Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

A couple of weeks ago after reading a book entitled "Total Money Makeover," Robyn and I decided to make a strict budget and combine bank accounts in an effort to live more frugally, save money, and try and tackle my crippling student loan debt that threatens to tear our marriage apart. I wanted to stay with Wells Fargo. She wanted to stay with Zion's Bank. We had both been with our respective banks for about 10 years. As is often the case, I acquiesced, and closed my Wells Fargo accounts. It was a gut wrenching scene down at the local WF branch as the bank employee pleaded with me through tears to tell her what they had done wrong to lose my business. After a few noble but ultimately unfruitful attempts to retain me as a customer, I took my $13 and deposited it in Zion's Bank.

Back to this Total Money Makeover thing. Dave Ramsey, the author, suggests that people live a pretty spartan lifestyle, sacrificing things you want now to pay off debts and save for the future. Arguably the most important part of that process is making a budget and ridding yourself of unneeded expenditures. The following is the Steeners' September budget to give you an idea of what a well-rounded budget looks like (some of these items are bought monthly in bulk and stored for future use):

Groceries: $100
Utilities: $150
Gas: $200
Shark Repellant: $175
Roofing Nails: $250
New Clothes Budget (Robyn): $1,000
New Clothes Budget (Matt): $25
Monthly Donation to Daughters of the American Revolution: $500
Scented Candles: $45
Fake Eyelashes (Robyn): $75
Typhoon Insurance: $125
Hand Soap: $75
Dryer Sheets: $100
Entertainment: $500
Eating Out: $700
Maid Service: $400
Fantasy Football: $50
Massage/Pedicures: $200
Ice Cream: $200
Ice Cream Toppings: $100
Emergency Replacement Cabinet Door Grabs: $250
Car Air Fresheners: $100
Lint Brushes: $100

Finally, I know that most of our 6 or 7 blog readers are friends of Robyn. Please know that I badger her almost daily to post something on here and my admonitions go unheeded. Please do whatever you can to encourage her to contribute to the Steeners' blog and keep it going.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Best. Day. Ever.

Yesterday was an unusually good day for the Steeners, particularly the Steeners' patriarch. Yesterday I found out I passed the bar exam! The results came out much earlier than usual, at 6 weeks. They usually come out right at the 8 week mark. My friend heard a rumor from someone that they would be out either Friday or Saturday. I was a little incredulous, but Saturday morning my friend called me and told me they were posted on the utah bar's website. I told him my exam number and he checked for me. It was quite a relief that I passed. I was so afraid I wouldn't pass and would have to slink away from my law firm embarrassed and humiliated.

Later in the afternoon I got to go to the BYU-UCLA game and witness perhaps the most dominating display of football ever seen at Lavell Edwards Stadium. The Cougars absolutely emasculated the overmatched Bruins. It was high entertainment indeed. I'm hoping this week goes by fast because Saturday the Steeners travel to the Keystone state for a long awaited return to my homeland. We have a full slate of activities in store: Hershey Park, a trip to NYC to see Wicked, and a trip to Palmyra to see the church sites, and in between a trip down memory lane to see all of my old childhood haunts. I anticipate some detailed postings when we return.