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No Income!?!

Three months into my leave. (How did that happen!?) Short term disability exhausted. Vacation time spent. I am officially without an incoming paycheck. In fact, I have been for a couple weeks. For the first time ever in my adult life, there is no check in the mail with my name on it. No anticipated direct deposit. What an odd feeling. It really shouldn’t ‘feel’ any way. But it does have connotations. A little vertigo perhaps, due to a missing safety net.

Fear not! I saved for this! Money set aside that can seamlessly slide into the place of those missing checks. Whew! Except…Well, except I hate spending savings. Or anything remotely resembling savings. Anything residing in a savings like account. Under certain circumstances, I will just have to. It will be unavoidable. Those circumstances have not yet arrived. (Read: The Husband is gainfully employed. Cross your fingers, toes, eyes, double appendages, and knock on all things wood it remains that way.) In the meantime, I vow to protect those savings, erm “that money”. I will strive to add to it. To not take it for granted. To respect it for what it represents: hard work, time, and a finite resource.

Without being employed, how does one do that? Read more

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A Line Drying Revolution

Sometimes I’m a slow learner. I dismiss certain frugal doing as ‘too difficult’, ‘inconvenient’, or ‘not for me’. Someday I will learn, that short of separating my two-ply into single, well that’s just dumb. Clotheslines are one of those things. Specifically the outdoor variety. I’ve got a couple indoor models in use in my basement. As a resident of rainy, overcast, damp Seattle, we are lucky to be able to use those all year round. But frankly, they kinda suck. Limited and inefficient. They save our shirts from a trip through the money guzzling heat box (what I’ve taken to calling our dryer). For anything of substance though, towels, jeans, sheets, pet bedding it takes too long, and there is simply not enough real estate to put the accursed appliance completely out of commission.

Oh, for summer time! Or spring. Or even a breezy dry fall day. Any day without precipitation really. I’ll take it. So begins my love affair with outdoor drying. Clothesline! How I love thee! Read more

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How to Save $1000

One THOU-sand dollars. Note the dramatic emphasis. The holy grail. Or the start at least. To emergency funds. Emergency funds to free you from vicious credit card debt. Breaking the shackles of that debt being the first nano-step down the yellow brick road of financial independence.

A cool grand. Dave Ramsey recommends it. Is further endorsement required?
(Well, yes. Have you seen that dude’s house? Conservative Fiscal Fail.) Read more

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Badassity: Re-Branding Frugality

I’m writing this post because I wanted to use that word. A word, I am not genius enough to take credit for. I should probably be paying the venerable Mr. Money Mustache five cents every time I use it. And I would gladly hand over a fist full of nickels for the pleasure. Badassity. Badassity. Badassity. Not just fun to say, but a call to arms.

Am I really going to dedicate a whole post to another blog? Potentially. But, no. Hang on. It could be worth it. Read more

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Personal Finance Chops

Two fellow bloggers I know attended FinCon 2012, late last week. Hi, Donna! Hola, Karawynn! The Financial Blogger Conference. Ok, not just bloggers, but mostly. I’m dying to get the blow by blow from them on who’s who, and what went down in Colorado. (*Nudge*Nudge*) I might even buy them coffee to get it. Ahem. Until then, I’m not going to let my lack of attendence keep me from using FinCon as fodder for my own round of self-inventory.

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Who needs a conference, when you’ve got this kind of inspiration?

Donna, god love her, treats me like a real writer. We meet. Partake in a little Corporate Dining. We talk frugal hacks. Church sales. Chicken food. Jam makings. Busy lives and the experience of being a writer. Her’s being oh so much more vast than mine. It always goes on too long. It’s always enjoyable. She encouraged me to attend FinCon. Even clued me into a giveaway contest for free tickets. Which I did absolutely nothing about, because what the heck business do I have going to a conference for “financial professionals” and/or “authors”? Read more

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How To Lower Your Grocery Bill

Everyone knows I’m a big fan of The How-To. Just usually not when I write them, but this topic, this one I can cover. You disagree? You’ve seen my grocery spending? True, True. $750 not withstanding, I’ve got the principles down. How does that go again? Shop loss leaders! Buy Generic! Coupons! Have a list! Comparison Shop! Keep a price book! The Grocery Outlet! Buy in Bulk! Buy Seasonally! Preserve Food! Grow Your Own! I could put that to music and do a little jig. Or maybe write some iambic pentameter. I know it by heart.

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My fridge. With it’s non-minimalist front and un-frugal contents.

Because I do those things. All the time. Don’t believe me? I understand. We’re still talking $750 here. Its a big number for 2 people. Even the times I’ve lowered it by a whopping $100, no one is impressed. Nor should they be. $650, also a very large number. When I ruminate on sacred cows and lowering my overhead, the grocery budget is a glaringly obvious money sinkhole. It is the beacon of overspending in my landscape of frugality. Wow. That felt really Gunslinger-ish.
Read more

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Bridging the Gap with Sacred Cows

Last week I wrote about my new, improved (much smaller) budget. A budget to based not on what we currently make, but what I would like to make. A budget of one income, and a lesser one at that.

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Isn’t that great!? Look at me go with my less monies! Small problem: It doesn’t work. There’s a gap. I can either reduce one income significantly or I can eliminate another income entirely. But, I can not do both. I mean, I can. In theory. With that money I could then feed the dogs, and maybe get some food for us too. That’d be about it. I couldn’t afford life’s trivial things like oh say… gas, household expenses, holidays, medical care, or have any slush fund to speak of. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that’s not a workable budget.

I’ve been mucking around with how to fix that. A lot. With mixed results. Read more

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Hope and Fake Budgets

I have a master spreadsheet of life. That’s really what I call it. And it’s right up there with my little black book in the category of “I get sweaty palms if I can’t get to it”. It contains my day to day expense tracking, monthly budget/spending summaries, rough net worth calculation, CD ladder tracking, any exercises I am working on (wants vs. needs or dog spending), birthdays, christmas lists, a tab titled ‘worst case scenario’, and other fake budgets. It sounds sort of fancy. It’s not. It’s one big excel spreadsheet, with a bunch of tabs labelled and organized to my liking.

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There are a lot of pro’s and con’s to running your Financial Empire this way. Probably more con’s than I’m even aware of. I’ve been doing it thus since I cleaned up my act. For me, it works. One of the big reasons why, is because its flexible. Let’s back up to ‘worst case scenario’ and ‘excercises’ for a minute.

There is a very small, minute, ever so slight chance that circumstances could be changing. Read more

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Rationalizing and Minimizing Work Stress

Most of the dudes I work with in Corporate Servitude are well…Dudes. Men, lots of them in my field. On any given team, women represent 20% of the population +/-. I’ve been on teams where I was the only girl, and don’t know that I’ve ever worked with more than four women at a time. This has been the way of it for so long, most of the time I don’t even notice. I’m pretty brash and loud and I curse a lot. Working with a bunch of Dudes, doesn’t bother me. I can hold my own. In fact when I went to The Pet Store, an environment dominated by women, I had to make a concerted effort to tone it down.

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Keyboards. Totally related to my job.

Right now, I’m in the midst of my self-proclaimed Hell Month. Self proclaimed and perhaps over exaggerated. Read more

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The Two Income Requirement

Have I ever told you I think the whole dual income household thing is bullshit? No? Then I’m telling you now. Requiring two incomes to live is bullshit. Kids. No kids. Bullshit. It’s some great conspiracy we all bought into. That this is ‘the norm’. That two people should of course be employed outside the home. Of course, we should squeeze all the tasks and errands and general living of our real lives into evenings and weekends. Duh. Doesn’t it make sense that I should spend my ‘free time’ picking up clothes from the seamstress (because I don’t have time to sew them) or running to the bank (gotta make it before it closes). Then I’ll spend more money to pick up dinner on the way home, because yep, no time for cooking either.

Bullshit. When did we sign up for this?

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The constructs of the dual income lifestyle: A Corporate America lunch sack and one very dirty blue collar cooler.

I’ve never understood the work day/weekend split. 5 days on, 2 days off for most of us. Not a ratio in my favor. Read more

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