Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Are you a slave to trends?

Aug. 29-Sept. 9, 2013 Jennifer's Driveway - Bozeman, MT
"Life is a mentor…it teaches you whether you want to learn or not"
BROWSING THE WWW: Which leads to Pet Peeve Trends & debt...
We have just been "chillin" here in our heavenly RV spot. I'm catching up on blog reading and also adding new blogs to my list. One of which is Living the RV Life. They also have a podcast that I have downloaded, but not listened to yet. They are not FT yet, but are in the process of purging and eventually selling their house. Unfortunately, the RV life chose them as opposed to them choosing the RV Life. Well, maybe they did choose the RV life instead of apartment life.
They were discussing life's lessons learned the hard way. If only they had listened to what their parents tried to teach them about $. I am so thankful my Father's & Mother's frugalness rubbed off on me. Dad was very careful with money and dishing it out. Mom never asked for much, always bought things on sale, and kept to her budget and allowance. I'm not as strict with money as my Dad, but more of a compromise. I saved, but I still had fun. I worked overtime when I was still young and had little other responsibilities. Yes, I made financial mistakes. I sold my first house because I was "lonely". If I had kept that house, I would be much, much better off financially than we are now. So instead of having enough money put away to purchase a house if that's in our future with cash, we'll only be able to put a 70% downpayment, unless we find a really good deal somewhere.
I've mostly had used vehicles and ran them until there was just too much work that needed to be done. My one new vehicle I bought, a Ford Fiero. I limited my car price to $10,000. and that's what I stuck to. I wanted my payments to be within reason. The Fiero only lasted 60,000 when the engine blew. I swore I would never have another car payment again and I haven't.
We didn't have granite counters in our kitchen. We had the same almond formica counter that matched the almond cabinets when we bought the house in 1989 until we sold it in 2012! No kids in the family so they held up fairly well. 
We did not need top of the line stainless steel appliances. In fact, I HATE going with trends. I liked my almond fridge, and my almond stove and my almond dishwasher. They matched. Why would I want a big industrial looking silver thing among my almond backdrop?
I had a co-worker who had a house built a couple of blocks away from the house he lived in. This new house was "the biggest house on the block". He would tell us that over and over. Was I impressed? Not! After 5 years in this brandy new house, his wife decided they needed Corian countertops. Yep, I'm dating myself, but Corian was the "must have" new thing for countertops. So a new home and they are spending thousands to replace their countertop. I'm sure she has now replaced again to granite. But oh, if you look at the home buying shows, granite is now passe! You want butcher block or tile. Wasn't butcher block popular a few decades back? I will not be a slave to trends. Especially now that I'm older, I enjoy doing what I want, wearing what I want.
Even in my early twenties when Calvin Klein jeans were the thing to have, I refused! Why pay $40. (back in the 80's) for a pair of jeans, when I could have a knock off for $10? 
No Harley's for me. I am perfectly happy with my Suzuki Intruder Cruiser. 
No McMansion for us. Scott had a small ranch and I had a Cape Cod house. 
Our furniture was replaced when it wore out, not because we wanted to redecorate. 
No credit card debt. I pay off our card in full every month & always have since establishing credit. Our credit card is just a convenience so we don't have to carry cash. 
We bought a used 5th wheel and a used pick up truck. Both in great condition and a total cost of $50,000. which is what I budgeted.
Our wedding was held in our back yard. We had a catered cook out. I made the bridesmaids' outfits, I made the silk flower arrangements, I made the ring bearer pillow, I made my veil. Total cost of wedding in 1994? Priceless of course...well actually $2500.00. Nope, I wasn't going to go into debt for ONE DAY, for a dress I would never wear again, to "impress" friends. Nope,not me. I had so many compliments afterward saying it was one of the best weddings they attended. They didn't have to dress up, it was relaxed, with lots of music, drinks and good food and atmosphere. Yep, priceless!
And because of keeping my credit in check, not having to have what is trendy, not having a showcase home, we were able to retire at 55 as planned, come away from our house with a profit for the future and now are living debt free, responsibility free. Ahhhh yes priceless.
And now back to Bobby & Sue's blog
"6 lessons you can take away from our experience 
1. Model yourselves after those that have true financial independence and who practice budgeting and do not use credit. 
2. Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’.   Ask yourself, “if the Jones’ jump off a cliff, would I.” 
3. Stay away from credit schemes that play to your instant gratification mode. They ‘bank’ on your lack of discipline to pay off charges and incur penalties, late fees and high interest rates that compound daily.  If it sounds to good to be true, it is. 
4. Budgeting only works if you use it.  When learning to budget utilize a proven budgeting tool. We use the personal budget software, You Need a Budget
5. If your budget includes paying off debt, stay diligent.  When we first started our budget to get out of debt we had to downsize expenditures where we could. Entertainment was cut, eating out was cut, cable was turned off, credit cards were not used, and we only had one car."
While I was reading Long Long Honeymoon blog, they mentioned a great easy tip to help make setting up easier and quicker. They created a cute little video snippet. Check it out.
The things I take for granted about my hubby. He has been using this tip since our 2nd trip out in the RV.

The rear scissor jacks need to be extended to stabilize the RV. On our 5th wheel, it is done with a tool/wrench? similar to what you use to loosen the nuts on a tire. Instead, Scott uses his battery operated drill with a special socket attached. It's called Camco Leveling Scissor Jack Drill Socket. So instead of winding and winding and winding by hand, you just use the socket and drill and 20 seconds it's done!
I spent a good part of the other day rearranging my Where we've been & reviews page on this blog. While reading one of the many blogs, I was looking at their review page. It was according to State. Well duh! what a concept! That was so helpful! My Reviews were in chronological order. Anyone who is just interested in RV park reviews would find it a PIA to have to scan through them to find ones they are interested in. So I've now switched my RV Park review page according to state. I think that will benefit readers much better.
American Computer Museum - Bozeman, MT
Our rating 4 out of 5
Scott would have probably rated it 5 out of 5. A lot of interesting stuff. From the history of communication up through modern times. There is a replica of one of the original telephones, a switchboard (remember Lilly Tomlin as Ernestine, the telephone operator?), some home furnishings from the 30's and up, old computers, etc.
Remember this calculator? I do. You had to stick a pen type point into those slights to add.
This is before even my time. This is a vacuum cleaner. It works like a pump.You pull the the top stick up to pull up the dirt.
This is an actual sign from a hotel after they installed electric lighting.

Robby the robot

The Terminator
Rattlesnake Crossing (Joanna Brady, #6)Rattlesnake Crossing by J.A. Jance
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Good enough mystery and definitely kept my interest. I really enjoy a book when I get to know the characters well. This book seems to just skim over character development. Maybe because they are on going characters and if I had read previous books I would know them better?
I enjoyed reading about the areas where scenes were taken place since recently visiting AZ.

Thérèse Raquin Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Kate Winslet did an excellent narration. But unfortunately I felt the story was drawn out. It started out interesting and I was drawn into the situation, but then on and on and on years go by with not much happening.

Master of the GameMaster of the Game by Sidney Sheldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book captures you from the very first page. I was so excited with anticipation! Great, great character development. So many side scenarios going on. Manipulation, hatred, mental illness, skewed thinking, the innocent, love, riches, history, family drama and so on.
I could not put this book down! I wanted to keep reading because so much was happening! Just let me find out will Jamie survive? will revenge be completed? What will Eve do next. Will her sister, Alexandra suspect anything? Who will be the heir to the family business?

Mammoth Campground, Yellowstone, WY (Tentative)
Sept. 6-15, 2013 Horseshoe Bend Campground NFS, Lovell, WY (Tentative)
Sept. 16-30, 2013 Wheels West RV Park, Custer, SD

south for the Winter of 2013/214

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