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Sad/Happy Debt Story

Unless we are fortunate enough to be independently wealthy, most of us go into our first real jobs with the hopes of increased income. What I have to wonder is why do many of us also feel we have to increase our lifestyles? With regret and relief, I’ll share the story of two supposedly smart people who got caught up the trap of consumerism. When I met my husband, I was an optometry resident making around $22,000 per year.  He was a non-traditional college student, having gone back to school after working in a number of jobs over the years before finally realizing that he wanted to be a teacher.  He worked part time as a ski instructor in the winters and as landscaper in the summers and made much less than my $22K. Did we feel poor? Wow, no. We love the outdoors, and spent most of our free time mountain biking or hiking. We traveled to different ski areas in the winter. He usually knew someone who could get us cheap lift tickets, and we’d sleep in the floor at a friend of a friend’s house.  If I wanted something I didn’t have money for, I worked a Saturday at the local Walmart ...

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Does Credit Card Debt Have You Stuck?

Today I saw one of the most amazing and bizarre events. I was out for a jog along one of the busiest streets in our town, one block off main street. I came to an intersection and noticed that the street was blocked off by the police, a fire truck, and a variety of other uniformed officers from divisions of different things.  There was a gathering of people at the barrier, all looking up at a rather large black bear stuck up in a tree. From another observer, I found out that the bear had been up there for several hours, and animal control had just tranquilized him, which explained the uniformed men standing under the tree with a big tarp. (ouch!) I watched for a while and then went on my way. What if the poor fellow wakes up when he falls? You only have to be faster than the slowest person, but you never know. As I was finishing up my run, this post came to me. I guess I am ready to have this blog if I can relate just about any event to personal finance. After that lengthy introduction, you might ask how this bear stuck up a tree reminded me of credit card debt. If you think ...

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Hidden Costs of Kindergarten

Two weeks of summer left and our five year old starts kindergarten. I used to laugh at those parents who got choked up when their kids started school, but I get it, and while I haven’t shed any tears, there is a little tug in the heart because she is growing up and becoming more independent. Sadly, I had to go back to work when she was six months old. For the first three years of her life, we paid $500 a a month to a private sitter during the school year. My husband is a teacher, so he’s home in the summer. At three years old, she started full day preschool to the tune of $385 per month, lunch included. I realize that day care costs in a rural area are much less than in the city, but it was still a big montly expense. Starting public school should be like gettting a raise, right? Well, maybe not. We’ve been discovering the hidden costs of kindergarten. Full Day Tuition In Colorado, the state only covers half day kindergarten. (Is it any wonder we are getting left behind by all the other developed nations who start learning Calculus in first grade?) If you ...

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August Goals

I’ve been working so hard to get this blog launched, that I haven’t taken the chance to put down my goals for this month. I always have tons of goals in my head, but I’m really bad about putting them in writing. I really want to be more accountable, so here goes. Blog Goals Publish content at least four times a week until I have 30 posts done. Comment on at least five blogs  each day, with three new ones per week. Learn at least one new thing on WordPress per week. Financial Goals Write a budget and stick to it. We have really slacked on this lately. Continue to save as much money as possible for our first rental property. We should close by the end of the month. Don’t buy any convenience store items. I am guilty of this if I am late for work sometimes. Life Goals Limit myself to one diet soda per day, not from the convenience store. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables at least five days per week. No eating out for the rest of the month. There you have it. I’ll update at the beginning of the month and see how I ...

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Should you use an emergency fund for your pets?

We spent a great weekend in the big city of Denver, but it was really wonderful to pull into the driveway today. Well, it was for the first five seconds until we noticed our dog, Mo, limping in the back yard. Our neighbors dog sit when we go out of town. We spoke to them the night before, and nothing was wrong, so what had she done? After inspection, two of her toes on her front paw were about twice the normal size. I am no veterinarian, but this couldn’t be good. A bit of background on Mo; she was a dog we decided to foster when her owner had to surrender her. We discovered we are terrible foster parents because after two days, there was no way we were letting this dog go. She snores like a freight train (why is that cute if it’s your dog, but maddening if it’s your husband?) She has a face only a mother could love (Sharpei, Boxer, Rotweiller mix), and she is a girl named Mo, but the sweetest dog you can imagine. She also has a “cherry eye” which requires all kinds of drops. Since I am an eye doctor and have all kinds of drops, it was ...

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