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The Money Conversation

There was a point that I was debt free and at absolute zero.

I had no mortgage because I was renting.
I had no car payment because it was paid off.
I had no credit cards.

The only bills that I had were rent and the revolving bills. I happily lived from paycheck to paycheck with not a care in the world.

Rent got raised for the umpteenth time. I wanted to break out. The car was still good, but I knew that it would fail. Buying a house, taxes, and simple life led me to where I am now.

I owe $77,000 in a mortgage.
I owe $22,000 in a credit card.
I owe $13,000 for a car.

And being in this much debt drives me nuts.

Here are our monthly expenses (rounded):

$60 Internet
$150 Power
$200 My Health Insurance
$200 His Health Insurance
$25 His dental insurance
$200 Car Insurance
$250 Car Payment
$650 Mortgage (fixed interest)
$100 Gas
$500 Food and Miscellaneous (average)
$50 Phone

$2385 Total

Here is our estimated monthly income. The numbers are rounded because I hate to deal with pennies.

$900 Regular Client A
$900 Regular Client B
$70 Regular Client C
$100 Regular Client D
$100 Regular Client E
$250 Future Regular Clients

$2320 Total

As you can see, we’re slightly underwater when it comes to expenses vs. income. You can only imagine how much this situation chafes the hell out of me. I’m not content to run blindly ahead because while it’s slow, I’m still digging a hole like those dwarves.

There it is. I’m not the know-it-all financial guru.

I’m just like my friends and neighbors.

But I can change. I’m restarting the money conversation. The good ol’ fashioned money conversation. And I want to show you how I’m doing this, every step of the way.

Lessons from Cinnamon Hard Candy

The lime hard candy had a mediocre result. I didn’t want to let it just lie there, so I decided that I’d make some cinnamon hard candy. We had the oil and the equipment available – might as well, right?

If the lime candy experiment produced mediocre results, then the cinnamon hard candy experiment was an abject failure. I wanted to perfect the technique but didn’t – though I (re)learned some valuable things in the process. I know what I did wrong, and don’t plan on doing it again even though this taught me several things.

Patience. It’s not just for doctors anymore

You remember those folks who will tell you that patience is a virtue? It’s a virtue because stuff tends to turn out a LOT better if you exercise it. My cinnamon hard candy recipe had ts flavorings and oils added too quickly, and as a result turned out poorly.

Experience is the best way to learn science

I had no idea. Really. I had no idea that the sugar that was dissolved in the water would go back into its granulated form after a while. I thought that it would be a goopy sort of sugar syrupy mess, but that’s not what happened at all. When in doubt, try it out! You’ve not got much to lose, and who knows, it may work!

Research makes things better

If I’d done my research, I would have found out that adding spicing and flavoring to hard candy before its time was probably not a good idea, and I would have found out what the results were going to be. I’m of two minds on this one, of course – because the story of this particular ‘failure’ is fun.

More is not always better

I would have found this out through the research. Using 2 tsp of cinnamon oil to the mixture was way too much. The house smells good as a result. Even the day after, there’s still some pretty awesome smells, but the candy is completely and totally shot. It’s kinda neat and crumbly looking, but it’s definitely not hard candy. (Man, I wish I had pictures!)

Here’s the recipe for how NOT to make cinnamon hard candies.

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 tsp cinnamon oil
3/4 tsp ground pepper

Dissolve sugar in the water and wait for it to boil. This forms a simple sugar syrup, and what you’re waiting for is some of the water to be boiled off so that the temperature rises. Wait until the temperature rises to 230 or so, put in both the oil and the pepper.

Watch as the heat rises, and something else happens. Where the sugar was in a liquid form, the stuff will boil and gradually turn its way back to sugar. Apparently, there’s something with the oil and pepper that makes it boil more and not like it.

Realize that your experiment isn’t going to make hard candy, remove from heat at around 270, pour it into the lightly sugared pyrex, and start writing about it because you don’t have hard candy. You’ve got this … well, it looks like a landscape for a Warhammer game.

Write about it.

No matter you’re involved in, the best thing to do is experiment. I think that I’m like a lot of people who don’t actually do enough research before pressing the ‘go’ button. You know what? There’s sometimes a thrill in not knowing absolutely for sure how something will turn out.

Financial Lessons Learned From Lime Hard Candy

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Continue reading Financial Lessons Learned From Lime Hard Candy

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What Matters in Life

When we become adults, we are charged with figuring out what the heck to do with our time. Up until then, we are saddled with obligations that others have placed upon us, and we’re not given the full keys to the castle. I know that I spent my first few adult years hiding under the

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I have DUMB goals

I am officially declaring 2013 to be the year of renewal for the Fat Lady Household.  This will be the year where I gather all of the dharmic post-it notes together and apply the information toward myself and those around me.  Resolutions be damned, I’m going to pay attention to what matters – DOING

Continue reading I have DUMB goals