debt debs

Personal Debt Wrangler – Had my money head in the sand – but no more!


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Frugal FinCon Fiesta Update & Blogger Awards

debt-debsdebs’ devotions #2

Well I may have been a little to ambitious in my Six Month Blogiversary post (you know, the one with a poem disguised as rap song), when I launched my WEEKLY edition of Debs Devotions.  For a personal finance (PF) blogger who only publishes twice a week, that may have been a little lofty to call it WEEKLY.  I haven’t decided yet if I’ll do it biweekly, every three weeks (that would be strange but definitely in the realm of possibility), or monthly – sue me.

So since it feels like a long time and I have a lot of updates, lemme start.

Frugal FinCon Fiesta (FFF)

Well that was really fun and exceeded my expectations.  A bunch of us PF bloggers who were fairly new and focusing on our debt journey joined in a blog party to entertain each other while all our blogmates were boozing it up networking and learning at FinCon 2014.  Well I could say that a libation or five were enjoyed while we virtually partied on blogs and google hangouts but I’ll stick with what goes on in the internet, stays on the internet – ain’t that the truth?!  :-D

I’d like to thank the following Fantastic Frugal FinCon Fiesta-ers for participating with their Ask Me Anything posts: Femme Frugality, pftwins, The Daily Whisk, Cottage Retreatist, Frankly Frugal Finance, Two Kids and a Budget, Downstairs and in Debt, Frugalwoods, Shoeaholic No More, Indebted and in Debt, Debt Discipline, Millennial on a Budget, Busted Budget, Nearly Retired, Messy Money, The Single Dollar, House of Tre, The Spunky Banker, The Intentional Penny, Sunburnt Saver.

I really enjoyed reading all of your Q&A’s and answers and getting to know the person behind the PF blog more.  The sense of community is quite welcome.  It’s like you can talk to other PF bloggers about your deep dark secrets about your financial history and mistakes but you feel less comfortable talking to your friends and family about this topic which can be sensitive.  I want to break that mold and am doing this in a gradual manner starting with family and friends.  I need to be careful to protect my anonymity (for career purposes) and have no link between my blog and career which makes things quite tricky, since I’m basically just a blabbermouth at heart!

I will say that the support from PF bloggers is awesome, when you are on a debt journey, because you meet people with common goals.  You may not have others with the same issues in your circle of friends (they may but you just don’t know about it) and that’s why it feels lonely.    If you do know someone in person, then that’s a bonus way to get support.  Maybe you do know someone, but they are not treating their finances with respect and that frustrates you, so you really don’t have as much common ground as you should.

So as a PF blogger, I’d have to say it was well worth the $2.28 I paid to inLinkz for a monthly subscription to their linky tool. I put that cost in my Entertainment budget line, because at this point that’s what this blog is – purely for my entertainment!  :-)  I’m still trying to reach the broader community of people struggling with debt.  I have a few tricks up my sleeve, but more on that when I get a chance to start to implement them.

In the meantime, I’ve made $20.58 on Google Adsense revenue in three months and a big fat $0.oo on affiliate advertising.  Not sure what I’m doing wrong here, but when I figure it out, I’ll be sure to write a post on it.  I noticed that there’s a lot of generic posts on this topic but no specific posts on the how tos and I find navigating this area a little complex.

Thanks so much to No More Waffles, Budget Blonde, Freedom 35, Money Propeller for promoting our FFF!  Really appreciate it blogging buddies!

Also thanks to Young Adult Money for including my Reasons I’m Happy I’m Not Going to FinCon in his weekly roundup.   The plan is to definitely go to FinCon next year.  I don’t know where it is yet, but where there’s a will there’s a way, and I’ve got the WILL.

Versatile Blogger and Liebster Awards

I’ve been graciously nominated by other fellow bloggers (that rock!) for the above awards.

Autumn @ Barefoot Budgeter , Hayley @ A Disease Called Debt , Kassandra @ More Than Just Money and Tre @ House of Tre for the Versatile Blogger Award and Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet for the Liebster Award.

versatile-blogger-award-trophyVersatile Blogger Award

The rules are different so I’ll take each one in turn.  For the Versatile Blogger Award:

  •  Tell 7 things about yourself (this is easy, even though I blabbed a lot about myself in Q&A at FFF and in this blog, I’m such an open book I can still think of more)
  • Nominate 15 bloggers (whoa, this is going to be hard because most of my blogging buddies have already been nominated, plus 15 is a big number (!), let me try!)

So here’s my list of 7, some frivolous and some deep:

  1. I love broccoli and zucchini.
  2. I was sexually molested as a child.  I may write about this some day but hard to tie into personal finance.
  3. A movie that  left a big impression on me was Sophie’s choice with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline.  How could a mother choose between her two children in that awful situation?
  4. I hate making a salad.  Washing lettuce sucks.
  5. I had a cyst removed from my right eye as a kid, which left a scar.   I got what I think is a deep rooted pimple on my left eyebrow the other day but I wondered if it was another cyst.  I think it’s a pimple because it hurts when I touch it.
  6. I played touch football one summer.  I wasn’t that good.
  7. I used to love playing Lexulous (on line form of scrabble), but then I started blogging and have no time for this anymore.

Hard to know if people have been nominated before or not unless they display a button on their blog or you do a search.  I’m going to pick ones that I don’t think have been nominated.  If you have or choose not to participate, no biggie.  Also, I’ve noticed sometimes people just link to the blog instead of a particular blog post.  I’ve linked to the latest blog post so that the recipient gets a ping back:

  1. Everybody Loves Your Money – I’ve just discovered recently that is an Australian blog, so thought that was worth pointing out.
  2. Debt Camel – very useful debt advice here from the UK.  I’m not sure if she will consider doing a Versatile Blogger type post, but I’m hoping she can put a debt worthy spin on the topic if she chooses to.
  3. Budget Loving Military Wife  – currently posted in UK and shares awesome travel, frugal living, offers and debt repayment posts.
  4. Islands of Investing – Jason’s also from Australia and I think he likes doing these sort of posts, because he’s not on Twitter.  Don’t ask me what the correlation is, but it’s just a gut feel.
  5. Frugal Fringe – I nominated Noonan for Best-Kept Secret Personal Finance Blog for the Plutus awards but he didn’t make it to the five finalists.  Noonan also doesn’t have twitter but even still I tweet his posts as he writes good stuff.
  6. Debt Discipline – okay I’m cheating here because Brian already did a Versatile Blogger post and I’m linking to it here.  I just wanted to include him because he was a finalist in the Best-Kept Secret Personal Finance Blog and now gets to put that special badge on his blog!  Also he was in an awesome podcast recently – see below.  Edited to add:  Brian’s family is now debt free
  7. Couple Money – Elle’s a pro and has been at this for a while.  She started podcasting this week.  Go check out Brian’s interview.  Elle will you do a post on 7 random facts about your pregnancy and parenting?
  8. Millennial on a Budget – is a noobie blogger whom I just discovered during FFF, trying to find balance and a “rich” life.  I say Amen to that!
  9. The Intentional Penny – is also a blogger I met through FFF.  She’s almost halfway through he $40K of debt and a really new blogger.  Go check her out and give her a warm welcome to the PF blogging community!
  10. Debt Free Guys – These guys have the Money Masters Series which is cool, but since I like to know a bit more about the personal side of bloggers, I’m hoping they will share, like 3.5 points each.
  11. Eat Laugh Purr  - when I searched for the word versatile on this blog, I got a lot of recipes, so #1 I don’t think she’s done VB award and #2 if you need some great recipes go here.
  12. Makin the Bacon - is a new-to-me site, so I’m just gonna have to check her out and you should too!
  13. Busy Mom Budgets - is a SAHM whose making her budget work for their family!  I’m new to her blog but I’m trying to stay on top of SAHM’s in case my daughter decides at some point to stay home too!  She’s due to go back from maternity leave in November.
  14. Retired Not Tired – is a retired grandmother who I like to check out and see what she’s up to.  She likes to do the meme type posts, so I’m hoping she will graciously accept in the Versatile Blogger Award and tell me 7 random things about retirement that I can look forward to.
  15. This spots for you! – If you’re a blogger I read or don’t read and have not been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award, please comment and this spot is yours for the first blogger who responds!

Liebster Award

liebster3For the Liebster Award, here are Dan’s questions:

(1) Why did you start blogging? Has it turned out to be what you expected?

I started blogging for stress relief about our personal finance situation and for entertainment.  It’s turned out to be a lot better than expected.  There are some drawbacks due to time commitment, but since it’s partially for entertainment and support I try to look at the overall picture.  I used to blog many years ago and my old blog is still there but it’s a bit of a mess (headers from previous free theme template are now taken down, probably a lot of broken links).  My husband used to complain that I spent too much time blogging so I quit.  I didn’t have a focus for that blog like I do for this on personal finance.  It was purely for entertainment and personal support.  The Irishman doesn’t complain about this blog though. ;-)

(2) What has been your favorite blog post you have written so far?

I already put in my FFF post my favourite blog post was the one about my two mother figures and how important there were in my life.  They are both now deceased, so I will pick my second favourite post which is the one about my Dad, who is still here, called Father’s Frugal Finances.  I seem to have a thing about phonetically worded things especially around the letter ‘F’.  One that generated a lot of  traffic because it was featured on Rockstar Finance  was also really fun to make.  That was a good one too.  I guess I need to start a favourite posts page.

(3) How did you decide on the name of your blog?

Well it’s so true that I have this thing about phonetics, so I guess it just came easily.  It was also important to me that I have a brand established, in case there were other Debs in the blogging world.  My name is Deborah, I go by Deb or Deborah and sometimes Debs which is a British pet name which my Mum sometimes referred to me as.  I’m actually in the process of trying to change my nickname from Deb to Debs because I like it that much and prefer to be unique.  It can be done because when I started working full-time I gradually got people calling me Deborah instead of Debbie, which was my childhood name and I wasn’t too fussed on it, so I wanted to leave it in the past.

(4) Sum up your life in 6 words or less.

I started with ~ Happy to live, laugh and love.

Then found that too boring (even if true) and came up with  ~ The world spins, so do I.

My final version which combines both sentiments ~ My world rocks and spins.

(5) Earliest money memory? (If you would like to share)

Why, yes, I would like to share, even if not a happy one.  I remember crying and being in a hospital or a clinic and I seem to feel like my parents were leaving me there.  I don’t know if it was for my cyst surgery (suspect not) or if it was when I was climbing at the grocery store and fell and bonked my head and developed a big bump.  From then on I was known as Debbie Down because I used to climb a lot and my parents continually were saying “Debbie, get down” which eventually became “Debbie, down!”

 

Oh dear, this post is entirely too long!  Sorry about that.  Maybe I need to go to posting more than twice per week.  According to PTMoney’s World of Personal Finance Bloggers, you have to blog at least three times a week to get put on the map.

I’d like to thank Anne at Money Propeller for this post which was invaluable for this post Ctrl + K and I are Good Friends. You should check it out for faster keyboarding skills.  There’s also one on excel.

Now that FinCon is over, now can I go have my nap? ;-)

 

 


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The Lemonade Stand Book Review and Giveaway

I was tickled pink (as in pink lemonade!) to review Shannon Ryan’s new children’s book “The Lemonade Stand”.  I am a new grandmother of an eight month old who has been reading bed time story books since he was only 2 months.  I now have a new appreciation for the power of the written and illustrated word for children of all ages.

The Lemonade Stand – by Shannon Ryan

the-lemonade-standThe Lemonade Stand shares the desires of our children to meet their own needs for play, their insatiable capacity to love and the want to help others.  It shows a way to fulfill those dreams in a practical and totally achievable manner.

Shannon incorporates her own girls, Lauren and Taylor, in the story, along with her little godson’s, who have not quite achieved the wisdom of their money savvy friends.   Ryan and Christopher have big eyes full of want as they see things on the toy shelf while shopping with their mother.

The boys do not have enough money in their pockets and their savvy Mom is not willing to indulge their every whim.  Lauren understands their disappointment and provides some hope that they can do some things to improve the situation all on their own.

Without, giving away the plot, although you may have some predictions ;-) , the two boys learn all about entrepreneurship, marketing, raw materials and associated costs and finally profit margins.  There’s a little math thrown in there too, for good measure!

What I liked about the book was the demonstration of self-sufficiency but also the wise allocation of the profits made against wants, future needs and charity.  Children can identify themselves easily in these characters, and in doing so realize they too have the capacity to do whatever it takes to make their dreams come true.

As a mom of four grown children, I second guess my past behaviours and what I have taught my kids growing up about money.  I probably could have done better, knowing what I know now, even though they’ve all turned out pretty good in matters relating to money and otherwise.

Shannon gave me permission to share ‘The Lemonade Stand” with my daughter, a new Mom who is also very frugal.  She liked the book too and in her words “it teaches some important life lessons such as learning the value of money, how to share, how to work as a team with others and how to save money for something you really want.”  All of these are things they hope to teach their son as he gets older.

Personally, I will be happy to read this book to my grandson, and given that he’s already standing at eight months, I think he will be opening his own lemonade stand anytime soon.  ;-)

The-Lemonade-Stand-Shannon-Ryan

Collage of Illustrations from The Lemonade Stand by Shannon Ryan – Illustrated by Aaron Kizer

The Lemonade stand is skillfully illustrated by a very talented Aaron Kizer.

How to buy The Lemonade Stand Book

If you are interested in purchasing this book for your children, nieces or nephews or grandchildren you can use the following coupon code (TOUR3114) to get $3 off the book at The Heavy Purse Store.

The Lemonade Stand – iPad Mini Giveaway

July 14-31, 2014

Sponsored by The Heavy Purse

As part of the book launch, The Heavy Purse is offering an iPad Mini giveaway raffle

Co-hosted by Are Ya Gonna Eat That, Broke Millennial, Budget and The Beach, Budget Blonde, Budgeting for More, Busy Mom Budgets, Cash Cow Couple, Cents and Sensibility, Club Thrifty, Color Me Frugal, Debt Debs, Debt Roundup, Disease Called Debt, Eat Laugh Purr, Enemy of Debt, Eyes on the Dollar, Femme Frugality, Financially Blonde, Frugal Rules, Living Richly Cheaply, Luke 1428, Making Sense of Cents, Money Saving Dude, Monster Piggy Bank, Not Now Mom’s Busy, Reach Financial Independence, Shoeaholic No More, Stacking Benjamins, Tackling Our Debt, The Broke and Beautiful Life, The Finance Girl, The Frugal Farmer, The Random Path, Thrifty Dad, VeegMama and Young Adult Money. Join Lauren and Taylor in their continuing money adventures in The Lemonade Stand by Shannon Ryan, CFP®.

Shannon is a Mom on a mission to help busy parents teach their children simple, value-based principles that guide their money decisions and support their long-term financial well-being. “Everyone handles money. Unfortunately, not everyone does it with confidence. Money has long been a taboo topic in many homes, which makes it even harder for parents to know where to start or what to teach. So I created a series of children books to help parents ease into these important conversations. Financial literacy is one of the most loving gifts you can give your children, and I encourage everyone to make money conversations a priority in your home.”

We’re Giving Away an iPad Mini to One Lucky Reader!

Help us celebrate the release of The Lemonade Stand and join Shannon in her mission to increase financial literacy in both children and adults.

The giveaway runs from July 14-31, 2014 and is open worldwide.*

* A winner located outside of the United States will receive a cash equivalent prize via PayPal. a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Blogger Awards and Carnivals – Why I blog?

liebster-button-blogger-awardsThe Cottage Retreatist nominated me for a Liebster award which is very kind of her.  As far as blogger awards go, this is a for new and small blogs (less than 200 followers).  Here is more information about The Liebster Award from The Wording Well.

There are some questions I need to answer and then I pick 5 nominations as well.

The questions

1)   Why did you start your blog?

I decided to blog as we are over two years into a very long debt repayment journey and I was starting to suffer from a bit of debt fatigue.  I wanted to increase my motivation but also help others who need to take the steps that we did.  I want to show that there is life during debt repayment and a frugal living.  So I thought what better way to combine both goals into one by working through my blog.

Originally, I was thinking of asking my pastor if I could offer financial tips to any members in our church community who needed some assistance.  But the more I thought about it, I wondered if it would be too difficult because people wouldn’t want to come forward, my pastor may not want to be in the middle of it or what if there were legal implications.  I’m still thinking of this as a possibility down the road or maybe when I retire.  I really do want to help people, so at this point I am still learning even more financial strategies and getting experience at it, so it’s all good.

2) What is your favourite blog post so far and why?

I have a few favs but I guess my best fav is Mother’s Money Moments.  It kinda sums up my life and what makes me tick and was filled with emotion.

3)  What is your perfect Sunday?

A sunny day at my Dad’s cottage when I have Monday off and don’t have to go to work until Tuesday!  Swimming, playing scrabble, a little sudoku, maybe a walk, some reading… oh and a nap.  Laughing and chatting about life with family and neighbours.  Eating leftovers for dinner, cheap and not much fuss or cleanup.

4)  What is your favourite quote?

My favourite quote is my own.  It is my twist on “You have to eat a pound of dirt before you die”.  Well in Canada, we are on the metric system so I say, “You have to eat .6 kg of dirt before you die”.

5)  Describe yourself in 3 words.

Determined, genuine and lazy.

Now I’ll be honest with you, I’ve got some additional bonus questions here because I didn’t read the instructions well and started answering the same questions that Cottage Retreatist had, before I realized I can make my own questions up for my nominees.  So since I had already answered these three ones that CR had, I will let you see them as well.  No point crying over spilled milk!

a)  How long ago did you start your blog?

I started mid March, 2014, so I’ve been blogging for four months.  I started in WordPress.com and actually just migrated over to self-hosted wordpress.org last week.  Well that was a big job.  You can read all about it on two posts I did, especially if you are looking for some tips and tricks.

  • Moving Blog from WordPress.com to Self-Hosted WordPress.org – This addresses the migration process and some of the lessons learned from mistakes I made or things I had to figure out, all called out in the form of gotchas!

  • Migrate WordPress.com to Self Hosted – The Live Version – After settling things in there were still some things I was not happy with or that remained outstanding and so I reached out through Twitter to get some blogging buddy assistance and it worked very well!  I blogged live about what I was doing to address the issues over the space of a couple of days (Sat to Mon) until all open items completed and I could take my construction man picture off that post!

b)  What is your favourite thing to blog about?

Personal experiences and tying them back to personal finance, career, stress management and mental health.  I think it helps to add credence to what you are writing about if you can walk the talk and give examples and analogies.  I just love reading blogs that have personal stories in them too, so I want my blog to be that way as well.  Oh, and I also like funny.  Sometimes I’m just in a strange mood and I can put some wacko stuff on these pages, and other times I’m more serious or philosophical.  I guess if I someone was to describe my blog as one of variety, I would be very pleased with that.

c) Do your family and friends know you blog?

I think I blogged for at least a month and no one knew.  Then I confided in my husband.  Next my sister.  Then a close friend.  Then my children and just this past weekend to my Dad!  And not one of them reads my blog!  At first I didn’t want them reading it, then I did, and sometimes again I don’t.  I try to keep things respectful, but if I’m going to be sincere and open about the ups and downs of our journey, I can’t hold everything back or paint only a rosy picture all the time.  Sometimes a girl’s gotta rant.  I want people who read to feel comfortable in confiding that things are not always smooth sailing for them either.  This is what personal finance camaraderie is all about.  Don’t sweat the small stuff, but if you do, please share.  ;-)

My nominations

It was easy to come up with this list.  I had too many to choose from so I’m going to give you a bit of variety here in these nominated blogs:

  • John @ The Hill of Beans – I found John’s blog when I was reading a minimalism blog and I found things there that inspired me.  It’s very peaceful and comforting at his blog.  I suggest this is a good one to read if you are stressed or right before you go to bed.
  • Jason @ Islands of Investing – Jason’s blog is also very comforting (hey do I sense a trend, here?) even though he writes on investments!  Can you imagine that?  I like to read investment blogs too, because I’m preparing to manage my our investment portfolios by myself and I need all the help I can get.
  • Asset Grinder is quite the character and is another investment blog I follow.   He really does his homework and has lots of insight to give on investments. He helps his MIL and buddies out with their retirement and debt strategies.  Nothing like giving back!
  • Hypocritical Accountant is a very new blogger who has just gone back to work after maternity leave.  She’s trying to find her groove balancing work and family, and boy, I know how that can be!
  • Kayla @ Shoeaholic No More is last but certainly not least.  She’s got debt repayment, decluttering, house and car maintenance, pet care, cross-fit, part-time job, blogging, and a whole lot of busy going on!  I hope to gain some of her energy vicariously through reading her blog.  ;-)

liebster-pretty-blogger-awardsFor my nominees  – the new questions!

  1. Why did you start your blog?
  2. What is your favourite blog post so far and why?
  3. What part of the day do you like best and why?
  4. What is your favourite quote?
  5. Describe yourself in 3 words.

No worries if you don’t want to participate, but if you do, it’s great to spread the camaraderie.  You can add the Liebster image to your blog – pick a button of your choosing (I’ve included the feminine and masculine versions of the button here) by downloading and adding to your post and in your sidebar if you wish.  Prepare you own 5 questions (you can reuse or modify above) and let your own 5 nominees know.  Link back here in your post as well, to let me know who you have selected so I can go and read.  Oh, I almost forgot…have fun!

liebster3-blogger-awards

blogger-awardsMore Blogger Awards

Speaking of blogger awards, last week I was put up against some great competition at the CNA Finance MVP Awards and Josh felt sorry for me and kindly decided to put my name in the hat again because he didn’t realize I was a relatively new blogger.  So now I’m up against some other steep competition in the new blogger category – Shoeaholic No More and Practical Cents.  I read and love both of these blogs, so it’s kind of bittersweet to be in this competition with them.  But, I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, so if you voted for me last week and still want to again, please email CNAFinanceHelp@gmail.com or leave a comment at post linked above.  Good luck gals!

blogger-carnival

Image courtesy of Nathan Greenwood / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Blogger Carnivals

Here’s some blogger carnivals my posts have been featured in this week.  Thanks to the hosts for including me!

Financial Carnival for Young Adults @ Millennial Cents – Debt Debs Super Duper Advice

Lifestyle Carnival @ My Life I Guess – Top Ten Reasons You Need to Manage Your Finances

Yakezie Carnival @ Smart Budgeting – Canada Day – Be Mindful and Be Brave!

Looking forward to getting back to personal finance posts next.  Enough of this blogging stuff for a bit!

My-Dad


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Father’s Frugal Finances

The best example I have had for being frugal has come from my father. In fact, we often thought he was downright miserly.  Somehow, it might have backfired, given our current financial situation. There may have been some moments that I thought he was just too cheap for his own good. Maybe this stuck with me and I swung the pendulum too far the other way. In retrospect, he really has set a good example and one which I wish I had heeded a long time ago.

powdered-milk-frugalChildhood Currency

As a child I remember asking him how much money he made. Both of my parents scoffed and said “Oh, we don’t talk about that.” They realized I would blab to all my friends, even if I didn’t realize if it was a good wage or not, it certainly would seem enormous to me. They didn’t get the blabbing part wrong. Look at me now – a blogger!

But my impression was that we were a little poorer than my friend’s families. Not by a lot, and probably not at all, but hearing frugal talk in the household, drinking powdered milk (yucch, I hated that stuff) are things that may have lead me to this conclusion. My mother didn’t work until my youngest sister turned five, and then she took a part-time job in a retail store.  In general, I grew up feeling like money was not to be wasted, in case you really needed it someday.

Teenage Turns

Imagine my surprise when my parents started taking some winter vacations on their own when we got a little older but were left in the care of our aunt. A cruise, a trip to Florida…. well, well, things must be looking up in the Finance department.  It was probably more like miserly intervention.  My Mum had probably had enough and started threatening and there was probably a few “I deserves” on her part thrown in there too!

Florida-Disney-WorldNext thing I know, they bought a house in Florida. Wow! I didn’t see that coming. Of course it was mortgaged, and it meant seven of us loaded into a sedan for a three day 27 hour drive door to door. Disney World, Busch Gardens, the beach, Tarpon Springs… here we come!   We did this for three Christmases in a row.   We had to save up our own money for any extra spending. Truth be told, I think there was a bit of Jonesying there on the part of my mother when they bought the house, and she convinced him it was an investment. I was even allowed to have a friend fly down to Florida and meet us there.  I wasn’t complaining.

Sixteen years of age and a new driver, I managed to convince my Dad to let me have his car to go to the drive-in with my boyfriend. Looking back, he was pretty accommodating, though I didn’t see it as a big deal at the time. What I did see as a big deal was the scratch I put down the side when I parked too close to the speaker and scraped it a good long streak. I was so terrified of his reaction that I did not sleep a wink all night. I heard him up getting the tea and his breakfast and figured I need to get this over with. I told him what happened and immediately started bawling. He didn’t say a word but went over to look at the car in the driveway from the living room window. Eventually he spoke, asked questions, maybe appeared a little annoyed, but nothing like I expected, and nothing that I can recall now almost 40 years later. I don’t recall if he asked me to pay for repair or if he even had it repaired. All I remember now is my fear and his reaction being not nearly as bad as I had imagined it would be. Even though he was frugal, it appears money wasn’t always front and foremost in his thoughts.

frugal-studentTenant, Tuition and Transportation

I went to university but paid my way, tuition and accommodations.  There was never any discussion of money set aside for me for this. For the most part, I managed quite well, being in a Coop program, so I had good employment work terms between every semester of school.

We had an older used second family vehicle, even though my Mum didn’t drive. It was there for when I was at home for my work terms so I could drive to my job. I was allowed to take it the six hour drive to university for the first weekend of every term so I could take all my stuff, but I had to bring it back the very next weekend and return by bus to university. I often wondered why they didn’t let me keep the car with me at school all term, because it just sat in the driveway at home. It was sort of an unspoken frugality that was practiced.

I could walk to university from the various places I rented during my school terms which were at maximum about 2 miles. I didn’t need a car. I only needed a car to get my stuff down there and back each term (my Coop placements were all in my hometown).  Having a car at university was a want. He probably knew I would get lazy, start driving to school, drive all my friends, spend lots of money on gas, possibly get into an accident… . No, needs they could support. Wants would not be supported.

Even though I would have to buy a one-way bus ticket to get back to school after delivering the car back home (bus tickets weren’t that cheap either), and even though we got rear-ended once on the way home (not our fault, but my friend was driving), this was the standard that was expected all through-out my university years. I was envious of some friends who had cars. I would struggle home with my groceries stuffed in my knapsack and two arms breaking as I tried to carry everything the half a mile to my accommodations.   I think I tried renegotiating the terms once or twice, but for the most part it was accepted by me as a no go, for what-ever reasons, and even if it did not make sense to me.  Laying down the ground work for no lifestyle inflation had begun.

ToyotaGraduation Gifts

My last semester, I already had a full time job lined up for after graduation. I think the second vehicle might have died by this point, but that wasn’t needed as a way to get home that term. I was given a relocation allowance by my employer, whereby I could rent a van to bring all my stuff home, including some furniture that I had managed to leave there for the full four years.

I did need a vehicle though to get to work, and decided I wanted to buy my own brand new car. I planned to live at home for my first year to save up to buy nicer furniture and prepare to move out on my own.   I had my eyes on a Toyota Tercel and went shopping for it with my Dad earlier in the semester, so he could help me to negotiate. They asked for a $100 deposit, which my Dad put down on his credit card. (I don’t think I even had a credit card then). I fully expected to pay it back, once I started working full-time, because money always ran a little short by the time I got to the end of each school term.

Imagine my surprise when I picked up my new car in May, and Dad said I did not need to pay him back the $100. It was a graduation present. A very generous graduation present, I felt. $100 from my Dad felt like $10,000 at the time.  Maybe it was a little bit of foreshadowing to how he is today.

downpayment-for-homeHome Homage

Fast forward, and after a couple of years of apartment rental, it’s time to purchase a home.  Dad lent me some additional money for my down payment.   He set an interest rate that was lower than what I would pay but better than he could get in short term interest bearing investments, so it was a win-win!  I actually didn’t even pay this money back until I was married a few years.  He wasn’t asking for it but I didn’t want to be indebted to him any longer, especially now that I was a mother and with many family responsibilities. Since he was money savvy, he saw an opportunity to help his daughter out and himself, all at the same time.

frugal-sandwichBread and Butter

He continued to be quite thrifty, was good at repairs etc. so it wasn’t usual for him to bring in any experts. He cheaped out on house painting, leaving it to my Mum to do.  When she said eventually, that was it, she was doing no more painting, she was too old for this, he had to address.  He asked Huey, Duey and Louie aka my husband and my two BILS to help him paint the living and dining room and hallway one weekend, instead of hiring painters.  My Mum didn’t want to be around so asked me to take her out for the day which I obliged.  So by mid afternoon, the guys were getting hungry.  “Do you have anything to eat, Grandad?”  Oh, sure, he said and made them bread and butter sandwiches*.  They still laugh about Grandad’s cooking prowess to this day.  Not only was he frugal on getting the painting done, but he didn’t even have to score for a pizza!

man-on-phoneBrains or Braun

Years later, Dad took ill suddenly and was diagnosed with a brain tumor on his pituitary gland.  After surgery, he needed hormone replacement therapy, and getting exactly the right dosage is always a matter of trial and error.

At one point, he had so much estrogen in him he was calling us to talk on the phone regularly, crying in front of us and shopping up a storm!  I kid you not!  He went shopping for a sports car with my husband once (didn’t buy one, thankfully)!  He bought new windows for their house and my mother was in her glory!  We said to him “Who are you and what have you done with our father?”

Since he was under close supervision in those early days, the doctors immediately spotted the overdose and cut it back, a little too far, and he went back to his miserly self but worse!  Let me tell ya, those hormones play a big part in this I have witnessed!

Single but Satisfied

Life changes in an instant, and he lost my Mum unexpectedly 9 years ago.  7 years her senior, we never expected things to turn out this way.

He is 89 years old, lives in a rented apartment, still drives and comes to dinner most Saturday nights, bringing a bottle of wine for every meal.  He’s still frugal, but he’s no longer cheap and has become quite  generous.  He complains about how much his stock broker is making off him, but still has quite a bit invested in the market even at his age.

He knows we have cut back and are living frugally, which pleases him, I think.  But I could never tell him the extent of our debt, because I don’t want to disappoint him.

I must say that, as much as I miss my Mum (she was always the life of the party), it has been good to get to know my Dad even better in her absence.  I often think about their situation, since The Irishman and I have the exact same age difference.

In retrospect, I think my Dad has the right amount of frugality and I think that at the end of the day, I do too!

My-DadHAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all you Dads out there!

Just remember ~

Time is money, but money also takes time!

 

 

Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
milk – imagerymajestic
Disney – David Castillo Dominici
student walking – Ambro
Toyota – tiverylucky
helping hand home – jannoon028
bread and butter – rakratchada torsap
man on phone – stockimages
My Dad – Simon Howden

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The Thrifty Issue


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Family Matters – How Does Your Family Treat Money and Debt?

How Do Your Family Members Treat Money and DebtI wrote recently about some key contributors to our debt journey, acknowledging that my worst fear was the impact it was having on the ability of my adult children to manage their finances responsibly and proactively.

The Early Days after Debt Acknowledgement

My oldest is the most frugal of all of them, and has been quite capable of managing her finances well, (mostly) without my help.  In fact when we first acknowledged our debt crisis, I was quite overwhelmed and anxious.  I found it anxiety provoking to even log into our bank accounts or credit card statements on line!  Can you believe that?  She gave me some sage advice suggesting that I just start with one of them, and log in every day, until the anxiousness subsided.

Later I added logging in to see my credit card balances to my routine, and soon I was creating budgets on excel and living and breathing our financial numbers until I was bleary-eyed.   The new found financial good habits, for me, had begun.

More than a year later, after that initial shock, I had built up routines and coping strategies and I began to talk more openly about our finances with all of our children.

Good Personal Finance Habits

Even though I knew my oldest was probably in the best position, I still wanted to satisfy my curiosity urgent need to know exactly how they were managing things.  Were there any things they were not doing or neglecting that, after twelve months of debt wrangling, I might be able to offer advice on.

She assured me that they had all of the following in place:

  • An emergency fund of cash equal to about 3 months of expenses.  We discussed the merits of having up to six months of expenses.
  • Fully topped up TFSA’s (Tax Free Savings Accounts), for both her and her husband.  This equated to about 40K at the time, more than enough to be considered the additional component of their emergency fund.
  • Regular contributions to their RRSP’s to obtain the maximum company match.

I also knew that she had good frugal habits in place such as:

  • Managing household expenses by minimizing hydro use (her husband always jokes that he walks around in the dark half the time).
  • Selling unwanted stuff on Kijiji to make a few extra dollars from household clutter.

More recently, they just moved into a new home, and I helped them do a few different sensitivity analyses for the mortgage repayment.  I use the following Canadian Mortgage Calculator (from Vertex42 – can also be used for US, see note below (*).  We created the following worksheets by making copies of the master and tweaking the variables:

  • To illustrate the impact on total interest paid and final payment date of switching to accelerated bi-weekly payments from monthly mortgage payments.  With accelerated bi-weekly, you pay half of your budgeted monthly mortgage amount exactly every two weeks on the same day of the week, thereby fitting in 26 payments a year,  instead of 24 if you just paid it twice per month, or 12 if only once per month.  Your payments are less if you pay biweekly, but the biggest savings comes from taking your monthly payment and dividing by 2 and paying that every two weeks having the equivalent of 13 months of payments (26/2) instead of 12.
  • We also wanted to see the impact of making prepayments, both annual of $3,000 plus an extra bi-weekly payment of $50.  These prepayments come right off the principal.  (Note:  You need to check the terms of your mortgage with respect to prepayments.  There is often maximum annual amounts.  Some can be made at any time and as often as you want throughoutt the year, some can only be done once per year at or near anniversary date).

canadian-mortgage-calculator_options

  • The compound period for a Canadian mortgage is semi-annual, but this calculator can also be used for US mortgage calculations by changing the compound period to monthly – the main difference between a US and Canadian mortgage.
  • They are planning to following the final option in the chart.  If they can save make an extra $50 payment every two weeks and save to make a $3K payment every year, they will reduce their mortgage term to just over 16 years.

My son lives farther away and seems to be pretty savvy.  I’m pretty sure he’s paying off his credit cards each month.  I think his student debt is fully paid.  I believe he is also saving for a down payment for a house.  Other than that, I don’t know much else.

I offered him help to prepare any budget spreadsheets answer any questions he may have in order to ensure his financial house is in order.  He hasn’t taken me up on it yet, probably because when we see him we don’t really have time to spend on this.  But he knows I’m ready any time, even if we do it on a web session.   I can always send him the spreadsheets to fill out, but something tells me that it’s easier more valuable if Mum is there to ask the savvy questions and keep it interactive!

  • One of the drawbacks though, is that if Mum does all the work, they may be less likely to keep it up or track their spending going forward etc.

I wrote on Worth-it-Wednesday, how about how my #3 surprised me about paying off her student loans.  She was on my list to work with next, because I really wasn’t sure how she was doing, what with a recent humanitarian trip to Haiti which she paid for herself (she’s a nurse).   I think maturity is helping here because I see her being more frugal like her older sister and brother.  I think she now has a sense of how good it feels to be debt free (well, since last weekend   ;)  ) and she seemed pretty, pretty happy about it!  Bazinga!

Bad Personal Finance Habits

I’m not really sure where to start with #4 so I’ll just dive in.  She doesn’t have a lot of income because she is on disability due to here severe OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and social anxiety.   Her OCD is the germaphobic / cleanliness type so she’s always buying new products to keep her body and her bathroom clean.  She also discards (or gives to me or my husband digs it out of the garbage) shampoo or makeup that she feels has sat around too long and has become contaminated.  She goes through toilet paper and paper towels like there’s no tomorrow (note to self:  buy shares in Scott paper).  Plus, I think she tends to try to soothe herself and her symptoms by shopping on-line.  The UPS truck is often stopping at our house and makes me feel annoyed.

She used to pay us $300 / month for room and board, which was okay because it covered her expenses.  Lately she renegotiated her payment because she felt she was paying too much and said she wanted to save her money.  I wasn’t too keen but it was becoming a bit of a bone of contention and I gave up the battle out of resignation, I guess.  She had calculated how much she consumes in hydro, paper products, water etc. and thought that $190 was sufficient.  Only I have yet to see any of that money for two months now.

Am I frustrated?  Damn right I am.  Is she taking advantage of us?  Maybe.  Am I going to do something about it?  I will, I’m just too tired to fight with her about it right now.  We’ve been going through this for seven years.  Her symptoms became visible to us at age 14, but really severe at 17 and she’s 24 now.  She acknowledges that she had OCD symptoms since about 5 years of age (touching compulsions, scrupulosity, bad thoughts).

It has been really bad.  Think worst case.  Ya, it happened.  Every parents nightmare.   Well I guess worse case would be if she wasn’t here anymore.  She tried twice.  So I always have to remind myself that as bad as it is, it could always be worse.

Anyways, I just wanna OCD break right now, so I choose not to deal with it.  Probably a bad move on my part.  I think dealing with her OCD has also played a factor in our debt load.   Many trips to hospital, parking, eating out, buying things she needed, shopping to try to feel better, taking trips to get away from it all.  When it gets really bad, your spending becomes an afterthought.

We still have bottles of bug killer in our hall closet that my husband bought last summer when she insisted there were bugs in her room, even though we couldn’t find any evidence of them.   (Ya, I’m frustrated too because he never took them back after she didn’t use them and used something else instead to kill the invisible bugs so now $30 – $40 of chemical bug killer still sitting in my front hall closet).

I’m not looking for sympathy.  But there you have it.  Another excerpt on my personal debt story.  I count my blessings …  still.

I was going to also talk about my sister and how they are treating their debt and spending but this post is entirely too long so I’ll keep that for another time.

Plus this post is getting to be a bit of a downer and I don’t like being a Debbie Downer (even though Debbie Down was my nickname as a kid), so let me end on a positive note and with a joke.

Positive note:

I was initially inspired to write this post by John at Frugal Rules when he wrote Why Financial Literacy is so Important to Me.   He says it’s his responsibility to teach them to be wise about their financial decision making and I couldn’t agree more!

This pair of ducks were coming to our pool in spring for about 10 years - this year they didn't return

This pair of ducks were coming to our pool in spring for about 10 years – this year they didn’t return

An oldie but goodie:

A duck walks into a bar and asks, “Got any gwapes?”

The bartender, confused, tells the duck no. The duck thanks him and leaves.

The next day, the duck returns and asks, “Got any gwapes?”

Again, the bartender tells him, “No — the bar does not serve grapes, has never served grapes and, furthermore, will never serve grapes.” The duck thanks him and leaves.

The next day, the duck returns, but before he can say anything, the bartender yells, “Listen, duck! This is a bar! We do not serve grapes! If you ask for grapes again, I will nail your stupid duck beak to the bar!”

2 bunches of grapes by Grant CochraneThe duck is silent for a moment, and then asks, “Got any nails?”

Confused, the bartender says no.

“Good!” says the duck. “Got any gwapes?”

 

“2 Bunches Of Grapes” by Grant Cochrane from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
Wedding


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Mother Money Moments

I always become a bit melancholy around Mother’s Day.  There’s a lot of strong emotion around mothers, whether you have one (or not), whether you are one (or not) and basically just all of the personal experiences we have related to the phenomenon of motherhood.

Interestingly enough, I can relate a number of my stories surrounding motherhood to personal finance.  Revealing these facets helps to explain, in part, why I am where I am today in my debt journey.

Excuse me, while I go and grab a box of kleenex.

My Second Mum

Hip Auntie - I'm Blondie on the far right

Hip Auntie – I’m Blondie on the far right

She wasn’t really my second Mum, but it sure felt like it.  You see, I was blessed with not only my own mother, but a wonderful relationship with my aunt.   She was a only a couple of years younger than my Mum, but she acted like our hip Auntie and spoiled us like a generous grandmother.  As she never married or had children of her own, we received all the benefit and love that her mothering instincts desired, and then some.

I paid my way through university, as I had the benefit of coop work terms every four months throughout my 5 year degree.  However, usually near the end of the school term, cash was getting low for me and my aunt would always seek out in our weekly phone calls the state of my bank account.  She was very generous to send a cheque for several hundred dollars to tide me over until I started my next coop work term.  No repayment was expected.  I was always very thankful for this cash relief as I was trying to finish up my exams and did not want to be distracted by my growling tummy.

Fast forward well past graduation, past my first apartment which I furnished after living at home for a year and saving, on to buying my first home.  For some reason the elderly couple I bought from wanted to leave the microwave, which I didn’t need, but took anyways – it was a little bigger than the one I had in my apartment.  I offered the one from my apartment to my aunt, and to this day I do not understand why or what got into me to suggest what I said next.

I said that she could pay me $50 (or some such amount) for the microwave, as she didn’t have one and wanted to get one.  Well this did not sit well with her, and she became rather withdrawn.  Initially, I did not clue into my faux pas.  I thought it was actually a pretty good deal (in those days) – it was still fairly new and nice and compact for her condo.  Well her sullenness lasted for days until we had a heart-to-heart and she explained how hurt she was after all she did for me when I was in university.  Many years had passed since that time, and I had let my busy, selfish, determined self get in the way of seeing the big picture.  She had always been so generous and kind to us, and I let that blind me so that it never entered my purview when I made that stupid, ridiculous request.  I cried a lot and told her how sorry I was.  Of course, we made up instantly, but I have always harboured great guilt over that incident.  I loved her dearly, and still miss her like crazy, even though she’s been gone for 15 years.

Suddenly, I’m a Mother

Mothers-Money-MomentsIn my late twenties, after a series of some quite long and some shorter relationships, I met a man through a mutual friend.  It was a blind date, which I openly confess I only went on because I suspected he might have some single friends.  He was a widower with three young children, and I felt assured that he would not meet my criteria, which included having my own children.  Well, you know what they say, you find love in all the unsuspected places.

The great part about our relationship, from the beginning, was that he was looking for a wife, not a mother for his kids.  They had been managing on their own as a family for 3 years.  I was able to slide in with no expectations put on me, which, in all honestly, made me want to assume my new role as Mum, which I did.

Within a year, we had a fourth child.  Life was busy but fun.  We worked hard and played hard. I loved buying things for my kids, taking them to movies or out for a meal.  We had holidays in Florida 3 summers in a row! Life was grand and I loved it and my family!!

Christmas was so exciting – I learned all the tricks of the trade from my aunt.  I would plan out our Christmas purchases of toys and clothes, often buying one more thing right up to Christmas eve.  Of course, then I had to buy 3 more things,  always making sure the appearance and spending was balanced amongst all four kids.  I wouldn’t change a thing about those early years!

Life Takes a Turn -> Impact on the Maternal Breadwinner

In the mid-nineties my husband was laid off from his job after a series of Corporate restructurings.  Even though we had some indication the cuts were continuing, it still comes as a bit of a shock.  Even, when employed, my salary was always higher than his, but it did not mean anything to me.  I always felt we fed from the communal trough.

He decided to pursue a different career path, working for himself instead of seeking another full-time position.  I won’t go into the details and ups and downs of this avenue, but I know it has had a significant effect on my psyche, having been the primary breadwinner of the family for the last 20 years.

I was always a high achiever, high performer, but with the added stress to keep my position, salary and benefits for the sake of the family,  I felt an overwhelming burden.  I was no longer a loving wife and a fun mother.  I was providing for my family, and I had better not screw anything up.  I would work long hours, to ensure my position was always secure.

The stress and pressure could always be relieved by “I deserve” purchases while out shopping, holidays with the family or get-a-ways on our own.  Since I was bearing, what felt to me, this great burden, I left The Irishman to manage things more on the homefront, including managing the finances.  I worked with a computer and numbers all day, why would I want and why should I do this in my badly needed decompression time?

Mum Goes on a Trip with Nana but Ignores the $igns

Life goes on.  The children start to become teenagers and we try to roll with the punches.  My dear aunt passes away from cancer at age 64.  YOLO ensues.  Money is used as a de-stressor.   We have enough on our plate.

I decide to take my youngest on a trip to Ireland with my Mum, for her 14 birthday.  Exciting times!  We are so looking forward to seeing family and I’m ecstatic to show her around the Ireland I’ve come to know and love.   I go to pick up the rental car at the airport and my credit card is declined.  I manage to contact my husband who calls the bank, something about a lost payment or other.

Mum Misses Nana and Auntie, so YOLO Continues

Youngest daughter develops severe OCD.  Life continues to be stressful.  We don’t spend willy nilly, but we don’t hold back either.

Mothers-Money-Moments

Mum ~ Taken in Ireland
What a glorious time we had

Mum passes away suddenly almost a year from when we left on our trip to Ireland.  Life becomes almost unbearable.  So thankful that we did that trip together.  Wonderful memories.  YOLO continues.

Mum Quits Making Excuses and Gets on the Bandwagon

I wouldn’t have done it, if I didn’t have to, but after a series of ‘signs’ that I chose to ignore, I finally got the big sign that I could no longer hide from.  I can’t even remember what it was, probably another credit card decline.  It’s not important now.  Mum has to either face the music and commit to supporting her husband and family to get out of this mess or have herself committed.  I chose door #1.

Mum is Now a Grandma

Nama is the New Black

Nama = Na + Ma from Nana (my Mum) and Grandma (my MIL)

So after two years of frugal living and debt repayment, I’ve learned a lot.

About myself.

Most importantly, I want to help my children be good money managers.  I feel I’ve let them down in this regard.  But it’s been said before that guilt is a wasted emotion.  One of my favourite PF blogs has given me the fortitude to face it.

If you are at all touched by this post, you should go check this out too ~ Mea Culpa @ The Pursuit of Riches.

I have forgiven my husband.  Now it’s time to forgive myself.

Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers, Aunties, Mother-in-laws, Soon-to-be-Mums, Wanna-be-Mums and Chrysanthemums!

Sure hope I didn’t leave any one out! :D

Don’t forget #FinSavSat blog hop party.  I’m co-hosting this week.  Just slide on down to previous post and add your link!

debt debs

This post is another as part of the Financially Savvy Saturdays blog hop.

Click on the logo above and join in!

Tweet Hashtag #FinSavSat

Worth-IT-Wednesday


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feedly vs Bloglovin on Worth IT Wednesday!

feedly vs bloglovinSome of these Worth it Wednesday posts are becoming a little bit techy, hence I capitalize the IT in the title on these sorts of posts!

This post will be a little face off between feedly vs Bloglovin with a few other personal updates thrown in at the bottom.

feedly vs Bloglovin

feedly icon (looks familiar)

feedly vs Bloglovin

Bloglovin icon (who knew?)

Last Wednesday I asked for some help on choosing a good blog reader that would work on an Android tablet and I got 5 responses (I think 3 of them I entered on behalf of those that responded in the comments – note to self:  they’re not a big fan of polls in the personal finance community :D ).

So the consensus was 60% Bloglovin’ and 40% feedly as the tools of choice.  Being that the vote was somewhat arbitrary (translation:  lame  not many responses), I decided to try out both applications on my new Yoga Lenovo B8000-F tablet that I got for Mother’s Day to see which one I liked better.

I installed both straight way and tried feedly (aka feebly, BTW their brand is with lower case “f”, kinda like my “d’s” ;-) ) first.  Some of the comments below pertain also to the non-tablet version as well.  I’ve tried to highlight only the features that I see as different between the two apps.

If you think I’ve missed something, or I’ve mistakenly noted something that is incorrect, only because I don’t know how to use the tool yet ….which is entirely possible…. please let me know.

feedly on Android Tablet

Pros ~

  1. Ability to group your feeds into different categories i.e. Debt Blogs, Investment Blogs, Blog Blogs, Dog Blogs, God Blogs, Funny Blogs, Oh My Blogs.  These topic lists can also help to prioritize your blog reading, as in PF Favs, New, etc.
  2. Ability to mark items as “Save for Later” if you want to read later, or comment later, or send to Pinterest etc. later.
  3. You can go back to recently read, if you swipe away a page and then realize you want to go back to it.
  4. You can sort the posts so that oldest shows first.  (Good for anal people like me who don’t want to miss anything)
  5. You can mark specific blogs as “Must Reads” and select those for fast and easy priority reading.
  6. There is an ability to link it up to Evernote, but I must admit I don’t know what the advantage is with this or how to do it.  Evernote looks like a cool app though.  Anyone use it?

Cons ~

  1. Not very intuitive to know how to add blogs (but that could just be me as I’m still learning how to use the tablet)
  2. When leaving comments, often my screen would disappear and I would lose my comment.  This could be user error on my part, but it happened enough and I can’t tell what sequence of events prompted it, to say that it’s a bit finicky.   I also noticed that it stays in a feedly screen as opposed to launching the website in your browser.   This may have something to do with it.

Bloglovin’ on Android Tablet

 Pros ~

  1. You have the ability to like posts which I think can be used similarly as the “Save for Later” above in feedly.  I know I said I would only talk about the differences between the e-readers; I just point this out because it is a little different.  In addition, you can see how many “Likes” have been marked by all Bloglovin readers for a particular post.
  2. Posts are marked as unread until you mark them read.  They do not disappear, but any blogs with all read posts, will move down your reader list, so that only blogs with unread posts show at the top (I didn’t notice this at first).
  3. When you select “View original post”, it opens it in your preferred browser which is preferable and may avoid the commenting problems I noted above on Feedly.

Cons ~

  1. No ability to group your feeds under different topic lists.  For me this is a big missing feature.
  2. Posts sort in following order:  Unread first (good), most recent first (not alterable).  This may not be a bad thing for people who are trying to be more efficient and effective, because likely they will want to read and comment on the most recent post, and skim the others for something that spikes their interest.

So what am I doing now?  Oh.my.blog, I wanted a reader application to help me do damage control on my email.  Now I’ve got two readers going on top of my email.  LOL  They are a nice way to track the blogs you follow, no doubt about it.

So the conclusion is – there is no clear favourite, for me anyways.  I’m leaning a little more to feedly if I can get the commenting thing sorted out.

I need to figure out if I’m going to drop one or use each for different purposes or different blog lists. Dunno.  I promise I won’t do another post on it, because this is boring the death out of me, so I can just imagine what it is doing to anyone reading this!!

P.S.  You may notice I added the two follow buttons at the top right of my blog.  Of course, email, facebook and wordpress are still other good options and buttons are up there too!  Gotta keep those options open!  Can anyone help me with that RSS button?  I still don’t know what that is and where it’s going.  HAAALP.

Post editorial add:  Holy crap, I may take away my endorsement of feedly because I just tried to look at my own blog in there and when I click on the link to “Visit website”, once you start scrolling down the page turns to just my page background and you can’t get back to the post.  Not nice.  Don’t go there.

Update 26 May 2014:  Well I never heard back from feedly after submitting 2 tickets but it appears that the display of my blog is fixed on the Android.   Yay!

OK, on to other news!

FinSavSatI am co-hosting the Financially Savvy Saturdays blog hop with creator Femme Frugality this week.  Check out last week’s edition which was co-hosted by Hayley @ A Disease Called Debt for more info. Plan to join in starting on Saturday with a recent non-sponsored/giveaway post from this week.  A new post will be here early Saturday (including this weeks html code to add to your post) for you to link up to.  A great way for people to highlight their favourite posts plus it’s fun and easy peasy!  #FinSavSat

Things are a little crazy around here on a number of fronts. I’ll point out the $finance impacts, because these points are obviously personal.

DoodleWe have a guest for the next four days while my sis and her husband take a short trip.  He will be back again for a week later in May when they go on their cruise without us.  Yes, I am very happy about that spending decision, even though they offered to pay.  Never mind the hidden financial impacts, it just feels right too.  Plus I get to spend four fabulous days with this awesome pooch!  We are doggy owners again!  For four days!  Count our blessings!!  $no dog for us right now due to no money in the budget$

My daughter and her family are closing on their new home today; they start moving some breakable stuff today and the movers are coming tomorrow.  They will be about 13 minutes closer to our home which means 7 minutes only to see my grandson!  Heeee!!  $less gas$ $can ride my bike in about 20 minutes$

Okay, that’s a wrap.  This post has been written with only 11 revisions.  Holy cow.  What have I forgotten to do?


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Where we are at now at the start of this blog … 2 years after D-day!

rough seas-personal-debtOK so I started this blog with my first posts explaining why I’m here and where we started from 2 years ago.

Now time to give you the current status.  In the early months I cried buckets of tears and lots of expletives were delivered.  Eventually I started putting one foot in front of the other and started to plan and deploy, plan some more and execute some more.

The Irishman pretty much left me to it, rather sheepishly.  I think he was burnt out on it all anyways so he tried to focus on making income and offering some suggestions on things we could cancel and save on.  It really is a process.  There’s stuff in the early days that I couldn’t even fathom doing without.  Now I’m a lot more brazen, in most areas… though I still have a few sacred cows that I’ll save for a later post (I’ll likely need support in order to ditch the bitches!) Continue reading