Blogging?

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We’re NOT going to Walley World!Yeah, so my idea of doing updates (like a net worth update today!) while on the road isn’t happening…

I put together a pretty ambitious vacation itinerary (we’re exhausted) so just finding the time is difficult enough but the biggest hurdle, by far, has been the internet connection at each hotel…

High speed? Please… I feel like I’m on a 9600 dial-up connection.

So it’s not happening… I’ll be back on the 5th with a full recap.

Happy Canada Day!

Alexander OvechkinI didn’t get much done this weekend. Motivation isn’t quite at an all time low, but it’s not far off either.

I’d had plans to spend some quality time updating the blog, but it never happened.

I ended up playing an NHL video game instead — for hours. I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but according to the computer, the last time I played was back in October which makes me not feel so bad.

Jumping on the bandwagon, even though they’ve been eliminated from the real life playoffs, I played as the Washington Capitals.

Sometimes I wonder how I found the time to even play video games in the past… By past, I mean like over 10 years ago. Seems I never have that time anymore and I have no idea what I’ve filled it with.

I’d also planned on cleaning up the curbside on the far end of the property.

See, we live on a corner, so there’s twice as much ‘street’ to clear which entails picking up all of the leaves, sticks and plain old debris that lines the curb. Basically, you want to get as much up yourself so that when the street sweeper (eventually) comes by to pick up all of the sand that’s been spread on to the road over the winter, it leaves the pavement bare for the entire summer.

Yesterday, my wife and I did manage to get out there and get the job done.

Apparently the teenagers across the street from our open lot prefer Taco Bell and Marlboro smokes. Shocking, huh?

How do we know this? Well, our curbside is apparently their late night trash can. It’s also their overnight parking space for some reason even though the family paved their entire front yard (yeah, it looks, um, ghetto) and has plenty of room for all of their run-down vehicles.

In hindsight, I should have put the pieces of their broken glass water pipe on the hood of their mother’s car, but I just threw it out. She strikes me as the type of woman who’d pat her kids on the back for that sort of thing.

Really, who paves their entire front yard??? It’s a single family home with a parking lot for a front yard?!

I hope they move.

Soon.

We’d also planned on getting the basement, um, well, decontaminated. The issue we have down there hasn’t exactly gotten worse, but it hasn’t gotten better either.

Thursday night we went out and purchase some kitty litter — and I can I just say, that stuff is a bargain! Really. I’ve never had the pleasure of spending so little money at Walmart for something so heavy that I had to struggle on the way out to my car.

The plan was to use the litter to soak up the pooling water — something we’d planned to do this past weekend — but it didn’t happen.

Friday, my wife, she does all the talking, called a local plumbing company to have them come out and take a look at our sludge problem. They’ll be stopping by tomorrow (Tuesday).

The good news from the call is that they confirmed that it was apparently pretty common for the kitchen plumbing not to be connected to the city sewer line in favor of a dry well.

That explains the plumbing that I see in the basement. It also explains the hole I covered with a big rock in the back yard — that’s the dry well and thankfully not some sort of outdated “little house on the prairie” septic tank of some sort like I’d originally worried.

The bad news is that the plumber also told her that, to him, kitchen wastewater is more foul than toilet wastewater. My take is that it was a warning shot meaning that this is going to cost us more than if we had a “real” sewage problem.

I don’t know why, but for some reason, I don’t consider the kitchen sink water to be sewage, but holy crap, it freakin’ stinks…

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Happy BirthdayWell, I’m one year into this now…

Has it paid off?

I like to think so.

I was well into my journey when I started the site last year (on tax day — total coincidence), but I was still carrying over $20k in non-mortgage debt — much of it at a high rate.

In July, I then went out and used credit cards to finance over $20k in home renovations, which sounds crazy, but in the end, it worked out nicely.

Today, I’m only lugging around $6300, or so, and it’s at a low rate of 5.35%.

The site has definitely forced me to hold myself more accountable in regards to spending.

There’s just something “extra” about wanting the net worth numbers to go up each month and just that little tiny additional incentive makes a huge difference.

Let’s be honest… It isn’t much fun to broadcast down numbers, so it’s become a habit to avoid having to.

The site has also also forced me to keep better track of where my money is going.

I’d done that routinely in the past, a couple of times per week, but never like I do now. I’m a lot more detailed now — I can tell you to the penny how much I’ve sent to Citgo, Mobil, or Sunoco this past year.

Apparently Shell is my gas station of choice…  Interesting.  Or not.

Weekly tranfers into savings? No way I would have considered doing that a year ago. No way.

I’m starting to think that, by April 15 next year, it’s a given that I will easily be 100% non-mortgage debt free and I’ll have a nice savings cushion to fall back on.

That is unless I finance another huge home improvement project between now and then — which is a definite possibilty…

Stay tuned…

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Carnival SubmissionMy Find IT on eBay posting was recently featured in the Festival of Frugality hosted by A Penny Saved.

They even complimented this site’s name! How cool is that?

Anyway, perhaps I spoke to soon when I said the jeans on eBay were a great deal — they *still* haven’t arrived. I’m not anywhere near chalking it up as a loss quite yet, but man, could they ship any slower?

I won the auction on March 19. Their listing loudly stated that “Payment it is a must in 7 business days” which, of course, I complied with…

I wonder when they plan to ship? One would hope it’s “a must in 7 business days”.

Sigh…

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Pants… not in a can!Who doesn’t like to talk numbers? Sure, I’d much rather go over financial numbers this morning, but over the past few days, I feel I’ve beaten them to death. There isn’t much left to go over there until my next paycheck comes in.

So for the first time ever, and like many other sites on a slow day, I’m going to go over my monthly stats for PIAC (Pants in a Can).

March was the first month since I started that I managed to compile 31 posts — effectively making PIAC a blog that’s updated daily. It took a lot of work on some days, but others, well, I was able to write two or three posts in one sitting so I could relax for a few days.

The more rigorous scheduled turned out to be very beneficial for the site as I nearly doubled my previous highs for unique visitors and visits.

For the month, the site had 3366 unique visitors and 5261 visits — far and away the most traffic the site has seen. I also topped out at 40 FeedBurner readers part way through the month.

This was due largely to participating in my first carnival, a mention in Laura Moran’s “Today On MainStreet: Personal Finance” article on TheStreet.com, another mention (of the same post) on Tricia’s Blogging Away Debt site, and the top listing (for a few hours) on Google for my “Vatican adds Accumulation of Wealth to 7 Deadly Sins” posting.

Often times the posts that I think are my best aren’t the most popular. Funny how it always seems to work out that way, and this month was no different. The most popular posts in March were:

  1. $28k+ Credit Card Debt Eliminated – Nice accomplishment, but hardly a great post.
  2. Vatican adds Accumulation of Wealth to 7 Deadly Sins – A quoted article post.
  3. Moment of Clarity: When I Figured Out How to Fix my Finances – My favorite
  4. A Life Where ‘or Plastic’ isn’t an Option – Eh, mostly a quoted article.
  5. Live like Most Won’t to Live like Most Can’t – Another good one.

The top blog referrers were:

  1. Blogging Away Debt
  2. Million Dollar Journey
  3. Windy City Blues
  4. Consumerism Commentary
  5. Corner Office Blog
  6. How to Make 7 Million in 7 Years
  7. Debt Kid
  8. Five Cent Nickel
  9. The Happy Rock
  10. Dedicated to Financial Freedom

Many of them were due to the frequency of my posting this month, which led to the site being listed on the popular pfblogs.org blogroll pretty regularly.

Right now, I’m not really optimistic about April going as well as March did, but many of the posts over the past week or so have garnered some comments and I’m pretty happy about that.

I like to think that my financial situation fills a small void among the various PF blogs. I’m not poor and I’m not paycheck-to-paycheck but I’m also not contemplating quitting my day job to blog fulltime either. But hopefully more folks in my situation find their way here and follow my lead!

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Carnival SubmissionSo I participated in my very first “Carnival of Personal Finance” this week and I have to admit that for the past few months, I’ve been avoiding all of the carnivals as they’ve always seemed a little goofy and essentially nothing more than, well, link farms…

But I must say, it’s brought me some new traffic and best of all, it’s also opened my eyes to a ton of blogs that I hadn’t ever read before.

I think it’s safe to say, I’ll be back…

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Pants… not in a can!I’ve never really been a fan of posts on blogs about, well, blogging but I’m about to make one myself. Another goal of mine, that I left off of the my 2008 goals, is to increase the popularity of this site — though I guess it could loosely fall under the “increase my passive income” goal even though I’m not actually making any real money on the site so far…

Anyway, without any further intro-babble…

In my first ever attempt at blogging, “Pants in a Can” went online on April 19, 2007. I made 116 total posts and received 89 comments, though most of those were internal trackbacks.

The big numbers everyone looks for were:

Visitors: 11,481
Uniques: 5,768
Page Views: 57,549

Working in the web design/hosting field for over a decade now for my side income, I’m not terribly impressed by these numbers, but as with every site I’ve ever worked on, it’s picking up steam as the site grows larger.

November 2007 was my best month to date with 1451 visitors. April, obviously, was the worst with 55 visitors over the 11 days the site was online.

The most popular post was from May 25, my ridiculous post about Jim “The Hammer” Shapiro. Sadly, that specific post had nothing to do with my finances.

Thanks to spammers, the top search phrase that brought visitors to the site was unfortunately “coca cola embezzl” for some odd reason. Go figure? Right behind it was “Jordan Knight” — which was the topic of a post in early September but not exactly the type of search term I’m aiming for…

My most popular referrer was CleverDude.

The most comments came from Grant from the Corner Office Blog and a poster named Gigi.

And a big thank you has to go towards Frank, aka The Happy Rock, for driving a lot of traffic my way. Back in September, he apparently added PIAC to his “StumpleUpon” profile and it instantly brought the site a nearly 1000% increase in traffic. I wish I could somehow return the favor…

So, for 2008, I’m aiming to post more often and hopefully that will, in time, increase visitorship (and resulting comments) all around! Afterall, it’s more fun that way!

Can You Dig It?

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