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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another one bites the dust

That's right, another holiday weekend in the books. This government job isn't too bad with respect to getting a few extra holidays crammed in. Of course there are some other days that are not counted (like exta days around major holidays like easter, thanks giving, and christmas). So overall I guess it evens out. At any rate, the long weekend was much appreciated.

I started off the weekend by getting the hall table to a finished state. I still want to add another layer of poly to the top, but I will get to that another day. Here it is in it's new home...

I think it turned out just fine. Not the most glamorous piece, but what do you expect. I am still a hack/novice at this point. It looks nice and matches the picture window so the Mrs. is happy.

I picked up a book this weekend. Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. I read it cover to cover. Not entirely a difficult task, but I cannot remember the last time I sat down and read a book through. Unfortunately the subject is not the most settling. For me it is quite topical. Over the last decade I have gone up, down, and around with respect to money. I have purchased new cars, a time share, a home, and a bunch of stuff. However along the way I have somehow managed to avoid learning how to manage money. At 30 years old this is a skill that I will need to learn shortly in order to have a fair shake at retirement.

The premise of the book is a step plan. It boils down to saving up an emergency fund, paying off debt, building a 6 month safety net, and then working on retirement, mortgage payoff, and college savings. Seems simple enough. The book is littered with inspirational testimonials and facts about the in-debt American lifestyle. The things that blow me away about the statistics mentioned are that the average family makes less than us, owes more, and is not doing anything about it. Heading into uncertain economic times that is a scary thought.

I recommend reading this book. If you are in a good spot the priciples within can help you get to a better spot. If you are in a bad spot the lifestyle changes prescribed could be the best thing to happen for you. As for us, we are in the middle ground and hoping to be better off in the long run. I will keep you posted on our progress.

Don't be shocked if you see a drop in the amount of new stuff coming into my garage. Honestly the flow may go the other way until we are out of debt and on the right track. Currently we have timeshare debt, carry credit card balances, and have a car loan. The totals for which add to an embarrasing amount of consumer debt. Crap. That stuff needs to go away and there isn't any easy way to do it. Only penny pinching and letting go of the stuff that is not needed. I can remember how happy I was driving the used Dodge Neon around just because I had no debt on it. I look forward to a time when all the finances in my life make me as giddy and we are truly debt free.

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