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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Shifting the Spend

Shifting the Spend
Like so many other personal finance enthusiasts, we have settled into a routine with our monthly budget. Most of our expenses, groceries and gas and utilities, are more or less the same from month to month. The once-a-year expenses, the life insurance and Christmas, don't sneak up on our budget anymore. Everything is ordered, everything is planned for. It's gotten to the point that we barely need to discuss our monthly budget, so much as to simply give it a glance and say, like great God Almighty did all those years ago, "It is good."

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Playing with My Emotions

Playing with My Emotions
They did it again. The Steelers got me to believe. This year, unlike so many others, I honestly thought they were contenders. They had an offense that could score on anyone, and a defense that kept doing just enough. This year, I said to anyone that would listen, they really could win it all. And then the Steelers made a fool out of me for believing in that lie, along with everyone else in Western Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh diaspora. We were naive to think this young team, being re-built on the fly, could make a serious run to the Super Bowl. Then Baltimore Ravens took that group of young players, drove them into the Heinz Field turf, and dry humped the poor bastards into submission. It was humiliating...and a little weird, too, since on-the-field humping, while not technically a penalty, is usually deemed poor sportsmanship.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Gambling and Risk Aversion

Money was on the line, and I had a call to make. After sixteen weeks, I found myself in our league's fantasy football championship. (Yes, it is a dorky hobby, but it is mine. I like football, I like winning money, and now I had a chance to enjoy both.) But I am also risk averse. I, as most humans, feel losses more acutely, and for much longer, than I feel gains. Victory is fleeting. Regret lasts. So like I said, I had a call to make. Here are the details...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

An Embarrassment of Riches

It really is the little things. A comfortable bed, clean sheets, and a soft pillow. A thermostat set just right, so that you can walk around your house in bare feet all year long. The wonder of turning on your faucet, day or night, and pure, cool water coming out. Opening up your refrigerator and realizing you get to choose between, count 'em, two different breakfast meats. Life is good here in the Done by Forty household. Which would be a lot easier to enjoy if it weren't for news stories like these, about the homeless living in tent cities spread all around Silicon Valley. Or these, about the hundreds of thousands of Syrian children refugees, who have to do backbreaking labor in potato fields to support their displaced families. Don't click those links if you're already in a good mood today.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Quick Hits

Quick Hits
I'm feeling refreshed today, readers. The missus and I just took a little trip to Tucson, and as usual we have fallen in love with the city. We had a free hotel night certificate (thanks to the Marriot card) that was expiring and figured, what the hey. Let's leave the dogs with a friend and hit the road. The hotel room was nice, the city was fun, and the drinks were cheap. What else does a young couple in love need?

Rather than a single topic today, let's cover a few bite-size ideas that I like, but don't deserve their own blog post.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Power of the Baseline

Power of the Baseline
We have dirt cheap cell phone service: $5 or $10 a month, per phone, on a pay-as-you-go plan. We use basic Android phones through PTel, a T-Mobile "MVNO" (a kind of subcontractor who provides cell phone services, but does not actually own the network). How do we keep costs so low? We primarily use free options to call and text (Google Voice for free texts and free calls in Gmail) when we're by our computers or in wifi. Which is all the time. We learned about this stuff from IP Daley, the guru of all things telecom, who we met on Mr. Money Mustache's forums.

Monday, November 3, 2014

House Lust

House Lust
I want this house.
I owe you all an apology. I've once again fallen off the radar, both from writing on this blog and from reading yours. There are a lot of little reasons. For one, as I work from home, I've moved my laptop to the living room as my computer is a constant distraction during work hours. This is good for my career but, admittedly, not so good for reading or writing blogs from nine to five. As often happens with habit change, there are unintended consequences (i.e. - I don't use my laptop very much in the evenings). I've also been studying for a professional certification, with the first out of three tests now completed. The tests are proving harder than I thought they'd be. But my biggest time bandit has been house lust.