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 »

Santa Is a Waste Of Money

In a scene common to many American households during the holiday season, my kids sat at the kitchen table thumbing through a stack of Christmas toy magazines creating their Christmas wish lists. I smiled as I watched them, remembering doing the exact same thing when I was a kid.  I actually folded mine up, put it in an envelope and gave it to my parents to mail to Santa. Feeling their excitement as I walked towards the table, I overheard, “Oooh, I’ve never seen that before, that is SO cool! That’s definitely going on my list!” Suddenly having them go […] Read more »

Imagination is Free

I’m going to ask you to do something you may not have ever been asked to do before. Close your eyes, and think of a recent experience in your life that was extremely stressful. Go to your “nervous, anxious, so angry I want to punch a wall” place. What do you feel like doing?  What would deflate the negative energy you’re feeling? Going out to eat so you don’t have to add the stress of cooking to the pile? Going shopping and buying anything you darn well please so you regain the feeling of control? Having your significant other notice […] Read more »

Personal Finance For A Nine Year Old

A few weeks ago, one of my daughter’s friends got a new computer game, and the two have been playing it ever since. However, my daughter, Tori, cannot play it unless her friend brings it over to our house, or she goes down her her friend’s house. So, naturally she wants her own copy. She had recently spent all her saved allowance money, so she was starting from scratch saving up the $20 for the game. Last Friday afternoon, when she got home from school, she exploded through the front door, ran up to her room, and grabbed her piggy […] Read more »

Eliminating Debt is Like Fixing a Car – Persistence Pays Off!

I hate cars. Let me be more specific: I hate the fact that I know very little about cars. So little in fact that someone could completely make something up, I’d believe it was a real problem, and pay through the nose to fix it.  So, when the check engine light began to blink on and off in my car while it felt like it was about to stall, I knew that I was the one that was in for a ride. I wrote a previous post in the CareOne community about the problems we’ve been having with the car, […] Read more »

Sorry, School Fundraiser – You’re Not In My Budget!

The inevitable packet came home from school with my daughter last week.  That same night, the doorbell started ringing signalling the beginning of the school fundraising season. Whether you have school aged children, or you’ve experienced that knock at the door, you know what I mean. Kids trying to sell you products that you cannot possibly live without at an inflated price all in the name of helping their school. The motivation given to the students is a ladder of prizes – the more you sell, the better the prize. Of course every student begins the fundraiser with hopes of […] Read more »

Don’t Stink. Budget!

If you’re a regular reader of Our Journey to Zero, you know I’ve been on a serious fitness kick now for over 8 months. Getting in shape is all about getting in the habit of exercising. Now that I’m in the habit of exercising, it feels wrong to not work out every day. It just feels like something is missing. Recently I skipped two days in a row for probably the first time this year. I was downright cranky. There are a lot of people who want to get in shape and lose weight. So why don’t they? They say […] Read more »

Financial Lessons for the Kid in All of Us

While gathering my things after a workout in the locker room of my health club, I noticed a little boy about 3 years old wanting to go look at the scale. Each time he wandered towards the scale, his dad would grab the boy and guide him back to the locker area. The man instructed the boy to stay by him as he finished getting dressed after swimming. The boy would stand near his father for a few seconds, then start walking back towards the scale. The father would again grab him, indicating that the boy could see the scale when he was done getting dressed. This repeated itself several times, each time the boy becoming more insistent that he wanted to see the scale, each time his dad becoming more firm that he stay next to him. Read more »

Becoming the Leader I Need To Be

In my day job as a software engineer, I am a technical team leader responsible for ensuring that a team of 8 operates efficiently, completes work items on time, and with quality.  My team respects both my technical and leadership abilities. There is chaos in the absence of strong leadership.  I see that every day. Where weak, or even no leadership is present, projects flounder in failure until someone takes control of the situation and drives it to completion. There needs to be someone with a degree in organizational leadership to step in when another leader can not. The same […] Read more »

Are You Teaching Your Children to Avoid a Financial Stomach Ache?

Photo credit: newyork808 During the last week of school, my twelve year old son went on a class trip to the Nickelodeon Universe theme park inside the Mall Of America. When I picked him up from school, he told me that he didn’t go on any rides the last hour because he didn’t feel well, and still didn’t. Trying to determine the cause of his stomach issue, I asked him what he had for lunch.  The conversation went something like this: Tristan:  “I wanted Subway, but there wasn’t one in the food court where we went to eat. So we […] Read more »