2010. Year of the “Non-budget” budget

I pinky promise I wont turn PDITF in to a wedding/marriage/love blog, but you are gonna have to bear with me, for a bit longer as this engagement thing is uncharted territories for me. Getting married is going to completely change the way I have been managing my money. Apparently wives don’t just cook and clean (dear feminists, that was a joke), but they also do things like make money and spend money.

In years past, I have made my budget on January 1st and made assumptions of what the next 12 months is going to look like. It has been pretty easy for me to do, seeing that all I had to account for was myself. I knew what my income would be, I knew how much food I bought each month, and I knew how frequently I was putting gas in my car. It was really easy to make a budget once every 12 months, because few things in my life varied.

Well Girl Ninja, I hate to break it to ya, but you’re throwin’ a little wrench in my tires. I think I’m going to be forced in to budgeting twice this year. One for now through wedding day, and again wedding day through the rest of the year. That means I have to do twice as much work, ugh.

Even more unfortunate… I have no idea how to budget for our life post wedding. I have no clue how much women cost. To further complicate things, Girl Ninja is a substitute teacher so her income can range from $200-$2,000 monthly (depending on how many days she works). My guess is our wedding will take place in August, which leaves me with four months of assumptions (Aug through Dec).

It really seems pointless to make a budget for the last half of the year at this point, since I really have no clue what things will be looking like. We could be spending $900 to $1,500 on rent, $300-$500 on grocery/dining, $100-$400 on gas, blah, blah, blah. Nearly every category has a couple hundred dollar variance. It kind of defeats the purpose of budgeting, when you have no clue what you will be spending on virtually all aspects of your life.

Right now my game plan is to establish my budget from January to August and call it good. Once married life begins, I will closely monitor our spending habits and be totally prepared to make my 2011 budget on January 1st next year. I guess it’s not a huge deal though, because I treat my budget like a spending guideline. Do any of you all recall how much your overall expenses increased post marriage? Do you make a budget each month, once a quarter, or like me, once a year?

p.s. a few of you bloggers (mostly women) have mentioned you would like to hear a little more about my thoughts on weddings/marriage/love, so I plan to begin touching on those topics at least once a month. consider me your official Love Ninja πŸ™‚

Net Worth: January 2010

Screen shot 2009-12-01 at Dec 1, 2009, 5.32.56 PM

I popped a cap in 2009’s a$$. It was an incredible year, increasing my net worth over $30K. December, however, was a not so exciting. Oh wait, YES IT WAS. I got engaged, but with engagement comes expenses, and with expenses come a less than ridiculous net worth growth. Let’s take a look…

Checking Account(s): $4,361, +$1,301. Got the checking account slightly stacked as my $2,500 credit card bill is coming due. I’m being a good Ninja, and paying that bill in full. I try to keep $1,000 in this account, but have come to realize that is almost never the case as I am constantly moving money around. Also, I now have two checking accounts, after opening up my online savings with ING, I decided to open a checking account with them also.

Savings Account: $17,725, -$1,800. Ahh the savings account decrease…tear. It’s for a good reason though. I finished off my last bit of contribution to my Roth IRA. You’ll see the increase in the next section…

Roth IRA: $13,755 +$1,868. I almost didn’t max out my Roth IRA for 2009, but after much thought I decided to go for it. I’m glad I did…I think πŸ™‚

401K: $11,641, +$869. Eight percent of each paycheck makes its way in to this account. I invest in very similar funds in both my Roth IRA and 401K. I get 5% of my paycheck fully matched, so you know I’m not about to pass up free money.

Student Loan: -$16,193, +$108. Whoops. Got a little side tracked with purchasing an engagement setting and contributing to my Roth IRA. I promise to get back to paying this biotch down in 2010. Pink promise!!!

I’m rocking a solid $28,793 net worth. I’m up $1,404 from last month. Not quite as cool as the $5,000 I went up last month, but I guess I’ll be okay. If I had to choose between getting engaged, or having a larger Net Worth growth, I would pick…. well don’t make me answer that πŸ™‚

Anyone care to make any PDITF 2010 predictions. Think I’ll be President by the end of the year? Maybe I will fizzle out and give blogging up? Think I’ll have a kid (I sure hope not). Humor me with some new year predictions.

If you have wondered why the blue bar (debt) in the graph sometimes increases, it’s because my credit card balance gets taken in to account each month. Even though I pay the balance in full it still appears as a “liability” in Quicken. I just deduct this from my checking account balance to give myself an accurate net worth reading. I choose not to include my car in my NW calculations, which would probably increase my worth by about $8K.

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 man’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,

β€œThis is now bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called β€˜woman,’

for she was taken out of man.”

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

I’m getting married (I hope)

For many of you, December 25th was probably your favorite day this Christmas season. For me, however, today is hopefully not just going to be the best day the season, but possibly one of the best days of my life. I’m gonna cut to the chase. Today I will be proposing to Girl Ninja. Proposing, as in like marriage, not proposing that she invests in a Roth IRA (although I think she should).

I’ve been waiting for December 28th to come for about six months now. I bought Girl Ninja’s diamond in June and have been secretly hiding it in my computer desk drawer since then. I had “the talk” with future Father-Ninja-In-Law over thanksgiving break, and received his blessing. With all signals go, that meant I had the green light to proceed.

Tomorrow I’ll share the propsal details, but today I want to talk a little bit about my relationship with Girl Ninja. Our story hasn’t been the fairy tale we often read about in books and see in movies, but ya wanna know what it has been….real. Too often we are told love is magical, that it comes naturally, that it is a feeling, that it is perfect. That’s a bunch of bullcrap. Love takes a lot of work, it’s complicated, messy, but in the end, well worth it. Ya see, love is not about “What can my girlfriend do for me?” Instead it’s “How can I love my girlfriend better?” Love is selfless, not selfish.

I want to spend the rest of my life with Girl Ninja because she respect’s me. She honors the man that I am, rather than trying to turn me into someone I’m not. She endures my imperfections and shortcomings, without complaint. She loves me selflessly, not for her benefit, but for mine.

Ya see love isn’t a feeling. I don’t believe in “falling in love”, instead I believe you have to “work for love”. Few good things come without effort, love is no exception. I know Girl Ninja and I will face tough times, I know there will be days we don’t really wanna be around each other, but guess what…. that’s okay. I am committed to loving Girl Ninja. To being the man that she deserves. To work every day to win her love. To put her needs before mine.

I want to grow old with Girl Ninja, and after today I will be one step closer to making that happen (assuming she says “Yes!”). Ya may not be getting any personal finance today, but I believe this topic is of equal importance. What are your thoughts on love? Why do marriages fail? And for the married folks, any insight you have for me is greatly appreciated.