Saturday, January 30, 2010


The scales are not my friend.  Technically, they tell the truth, which is what friends do.  But darn it, sometimes the truth hurts.

I knew I had gained a few pounds over the Holidays.  Many people do.  My clothes were a bit snug and I had to loosen my belt a notch.  But we had thrown ourselves back into South Beach Diet mode a couple of weeks ago.  Two solid weeks on phase 1. 

I did not get on the scales before we started back.  I didn't want to see.  I figured that after two weeks I'd be back where I left off and the momentum would carry me on.  Boy Howdy, was I in for a shock.  I stepped on the scales and even after 2 weeks I was 12 pounds above the last time I'd weighed in.  TWELVE POUNDS.

I was in a funk all day yesterday.  I cursed my weight, my appetite, my genes and my grandparents who passed them on to me.  I shook my fist in dismay.  I prayed.  But I didn't comfort myself with a Big Mac.  Once upon a time I would have.  That's the difference in me today from me a year ago.

The simple reality is, I will probably never completely win the war with my weight.  I may one day be a normal weight.  In fact, I fully expect to be.  But my metabolism, body type and appetite will always ensure that I will never be able to lose vigilance.  The fat man inside me will always be lurking, waiting to break free.

I had a setback.  I messed up.  I have to deal with it, pick up the pieces and move on.  That's life.  Actions have consequences.  Etc. Etc.

It was not much different when B and I were working our debt snowball.  We were very close to our goal and had a mutual brain fart (financially speaking).  We made some stupid decisions that added nearly an extra year to our life in debt.  We felt so stupid.  But we picked ourselves up, cleaned up the mess and won.

I've had spiritual setbacks, too.  There have been times, more than I wish to recall, when I have made some beyond boneheaded choices and stumbled from the path.  Sometimes I've landed on my butt.  On a few occasions I was flat on my face in the sewer.  Not pretty.  But God was always there to reach out, help me get up and point me back in the right direction. 

Anyway you slice it; physically, financially, spiritually, I'm a klutz.  I have setbacks.  Most of them are my own creations.  My choices:  give up, give in or get up.  I'm to competitive to stay down.  I like to win.  So, I'm up.

Had a setback lately?  Over it yet?  Don't you think it's about time to let it go?  Let's go win something together. How bout today?

Friday, January 29, 2010

I Love My Kindle.......But...............

I've had my Kindle (technically, Kindle II) from Amazon for about a year now.  I really love it.  Downloading books is simple, quick and generally less expensive than buying physical versions of them.  It is, however, not cheap to buy, and even Kindle books are more expensive than the FREE books we can check out from the public library.  In my case, the library rarely has the books I want to read, so my Kindle is an asset.  In the first year I saved enough money on the purchased books (I'm a fairly active reader) to pay for the reader.  So, it's all good.

The Kindle is not great for text books or graphic intensive books, but for novels and most non fiction, it's fantastic.  It is also great for newspapers (remember those?) and certain blogs.  The font size is easily adjusted and the entire experience is like reading a paperback, but without worring about the pages falling out, or losing your place, or having books pile up around the house.  So, while it's not perfect, the Kindle is a fun asset and tool.

Yesterday, I got an email from Amazon announcing "Kindle for PC", meaning, I could download an app that allows my kindle books to be available on my laptop in addition to the actual reader.  Just what I need, another distraction at work.  But I eagerly downloaded it.  The cool part is that the pc version and the reader, synch so that whichever one you open you are at the place you most recently left off.  So, you can bounce back and forth smoothly. How cool is that?

Here's the but.......... But what does that say about privacy?  The conspiracy theorist who lives inside me, sees 'Big Brother(s)' somewhere in the inner workings of all our new technological advances.  If we use computers, especially if we use the internet, we have no privacy.  Everything we do can be tracked to one degree or another.  Keep that in mind next time you are surfing or downloading.

We applaud when a pedophile or terrorist is captured and incriminating evidence is located deep within his(or her) computer, despite attempts to wipe it.  And rightly so.  But the same technology allows our 'private' time to be made accessible also. 

Technology is a boon.  But it comes with a price beyond the one scanned at the checkout.  I love my Kindle.  I love the worldwide web.  But in using it, I have compromised my liberty, or at least my expectations of complete privacy.  I'm just sayin'...................

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Budget Basics Refresher

1. Budgets work.  Call it a spending plan if it helps.  Call it fantasy spending.  Call it whatever psychologically makes sense to you, but do it.  Money won't master itself.  Besides, it's not really just the money you're trying to get control of, it's your life.  Budgets simply help your order that part of your world.
2. Budgets have to be written.  You can't 'do it in your head'.  If I had a dollar for every time someone told me how writing stuff down became a revelation, I'd... well... I'd have a lot more money to budget, that's for sure.
3. Establish your perimeter:  The following, in order, are the first things to budget.  Everything else follows
     a. God - Non negotiable.  He is first.
     b. Food - You gotta eat, and you know you're gonna eat.  You can't pay bills if you're too weak to work.
     c. Shelter - Duh!  Roof over your head, lights, heat, insurance, basic phone service, clothing (public nakedness is still against the law in most places).
     d. Transportation -  Umm..... make that, 'reliable' transportation.  You don't need car payments.  But you do need a way to get to work, school, church, etc.  Oh, and you need gasoline, oil, tires, that sort of thing.  Budget for them.  Plan ahead. 
4.  Use a good, simple budget template like the ones available at IOU NO MORE.  They will help you remember to cover all the basis.
5.  Have an emergency fund.  Set aside an emergency fund of at least $500 to $1000 for the unexpected.  If you are debt free, you should set aside at least 6 months of expenses (more on that in a couple weeks)
6.  Put as many bills as possible on automatic bill pay.  It really helps.  I still have trouble remembering to pay the ones I have to write checks to and mail in.  Auto pay and online pay are fantastic tools.
7.  Write down every transaction in a ledger.  Use a form or use the nice little registers that come with your checks.  But make sure you do it.  Check your account online at least twice a week.  I'm sure you have online access because you're reading this online now.
8.  If you're married, make sure you create your budget in cooperation with each other.  Being on the same page is mission critical to your finances as well as your relationship.
9.  Review your budget monthly.  Tweak it when necessary.  Do it in pencil, it makes changes easier and saves on paper.
10.  Have fun with it.  It's only money.

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Website Announcement

For many people, Recession Proof Living means growing at least some of our own fruits and vegetable, or even meat.  Brittan and I have made urban farming a lifestyle.  Now we're going public to help as many people as possible add food independence to financial independence.  Our new website,  will tell you a whole lot more.  The site will also contain our food and farm blog, allowing you to access it either directly or via the website.  We are so excited about the project.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


This weblog lives again.  After looking at several other options, I've decided to resurrect the RPL blog.  The attention to IOU NO MORE and BUDGET BOOT CAMP has grown so much since October that I feel I need a way to continue to communicate with the expanding base of people who want to truly prosper:  in life, in finances, in spiritual matters.  So I thought the best way would be to bring this space back and start to tweak it, broaden it, expand it.  It's good to be home.