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The Valentine’s Day That Never Was

Posted by Marko on February 13, 2020 in Off Topic |

Everybody else is doing it. Why not share my stories as well? (If everybody else jumped off a bridge, would you? It depends how warm the water is and what I’m wearing.)

The bad.

The worst was in 1999. I had just gotten into an official relationship with an “older” man. Okay, he was 17, but I was only 15. That was a big deal then! We met barely a month before V-day rolled around. At that time I was still giddy over Sweetest Day and all the lovey dovey things that went along with V-day. I wasn’t jaded or bitter like I am now 😛 So the boy, let’s call him John, arranged to pick me up after school and we would celebrate the day together. Read more…

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Puffy the Stuffed Bunny

Posted by Marko on February 10, 2020 in Off Topic |

It started when I was six. On a weekend trip to J.C. Penney, I begged and pleaded with my parents to buy me a $5.00 stuffed bunny. They, of course, said no — it’s too expensive. If I really wanted it, they said, I could save up my allowance and come back and get it when I had enough to pay for it myself.

So I carried that little bunny around the store until I found a suitable hiding place, in the middle of a rack of pants. I wanted to make sure no one bought that precious little stuffed animal before I could come back with the money to purchase it for myself.

Over the next two weeks, I counted the days until my $5.00 savings goal would become a reality. I daydreamed about holding Puffy (yes — I named him before he was even mine) in my arms.

My weekly allowance of $2.50 would allow my to reach my savings goal of $5.00 in two weeks. An eternity to a six year-old.

When the second Friday came I could barely wait to get my $2.50 allowance. With the full $5.00 now at my disposal, I eagerly asked my mom when we could back to J.C. Penney’s and bring Puffy home.

Saturday afternoon my parents took me back to J.C. Penney. I nervously found the circular rack of pants, my heart pounding in my ears as I separated two pairs with my hands to take a peak. There he was! Puffy was still right where I hid him two weeks before, waiting for me to take him home.

Achieving that small financial goal began a lifelong — albeit sometimes unfaithful — love affair with saving money.

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Old Gold. Sold. For Cash

Posted by Marko on January 25, 2020 in Off Topic |

I’ve been thinking about selling some of my old gold jewelry I never wear anymore for cash while gold prices are still high (today they’re $1,036.60 per oz for 24ct gold).

After doing some research online and reading this Wall Street Journal article, I decided to call USGoldBuyers.

At first I was a little nervous when the phone representative told me that because I was a first time caller, I would receive 96% rather than 90% of the value on the gold I was sending. I’m always a skeptic when anything remotely gimmicky sounding enters my world. Read more…

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Mystery pain is the worst kind of pain

Posted by Marko on January 17, 2020 in Off Topic |

I feel like I’ve been punched in the jaw. I noticed the pain yesterday. It’s not quite my throat but not quite my jaw. At first I thought it might be wisdom tooth pain, but it doesn’t hurt when I chew on that side or poke my gums. The area right underneath my jaw bone, where it meets my neck is tender to the touch.

I took a Tylenol before bed and even slept with an ice pack wedged under my head. Every time I rolled onto my right side or put my hand under my cheek, I woke up in pain. When I flex my head and bring my chin to my neck, holy man. That’s very uncomfortable. Sneezing hurt.

I don’t feel any swelling though. I compared it to the left side and it seems normal; no swelling, no lumps. I’ve been told it could be a gland, could be my tooth, who knows. What I do know is that it’s really frustrating. It could be worse I guess. If it were my gums and I couldn’t eat, oh man, I’d be crying right now.

I’m going to see how the rest of the day goes. If it’s worse tomorrow, I’ll call a doctor. In the mean time, has anyone experienced weird pain when pushing up into their jaw bone? Ideas? Suggestions? Random ramblings that have nothing to do with this post? All is welcome!

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New Year, New Focus

Posted by Marko on January 5, 2020 in Off Topic |

Since the new year has begun, I have a renewed — and even obsessive — focus on my financial goals. Much has happened in the latter part of 2019 to get my financial wheels turning.

In December my husband landed a new full-time job, which ended up being a 62% pay increase. Needless to say, we’re thrilled. We stewed about how to manage the extra influx of money and I finally convinced him that we shouldn’t increase our lifestyle. In fact, I suggested we decrease our expenses even further… Read more…

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Rolling up the Dough

Posted by Marko on December 29, 2019 in Off Topic |

Last night and tonight I rolled most of the coins from a cup my husband keeps in the drawer of his night stand. I have to say, he was shocked when I told him how much I was able to roll up from the cup. $50.50!

It’s hard to believe that much loose change was just collecting dust in a drawer. Now if I can just get motivated to take it to the bank.

I always love the irritated look the teller gives me when I walk up with a plastic baggie full of rolled coins. Last time, I was sent to wait over by the teller that also handles the drive-through customers. I’m not sure why the tellers helping all of the other walk-in customers couldn’t help me, but the drive-through teller didn’t look excited when he saw my deposit.

Oh well, I won’t have to face him again until I roll the coins from my son’s piggy bank.

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Spending Less of Our Spending Money

Posted by Marko on November 30, 2019 in Off Topic |

We’re trying something new with our extra spending money. My husband and I usually transfer $500.00 each pay period into a separate checking account that we use solely for anything that isn’t savings or a fixed expense. For us this means things like groceries, personal care items, entertainment, eating out, etc.

While trying to find creative ways to free up more money to invest, we’ve decided to tighten up the spending money we always seem to burn through completely. Any money leftover in our spending account each pay period will either be transferred to our savings account, or invested.

We’re doing a pretty good job this pay period. So far we’ve spent $100.00 less than usual, although my husband will need gas at some point this week. Since our next pay day is this Friday, I’m pretty excited about our progress.

For the past two weeks we’ve been cooking at home each night, and packing lunches for us to take to work and for our school-aged son to take to school. We’ve also paid close attention to how much we’re spending at the grocery store. By buying non-perishables, coffee, and cereal at Costco, we’ve been able to save some money in that area as well.

It seems like by just being more aware of what we’re spending our money on, we’ve eliminated most of the frivolous purchases that were eating up all of our extra money before. We probably bought take-out for dinner at least two times a week before. And that doesn’t include the number of times I sent my husband on ice cream runs every week.

I guess it should be no surprise that in addition to saving some green, I’ve also lost two pounds in the past two weeks!

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Dream of Dying?

Posted by Marko on November 16, 2019 in Off Topic |

Last night I had the most bizarre dream. I dreamed I met with a psychic that told me this was my last incarnation on this planet. And that I only had 12 days left to live.

In my dream, I told the fortune teller that another psychic had recently told me that this was my last time around on this planet also. (In reality, I have not seen any psychics, and no one has told me these things).

A little dream interpretation research on DreamMoods.com indicated that dreaming about speaking with a psychic could be my way of “expressing fear or anxieties about the future and reaching my goals.” I get that. This goal of reaching financial independence feels a little overwhelming and unobtainable at times. Read more…

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Are Personal Finance and Minimalism the Same?

Posted by Marko on October 29, 2019 in Off Topic |

So, I’ve been thinking. I recently realized that for me, personal finance and minimalism are closely related. Maybe even one and the same.

Before you curse my interpretation, let me explain.

Personal finance allows me to simplify my life and create more space for the the things I value and care about. It helps me spend consciously, eliminate debt, save like crazy and reduce waste. Eventually it will lead me to my ultimate goal –  financial independence.

I want to clear something up. Working towards financial independence doesn’t mean that I want to be filthy rich so I can fly around in my private jet while being fanned and fed grapes by my servants. Although that doesn’t sound like a horrible existence. Read more…

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Goodbye Debt. Hello Hawaii.

Posted by Marko on October 9, 2019 in Off Topic |

Earlier this week I was chatting through the comments section with Gena from Ha Nui Loa regarding a really humorous guest post from Gip Plaster from So Much More Life about the false stereotypes people have about Texans. Since Gena lives in Hawaii with her husband Jeff, I was sharing with her a couple of my stereotypes — or expectations — about what I thought it would be like to visit Hawaii.

Ever since I was a young girl and my parents visited Hawaii, I’ve wanted to go there. My husband and I always thought we’d spend our honeymoon there, but when the time came we chose instead to go on a less expensive honeymoon to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. We use the money we saved to put towards a down-payment on our home. While I don’t regret this decision, I still yearn to visit the Hawaiian Islands. Read more…

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