Saturday, April 29, 2017

Debt Update

Last month's total debt balance: $16, 257.44

This month's ending debt balance: $14,572.60

Amount paid off: $1684.84

This month had some leftovers in funding from the tax refunds I received last month, not fully there yet, but I am making progress!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam (Teacher)

Just a quick note that I have been made a Sunbeam teacher! These are (at least for my Ward) ages 3-5. A fun age! Needless to say, I thought I'd share what I've been doing for lessons. Here is the blog link: Dawn's Sunbeam Page Enjoy!

Picking Cell Phone Providers And Plans

I've gone back to the beginning of the Radical Personal Finance podcasts and came upon this gem that I'll be using later when I decide to upgrade from my Tracphone.  There is some great information here!

Episode 4: Radical Personal Finance

Friday, April 21, 2017

The New Treasure

A new book to treasure and use.  I'm currently reading ebooks from the same author and am enjoying them a great deal.

Her website:

Monday, April 17, 2017

The King, The Kaiser And the Czar

A very interesting video regarding one of the last times the royal houses of Europe would gather on friendly (maybe not so friendly) terms.  The devastating rifts created in World War I would forever change these relatives - and the nations they ran.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

What Would You Tell Your Teenage Self?

This is a blog post that stems from a vlog on YouTube about things about Finance you wished you learned in high school.  Given that I worked with middle schoolers for a while, I can appreciate this topic, as I did try to incorporate some of these lessons with them.  One thing is for sure, those kids will now know how to calculate a budget on Excel.  LOL.

If I could travel back to when I was in high school, one of the biggest financial things I would do is to sneak a copy of The Millionaire Next Door and give it to myself.  I was already saving money, and had learned some of the basics of balancing out a savings account book (great practice for reconciling a checking account register), and had some idea of compounding interest.

I was, however, part of the regular tuning audience for a television show called Lifestyles of The Rich And Famous.

I grew up middle class, and when I was in high school, I was convinced that this was how all wealthy people lived.

I would want myself to understand that the majority of the truly wealthy people don't live like this, but have ordinary lives, with jobs that are not so glamorous.

I would also tell myself that, despite everything that will happen to me in the future, it will be okay.  Yes, I have my struggles - not just financially - but it will be okay.

Monday, April 10, 2017

FHE - Getting To Know The World Around Us - King Christian IX

If you have ever watched a European Royal Wedding, you may have noticed members of royalty from other countries in attendance. This isn't just a formality or courtesy visit for the newlyweds, they are also there as many are related through either King Christian IX of Denmark or Queen Victoria, or both.  King Christian IX and Queen Victoria were contemporaries, which meant their children were eligible matches for the royal houses throughout Europe.

A book was written, along with a DVD series, on this called A Royal Family which does a fantastic job of covering who married who, what happened with each child's descendants, their continued closeness as a family and how it was impacted by the two World Wars.

Sadly, the DVD is no longer available and the web site for it appears to no longer be around, but it's worth checking to see if your local PBS station (in the U.S.) will be airing it again sometime in the future.  In the meantime, you can always get the book.

I recorded the PBS airings of the show, however I will not be posting all of them.  I'm posting the first one, which sets the stage between Denmark, the U.K. and Russia in finding spouses for royal children.  Another one of the episodes has been published on YouTube to show the story of the King of Greece.

Episode 1:

King George I of Greece and his descendants:

This is a different documentary, it's in Danish, but still very interesting to watch.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Why Get Out Of Debt?

There are a number of reasons for people to get out of debt, some societal, some macroeconomic, some personal.

My top reasons:

1.  To take care of myself - I'm pretty independent and do not want to have to depend on others (Church, Government, Family) to keep me fed and housed.  People in debt may find, particularly as they get older, that being able to live while keeping up with all of those debt payments is going to become extremely hard if not impossible.

Having worked jobs in various industries - for various amounts of pay - I found I had to drastically cut my expenses in order to make minimum payments on debt when my paychecks were either cut off or reduced significantly.  People living above the poverty line cannot expect to continually stay there forever, jobs change, companies change management or ownership, living conditions and the economy can change all of that.  The only way for people to continue to be in a position of being able to take care of themselves is to have money saved up - and a reduced lifestyle so that it doesn't jeopardize the savings.

2.  To take care of Mom - My mother is now at an age where her being able to go to work is not going to happen.  I need to be out of debt so that my paychecks are being used in ways to enhance both our lives, not paying someone else.

The new federal administration - coupled with my state's administration - doesn't give me much confidence that Mom will be in a position to live off of what she has for the remainder of her life.  The cuts to services for seniors - including medical coverage - is going to place an increased burden of cost on her, so I need to be prepared to assist with this burden.

3.  Macroeconomics - Our society is one that is built on spending money.  It used to be that debt was never used other than a home or vehicle.  With the advent of the credit card, this changed.  Unfortunately, the curriculum in elementary and middle schools regarding money hasn't changed.  As a result, a lot of high school students have to catch up, if they enroll in the few classes offered about personal finance, in order to understand what they need to know when they start getting summer and after school jobs, as well as how to handle money when they graduate.

Kids don't understand savings because there are a lot of parents out there who weren't taught about compound interest and don't understand how it can make you (with interest being paid to you for your saved money) or break you (with increased interest being charged against you for debt).  Personally, I would like to see financial institutions make a better effort to hold small classes on personal finance - starting with how to reconcile a checkbook, calculate debt, calculate living expenses and payment on debt and basic budgeting.

The other piece of macroeconomics is the fact that interest rates are on the rise.  This makes any debt more expensive and a lot harder to pay off.

4.  Personal sanity - I don't like being in debt, I was raised by parents who had debt, but who overcame a lot and saved and invested.  They were also very forward in their thinking, my parents both have had their burial expenses paid for in advance for several years.  One short term goal is to get our wills updated set up some sort of estate planning to better manage what we do have.

Have you ever heard of debt slavery?  Those who have been up to your eyeballs in debt, you understand this term.  With debt, people lose the freedom to spend what they earn towards what they want, because they are having to spend that money to pay for something they financed.  In many cases, what they financed has depreciated in value, so people find themselves under water in their debts, or have nothing to show for their debt.  Getting out of debt cuts those chains of bondage and allows for people to have choices about how they want to live - provided it is within the means of what they are earning.

Secular history and biblical history both give examples regarding debt:  "Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest."  (2 Kings 4:1-7)

5.  Personal goals - People can't have too many goals if they can't afford to pay for them.  Reaching limits on debt requires that the goals be changed to meet the demands of the debt, rather than for a life well lived.

I've already stated my goals for this year, what are your goals?

If you could live off of 50% of what you currently earn, what would you do with the extra 50%?

6.  Giving back - One of the reasons I like the different plans for getting out of debt that I've mentioned on previous blogs is that there is a part of this plan at the end to specifically talk about giving back.  Dave Ramsey talks about "live like no one else so later you can live and give like no one else".

Within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, giving doesn't just come in the form of callings, but also of your increase, with the options for ways in giving more money if the individual chooses to.  There are funds for missionaries, education and providing assistance for temple attendance for those who live far and must make extreme travels in order to reach the closest temple.

Even within some companies, the opportunity for giving back can be done directly from your paycheck (in the U.S., many companies offer the opportunity to contribute to charities under the umbrella of The United Way and have it taken directly out of your paycheck).

7.  Preparedness - part of emergency preparedness is to have alternatives regarding how people will live in the event of a financial crisis (we have seen this several times in the United States with several stock market crashes and crashes in other commodities (housing) over the centuries).  There are also the preparedness that must be done in the event of a natural disaster or war, which preparations require money.

Again, there is that aspect of independence, of having an alternative place to live, alternative forms of "money" for bartering, alternative forms of producing your own food and clothing.

8.  Providing For The Family - It has recently been released in the news that more people in the U.S. are dying with debts, some of which will come back on the family left behind.

More videos on Finance:

Some additional videos to check out:

Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Somewhat Productive Week

Not bad for the week.

I've gotten three loads of laundry done, I took a carload of recycling out on Monday after work, tonight it was a carload of large cardboard boxes to recycling and three bags of trash to the dumpster.

I have a lot more to do, but I'm getting there.  This Saturday marks the second Household Hazardous Waste day, I've already got a box going for that.  I also have on more large cardboard box and a large amount of newspaper recycling to take out, plus delivering items purchased for a Mom to be taken to her home.  I have more laundry to get done, plus some preparations for Church and a funeral this next week.


Monday, April 3, 2017

FHE - Which Is The Christ?

Watch this video of the Parable of The Good Samaritan and try to deduce which person in the parable represents Jesus The Christ.

Which person represents Christ?

The obvious choice is the Samaritan - he is the one who cares, he is the one who heals.  And given the feelings that the Hebrew people felt towards the Samaritans, it could be also said that Christ descended below all things - including the social class of people felt to be inferior.

Here is one other observation:

Could Jesus also be the man who was the victim of the attack in this parable?

Remember, a priest and a Levite both passed by (the preachers of their faith) the victim and walked off, leaving him to die.  These are people who profess to know God intimately, but pass by the Son of God without recognizing Him.

Instead, he was rescued by a man who didn't know who he was or what he represented, but cared anyway.

Which person in this story would we be?  How many times are we that priest or Levite and walk off, leaving someone in distress?  How many times are we the Samaritan?

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Daily Task Schedules - May - December 2017

If you liked April's Daily Task Schedule, I've made the PDF's for the remainder of the year.

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

August 2017

September 2017

October 2017

November 2017

December 2017

Daily Planning Guide

This is by no means a perfect page to use for planning, in fact there are people who might not like it at all.

I saw a number of daily planning sheets, but I found they were missing one element.  If you've ever seen the Time Management lecture given by the late Dr. Randy Pausch, you'll understand why I added it in my own little version.

Which reminds me:  I need to clean out my inbox.  LOL.

The Daily Planning Guide - My Take:

Guide (Google Sheets)

Update:  I've also added the PDF version as Google Sheets doesn't translate well to mobile devices, particularly when you have to format things a bit differently.  Guide In PDF

Remainder of 2017 calendar (Google Sheets)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Use of Colour In Your Home

Yeah, I need to do something with these white walls in my home, but I also need to start from the top (my HVAC unit) and work my way down.  First, though, I need to pay off as much debt as I can.

No April Fool's jokes here, enjoy.