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Old 11-04-2011, 09:23 AM   #21
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I did notice in one or your post Nords that you are now doing baseboards. I thought requirements creep.
Yeah, we've been blatantly upsold on this renovation from the start. And judging from the bills, we apparently like it that way.

The downside is that we've moved just about every freakin' stick of furniture in the house through at least one round trip.
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Old 11-04-2011, 11:58 AM   #22
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The first year is quite expensive, with 2 phones @ $200 each, cases, chargers, scratch-resistant covers, apps, etc., and then of course the calling plans...we're anticipating $2,200 for the first year and about $1,200 for each year after that.
Your projected first year costs seem rather high. I see free iPhones from AT&T with a 2-year contract. Granted they are the older iPhone 3's, but I own one and they work great. Chargers come free with the phone, a cover is $20, and there are tons of free apps, and most of the rest are 99 cents.

Your annual costs seem right - for that I would get two smart phones, data plans, 450 wireless minutes a month, rollover minutes, unlimited text messaging, and free long-distance calls.

Of course, you don't need smart phones, that is a lifestyle (and financial) choice/upgrade.

Most people waste their lives playing games on their phones. I don't have any games, but I realized the other day that a significant part of my life revolves around that thing. It seems like every other week I find some new way that this little pocket computer improves the way I do things, or even adds new capabilities.

I know I could live life perfectly well without a smart phone, but I like the added capabilities. Plus, I worry that if I don't adapt to the changes around me that I will wake up one day in a world in which I lack the skills to function. Like some friends' 80-year-old parents who can't figure out how to watch movies on their television. They call the "kids" at their jobs to ask, "Now, do I turn on the cable box first, or the TV first?"

On some of this stuff I think there is a point in which one risks going from being a smart, frugal person to an anachronistic curmudgeon living a deprived life. Maybe it's a bright line and I'm being overly cautious about staying on this side, but I don't want to have to call my adult kids some day and ask them to drop by after work because I can't figure out how to use some basic appliance.
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Old 12-03-2011, 11:26 AM   #23
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I wanted to give an update of my budgeting approach after the first month. Overall feedback from CINC house was that she liked using the debit card so she could see the automatic spending report the bank produced on her smart phone. She said it gave her much more insight into what we were spending and she was able to really think about the impact of what she wanted to spend the money on.

The only transfers I had to make was the gas purchase amounts out of the checking account to the savings account to cover the PenFed credit card (which pays 5% on gas). Forcing this "Artificial Scarcity" resulted in a 20% reduction of spending for month 1. Of course that rolls forward to month 2 so I will probably be up 20% from the original baseline. We will see.


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Old 12-31-2011, 12:57 PM   #24
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Budget approach results for month #2. This month included an 8 day trip out of town with inlaws and BIL for Christmas. With rental car, the requirements creep in spur of the moment gifts, picking up meal tabs, etc we were over by 31%. Talking to CINC house and reviewing the info it appears this approach actually kept us from spending more as there was some decision making. So for 2 months we are 5.5% above our target. Not too shabby. I suspect Jan/Feb will be low months and March will be above due to Spring Break. The experiment continues.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:42 PM   #25
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Budget approach results for month #3. This month included registration for spring baseball which was 12.5% of monthly budget. Also end of season clothes purchases for two growing boys which was 8% of overall budgeting. CINC house also joined the premier fitness club in town which was able to be absorbed in overall amount. She seems to like this and is giving her a low cost reoccurring fun way to socialize with her friends. Feedback is she still loves this way of tracking. Overall we are at 98% of monthly goal. Hopefully we have forward funded part of the spike that I anticipate in March.
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:33 AM   #26
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Budget approach results month #4. This month included an unexpected auto repair that was 24% of total allocation. Overall results was 13.6% over goal. I was hoping this short month would be lower. We are still seeing how our target number is impacting some of our spending decisions in a good way.
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:34 PM   #27
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Budget approach results month #5. THis month included a week in AZ watching cactus league baseball. Overall total was 20% higher than expected. I knew the month was going to be over. Higher gas prices are also trickling in. Still seeing some forced scarcity from CINC house. She seems fine with how the budget is working out. Not using this method as a hard and fast can't spend rule however I am pleased that it is forcing us to think about how we spend $$.
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:56 PM   #28
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... however I am pleased that it is forcing us to think about how we spend $$.
What do your kids think about the system?
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:56 PM   #29
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They really haven't noticed too much. They get x amount a month and it is what it is. Of course I am sure there is some give there.
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Old 04-01-2012, 11:18 PM   #30
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They really haven't noticed too much. They get x amount a month and it is what it is.
I guess that's the best situation-- when your kids don't see how your retirement could possibly have any relevance to their finances!
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:32 AM   #31
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To refer to one's wife as CINC house seems somewhat patronizing. I will ask the Sergeant Major who must be obeyed what she thinks about it.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:45 AM   #32
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To refer to one's wife as CINC house seems somewhat patronizing. I will ask the Sergeant Major who must be obeyed what she thinks about it.
They both sound so much better than "Ops Boss" or, as our daughter used to say when she smelled trouble, "Mommy Ma'am".

Patronizing? That would be referring to the U.S. Naval Academy's Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen, at least a post-command senior O-5 or freshly-promoted O-6, as "Deppity Dawg"...
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