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What are we Saving For?

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Hubby and I have one life goal – to be happy. That led us to our main financial goal – early retirement. We are not those people who define themselves through their career. We don’t think retirement would be boring. We have no problem thinking of ways to fill in our spare time. A happy retirement to us is when we can do what we want with our day without worrying if we can afford it. Luckily, the things we want are cheap, so this is attainable. Hubby wants to watch tv, board game, video game, participate in Curling, continue being a sports official, vacation, and play Magic: The Gathering till the wee hours of the morning. I want to hang out with friends even more, have more potlucks, have more movie nights, take a few vacations a year, volunteer even more with dogs, deliver food for Meals on Wheels, and get involved in a couple of hiking groups. And these are just the ideas we can spout off in a few minutes…talk with us for an hour or two and you’d be amazed what we could come up with to fill those “lonely” days…ahhhh… To get back to it, … Read more…

Determining Our Allowances

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As a few of my last posts mentioned, my husband and I get $75 each every month for “fun” money and $100 to use jointly for date nights or other shared entertainment expenses.  Coming up with this system actually took us a few years. The idea of an “allowance” was a turn off in our early twenties.   We thought we were frugal enough that we would just naturally choose not to spend much.  That lasted for a while until I realized that I wouldn’t allow myself to buy anything and I resented my husband’s big purchases.  I’d buy gifts for others, but I kept putting off everything I really wanted (like a pair of discounted Crocs for $30 or even a new pair of $15 jeans).  Then I’d see hubby spend $100 on Magic: The Gathering and feel like the world was ending. I think I was somewhere between a nag and an outright b…well, you know.  That’s when my husband insisted on a new system and I whole-heartedly agreed. We decided that we’d get allotted “fun” money and I’d stop critiquing those purchases.  We chose a total of $250 a month since it would work based on our current spending … Read more…

Fit in a Fun Friday – Pets, My Favorite Luxury Expense

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I might hear about this from both sides (pro-pet and anti-pet people), but I consider our pet expenses “fun” money. Pets, specifically our two adopted dogs, are a necessary “luxury” expense for me. I don’t need them for any medical reasons – in fact, I believe they have turned me into a Claritin addict. We aren’t depressed without them. They aren’t making us any money at all and cost a pretty penny. BUT, I love being able to come home and watch our dogs do silly things or have them on the couch with me…one keeping me company and the other keeping my feet warm. Most recently, watching them play has made me laugh until my side hurt. But, they are definitely an extra expense for us and are budgeted as such. Our 12 year old dachshund mutt was a rescue from the Houston SPCA – $75 up front (years ago) plus a $45 vet visit 4 years ago. We also had her teeth cleaned for $150. Our 7 year old Pug was adopted from PugHearts: Houston Pug Rescue – $200 up front (last year) plus a few vet visits in the last year. He had bad teeth, a removeable tumor, … Read more…

Let’s Get Controversial – Paying for College for Kids

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I’ve decided to use this week to get through some of the controversial issues I see on other blogs. I’m simply going to post my opinions and see what you think. Today’s topic:  Fronting College Costs My hubby and I don’t have kids, but we remember college.  I had some help from my parents and my husband was covered 100%. I can’t think of anything concrete to base an opinion on.  I had a higher GPA than my husband, but I don’t know if money had anything to do with that.  My parents are retired and my husband’s are not, but I’m not sure if his college expenses are what held them back.  In short, I’m not sure what is best for your situation, but here’s my opinion. I’d save for retirement before I’d save for my kid’s college expenses.  My kid can get scholarships, grants, a job, or loans.  There is none of that for retired people.  I rather not have to depend on others to provide for me in my old age, so I believe in retirement first. What if you are good for retirement?  Well, that’s trickier.  I remember how mature and how selfish I was as a … Read more…

Let’s Get Controversial – Credit Cards

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I’ve decided to use this week to get through some of the controversial issues I see on other blogs.  I’m simply going to post my opinions and see what you think. Today’s topic:  Credit Cards *cue scary music* Let’s just rip off the Band-Aid, I love using credit cards for as much as possible, getting my rewards, and paying them off a few days after I receive my emailed statements.  It makes my super-anal budgeting system so much easier.  I like getting cash back rewards.  Oh, and I hate debit cards, but that’s my own fault.  I’m old school…I actually keep up with every single checking account debit and credit in a check book.  Writing down hundreds of tiny charges does not sound like fun to me. I got my first card when I was 18.  I’ve never been in credit card debt.  I’ve never received a fee or any interest charges.  If you are addicted to spending or cannot control yourself with a credit card, PLEASE DON’T USE THEM.  Otherwise, why the heck not?! We have a Discover More card, a Discover Open Road card, and a World Points MasterCard.  We use the Discover More card for everything possible … Read more…

Let’s Get Controversial – Hiring Help

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I’ve decided to use this week to get through some of the controversial issues I see on other blogs. I’m simply going to post my opinions and see what you think. Today’s Topic:  Outsourcing / Hiring Help The comments to this post at Get Rich Slowly were the proverbial “straw” that motivated me to start this blog. If you haven’t read the post or don’t have time, it boils down this; a 26 year old that sold a company for a million dollars felt a little lost in her “early retirement”.  She wasn’t as happy as she thought she’d be until she discovered outsourcing.  She hired a personal assistant, a housekeeper, a personal chef, and two foreign virtual assistants so she could do fun stuff and start a new business. As you can guess, people went nuts for a variety of reasons.  I honed in on all the commenters that had a freaking cow about having a housekeeper or a personal chef.  As someone who happily has a housekeeper, a lawn service, and a CPA, I was offended.  Then I was curious. Why not hire a housekeeper? I got a response that blew my mind; by not doing my own housework, … Read more…