Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Getting out of Debt

One of the biggest goals on my list is to pay down at least 50% of my credit card debt. This would be a heck of a lot easier if I had a full-time job, but if I wait for conditions to be ideal I'll drowning in debt.

The course of action I've chosen to take is three-fold. First, stop using my credit cards. Second, pay as much as possible on every card each month. Third, full disclosure.

Stop using my credit cards: I stopped using the cards about a month ago. It's been a very difficult adjustment because since grad school I'd been using them for things like gas and groceries, so now trying to budget those items impacts my entire family.

Pay off as much as possible each month: I've been paying about $800 a month on three different accounts. Two of them have a 0% rate, so I see a noticeable decrease every month. The third card is my "working card", the one I was using {daily} and it has an interest rate of 12%. As credit offers come in I transfer balances off this card onto lower rate cards.

Full disclosure: There are mixed thoughts about this step, but I think it's good for two reasons. It helps me to stay honest about my spending and it opens dialog with others about spending. Credit debt can be a shameful thing, the more open I am about it the more likely I am to receive encouragement to war against it. My current total debt is $35,436.66. A year ago it was $21,322.64. As of today I have 783 days to pay down $17,718.33. That's a little over 2 years and if I continue to pay $800 per month I can pay off $19,200 in that time, that should cover finance charges as well.

I'll let you know how it's going.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fox, Goose, Corn

Below is the illustrated solution handed in by one of my students. Of course she will get FULL credit!

A farmer has to get a fox, a goose, and a bag of corn across a river in a boat that is only large enough for her and one of these three items. She does not want to leave the fox alone with the goose nor the goose alone with the corn. How can she get all these items across the river?

Bipartisan BBQ

Here's a nice picture of the senators enjoying some shish-ka-bob.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Dog Lover

I used to be a dog "liker". Dogs are just fine and I like having them around, but basically, they're expensive, they're smelly, and a pain in the neck to walk.

I was a dog lover when I was a kid, until I got bit. We had gotten a German Short-haired Pointer named Max from some people who had been neglecting him. God bless my Mom because we already had two other dogs at the time when we acquired Max. Max was totally sweet and I used him as a pillow. We would lay on the floor together and I would rest my head on him. Some other friends of the family had lost their dog, so we sent Max to live with them. It wasn't an ideal situation for Max because I think he spent a lot of time outside by himself. When we were visiting their house I was so excited to see Max and I made the mistake of getting on the ground in front of him and trying to hug him. Well, it spooked him a bit and he snapped and bit off the tip of my nose.

Boy was I surprised!

There were a couple of surgeries and some embarrassing scars, but you can hardly tell now if you look at my face. So since then I like dogs very much, from a respectful distance.

Even when Frank and I moved in with Mike and Nixon, I was a bit frightened that Nix would bite me or Frank. But, he really grows on me. He smiles, and makes this moaning sound when I leave him. Now that he's so old (15 this year) he's much less nervous than he used to be, he's pretty laid back and sleeps most of the time. My nurturing instinct makes me want to care for him and make sure he's healthy and comfortable. It makes me cry when I think he won't be with us some day, and I know that when he goes I'll want to have another dog, probably two.

Now I'm a dog lover again. Thanks Nix.