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It’s been a long and unnecessary hiatus on here so if you’re still with me — I’m talking to you, Angie, out there in Arizona — thank you.

I still like to think of this place primarily as a personal finance blog overflowing with an abundance of incredibly useful advice though I must confess it did turn into a bit of self absorbed mommy blog towards the end.

But, really, you should see my Facebook page.

But I think the best response I ever received from a reader was along the lines of “You could write the phone book and make it a fun read.”

I should probably stick to my true strengths, huh?

Finances are fun for me, and I’ll still write about them, but I know that they’re pretty mundane for the masses.

My kids are fun too but I know how painful it is to look at a family photo album full of people you’ve never met. I’ll still write about them — and probably include photos of them too — whenever I think there’s something worth telling.

But, really, I’m going to try to post more often on things like current events, witnessed road rage incidents, unusual items spotted on public transit, and poor fashion tips along with the occasional “how to” article.

Like, how to get your kid’s soccer shin guards on while also driving.

Those bring in a lot of traffic for some reason…

And now to clean up nearly a year’s worth of spam comments…

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Okay, so there’s some tumbleweed tumbling around here lately.

And a whole boatload of spam comments regarding expensive sneakers, weight loss drugs, and forex schemes. I’ll clean it all up when I get a chance…

First, though, I need to get everyone still stopping by up to speed on what’s happened to my finances.

See, I lost my focus, my motivation, my direction, and as a result, a lot of my financial comfort.

No, I’m not in dire straits. Far from it, but I’m also a long way off from where I’d like to be.

Where I should be.

Where I could have been, you know, had I not stopped holding myself accountable here.

I do still track my finances.

I still check my balances multiple times per day. And, yes, I’m still paying my bills on time.

I’m just not moving towards any kind of goal… like a $1 million net worth (long since abandoned), zero credit card debt, or that 3-car garage we’d like.

So, here we go, starting over in a way…

Here’s the bad news…and what needs to be corrected in a hurry.

  • I’m currently carrying in excess of $6k in credit card debt. Debt that I’m paying finance charges on — that hasn’t happened to me in YEARS?!
  • I have a big auto loan balance. Again, not really anything unusual in the grand scheme of things but we’d grown accustomed to owning our cars outright. Prior to the past couple months, I’d forgotten what it was like to have a car payment and, I’ll tell ya, it’s really crampin’ my stlye.
  • My savings account has been tapped out so there isn’t any kind of back-up reserve. Much of that is due to the fact that I just paid my property taxes this week but… well, it’s troubling me to not having *any* emergency money when it’s just always been there for the past few years.

So, I’m not going to tiptoe around how I got here — I spent a lot of money and depleted my reserves. Pretty obvious.

Thankfully I’m not in a hole I can’t dig out of. Not even close.

But I do need to get back on track so… wish me luck!

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ManwichWow… Six years is both a long time and, well, at the same time, it doesn’t really feel like that much time has passed.

There haven’t been a lot of things in my life that I’ve stuck with for that long though, you know, without finding something new or different to replace it.

Maybe a handful… Tops.

My favorite food in the world has been Manwich for the past 27 years — at this point, that’ll probably never change. The hockey jersey thing has been going for 18 years now. The photography hobby/job is about to hit a decade. I’ve been married for almost 7 years. The kids are still fun and exciting but, compared to the site, they’re still relatively new.

No, I won’t lose interest in them… C’mon…

But things that pretty much defined my personality that I’ve totally lost interest in are yo-yo’s, Burger King, argyle socks, video games, the Simpsons (proably been a decade since I watched a “new” episode), running, camping, khaki pants, shaving, “current” music, real haircuts, taking the stairs, swimming, web design, and any sort of manual labor.

Sure, age might be partially to blame but if you’d told me 15 years ago that I’d end up abandoning my $40 haircut, argyle socks, and the Whopper for lunch everyday, I’d have thought you were crazy.

Anyway, I remember the morning I decided I’d start doing this and typed out that very first post like it was, well, just a couple of weeks ago.

Every other post since then? Well, not so much…

Now, everybody knows that I prefer to chop things into weeks (rather than months or even years) and six years is 312 weeks.

Right now, I’m stashing away $110 each week for property taxes, $16 each week to cover my homeowners insurance premium, and $250 per week for just, well, whatever I fancy.

If I’d been doing that all along (and never had to take it out to cover the property taxes, homeowners insurance, and, uh, whatever — totally hypothetical, I know), I’d have stashed away $117,312. And earned plenty of interest along the way too.

Time is your friend.

Well, dedication too.

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Wow — can’t believe I’m on the verge of going an entire calendar month without a post.

Let me tell you, my finances are showing it too.

More to come in March. I promise.

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This is a repost from April 26, 2007. Yeah, almost 5 years ago… Seems history is repeating… Already.

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Headlines all over the place are touting yesterday’s surge that put the DJIA over 13,000. And then, just a few lines into the articles, every one of them taken from the AP wire, they drop the line, “But appearances can be deceiving, and there may be more reason to worry than rejoice about Wall Street’s latest accomplishment.”

I disagree. While it is odd that it’s taken less than 7 months to go from 12k to 13k (it took like 7 years to go from 11k to 12k), I don’t think it’s realistic to call this a repeat of the dot com era.

Last night, CNBC was essentially calling this bittersweet, dropping in references to the rising energy costs (I still think gas is very affordable), the slumping housing market (it’s not slumping, people are just overpricing their homes), and the sub-prime mortgage issues in the news lately. On those, hey, if you fell for a 5-1 ARM mortgage, it’s not like you didn’t see the day coming when the rate would go up. You gambled and you lost. I like to think the number of people out there with this problem are greatly exaggerated in the media.

I’m also not one to get excited because the Dow hit a nice round number. Honestly, 13k is no more exciting than 12.5k for me. I love how they drop stats like it was the “35th record close since the start of October.” Talk about meaningless filler!? Did you know I just reached a new record for breaths taken since birth? Yep, I just raised it again. One more. And again.

Don’t get me wrong, any day that has a 1% gain is huge — my net worth for next month, should the pattern hold steady, will show that. The number 13k, though, is meaningless. Love it — a meaningless headline.

My real point though is that this is *nothing* like the dot com era. I made a lot of money before it came tumbling down, but I lost my shirt on stocks like (what was I thinking?). The past 6 months or so of gains haven’t come from the Amazons, Googles, or Yahoos. It’s been the staples, Boeing, Pepsi, Corning, etc… That’s a big difference. Those aren’t volatile stocks.

And this talk of the economy tanking just doesn’t hold any weight in my wallet. Things are cruising along just fine. And no, the price of gas hasn’t changed the way I live my life. Not one bit.

Neither has this latest milestone.

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While perusing through the archives of this site, I’ve found that my posts used to be, well, more frequent, yes, but better too.

Lotsa fun charts, neat comparisions, goofy photos, and some over-the-top rants all mixed up into one and somehow still connected to my financial task at hand.

Now, though, it’s like it’s practically a formula of efficiency. Picture up top on the right, a few bland single sentence paragraphs, a rhetorical question that I answer anyway, and couple of links to past postings before I click “Publish”.

I’m trying to break that habit.


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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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Where’ve I been?

Seriously, it’s like I’d just up and quit this whole PIAC thing…

Not true — I am far behind on keeping everyone informed on my financial status and, yeah, some of that is by design. I’m embarrassed.

No worries, I’ll spill the beans before too long. It’s been a rough couple of months on the financial side of things.

But I also though I should let you all know that back on March 31st, we added another smurfling and officially joined the two-under-two club. Pretty exciting stuff.


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