Ninja’s favorite things

Yesterday, as I was juggling chainsaws and chewing glass, Girl Ninja asked that I do something rather unmanly with her…watch Oprah. Luckily, I was able to pencil time in for her (between Fire Breathing and Bear Wrestling of course). If you saw yesterday’s episode, you’d know it was Oprah’s favorite things, a show where she endorses and gives away a ton of her favorite products to her audience members.

Yesterday she gave away only two things I’d be interested in; an iPad and a Volkswagen Beetle (not because I would actually drive a beetle, but because I could use the parts to build a super robot). While I may not be able to give away all of my favorite things, it doesn’t mean I can’t share them with you. Without further ado, Ninja’s favorite things of 2010….

Marriage:

Girl Ninja

Totally had to throw this one in there otherwise I would have one pissed off wife. Haha. Being married is pretty much the greatest thing ever. Well second greatest thing. My iPhone is the first…just kidding…kind of.

ING Direct:

I really, really, really wish ING paid me to advertise for them. I love my online savings account and even though they don’t sponsor me, I still have no problems spreading the love. They offer a decently competitive interest rate, they have hilarious tweets/marketing campaigns, it’s super easy to set up, and I don’t feel like I’m supporting an evil big bank like Bank of America. Love you ING, but seriously, you should consider paying me to endorse you ๐Ÿ™‚

Crushed Red Pepper:

crushed red pepper

I recently discovered my crush (pun intended) on crushed red peppers. I for some reason had convinced myself I didn’t like them, and have always been weirded out by people that put them on their pizza. That is, until Girl Ninja made an incredible pasta dish the other night and sneakily added some of the crushed red pepper in it. It was like a party in my mouth. I can’t get enough of the stuff. It was a life changing revelation.

My Blog:

PDITF traffic

There I said it. I’m in love with my blog. It’s morphed from a small side hobby to a big time obsession. I’m definitely not a UBER successful PF blogger, but I’m amazed by the solid growth I’ve seen over the last year. This of course couldn’t have been done without you all! While I may not have the largest readership, I definitely have the coolest. Shout out to each of you that take the time to drop me a line almost every day. Who knows if I can continue to keep your attention for another 12 months, but I’m sure as heck up for the challenge.

Dove Cucumber and Green Tea Body Soap:

dove body wash

Yes, I will turn my man-card in right now and admit I love cucumber and green tea body soap. The “manly” body washes (old spice, axe, etc) just don’t do it for me. I have a sensitive side, and that sensitive side likes to be lathered in the most amazingly refreshing body soap of all time. Any other men out there care to admit what typically “feminine” products they love?

Being able to give stuff away:

Ahh, you’ve made it to the end of the article, and for that you should be rewarded. With what you ask? How about a chance to win 500 smackeroos? All ya have to do is participate in a little festive Turkey day Haiku contest I’m judging over at LifeTuner.org (link to contest here). You have until Dec. 1st to get your Haiku submitted for your shot at $500. I’ll give anyone that is interested in participating a hint…I’m looking to laugh ๐Ÿ™‚ If you need a little Haiku inspiration here’s one I wrote a while back…

Money Money Cash
Money Dollar Money Cash
Money Cash Booya

There ya have it, some of my favorite things of 2010. I seriously don’t know what life would be like without them…oh wait, yes I do…depressing!

What are some of your favorite things? What couldn’t you live without? Am I the only man that watched Oprah yesterday?

Voice of Ninja

It’s my birthday today. Hitting the big Two-Five. I guess it’s time to have a quarter life crisis ๐Ÿ™‚ Before I do that though, I thought I would share with you all my first podcast interview. It was part of the Unlock Your Wealth Radio program. If you’d like to listen to my interview go to this link…

My first interview

You’ll see the music bar on the right hand side. You’ll want to skip forward to 32 minutes (that’s when my interview starts) by clicking about a quarter way through the “time” bar. I tried to make the interview fun, so hopefully you’ll enjoy it.

Alright it’s time for me to go partake in some birthday shenanigans. See you on Monday….if I’m still alive ๐Ÿ™‚

Ding. Dong. The witch is dead.

Yo yo yo! Quite possibly the most exciting announcement EVER . You’re probably going to want to take a seat before you read this. Are you sitting down yet? Okay good.

Today, mi amigos, I would like you all to know, I just popped a cap in Sallie Mae’s a$$ and laid her to rest. FOR GOOD!!!! That’s right PF’ers I am debt free! I feel so many things right now, but mostly I’m just turned on. What can I say? Being debt free is sexy. Ahhh, it feels so good to say, I think I might just say it again… I’M DEBT FREE!!!! Okay, now that I’m done gloating, let’s take a little walk down memory lane…

I graduated college Spring 2007 with $28,462.96 of student loan debt. I did the typical post-grad choice and deferred my payments for the six months allotted. I then consolidated my student loans with Sallie Mae, which in hindsight was the biggest financial mistake of my life. In February 2008, I had to make my first student loan payment. A whopping $178. I did this one time. After the first month, I decided I didn’t want to be in debt for the next 20 years, so I stepped my game up. I began doubling my monthly payments and figured I’d be out of debt some time in 2017. I thought I was pretty smart.

I continued making these double payments for exactly one year. In March 2009, it was time to get even more serious. I began throwing between $1,000 and $1,500 towards my loan every single month. Although I was committed to paying off my loan quickly, I still lacked the intensity needed to really get the ball rolling.

In April 2010, that changed. I became determined to be debt free by my wedding day. This is when I made a $10,000 decision and reduced my loan from $14K to $4K. After some more number crunching, excel spreadsheeting, and mathematical calculating I realized it was time to say goodbye to Sallie Mae for good. Over the weekend I submitted my final payment, and in case I haven’t already told you, today marks my first day of debt freedom!!! Kind of.

Apparently I made a mistake in predicting the accrued interest over the few days it would take my payment to process. Come to find out, my calculation was off by eleven cents…

So over the 2.5 years it took me to pay back my loan, I ended up forking over $3,832 in interest. This brings my total repayment to $32,295. While that number might be painful, it’s a whole heck of a lot better than the $52,000 total I would have paid had I taken the full 20 years to pay it back. Boo to the Ya for saving money.

I can tell you right now, I am already benefiting from the psychological effects of debt freedom. I feel incredible and am so excited to be able to spend my money without a voice in the back of my head saying “You shoulda used that money towards your debt.” Sallie Mae is one woman I never want in my life again. Ever.

As if you couldn’t tell, I amย  really excited about this. Let me just get it out of my system one last time. HELL YEA!!! I’m Mother Effin, Debt to the Free. It’s time to go play “Ain’t gonna tie me down” over and over again, cause as of today, I am no longer Sallie Mae’s biotch.

Any suggestions for what I need to call my blog now? Perhaps, Punch Making Really Dumb Financial Decisions In The Face?

Ungrateful Ninja…

I went out to dinner with some friends the other night. Yeah, believe it or not, I actually have friends! One of them is a pretty consistent reader/commenter here on PDITF (shout out to MattyIce). We were talking about some of my recent blog posts when he said, “Ninja, you are sooo good looking and you smell amazing”.

Okay, you caught me. He didn’t say that, but wouldn’t that have been really weird if he did?

This was our actual conversation…

Friend: One of my buddies reads your blog and he made some comments to me about your recent budget posts.

Me: Oh yeah? What did he say about them?

Friend: He said you seemed super stressed about your post-marriage budget even though you anticipate having about $2,000 in left-over income each month.

Me: Yeah. He’s right. It does stress me out a little bit.

Friend: He also said he can’t believe you seem stressed about having such a large surplus when he doesn’t even make $2,000 in a month.

Me: Hmmm. I guess I may have came across as a little ungrateful. I should probably blog about this.

Friend: Yes. You should. Because I love your blog and it is what gets me through the day. It’s the wind beneath my wings. I love you. If it were possible, I would want to bear your child.

Yup. That’s EXACTLY how our conversation went down the other night. Moral of the story mi amigos is this: I’m a crapbillion times more excited about my income than I am stressed about it.

If I have ever came across as ungrateful, unappreciative, or even snobby, then I have failed yet again at communicating my thoughts.

Just last week I wrote an article about how it is difficult to verbalize financial success, but easy to communicate financial turmoil. Well, I think this is probably why I may seem more stressed about our budget than I actually am. It’s a lot easier to say “Oh man this variable income thing kinda stresses me out” than saying “Wow, Girl Ninja and I are going to have an incredible income.” I’d feel weird proclaiming the latter statement as people may perceive that as arrogance. But ya know what? I shouldn’t be afraid. It’s time to just lay it out there and tell you how I really feel.

I’ll be 25 when I get married this summer and Girl Ninja will be 23. I expect our 2010 annual income to be approximately $85,000. Next year, 2011, we should hit right around $100K. Our income level for our age is WAAAY higher than I would have ever expected. I am totally stoked on our generous income, but I also believe it’s important to temper that excitement with reality. The reality is, our income could decrease at any moment with the loss of job, medical issues, etc.

With a generous income, a great deal of responsibility follows. How should we save for a house? How much should we contribute to retirement? How much rent is “too much”? When you have a smaller income, or a lot of debt, you don’t have the need to stress about such things. Instead your wondering “Can I afford my water bill this month?” of “Will I be able to make my car payment?”

Now obviously I’d much rather worry about retirement and down payments than putting food in my mouth or gas in my car, but an increasing income doesn’t come without its own unique issues. Transitioning from ‘frugal bachelor’ to ‘upper middle class husband’ is a pretty big change. One that I like to share here on the blog. Please forgive me, however, for focusing on the things that stress me out about the transition, when I should be writing more about the joy and gratefulness I feel.

I’ll do better. Pinky promise ๐Ÿ™‚

365 days of world domination!!!

No this isn’t some pathetic April Fools joke. One year ago today, I passed through the blogging birth canal and came in to existence. That’s right, it’s my blogging birthday! Does making it to the one year mark make me a legitimate blogger? Probably not, but who said I wanted to be established anyways?

It’s been a crazy fun year, and I have to admit, I’m kinda surprised I’m still here. I typically get really involved in random things but then lose interest after a couple months. I wasn’t really to sure what would come of PDITF, but I’m quite pleased with my creation. Let’s take a little trip down memory lane and look at some of the PDITF highlights over the last year….

Site Traffic: (Daily Visitors)

April 1st 2009: 2 (most likely myself and my mother)

August 15th 2009: 39 (making some progress)

November 9th 2009: 175 (booya triple digits)

Yesterday’s traffic: 525 (thoroughly enjoying the growth **that’s what she said**)

Here’s a graph of my site traffic over the last 12 months…

Google Adsense Earnings:

Lowest Single Day Earnings: $0.00

Most Earnings in Single Day: $13.13

Total Adsense Revenue to date: $222.35

Average Adsense earnings: $0.61/day

While I may not be able to pay my rent from blogging income, I’m not really gonna complain about bankin’ a coupe hundred over the last year. Heck I can’t believe I’m making ANY money for the crappy content I regurgitate on this blog ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Factoids:

Total # of Blog posts: 308

Total # of Comments: 3,848 (thanks dudes and dudettes)

Some Google search terms that referred people to my blog:

  • unicorn punching
  • girlfriend never leaves me alone
  • operation sexi
  • how to punch your girlfriend
  • girlfriend getting fat has muffin top.

I’m really curious what the person thought after being referred to my blog for typing in “unicorn punching”. They were probably extremely disappointed, so in my quest to satisfy all PDITF readers, here ya go random person. This picture’s for you…

I seriously want to make babies with each any every one of you readers. I love you so much. In fact, I received a super encouraging email yesterday from a debt puncher that said…

Hi Ninja
1.ย  I totally dig your site!ย  I am thrilled that I found it a couple of months ago and I seriously read your posts daily.ย  Great job!
2.ย  Thanks to you, we are set to max out hubby’s Roth this year!ย  We were comfortable contributing $333 a month, but that left us with $1,004 to ‘find’ in our budget. I am happy to say that as of March 31st…we found that money.ย  So with the automatic contributions from April to Dec, we will be set.ย  Thank you for sharing your story and motivating us.

I’ve heard through the grape vine every time a PDITF reader maximizes their Roth IRA, an angel gets their wings. Seriously though, do you know how awesome I feel after getting an email like that? It gives me warm fuzzies inside (or maybe those fuzzies are just indigestion as I have been a little “gassy”).

I have no idea what the year ahead will hold. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll stick around to celebrate birthday number two 365 days from now, or maybe I’ll be a drug addict name Rufus that lives on the streets of Compton (just sayin’ it could happen).

I have a favor to ask, consider it a birthday present, would you do me a favor and respond to the following questions in the comments section below? It will help me learn more about my readers and hopefully I can take that knowledge and rule the world produce even better content.

  1. How long have you been reading PDITF?
  2. What’s your favorite thing about this blog?
  3. What’s one thing you would change, add, or like to see me do different? (This is the most important question)
  4. What’s your drink of choice?
  5. Does this picture of Chuck Norris make you proud to be (or want to be) an American?!

Thanks again!

p.s. If you want to subscribe to my blog to get updates automatically every day you can do so here. If you want to get me on twitter I’m @punchdebt

I’m a friend whore

That’s right, I just made 10,834 new friends today. All with the first name George, last name Washington. Sure these “friends” may be inanimate objects (one dollar bills to be exact), but that doesn’t make them unimportant. In fact, they will be a GREAT asset for my future.

You know that $12,000 raise I have been talking about lately? Well I finally got it. I know what you are thinking, $10,834 is not $12,000. You are right, kind of

On 12/31/09 my salary was $50,547. On January 1st, my salary was”adjusted for inflation” to $51,617. And today my salary is $62,451, making for a grand total gain of $11,904 in the last two months. If you don’t understand the government pay system you can see my breakdown of it here.

It’s hard for me to fathom a $24,255 salary increase in the two years I’ve been working. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t turn me on a little… okay A LOT!!!!

I don’t really plan to do anything different with my larger paycheck. I will likely just contribute more to my savings and continueย  paying down my student loan ahead of schedule. Even though my salary has increased, my standard of living hasn’t. And that brings me to today’s message: When one’s salary goes up, his/her cost of living does not have to follow suit.

Sure you could use the $4,000 bonus you got to buy 4,000 double cheeseburgers off the dollar menu at McDonals, but is that really necessary? Heck to the no it aint. Real wealth building occurs as salary goes up, but expenses don’t. Suck on that materialism.

Seeing that there was no real room for dialogue in today’s short message, I’m just gonna ask some questions that I hope you will answer…

1) What’s the largest raise/bonus you ever received and what did you do with it?

2) Would you stay in a position you LOVED even if there was slim to no chance of upward movement?

3) Do you have any suggestions for ways to make PDITF better?

4) What are you doing this weekend?

5) Can you “afford” her?…

Happy weekend all!!!

Paying it forward

Wanna know one of my favorite things about the Christmas season? No, it’s not the cheesy Hallmark movies (although they are pretty awesome). I’m totally a sucker for the Christmas spirit. I’m not talking about the decorations, eggnog (vomit), or Christmas trees. I’m talking about nice people, happiness, and unicorns generosity.

For the entire month of December, people tend to be nicer. Why? Shouldn’t we try and be nice more than just one out of 12 months? I sure as heck think so. It’s for that reason I have decided to commit to ‘Pay it forward’ at least one time between now and Jan 31st.

For those that don’t know, paying it forward basically means you do something really nice for someone else, without expecting anything in return. The idea is that if you do something nice for someone, hopefully they will do something nice for someone else, etc, etc, etc. One action can snowball in to a world of generosity.

It’s time for this Ninja to do a good deed and I’m starting to explore my options. Perhaps I will help an old lady cross the street, rescue a baby from a burning building, or donate my body to science. The possibilities are truly endless.

Seriously though, I am on a mission to Pay it forward and complete a Random Act of Kindness, so if any of you have any suggestions, or things you have done in the past, please share so I can completely weigh all options. Perhaps you will even consider joining me on this excursion? I’m convinced PF bloggers are some of the coolest people in the world so I’m excited to hear what ya’ll got for me ๐Ÿ™‚

p.s. I’m looking for an Act of Kindness that is substantial, I would hope we all do nice things on a regular basis, but I’m thinking I want to do something out of the norm.