It Takes Two To Make a Budget Succeed

Couples argue. Vonnie and I are no different. After a week vacation in Kentucky and the following weekend out of town for my class reunion, we needed to do a serious budget scrub. I knew we had exceeded our original budget for both activities, and I began to outline just how much. I  hadn’t done a good job of keeping track of, or communicating to my wife during that two week period as to when the over spending had occurred, and by how much. I just kept thinking to myself, we don’t have anything planned the second half of the […] Read more »

My Class Reunion, Was It Worth It?

Smokin’, drinkin’ and partying too, we’re the class of Ninetytwo! This past weekend I traveled to my hometown to celebrate my 20 year high school class reunion (yikes). My classmates who organized the reunion did a spectacular job putting together an entire weekend of events ranging from a golf outing, to an outdoor meet and greet, a dinner, a pool party and a reserving a special section at a community event involving live music and rib tasting. Vonnie and I had a blast at both my five and ten year reunion, so we were looking forward to this one as […] Read more » Gained, and Lost Me As A Customer

We knew we didn’t want to drive the entire 11 hours home from Kentucky to Minnesota in one day, so we were looking for somewhere to spend the night at about the 7 hour mark. The wife of another couple that had also traveled from Minnesota found a place in the desired city and price range using Looking at the computer screen, I was impressed with the website as it listed the hotels for the city requested as well as the surrounding area. Users are also able to sort the list many different ways. Our friend called and booked […] Read more »

Razor Customer Support Rocks!

Standing in the kitchen, we told our daughter, Tori, she was only getting one present for her birthday. She looked a little confused as we handed her a small, flat, rectangular present that was very light. She opened it up and screamed in delight as she realized it was the picture cut from the packing box of the Razor electric scooter she had been coveting ever since her friends in the neighborhood had gotten one a year earlier.  We had not intended to purchase such an expensive birthday present, but it was something Tori really wanted. So, we sacrificed a […] Read more »

A Glass Of Wine, A Sign, and An Obstacle Walk Into a Bar….

Vonnie and I went to the end of the school year staff appreciation function for her new job. It was at a bar and grill and I figured it would be a great way to put faces with the names of people she’s been talking about for the last 6 weeks. As Vonnie ordered a glass of wine, I stepped onto the outdoor patio to take a phone call. While I was on the phone, Vonnie and one of her co-workers walked by me making the “going for a smoke” sign with her thumb and index finger pressed together and […] Read more »

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 »