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Archive for January, 2015

Our Free Pig

January 27th, 2015 at 03:29 pm

My oldest daughter is now a member of our local FFA chapter. This weekend she will be showing a pig as a member of the FFA at a state-wide hog show.

She's been stopping by the FFA barn at least once a week since about mid November to work with the pig, clean its stall, and to do her part with chores in the barn.

DW and I have seen this as an opportunity to learn about responsibility, learn more about the raising hogs, to interact with some of the older members, and to all-around have a good time with good people.

DW met with the FFA advisor/local agri-science teacher on a completely different topic yesterday. The FFA advisor mentioned to her that, oh yeah, the kids get to keep the hog that they show. The FFA chapter bought the hog, housed the hog, and bought the feed for the hog. Our family gets to keep the hog, and pay only the fee to slaughter and process the hog into the different cuts and sausages. That sounds good to me!

I'm not sure about the cost of processing. We had an extra fair hog processed about a year and a half ago, and I don't remember what we paid. And, it really depends on how much you have processed into, for example, sausage as opposed to fresh cuts, or how much of it you have smoked. We'll have more processed into sausage this time, because we use more sausage than we do fresh pork butt, for example.

But, it seems that we paid right around $200 last time, so maybe $250 this time? So that will be right around 175 pounds of meat for around $250.

And, DD1 still gets an outstanding educational experience!

What is the value of my name?

January 23rd, 2015 at 02:55 pm

We bought a new-to-us vehicle last month. A 2012 minivan with a bit more than 3,000 miles. So, it's still under the manufacturer's warranty.

We bought it for a good deal. In fact, our lender has informed us that we paid about $1,000 less than the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) value.

For the past three weeks or so, every third day or so we've been receiving cheesy form letters in the mail telling us that our manufacturer's warranty is about to expire! We had better act fast, and purchase their extended warranty!

It's apparent to me that this dealer has sold our name to these cheesy companies. It makes me wonder just how much our dealer sold our name and address for.

It's a little bit annoying, but also a little bit funny. It's also sad, because there would be no value to selling our name if the tactic didn't work on a certain number of people.

It would be tempting to add that to the negotiation next time we buy a vehicle - "I'll pay $XX,XXX for this car with the understanding that you won't sell my name to any cheesy companies", for example. Not so much because of the burden of getting these mailings, but more of a "I know what you're going to do" type of a thing.

And I guess, if we were able to buy the van for less than NADA because our name was sold, then so be it. It's not a really big deal. I am sad that it apparently works on so many people, though.

Physical Fitness

January 6th, 2015 at 03:05 pm

Is there a relationship between physical fitness and financial fitness? I suspect there is.

I tried a little experiment this holiday season. I weighed myself a day or two before Thanksgiving. My weight was 203.8 pounds. I weighed myself again yesterday. I didn't weigh myself a single time in between. My weight yesterday was 204.0 pounds. I joked that I probably grew 0.2 pounds of hair during that time. Actually, I fully realize that our bodies can fluctuate in weight just during the day, so the two weights are essentially identical. But, I met my goal of not gaining weight during the holidays.

For reference, I'm 6'1" tall, and my BMI is 26.9, which still puts me solidly in the "overweight" category, but not in the "obese" category.

I've had a goal of 185 pounds for several years. I weigh less in the summer time, when I'm more active, But I don't think I've weighed less than 195 pounds for a long time. I was 165 pounds when I graduated high school in 1991, and 175 pounds when I was married, five years later. I've probably been +190 pounds for 15 years.

So, back to my original question - is there a relationship between physical fitness and financial fitness? It would seem that at a minimum, one would be spending less on high cost junk foods if one were trying to lose weight. And, as long as one weren't buying high dollar equipment and gym memberships that one cannot afford, one would save money while trying to lose weight.

But, really it seems to me that the discipline related to keeping weight off would flow right into your financial decisions as well.

I've never been one to make New Year resolutions. It's always seemed silly to me to decide on lifestyle changes just because the calendar shows a bigger number. But, here I am, at the beginning of the New Year, and I'd like to commit to becoming more physically fit, as well as more financially fit. I've got no specific weight goal, other than that elusive 185 pounds that I've had for five or six years. But, let's put this down as a goal for now - that I weigh something less than 200 pounds at the end of winter.

New Year Financial Goal

January 5th, 2015 at 05:52 pm

Happy New Year! It's Jan. 5, so maybe I'm a bit late.

I'm not sure if I've ever set a New Year goal in this blog. After I post, I'll check the archives to see for sure, but I don't think I have.

My financial goal for this 2015 year is to end the year with a $250,000 net worth - a quarter of a million dollars.

My current family net worth is $227,000 - 23K short of 250K. To reach the goal, we'll have to increase net worth by about 2K per month - or $1,916.67 per month to be a bit more precise.

We currently have three debts - house, mini van, and pickup. We'll be making average principal payments of about $1,080 on the house, $300 on the van, and $140 on the truck. That's $1,520 average monthly decrease in debt. The rest will have to come from growth in retirement investments. Between my employer and personal contributions, I invest about $780 per month into retirement.

Between investment and debt reduction - that's about $2,300 per month increase in net worth. As long as the stock market doesn't tank, I should reach my goal. We'll see.

Some of you my disagree with how I calculate net worth. I include home equity as well as vehicle equity, and even include $3,700 for household items. Basically, if we were to sell each and every item my family owns, how much would be left.

I do estimate home and vehicle equity low.