Monthly Archives: September 2011

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How come people use the phrase “quarter of a million dollars” but you pretty much never hear anyone say, “quarter of a hundred thousand?”

Well, that’s how much credit card debt I had just a couple of months ago.

A quarter of $100k.

Yep, I said it.

A few weeks from now, I’ll have pared that down to a 4-figure number.

I’m not there just yet.

I’m just sayin’…

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I wish I could remember where I grabbed this -- the artist had some amazing stuff...I’ve written a lot about homeowners insurance in the past.

Right when I bought my house back in 2002, I hooked up with Allstate since that’s who I had my auto insurance with and things were groovy…for a month and then they dropped me and I had to scramble.

I’m still bitter about this…though I still have my auto insurance with them.

Apparently it didn’t sting enough.

Anyway, as a result and after much panic, I ended up with the bottom-of-the-barrel delapidated crack house insurance which cost a fortune and covered essentially nothing.

It’s called the “FAIR” Plan and it’s run by the state.

Most states offer it to those who are considered un-insurable by a reputable company.

Yeah, I felt like a loser.

Did I mention that I feel that Allstate wronged me?

Yeah, they did.

So, with that scarlet letter on my record, it was an endless uphill climb (with a roughly $50k pricetag) to get back to an insurance policy similar to what most non-crack using people have.

But after all of the renovations that I’d done on my home — and the obvious career path that I’ve taken (which in no way involves crack) — one independent insurance agent finally threw me a bone and got me a regular insurance policy.

It was pricey but cheaper than what I’d been paying to the state. And it actually covered something!

Anyway — that was in November of 2008.

For my first anniversay, I mean renewal, I paid my premium right on time.

But in 2010, I committed the unthinkable for a money blogger.

I didn’t pay my bill.

An offense that could’ve landed me right back on the FAIR plan.

Statistically, I appeared as a deadbeat, especially based on the reputation of my past insurer.

The renewal notice and bill just happened to come days before my dad died and, well, it got lost in the following chaos. It’s not a great excuse but it’s the truth.

Upon realizing this oversight (I *totally* freaked out expecting the worst), we paid the premium in full with a back-dated check and, thankfully, not a peep came from the insurance company.

We dodged a bullet, in my opinion.

So this year, not looking to make a habit of appearing as a crappy policy holder to the insurer that I’m still so thankful for, I paid my premium ($873) in full again.

In September.

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Who is this?How could I not review this movie?

I truly apologize to those who’ve been awaiting this update for weeks now but I have a confession…

I didn’t go and see this movie.

You could tell it was terrible the minute they announced that they were making it a half dozen or so years ago.

And who’s the dude with the side burns and the skirt?

A new character? Sheesh…

They jumped the shark right out of the gate.

Anyway, two blue thumbs down on this one.

Worst movie of the summer.

Possibly even the decade.

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Now that that’s out of the way, I have to offer a big smurfy THANK YOU to Angie.

She’s a self proclaimed psycho stalker that’s been reading and commenting here on PIAC almost since the beginning.

She, along with her kids, stepped up to the plate (when McDonalds really should have) and went above and beyond when they immediately mailed my son Duncan two of the McDonald’s Happy Meal smurfs that we so coveted but were unable to obtain.

They were even un-opened Smurfs. Most impressive.

Thanks soooo much!

Thanks so much from all four of us — we really appreciated it. I wish I could accurately describe to you how excited Duncan was to receive his own mail…with Smurfs inside!

Does it get any better than that?

I think not.

You’re awesome.

And no need to worry — Baker and Jokey are in good hands!

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About a month ago on my way to work I noticed a billboard that seemed, well, out of place.

Dan Persa

In the past, it’s been Pepsi, McDonalds, or some obnoxious local attorney advertisement.

But this…”Chicago’s Heisman Candidate” seemed a little out of place in central Connecticut.

We’re a good 900 miles from Chicago…

Heisman TrophyAnd I’ve never heard of Dan Persa. If he were a local kid in the running for the Heisman trophy, you’d think there’d be some media coverage.

I mean, Connecticut isn’t exactly a football hotbed so a local kid in the running would be BIG news.

Then I began to think that maybe Northwestern University transposed a number when ordering the sign from CBS Outdoors.

Sign 1501 is probably located in Carol Stream, Illinois. Sign 1051 happens to be in Bristol, Connecticut.


And then I referred to the trusty internet to find some answers.

Dan Persa is not from Connecticut.

He’s a 22-year old quarterback from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania that plays for the Northwestern Wildcats.

And the billboard?

It’s exactly where they wanted it… Seriously.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Northwestern is going into the heart of college football country — Bristol, Conn. — to promote Dan Persa’s Heisman Trophy campaign.

Make that the heart of college football opinion country. Bristol is home to ESPN, and NU officials have bought billboard space there on a key artery. Chicago commuters can see the ad next week on a Kennedy Expressway billboard at Kimball Avenue.

NU officials chose the theme “Persa Strong” after’s Bruce Feldman named Persa the 10th-strongest player — and strongest quarterback — in the nation. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Persa can bench-press 360 pounds and squat 520.

Persa has not seen the billboards but said, “Anything that can get more attention for our team around the country is cool.”

Well, I hate to tell them but…the sign isn’t on a route that many ESPN commuters will ever see.

It’s actually angled in a way where you can only see it while driving away from ESPN.

Making matters worse — it’s on a road through an industrial zone. A, how shall I put this… depressing and out-dated industrial zone. Yeah, it follows a seldom used freight rail line… you know the type of road…

Not a deadend by any means but certainly not a main artery for the influential on-air ESPN employees that they’re trying to sway.

Point being — I highly doubt Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, or Bruce Feldman have seen this sign or ever will even though they’re often just a couple of miles away.

The security guard for the lot they park in, well, he’s probably seen it.

But I suppose it got some publicity here on PIAC so it’s not all for nothing.

I don’t think that’s exactly what they were aiming for though.

Anyway, good luck Dan Persa!

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Swimming in the Right DirectionSummer is over and along with it is the season of spending.

$1676.51 : Land Rover Repairs
$1345.28 : Vacation
$1220.18 : Business Expenses

$922.22 : Day Care
$724.54 : Gas
$520.00 : Cash

$498.72 : Mortgage
$251.97 : Eyeglasses
$239.45 : Auto Insurance
$200.46 : Finance Charges
$172.50 : Electricity
$170.00 : Dentist
$127.80 : Cable/Internet
$111.33 : Water/Sewer
$93.79 : Dining Out
$45.00 : Eye Doctor

$42.04 : Babies R Us
$40.84 : Clothing
$33.68 : Natural Gas
$28.05 : Toys R Us
$16.00 : Car Wash
$16.00 : Pittsburgh Pirates Tickets

Added up, that’s $8496.36.

August was a tough month. A great month based on the debt repayment end of things but with the car repairs, a vacation, and a dead computer (which cost over $1k to replace), well, it was a costly month too.

Thankfully most of the spending (the colored stuff) isn’t routine or was unusually high.

And, though this report doesn’t show it, I’m headed in the right direction again.

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September 2011 Net WorthIn a complete reversal of last month (where I moaned about a $17k gain), I’m ecstatic about this month’s $2700 loss!

Yep — it’s not always about the bottom line but where the money actually falls.

Here we go:

A nice cushion here. I’m going to do my best to keep it far away from the $1500 floor where Bank of America will start charging me fees.

I tapped this in August, obviously. Partially to fund a vacation, partially to fund the car repairs, partially to purchase a new computer, but most importantly, to pay down credit card debt.

Gov’t Bonds:
I’m taking a new path now. Sold off most of these to, again, pay down credit card debt and cover some unplanned expenses last month.

Not as bad as I’d have expected based on the market volatility. In related news, I halted my contributions for the time being to focus more on, again, credit card debt.

Sense a theme?

My house was supposed to be destroyed by Hurricane Irene last week. Seriously, based on the forecasts, it was supposed to go right down my street.

My house survived but it’s value went down because I apparently live in the new hurricane alley.

(it just rained for a few hours. seriously…)

Auto 1, Auto 2, and Auto 3:
Nothing terribly earth shattering here.

Credit Cards:
Hell, yeah! Now I know some out there doubted me here but look at that… I knocked $13k off. Hooray for me!

After farting around for an entire year essentially treading water, I think I’m back on board and on the same rails I was riding for most of 2007 and 2008.

This debt is going to disappear.


I’m definitely on the right track and off to an amazing start.

Auto Loans and Other Loans:
Nothing to report.

Just another minimum payment. Have I mentioned how great it is to have a sub-$500 mortgage bill?

Can You Dig It?