I’m finally back on email

after 3 days of no contact except via smartphone. Whose bill is due this week but I’ll be a little happier paying it, since I was able to stay in contact with customers during the service outage.
Been a big week here:
1) that combine that we’ve been agonizing over, and which I was able to make a VERY good business case for buying, was sold to someone else while we deliberated. That first felt like a Murphy moment (“augh, if only we’d decided sooner!”) but then it became a Millie moment when I learned what the sales price was. I had learned about it as an eBay auction that didn’t meet the reserve, so I had started our deliberations with some “feel” for how much it would cost, but not a fixed “he’ll accept this amount”. Turns out, his reserve was 2x what we were comfortably able to pay. So the Millie moment came that we’ve done all this business break-even analysis, and now we know a lot better how much we can afford to pay and how much we can afford to do with it, and the search has begun for a combine we CAN afford. Furthermore, the hog sale in early April which would have funded this purchase, would have been totally wiped out by the cost of that particular combine. Now we can put that money towards a variety of purposes, including debt, sinking funds, future projects, or some combo, AND still shop for another combine that doesn’t cost as much. I’m chalking this up as a “win”. Two years ago, I just would have slapped this on credit and been done. I like this new way of doing things better.
2) I was able to talk to the county about our logging situation, and they told me of not one but TWO ways we can proceed with logging our property without having the moratorium slapped on us. So now I’m reviewing those two options, to see which one pencils out the best for us. We’ll definitely be able to log the property now, and either save costs by having our own lumber to build with, and/or earn money by selling the lumber. We might also be able to get a break on the land taxes by going through what’s called a land use conversion. So, I have 5 acres of gazelle feed out there several steps closer to harvest. Again, what I was viewing as a Murphy arrangement of rules/regs might work out to be a Millie arrangement instead, by carefully navigating how we want to proceed and making the most of what we have, within the limits of what’s legal for our property. There have been times I’ve been tempted to try to either forget about it as being too much of a hassle, or just start logging and hope the county wouldn’t notice (that sounds absurd but out here tree poaching is actually a fairly active, and lucrative, crime industry). Neither of those options felt right, and I’m glad we’ll be working above board. Chalk another one up for Lucy.
So, starting the new week with email (yay!) and two very big wins for the farm as a biz, and for the finances as we take deliberate steps towards a financial future WE design, proactively. Much, much better than how we would have done things several years ago. Thanks to you folks and thanks to Dave!

I love reading this

I like how you and your husband are learning to collectively come to decisions based upon what you each have to bring to the table. It’s not all slated in one’s direction; you two are working together as a team. I think this is how we all end up winning in the end in this process. It can’t be just one person making all the decisions and shouldering all of the responsibility. It may be a lot easier doing it this way from time to time, but I don’t think it’s what makes us a success at the end.

Long story short

Mell, your recent “whining” email really resonated with me, because this debate over these big-ticket decisions has really flushed out some fundamental differences of opinion between my DH and I. I’m the entrepreneur who isn’t afraid to take some risk now and then if we have a reasonable chance of return. But DH is VERY cautious about purchases and/or investing; he doesn’t want any risk at all and can come up with reasons not to do things until the sun burns out. In the past, that discrepancy has caused a lot of friction. The combine is the single biggest purchase we’ll have made since the DR class, and the logging activity is the single biggest project we’ll ever have undertaken here on the property. Furthermore, once those trees come down we can’t really stand them back up if we don’t like the results. So in both of these contexts, we’ve both really had to push our personal comfort zones to find ways to meet in the middle. I won’t say we’re done with that process yet – we haven’t actually logged the property yet or purchased the combine. But now we recognize that while the other person’s arguments might seem like they’re coming from The Great Beyond of Absurdity (and yes we do have more than a few moments of defensiveness), both approaches have merit and deserve to be heard. I’m cautiously optimistic we’ll reach decisions on both, that we can both live with. I sincerely hope you’re able to reach the same level of compromise with your DH, in your ongoing budget conversations.

Two aren’t really “debts” in the normal sense (baseball and ASB)

These are school fees for DS17 which they have been nice enough to let me pay on installments. Baseball has to be taken care of on our next check, but ASB i can break down into smaller payments or just pay it off on our next check.
Kohls has a separate gazelle account–it is scheduled for complete payoff next check. On top of that, I have $800 to put toward debt snowball….GBR has to come out of that (it’s DH’s website fee), bringing my true debt snowball down to $683. I’m thinking I’d rather pay off WalMart in its entirety and most of Household cc ($65 balance) than pay off HH and leave a balance on WM.
Once those 3 (kohls, WM, HH) are paid off, I should have $75 a month to throw at HSBC. This of course, assumes that the IRS doesn’t come knocking at my door first. I am going to write them an offer in compromise and see if they’ll take half. I scheduled $1100 towards the IRS bill our first check in March. If they accept it as payment in full, great. If not, they’ll get the $1100 in March and the other $1k in April. I am moving them ahead of HSBC & Comerica CCs–they have a nastier pay up or else letter .
On the other hand, I may have to use that $800 in February to make travel arrangements for DD21’s college graduation. I budgeted it for April, but the hotel part of it might have to be done in February so I can lock in dirt cheap rates. I don’t really want to have to drive it (I’d rather take the train) as the costs are about the same, but I may have to if train rates rise substantially.

Once upon a time, I obtained a credit card

from Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank when they first came to the U.S. That was almost 6 years ago. Our credit card balance quickly became $1,300, which happens to be $300 over limit, and the account was closed within the first year or so.
Paying the minimums, my balance 6 years later is $686 ! So if I were not doing the baby steps knocking out other bills and working my way to this one (it’s #4 on the list of 8) it would take me ANOTHER 6 years (roughly) to pay it completely off.
Wow. There’s a wake up call. 12 years in debt servitude for 1 year (at most) of pleasure. And it wasn’t even pleasure, it went to things like groceries, gas for the car, etc—basically living on credit chiefly because our spending was out of control.

Well, you can actually take the number

given in the e-mail and look up the package on the UPS or FedEx site. It’s shows as a real package, normally with a delivery date of the next day. Not sure how the scammers are doing that. Maybe it’s a troubleshooting number for
the UPS or FedEx websites, or something. If only these devious people would use their energies for good and not evil, they probably would have solved homelessness, joblessness, and world hunger…


I know it’s hard to hitch up a partner’s finances (and their financial “style”) to our own. My DH and I are still working on it, after taking FPU almost two years ago. My DH is the type who spends very little but feels justified in spending what he does, since he’s the bigger bread earner by far. So any suggestions to change his spending is a hard, hard sell, no pun intended. Meanwhile I pay all the bills and all the farm bills and set aside money for the sinking funds and some days yes I lose track of this-or-that detail. I use Quicken which helps but I still manage to lose track sometimes. It’s a work in progress. Kudos to both of you for getting started on that work.