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So I was recently “tagged” by my friend Cassie at Digging Up and Out.

To play, I have to:

  1. Post these rules.
  2. Answer the 11 questions from the person who tagged you.
  3. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag.
  4. Tag 11 people and link them to your post.
  5. Let them know that you tagged them.

Below are Cassie’s questions to me, and my answers.

1) When you started paying off your debt, did you do it by balance or interest rate?

In about 8 years, we’ve paid and almost $100,000 in consumer debt, including credit cards, student loans and car payments. We favor the Debt Snowball approach of paying off debts smallest to largest. Using a debt snowball calculator makes this easy. For me, it was better to reduce the amount of bills I was paying each month than to save a little bit by doing it by rate.

2) What was your first job, and how much did you make doing it?

My first job was working at a trap range, which is a place that bird hunters will go to shoot clay targets. My duty was to sit in the traphouse and load the clay pigeons on to a thrower that was controlled remotely. This means I had to move fast to get the new clay bird on there before my fingers got slammed by the machine.

I made minimum wage at the time (I was 15). I think it was somewhere around $4.25 – $4.75 per hour.

3) Have you ever stalled on an investing opportunity and regretted it?

I recently flipped some US Mint coin sets, the 25th Anniversary American Silver Eagle Set. I bought them for $300 and immediately sold for over $700. I regret that I did not buy the max allowed per household, but I wasn’t sure it would work out. I realize this is not traditional investing because it was so short term, but it’s all I have got.

For the most part I have avoided investing until we are debt free (minus the house). I do have a little stack of silver coins and bars that is worth a lot more than I paid for it.

4) What was the blog that first got you interested in blogging?

I don’t think it was a standout blog that got me interested, but rather seeing some sites that aren’t amazing but are making good money. I thought “I can do this too.” I am just naturally a writer, so blogging is an obvious path for me.

5) If you had to trim your budget to the bare bones, what is the last thing you’d cut?

Probably Internet. By having Internet access, I could ditch our satellite and use Netflix for our TV watching. I can also use the Internet to blog and seek opportunities to earn income and gain employment.

6) What was the worst piece of financial advice you’ve ever received from a well intentioned person?

About 5 years ago a lot of people thought it was cool to take out a bunch of new credit cards at zero percent and park the money in an online savings account at 5%+ interest (yes, those once existed). Or they would try to buy stocks with the money and earn capital gains. They would then pay the balance off before the no interest expired.

Needless to say I was not interested in earning a couple hundred bucks for opening a ton of credit cards.

7) What do you wear to work?

For about 6 months out of the year, I wear a suit and tie to work. For the other half, it’s business casual. Sometimes I go on a special assignment and work out of a more informal office, so I wear jeans and t-shirts then.

8.) How much money would it take to make you feel “set”?

Probably $500,000. I feel like I could set myself up for life by buying a ranch, building an off-the-grid house, and having a nice garden and livestock. I could then live a semi-retired life doing freelance work and my own projects. This also makes me pretty well inflation-proof.

9) If you were to start over, which money mistakes would you make again because they contained valuable lessons?

While I’ve learned a lot from my money mistakes, I don’t think I’d do any of them over because all that I learned was that I messed up.

I know it sounds crazy, but I’d consider not going to college. In less than four years I probably could have built my own online business with no debt. If someone today asked me if they HAD to go to college, I’d tell them no.

10) Are you following in your parent’s financial patterns? Why or why not?

I’m not sure because I don’t have a clear picture of their financial situation. My parents sacrificed so that my mom could stay at home with us. We are not doing that with our kids, but we are earning more income.

But as I get older I feel I’m falling into their patterns more. They never bought new cars, and we bought two, but I’ll probably never buy a new car again.

11) When you’re short on cash, what are your go to cheap meals?

(This doesn’t apply to me currently because I’m on a diet) but, I am known for tearing up some Ramen Noodles. Also, if the cupboards are bare, we might have hot dogs wrapped in tortillas with cheese.

Tag, You're It

So there are my answers. I hoped you learned a little more about me. Now it’s my turn. Below are 11 questions I came up with, and 11 people I tagged.

  1. What is your money philosophy in one sentence?
  2. Have you ever had a crazy adventure? If so, describe.
  3. Did you get an allowance as a child?
  4. What is the biggest personal finance problem facing America (or your country) today?
  5. Name the most famous person you’ve ever met.
  6. What did you most want to be when you grow up?
  7. What is your most embarrassing guilty pleasure?
  8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  9. What’s your biggest financial pet peeve?
  10. What do you think the biggest news story of 2012 will be?
  11. If you found out you had 6 months to live, what would you do with your life?

Here are the 12 people I have tagged (yes I broke the rules). My apologies if you’ve already been tagged or don’t want to participate.

  • The Debt Princess
  • 101 Centavos
  • Frugal Confessions
  • Barbara Friedman Personal Finance
  • Personal Finance Journey
  • RamblingFever Money
  • Meal Plan Rescue
  • Simple Island Living
  • Money After Graduation
  • Daily Money Shot
  • So Over Debt
  • One Cent at a Time

Make sure you guys come back here when/if you respond and link your post in the comments so we can read them.


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