Archive for the ‘money’ Category

We made our first trip to the hospital today.  We discussed the issue of our payment plan, received the unfortunate news that it appeared we might not be able to get any grants to cover the surgery (keep praying about this), and we paid off part of the bill.  [BTW: If you do want to help defray some of the costs of Kane’s surgery just click this sentence.]

On a more positive note we saw Kane for about an hour.  We walked outside with Kane and the doctors and learned how to help him pee by squeezing on his bladder- fun times.  We saw some improvement in him placing a small amount of weight on his hind legs- YEAH!

Then we went into a comfy visiting room where Sasha prayed for Kane and we hung out together for a while.  Here are some of the pictures and video from our visit.

How about the cutest thing first?  Here is a video of Sasha and Kane together- sorry for the no sound, our digital cam stinks.

Next, the surgery scars

I told him that he was lucky in a way since chicks dig scars. (more…)

Although most of the big ticket items of the adoption process are being paid for by L.F.S. and grants from the state, we are still facing a significant amount of costs for various and sundry things ranging from a fire inspection to medical exams. After you read through this list, I ask that you please add the prayer requests (listed at the conclusion of this post) to your prayers for the next several days. (more…)

It is a beautiful snowy day here in North Carolina. So as I enjoy the snow with my daughter, I would remind you that we need all the help we can get financing our dream (the non-profit ranch). We are doing our best saving all our change, cutting back on the unnecessary purchase, and paying down those pesky credit cards with their income gobbling interest rates.

If you want to help just click on the link below and send a few PayPal bucks our way. Thanks in advance for all those who drop us a few cents or a few dollars.

cooltext77109582.jpg

Check out my latest post over at Straight to the Bar on finding a good personal trainer.  It’s not all about money, look, or muscles.

Eliminating the Lugnuts: How to Find a Good Personal Trainer

I’ve written about our family’s dream several times on here before.  For those of you who need to catch up, check out the links below.

A Farm of Our Own

Setting Our Goals

Also Scroll down to the bottom to see a Brief Summary.

Caught up?   Good.  So here is the idea.   Anyone who can afford to share a little just drops a bit in the donate button below.  Who should do this?  If you have some spare change laying around in your PayPal account (or in that jacket you haven’t worn for months) you would be a good candidate. It is all up to you.

You see, I am very curious what could happen if the hundreds (possibly thousands) who have visited this sight over 52,000 times donated a dollar or two towards a fund to help us achieve this dream.  What do you think?  Maybe we could have a good part of our down payment ready to go.

So you ask, what’s to keep me from blowing all the money on booze and comics?  Well, just my word.  I would hope that after almost ten months and tons of embarassing pictures, you guys would know how much a share without reservation.  If anything I am TOO truthful.

If you don’t want to donate, no hard feelings.  Well, maybe a few.  But for those who do, thanks.  Let me know if this whole PayPal things works, I’ve never used it before.

DONATE

Warning: This donation is NOT tax deductible. 

What will we be doing with the money?

1. Down payment on a piece of land- small to medium acreage (30-60 acres).  We are still locating the right piece of property and we are waiting to see where I end up in two to three years with my Ph.D.

2. Run a small scale animal rescue (dogs/horses).

3. Combine the animal rescue with a program for at-risk youth.  We are still learning lots about this, and it is very interesting stuff. Click here to read about one such pet training program currently employed in prisons.

4. Run a fully operational ranch and/or farm (depends on the land) where we can sell a portion of our agricultural returns and donate the rest to local individuals in need as well as local charities.  Some ideas we have include orchards, crops, milk, and eggs.  There is a big learning curve on all this stuff and I spend much of my limited free time reviewing books on these subjects.

5)  Care to make any suggestions to fill this space?  Anything I missed?  Drop a note in the comments section.

God bless you whatever you give- including those of you who give nothing.

BTW, for those of you skittish about PayPal, you can email me and drop a few small bills or a check in the mail.

Well, I decided that this blog isn’t a good place for all my crazy right-wing libertarian views to be expressed.  I definitely don’t want to turn anyone off to weight loss because of politics.  I would rather they be healthy than agree with my political views.  So I figured why not use my old blog [shameless plug included right here jjkaiser.blogspot.com].

Now, you all know that I am blunt and honest with you, right? Well, you should.  And if you don’t I can’t help that.  Anyway, here comes the honesty.  Blogger allows me to use Google AdSense and make some money off blogging.  And my wife seems to think that I should be making money as much time as I put into this blogging stuff.  So when you swing by my old blog (now my alternative blog) be sure to check out the Google ads- it will make my wife smile and she might just allow me to keep blogging.  Every click on Google ads on the blog is a vote to keep my blogging activities going.  Has the guilt trip worked yet?  Good.

If you want to know what else you cant expect at the new blog just follow this link.  I think I’ve laid it out clearly.  See you there!

Well I wanted to post on money saving investments today, and all I could come up with was one idea.  So I will share my one idea and in return I hope you guys share some ideas on investments that will save money in the long term.

Buy a Freezer:  Who hasn’t been frustrated by the inability of their freezer to adequately contain the fruits of a trip to the grocery store?  And when meat goes on sale, a rare occurrence, it is a great idea to scoop up as much as possible (and reasonable).    For example, our local grocery store occasionally puts 3 lb bags of chicken breast on sale for $3.50 each.  The usual price is 7.99-8.99 per bag.

Now, if you owned an individual freezer unit you would have somewhere to put that discount meat- not to mention pastries, frozen veggies, and frozen fruits.

How much can you save with this idea?  Well let’s just take the chicken example.   My family goes through three bags a month (sometimes four).  At $8.50 per bag the cost over the year is $306, while the the cost at $3.50 per bag is less than $130 per year.  A savings of  $176 dollars over the year.  And that is JUST the chicken.

Now I know there are some costs associated with this.  For example electricity to run the unit.   But, to the best of my knowledge, once the unit is full it is relatively inexpensive to run- as the frozen goods in a packed refrigerator allow the unit to use less electricity than an empty freezer.

So what are your ideas?

As we near out first pay check in over two months (times have been tough but God provided) we are set to implement some money saving procedures and a much improved budget.   What have we done?  Well I will share with you three tips today to shrink your expenses and saved lots of money

First, perhaps the biggest change for us, we are limiting our grocery/all things Wal-Mart budget (excluding dog food) to $250 per month.  We are going to enforce this budget limit by taking out $250 cash at the beginning of the month and placing said cash in an envelope to be used each time we shop.  When the money runs out, no more groceries.  As an incentive to save more, 50% of the money left over at the end of the month can be used for ANYTHING we want.

Estimated Savings: $200-400/month

Second, we are going automatic.  We are signing up as many bills as possible for automatic bill pay.  We have been paying anywhere from $5 to $25 dollars in late fees each month.  The main offender is our water bill.  It is the only bill that comes without a return envelope and is therefore easy to forget about.  To make matters worse the local water department are known in our house as the water Nazi’s- if you are two weeks late with your bill they shut off the water and charge $20 bucks (plus late fee) to reconnect.  As if they weren’t selling the most abundant resource that only cost about $30 a month, and we were somehow going to run off without paying that hefty $35 dollar water bill….geesh.

Estimated Savings: $5-$25 dollars

Third, we will be paying down our lowest balance credit card in a month or two and using that card for gasoline- NOTHING else!  Well okay, emergencies, but only real emergencies.  The card will be paid off before the end of each month.  It will help us budget our gas money and allow for quick and easy gas purchases.  Tried buying gas without a credit card lately?  It isn’t fun.

Estimated Savings$10-$25/month on interest

OVERALL estimated servings:  $215-$450 dollars

Our present financial condition is similar to my physical condition back in February. My wallet is horribly out of shape; my credit cards are stretched like me waist used to be; and cash flow is almost non-existent (much like my previously well concealed six pack). I think that is enough analogies for now, you get the point.

Where are we right now? Well, sad to say, we are burdened by about $15,000+ dollars in credit card debt. That debt costs us about $525/month just to stay on top on minimum payments. Crazy, isn’t it? It wasn’t always like this, when we got married we had three credit cards. It got this way because we (and most often me/I) got suckered into those credit card giveaways. We bought a new mattress and took advantage of the no interest, no payments for a year if you signed up for store credit card “special.” Of course we didn’t pay it off within the year, so we got charged the back interest. Same thing with a digital camera. We also had medical bills we couldn’t pay, so that ended up in a medical credit card. So right now we have about 9 credit cards. I could just smack myself for getting into this mess.

To make matters worse all those cards are maxed out. Why? Well, since my wife is a school teacher and I am a grad student we had two months each year with NO paycheck. We didn’t save/budget well so we ended up living off our credit cards.

So what now? I can’t go back and change this, but I can create an action plan to pay-off this debt. Chances are you could use an action plan too.

(more…)

Well, I have been told that some of my exercise equipment is a bit unconventional. That is fine with me. It was actually my intention and my goal to use what was handy around the house to create some equipment with multiple uses- but a low price tag. So no more excuses (i.e. equipment is too expensive). And if you have any ideas for workout equipment that can be made from common household or backyard items post a comment.

Exercise Equipment

Kitty Litter Weights

Availability: This was an easy choice as our yard (which formerly contained a pool) has hundred of pounds of gravel that we neither use nor want. We also have two cats that go through kitty litter with amazing celerity.

Modifications: Take one (two is preferable) 35 kitty litter plastic containers and fill them with lots of gravel.

gravel

Put a couple shovels full into the empty kitty litter containers.kitty litter weights

Uses: Shrugs, Forearm rolls, farmers walk (how far can you walk while carrying two 50lb weights), and trap raise.

Rocks

Rocks for Rock Carry

Availability: These were laying all around our backyard. There were so many, I made two piles of them four feet high.

Two of these bad boys (each weigh about 20-30 lbs).

Modifications: None needed.

Uses: Grips. Their irregular shape is excellent to work on your grip. Grab on in each hand using only your fingertips and see how long you can hold them. Please, try not to crush your foot.

Darn Heavy Piece of Wood:

Darn Heavy Wood

Availability: I found about ten of these laying around my backyard. I have already used the other nine in construction projects, this is the only one that remains. It isn’t as heavy as it feels- it’s shape makes it awkward and cumbersome.

Modification: None needed.

Uses: Duck walks, Plyometric Squats, Squats, and Squat Press. Do duck walks with it on your shoulders; try plyometric squat jumps while holding it over your head; or do a squat press.

NINJA WARRIOR HERE I COME!