Category: Uncategorized


I currently use Swagbucks to search, but thought this sounded like a better point earning site. Turns out I have to have a Facebook account to join, and that’s not happening. Too bad, because it sounds great. Another site that’s useful for anyone who may be interested, is You go through the site when you make purchases online at many recognizable stores. It’s super easy, and so far, in about 3 years, I’ve earned close to $700 just shopping through Mr. Rebates site. I bank those checks in my children’s ING exracurricular activity subaccount. Why not? It’s free money for stuff I’d buy anyway. Mr. Rebates also offers you coupon and discount codes for the various stores you shop with through them, so that’s a nice perk too. I don’t use Ebates, but I’m assuming this is a similar program. I’ve just been very happy with my bonus earnings that I’ve been banking.

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ING is great for us because we have a ton of subaccounts

and I find it easier to manage our finances having these various accounts segregated from one another rather than having all of our savings commingled into one account. It’s the nerd in me that this appeals to. Everytime I’ve had to call ING, the customer rep always comments on the large number of subaccounts we have. Whatever. It works for us. The only big change I’ve seen over the years that we’ve had our account(s) with them is how they have steadily been decreasing our interest rates. They used to have very attractive rates (well, attractive in the sense that they were paying more than the local banks or credit unions), but now, since they were sold, the interest rates are nothing to shout about. To me, the biggest appeal is the ability to create a bunch of subaccounts to fund various needs within our family, and I can see exactly where we stand in each area with a glance. I also love funding some accounts automatically each week, and funding others as needed, or when we have extra cash to throw into them

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I know a lot of folks here have ING savings accounts,

and I believe they were generally happy with them. I just got a solicitation from them to open a savings account, and I’m considering it. I have wanted to set up not-so-easy savings accounts aside from my standard credit union accounts. Something I have to work at a little harder to get access to, for monies I don’t want to spend on the next pizza emergency (yes, sigh, I still have those moments).

But I also know that we had a recent discussion about ING being sold to Capital One. I have never dealt with them but I wasn’t very pleased to see that acquisition. There was talk on this list of folks wanting to move their ING accounts to some other savings option, because they didn’t want to be under Capital One’s heel.
Has anyone done anything with that concern since those emails went out (I think it’s been at least a few weeks now?) For those with ING accounts, have you seen any changes? For those who moved or are thinking to move, where would you move to?

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I just uploaded a file that I accidentally found

about how to create a Dave Ramsey-type zero-based budget in Quicken. I’ve been doing more and more in Quicken but that was one task which had so far eluded me. It’s a fairly lengthy PDF document showing print screens from Quicken 2007, but many of the screens are the same or similar enough (at least in Quicken 2010) that it should be fairly easy to translate into newer versions.
I’ll be going through it at some point in the near future, and I’ll see how well it works. But I figured I’d share it now in case others are looking for something like this.

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They haven’t been waived yet.

We applied this week and we’ll see if the IRS goes for it. I was just amazed we even had that option; you hear “IRS” and you think of words like “inevitable” and “doomed” and “obligatory” and “nothing in life is constant except Death and the IRS”. So I was pleasantly surprised. Fingers crossed they go for it. We’re prepared to pay even if they don’t.

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You know, I think I need to do something very, very special for our tax accountant. Not only does she always receive me with patience, humor and a surprising lack of physical violence (if you know how messed up our taxes have been this past year, you’d understand that last statement), but she also has enough experience to know what you can and cannot try with the IRS.

As some of you will recall, we bit the bullet back in Sept/Oct, and turned in two years’ worth of both business and personal returns. Our 2010 return cost us money, and our 2011 return gave us a refund (sadly, the cost was 10x larger than the refund). At the time we filed our returns, she warned us that we were probably looking at penalties, and that we’d start to get nasty-grams from the IRS about them. Just collect them and bring them to her and she’d help us go through them and come up with a plan.

So we filed our returns on Oct 1st, and sure enough, all through November we’ve been getting various penalty letters from the IRS. I was mentally prepared for the need to pay them, but not for the amount. HOLY MOLY!!!!! Our total taxes due were in the $5500 realm, but our penalties were almost as high for being 1.5 years late with one return, and 6 months late with the other. Apparently, the IRS files not only flat fees, but also months passed since going late. Yowza.

But here’s where our accountant is made of pure gold. When I brought in all those letters to her, she said “OK, I don’t want to get nosy, but do you have a legitimate reason why you went late on these returns? Was there some major upheaval in life that knocked you off-track? Medical issues? Marriage breakup? Family issues? Something that can be substantiated with doctor’s records or therapy records or the like? Because if there is, we can file to waive all these fees…..”

Now, without getting too far into it, suffice to say that the tail end of 2010 and all of 2011 were hell months for us; we had medical issues, family issues, marital issues, just about every issue you can have tossed at us over that 18 month period. I had never been late on IRS filings before, so we didn’t have a long track record of delinquency in that regard. But we were knocked so hard in 2010 and 2011 that yea, I could show we had legitimate reasons (plural) for not filing.

Apparently, the IRS does have a heart tucked away under all that bureaucracy (sorta). If folks have never gone late on taxes, then go late for some verifiable reason (medical, family emergency, etc), they can file to wave the late fees. And in many (if not most) cases, if there is not a history of delinquency, the IRS will waive those fees.

So, we’re moving ahead now with filling to waive all those fees, which will cut our tax burden back down from $8K+ back into the realm of $5500. Fingers crossed that the fees are in fact waived. For folks who have held off filing returns because of concerns about the fees, consider that you might be able to get them waived. Worth a try anyway.

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As I wondered what to make for dinner tonight,

lo and behold UPS dropped off our one-week food kits (i bought 2, 1 to keep, 1 to taste test.)
Decision easy: we’re trying out some of the food.
We had: chicken a la king (noodles), chicken teriyaki (rice), chicken rotini (noodles)

Everyone felt the Chicken a la king tasted like stovetop/homemade, in other words, not freeze dried. A little on the salty side, in an emergency that would probably be welcome.

Chicken teriyaki- kids liked it but thought we should have added a skosh more water to thin out the sauce. I liked it a lot personally. If you are good with rice a roni type stuff, you’ll be fine with this.

Chicken rotini– mixed reviews. My 13 yo DS L-O-V-E-D it (like, had three helpings). My 17 and 16yo were ok with it; I hated it. Like I’d rather FAST for a few days until I was super hungry. It wasn’t inedible, but it definitely didn’t taste like real food. Now, this might be because of the three, this was the only one which couldn’t be re-sealed in its pouch, so it likely lost a lot of steam cooking advantages.

Anyway, what does this mean for us? I’ve always been leary of freeze dried food (my experience is 3 decades+ old) it’s nice to see it has greatly improved. Would I run out and buy a year’s worth of this stuff? No. Is it worth having some on hand? Probably. I actually have a cookbook on how to make your own freeze dried foods; I am now motivated to try some recipes out.

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Just found out on another list that a “virtual friend” of ours

suffered a massive stroke overnight. She was airlifted to a Springfield, MO hospital and is receiving excellent care, but the prognosis is poor. Her out of state family members are in the process of flying in. I’ve never met this family but I’ve known them for years through online email lists like this one. I would ask everyone to please say a prayer for Sue and Keith and their family, as Sue fights for her life today/tonight/beyond. Always sobering when something like this happens. Give a hug to your loved ones today too; Sue went to bed last night a healthy woman. She may never wake up. I know her family members already know she loves them but it never hurts to say it again.

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Charles, can you talk more about the Legacy Drawer, and what all goes into it? I’ve never heard of this (maybe I’ve been asleep at the keyboard too often). The suddenness of this event really spooked me, and I’m sure Sharon has all sorts of stories of folks who not only passed before their time, but didn’t let anyone know what they wanted. I’ve started to look into a formal will, but I also like the idea of an informal collection of instructions for family/friends.

PS – for an interesting take on how folks face the end of life, with some social commentary as well, check out the movie Gran Torino starring Clint Eastwod. Not his typical Western or Dirty Harry movie; it was sensitive, poignant, and very applicable to many current households. We just saw it last weekend for the first time, and it had a lot to say on the choices that a person makes when they start looking their own mortality in the face.

Feeling very mortal today, and I’m going to get started on my own Legacy Drawer this afternoon. But on a bizarre side note, a bunch of us on that other list have decided to hold what might be the first virtual Irish wake for this person. Not sure how that’s going to go yet, but it starts tonight at 8:30pm Central Time, with all of us offering up several moments of silence as her life support machines are turned off. Followed by sharing stories about her life and her family amongst all the folks who came to know her via that email group. Not the same as gathering in someone’s living room, but it felt like the right thing to do. I suppose as we become more separated by distance, yet keep connected via the Internet, these types of events will become more common. The moments of silence are tentatively scheduled for 8:30pm Central time tonight, if folks here want to participate in their own way. I’ll share some notes for how this virtual wake business went, after it’s come and gone.

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I’m so sorry about my friend.

Yes, it is the hardest, yet also the easiest decision to make. Dh had to make it for his father. Alvin had made it clear to all of us that he did not want kept alive on life support when his time came. Yet my dmil could not do it, the youngest sil fought us on doing it. Finally dh had the doctor speak bluntly to the whole family about dfil’s chances of recovery. His kidneys and most of his other functions had already shut down. He had not regained consciousness in several days. Then in front of the entire family dh told the doctor what my dfil had told all of us at one time or another. Then said he felt we should honor his father’s wishes. Dmil said yes, but would not sign the papers, she simply could not do it—the hardest decision of her life.

So dh as the oldest child did, the easiest, because he had promised his father he would and he knew that was what Alvin wanted. My dbil second the signature. And we were all with him as he peacefully passed. It was what he wanted. I don’t know if you believe in spirits or not, but dfil showed up two days later looking for dmil to say good-bye and he smiled at me and nodded as I told him where she was. Dh saw him again months later, happily watching us play cards with dmil.

Your friend will leave peacefully, and she will be happy and that is what is important.

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My homesteading friend from the other list is in bad shape.

She was put on a respirator earlier today, and has gone deeper and deeper into physical failures, with one system after the other shutting down. Her husband just sent out a note to the group that tomorrow evening (Friday), they’re going to disconnect her from Life Support so that she can have a peaceful end on God’s terms. I suspect that was one of the hardest decisions he ever had to make.

The homesteading group is going to have a moment of silence tomorrow for that event. I would like to ask that anyone on this list, Christian or homesteader or just a good old garden variety human being, take a moment Friday evening to say a little prayer for her and her family. Her husband’s words to our group was that he wanted her end to be peaceful, and that God would be getting another homesteader. I know at least a few folks on this list would consider her a kindred spirit, and I know all of us must wonder sometimes how our own ends will come. It’s rare we know in advance when that time will be. For her, it’ll be Friday night. Her name is Sue. Please keep her and her family in your prayers tomorrow.

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Yep, they are the returned rentals and the repossessions.

Yeah, she had to walk all the way out her front door to my nieces front door and it was an inconvenience for her to do that in her words. I remember loading duffle bags full of clothes to cram into our old clunker, driving 10 miles and spending the day doing laundry, then driving back, toting it in and putting it away, then starting the ironing every Saturday and into Sunday. Lordy, talk about a pain in the…
And yes RAC will repossess, just ask my sil.

BTW, only those of us who have scaled trees to retrieve rockets full understand your signature line. LOL!

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I agree it is a mindset thing for certain.

Dh’s sister refers to us as rich, and thinks we have done nothing to deserve where we are at in our station in life. She has it in her head I come from a rich family. Nothing could be further from the truth.

For several years my df was raised by his divorced mother in a one room log cabin with dirt floors. When she did marry the man I called Papa he was a traveling salesman that was out of work almost as much as he had a job. But they were determined to move up in the world, and eventually they did by working their ever loving backsides off. But they were far from rich. While my granny owed no one when she died, she also owned very little but a small brokerage account, but she was rich in her own mind and in my heart.

The first home I remember living in as a child was a two room (NOT 2 bedroom, but 2 rooms and neither of them was a bathroom) house. My Dad worked long hard hours and built on a single bedroom and a bathroom with a hall in between as he could with the cash he could scrape together. My brother and I slept in that hall on a set of bunk beds.

When Dad died he owed no one, he too had a small brokerage account, but he also had a great understanding of the importance of education. I’ve wrote about him often. I’ve worked all my life in one way or another and saved as I could. My first home as a married woman to my first husband was a one room efficiency apart with a Murphy bed. I paid $67.50 a month for it and the two of us shared it with cock roaches so big I called them Trojan horses.

I paid the down payment on my first house with U.S. Savings bonds that were purchased by buying savings bond stamps in school each week as I was growing up. I used my baby sitting money to do so. I started baby sitting at age 8. I also took in ironing, and sewing. I did the bonds because my mother couldn’t cash those in, and any cash I tried to save at home she would “borrow”, only it never returned. I was more like my Dad than my Mom for certain.

Each home after that the down payment was the equity from the first home. When I divorced my first husband he tried to take the house and leave me and my daughter homeless. Luckily I had a good lawyer and an understanding judge that realized that even though back then the man was considered the provider it was MY money that had paid the down payment and MY pay check that had made the monthly payments. It was a long hard fight to get to our home now. But all sil sees is the 3,300 square foot home on 90 acres and not the work it took to get there.
She lives off of others, and the US government, although she is perfectly able bodied and able to work. Is on a first name basis with her local pawn broker and pay day lender. And as I said, buys her household items from RAC. She has stolen from every family member more than once and at age 54 I do not see her changing her ways.

Her father died ashamed of her and could not see how he went wrong with her. While none of the other 3 kids are rich they all did get educated and learned the value of earning a living. She, on the other hand is not speaking to her brothers because both have refused to give her any more money. So she gets on facebook and calls her brothers thieves and selfish, while she takes her mother’s entire social security check every month. We have all come to realize that we cannot change her, and therefore refuse to enable her any longer. She has chosen her path, but it does not mean we have to put her in a cart and pull her down it.

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I just wanted to chime

in that your post reminded me for some reason of DR explaining the difference between broke and poor. Broke, he explained, is a temporary state where you lack some $$ but you know it’s temporary … and poor is viewed as a permanent situation with no way out … if I remember correctly.
There have been times I saw us a poor, especially pre-Dave Ramsey. My mindset didn’t change overnight just by taking FPU. It was a process that took at least a couple of years. Here’s an example. We do not have health insurance through work, we pay for it ourselves. I used to bemoan this fact and that we could do so much more financially if we didn’t have this expense, or if we had to pay only a portion of it. When you look at it on paper, yes, this was true. However, I should have been giving thanks that we could pay it because many others were not so fortunate. Now my mind set is pretty much changed but sometimes I do find myself back in that old mindset but it doesn’t last long.

We have some close family members who I believe see themselves as poor, not broke. It has been a series of choices over their adult life that has them end up in that spot. They are dh’s sister and her husband. Dh and his sister were biological sibs, raised by the same parents. Yet they have turned out very different.
Oh, I just heard a quote on tv …. “Through adversity comes opportunity.” (Drew Brees, QB of The New Orleans Saints). I believe we are given opportunites when things are not going our way, but we have to make the most of them or the opporutnity. For example, we have paid in full for dsil/dbil to take FPU but they chose to run from seem problems, literally and figuratively so they have never take it. I am not sure dh completely agrees with me but I believe these family members would rather run from issues than deal with them. However, I must stay there have been times I found it easier to stick my head in the sand too but I think I do it less often now than I used to.

Maybe your sister has never taken advantage of opportunities either, like when you tried to educate her. Here’s to hoping she’ll take advantage of what you try to teach her in the future. Maybe she will also learn the difference between “broke” and “poor”.

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We see it every weekend.

Folks on SSi or AFDC who need a computer… we can sell them one that will get on line, play DVDs cds free anti virus…. but it doesn’t have a built in web cam… soooooo they can buy from us ( 90.00) and spend 15.00 on a webcam from walmart or go to rent a center and pay 10 times as much or more when they are finished… if it lasts that long….

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It truly is very crazy.

My sil and I had a discussion on this very same subject one time. She buys EVERYTHING through these people and I cannot get her to understand that if you do the math you are paying 300% higher for the item than if you save up and pay for it.
At that time she needed a washer and dryer. She had access to her daughter’s next door and had been using that. I suggested instead of running out to RAC and paying three times the price she continue to use her daughter’s units while she put that $29.99 back in a jar or something to save up for a used washer and dryer (which often is what you are getting from RAC—she even admitted that) and in the mean time watch Craig’s list for a used unit, CHEAP!
You would have thought I was asking her to kill her child! She just went bonkers. NO she needed the unit now and they would deliver it tomorrow. I asked her what the price of the units would be and she told me, I nearly fell over in a faint. First of all their list price was higher than any retail store for new units, for a used unit. Then when I showed her the math on the “easy payments” totaled more than that list price, plus there would be the “buy it now price” at the end of the payment period. All in all it worked out to be a 300% mark up at new unit price for a used unit.
She wouldn’t listen. Even when I showed her on Craig’s list much nicer models people had listed for less than half the original price. It was sad. Her excuse was she couldn’t keep using her daughter’s machines for a month or so while she saved up because it was “inconvenient” to carry her laundry next door once a week. She also told me I didn’t know what it was like to be poor—don’t even get me started on that one. That they were the only place she could buy on time because they were so poor. My tongue was so bloody that day from biting it. Just remember she and dh had the same parents and had all the same opportunities in life. She came so close to getting my “choices” speech that day. But I knew she wouldn’t listen.
She has seriously furnished her entire house through these people, including computers, appliances, riding lawn mowers and everything else. Then wonders why she has no money.

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the ex-football player wouldn’t work for me..

..I live in Jacksonville and our players are known for drug/DUI, assult, domestic violence arrests, a few have filed bankruptcy and they are not very community friendly. Only 1 or 2 have actually stayed here and contributed to the community.We joke about being Luddites at our house – even though my husband works on a computer all day. He says the last thing he wants to do when he gets home is get on one. We have been getting more and more high tech around here – but I am trying to filter all the outside crap (my view anyway) that tries to sneak into my life (ie. TV, news, advertising, websites…)

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Funny you should bring this up. I don’t know what ds going yesterday for certain. But he announced he was ready to “disconnect” from the world and go back to writing, drawing, reading and walking on the farm for entertainment. He even mused about selling all “toys” in the house. Now this is a young man who is an electronics junkie. Something really wound him up for certain. Jan who knows he’ll calm down and tell her eventually in OK

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Guess I’ll keep hiking.

you’re using your brain. RAC and folks like them are very much hoping that most folks won’t bother with making so much effort. And just do what the hunky ex-football players tell them to do. After all, aren’t hunky ex-football players our best possible advisors for personal finance?

Sorry if that sounds cranky. I’m going through Quicken and setting up monthly budgets based on our spending this year, and let’s just say that I have a new level of respect, awareness and (honestly) disgust for how much money flies out the door of this household. Some days feels like we’re doing good and some days, not so much. Today is one of those latter category days, darnit. And yes, I’ll confess to buying two Powerball tickets last night. I wasn’t one of the two winners. So I’ll keep on working in Quicken, and try not to get even more annoyed.

But here’s a very bright spot – we have approx $25K left in all debt other than the house. That’s the remainders of my credit card, our IRS bill, and one more credit card which is probably not even on the books anymore but I want to pay back that debt. A big enough total, to be sure. But while setting up Quicken this morning, I saw that our mortgage is even lower than I expected. I was figuring $75K and it’s actually only $69K. A few years ago that number would have seemed un-reachable. Now, that seems very do-able. We’ll hopefully finish off the consumer debt in 2013, and then our guns will be aimed at that mortgage. If we do nothing, we’ll pay it off anyway in 2018. But with the snowball, wow we could have it by our house’s 100th birthday – 2015. If I stand on my tippie-toes, I can actually look far enough down the DR road to see that day when we won’t have debt. Any debt. Wow, that’s quite the attractive landscape, stretching out behind the hills we’re currently climbing.

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