Do I have to change the name of my blog?

What situation would you rather be in…

Situation Uno: You could have $20,000 in savings, but also have $15,000 in mid-interest debt (7%).

Situation Dos: You could have $5,000 in savings, but zero debt.

I’m currently sticking with situation uno. I have $22K in the bank and a little over $15K in debt. I could pay off my student loan tomorrow, be truly debt free, and still have a small emergency fund. I chose not to. Dave Ramsey would be pissed! My blog’s title is Punch Debt In The Face, but by choosing to remain in debt, perhaps I should change the name to Punch Debt In The Face When You Feel Like It. It doesn’t quite have the same ring, does it?

I would be all about transitioning to situation dos if not for one small detail. I’m getting married. There are a lot of unknowns at this point in my life. I know I will be paying for a honeymoon (probably around $4K) and will face other wedding related costs over the next few months. Not having to pay for the actual wedding day has been a huge blessing, but I will still have some financial obligations.

I have no clue what to expect for monthly expenses as Girl Ninja and I move in together. I’ve never lived with a girl before, but word on the street has it those things can be expensive. It’s also unclear what Girl Ninja’s income will be. She is a substitute teacher in California, and we all know the California government can’t manage money.

Maintaining a rather large savings account keeps me from stressing out about the “unknowns” of marriage. Personally, if I paid off my student loan, and only had a few grand in the bank, I would be super anxious about our stability. So for the time being, I plan to continue operating in situation uno until, at least, the end of the year. After a few moths of the married life, and once I have a better handle on our future, I will strongly consider paying off my loan.

So what would you do? Does the security of having a large amount of cash in the bank keep you from stressing about your debt? Or does debt overwhelm you, and you would get rid of it in an instant. I have a feeling there will be a pretty even split.

Wedding Registry, from a Man’s perspective

Girl Ninja and I have embarked on an epic journey. A journey in to the world of pots, pans, and garbage cans. That’s right my friends, it’s wedding registry time. Registering is no child’s play, this is serious business. It’s my one and only chance to get a lot of nice crap without having to pay a cent for it. Being new to this whole registry game, I thought I would share a few of the things I have learned.

1) It’s okay to register for really nice things. I was having issues adding All-Clad pans to the registry. Those things are freaking expensive and I felt terrible asking for them. We are talking upwards of $200 bucks for a pot. For a rather crappy chef, like myself, I doubt I’ll notice the difference between a $20 pot and a $200 pot… after all, they’ll both boil water the same wont they? I wrote a few weeks back about my internal battle with accepting generous gifts. In an attempt to combat my awkward frugality, we have registered for quite a few “luxury” items. I realize that just because we want the $200 skillet, doesn’t mean someone HAS to buy us the $200 skillet. I was treating every item we registered for as a “is-this-really-necessary” item instead of a “how-sweet-would-it-be-if-someone-got-us-this” item. In the world of wedding registry, quality is what’s important.

2) Register at places with AWESOME return policies. Girl Ninja and I have registered at Crate and Barrel and Macy’s. These two stores both have amazing, and I mean amazing, return policies. Since Girl Ninja and I both live in San Diego, are getting married in Seattle, and have no clue where we will be living after we get married, there is a good chance we will need to return 99% of the gifts people get for us. It’s kind of a bummer and will probably be a headache, but there isn’t much we can do about it except register at places with good return policies. Crate and Barrel, for example, will give you straight up CASH for all items purchased through your registry. How epic is that, most stores will give you gift cards or store credit, but C&B would hook me up with Benjamins. That gives GN and I a ton of flexibility in our shopping. While Macy’s only provides store credit, they still allow up to a year to make the return and have some pretty sweet perks if you register through them. The coolest perk is that Girl Ninja and I will get a 5% store credit bonus on every dollar someone else spends on our registry. If people buy $2,000 worth of Macy’s product, Girl Ninja and I walk away with a $100 gift card. Boo to the Ya for free money.

3) There is a lot of crap to be bought. I’m a guy. We don’t need a lot. Give me one bowl, one plate, a spork, and maybe some toilet paper, and I will consider myself adequately provided for. Apparently Girl Ninja has different plans. We registered for cupcake tins, cupcake trees, cupcake carrying cases, and a whole slew of other things I never knew existed (mostly baking goods). I’m overwhelmed by the shear quantity of items we have registered for, especially knowing that we are only about 50% through the registering process. There is some crazy stuff out there, for example, I have no idea what the heck this kitchen thingy majigger is…There ya have it, three things that stood out to me as I embark on this wedding registry process. I can tell ya right now, it’s totally a chick thing as I haven’t met too many guys that get excited about picking out what color hand towels they want.

And now, as always, I leave with some questions…primarily for the femALIENS out there. What are some things you wished you would have registered for, but didn’t? I have heard it’s always better to ask for too much than not enough (i.e. dinnerware for 12 instead of 10). Is it against proper etiquette to register for things like tools and a BBQ? If you could do one thing over again with your wedding registry what would it be? ANY AND ALL ADVICE IS HIGHLY APPRECIATED! I definitely want to take advantage of as much “free” crap stuff as I can

p.s. if you didn’t get a chance to see all the comments people posted up yesterday about their financial secrets, I highly encourage you to do so…there are some interesting one’s in the bunch!!!!

I suck at accepting gifts

As Girl Ninja and I continue planning our wedding, I’m learning all sorts of crazy things about myself. One of the lessons I have learned thus far: I suck at accepting gifts.

Girl Ninja’s parents have been totally awesome and gave us a very generous wedding budget. I don’t know if Girl Ninja wants me posting up the amount, so I’ll just give ya’ll a ball park…it’s between $10 and $100,000 ;). In all honesty, it is the largest sum of money we have ever been gifted.

I think I might be a terrible human being, because my initial reaction was not necessarily excitement and gratitude. My first thought was “Thank goodness I don’t have to wipe out my life savings for this thing beautiful day.” But then my second reaction was “We can’t accept that, and if we do accept it, we aren’t going to spend it all.”

I’m genetically frugal, it is in my DNA, so I became slightly uncomfortable with the thought of spending so much money on one single day. I found myself trying to convince Girl Ninja to reduce costs, cut corners, and ultimately sacrifice the quality of our wedding, even though everything we want is within our budget.

Girl Ninja said something to me last night that helped put me at ease. She said, “Ninja, You need to understand that this wedding is a party that my parents want to throw for us. It is a gift and we need to be grateful for it.” (No she didn’t actually call me Ninja, but I would be so happy inside if she did).

How many times have we been given a bday or xmas gift, only to respond “I can’t possibly accept this.”? Ya know what? Girl Ninja has a point. Sometimes we need to shut up, and accept generosity. I may be frugal by nature, but I need to be careful not to offend, or at least appear unappreciative of this gift.

Sometimes frugality can be a curse, and this my friends might be one of those situations. Have you found yourself struggling to accept a gift? Why is it so hard to let people do nice things for us? Am I a total douche for having an initial feeling of discomfort instead of excitement?

p.s. the wedding allotment was given to us with no strings attached, except one…the money is for a wedding, and a wedding only. Many of you may be thinking “Cheap out on the wedding and pocket the leftover.” Not an option, and not what Girl Ninja and I would want to do ๐Ÿ™‚

The story….

You all are gonna have to bear with me. I’m a guy and guys are not very good at telling stories. I’m gonna give my best attempt to appear romantic and fill ya’ll in on how the proposal went down two days ago. Here goes nothing…

The backstory…

Girl Ninja and I are both originally from the Seattle area. We also both currently live in San Diego (not together). I decided in August that I wanted to wait until Christmas time to propose because we would both be in Washington with family and friends. I bought the diamond in June, and for six months kept that sucker hidden in my desk. Needless to say, I was really excited for December 28th to come.

The Proposal…

I picked Girl Ninja up at 12:00 on Monday, for what she thought was 12:30 lunch reservations at the Barking Frog. The restaurant is part of a really beautiful winery/lodge and was the perfect spot….

Inside the Barking Frog

Now Girl Ninja, was under the impression that we were meeting friends for lunch (a double date), little did she know that was never the plan. As I pulled in to the lodge’s parking lot, I called my friend that we were suppose to meet up with and pretended like we were a half hour early. Girl Ninja and I decided it would be cool to walk around and check out the lodge, while we waited for our friends to arrive.

As we walked around, through the various gardens and fountains, I became increasingly more nervous as I knew we were nearing the proposal spot. As we approached the final courtyard, my hand began shaking uncontrollably from anxiety/excitement. I began to drag Girl Ninja to the table set up with the ring. As my hand was shaking, reality started sinking in, and Girl Ninja realized what was about to happen.

She looked at the table, then looked at me and said “No!” Still walking towards the table, I looked back at her and said “Yea!” We approached the table where I had the ring, some flowers, a Bible, and a scrapbook waiting for us….

The proposal table, next to a fountain (Girl Ninja LOVES fountains!)

We arrived at the table and it was time for me to put my game face on. I picked up the Bible and read this verse from Genesis…

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the manโ€™s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

The man said,

โ€œThis is now bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called โ€˜woman,โ€™

for she was taken out of man.โ€

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

I then got on my knee and said something like “I’ve been waiting a really long time to do this, Will you marry me?” I don’t really remember what happened after that because I was so freakin’ nervous/happy/excited/anxious that the next couple minutes were all a blur. I do remember one thing though…. SHE SAID YES!!!!!

Immediately after she said yes!!!

After some celebrating and chatter my friend and brother, that had been snapping pictures from the distance, came up to congratulate us and continue taking some AWESOME pictures. We then flipped through the scrap book I made which had a list of my Top Ten Favorite Moments together. Here is a picture from the scrapbook (the bottom left corner is empty so we can include a picture from the proposal)….

The last page of the scrapbook (aka my most favorite moment with Girl Ninja)

We took some more pictures and then headed over to the restaurant for our actual lunch reservations. I told Girl Ninja, there was no double date and that it would just be her and I. I could tell she was a little sad she had not been able to share the big moment with her parents, but little did she know I had some tricks up my sleeve. About 10min into our lunch reservations her parents surprised her and had lunch with us. Girl Ninja began crying and we had some great conversations.

At 2:15, it was time to leave lunch and head over to the Willow’s Lodge Spa so she could her nails done (I had to make sure her hands were looking pretty when she showed off her ring!). From the Spa we headed to Downtown Seattle and went to Starbucks so she could begin calling friends and family and sharing the exciting news with them. After an hour or so at Starbucks we headed to Pike’s Market to buy some flowers to bring back to her parents.

At 5:30, we left Seattle so we could make it back to Girl Ninja’s house for dinner plans with her family. Little did she know, there was more suprises to come!!!! We arrived to her house at 6:00 sharp to be welcomed by 40 of our closest friends and family. Getting to share the most exciting day in our lives with those closest to us truly amazing. I could tell that Girl Ninja was a little sad that one of her best friends, who lives in New Mexico, was not at the party. We mingled with our friends for about 15 minutes, before I pulled out my last surprise…. I had secretly flown her friend up to Seattle to be there for our celebration. I called for Girl Ninja’s attention and at the site of her best friend, tears and screams rang out.

The ring, with freshly painted nails, and our engagement cupcake!

We partied hard for a couple hours and overall had an amazing day. Here were my favorite parts…

1) Surprising Girl Ninja with a ring

2) Surprising her with lunch with her parents

3) Throwing a suprise party for us, when she thought we were just having dinner with her family

4) Flying her best friend up to Seattle to share in our special day

If you can’t tell I am a big fan of surprises and wanted to do as much as I could to let Girl Ninja know I love her. I can not believe I get to spend the rest of my life with such an amazing woman. The Lord has truly blessed me and for that I am thankful.

Thank you to all who have sent congratulatory comments and tweets. I have shared each and every one of them with Girl Ninja. I may not know any of you, but they still mean a lot ๐Ÿ™‚

p.s. About six months ago I blogged about how I sold my motorcycle…that was to subsidize part of the cost of the diamond ๐Ÿ™‚