Remember that time I almost wanted a baby

Our landlord, the one who lives directly below us, has a two month old daughter. He also has a longstanding tradition of going on a date night with his wife every Wednesday. As you can imagine, their last few months have been crazy busy and they haven’t had much time to get away. Girl Ninja and I thought it would be nice if we offered to babysit for them last night, so babysit we did. And let me tell you… I almost walked away from the evening wanting a baby. Keyword there my friends is ALMOST.

This shouldn’t be surprising though. Babies are like puppies in a pet store. Side note: Never go to a pet shop to look at puppies unless you’re prepared to buy one…puppies play jedi mind tricks on you. Sure a puppy looks cute in the store; If they pee on you, you laugh it off. If they slobber on you, you think it’s cute. If they bite at your ankles, you think they want to play. So you figure “Why not?! Let’s buy this cute little fur-ball.” Only to realize a few weeks later that the puppy does nothing but slobber, pee on you, and chew things up. Puppies are a lot of work, and ya know what? Babies are ten times worst. They’re like puppies. On crack…

So yes, last night I will admit I had a little baby fever and thought it would be fun to have one. But I need to remember this isn’t the first time I’ve had feelings like this. In fact, every time I drive a new car, I always think about how fun it would be to go buy a new car. I mean come on, they smell awesome and drive wonderfully. But then my conscience gets the best of me and reminds me that

A) there is nothing wrong with my 2007 Scion tC

B) a new car is only new for about 0.02 seconds, then it becomes used

C) cars are a depreciating asset. I’m tempted to try and convince you babies are also depreciating assets, but it’s probably best I save that for another day.

At the end of the day I think babies are super cute and a lot fun, but until they come with a 30 day return policy I think I’m gonna have to delay my baby gratification. That said, all of my friends/family members are welcome to have as many kids as they want. I don’t mind kids at all…so long as I get to give them back.

Do any of you baby-free folks ever get the premature desire to pop a few kids out? What are things that you want, but know you shouldn’t get (pets, new cars, electronic devices, etc)? What methods do you use to talk some sense in to yourself? I personally would love a dog, but I know Girl Ninja and I are too busy for pets right now 🙁

A boy (or a ninja) can dream


I got the blessing from Girl Ninja to buy a house! Keyword there is, “a”, as in one specific house. Only problem is, said house is not for sale :(. Here is a satellite shot of the not-for-sale house that I would like to buy….

According to Zillow my dream house is valued at $266,000 and is a 3 bedroom 950sq/ft shack. How you fit three bedrooms in a 950sq/ft space is beyond me, but that’s beside the point. The house is tiny, old, and definitely nothing Girl Ninja and I dreamed about. So what makes this tiny abode so awesome that it causes me to salivate at the thought of it going up for sale?

How about the 21,000+ sq/foot lot the house stands on? Or how about the fact that the lot has full, 180 degree, unobstructed views of Puget Sound? Or how about the fact that the houses immediately next door are valued between $407,000 to $637,000 (look at how much larger they are on the map)? The long term perks of buying this property (sweet view, huge lot, cheapest house in neighborhood) far outweigh the short term downfalls (living in a 950 sq/ft space until we can afford to add on).

For me, buying a house we will be a “head” decision. Excel spreadsheets, real estate websites, and mathematics will be my guide. I’ll be looking at recent sales in the neighborhood, price per sq/ft of the house and lot, maintenance costs, etc.

For Girl Ninja, however, buying a home will be a “heart” decision. She looks at a house and thinks “Does this feel like home?”, “Is it cute?”, “Do I like this more than the other places I’ve seen?”

We both have the same goal; own a home, but our process to get there is quite different. Objectivity vs. Subjectivity. PF Nerd vs Free Spirit. Man vs. Woman. Even though this purchase is likely months (or even years) away, it’s never to early to start thinking about what’s important to the other person.

Did you or your significant other differ on what matters most in a house? What were some of your non-negotiables? What were some of theirs? (single people and non-home owners can answer these questions too!!!)

Keeping tabs

I’m one week away from celebrating a successful first year of marriage and am pretty excited about it. I like to think I’m a pretty great husband. I also like to think I’m a pretty good money manager. But, and this is a BIG but, I’ve completely dropped the ball in a major way.

If I was to die tomorrow, Girl Ninja would be up a creek without a paddle. Fifty percent of our net worth is tied up in my Roth IRA and my 401k. If I die tomorrow guess who gets all that money? My mom!!! I started both of those accounts four years ago…when I was single.

I’ve been really good about changing over all our documents, adding her to my bank accounts, combining insurances, etc, but for some reason I didn’t even think about who my listed beneficiaries were on pieces of paper I signed many, many years ago.

Sorry Mom, but you’ve been demoted to the second most important woman in my life and this week I’ve committed to making Girl Ninja my sole beneficiary on each of these accounts. Don’t worry, I still heart you though 🙂

…awkward transition…

As you all know, Girl Ninja will be teaching in a new school district this year. Over the last few years she has accumulated about $3,000 in the San Diego teachers retirement system. Since she has no plans to retire in San Diego, we need to roll that sucker over in to a private retirement account. We’ve been on the phone with Wells Fargo and are in the process of opening up her very first Roth IRA! Girl Ninja + Roth IRA = Sexiness!!!!!

Keeping tabs on these obscure personal finance tasks can be overwhelming but is totally necessary. Are there any PF things that have been on your to-do list for a while, but haven’t gotten around to? What PF chores do you, or did you, despise (setting up retirement accounts, changing your name, figuring out health insurance stuff, etc)?

P.s. If you are wondering why there are no cartoons it’s because I am on another mini vacation in Malibu, Canada (if you don’t know where that is Google it, it’s one of the prettiest places on earth) and only have my iPad. Sorry my blogging has been lame lately, but vacations totally rock my face off!!!!! I’ll be back home on Saturday.

Who’s paying???

I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for almost 2.5 years and never touched on this most glorious topic!!! I dated Girl Ninja for 3.5 years before I popped the question. During those 3.5 years we went out to dinner at least once (usually twice) a week. Since we didn’t live together, and we were both relatively busy, dinner together was the easiest way to guarantee some quality time. I’m just ball parking, but I’d guess we ate out about 300ish times together during our dating years. Some meals were cheap (Rubios) and others weren’t ($190 valentines dinner). Wanna know how much all those meals cost Girl Ninja? Probably about $100. And thus brings today’s topic: Who should pay for dinner when on a date?

Personally I’m a big fan of chivalry, and part of that (to me) means picking up the tab…every single time. Can it be expensive? Sure. Is it a great way to show your significant other you like to provide for them? Abso-freakin-lutely. I could afford to pick up the bill, so I did. Not because Girl Ninja expected me to. Not because I felt like I had to, but because I wanted to. Nothing more, nothing less.

That said, I know that not everyone shares a similar belief. The other day I had a female friend tell me that her boyfriend rarely offers to pay the whole bill. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for her to pick up the tab instead. She was wondering if that was a bad sign.

Do I think it is weird for her to want to be provided for? Heck no. But I also don’t think that it’s fair to expect him to pay the bill. Would Girl Ninja like it if I opened the car door for her every time we drove somewhere? Probably, but I wasn’t raised in the south and often forget that opening the door for a woman is a sign of respect and love.

I don’t open doors and my friends boyfriend doesn’t pick up the whole dinner tab. Neither of us are horrible people, but we both have some work to do to become the husbands/boyfriends these women deserve. It’s a continual learning process!

Now that I’ve had my few moments to preach, I’m curious to hear your thoughts…

Men: Do you pay the whole bill when you go on a date? Once you get in a serious relationship do you continue paying the bill every time? Do you think women should pay their share? What does chivalry mean to you?

Women: Do you expect to get a free meal on a first date? Would it bother you if your boyfriend asked to split the bill every time you went out (let’s assume said boyfriend is financially stable and able to afford it)? What does chivalry mean to you?

WOW Drama….

How exciting was yesterday?! Lots of hot comments.  I do have to say, I did kind of love the way everyone stood up for me. 

Being married to a PF blogger, I understand that our financial life is an open book to all of you.  Therefore, our different view on finances will often come up.  To get things straight, I didn’t marry myself…and I am so thankful for that.  Ninja and I are different people, and we have different views. One viewpoint is not better than the other. Through our differences, I am able to learn so much.  This is coming from the girl who only saved after I had boughten my needs/wants for the month. Thanks to Ninja, I learned the importance of paying yourself first…yes, even before shopping. Along with learning new things about PF, I am also challenged – as illustrated by our conversation about the presale. I don’t want to be stubborn, never questioning (or bettering) the way I do things.  Ninja challenges me in a usually healthy way.

During our finance fued, my first thoughts were very similar to some of yours:

  • I work too
  • I have good judgement
  • I did fine with money before we got married (I saved myself a very comfy decorating budget the 8 months prior to combining finances 🙂 )
  • I don’t need rules and regulations.  

Did you notice how many I’s there are? As we took a break from our discussion (My hair desperately needed to be blow-dried), I had that gentle reminder that it’s not all about me.  We got married, and I promised to put the needs of NInja above my own.  Helping him provide for our household, helping him handle our finances in a way that it is responsible, and being a steward of all we have been given, is the kind of wife I want to be. Having that realization, subsided all my selfish “I deserve more” thoughts, and allowed me to come to work towards a mutual compromise.

With a better perspective, I could affirm to Ninja that I want him to feel comfortable with my spending.  I was able to understand that money spent shopping means money not put in savings.  He was able to realize that his initial communication WAS a little overbearing, and he has to be careful with how he talks with me.  As we talked it through, we fought for a solution that was less about us as individuals and more about us as a couple.  

And did you notice, it got me $100 more in my spending budget!? Yay, for compromise 🙂 I have one good husband and am so thankful.  We have different commitment levels to our savings – so what? We find a way towards a middle ground, we learn a little lesson in selflessness, and we thank the Lord that He is walking with us through it all.

I’m writing all this, and being raw with you, in hopes that you don’t feel sorry for me, or worry about our financial choices.  Married 11 months, we are still ironing out details, still learning together, and you, readers, are invited along for the ride 🙂

P.S. Nordstrom Pre-Sale Day= AMAZING.  I”ll be sharing my finds soon….


I got swindled

Do you know what today is? It’s the third most important day of the year. First is Christmas, second is my birthday, and third is Girl Ninja’s Nordstrom presale appointment. Oh wait, I just checked in with Girl Ninja and she has notified me that the Nordstrom presale trumps my birthday 🙁

For those that are unfamiliar, the presale is exactly what it sounds like. An opportunity (by appointment only) to shop all of the newest Nordstrom’s items before they go on sale to the general public this Friday. In the past, Girl Ninja’s mom has given each daughter some money to shop the sale. Obviously, now that GN is married, things are different.

During our road trip from San Diego to Seattle we started talking about the presale and how much we thought we should budget to her upcoming shopping extravaganza. After a lengthy conversation we mutually agreed that $200 seemed fair. That was, until yesterday.

Being the financial freakazoid I am, I took some time yesterday to reiterate some of the things that are important to me. My requests were something along the lines of…

  1. Just because we agreed upon a $200 spending budget. That doesn’t mean she needs to spend all of that. Basically, don’t buy things that you don’t really need, or aren’t really that discounted.
  2. Don’t buy things you plan to return. Girl Ninja is a serial returner. It’s not uncommon for her to buy a shirt (or some other item) in two colors, knowing that she doesn’t plan to keep them both. A few days later, after thinking things through, she heads back to the store to return the shirt she decided not to keep. I don’t like this. It stresses me out, so I asked that she would only buy things she was relatively confident she would keep.

I apparently didn’t communicate those thoughts very well, as Girl Ninja felt like she was being babysat and told what she could and couldn’t do. Epic fail on my part. While my concerns were definitely valid, I could have done a better job letting Girl Ninja know that these were personal preferences and not Ninja-law.

We had a pretty intense conversation about communication and how different our perspective is in regards to our finances. I don’t really recall all the things we discussed, but I know one thing for sure, I GOT SWINDLED. She played her clever female jedi-mind tricks on me and managed to negotiate her shopping budget from $200 to $300. In the blink of an eye, I was out another $100! How the heck did that happen? Gotta love GN’s ability to get what she wants. Love her for it.

Has your significant other ever pulled a jedi-mind trick on you? What was your most recent PF disagreement about? Why the heck is being selfish so easy, but being selfless so hard?!

Surprises are fun

Girl Ninja had a really hard teaching day yesterday. Her kindergarteners decided to go all “Jersey Shore” on her and act completely crazy. One of GN’s students even called her a ho. Five year olds shouldn’t know what a ho is… right?! Needless to say, Girl Ninja was emotionally drained after a discouraging day in the classroom.

Now this might sound a little odd, but I’ve been hoping Girl Ninja would have a bad day for over a month now. When I was in Germany, I decided to plan a surprise trip for the two of us this summer. Only thing was, I didn’t know how to surprise Girl Ninja with the news. After talking with her mom, we figured the best time to tell GN would be after she had an emotionally exhausting day. Yesterday, was that day. So, after Girl Ninja shared all of her frustrations, I got to cheer her up by telling her about the nine day Hawaiian vacation I booked for us. She was pretty stoked. There are a few reasons I am particularly excited about this trip…

First and most foremost, it’s important to enjoy our money. Girl Ninja has worked her butt off this school year and deserves some time to recharge the batteries. I’ve been so focused on saving for a down payment, I’ve forgotten to have fun in the process. We’ve been hoarding cash like it’s going out of style, and Hawaii seemed like the perfect excuse to splurge.

There’s no guilt. This is seriously the best thing about being debt free. I don’t have to think about the cost of the vacation and how we could have used that money to pay down some stupidly high credit card balance. Being debt free is seriously legit and I’m pretty sure the 8th wonder of the world. You should try it out 🙂

It wins me some “husband points.” Now I’m not saying you can buy your wife’s love…oh wait…YES I AM!!! Haha! What woman wouldn’t want to be surprised with a vacation to a tropical paradise? In all seriousness, it’s important to me to continually win Girl Ninja’s love. Sometimes that means planning a surprise vacation. Sometimes that means sending her a goodnight text message when I’m laying next to her in bed (she loves that for some weird reason). And sometimes it means looking her in the eyes and telling her I’ll never leave her. Too many married couples become roommates. That’s not cool with me, I’m gonna date the crap out of my wife for as long as I live.

Lastly, Hawaii was basically begging us to come visit. You wanna know how much a Seattle to Honolulu direct flight cost? $550 total! That’s $275 a pop. I was on that deal like a fat kid on cake. We’ll stay in a hotel for a few nights, and with a friend for the majority of the time (he has a guest bedroom), so our lodging costs will be minimal. I’m guessing all in we will only be out about $1,000-$1,500. Worth. Every. Penny.

I love you Girl Ninja and I’m excited to go to Hawaii with you, even if one of your kindergarteners thinks you’re a ho