Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Home Repairs

When I bought this house in 1999, there were a number of repairs that were needed. Some of those repairs still exist, while others are new. I have been so focused on getting debt free, that these things have been pushed to the back burner. However, they may need to come to front burner fast. Things are progressing between my girlfriend and I and well, as one that is always thinking ahead, need to get things fixed up around here for her. Below is a list of repairs that are needed around the house. Some, I have prices for and others I don't. How expensive will it all be? I don't know, but they need to be worked into my budget, even as I make the move to get out of debt.

Toilet $229 plus $135 installation

Bath/shower faucet replacement $17
repair floor
replace vinyl flooring

repair/replace Ceiling
make porch handicap accessibility

new sidewalk around house w/ Patio
new sidewalk around shed
replace existing sidewalk (between 2 buildings)
handicap accessible sidewalk

Central Air $2,000 (approximately)
sand/varnish wood floors $1,000 (approximately)
repaint or side house $19,000 (includes insulation & vinyl siding)
finish room in basement
move laundry room upstairs

go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.
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Friday, July 24, 2009

Debt-Free Progress

I just inputted the numbers for current debt owed (not including the IRS debt) into the NCN Network and got my new chart. I tell you, it is such a rush to see that chart get closer and closer to 100%. Still though, it isn't moving along fast enough for me. I want to see it get down to 0 debt. I expect to have everything including the IRS paid off by the 1st of March. Still though, I have some home repairs that are in serious need of attention, and I can't take care of them, because I am so focused on the debts. So focused, I haven't rebuilt my emergency fund. There are other things, that I must begin planning and saving for, but these debts are I the way.

A credit free life style isn't easy, but I know in the long run, it will be much easier on my pocketbook. I just have to realize that as part of my goal as I move forward. Still, I expect 2010 (after I am debt free to be life changing). In fact, that is one of my goals. You will have to stay tuned to find out what that would be.

go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.
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Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Energy Detective

About a month ago (on June 17, 2009) I installed a device called The Energy Detective (TED) to measure the amount of energy that I use and estimate how much that energy bill will be. After the first month the estimated energy bill was about %56.60. The actual bill, which arrived yesterday was, $88.65 for a 31-day billing period.

Last month the $133.63 with $48.48 being past due. Which means $85.15 was the actual current due at the time (for a 29-day billing period).

That means, I saved $0 since installing the device. Of course, I could have done the same thing without the device, but since it measures the amount of electricity that I use, it helps prompt me to make those cuts in the energy bill, that I know I already need to cut.

With all the unplugging of the second refrigerator alone, I should have had a reduction in my bill, so why did my bill increase? That was a question, I put to the Westar Energy rep, when I called them about my bill. The representative, really couldn't explain it, except to say, it was hotter, so everything had to work harder to keep up.

I will continue to track my energy usage, and see if my number of kilowatts that I used starts going down in future months.
go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.
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Monday, July 13, 2009

Another Birthday

I turn another year older today. To celebrate, I will be utilizing a hotel hot tub and swimming pool, to relive some of the pain in my always aching back and neck.
Two nights of relax in comfort, not to mention air conditioning. I am so looking forward to it. I know it's not very frugal, but I saved for months for it, and even paid for it in advance.

I get off work early this afternoon, and then am off until tomorrow afternoon. As such, I will be a way from the computer for a couple of days. May God bless this wonderful time to get away from everything (except my full time job).

go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.
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America's Thriftiest Cities

Eve wonder where people that save the most live? No? Well, I never really thought about it either, but I found this story interesting enough, that I had to let you all know about it to.
For many Americans, instant gratification has taken a backseat to long-term financial security. In May 2009, the U.S. personal income savings rate increased to 6.9 percent from 0 percent a year earlier. This is the highest level since December 1993, according to the Commerce Department.

Given the recession, it's understandable that Americans are hording more cash by spending less. Some, though, are doing a better job than others.
- ABC News

Well, the article is misleading. It's actually about credit card debt vs Median Household Income. In that category, Washington, D.C. comes in first, because as ABC News reported,

Government jobs attract those who are conservative about personal finances, suggests Alice M. Rivlin, an economist at Brookings, a Washington, D.C.-based independent research firm. What's more, this is a relatively prosperous metro area with a low unemployment rate of 6.2 percent (the national average is 9.5 percent). The District of Columbia also has high concentrations at the top and bottom of the income distribution spectrum--with 20 percent of residents below the poverty level--and a smaller middle class.

So what are the Top 5 cities with the lowest credit card debt?

5. Kansas City, MO
Percent of Income Owed to Credit Card Companies: 12.07%

4. Boston, MA
Percent of Income Owed to Credit Card Companies: 11.75%

3. Nashville, TN
Percent of Income Owed to Credit Card Companies: 11.73%

2. San Jose, CA
Percent of Income Owed to Credit Card Companies: 11.46%

1. Washington, D. C.
Percent of Income Owed to Credit Card Companies: 11.43%

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Reader Having Difficulting Keeping Up

Sometimes readers, will write the Prince Of Thrift with questions. Such was the case when Cheryl (not her real name) recently wrote and asked:

My DH and I are thinking of restructuring our debt so we can get out of debt and afford our current payments. Right now it's more than difficult to keep up. Do you have any suggestions about where we should start. There are so many companies, it's hard to know who to trust.
Thanks for any info you can share.
- Cheryl

As I always do in such situations, I am thoughtful of what they are are asking and answer to the best of my ability. Since, I am not a certified financial counselor nor do I have any other licenses, I have to be careful with what I say. I do try to refer them in the right direction. Below, is my answer to Cheryl:

Thanks for the email. Do not mess with any of these debt settlement places that advertise on TV or the net. If you can't get a debt consolidation loan through your bank or credit union, there is only one place to trust in Topeka. Consumer Credit Counseling. They are trustworthy and if I remember correctly the fee is only $20. The only thing is they can't do anything with your secured debts. Only your unsecured debts, will they be able get lower payments (paid through them) for you. It will however, put a ding on your credit report.

As for the debt consolidation, option, Dave Ramsey calls it debt CONsolidation, and for good reason. Most people that go that route, ends up using the freed up money to get more debt and then they are in worse shape then before. If you use debt consolidation, you must give up all other credit. The only debt you should have would be the one debt, that now has a lower payment and should have lower interest to.

go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.
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Thursday, July 9, 2009

$20 a Gallon

$20 a gallon? We scoff now, but some experts say it is coming sooner then you think.

Forget the classic road trip. Americans are abandoning afternoon drives and summer getaways, thanks to the recession and an unemployment rate that's hovering dangerously close to double digits. The American Automobile Association estimates that the number of drivers traveling over the Fourth of July weekend—that penultimate holiday weekend of the summer—dropped by 10.5 percent over the last two years. And, while gas prices have fallen since the record high of more than $4 a gallon in the summer of 2008, filling up the tank can still set people back considerably.

In his new book, $20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better,Forbes writer Christopher Steiner argues that the increasing cost of fuel will radically change the way we live, from the cities we choose to call home to the way we grow food. NEWSWEEK'S Nancy Cook spoke to Steiner about why he thinks Americans will be forced to restrict plane travel to once a year at most, why solar panels will line the rooftops of apartments, and how gas prices will force suburbanites back into cities.
- Newsweek

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

[Chesneypark] pictures taken while applying base coat

Hope these come through OK
Roy O'

Sporadic but Hopefully Great Posts

You have probably noticed that my posts have become a bit more more sporadic again. Well there is a reason for that. Most all of my free time, from work, I am either spending time with or am on the phone with my girlfriend.

I have promised her that I will set certain times to be online, because in no way do I want her to feel like a second fiddle. I am not married to the computer and I don't ever want her to feel that I am.

I do plan to try to write several posts at once, and schedule them to appear and other times throughout the period that I'm not online.

I still plan to make a huge push to be debt free by the end of the year, but I now have a budgetary line that was not originally in my budget. So because of that, some of my best laid plans may not happen as I had planned. It's all apart of that gazelle intensity, but even with that I have to have a life. That includes finding the person who will one day be my "princess of thrift."

The nice thing about my current girlfriend, she is supportive of my efforts to get out of debt. Unlike other women I have dated, she understands, that if I am out of debt, I can have more money later on.

So with that, I will say have a good day, and stay tuned in to this website for great updates on my personal finances and terrific news bites and anecdotes that I learn on related personal finance issues.

For now, I need to go and finish mowing the yard, cleaning the house and cooking dinner for my girlfriend who is coming over tonight.

go ahead share your thoughts with me now. Always eager to hear what others are thinking. My ears are open.
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Time for new shoes

In Oct of 2007 I posted about getting new shoes. New shoes that should help my suspected Plantar Fasciitis. Well, here it is July and I am just getting another pair to replace those old shoes. Something, that shows how much better quality they are over the shoes I had bought previously at Payless Shoes.

These new shoes cost me rigt around $60 for New Balance, and the inserts which I again bought cost me another $35. All in all, I spent right around $100 for my new shoes.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009


Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the

Declaration of Independence ?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured

before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons

serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the

Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their

sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine

were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated,

but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well

that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his Ships

swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and

properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to

move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without

pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from

him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer,

Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown , Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British

General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his


He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home

was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed.

The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their

13 children fled for their lives.

His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste.

For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to

find his wife dead and his children vanished. Some of us take these

liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and

silently thank these patriots.

It's not much to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: freedom is never free!

I hope you will show your support by sending this to as many people

as you can, please. It's time we get the word out that patriotism is NOT a

sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics, and


Let's stand up for what Democracy truly means, especially in our time............that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. ~ Lincoln

Have a great Independence Day!
go ahead share your thoughts with me now. As always I would love to hear your thoughts.

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