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 🙁

I’m accidentaly smart

As I sit here reflecting on my three year long personal finance journey, I can’t help but laugh at how incredibly fortunate I’ve been (knock on wood). Some of the best decisions I’ve made, in regards to my financial well being, were accidents. Thought I’d share a few examples with you today…

Credit Card:

I didn’t know a thing about money all through college. I was actually quite pathetic. I didn’t even have access to my own savings account (I had to call my mom and ask her to transfer money from my savings in to my checking because I didn’t know how. Embarrassing right?). I had two credit cards in college that my mom recommended I get in case of an emergency. I had no clue how to use my Credit Cards and was too darn intimidated by them to use them. Turns out, my ignorance was a huge blessing as I graduated college with no credit card debt. Can I get a booya for ignorance?!

Savings:

I landed my current job relatively quickly after college and for the first time in my life had a steady income. I had a good chunk of discretionary income from each pay check. I tried to spend it (this is when I bought my motorcycle ), but quickly ran out of things I wanted to buy. Without realizing what I was doing, I made the decision to save my left over cash at the end of the month instead of squander it away.

401K:

The first day on the job I filled out a boatload of paperwork: health insurance, life insurance, and every other kind of benefit form there is. I had the 401K form handed to me and decided I would throw 5% of my gross pay into it each month. I didn’t know where these contributions were going, but at least I was contributing something to retirement. A few months later (once I fell in love with personal finance), I realized I had been heavily investing in government bond funds…yuck…and quickly changed my allocations. Even though my 401K contributions went to a crappy investment for the first couple months, I formed the habit of saving for retirement as early as I could.

Random Conversation:

And the single most important moment in my financial life… I had a conversation with someone about Roth IRA’s, which snowballed into an obsession with personal finance. Realizing that I had already formed decent financial habits, I decided it was time I maximized my potential. It’s an ongoing process and I am definitely not the smartest kid in the room (my mother has always said I was “special”), but I’m excited my eyes were opened to personal finance at 22 and not 52. Thank goodness for accidental intelligence!!!!

What are the best moves you have made to date? Maybe they were intentional decisions like never using a credit card. Or perhaps it was dumb luck, like not being able to afford a home at the top of the market which saved you from being upside down on a mortgage today. I would love to hear what you all have to say so drop me a line.

Note to self: Don’t get stabbed

Well, yesterday was eventful. Woke up to this text message from my mom yesterday….

Just a few notes about that text message…

1) I live in a major city, yet somehow I only have one bar of service. AT&T sucks!

2) Yes, my mother’s name in my phone is “Mummsy.”

3) My mom apparently thinks wishing me a “Happy Sunday”, before telling me my brother was stabbed, will help subside any panic. Love ya mom.

4) HOLY CRAP MY BROTHER GOT STABBED IN THE NECK!!!!!

Long story short, my brother was at a friend’s birthday party. My bro put his arm around an unknown intoxicated party attendant and asked that guy if he would like a drink. The individual responded by declining the offer, and instead stabbing my brother in the neck with a paring knife that was on an adjacent kitchen counter top.

What did my brother do after being stabbed? Well, like a freakin’ Ninja he immediately put the guy in a headlock, until other party goers tackled the guy and pinned him to the ground. The police and the paramedics were called. Bro Ninja ended up being transported to a Seattle hospital where he was in the ER and ICU for about 10 hours. As for the jerk that stabbed my brother, he is in jail, facing felony assault charges. Can’t wait to see justice be served.

My brother was released from the hospital at around lunchtime yesterday and is doing well. He’s got a sweet wound on his neck (pictured below) and is pretty groggy from all the sedatives/painkillers the hospital had him on. I may be playing caretaker over the next few days to help my parents out, so if you don’t hear much from me that is why.

Moral of the story is this...Make sure you have adequate health insurance, you never know when you might get stabbed in the neck. Wish my brother well 🙂

p.s. I’m pretty sure this means he can be in a gang now…being stabbed has to earn you some pretty serious street cred, right?

p.p.s. as promised here is a picture of my brother’s wound…

 

We made it!

Yesterday Girl Ninja and I celebrated our first of marriage. I can’t believe it’s been 12 months since our wedding of epic epicness. Over dinner, we shared reasons why we love each other, ways in which we have grown as a couple, and how we can serve each other better. As we were driving home, we decided we would share a little bit about our marriage with you. This is the first time Girl Ninja and I have teamed up on a post…. I hope you enjoy 🙂

Ninja’s reflections:

I’ve learned way more about Girl Ninja in the last twelve months, than I ever did in the four years I dated her. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again; Her hair is out of control. Not the hair on her head, but the hair that has fallen off her head. It’s everywhere. Three days ago I was greeted by a long blonde hair carefully entangled in the head of my toothbrush…BARF! She also has the hardest time keeping track of bobby pins and hair ties. I find them everywhere. In the fridge. On the floor. In our dresser. In the backseat of my car. Bobby pins have caused some serious drama in the Ninja household.

What I appreciate most about Girl Ninja is her patience with me. I know I am not an easy person to get along with, especially when it comes to our finances, but time and time again she has endured my shenanigans. She gives me grace when I need it. And she challenges me to think outside of myself. When we have disagreements we work together, through prayer and communication, to find a compromise. I am a better person because of Girl Ninja and I can’t wait to spend another 60 years with her. Love ya Honey Bunches of Oats 🙂

Girl Ninja’s reflections:

What I have learned Livin’ Like a Ninja…

Waking up to my best friend every day (except for his occasional morning breath) is the best thing ever.

Daily “friendly” reminders of my very controlled and manageable latte addiction have become the norm.

Nothing grows our love more than serving God together, praying together, and learning together.

I don’t remember the last time I logged into our bank account or payed a bill…it’s wonderful to be married to someone whose strengths make up for my weaknesses.  There are for sure differences, but I fully trust him and am more than thankful for his knowledge and diligence in managing our money (this doesn’t mean we aren’t in constant communication about our money, it just means I don’t have to be the one to actually implement all we talk about).

Vacation time in our first year of marriage has been BOMB DOT COM (Aruba, San Fran, Palm Desert, Germany/France/Luxembourg, Hawaii, and Canada)…Can’t wait to see where year two takes us 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this tag team blog post approach. Sorry if it was a little mushy for all, but when it comes to Girl Ninja, I’m nothing but rainbows and unicorns. Love that Girl more than my Roth IRA, 401K, ING Savings accounts, and my iPhone…combined…well maybe not my iPhone…just kidding.

Lame

I have an interesting blog post in mind, but seeing that it is Friday (the worst web traffic day of the week), I’ve decided to hold off until Monday. I’ve been having an incredible time in Oahu and feel like I can say I’ve pretty much seen the whole island. Saw some dolphins jump out of the water on the west side, swam with a rogue sea turtle in Lanikai, ate shave ice on the north shore, spent three days in Waikiki, and so much more. Once I get my pictures uploaded, I’ll be sure to share them with you next week at some point.

I’ve kind of missed you all over the last week, but I’ve also kind of had too much fun to think about blogging. I hope your Friday is a good one and that you enjoy your weekend! Aloha!

funny gifs

You’re not me.

So I was reading the other day (Yes I do actually know how to read) and came across something profound. I’d like to share it with you now…

No one-size-fits-all recipe can guarantee a great relationship. Whether we’re talking about husband and wife, close friends, co-workers, or parent and child, every relationship is different. No two are ever exactly alike. What builds and sustains one is often of no value in another….

…..Each relationship has its own dance and drama, played out according to the unique strengths, needs, and personalities of the partners.

I think the author makes a valid point: What works for one person, might not work for another. Later in the chapter he goes on to discuss, that just because each person is different, that does not mean there are not fundamental rules in which we must all oblige. For example, don’t kill, steal from, or lie to each other. When these “ground rules” are broken, bad things happen.

Ready for the personal finance tie in? No two financial journeys are ever the same, but the ground rules apply to all. Sure there may be some disagreement in what is considered a fundamental financial principle, but here are mine…

1) Spend less than you make

2) Don’t accumulate debt (without a game plan to pay it off)

3) Have money set aside for a rainy day

If any one of these three financial principles are violated, you will almost surely face unnecessary hardships. Notice, though, that there is room for WHAT YOU WANT within each parameter. Sure you need to spend less than you make to have financial freedom, but it’s up to you how much less. Maybe it’s $50/month, $500/month, or more. You get to decide what works best for you.

Becoming financially secure is not about following a strict guideline, but more taking some basic principles and making them unique to your situation. We need to be more tolerant of our peers gameplans, unless their plans involve money, vodka, and a tiger.

I’m a pretty stubborn individual so it’s important for me to be reminded that my way is not the best way (although I will definitely try to argue that it is). What are some universal financial principles that you believe everyone must follow? Have you been stubborn, like myself, and become frustrated when people don’t do things “your way”?

Hi.

Hi. No, that is not me being polite and greeting you. It’s actually my way of rubbing in your face that I am going on vacation today…to Hawaii (HI). Pretty clever right? We fly out this evening and couldn’t be more ready. If you don’t believe me, check out this depressing picture I took yesterday while driving…

Apparently Washington didn’t get the memo that it is July, a month made for BBQs and wakeboarding…not rain jackets and umbrellas. Fortunately, the forecast for Oahu is a comfortable 80 degrees for the next week. Warm temperatures, Hawaiian food, blue water, and relaxation…YES PLEASE!

Obviously I’m pretty excited about this trip for a few reasons.

1) Girl Ninja and I were away from each other for four months. We like to think of this as our second honeymoon.

2) Girl Ninja hasn’t been to Hawaii since she was two years old.

3) I have only been to Hawaii once, in 2009, for less than 24 hours.

4) Our entire trip is going to cost less than $1,500.

Since I like to pretend this is a personal finance website, I thought we’d focus the rest of today’s post on point four, the money aspect. Here is the tentative budget for our trip…

  • Tickets: $558 total. My ticket was $458. Since we are loyal users of the Alaska Airlines credit card, we receive a $99 companion ticket each year. The companion ticket has no black out dates or restrictions. Instead of dropping another $458 on her ticket, it only set us back a hundo.
  • Parking: $80. We are paying to park at the airport since it is about 1.5 hours from where we live. It’s too far for us to ask a friend or family member to make the 3hr trip twice.
  • Lodging: $200. This was the reason we picked Hawaii. I have a friend who lives in San Diego, but spends his summers at his parents’ house in Hawaii each year (he’s a teacher). His parents are in the Philippines this summer so he has the house to himself. We will be staying with him 7 of the ten days we are there, for free. The other three days, we were able to rent an ocean front timeshare in Waikiki for $67/night. Booya for taking advantage of someone else’s crappy time share investment.
  • Food: $400. When we are staying with our friend we will cook most meals. Excited to try some authentic home cooked Hawaiian food. We will pay for the groceries, but this will obviously be cheaper than eating out every meal. Don’t get me wrong though, we will definitely try some local restaurants. We shouldn’t have a problem staying under budget in this category.
  • Entertainment $0: Mom Ninja hooked us up big time for my birthday and got us a three day all access pass to Oahu. We literally can do a bajillion different events free of charge. If we feel like renting mopeds, petting dolphins, snorkeling, going to a Luau, visiting Pearl Harbor, or a ton of other things we can… AT NO COST TO US! Thanks Mom!
  • Spending: $???: If it were up to me, I’d put the budget at about $100, but something tells me that isn’t going to go over well with the wifey. I don’t really have anything that I’m looking to buy, but I imagine GN will want to get some clothes, jewelry, or other little trinkets. We have decided that we are going to start collecting coffee mugs from each place we visit, so we will likely come back with one of those 🙂

If you were worried that I wouldn’t be blogging while on vacation, worry no more. The laptop is coming with me and I plan to pump out a few posts from the beach…while sipping on a Strawberry Pina Colada of course. Yes, I like “chick drinks”.

Where are you vacationing this summer? Do you collect anything from your travel experiences (shot glasses, shirts, etc)? Anything we should do in Oahu?