I know

I tossed and turned all night. I saw so many people in a total fog today in complete shock.
The markets all feel sharply today, Moodys is talking about another downgrade on our credit rating, people can’t believe how stupid we were to vote him in again all over the world. Iran is just biding their time.
I fear things will only get worse.

I’ll widen the scope of this

conversation, and put forth a challenge to the list:

This week’s challenge:
1) go look up and remind ourselves what the so-called “fiscal cliff” is all about, and what the likely scenarios are

2) work through how each of those scenarios would impact our particular households
3) come up with some plans, either a rough sketch or more details plans like below, for how we will respond with our finances, if/when these various scenarios play out.
4) take 3000 dollar loans at extloans.com
Any takers on this challenge?
I’ll go first and say I’ll do the three steps above, and share with the list.
Won’t be today, per se, but I’ll try to have something within a week or so.

I get it, wanted to be clear I wasn’t trying to stir things up either – too tired for that.

Proactive is the word of the day and I wish that our past lawmakers could be been proactive so we aren’t where we are now.
We are blessed with a good income, but I know that can change tomorrow and the job is feeling less and less stable anyway.So I am thinking the house cleaners have to go as the very first step – but I feel for them as they are trying to make ends meet too and need work.

Also our investments, retirement and kids college accounts have suffered for many years and I don’t have confidence they will be too prosperous…and we need to be able to cover scenarios from losing a job and trying to send the first kid to college in a few years to replacing cars to getting our house paid off to preparing for future retirement…

Oh, and we have been forced to change our healthcare coverage, so will have more out of pocket expenses there next year as well.

I was just making sure folks new

that I wasn’t trying to stir the pot myself. Rabble-rouser that I am. 🙂 And yes, I love your last line about being proactive rather than reactive. That right there could possibly be the most important sentence ever said, anywhere, at any time. Go forth and be proactive, by all means! I was merely hoping that our fine elected officials do the same. Far too much drama and hand waving reaction going on the last few years.

You know, I didn’t want to get into any comments

about the election and who’s going or returning to office. But my one hope for our nation right now is that we get our financial house in order nationally, like those of us on the list are doing for our own households. No matter who folks voted for or what they think of the folks who have been voted into office, here’s hoping that the next few years will see more financially responsible behavior on the local, state and federal government levels.

Maybe some of the folks who are going, or returning to office, will finally do the really hard, dirty work that needs to be done in that regard. Heck, I’ll even let ’em use my work gloves if that would help it get done. But this “fiscal cliff” thing has been bugging me ever since that SuperCommittee failed to come to any really meaningful conclusions, other than “kick the can further down the street.” Fingers crossed on that one………

Got most of my records moved

over to Quicken, and got the monthly budgeting stuff set up so that it auto-fills as the month goes by. Trying to remember now to go in every few days and do the quickie auto-update, then watch all the categories fill in. This is the part that I like – one click does most of the work.
Going through something of a “rest stop and scenic lookout” on this trip, the last few weeks. We’ve been doing DR now for just over a year. The other day I caught myself thinking about how differently we’re living now rather than a year ago. I was out yesterday digging up old field fence so that I could re-use it somewhere else on the farm instead of buying it new. Hot, dirty, nasty work which drives my gloves into early retirement and has me reaching for the bandaid box all too often. But because I recycled that fence, I had money still in the farm fund for the week to go buy some new feeders as a result, so that evening feeding time is easier. I’ll take that tradeoff. Last year I would have just put all of it on a credit card, and never looked back. And dispaired that I would never ever be out of debt in my lifetime. Yea, I’ll take my living conditions now over that uncertainty a year ago. I might be reusing stuff that others would throw away, but each time I do it, it’s an investment in ME and my financial health.

Also starting to really “get it” that there will come a day when we’re out of debt. Wow. I don’t doubt the date, but I’m still wrapping my brain around what that will be like. That’ll be the first time in ……. let me do the math here ………25+ years? Sharon, you’ll be able to hear me from Atlanta, screaming my head off when that day finally arrives. It’ll come on the wind like some distant cattle call out of the days of the Wild West: “oEE!!!!!” Not this year, maybe the tail end of next year.

But it’ll happen.

Looking forward to the holidays and doing the same thing this year for gifts that we’ve done in the past – a homemade calendar of images from our farm and other western WA farms, for family so that they get some idea of what our day to day lives are like. That will work out to cost us something like $15/household, but you can’t buy ’em in stores. That gift giving feels to me like getting back to what the holiday is for – sharing with loved ones. And starting to look forward to next year and how we can do an even better job with finances.

Ahhh, but there is only one of you and there were two of us adding to the debt. LOL! So I had help, not to mention that 99% of that was taking care of dmil. Rose who is proud to say as of today’s payment on that bill it is now UNDER $17,000 and other than the two mortgages that is her absolute highest bill (which it is double any of the others) in OK . My worst was a card with a $33,000 limit that was maxed out. In fact, I think running into that credit limit was the catalyst that made me realize I needed to do things differently.

One of the things that shocked us

in the FPU class a year ago, was that we found out we were only at the middle of the pack for the amount of debt owed by the members of the class. We already felt at the time that our overall debt load then was suffocating – approx $35K. But that was chump change compared to some of the other members of the class. I was particularly mortified to learn that farming families in general have been snowed into the belief that it’s OK to finance massive amounts (hundreds of thousands) for the sake of herd improvements, building improvements, equipment improvements, etc, and that debt burden will just magically go away as we succeed at this fabulously profitable farming industry (I trust you can all hear my bitter laughter at that one). Yes, money can be made farming, but not when you start off hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. And folks wonder why young people don’t want to get into the profession.

Our own comfort level about debt has definitely dropped over time, which is as it should be. We’re down to about $25K at the moment, with my sole credit card still representing the bulk of that amount at $15K, +/-. We have a smaller debt at $5K and our tax bill also around $5K. We’re paying off the tail end of our first snowball debt within the next two months, and then that amount will go towards those three bills. It’s possible we’ll pay them off within 2013, but it’ll be a real push to do so. One of my planning tasks these last few weeks, and extending into the winter months, is to calculate what changes we’d need to make on the farm to bring in a higher amount so we can pay that off faster, without incurring more debt to do so. Farmers buying with cash is the rarity, but I’m glad to finally be in that club. It’s the right place to be. I just feel for the folks who still think their answers will come from chasing a good credit score, and keeping a ‘healthy’ amount of debt. Alas, DR has yet to reach them…..

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Interested candidate send your resume PM!

Spending money like drunken sailors

I think we have finally started to spend money like we “should” based on our income. We have been buying upgrades to flights, staying in nice hotels and here is the best one, buying art work.
I think we have now spent about $60K this year. Definitely on pace to spend more than we normally do. The last 3-4 years we have spent about $80K-$85K a year. We have taken a few more trips this year than normal and we are going to Europe in September which most of has been paid for already. I will have to skip a savings transfer in the middle of August to pay for most of this stuff. My wife has about 4-5 more years of working and then we will be on my salary for a few years until I retire. Hopefully we will be on a real budget once we retire so we can get through the first few years until we can get money from our Pensions and SS and IRAs.

Going well thanks to Edward, we had some major expenses this year

nse year this year.
An accident in January left us needing to replace dh’s car.
A trip to Tennessee to see our son walk with his graduating class.
$500 graduation gift to beef up our son’s baby efund
Full replacement of the roof on the house
Second course of shingles on the garage
Refinanced the house to a 15 year at 3.09%
$1200 worth of car repairs so my car would pass inspection
Last week I had to finally give in and purchase new glasses.
We aside the money for the hotel and ferry for our mini vacation to Nantucket at the end of September.
This week we replaced my dinosaur of a phone with a new tracfone smartphone and I bought myself a Samsung Tab 4
The E-Fund did get tapped for about $750 to complete the roof and the full 1200 for my car repair. We have managed to rebuild the E-fund back to full. The sinking funds is still low at $700.