A bunch of random thoughts

I’ve had a million different things I’ve wanted to discuss on my blog, none of which were worthy of their own individual blog post. Today, I plan to get all of these things out of my mind and on to Punch Debt In The Face. Hopefully you are interested in at least one of the following topics…

Favorite new website:

Living 1,200 miles from Girl Ninja is no fun. I recently purchased a vat of plane tickets from Alaska Airlines for three separate trips I’ll take to visit her. Now I don’t know about you, but every time I go to buy airfare I break out in a cold sweat. I’m terrified that I’m going to get a bad deal. What if I buy and a month later ticket prices drop? What if I don’t buy right now and tomorrow the ticket is $100 more? I literally start having panic attacks (and by literally I mean figuratively).

I recently stumbled upon an article talking about some dude who started a handful of internet companies, one of those companies was Yapta. Have you ever heard of the website? Yeah, I hadn’t either. Yapta is really simple. At its core, Yapta allows users to track flight prices and check for airline refunds. I logged in, created an account, and added the three tickets I recently purchased on Alaska Airlines. I told Yapta how much I paid for the tickets and directed them to notify me of any drops in airfare over $5. Less than 24 hours later I had two emails from Yapta, the first email telling me one of my tickets dropped $30 and the second email saying that same ticket later dropped another $40. I hopped on the phone and gave Alaska Airlines customer service a call. I told them I had recently purchased tickets at a higher price and wanted a refund for the price reduction.

BOOM! Within two minutes I had email confirmation that my credit card was being refunded $70. I am seriously in love with this site. You should check it out and see if your preferred airlines offer refund credits for ticket price fluctuations. And in case you are wondering, No, I was not paid for this review.

There’s always going to be rich and poor people:

Yesterday I read a news story about NFL football players and how some of them are seeking out extremely aggressive short-term loans with high interest rates to get them through the current lockout. Basically football players haven’t been getting paid for about 2 months. As a result, at least 16 teams have had players seek short term loans to help keep them afloat. I could care less about the article (I don’t even like football all that much), but I am fascinated by the socioeconomic inferences. Wealthy football players don’t even have enough in the bank to get them through a couple no-income months. Emergency fund anyone? It kinda reminds me of the documentary I saw about the curse of the lottery. You know, the dozen or so stories about lottery winners who blow all their cash and end up bankrupt a few years later.

Much of today’s political debate is focused on the wealth and inequality in America. While I’m not saying there isn’t a problem, I am saying there isn’t much we (or Washington) can do about it. Congress doesn’t have the ability to mandate fiscal responsibility on an individual level. If we completely leveled the playing field by redistributing wealth and gave everyone in America $1,000,000 do you really think much would change? It wouldn’t be long before some people turned their millions in to billions and others turned their millions in to pop tarts and x-boxes.

Sticking with the topic of wealth:

I’ve never really understood why the phrase “Tax breaks for the rich” exists. To me, that phrase implies rich people are getting a deal that allows them to pay less tax than their middle (or lower class) counterparts. Last time I checked the richest 10% of Americans pay 68% of all federal tax. I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like the worst “break” ever. I really wish, instead of saying we need to stop giving tax breaks to the rich, politicians just started saying “Look, they’re rich. They can afford to pay more, so we think they should.” At least then they’d be being honest with themselves and with us.

Comments? Insight? Questions?

Fill in the _______.

Get excited y’all cause it’s time we participate in a little “get to know each other” exercise today. You remember those pesky elementary school quizzes where your teacher would give you a sentence that had a blank space in the middle of it? You were suppose to pick which word completed the sentence. Well, I figured we could bring out the 3rd grader in us, and do something similar (but way less sucky). Whadya say…are you down like a clown from China town? Please read the following paragraph.

Hi, my name is blank. I currently work at blank and make around blank per year. I really blank my job. The scariest thing to me about personal finance is blank. If I had a financial do-over I would go back and blank. One thing most people don’t know about me is blank. I think that blank is/are the coolest thing since sliced bread. When I fart, it smells like blank and sounds like blank. Twenty years from now, I think America will be blank. The most non-mortgage debt I’ve ever had was blank and today I have blank amount of debt. If I won blank dollars right now, I would go out and blank. Okay, enough of this silly paragraph, it’s time I go blank so I can blank.

Now, copy and paste that paragraph in the comments section below and replace all the blanks with words of your choice. You can fill out as much (or as little) of the paragraph as you want. Here’s my completed fill in the blank…

Hi, my name is Ninja. I currently work for your Uncle Sam and make around $73k per year. I really enjoy my job. The scariest thing to me about personal finance is buying a house. If I had a financial do-over I would go back and not have majored in Psychology. One thing most people don’t know about me is I am a horrible swimmer. I think that calculator watches are the coolest thing since sliced bread. When I fart, it smells like hot garbage and sounds like psfsfsssffbluuuuwawawafffsst. Twenty years from now, I think America will be wishing we were China. The most non-mortgage debt I’ve ever had was $28K and today I have NO debt. If I won $500 dollars right now, I would go out and put it in the bank because I’m lame. Okay, enough of this silly paragraph, it’s time I go look at Google maps so I can figure out where I want to go this weekend.

Your turn….

p.s. If you liked this idea, feel free to steal it and do something similar on your blog. If you didn’t like this idea, then you must have no soul.

You’re doing it wrong

I was sinking my teeth in to a book (Hard to Believe by John MacArthur) last night and couldn’t help but use some of what I read in today’s blog post. But first a little about the book… “This book is MacArthur’s unflinching, unapologetic, treatise on the modern tendency to alter the true message of Christianity in order to meet the whims and desires of a culture hoping for non-confrontational messages, easy answers, and superficial commitments.”

Don’t worry non-Christians, today’s post isn’t going to be uber spiritual (although I have no problem admitting I love me some Jesus). That said, I do think there was at least one message communicated in Hard To Believe, that applies to everyone, and that message my friends is this: We suck.

Here are three aspects of my life in which I suck…


Ha, more religious blabbering. In recent years, Christianity has become extremely political. One church says “Do this” another “Do that.” So what do I end up doing? Nothing. I become stagnant because no one (or no church) seems to know what the heck they are talking about. The political aspects of Christianity are unbearable. Fortunately, I have a solution to this problem. If I deny myself  (meaning I get out of my own way), Christ will work in me. And if you deny yourself, Christ will work in you. Multiply this by the entire Christian population and suddenly there are no more church politics. Everyone will be on the same page, because everyone will be on Christ’s page. Unfortunately, we tend to do just the opposite. We deny Christ and inflate ourselves. If Christians stopped sucking, the world would be a better place. Period.


Of course finances was going to make the list 🙂 After all, this blog is called Punch Debt In The Face and not Punch Christians In The Face. I make terrible financial decisions daily. Yesterday’s was spending $8 at Burger King, when Burger King should have paid me $8 to eat that garbage (I know what you’re thinking…who goes to Germany and eats Burger King?).

Personal Finance is going to be a part of my life as long as I’m alive. It’s in my best compound interest to learn as much as I can and be proactive. Don’t be fooled, getting out of debt is NOT enough. In fact, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you become stagnant or lazy in regards to your personal finances, you should expect nothing but stagnant results. Intentional saving/spending/investing/giving is the only way to ensure success.


I’d like to pretend that I’m really healthy, but something inside me says that would be a lying…especially since I just finished a bottle of Coke. Being healthy, when you really think about it, is quite simple. Eat foods that won’t kill you and work out a few times a week. That’s it. But why are those two simple tasks so hard to do? My hunch is that it’s a lack of discipline. I think this is particularly true for those of us that are naturally skinny. I can eat just about anything I want and exercise sporadically without really packing on any extra weight. It’s one of the perks of being young. I trick myself in to thinking I’m being healthy, just because I’m not overweight. But I know as I age, and my metabolism starts to slow down, I will have to make some adjustments to my diet and my activity level if I want to stay trim. What’s that phrase again “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”, well in this case…”The road to a heart attack is paved with fast food and Dr. Pepper.”

Alright, I’ve been honest with you all, now it’s your turn to be honest with me. What are some aspects of your life that you admittedly “suck” in (relationships, organization, faith, money, etc)? What are you doing to try and suck less? Why are the easiest things sometimes the hardest to do?

I’m moving!

Ahhh, no time to post today as I’m loading up boxes and putting them in the back of my 16′ rental truck. CRAZY! Next time I blog, it will be from Seattle! Woohoo!!! Just to keep things interesting, I want to see who can guesstimate how much gas will cost me for the trip. Are you up for the challenge? Here are a few facts to get you started….

1) 16′ rental truck from Budget Truck.

2) Chuck Norris can do a hand stand….with his feet.

3) Truck will be 80ish% full.

4) I had a mole that looked like a third nipple.

5) The truck takes regular unleaded gas.

6) I will be driving roughly 1,302 miles.

7) The truck has a 35 gallon tank

8) I like the color blue

9) I will be towing my 2 door coupe behind the truck.

10) Website says truck gets between 6-10 mpg.

Alright, those should be enough facts for you to make a reasonable prediction as to what my total gas bill will be. My guess is $762.60.

I’d like to pretend that I’ll give the closest commenter a sweet prize like an iPad 2, but let’s be honest, if I could get my hands on an iPad 2 I’d keep it for myself 🙂 So the winner, instead, will have to enjoy a virtual iPad…

So reader, how much do you think I’ll be spending?

San Francisc-oh yeah!!

I’m super pumped right now. Girl Ninja, and I are playing grown ups and traveling to San Francisco this weekend (I don’t know why, but I still feel too young to vacation without a chaperon). We get in early Saturday morning and will have through Monday night to take in all the city has to offer.

I think I’m especially excited because I fought my urge to be Planny Mcplannerson. Shoot, I don’t even have a budget set for our weekend. How ya like them apples financial responsibility!?

My guess is we’ll spend most of our time seeing awesome places and eating at awesome restaurants. Girl Ninja will probably want to participate in some awesome shopping, and I will probably want to sleep-in until awesomely late. I could care less what we do, as long as we have an awesome time. Get it? Got it? Good!

Awkward Transition…

On another note. I passed the final physical fitness test for my dream job and will be receiving my final offer any day now. In case you are wondering, I threw up three separate times during the test, one of which consisted of crazy gross projectile vomiting. But hey, good things never come easy right?

Girl Ninja and I have done much discussing about which path we will take (dream job or dream location) and although we still aren’t sure, we’ve committed to making the decision by Monday. Ultimately we have been praying that the Lord (as in God, not the flying spaghetti monster) will give us like-mindedness and peace about our future. We literally have no clue what we are going to do, but I know that God does, and that my friends gives me hope 🙂

Although this process has been stressful, we’ve been able to learn so much more about ourselves and our relationship. This is a VERY SIGNIFICANT weekend for us. Expect an update next week.

A second awkward transition…

I just wanted to give a special shout out to my Canadian commenters. Booya for Canada….the junior varsity version of  the U.S…. just kidding… kind of.

I’d like to pretend that I’m going to respond to more comments, but the fact of the matter is I probably wont. For two reasons….

1) I’m kind of lazy.


2) Sometimes I get way more comments than I know what to do with. While this is a great problem to have. I’d be totally lying if I said I would be responding to all of them. Heck, I got 70-something comments on my article about cell phones this week. It would take me like three hours to lay out a detailed response to each comment made.

That said, please don’t stop commenting! It’s the only metric I have to gauge your interest in what I write about. Although I don’t always respond, I SWEAR I READ EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM.

Random fact about me….

I had a mole underneath my left nipple, that I thought looked like a third nipple. I was so embarrased by it, I asked my parents to let me have it surgically removed when I was a kid. Thankfully they obliged, I am proud to say, I’ve been third nipple free for 12+ years now 🙂

What’s a random fact about you?

Ask a kindergartner

As most of you know, Girl Ninja is a kindergarten teacher. Eight hours a day, five days a week, she’s busting her butt to try and make these kids less dumb smarter. Somehow, I’ve managed to convince her that we (meaning punch debt in the face readers) should be given access to her students.

No, we won’t be visiting her classroom in person. That’s right, we have an opportunity to pick the brains of a five year old. Well, not literally pick, that would just be weird. All you have to do is take a second to think about a question you would want to ask a five year old. Once you got it in mind, post it in the comments section below.

I’ll select the ten questions I find most interesting and give them to Girl Ninja. She will then host a group discussion with her students. She’ll ask the question we provided, and write down her kindergartners’ responses. I’d ask them to write their responses, but we’d probably end up with something like this…

I’ll then sift through some of the best, craziest, most awesome responses and post them up here for the world (and by ‘the world’ I mean the couple thousand people that read this blog) to see. Obviously I wont be able to use every question, so don’t be bitter if yours isn’t asked.

Some example questions would be, “How much money do you have to have to be rich?” or “What is the primary job of the president’s wife?”

What you can’t do is ask something super creepy like “If I had a large, dirty van with the words ‘free candy’ written on it, would you go inside?”

I’m hoping to post the responses by the end of the week, or early next week. So reader, what question do you have for a kindergartner?

Businesses you’ve never heard of

Saw this article on Yahoo Finance about million dollar businesses you’ve never heard of and thought it was worth sharing with you all. If you want the full details about each gig you’ll have to click over to the article, but here’s the gist…

1) Geese Police Dogs chase geese off golf course. Revenue: Estimated $2.5 million in 2010

2) Texas Driving Experience – Drive a corvette around a racetrack. Revenue: Estimated $1.8 million in 2010

3) Mabel’s Labels – Durable kid proof labels for kids’ stuff. Revenue: $4 million in 2009

4) Stave Puzzle – Really hard puzzles. Revenue: $2.5 million in 2009

5) Pet Relocation – Relocate any animal from point A to point B. Revenue: Estimated $4 million in 2010

6) Black Socks – Sock subscription (like a magazine subscription) Revenue: $5 million in 2009

7) Sky Zone – Trampoline gym. Revenue: $3 million-plus in 2009

8) DNA 11 – DNA artwork. Revenue: $1.4 million in 2009

9) Murray Associates – Spy stuff. Revenue in 2009: $760,000

10) The Fiero Store – Auto parts for Pontiac Fieros. Revenue: $2 million in 2009

How can you read that article and not feel at least somewhat entrepreneurial? I mean come on, who woulda thought teaching some dogs to chase geese would turn in to a multimillion dollar business? Wanna know what’s even cooler? The start up cost for Geese Police was a measly $3,000. Incredible right!? I’m keeping my fingers crossed Punch Debt In The Face will make it on Yahoo’s list next year 😉 Haha, yeah right.

Here’s your mission today. Drop a line in the comments below with what your dream business would be? It doesn’t matter if you know the business would fail, or if the start up costs are too high. This is hypothetical, so we just get to pretend everything would work out somehow. I’d probably start a cereal bar, much like a Starbucks or a Einsteins Bagels, but with cereal instead (side note: I know there are already such places, but not where I live). You walk up to the counter and take your pick of hundreds of different types of cereal. A bowl would cost $1.50 and you could get any type of milk (or soy product) you wanted to go with it. Maybe I’d call it something cheesy like Seriously Cereal. Ah yes, that would be my dream. What’s yours?