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Showing posts from January, 2016

Baby Step 2: Run For Your Life

Ah, Baby Step 2. Pay off all debt except your house (if you’ve already got a mortgage, that is.) Here’s how it works. You list all your debts by balance from smallest to largest. Then, execute the Debt Snowball. Go check out that article. If you TL:DR it, here’s a summary: Pay minimums on all except the smallest. Pay the minimum on the smallest, plus everything else you can muster through extra work, selling stuff, and sacrificing. When that is paid off, take the amount you were paying on the first and add it to the minimum of the second. Repeat until non-mortgage debt is DESTROYED.I assume you’ve come straight from my entry on Baby Step 1. That first step is a big, intense choice. You can do everything you can to get $1,000 in the bank and get going on your financial freedom. Or not. It’s your choice. The sooner you take that first step, the sooner your debt starts to die. Freedom and empowerment springs to life in its place. I remember when Meredith and I sat down and talked …

Baby Step 1: $1,000 Saved. Then Spent. Then Saved.

Baby Step 1 is to put $1,000 in the bank. That’s it.  It is to be used in emergencies only. Not when the TV breaks. Not when the printer loses ink. Not when the couch gets tough. The car breaks. The kid gets sick. A family member passes away. EMERGENCIES. Your $1,000 is the first chunk of flack plating in your blast suit.Let me show you why I’m using blast protection as an example:That picture was taken from the northeast corner of 11th and Harney. I took it today at around 12:30 while I was delivering to an address up the street. That ice palace in the middle is M’s Pub in the Old Market. The red machine on the left side is hiding the base of a crane. Several weeks ago, crews running fiber optic cabling nicked a gas line with a drill. Moments later, the smell of gas consumed the building. People scattered. The building literally exploded. It was a total loss, including all residences above the pub.Nobody was killed. Many were injured, but nothing life threatening. There M’s Pub was, …

Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps: The Parable of the Slippery Climb

Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps are a revolutionary process. They are a new, fresh way to get control of your financial life. The principles behind them are ancient. They are thousands of years old. Even eternal. Dave teaches them through the lens of the Bible. I’ve corroborated them for myself with the Book of Mormon and the words of modern prophets. The prophets, living and dead, point out the why and the what. Dave’s Baby Steps are an amazing how. He lays out a practical way to climb from broke, desperate and stupid, up to healthy, wealthy and wise. These principles work. They’ve worked for thousands of years. They’ve worked for billions of people, living and dead. They are working for Amazewife and I, and they can work for you.   Here are the steps:$1,000 to start an emergency fund.Pay off all debt but the house. (This doesn’t apply if you rent.)3 to 6 months of expenses go into savings.Invest 15% of household income into retirement.Fund college for children.Pay off your home early.Bui…

Stay warm.

It got cold tonight. Frigid. I zipped my jacket up to my wimpy chin and my wimpy neck still got blasted by arctic wind on my last delivery. I had to open a chain-link gate. Those get cold. They are made out of the same stuff that Anna was that one time after Elsa got all emotional. I tried to touch the latch as little as possible. It clanged back against the post as I stepped through and up a few concrete steps. The front door was surrounded by cold, cute knick-knacks. I knocked. A small yippy dog went wild and I saw the customer get out of the chair. She answered the door in a bright pink robe. The dog was a Yorkie with a plaid sweater on.  He must have been the attack version or something. The owner didn’t open the door more than an inch. It was just enough to fit a hand out with her money. The dog’s tiny head was kept inside. As I handed her the receipt, Yorkie yapped. “He obviously wants the receipt, not the pizza,” I said. The customer laughed. “No change,” she said. I than…

An unexpected victim of unprovoked violence

The Monk underwent surgery to fix a cracked eye socket last week. He caught the angry fist of a troubled family member during an unprovoked attack at home. I didn’t know this when I started my shift tonight. I went through the first two-thirds pretty relaxed. The store was busy. Everybody was occupied with different pizza tasks. Then I noticed we were missing one.“Where’s Monk?” I asked. “He off today?”Rainbow Bright was there. She’s the driver who is also the Monk and the Warrior’s sister. (I call her Rainbow Bright because she always has different colored hair.)“Did you get your check yet?” she asked. I was confused. I didn’t understand what my check had to do with anything.“Did we get paid this week?” I asked Leff-tenant.“Yep, I put your check there behind the computer,” she said. I didn’t see my check. There was just a piece of paper. Then the Warrior lifted the piece of paper. Stapled to it was my check. The piece of paper was a typed note from Cap’n.“I’m sure as many of you have…

Spanish wins.

This story is brought to you by the word ballenitas. It is pronounced BAW-YEN-EE-TAHS. It means “baby whales.” Let me explain. No, no time to explain. Let me sum up.There I was, packing condiments into small packets. My manager “Michoacana” - who is not from Michoacán, but Zacatecas - was talking to the Traitor. (The Traitor isn’t a true traitor. She just works for another non-pizza company during off time.) Anyway, the Traitor had a Starbucks coffee. She had also bought two burritos. She was eating one. Zacatecas was eating the other. Out of nowhere, Zacatecas took a drink of the Traitor’s coffee.The Traitor stopped, the burrito half in her mouth. Her eyes went wide. She removed the burrito. She smiled.“Did you just drink out of my coffee?” she said, her eyes narrowing.“Did you just drink her coffee?” I asked.“Yep,” Zacatecas answered with a smile. I was shocked. Despite my chagrin, a conversation about Starbucks ensued. I remember saying something about how awesome their hot chocola…

Welcome, 2016.

I didn’t usher in the new year. 2015 left some time ago. 2016 came right in through the door at about 12:06 on the first. He kicked off his slushy boots on my mat, sat down in the recliner next to me while I was playing Terraria and said, “Sup.”“Not much,” I said. “Amazewife isn’t home yet,” he said. “And I’m not kissing you, so don’t ask.” He pulled a broken iPhone 5 out of the front pocket of his blue hoody, pulled the lever on the footrest and made himself at home.“So, what’s in store, 2016?” I asked while practicing my emerald hook skills. He didn’t look up from his phone. He just raised his eyebrows, shook his head and sighed. It wasn’t a bad sigh. It wasn’t a good sigh. It was a deep sigh.Needless to say, I didn’t make any resolutions. Not then. Now I am. After listening to Dave’s amazing hour on setting goals, I haven’t stopped simmering. I went into my shift tonight thinking about goals and what I wanted to see happen. This blog was on my mind.About an hour in to my shift, I h…

Stuck.

Christmas update! I got:Super comfy pajama pants so I can quit wearing my wife’s super comfy pants. A Darth Vader gumball machine. An R2D2 pez dispenser. A fancy-shmancy little light that I use while delivering pizzas (Thanks, Ruth.) Four or five pounds. For my belly. Gift cards. Amuri Z-Trek Lightweight Sports Sandals for running, complete with toe socks for cold-weather running. (These were actually clothing budget, but it was close enough to Christmas to count.) And an intense feeling of being stuck financially.Getting out of tons of crushing debt is hard. It’s harder while married, raising three kids+pets and trying to maintain cars. It is very easy to feel like we are spinning our money wheels. Where are your money wheels taking you? I can tell you where I want our money wheels are taking us. Out of debt. Then into a $15,000 to $18,000 emergency fund, then into 15% invested pre-tax/after-tax. How exciting is that thought? What then? Kids’ college and saving up for the awes…