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Friday, March 5, 2010

Financial Update....

We've really been kicking it into high gear in the last few weeks and it's really starting to pay off. As you know from my previous updates, we've made a plan of action to move into my wife's parents house to save up some money and pay off all of our credit cards. In addition, we are going to be renting out our half of the duplex that we own. And as a bonus, her parents will not be charging us anything for our one-year stay with them, although we will offer to help with the utilities. Also during this year, I will make my transition from teacher to actuary. My goal is to find a job by the end of the next school year, however, I will be looking before the end of this school year and throughout the summer. If something turns up, then I'll take it, but I'm not holding my breath. And after the year is up, we'll move to where ever I find a job as an actuary (hopefully somewhere by the ocean). On top of all that, I am also getting a second job. Stress much?

So what have we accomplished? Well, my study materials finally came in about two weeks ago. I knew I was going to need some polishing on my calculus and trig but I didn't realize how much I had forgotten. As an Algebra I and II teacher, I've lost my higher level math skills. Not to mention that I NEVER took a statistics course in college. Eek. Also, a friend of mine, who is an actuary, has offered to study with me and get me on track.

We are also taking advantage of the fact that we have little to no space at our "new apartment". So we've sold just about everything. Up to this point, we've sold about $1,600 worth of our stuff. It may not be a lot in the overall picture of our debt, but it's a credit card balance that we can wipe out. We still have more stuff for sale as well.

On the advice of Suzie Orman and Dave Ramsey, I canceled my whole life policy. My mom took the policy out when I turned 18. She had the right idea, but the wrong policy. Lucky for me now because it had built up to about $1,500 dollars. I've taken the money from that and opened up our emergency savings account through one of the online savings banks.

Finally, we've got renters for both of the duplex units moving in this month. Total advertising money spent: $5. (I had to buy a new "For Rent" sign because the other one had the wrong phone number.)

So, for now, everything seems to be working out. The only hitch that we've come across is our second dog. We have yet to find a home for her. We still have some time, but I don't know what we are going to do if we can't find a home before April 15. But just like everything else, I'm sure it will all work out.

T.O.

"Blah"g

I can't help but notice how boring my blog is compared to some of the more "professional" blogs. As tech savvy as I may be, designing websites is not my forte. I think my lack of web design ability stems from my bipolar need for perfection. If I want something to be good, then it must be perfect. Otherwise, I trick myself into not caring at all and I put minimal effort into it. Like when I do laundry. I either have all my clothes all over the floor, utter chaos. Then on laundry day, everything is picked up, sorted in eight different hampers, lined up on shelves, in total perfect working order. I freak out if my wife puts a shirt in with the wrong load or dries something that is supposed to be air dried. And in two or three days, back to chaos on the floor. But as for my website, my curiosity is getting the better of me and I am starting to really dislike the way my blog looks.

I admit I am a sucker for gadgets and gizmos. But I do have enough sense not to overload by blog with tricked out widgets and dancing, flashing logos that are distracting everyone. But I don't even know where to begin to look for efficient buttons and such to help my small reader pool subscribe to my RSS feeds, if I even has RSS feeds worth subscribing too. Heck, I don't even understand all the different types of RSS feed buttons that I see on everyone else's page.

To finally close this blog out, my vision for the blog is to eventually use it to make some additional money. I've got the ebay Monetize account rolling, but beyond that, this page is going to need a boost (and possibly a new home). I welcome your suggestions.

T.O.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Who's Says You Can't Go Home Again?

Net Worth: Well, I guess I don't need to post this anymore.

So we've all but made the decision. We are moving in with my wife's parents. I can't believe I just typed that. We are moving in with my wife's parents. Well, it might make this blog a lot funnier. I'm sure I'll have plenty of stories to write about for the next year. My parents think I'm crazy.

The saddest part is I am getting rid of my dog. Hopefully, we can find a good home for her. If not, I will be giving her to the Animal Protective League (APL). It sucks, but the only reason I took her was to save her from a home that was not a good place to begin with. Hopefully, we can find her a good home. The other dog is going to stay temporally with a friend of ours as long as our dogs get along with one another. I don't think it will be a problem, although he is a little grumpy at times.

So here's how this works. We are going to rent out our half of the duplex. The income from both halves will almost equal the mortgage payment and the taxes combined. Throw in the cost of utilities and canceling our internet service and DirecTV bill, it will be saving us close to a total of $750 a month.

Also, I found out that the second job I applied for still has me on the list of potential hires, which is great news. I figure at part-time, I can make around $400 a month. Add that to the savings from moving in with her parents, about $1150 a month. If we are able to survive for a year, we will have $13,800 towards savings and debt.

As I've explained to my wife, I am 100% excited about this. I finally feel like we have a plan, a goal that we can actually accomplish. Let's just hope that I am still sane when this goal is still accomplished.

T.O.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Risk Management 101

Net Worth: -$250k strong *EDIT* Just found a net worth tracking gadget thanks to Change Is A Good Thing.

It’s time I get this one over with. I’m quitting teaching. This is one of the reasons why I am trying to keep my anonymity. I plan on finishing out the school year, maybe enjoy a month or two of my summer, and then start the new job. Unlike most people who leave teaching, it’s not that I can’t handle teaching. It’s strictly financial.

So, I’m going to take the actuary exam and try to use my math talents to the fullest. I love to be challenged, which is what I am missing at my current job. I can never get the kids to care as much as I do about math. I’m not “super math geek” or anything, I do have other interests in life, but I do enjoy the mysteries of the world and the mathematical answers to them.

But this change comes with more anxiety than a Southwest pilot boarding Kevin Smith. First, I haven’t had calculus in about four years. I’m sure I can still get back on that horse, but it’s going to take some refreshing. Second, I’ve NEVER even taken a statistics course! All the statistics I’ve managed to learn has been done by using my other math skills and logic and applying it. This level of statistics just might be above my head right now. Third, financially, it’s a major gamble. I have to buy all the study materials and pay for the test. I’m looking at about $300 dollars just to study for and take the test. And if I don’t pass? Another $200 bucks. This much I can tell you about statistics, the probability of someone passing on their first try is unlikely. Quite ironic that I can’t even figure out the risk of taking the first test in the field of finding the probability of risk.

I think the old me would be overwhelmed by the obstacles in my way. But not anymore.

T.O.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Will Work For Food

Net Worth:  -$250K....Still.  This is a marathon, not a sprint

I think that the most depressing thing about being a teacher, other than the fact that kids don't truly appreciate for years later, is the second job.  Every teacher does it.  Well, almost every teacher.  Some have the benefit of the husband with the $100k plus career selling securities.  Seeing as I am the husband, my family doesn't have that benefit.  So, my wife and I have the second job.

Now, most teachers work the second job into their teaching career.  Doing this not only masks the fact that they've taken a second job, but it makes them feel better by being involved with the kids.  These jobs include tutoring, overload classes, coaching, "Head of the Department" titles, etc.  It's all extra work outside of our required job that we do because we could use the extra money.

These jobs are scarce though.  Every teacher in the building is trying to get one of the positions.  Sometimes, it's taken before you've even found out about it.  So I take what I can.  And when I get it, I wait two-three months before I even see it.  Awesome.

So, I get real second jobs.  For that last two years, I delivered pizzas.  If you want to make money fast, like right now, get a pizza delivery job.  It's hard on your car, you have to pay for your own gas, the customers are usually either dumb or drunk, or both, but you still make quite a bit of money.  But there's a downfall to a job like this.  For one, depending on where you work, it's dangerous.  Delivery drivers in my town get robbed every other month if not more.  After I was nearly robbed, I didn't even tell my wife because I knew we needed the money, but she'd make me quit.  A friend of mine was robbed by knife by a couple of kids!  And one time, a delivery driver from another restaurant was taken, tied up, beaten and robbed!  Then again, for every story like that, I have a story that would blow the minds of every teenage boy in America!  Let's just say I've been offered many things in my pizza delivery experiences.  But, once school started again, I did quit.  Like I said in a previous post, I thought we were good on money.

I'm looking again for a second job.  Just another way for us to get this debt out of our lives for good.  I don't think I can go back to delivering pizzas though.  It's greasy, I get really annoyed with customers who don't tip, it's hard on my car, etc.  I just applied at a store that I think will be fun, relaxed, and I will learn a lot.  Hopefully, I get hired.  It's strange competing for jobs with high school kids as a 30 something year old man.  My stuff on Amazon.com and eBay.com isn't selling as fast as I had hoped.  Just got to keep coming up ideas until we get this paid off.

T.O.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Rock bottom prices!

Net worth:  Still in the -$250k range.  Still avoiding figuring out the correct answer.

My wife and I recently hammered out our budget.  We discovered that we were about $600 dollars short of paying our bills every month.  This was quite a shocking discovery.  We were already pretty tight on our personal spending budgets, with groceries, gas, prescriptions, etc., now we find out we need to take more money out of that budget to pay the bills. 

We have to make changes.  We put both of our student loans on forbearance, again.  That saved around $800 a month right there.  I know that many of you financially savoy people are probably freaking out at that idea, but we didn't know what else to do.  But, it gives us the money we were short and an extra $200 to start putting towards other bills.

Our other plan is to just start selling everything.  And I mean everything.  I have at this time, 4 auctions up on eBay.  I started an account at Amazon.com.  I posted ads on Craigslist.  Nothing is sacred.  The vehicle we paid off, we can sell it and downsize.  My first guitar, furniture, unused kitchen appliances, heck even the kitchen, well, bathroom sink!  Time to sell it all.  I know it's just stuff, but it still hurts to get rid of some of it.  But, it's time to make a change.

Finally, we made a step of progress today.  I sold  off my Wii, took some gift money we saved and we paid off our department store card!  Now it only had a balance of a little more than $500, but still, the interest rate on those puppies is ridiculous.  I believe that the card was at a 19% interest rate, so that $500 would've taken close to 4 years to pay off and added an additional $216 in interest by just paying the minimum payment.  (You can find this information by doing a "credit card amortization schedule" search.)  Again, just a drop in the bucket of turning my net worth around, but a drop non-the-less.

We've got some more major life changes in the works.  I don't know if we are ready to make some of them yet.  I'll let you know soon.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Net worth:  Somewhere in the ball park of -$250k, well, maybe.

I never thought about my "net worth" until recently.  You could say I was just one of those people who just passed through life, always dreaming, never doing.  Then one night my wife and I watched Julie and Julia.  Now, I'm not going to say that the movie inspired me to change my life, other movies have had much more of an impact on my life and I still failed to change my ways.  However, Julie and Julia did inspire me to look back at my desire to write, especially in a forum where it didn't matter much because nobody would be reading it anyway.  At least, not for awhile.

The next obvious step in the progression was the idea.  Like the movie, I want to write a blog in journal style, blogging about my day to day or weekly activities.  Every post, I will share my advancements towards my goal of one million dollars.  I encourage my readers, if any, to share their stories, advise, encouragement, or comments with me.  But let me make one thing clear, this is not an attempt at a get rich quick scheme.  I am not asking for hand outs, charity, etc.  My journey is one that my wife and I must make together through hard work.  In the words of Dave Ramsey, "Live like no one else so you can live like no one else."

T.O.
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