Tag Archives: budget


We have a 2007 Honda Civic that recently passed the 200,000 mile milestone.

I intend to drive the wheels off of it, but I replace the tires often, so the wheels may never fall off.

Therefore, I intend to drive it until my wheels fall off.

The best part about Syble? She’s paid for. And she has been for a while. She was a gift from dad-in-law, who bought her new for Smokin’ Hot Wife.

In 2007.

That was 10 years ago. Still goin’ strong, that Syble.

We also have Mithrandir, a 2000 Saleen Mustang.

Rarely is The White Rider driven, but a good back up. And best of all? Paid for, a gift from Pops when I graduated college.

There you have it. Two cars given to us that are paid off.

I tell you this for 2 reasons:

1. Gifts are ok. Don’t be embarrassed that you were given something that you really didn’t have to work for. That’s called a blessing. Just be grateful.

2. No car is cooler, better, faster, smarter, or prettier than one that has no payments.

Back when Syble was our main vehicle, we averaged about 18,000 miles per year. That equates to 108,000 miles in 6 years, which is a lengthy loan term for a car.

That’s not too bad, as long you are taking care of your car and intend for it to go at least another 108k.

But what if you drive 25,000 miles per year? 30,000 miles?

Then you’re paying your car off way too late. You’re too close to the end of that vehicle’s life, and you’re still paying for it.

Face it, many cars do not reach 200,000 miles.

So you need to do at least 1 of 3 things:

1. When you apply for a car loan, apply for a shorter term. That is, 4 or 5 years.

2. Pay significant money down on that loan.

3. Pay it off early.

We have a car payment. It’s a 2009 Chevy Tahoe. (Have you noticed a trend in the ages of our vehicles? Don’t buy new!)

We set some financial goals recently. One of them is to pay off the Tahoe before the end of 2019, but as it stands right now we can probably make it happen by mid 2018.

That’s what you call a win.

Now, there is a popular belief that you can afford to sit on the minimum payment for a car loan, that you will always have a car payment, and that the interest is not significant on a car loan.

While there is some truth to these beliefs, different circumstances drive different outcomes.

I heard about one lady who received a car loan at 19% interest due to her credit.

I wish she had come to me first. I would have told her not to buy a car.

But in her case, she cannot afford to not pay that thing off early.

And let’s not forget that ANY interest paid is a PENALTY!

Hang in there, guys. Pay those cars off early. Stick it to the man.

Oh… if you’re wondering about the Tahoe’s name…

“What his right name is I haven’t heard, but around here, he’s known as Strider.”

Do not conform.

Food, Finance, and… Fones

If there is food in front of me, I eat it.  There is no but I’ve had enough or well it’s not healthy food so….  or I had fried chicken last night.

No.  If there is food in front of me, I eat it.  Period.

Also, I don’t work out so much anymore.  And when I do go to the gym, I get bored easily.  I walk around looking for things to do because Smokin’ Hot Wife is in a class, and if someone is at a station, I move on to something else.

You wouldn’t believe how often “someone is at a station.”

I end up walking… slowly… for like an hour.

I’m also addicted to my phone.  It’s not something I even want to do.  It’s just there beside me so I’ll pick it up to check my messages and put it down.  After I put it down, I’ll pick it up to check my messages.  It happens time and time again.

I don’t know for sure, but I think these are the same habits that addicts fight.  These three areas are the most recent in my life that have surfaced unapologetically.  They have all made me realize the lack of self-control that I possess.

Now, I have to wage war on my eating patterns, my workout habits, and my cell phone.  But how do I do that?  I’ve obviously had thoughts before to rid myself of all that which hinders me from my better self.  Even more obvious is the fact that nothing has changed.  Why is that?

Well, there is another story about a habit (that is none of your business at this time) that I was trying to break in college.

One day, upon deciding that this particular habit had controlled me for long enough, I wrote out a schedule for every single day.  My wake up and eat times were planned down to the minute.  Homework, walking to and from class, naps, watching Shrek, you name it, it was on my schedule.

What’s more, I stuck to my schedule every day.  And I controlled my terrible habit for 3 months.  Fascinating, right?

But then I regressed.

Or relapsed.  Whatever you wanna call it.  And why?  Because I lacked another tool:  accountability.

Has anyone ever said anything along the lines of You are the only one who can truly hold you accountable… ?

If so, they’re wrong.

What has this to do with money?  You may find yourself asking.  Hang on, dang it.

I wrote a short book about how to budget, and it’s a great tool.  A budget is a plan.  It is the underlying factor of ALL wealth and stability.  The book I wrote can help you build a budget, but unless you have some even more basic behavioral issues handled, creating a chart in a spreadsheet won’t amount to much.  Rarely is the issue one of incompetence.  Everyone is smart enough to write numbers on a piece of paper.

A brilliant man once said that budgeting is telling your money where to go, not asking where it went.

If it isn’t already clear, the first step is planning.  Budgeting is just that, a plan.  Plans can change.  Life happens.  “Emergencies” present themselves.  So don’t treat your plan as God’s Holy Word.  Give yourself some grace, and practice step 2:  self control.

Setting a budget is easy.  Writing down a plan is easy.  Sticking to a plan is not.

I have set up specific plans for all three of my current struggles.  I’m not going to share them with you because I don’t know what any of that has to do with why you’re broke.

Challenging myself to stay on track with these plans is the method I’ve chosen in order to strengthen self-control.  I don’t know if it works.  I only know that God’s actual Holy Word puts significant emphasis on the subject.

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.

–  Proverbs chapter something verse something…

I don’t know exactly what that means… I just want my walls standing at all times.

Practice self-control.  You are stronger than you think.

However, you’re also weaker than you think.  The habit I fought in college has gone away, but it wouldn’t stay away if not for accountability in the form of my wife (accountability is beautiful in my case).

When it comes to your budget, who are you nervous to lie to?  Who would be disappointed in your spending?  Who are you certain would not buy in to your justification for making your last purchase?  Whoever it is needs to be your money buddy.  I don’t call them accountability partners anymore.  I got tired of using the term years ago.

Money is just like any other area.  You are smart enough to plan a budget on your own.  You are strong enough to stick to that budget for months…. And you are NOT strong enough to finish the race alone.

Do not conform, and screw debt.