I think I’m sexist.

There are two things women are better than men at: Peeing sitting down and having babies. That’s it. Okay not really, I just was trying to get your attention.

Seriously though, I think I might be quasi-sexist. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a “women are inferior to men” sexist, but a “there are certain things I want my wife to do” type sexist. I realized this through pre-marital counseling (For anyone that is looking to get married I totally recommend doing it. It was free and totally worth it).

One of the tasks assigned to me, was to work through a list of household chores and indicate if I thought each item was a man’s job, a woman’s job, or both. I scanned in my responses for you to see (Girl Ninja’s answers were different)…

Of the 16 different tasks listed, I defined seven of them as typically the male’s responsibility and seven of them as the female’s responsibility. See, I’m not that bad am I? At least I had an even distribution.

Even though, the responsibilities are split down the middle, I still feel a little sexist. I mean come on. I said Girl Ninja should be the primary child caretaker, laundry do-er, bed maker, dish washer, house cleaner, food preparer, and grocery shopper. I basically described just described this woman….

Gender roles are pretty funny when you think about them. I’m totally looking for a “supermom” and not so much a career driven woman. Fortunately, my responses were not grossly different from Girl Ninja’s, so at least we both want the same family model.

Do you and your spouse share similar outlooks on the list above? Any feminists out there think I’m a terrible person for wanting the woman to clean the house? Any role reversals out there, aka…stay at home dads care to chime in? Do you think I’m sexist or just sexy?

*****Update****

I want to clarify. My idea of these gender roles is for when Girl Ninja is a stay-at-home mom (which we both want). And even though I would prefer her to be the Chief Laundry Operator, I am more than happy to help out when/if she needs/wants. I probably should have clarified that better. It appears most of you picked up on that, but some didn’t.

Girl Ninja finally guest posted here….

The day has come 🙂 For today, it’s MY voice, Girl Ninja, and you are getting the low down from the real deal…

So wedding planning has been a love/hate relationship..I love the planning, hate my relationship (Just kidding…love ya Ninja). In reality, it has been a lot of fun putting ideas into actuality, and watching piece by piece fall into place.  The two BEST things about wedding planning have been finding ways to make our day unique to US, and finding ways to save money or do it cheaper (the latter results in a much happier and more satisfied Ninja).

As much as I have had the little-girl-pretty-pretty-princess wedding dream, I also have a sense of disbelief when thinking about spending so much on one day.  So, the key to it all is balance. Spend where it matters, make sure it’s worth it, and get creative where you don’t care. Here are some glimpses of our August 8 extravaganza….

Invites/Save the Dates: I love arts and crafts, but I hate computers. When it came to creating 150 invitations I didn’t think I could do it alone.  As I researched, I realized I could!!! …and save about $700 dollars in the process.  Coupons, friends, Ninja’s photoshop skills, and my vision created one of the most stressful aspects of planning, but ended up being totally worth it in the end. Here’s OUR invitation…

Cake: How many weddings have you been to where you actually liked the cake? And how many times have you seen the servers carrying around platters full of uneaten cake practically begging someone to pretend they want some?  I’ve seen it all too many times, so, I used a BRILLIANT idea (borrowed from a friend) and hopped on ETSY.COM.  I ordered a 2-layer fake cake I was able to design with lace and ribbon (very vintage looking) .  This way, I am only paying for one layer of real cake, which sits on top of the fake layers. Perfect for the infamous cake cutting pictures.  Then, the way cheaper, and way more affordable, and way more Ninja friendly, Costco sheet cake will be cut into triangles and topped with a flower petal and served to our guests for dessert.  And guess what? If they don’t eat it and there is tons of left over…I could really care less because this idea has saved me about $500.

Favors: With our favors, we chose not to save money, but to put that money to good use.  Both Debt Ninja and I volunteer for a high school youth ministry, and decided to put the favor money towards a donation to Young Life on  behalf of our wedding guests. Check out this video about the camp we’ll be sending a kid to.

Bridesmaids/Groomsmen outfits: Asking friends to be in a wedding is an honor…but it also can be a pain when it means spending, spending, and more spending.  Here, rather than have a specific vision, I let the deals be my guide.  Finding ADORABLE Anthropology dresses on sale, paired with Target shoes (knock-offs from Steve Madden) left my bridesmaids spending less than $100 for their entire outfit.  Debt Ninja did the same for his groomsmen.  Finding suits to rent rather than tuxes saved about $50 and got us the color/look we wanted.  Lastly, to save money for the flower girls family I made a tutu out of ivory, gray, and champagne tulle for a total cost of $5! The key to having good friends is to BE a good friend….and we chose to NOT lay a  spending burden upon our friends. Here’s the dress and shoes the bridesmaids got…


Saving money becomes kind of like a competition for me in wedding planning.  I love to find ways to get what I want at a lower price. Some things, however, were too important to give in on.  Debt Ninja and I both agreed the venue (an urban warehouse….SO cool) and photography were worth it to spend money on, and the quality of these two things will for sure pay off. Here’s our venue…


All said and done (well….almost done) planning a wedding has been low key and a lot of fun.  All of the details you’ve read about, topped with white flowers, lanterns, amazing food and good music and dancing, I think it will come together perfectly representing the two of us.  While Debt Ninja has had more of an opinion than I had ever imagined, it makes me thankful that he cares that it is so unique to US.  I mean, what says Debt Ninja more than saving money and coming in under budget (we didn’t…but close)?

Thanks for letting me share my pride and joy…and all the gritty details of wedding planning.  I’ve gotten a taste of the blogging world. It’s kinda fun…maybe I’ll be back another day!

-GN…soon to be Mrs. Ninja

Put your hands together for Girl Ninja and show her some love in the comments below. She lost her blogging virginity today just for you! If you have any wedding questions for her, feel free to ask away and she will definitely get back to you.

What areas of your wedding did you (or do you plan to) save some money on? Where did you decide to go big and drop the benjamins?

Darn you Girl Ninja

Moving time is right around the corner. At least for me it is. Tomorrow, July 1st, I will be moving in to the future home of Mr. and Mrs. Ninja. Well, it’s actually a one bedroom condo, but that still counts as a home right? I’ll be living there alone until after we return back from the honeymoon.

I’m use to living the bachelors lifestyle. Needless to say the majority of my furniture is run down. Girl Ninja really wanted to make our first place look like the inside of a magazine. As you all know, nice furniture and decorations cost money. I told GN she could have her way with the furnishings if she could manage to scrounge up $3,000 before the wedding. Honestly, I didn’t even think GN’s income would allow her to save that much, but somehow (aka extra babysitting jobs and tutoring) she managed to not only meet the $3,000 threshold, but broke it by an additional $1,000.

This means my living quarters will go from this…

To this…

…In a little less than 24 hours.

Even though I’m not the biggest fan of spending money, I’ve gotta be honest. IM FREAKIN’ EXCITED! It’s gonna be so nice to have furniture that actually matches, bedding that is actually comfortable, and decorations that aren’t just used for covering up holes in the wall or stains in the carpet. I can’t wait for a little lifestyle inflation.

The upside to a large wedding (250 guests) is we will probably get a lot of gifts… yeah I said it …does that make me shallow? If all goes according to plan, most of the vases, pots, frames, linens, towels, etc will be taken care of by our guests. This really only leaves me and GN with a few things we have to acquire. Here’s what’s on the list so far….

New bed frame ($150). Girl Ninja’s frame is way to girly for me. We need to get something a little more contemporary and a little less gay. Speaking of, here’s what she has…

New couch ($400). We’ll probably use Craiglist or a consignment store to pick up something like this. According to GN, couches should be a neutral tone, and decorative pillows should be used to “liven” it up. Oh and don’t even think about actually using those pillows for your head, they are simply there for form, not function …

Dining room table ($200). Girl Ninja and I both seem to like pub tables over traditional tables. We saw quite a few of them for around $150 at a consignment shop the other day….

Entertainment display ($350). Granted I haven’t discussed this much with GN, but I imagine she would want something similar to this. That is assuming it will hold the 46″+ flat screen TV I’m demanding we purchase…

And that is pretty much all I can think of for now. I’m sure GN will think of a billion more furnishings to spend that $3,000 on, but this should cover the major expenses. Based off my estimations we’re looking at spending about $1,000 on all that stuff, so even if my assumptions are WAY off, we have a lot of room for flexibility. I’ll be sure to take lots and lots of pictures as we move in to the place and it gets Girl Ninjafied. I’m excited to finally have a home!

How is your current place furnished?

College-esque?

Minimalist aka barren?

Thrift store?

Magazine cover?

Any crafty ideas to make our place look like a million bucks on a budget?

p.s. the messy room pictured above is not actually my room. mine’s worse 😉

You womenz be crazy

I can’t believe all the crap you women buy. It’s unbelievable.

Girl Ninja and I took a trip back up to Seattle a few weeks ago and we decided to only do carry-ons for the short weekend getaway. Well, that apparently ended up being a problem because GN needed to buy travel size products since all of her shampoos and whatnots are over the 3oz regulation size.

Look, I have no problem with GN wanting to be sanitized, beautified, and lotionized, but after the fourth or fifth product it started getting a little ridiculous. I mean, homegirl picked up some travel shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body wash, body lotion, and face lotion. Are you kidding me? Really? Is all that necessary?

Maybe it’s a guy thing, but when it comes to cleanliness I only need one product. Shampoo. Who needs body wash, or face wash, or lotion, or conditioner when you have a bottle of Old Spice? I just rub the shampoo around my head until it gets soapy and then proceed to use that soap to clean the rest of my body. Heck I even use it to shave. Works like a charm, and by my precise calculations saves me A CRAPLOAD of money.

I’m serious ladiez, you need to get your shopping game under control. I’m convinced IKEA would go out of business tomorrow if the female population went extinct. As GN and I discuss our future home furnishings, there are a few things we agree on. We need a bed, a couch, and a TV. That’s where I draw the line. I don’t need 98 different glass vases (filled with seashells) sitting on the bathroom counter. Nor do I have any desire to paint my walls with an accent color. And don’t even get me started on decorative pillows. I mean do we really need to buy pillows that we aren’t actually allowed to use? “What do you mean I have to take them off the bed and put them in a trunk before I can go to sleep, only to wake up and have to put them back on the bed again?” Ahhhhh!

And to close this Friday’s tongue-in-cheek rant, I’d like to bring to light the biggest difference between a man and a woman. Shopping with a purpose. Let’s say John wants to buy a new shirt for work. His wife Tara, also needs a new dress shirt. They both have the same objective, but their process to completing the goal is usually very different. Before John even gets in his car to go to the mall, he already has an idea of what color and style of shirt he wants as well as what store he’d prefer to buy it from. John walks in to Banana Republic and five minutes later comes out victorious. He got his shirt.

Tara on the other hand, drives to the mall with three of her best friends. During the drive Tara forgets that she went to the mall for a purpose… to buy a dress shirt. Instead, she thinks she is taking a “girls day” and after three hours of shopping, two new pairs of shoes, a salad from Cheesecake Factory, a new toaster oven from crate and barrel, and a tall non-fat vanilla latte from Starbucks, Tara heads home. Later that night, she shows John what she got at the mall. It’s not until this point that she remembers the reason she went shopping in the first place. “Oh well” she thinks, “I’ll just go back tomorrow.”

You women are a piece of work.

So men help me out. What crazy quirks of the female species have I overlooked? I would love to hear from some of you married dudes.

And femALIENS, this is your chance to get even. What are some things us men do that irk you? I’m guessing leaving the toilet seat up is pretty high on the list. Bring it on!!!!!

Let it be known, I don’t actually harvest any bitter feelings towards women, but I can’t help to OVER-DRAMATIZE the difference between man and woman. It’s Friday, so I figured I’d stir a little debate for the weekend.

I lost my virginity

Oh my goodness. I lost my virginity yesterday! Well, let me clarify. What I meant was, I lost my “turning-in-a-rental-application-with-girl-ninja” virginity yesterday. And let me tell you, it was freakin’ exciting! That’s right, we pulled the trigger and found a place we want to call home.

A little over a week ago, I shared about a 1bdrm condo we really liked. I tried to make a “low ball” offer on it, but had no luck negotiating. Girl Ninja and I decided the place was overpriced, so we continued on our house hunting extravaganza. We’ve probably looked at 10 or so apartments/condos over the last two weeks. Through the process, we’ve learned a ton about each other and I thought I’d share a little about that here.

The first, and most obvious, thing was this: Girl Ninja judges a place based on its ‘cuteness factor’. I judge a place based off of its “How much is this gonna cost us” factor. There were a few places she really liked, that I fought hard to avoid because I wasn’t comfortable with the value. Stainless steel appliances are attractive and all, but last time I checked they don’t refrigerate my food better or pop my popcorn louder. I felt bad putting my foot down, because it denied Girl Ninja a place she really liked.

Don’t get me wrong though, Girl Ninja definitely had a vote in this decision. In fact, last week we looked at a place that I fell in love with. I thought it was a great value and reasonably cute. While she agreed it was a good price and relatively nice inside, she couldn’t get over one small detail… it was in the ghetto. Haha, okay maybe not the ghetto, but it wasn’t in the greatest location. She hated the fact there were no streetlights on the block. It gave her an eerie feeling and told me she didn’t feel safe there. I wanted the place, Girl Ninja didn’t.

It was at this point, we realized something we should have figured out much earlier: We need to quit being selfish and understand that if we BOTH aren’t in love with a place, it’s time to move on. Instead of me trying to convince GN the apartment I liked was only ‘kinda sketchy’, I should have just been like “You don’t feel safe here? Okay. Time to keep looking.” If I would have figured that out two weeks ago this apartment hunting gig would have gone a lot smoother.

Yesterday, the condominium gods above rewarded our patience as we found a place we BOTH love. It’s within our budget (actually $25 less), has views of the water from the living room, a brand new kitchen, two gated parking spaces (which is super rare here in San Diego), and just an overall positive energy (isn’t that called fung shui?). It’s definitely a place I’d be proud to call home, and Girl Ninja shares that same sentiment. Oh and did I mention this condo isn’t in the ghetto? Score!

Like giddy school children, GN and I walked out of the complex and realized WE JUST FOUND OUR FUTURE HOME. We think. Nothing is for sure yet as we’ve only turned in our rental application. Assuming my mother didn’t steal my identity and rack up a ton of debt in my name, or that Girl Ninja isn’t a closet QVC shop-a-holic. We should get approved.

It totally puts me at ease to know Girl Ninja and I both love this condo equally. I allowed my emotional attachment to a few places to interfere in our relationship. I was a bad ninja. A very bad ninja. If GN didn’t stand her ground, we would have ended up living in the quasi-ghetto. Which means she would probably have been bitter at me every time she came home. And if she was bitter at me, she would probably boycott “Operation Make Baby Ninjas” otherwise known as “Operation Bow Chick a Bow Wow.” Happy wife, happy life… right? 🙂

I isn’t perfect

I’m praying to 8lb 6oz baby jesus that I am not your primary source of financial wisdom. I should be ranking somewhere between MSN Money and People Of Walmart. Over the last year, a few of you have began to confuse me with serious PF blogs. I regret to inform you, I ain’t one of ’em.

That said, I do love me some personal finance. I probably read between 5 and 10 PF related articles and news stories a day. I follow other PF blogs. And have been known to read a PF book or two. I know more about money than the average citizen, but probably WAAAY less than you.

I’ve received a hand full of comments and emails over the last couple months indicating some of you are concerned with the direction of my blog. (As if I ever had a clear direction in the first place?) I assume this is a result of my tendency to blog about my engagement.

Every person that has recommended I “get back to my roots” has been a dude. Dudes don’t like wedding talk. I can’t really blame them for not wanting to read about it once or twice a week. Lord knows I don’t follow any wedding blogs. While I understand where they are coming from, I have no plans to redirect this ship.

This whole marriage thing is a pretty big deal. It is not only the most significant life change I’ve ever made, but also the biggest financial change. I blog about things that are directly relevant to me. That means sometimes my posts will tickle your fancy, and other times you’ll think “Oh no, not another post about apartment shopping!” They are looking for the meat and potatoes of personal finance, when I am more like the soggy left over broccoli that no one wants to eat.

So let’s clear the air. I really only have a few goals when it comes to this here bloggy. 1) Be personal 2) Hopefully make you laugh from time to time 3) Tie in the majority of my posts with some element of PF and 4) Make a little money (hey I’m being honest). I’m not trying to change the world. I’m not trying to inspire you to change your financial perspective (although that would be pretty awesome if I did). Nor am I promising to be the most cutting edge and relevant PF blog out there. If you haven’t been feeling my blog as of late, you may or may not be able to unsubscribe by clicking here ;).

In an attempt to satisfy all PDITF readers, I’d like to ask a few simple questions.

Where do you get your financial counsel? I’m talking specifics; i.e. what blogs, books, websites, or shows. Feel free to link to them below so we can all have access to the cream of the crop.

What are some of your favorite topics I write about? What are your least favorite?

If you had to kiss me or Tom Cruise, who would it be?

Only you, and baby jesus, can help make PDITF a little less miserable, so please give me your two cents.

If you have enjoyed your time here, would you consider subscribing to my blog? If you don’t want to subscribe, I’ll just assume you’re a racist (only kidding). Oh, and if you’d prefer to receive updates via email you can do so by clicking here. Nothing beats a little shameless self promotion.

p.s if you click the link where I said “you can unsubscribe by clicking here, you’ll get a special treat 🙂

Some condo owners are crazy….

So Girl Ninja and I continued “Operation Don’t Be Homeless” yesterday. We looked at two different rentals. They both had great potential, but one of them really won our hearts. It is a 1br/1bath condo 100ft from the ocean. It has brand new stainless steel appliances, granite counters, a great layout, a dishwasher, and a washer/dryer (which is pretty rare in small rentals here).

The asking price for the unit is $1,500, which as you know, is the maximum rent amount I’m comfortable with. For those of you who just pooped your pants ’cause $1,500 for a one bedroom seems crazy expensive, please read this article. The condo has been available since April 1st, which means it’s been vacant for almost two months.

Most of the places we have looked at become occupied within a week of being advertised. It seems a little odd that this place hasn’t followed suit. It concerned me so I called my Realtor friend who is familiar with the area. She looked at the place and thought it was about $100/month overpriced.

I gave the property manager a call and told her Girl Ninja and I would be happy to fill out an application if we could rent the unit for $1,400/month. The manager basically said the price is firm and the owners aren’t willing to reduce the rent. I left the conversation frustrated. This lady must be crazy. It has sat vacant for two months and she’s not even willing to negotiate a little? WTF?

Well, being the PF dork that I am, I came home and started crunching the numbers. I’m convinced our offer was completely fair and needed to be reconsidered. You all know I’m a huge advocate of “putting yourself out there” so I decided to send the property manager an email asking her to reconsider our offer. Here’s that email…

Hi-

This is Ninja. I talked with you a few times today about the condo you have for rent. I know when we spoke earlier, you indicated the condo owners are not willing to negotiate. Girl Ninja and I are hoping you will reconsider our offer.

We both graduated from (insert college here) and have lived in San Diego for the last six years. I’ve worked for the Federal Government as a Special Agent for the last 2.5 years and Girl Ninja is an elementary school teacher. We would be the perfect tenants as we both have extremely stable careers and would never have a problem paying the rent on time. We take our financial situation very seriously and have excellent credit (mine is 760 and Girl Ninja’s is over 700 as well). We will be debt free on July 1st, when I send in my last student loan payment. Neither of us smoke, drink, or even party. We are extremely clean and quiet. Furthermore, we have excellent track records as far as renting is concerned. I have lived in my current apartment (which is a month-to-month lease) for the last 31 months and Girl Ninja has never lived in one place for less than a year.

The condo has been available since April 1st which means next week it will have sat vacant for 2 months. That’s a $3,000 loss of rental income for the owners. Sure, our $1,400/month offer may sound low at first, but if you run the numbers it really isn’t.

If the owners rented to us at $1,400 for a 6 month lease, they would be agreeing to take a $600 loss during that time. Again that may seem like a big loss, but it is a lot better than remaining vacant.

If you multiply $1,500/month by six months you get a total rental cost of $9,000. If you divide the total cost ($9,000) by the total number of days in those six months (182) the condo’s daily cost is $50.

I’m breaking the numbers down to make this point: If the condo goes unrented for another 12 days ($50/day x 12 days) the owners would incur a $600 loss of rental income, and potentially much more. With our offer they guarantee only a $600 loss. By waiting for a full price offer they risk losing thousands in rental income.

If they think they can get the condo rented within 12 days, then that is in their best interest, but if it remains on the market any longer, it would have been better financially for them to rent to us. The question is not “Is our offer too low”, but really “How long until they will find someone willing to pay full price?”

Girl Ninja and I would be more than happy to help minimize their losses by becoming the tenants, but we have to do it at a value that we feel comfortable with.

If you could at least look over the numbers and speak to the condo owners about our offer, GN and I would be forever grateful.

I’d love to talk this over with you.

Thanks,

Ninja

There you have it peeps. It’s really hard trying to communicate financial information in an email without sounding condescending and/or redundant. How do you business folks do it?

If the condo had only been vacant for one or two weeks, I would totally understand why they’re not interested in negotiating, but it’s been available for 2 months now. I don’t expect them to accept our offer, but I personally think they would be CRAZY not to? Hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask…right?

If you were the landlord how would you handle the situation? Am I overlooking something here? Or are they as stubborn as I think they are? Any advice? Do you have any negotiating stories (good or bad)?

I’ll be sure to let you know if I get a response 🙂