Saturday, April 29, 2006


It is so easy, it seems, to lose sight of good things we already have. Well, lose sight is perhaps a bad choice of phrase. Re-value (is that even a real phrase?) would be more descriptive of the feelings flowing through my head a few weeks ago. Routinely my wife and I go for walks in the evening. We try to walk together at least once a week. The walking is not so much exercise but rather a way to spend time together and share ideas. There are times when there is everything to discuss and others when a setting sun gobbles up all the words and treats us to a quiet, free nature’s painting.

The other day, to be different, we walked around the neighborhood across the street. How easy it is to get caught up re-valuing what you own. All of those houses have three car garages, mine has two. All those houses have professional landscaping, ours has a single starter tree and some purple and some white flowers my wife planted. I am sure if I looked they all have four bedrooms and finished basements. Our house has three and exposed concrete and insulation in the basement.

Funny how in the time it takes for a brief walk I can go from being totally great with my house to feeling that it is the “small” one in the area. It did flash through my mind as I walked, “what can I buy to make my house look and be better?” I re-valued for the rest of the walk back. That night I resisted running out and buying something “well deserved”. For the next few nights I thought about what I should buy so my house could “compete” a little better against surrounding houses.

Finally after a few days I stopped contemplating and returned to the thinking I had a year ago when we first moved into the house. I like the home, I like the yard, I like the neighborhood, and above all I love who I am living with. Let others compete against that.

That is it for today. Keep the re-valuing to a minimum, and keep an eye on your EveryDay Money.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Money Books I

If you haven’t taken a look at Dave Ramsey’s book “The Total Money Makeover” then you need to. Even if you have your financial life in order it is still a good read. Throughout the book there are stories from real people that are “getting it done”. Some of these people have pulled themselves out from under a truckload of debt. If these stories can’t get you pumped up about fixing your own money life then you may already be too far gone. The ideas are neither totally new nor particularly hard to understand. Some may say just common sense advice.

Another good guidebook I have read lately is “The Automatic Millionaire” by David Bach. Another straight forward easy to read and understand money book. The main idea that I got out of reading both books is spend less than you make. After that there are ideas and advice on what to do next and how better to utilize money but is still comes back to the spending.

Why do you think so many people screw up their money when there are good money books aplenty? Is it a lack of intelligence? Or is it a problem of focus, discipline, desire to get it all under control? Perhaps a better question is do they know their money life is screwed up? When exactly does a drowning man know for sure he is drowning? Let your thoughts be known, anonymous or by name. I would also like to hear if you have read these books or know of others that are worth sitting down and reading.

That’s it for today. Keep an eye on your EveryDay Money

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Mortgage free?

Quick question: Is being mortgage free a realistic goal?

I am sure you have heard the idea, pay an extra monthly payment once a year and you drop like 5 years off your mortgage. Go really wild and you can get it done in 15 years. Push really hard and it is 7 years. But is that realistic? I read an article that says the average credit card balance for those that have a balance is like 9 thousand. If we can’t even get a hold of our credit cards balances do we really have a hope of being mortgage free? Well mortgage free before we turn 90. So what do you think? Mortgage free a reality? Are you trying to get yours done before the stated term? If so how quick of a goal do you have?
For me the answers are: yes, yes, 6 years total.

That’s it for today. Keep an eye on your EveryDay Money.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Paying for Credit Cards

So I get this very nice envelope in the mail the other day. And inside this very nice envelope is a very nice letter telling me that because of my years of customer loyalty that I have been pre-approved for no-other than a (or should I say) no-other than THE gold card. The first year totally free. I looked closely at the fine fine fine print and after the first year THE card was going to cost me… like 9 million dollars just to have in my pocket. My shredder got an early evening snack.

Folks, People, Smart guys and gals… STOP!! If you are paying any dollar amount every year merely to have the card. Well that behavior (not you personally) is stupid. There are like hundreds of cards that cost you nothing. And if you are good and pay what you owe every month then it is stupid (behavior not you :-) ) not to have a cash back or rewards card making you money every month. With our rewards card that earned us gift certifs my wife now has a digital camera and rechargeable batteries all for a grand price of $10 out of pocket.

Short answer:
1) Don’t pay to have a card
2) Pay your balance off every month
3) Get a good rewards or cash back card
4) Make money off your spending.

That is it for today. Keep an eye on your EveryDay Money