I knew that at 5:30am the school district […] Read more »

Financial Peace Will Save My Marriage

Peace. It’s a word that’s been stuck my head. It all started with a post I read last week in which the author described how budgeting brought peace to her marriage. The title stirred something inside me.  A simple, but powerful word, that for some reason seemed to continuously pop into my mind over the weekend. Friday evening we were trying to decide what to do for dinner. None of the options left on our meal planning list sounded very good to the family. In a moment of frustration as my stomach growled, I suggested we go out to eat. […] Read more »

I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 02/15

Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone.  Vonnie and I agreed not to get all caught up in the usual flowers, stuffed animals and sentimental cards.    Maybe when we’re out of debt we will re-instate a small Valentine’s Day gift exchange, but for now we just don’t think it is the wisest use of our money.  Here’s what I did do for her: Made her breakfast:  School day mornings are crazy busy.  I busted ass to get all the usual stuff done in order to make her and the kids a great breakfast, including heart shaped pancakes. We already had […] Read more »

Can You Replace a Lost Receipt Using A Rewards Card?

I hate clutter. Our kitchen counter seems to be a magnet for store ads, receipts and returned assignments  the kids brought home from school.  Every day I sort through a pile of paper to determine which need to be kept, and which can be tossed. With a motto of “when it doubt, throw it out,” you can imagine that occasionally I would get rid of something that we actually need. My son celebrated a birthday in January, and the only thing he wanted was a set of decent headphones to replace the low quality ones that came with his recently […] Read more »

I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 02/08

Looks like Old Man Winter is aiming to put the smack down on the North East this weekend.  In some ways I’m kind of jealous because we haven’t had much snow here in Minnesota this year.  On the other hand, I am starting to think I’m just DONE with winter at this point.  I’m ready for warmer weather and the ability to strap on my running shoes and head out on a crisp spring morning.  Not that I mind running in colder weather, it’s a safety factor as the sidewalks are packed with snow and ice right now.  I’m just […] Read more »

Ostriches and Finances Don’t Mix

An Ostrich is a large, flightless bird native to Africa which many people believe will bury it’s head in the sand when it senses danger. As the story goes, the ostrich thinks that it is completely safe if it cannot see the pending threat. It hopes that when it finally raises it’s head back above the ground, the threat will be gone, and everything would be ok.  Not very intelligent. Yet in the past I’d insist upon doing the exact same thing with my finances. I wouldn’t pay attention to how much I was spending, completely ignoring financial danger. I […] Read more »

I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 2/1

Three words for you: Super. Bowl. Sunday.   I love Super Bowl Sunday and all that comes with it.  Funny commercials, great food, good times with friends, and if the game is good that’s just the cherry on top.  I have conflicting feelings about who to root for this year.  Randy Moss (Receiver) is now a 49er, and he gave Viking fans a whole lot to cheer about for a lot of years.  On the other hand, Matt Birk (Center) is a Raven, and I STILL can’t believe the Vikings let him go.  Great player, great person.  Both teams are also […] Read more »

An Oil Change and a Conversation About Debt

Pulling out my debit card to pay for my oil change, I told the young man behind the counter who my employer was and asked if I qualified for a discount.  He acknowledged that I did, punched a few buttons and said, “Looks like that saves you 8 bucks.” Up until this point, our conversation had been standard small talk, but here’s where it got interesting. “Every little bit helps, right?” he continued. “Absolutely,” I responded. “My girlfriend has me going to this financial peace thing,” he stated. “Oh, you mean Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University?  What baby step are […] Read more »

I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 1/25

The family and I are on our mid-winter getaway with 4 other families at the Kalahari Hotel in Wisconsin Dells.  They have an indoor water park that includes this kneeboard ride that is a TON of fun.  If you’ve never seen one of these before, streams of water are shot up an incline giving you the ability to kneeboard, and have it seem like you’re on an actual wave.  It’s super fun and I was pumped to do it again.    Unfortunately, during our first day at the water park I found out the hard way that my new swim trunks […] Read more »

How To Have an Inexpensive Mid-Winter Getaway

The weather forecast says that we may not break zero degrees today, and the wind chill will make it feel like -15F to -30F outside.  That’s the kind of cold that makes your teeth HURT. You can also do this really neat trick where you can watch boiling water turn to ice crystals instantaneously.  While it hasn’t been a very harsh winter, today is the kind of day that makes me long for the warm days of summer.  It’s for days like this that several months ago we began planning a little outing. Later this week a we’ll be heading […] Read more »

I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 1/18

I saw a video this week about how the people in L.A. are freaking out about the “arctic blast” bringing their high temps for the day into the mid 50’s.  Brrrrr. People out in Kentucky had to deal with a few minutes of sleet.   Just as a comparison, the most recent forecast projects a high temperature for Monday in Rochester, MN at -1. It’s all relative, I guess.  If I had to deal with California earthquakes, or the summertime heat and humidity of Kentucky, I’d probably just curl up in the fetal position in a corner and sulk. Stay […] Read more »

The Financial Pothole: Temporary Tax Cuts

In the opening days of 2013 congress pushed through legislation to avoid the so called “fiscal cliff” preventing the taxes of the vast majority of Americans from going up, and automatic massive spending cuts  from kicking in. The news wasn’t all good, however, as the payroll tax decrease was not extended. This means everyone’s paychecks would be reduced by 2% effective immediately. This is a double whammy for me, as it most likely is with many people, since the first of the year is also when the new rates for my medical insurance kicks in. I received my first pay […] Read more »