Stop Letting Hot Cars And Pit Bulls Kill Our Kids

I’ve been finding myself taking mini-breaks from personal finance related posts lately, but being that it’s summer, we’re all entitled to breaks in some sort.

Even so, the topic of today’s post isn’t money related, but it’s not lighthearted, and I’m sure some will agree with me while I would expect that others may not.  Whatever side of the fence you fall in, we’re all entitled to our opinion.  Since this is my blog, here’s mine in plain and simple terms:

I’m sick of reading stories about hot cars and pit bulls killing children.  It needs to stop.  Right now.


As it’s around the hottest time of the year here in the good old Midwest USA, it’s unfortunately also peak time where I read stories about kids getting left in cars, only to be found dead by their parent or someone.

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Why The Breakfast Club Is One Of The Best Movies Ever

I love The Breakfast Club.  I was recently going through my Netflix screens and adding movies in various categories based on suggestions or popularity.  The Breakfast Club came up as an option, and I didn’t just add it, I sat down and watched it right then and there.

Very few movies have that pull, but The Breakfast Club is and always will be one that I can watch, enjoy, respect, and love.

I love watching movies, and I have a handful of favorites, and while candidates for my all-time favorite comprise a pretty short list, I had to consider that The Breakfast Club could very well fall into that category.

Let me list a few reasons why The Breakfast Club is one of the best movies ever.  Yes, there are spoilers, but for a thirty year old classic, I figure everyone has to have seen it by now.  For your consideration:

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Understanding Your Insurance Is Your Responsibility

Insurance is complicated.  I doubt many people in this world would claim otherwise.  But, regardless of how complex it is to understand or figure out, the fact is that you are responsible to understand it.

After all, let’s envision the following conversation between a customer and an insurance agent.

Customer: I see that you denied my claim.
Insurance company: That’s correct, we did.  You weren’t eligible for coverage on that procedure.
Customer: But I didn’t understand the coverage.
Insurance company: Oh, well then in that case, we’ll go ahead and approve it.

If it’s hard to picture that, it’s probably with good reason.  It never, ever happens!

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It’s Time To Revamp My Financial Tracking Spreadsheet

I have been using the same spreadsheet to track my personal finance information for over twelve years.  That is a long time, and after all that time, it’s evident that I need to spend some time revamping it, as it has gotten too complicated, unwieldy, and difficult to use, all of which make it impossible for me to take advantage of many of the features and simplifications that Excel offers.

A Brief History of my Financial Tracking Spreadsheet

I started my tracking spreadsheet around 2002 with a simple monthly net worth calculation, as well as to track various components of my investing.

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That Screen Door Was Open, I Just Know It Was!

The hustle and bustle of getting ready for a kid’s birthday party is always fun.  That gets ratcheted up a notch when you do a combined party for both kids.  Of course the upside of that is that there are only costs and prep / clean-up time for one party instead of two.

We just had the party for our kids this past weekend.  It was great, but getting ready was a thrill ride of sorts.

The Crooked Garage Door

Friday night, I was cleaning out the garage, finally getting around to sweeping up all the leaves and organizing the clutter that always seems to build up around the perimeter of the garage.  I had almost finished when dinner rolled around, so I closed the garage door, and went inside for dinner, which was delicious by the way (Chinese food).   When I was done I went back out to finish the last few things I had to do.  I pushed the button to open the garage door and watched in horror as the door started jerking around, rising twice as fast on one side as the other.

Read moreThat Screen Door Was Open, I Just Know It Was!

Do’s And Don’ts Of Asking For A Discount

I share a work area with one other person.  Her and I have always gotten along very well.  She’s a bit older than me (mid-50’s I’d say) but she has a pretty practical outlook on life and on money, so it’s always fun to share stories.

She reminded me that it’s always worth asking for a discount on major purchases when she told me about the new furnace and A/C unit that she’s buying.  She had gotten several quotes, and was leaning toward one in particular, when she asked if they would knock 15% off the price.

The guy she was working with basically said “OK” and gave her a new quote the next day with the reflected savings.

Asking that one little question saved her a thousand dollars!

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Progress Sometimes Hides, So Go Look For It

I’ve been going to the gym for the better part of a year, almost nine months now.  Now that I found the trick that works for me in terms of keeping up with it (hint: going in the morning when I have no other activity that I can do instead), it’s probably the longest that I’ve ever gone without giving up the workout routine.  I don’t do anything serious, mostly cardio, and it’s more just to get in better shape and stay active.

Since I keep things relatively light, it’s often hard to measure progress.  When I first started, I dropped a few pounds, but that’s leveled off.  I can run faster and go longer on the elliptical than when I started, but by no means am I marathon ready.  I feel better on days when I work out, but who doesn’t?

So, how could I tell if I was really making a difference or not?  Turns out, I wasn’t even asking that question, but I found the answer over the weekend.

Read moreProgress Sometimes Hides, So Go Look For It