Monthly Archives: July 2012

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    Since I’ve been referencing them in my posts lately and I’m the exact type of person to silently exclaim, “This post is useless without pictures,” I thought I should post an updated photo of them.

    Smurflings

    Smurflings

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    Hockey GlovesWould you look at that? A case of insomnia on a Saturday night and three middle-of-the-night posts later, I’m all caught up!

    $1000.00 : Day Care
    $498.72 : Mortgage
    $326.08 : Family/House Stuff
    $228.27 : Auto Insurance
    $204.30 : Gasoline
    $189.05 : Clothing
    $146.18 : Cable/Internet
    $140.00 : Cash
    $133.12 : Business Expenses
    $110.70 : Electricity
    $95.00 : Hockey Registration
    $65.99 : Baseball Jersey
    $53.24 : Natural Gas
    $40.08 : Life Insurance
    $25.90 : New Glasses
    $21.27 : Cell Phone
    $21.26 : Thumb Brace
    $14.34 : iTunes

    That all adds up to $3313.50.

    Unlike last month (reported just minutes ago), this is a number that I can live with.

    Okay, so there are 6 lines that need some backstory…

    The clothing expenditure might have you thinking that I’ve got a high-end wardrobe but don’t be fooled. I’ve bet over 80% was spending on toddler clothing. I’m a shorts and t-shirt type of guy at this time of the year. And we’re not talking about those $40 t-shirts either…

    I signed on with a men’s hockey team. It’s kinda bush league but it’s a lot of fun and great exercise too. For those keeping stats at home, so far this season, I’ve got one goal, two assists, and two penalty minutes for a slash that I swear I did not commit.

    Baseball jersey? Huh? Yeah, I know, I usually spend too much on hockey jerseys… Well, game worn baseball jerseys are a lot cheaper than hockey ones. Hard to believe, I know… Anyway, this is just something for me to wear to the one or two baseball games that I attend each season, you know, to try and fit in and look like I actually like the sport…which I don’t.

    Yeah, after spending a couple hundred dollars at LensCrafters on a pair of glasses that I hate so much that I refuse to wear, I took the online route and bought a pair that I actually will wear out in public. Awesome, awesome, awesome deal considering I’ll probably be rocking these $25 glasses (including shipping) until 2017.

    A thumb brace? Yeah, in my first hockey game since…probably 2006, I bent my left thumb all the way backwards when my stick got caught up in between another player and the boards. How that’s possible is a bit of a mystery as if you’ve ever worn hockey gloves, you know the thumb in pretty rigid. Anyway, it hurt, and still hurts, so for every game since, I’ve been playing with a totally immobilized thumb — in a thumb brace under my glove. For the record, this was a rip-off when compared to the glasses…

    I never thought I’d ever purchase something from iTunes as I’m internet savvy enough to find any song for free on the internet (go ahead, judge me…) or just listen to it once on YouTube or whatever, but Duncan’s finally showing interest in popular music so rather than waste time searching for Karmin, One Direction, or Carly Rae Jepsen mp3’s, I wasted a couple bucks buying them. Time is money, afterall, and I like to think my time is worth more than I paid for ’em…

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    Rubber DuckYep, I’m playing catch-up.

    $1500.00 : Day Care
    $1021.91 : Hockey Jersey
    $498.72 : Mortgage
    $458.80 : Gasoline
    $379.44 : Family/House Stuff
    $267.91 : IKEA
    $228.27 : Auto Insurance
    $220.00 : Cash
    $170.17 : Business Expenses
    $146.18 : Cable/Internet
    $108.08 : Water/Sewer
    $85.65 : Electricity
    $83.18 : Natural Gas
    $58.73 : Cool Light Switches
    $40.08 : Life Insurance
    $5.00 : Money Order

    That all adds up to $5272.12.

    Okay, so there are a few things that need to be addressed in this report so I’m not going to skirt the details like I did on the last one.

    The overspending here resulted in my first negative month of the year.

    See what happens when you get cocky?

    Okay, so, first off, since I’d rid myself of credit card debt the month prior, I was under the impression that I’d suddenly find myself with tons of disposable income and I acted as such.

    So, first, I gave my wife a bit of a break and paid more than half of the daycare bill. (She also pays for all of the groceries and diapers and things like that as well which is why you never see that stuff reported here.)

    Then I went out and blew a grand on game worn hockey jerseys (instead of saving for a Lamborghini).

    In theory, I should only be spending $2500 per month — TOTAL.

    I topped that on the first two lines this month… Ouch.

    So, beyond that — holy crap — look at how much I spent on gas? Since I’m so late with this report, I don’t really remember what we did in May but it must have involved a LOT of driving.

    The Family/House stuff was high because it was Duncan‘s birthday in May. He’s at that age now (3) where he’ll start to remember things like birthday parties so we can’t really just gloss over them anymore.

    We made an IKEA trip. Spending just $267 is actually pretty modest. And considering all the stuff we bought, quite a deal too.

    Oh, and how could I forget the cool light switch? Sure, it was expensive but it’ll be attached to the wall for decades and it looks *so* much cooler than the generic one it replaced. It was worth it.

    Lastly, the money order was, well, for the $1k payment to an auction house (a real one, not eBay) for the hockey jersey. In Forrest Gump’s voice, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

    ;0)

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    Sour Apple Blow PopBetter late than never, right?

    $922.22 : Day Care
    $498.72 : Mortgage
    $442.49 : Family/House Stuff
    $315.00 : Hockey Jersey
    $268.15 : Gasoline
    $228.27 : Auto Insurance
    $160.00 : Cash
    $146.18 : Cable/Internet
    $113.22 : Natural Gas
    $107.48 : Electricity
    $101.30 : Clothing
    $90.00 : Dentist
    $61.03 : Business Expenses
    $49.10 : Blow Pops
    $40.08 : Life Insurance
    $34.04 : Easter Bunny Photos
    $7.78 : Finance Charges

    That all adds up to $3585.06.

    I know, I know… It’s kinda funny to see both a dentist bill and a $50 blow pop expenditure on here…

    While my spending was down from the last few nonths, the best thing that happened in April was the credit card payoff.

    Since this is so late, I won’t bore you with the details — though most of it is pretty self explanatory…but, yes, I did eat $50 worth of blow pops to celebrate paying off my credit cards.

    Is there a problem with that?

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    July 2012 Net WorthHow is it that we’re over half way through the year already?

    Time flies — and I’m thankful that I already reached my financial goal for 2012 with time to spare. Time that’ll undoubtedly fly.

    So last month, I got my act back together and the numbers that are in my control (cash, savings, bonds, credit cards, and mortgage) are back where I want them to be.

    Cash:
    This number is padded as June turned out to be a three paycheck month. The most recent paycheck came so late in the month that I wasn’t able to spend any of it….

    Savings:
    Yeah, so last month I “borrowed” around $700 to spend on, well, I don’t even rememeber since it’s been so long since I did a spending report (tsk, tsk) but I’ve since “paid” myself back.

    Gov’t Bonds:
    Someday I’ll have a full grasp on how the interest is calculated on these. I’ve looked it up several times and even “tested” myself to make sure I understand it and, then, just when I’m feeling pretty conifdent about how it all works, I suddenly earn half as much interest. It’s perplexing.

    401k:
    Pretty nice recovery in June. In fact, June 29th was my best day ever with an increase of over $3k.

    On that note, if you happen to keep track of this sort of thing on a daily basis, have you ever noticed that it’s not unsual to lose a HUGE amount on any given day but it’s extremely unusual to gain a ton?

    Really, I’ll drop like $2500 in one day. It’ll recover over fiver or six days, a couple hundred dollars each day, then drop all in one swoop again. Really, I have far more up days than I do down days. Far more. Like by a 4-to-1 margin…

    But the down days are really, really, really down… It’s just weird.

    Home:
    This is the highest value I’ve climbed to since May of 2008. Doesn’t seem like that long ago but, holy crap, that’s over four years ago! Time really has been flying…

    Auto 1, Auto 2, and Auto 3:
    It’s a pretty good month when the only negative report is auto depreciation. And it’s just $250…

    Credit Cards:
    I’m still spending too much, I think, but this shows that I’m also living within my means.

    Auto Loans and Other Loans:
    Nothing to report…until I pick up that Lamborghini.

    Mortgage:
    Just another minimum payment. But I’m about to embark on something new. Well, not new, I’m gonna do exactly what I was doing for years

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    Um, who cares?

    I mean, really, what’s with all the fuss regarding the Obamacare ruling for a health care plan that will probably never ever come to fruition anyway…

    I just paid my property taxes this week. They call it a “tax” but I feel as though I’ve been “penalized” for my choice (and number) of vehicles.

    I have 4 cars that I pay taxes on.

    Not one of them is new nor in the greatest of condition.

    We have a ’98 model, ’01 model, ’04 model, and ’05 model in our fleet.

    Keep in mind that the tax bill pays no attention to mileage or condition — just year, make, and model.

    So you’d think the 14 year old car would have the smallest bill and the 7 year old car would have the highest, right?

    We’ll, you’d be wrong.

    In order of highest to lowest, by tax bill, it goes ’04, ’98, ’01, ’05.

    Yep, I’m taxed higher on the Land Rover and BMW.

    You could say it’s because they “cost” more back when they were brand new (when I was also hit with sales tax), but as of right now, they’ve actually got the lowest value.

    The most dependable (and newest) car we have is the 2005 Scion xA (release series 2.0, baby!). It’s tax bill was $162.

    Point is, I’m “penalized” for having a Land Rover and a BMW.

    Okay, okay, okay, some people will obviously just say those cars are worth more and that’s why they’re taxed higher and, while they’d be totally wrong (these aren’t italian super cars — oh wait, those aren’t worth much either), I’ll go with it…

    How about this example?

    You drive down your local gasoline alley and see that Exxon/Mobil has 87 octane for $3.75. Problem is, it’s on the left hand side of the street and making a left in-or-out on this busy stretch is more painful than a triple root canal.

    On the right side, easy-in and easy-out, is a Shell station. The price for 87 octane is $3.80 if you pay cash or debit and $3.85 if you pay by credit. Yeah, it’s a double whammy coming…

    Now, built into the price of gas is a hidden local and/or state tax on top of the federal tax. Okay, so it’s not actually hidden but I don’t recall every seeing anyone read that sign on the pump with the fine print.

    So, here we go… In my state, it’s a Petroleum Gross Receipts Tax and its percentage based and divided by the gallon. So as the wholesale price of gas rises and falls, so too does the tax.

    So if I go to the Shell station on the right side of the road, I pay 5 cents more per gallon (and therefore more tax as it’s a percentage of that number.)

    If I don’t have cash on hand and have to use a credit card, it’ll cost me 10 cents more than the Exxon/Mobile station accross the street.

    The tax goes up and up and up depending on the gas station and the payment method.

    Is that a tax or a penalty?

    It’s called a tax but gas pumpers are penalized based on their gas station selection. Keep in mind, it’s not “just” the price of the gas — the tax is directly linked to the price of the gas.

    So, again, is it a tax or penalty?

    Who cares… It’s still money out of pocket.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Disclaimer: I fully support a universal health care system.

    Not necessarily Obamacare (or the tax vs. penalty opt-out debate), but something similar to what every other country not stalling itself in the dark ages has been doing for years.

    If folks would stop reading Republican talking points and complaining about their “constitutionality” (I challenge the folks uttering this to define what it actually means) and “free rights”, they’d realize that a healthcare system for EVERYONE would benefit, well, just about EVERYONE.

    Government death panels?

    C’mon?

    Seriously?

    Give me a break…

    Imagine, no health insurance premiums coming out of your paycheck. Sure, income taxes might go up and a federal sales tax might come into effect but will they exceed what you’re paying for a premium in each paycheck?

    I don’t think so.

    Not for me, anyway. Not even close.

    It’s like Medicare (minus the fees or confusing “coverages” to select from) without having to wait until your 65. I can hardly contemplate why Americans don’t realize this.

    I believe it’s a fear of the word “taxes” and that’s 100% due to the political landscape. No politician dare make reference to higher taxes.

    “It’s not a tax, it’s a penalty…”

    Who cares?!!?!?!?!?

    I have no problem with higher taxes when they save me money (no more insurance premiums or co-pays) *and* I get something (FREE healthcare!) out of the deal.

    Silence the pundits and lay out the numbers for people.

    It’s a total win-win.

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    Dolla SignsProbably not the best way to realize the future ownership of a Lamborghini

    Anyway, one of the companies that I do contract work for owes me in excess of $3000. They pulled the same stunt a year ago before finally paying up but… shame on me for giving them the benefit of the doubt a second time.

    Long story short, for years I moonlighted for the marketing department of a super large “entertainment” company. I did what I loved to do and got paid for it. Can’t beat that.

    A few years ago, though, the big company outsourced their marketing efforts in my region to a “local” company that offered them the moon.

    It was a totally understandable decision. They’d still profit from the end product but wouldn’t need to lift a finger or spend much more than a dime to market it? That’s a no-brainer.

    So, this local company took me on in the same exact contract role I’d been doing for nearly a decade at, as we agreed, the same wage.

    And this is where it went south…

    The first year they were constantly six or more months behind on payments.

    And now, just last week, the BIG company cut ties with the them for, well, complaints from vendors due to unpaid bills.

    Plain and simple, the swarmy marketing company was cash poor and they’d spent millions in excess of what they had on hand…knowingly.

    So, as the connection was cut, the marketing company (and all of it’s associated bogus llc’s) have (poof!) vanished.

    As I said, I’m still owed in excess of $3000 and there’s no longer a “contact” to contact regardig it.

    Small claims court is a possible course of action but I’m not certain it’s even worth the trouble (not to mention the fees) to try to collect money that I’m pretty confident was never there to begin with.

    It’s a crumby situation.

    I’m telling myself that I’m okay with it, sort of, but my concern is that when the BIG company comes back in and asks me again to continue what I’ve been doing (and I’m confident that they well), I’ll still feel like they OWE me $3000.

    “Sure, I’ll come work for you again but you need to give me $3k first.”

    Awkward.

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    Early 80s CountachI’m not a gearhead by any stretch so car shows aren’t really one of my areas of expertise but I am sure of one thing — there is absolutely nothing impressive about a Mustang, Camaro, or Corvette manufactured within the past 50 years. Nothing.

    What you have there is, well, it’s kinda like the sports car of the mulleted and moustached, sleeveless shirt wearing, tattoo’d arm trailer park crowd.

    I know people will disagree with me and I can respect that but you can’t deny that the typical Camaro driver looks like they could have been featured on the “People of Walmart” website.

    And Corvette drivers? Well, you can spot them a mile away…

    That’s a fact.

    Old FerrariSo this past weekend, Duncan and I went to a car show — a real car show, for a change — where Fords and Chevy’s were turned away.

    Just five different brands were allowed — Ferrari, Lamborghini, Masserati, Alfa Romeo, and there was one of those new Fiat Abarth models there too…

    It was free admission (like all of the car shows we happen upon) but this crowd was…different.

    I won’t say classy. I won’t say wealthy either.

    Ferrari enthusiasts are their own kind of weird. Seriously.

    But I will say that I felt a certain commonality to the crowd — none at all impressed by flame paint jobs, blowers jutting through the hood, or insane stereo systems.

    Ferrari TestarossaThese were just beautiful cars, as-is.

    And there didn’t seem to be any outward one-upmanship amongst the owners like you see at the “regular” car shows. These guys (and gals) were all openly content with the knowledge that they had amazing cars — silly customizations not required.

    Duncan voicing his opinion...One guy, upon overhearing Duncan’s high pitched voice exclaim that our Atlantic Blue BMW Z3 was “better” than his Tahiti Blue Lamborghini Countach offered to give him a “ride”.

    Duncan was a little take aback by how the scissor doors opened but still climbed into the car before kinda freaking out a bit before the guy even had a chance to get in the driver seat so the ride never really did happen, but I still thought it was really cool (and modest) how the guy offered to drive him down the street.

    His objective (based on his cheerful demeanor) was clearly not to prove to a three year old that a Countach was truly better than a Z3 but moreso to give me a story to tell (and a crappy cell phone picture to show) him when he’s older.

    Scissor Door SkepticismWhile I was clearly uneasy watching Duncan navigate his way out of the deep passenger seat, praying that the owner didn’t notice how sticky his hands were, the guy asked what kind of car Duncan was talking about.

    I told him it was just a Z3 and the guy got down to Duncan’s level to let him know that he was right, “Definitely right — my blue car only has these tiny windows,” as he shut the scissor door to show him.

    “Your car is a convertible!”

    So after walking by a few more Ferrarris and seeing a bunch more driving around — either just arriving or changing their spot — we headed home and my mind started drifting…

    Am I rich enough to have one of those?

    Countach driving byI mean, I’ve always kinda wanted a DeLorean (a guy up the street from me had one when I was growing up) but I wouldn’t mind a Countach or Testarossa either…

    A little online research proved that Italian super cars hold their value about as well as a Land Rover does… (they don’t)

    Yes. I could afford one.

    In fact, my hockey jersey collection alone is worth a really, really, really nice one.

    It’s not so much about wealth, it’s more what you choose to spend your disposable income on…

    It gives me a little more to chew on, you know, when I next decide to purchase a dirty piece of polyester…

    Can You Dig It?

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