General Personal Finance

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Is Waiting Tables Really That Hard?

Yes, hello! I’m here to stir-up some trouble. Well, that’s not exactly my intention but I may offend someone in the next 1,000 or so words. Sorry, if I do!

In high school, I worked in a restaurant for about 4 years. I started off busing tables and washing dishes. Eventually I was asked to cut up some vegetables when the cooks were in a hurry. That turned into becoming a full-time cook. We hired someone new to wash the dishes.

I spent most weekends at the restaurant. I like to think I’ve seen a good bit of how a restaurant works.

But I have never waited tables in my life. I’ve been around the action, taken a few quick orders, waited at some college events for charity, but I’ve never had that as my job title. So PLEASE help me all you waiters/ex-waiters out there… I have a question for you.

And yes, I’m using the word ‘waiters’ because waitress sounds sexist to me. Not sure if it is but I’ll play it safe. 🙂

Is waiting tables really that hard?

There’s a reason they call it ‘waiting,’ right? Doesn’t seem that hard to me.

This question has been floating around my head for years. I still have yet to figure it out. Perhaps I should shadow a busy waiter or apply at Applebee’s and figure it out myself. But why do that when I have access to some of the wisest brains on the interwebz! I’m talking about you! Yes, you. PLEASE help me understand what I’m missing.

Hi, my name is Will. I’ve been an ignorant foodie for 24 years.

Also, I did a little homework beforehand to prove I’m serious about sampling some new perspectives:

3 Reasons You Need to Respect Your Waitress

Waitresses Deserve Respect, And Tips

Waitresses Deserve Better Wages – and R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Gratitude Included: Why I Love Being a Waitress

Judy Greer: ‘A mandatory year of waiting tables’ will make you a better person

Waiting Tables Is More Than You Think It Is

Here are my views on waiting tables:

Restaurant Perspective on Waiting Tables

I cooked a lot of food at the local restaurant. It was a lot of hard, hot work. We came in before any customers and we definitely left after they did. Waiters would come in only when there were customers. The cooks had to MAKE THE DANG FOOD and the waiters job is to walk it to a table. I know some customers can be jerks but that comes will all customer service roles. Right now I’m a bank analyst who has to deal with snarky bankers on a daily basis. I don’t complain though because it’s just part of the job. So I don’t think ‘putting up with rude customers’ is a reason to get paid more. It’s hit or miss in any customer/client-oriented role.

So after working at a restaurant for 4 years, I guess I didn’t gain a ton of respect for the trade of being a waiter..

Dining perspective on waiting tables

After seated, we are handed menus. Then we give our drink orders – I almost always order water with no ice. We peruse the menu, sometimes asking a question or 2. We order. The food comes out – thank you, cooks for preparing the lovely meal. (A customer once came back to the kitchen and tipped me because they enjoyed their steak – freaking MADE MY YEAR. Anyway, then the waiter refills our drinks. Smiles and butters us up for a good tip. We finish. The plates are cleared away. We pay 15-20% the worth of the meal. Done. I’ve paid tips before that are more than I make per hour as an analyst – a VERY skilled job!

So what in the world am I missing? I hate spending so much money tipping waiters for a service that doesn’t seem to require much effort.

This post is a follow-up to my post on First Quarter Finance last week. Here’s an excerpt showing my ignorance or frustration:

I’m not against tipping well but I’m a pretty easy customer. Having a waiter sit down a few plates and refill my glass of water once means my tip of $16 for the meal last night was a pretty darn good hourly rate. Last night, the waiter interacted with our table for about 3 minutes total. If a person works even 4 hours a day at 5 days per week making that rate, they would earn $332,800 pre-tax income in one year. And a lot of tips don’t get reported properly to the IRS.

As a disclaimer, I still tip 15-20% even though I honestly don’t understand why. I guess I don’t want an icky feeling in my stomach by not doing what’s socially acceptable. Really, playing follow-the-leader in society is a really stupid thing to do though. Also, I assume the waiter will fund his/her education or save up for a house or do something admirable like that.

Call me ignorant (I am!) or whatever else. It’s appropriate right now! It’s why I’m seeking help.

It’s Labor Day weekend. People dine out a lot when traveling. What do you tip and why?

Please comment even if you’re reading this after the weekend! I’m probably the only person right now blogging instead of boating. 🙂

 

 

Will, hailing from the interwebz settlement called First Quarter Finance

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Image courtesy of Christina Campisi

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So you’ve got a pot of cash, whether it’s come from inheritance, or winnings, or hard-earned savings. If you’ve got nothing planned for it in the immediate future, you shouldn’t just leave it to sit in your bank account, you should think more carefully about what it’s doing, and how you can make it work for itself.

This all comes down to the age-old question of whether it’s better to save or invest. Different situations will mean different outcomes between individuals, but here’s the argument:

Saving

The safest route is of course to simply save you money. You can leave it in your bank account, meaning its safe as long as the bank is in business, and in many countries it’s even backed by the government. Alternatively, you can store it in cash, but then this does leave you exposed to theft. You can be fairly sure then, that the money will be there when you need it. The problem however, is the reason people often turn to investment. Inflation ultimately means that your wad of cash will decrease in value over time. Leave it for five or ten years, and you might find that you can buy a lot less with it than you used to be able to.

Investing

The idea behind investment is that you can beat this rate of inflation, meaning your money will be just as valuable, whenever it comes to using it. Many will also invest in ways that means the pot of money actually increases ahead of inflation over time, making it more and more valuable. There are many, many methods of investment. At the lowest end of the scale, you’ll have people who leave their money in a bank savings account, just keeping up with inflation, and at the top end are those who deal in financial products, looking to make a fortune.

The thing that really separates the two ideas is risk. Saving money is usually pretty safe, but investment can be risky. Nearly all forms of investment inherently carry risk; some more than others. This means that in a worst case scenario, you will lose money rather than make it or break even. It’s all about weighing up risk and reward.

Check out this video by Killik & Co for more on the subject of saving versus investing. They describe inflation as ‘the enemy of cash’.

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Predatory Lending: Not Even an Option

We’ve all driven through run-down neighborhoods.  And we’ve all noticed the payday loan shops.  Until recently, I thought those companies swooped in because people in the area were going broke and needed a last resort.  But now I realize payday lenders aren’t coming to a poor community – they are creating a poor community.

Predatory Lending

Payday lending companies are commonly referred to as predatory lending companies.  It’s hard for me to tell you exactly what they are because they are always changing their practices to skirt the law.  Here’s how to spot them.  But honestly, just don’t go into a sketchy looking place to borrow money.  I don’t know if they will break your knees or put your feet in 2 paint cans full of concrete and throw you into the Hudson – but they are bad news.  I thought credit card companies charging 30% was ridiculous but many predatory lenders charge 300%!  They claim that 300% is APY so that’s not really a big deal.  They tell their victims they will only be borrowing the money until their next payday, so the money they pay on interest really won’t be that much.  But few people borrow only once.  They keep coming back.  And the high interest rates are there waiting with open arms.

I’m not a fan of a lot of financial service providers.  I’ve seen them take advantage of ignorant consumers.  That’s why I think everyone should fire their financial advisors in about 3 seconds. But predatory lending is the worst of any financial ‘service.’

Predatory lending should be avoided at all cost.  I’ll never take out a payday loan.  I’m too busy making sure my financial life is sound enough to never be tempted.  So instead of taking out a loan, these are the things I would encourage anyone to do instead:

1. Save

Payday lenders say they can do things like help you when your car break downs or pay for Christmas presents.  News flash!  Those things happen!  You need to keep a cash pile ready to pay for such occasions.  Not having money for Christmas presents is no excuse for taking out a loan.  I save a ton of my income.  It’s creating a barrier between me and an uncomfortable life where loans would be needed.

2. Work

Work more!  If you think you work a lot – think again.  Keep a journal of what you do with your entire day for a week.  Do you really work as many hours as you could?  I don’t.  So if I really need the money, I could work more.

If you’re even close to broke – work more!  Have some side hustles so money is flowing in more than just twice a month.  Think getting another job is hard?  Most of you reading this live in North America.  Making money in North America is easy.  If you ever think that’s not the case – would you rather try finding work in Africa?  Didn’t think so.  We have it good.

There’s always hope to create more money for yourself. Always.

3. Sell

Sell your stuff!  Before a payday loan I would sell dang near everything tied to my name!  Heck, I’d sell the nonessential parts of my car before I’d take out a loan at 300%!  Most people think a person needs a lot of stuff to live.  Not true at all.

The role predatory lending should play in your life

Right now I’m reading a book by Napoleon Hill called Think and Grow Rich.  Hill tells a story that has been stuck in the front of my mind…

“A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which insured his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own. He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed to the enemy’s country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, then gave the order to burn the ships that had carried them. Addressing the men before the first battle, he said, “You see the boats going up in smoke. That means that we cannot leave these shores unless we win! We now have no choice—we win—or we perish!”

What happened?

They Won.

Hill: “Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by so doing can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a burning desire to win, essential to success.”

In relation to predatory lending – I consider the shipped burned.  Taking out a loan with them is not even an option for me.  I have erased them from my mind.  I don’t leave them in the back of my mind thinking, “Just in case…”  I’ve said, “No!”  There’s no way on earth I will deal with one.  In my mind, all the predatory lenders are on a ship that’s sitting on the bottom of the ocean.  Courtesy of me and a matchbook.

So as much as I’ve loved telling you a bit about predatory lending – the important take away is to forget all of it.  Pretend they don’t even exist.  Sink them before they sink you.

 

 

-Will Lipovsky, FirstQuarterFinance.com

P.S. Sorry this post isn’t too funny!  So here’s a money joke for you…  What’s the cheapest kind of meat…?  Deer balls.  They’re under a buck!  Oh, the sophistication of my humor.

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Image courtesy of Maersk

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Will Lipovsky

Hey, everyone!  Most of you already know me but this is my ‘official’ introductory post for CNA Finance!  My first guest spot was back in May!  Seems like forever ago in blog months!  Since Josh is busy rocking projects such as ControlYourCity.com, I’m your new weekly contributor!

A bit about me…

I grew up on a farm Nebraska.  It’s right in the middle of the US if you didn’t know. 😀  Being smart with money got planted (get it?) in my head early.  With the help of my parents, I began investing in my Roth IRA at age 10.  I ended up losing most of that money due to insider trading but that’s another story for another day.

As I grew up, I hustled like an adult struggling to pay child support.  Some weekends I worked 5 jobs!  I always had fun though.  I knew it was stupid to work a job I didn’t enjoy.  If I did, I would always be itching to get off the job so I could have fun.  So if I could have fun while at the job… I could dedicate nearly all my free time to making money.

I earned, saved, and invested all throughout school.  And no, I didn’t put my grades on the back burner.  I just did my homework on my snare drum during morning band practice.  When I graduated college at 21, I tipped over the $100k net worth mark.

I’m telling you this just to add a little credibility to my 24-year-old self.  I’m young so I feel I have to prove myself! 😀 Today, I work for a large financial services company as a bank analyst.  Snoop my LinkedIn for more details.  The purpose of my job is to make banks more profitable.  But honestly, I relate more to being a blogger/freelancer.  This personal finance community is where I belong! 😀

Let’s get personal

My favorite movie is Up in the Air with George Clooney.  I’m also powerless against the ‘suggestions’ side bar on YouTube.  I love me some cat videos.

When I’m not on the interwebs, I’m an outdoorsman… errr, outdoorsperson(?), foodie, traveler, farmer, cyclist, reader, gearhead, and lover of anyone with a good story to tell.

What I’ll do for you

I will write informative articles focusing on specific issues such as predatory lending… things like that.  All of which will include a healthy dose of wit and sarcasm.  I probably hate dry articles more than you.  Getting a minor in political science gave enough boring reading material to last a life time.

I’ll see you here each week (maybe more often if you guys will put up with me!).  You can also read my stuff twice weekly on my blog, First Quarter Finance where I focus on making money in life ASAP.  Go figure. 🙂  Feel free to contact me any time. Thanks for reading!  I’ll see YOU again soon!

Will Lipovsky

If you’re cool crazy enough to want to know more about me, here’s my About Me page.

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Sweetness Happy

Most of you have already somewhat met my new puppy Sweetness Honey Rodriguez. Just in case you missed the post I did last week about costs of puppy parenthood, that’s her above (About 4-5 months ago). Anyway, in the 6 months or so that we’ve had Sweetness, we’ve had a blast. She’s the perfect pup…even though she likes to eat non-food items sometimes. Not to mention, she’s really helped me learn a ton about finances and life in general. So, today I thought I’d share the lessons my pup has taught me and some awesome pictures of Sweetness!

Sometimes, You Have To Remember That You’ll Make It Through This

Sweetness Car Sick

You know how most dogs love car rides? Well, Sweetness isn’t most dogs. Unlike most dogs, sweetness gets car sick. When we first got her, she would drool excessively and eventually throw up when she was in the car. Now, she only drools a little bit. She’s got her mind set on the prize. She knows that as soon as she makes it out of that car, she’s going to have a boatload of fun swimming in the lake or playing fetch and hiking! So, the lesson here… No matter how bad it seems, there’s eventually going to be something better on the other end of the road. 

Never Give Up

Sweetness Swimming

Sweetness is a fetchaholic. All she ever wants to do is play fetch when we’re outside. Here she is waiting for me to throw the stick. If you look closely, you can see her eyes and ears are down a bit. That’s because I told her no and that I was done with fetch for the time being. So, she sat there and gave me the puppy dog face while swimming for 5 minutes. At the end of it all, she eventually coerced me into playing more fetch. So, never give up, even if you think the goal is unattainable; persistence generally pays!

Patience Is A Virtue

Sweetness Checking The Cherries

Sweetness spends quite a bit of time with Mommy in the back yard garden. OK, that’s not the garden, it’s the new cherry tree, but you get the point. Anyway, Sweetness is incredibly patient. If you look closely between the leaves, you can see Sweetness sitting there with her cutest puppy dog face on as she stares at Ana. Now look down in front of Sweetness and you’ll see the stick she wants Ana to throw. She’s not pushy though. Nope, she’ll just sit there and wait patiently until Mommy is done and able to throw the stick! The lesson…Be patient young grasshopper!

Always Be Aware Of What’s Going On

Sweetness Is Alert

Sweetness is the most alert puppy I’ve ever seen. She definitely knows her surroundings. This is a lesson that we can definitely tie to finance. After all, financial stability involves knowing about, improving, and maintaining good credit scores, as well as being aware of and paying down debts. To say it simply, awareness plays a huge role in financial stability!

It’s OK To Relax Sometimes

Sweetness Relaxing

As a blog owner, I rarely find time to wind down. With all the fetching Sweetness is responsible for, she has the same problem. However, she always seems to be able to eventually find the time sit lay on the hammock and relax! The lesson here…all work and no play is a recipe for disaster!

It’s Possible To Be Comfortable No Matter Where You Are

Sweetness Sleepy

In life, we find ourselves in pretty uncomfortable positions from time to time. However, if we step back and really think about the basic things that can make us comfortable, it’s possible to be comfortable no matter where you are. Just look at Sweetness…she’s perfectly comfortable using my shoes as a pillow! The lesson here…comfort is in the eyes of the beholder!

Reader Question

Do you have any pets? If so, have you learned anything about life or money from them?

Great Posts From Around The Blogosphere

I Heart Baby Veg: An Ode To Gardening – Holly at Club Thrifty shared an update on her garden today…she also figured out where the mysterious pumpkins were coming from!

Creating A Positive Mental Attitude: 3 Ways To Save – If you’re having a hard time getting your savings account funded, I would definitely suggest reading this awesome piece at Money Smart Guides!

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Wrecked Lambo Wolf of Walstreet

Vehicle maintenance is important. While it does cost money, and isn’t always in the budget, ignoring it causes even more problems. Vehicle owners should keep track of when regular maintenance needs to be done on their vehicles so that budgeting for them to be completed on time is possible.

Regular Maintenance Uncovers Potentially Major Problems

When items such as tune-ups and oil changes are ignored, it can lead to major problems occurring with your vehicle. Misfiring spark plugs and spark plug wires are known to cause stalling or the inability to even start the car when they are not changed regularly. It will also cause the vehicle to run improperly, making more systems such as the fuel system, sensors and other major systems inefficient.

Oil changes are important, even if they are performed at a less respected facility. Clean oil and clean oil filters help the engine to remain lubricated to run properly. It also helps to maintain proper fuel efficiency.

General maintenance also includes checking all of your vehicle’s fluid levels monthly. Letting any fluids run low such as transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid or antifreeze leaves those systems struggling and working harder to perform their job. If fluids, such as oil, coolant or transmission fluid, run completely dry, your engine can seize up and is essentially ruined. Once an engine seizes up, it is nearly impossible to repair it to working order again and total engine replacement is required.

Pay Attention for Warning Signs

Vehicles will give warning signs, in most cases, when one or more of its systems are going haywire. Some automotive parts stores have mechanisms to run a quick diagnostic test at no charge that will tell you what is wrong with the vehicle. It is important that you get these items fixed as quickly as possible to prevent further damage from occurring.

Common warning signs to listen/feel for:

  • Engine revving or sounding sluggish when shifting
  • Hesitation upon acceleration
  • Overheating

These main warning signs let you know that your vehicle needs immediate attention.

Most major vehicle repair or vehicle maintenance shops offer special promotions. Sign up for email clubs and keep coupons that arrive in junk mail or newspapers. Saving even a small percentage on the maintenance helps tremendously. A properly maintained vehicle has less major breakdowns, thus saving you money on costly repairs. It also adds longevity to the vehicle’s lifespan and remains as a dependable mode of transportation.

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If you’re a follower of CNA Finance, you already know this by now…Anyway, every morning, I start the day off by jumping around the blogosphere and reading posts from my fellow PF bloggers. It’s actually my favorite part of the day; if I’m not careful, I could easily blow through half of my day reading. Anyway, in my morning reading yesterday I came across a post that I would have to say has been my favorite post this week. What’s the post?

News Flash: Giving Up Will NOT Help You Find A Job at Club Thrifty! As a matter of fact, you may have noticed it in the “Great Posts From Around The Blogosphere” section in my post yesterday about Sweetness. In the post, Holly explained that she wrote a stellar piece that was picked up by major sites like Yahoo! Small Business. She went on to explain that a ridiculous percentage of adults without jobs have given up on their search; and talked about some of the comments she received on the post. For instance, this one really got my attention…

“Adjust their (our) expectations? So I take a #$%$ part time retail job where the employer expects me to be on call 24/7 if they need me to come in, making it hard to schedule other job interviews (assuming I get one), or go to school to better myself, and then I get pigeonholed as someone who has no experience whatsoever, making it even harder to find a better job? No wonder so many people, like me, have pretty much given up on finding a decent job (you know, one where the employer respects your contributions and the work and the total job experience isn’t completely degrading).”

-Erik

My Pity Party Sense Is Tingling!

It really is unfortunate that a staggering amount of people feel this way. So, today, I’m going to break this comment down into parts, tell you what I think about it overall, and let you in on some things you can do when you start diving into a pool of self pity.

Breaking Down Erik’s Comment About Finding A Job

Adjust their (our) expectations? So I take a #$%$ part time retail job where the employer expects me to be on call 24/7 if they need me to come in, making it hard to schedule other job interviews (assuming I get one)…

Absolutely! I’ve had to work in the middle of the night for minimum wage in the past. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely hated my job, I didn’t feel like I made any money once I paid bills, and at times I felt like a monkey could do that menial tasks I was told to do; but you know what? Somehow the bills got paid! Any spare second I had, I found myself looking for other ways to make money. Eventually other openings came, and life just continued to get better. So yes, I agree with Holly, you may want to adjust your expectations.

or go to school to better myself, and then I get pigeonholed as someone who has no experience whatsoever, making it even harder to find a better job?…

Really? Pigeonholed? I know it can be hard to find a job with no experience, but everyone either has to do that or live off of government subsidies for the rest of their lives. By furthering your education, when you do start your career, you’ve got the upper hand on your competition. As a business owner…I’d much rather hire an educated prospect than someone without a degree.

No wonder so many people, like me, have pretty much given up on finding a decent job (you know, one where the employer respects your contributions and the work and the total job experience isn’t completely degrading).

This is the part that really gets me…you’ve pretty much given up. Giving up doesn’t mean that you were defeated. It means that you gave in, that you don’t have the drive, the desire, the determination to make something of yourself. No matter where you are, or what your skills are, there are jobs out there for you. Sometimes you have to start at the bottom rung, work your way to the top; and do it all only to be kicked back down. It’s hard, but you know what, if you work hard enough and keep a positive attitude; eventually you’ll find yourself in a great, stable position.

What Have We Come To?

We are citizens of the United States of America. We are blessed to live in a country known as the land of opportunity! You know, the land where people leave their families, risk their lives, and risk their freedom to live on in the hopes of living the American Dream! We’re not the type of citizens that stay down when we’re knocked down no matter how many times it happens. We’re not the type of people that roll up into a ball and hope that all of our problems will end; and the world will be given to us on a silver platter! No, we’re the type of people that find opportunity. When we can’t find low hanging fruit, we climb the tree…heck, sometimes we climb the tree just to prove we can! We are strong, we are proud, and most of all, unlike many of our fellow human beings, we have the opportunity to make something of ourselves. So, if you ever find yourself in the midst of a pity party again, stiffen up your upper lip, dry your tears, and remind yourself that here in the United States, the only thing holding you back is you!

Photo Credit

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Sweetness Swimming

As most of you already know, I’m a 26 year young guy looking to start a family. Ana and I are working on our wedding fund and planning for babies after we get married. It’s incredibly exciting to say the least. One thing that we’ve wanted since we moved in together about 3 years ago was to get a puppy.

We Finally Decided To Get A Puppy

About 6 months ago, we finally found ourselves in a position where we would be comfortable with puppy mother and fatherhood. Our search for a puppy started at the pound; where we found beautiful little border collie, husky puppies. Unfortunately huskies are known as a dangerous breed and our apartment at the time didn’t allow this breed. I almost cried as I watched the tears roll down Ana’s face. It just wasn’t fair! We spent a few hours getting to know this puppy, had the money and the time needed to be good puppy parents, and were told we couldn’t have our new baby! I’ve honestly never seen Ana so upset.

The Search Was On

On the way home from the pound, I made a promise to Ana. We would find a puppy that would be just as sweet, cuddly, and adorable as our puppy that got away; no matter what. So, I went on the hunt. A few days later, we found ourselves driving 3 and a half hours to get a baby border collie from the breeder. On the way home we were so worried because our new puppy (Sweetness Honey Rodriguez) was drooling excessively. Of course, we called the breeder and found out that it was nothing more than puppy car sickness and Sweetness would be fine.

Our Lives As Puppy Parents

A lot has changed in our lives since the day we decided to get a puppy. We bring Sweetness almost everywhere we go. When we leave for extended periods to a place she can’t come, we have to really weigh the options; and sometimes, we decide to stay home with our baby. One thing we really didn’t think about when we got Sweetness was the money that it costs to raise a puppy. So, today, I’m going to share with you some of the costs that you’ll have to be prepared for should you decide to get a puppy. Preparation definitely would have helped in our case. Anyway, lets get right to it…

Cost To Consider When Thinking About Puppy Parenthood

Food – Food is one of the biggest expenses in any household. It’s also one of the biggest expenses we experience as puppy parents. You see, Sweetness doesn’t have your average eat anything in sight type of dog stomach. Nope, her stomach is picky. If we get her the cheap $20 for 40 pounds of food dog food, she gets sick…and we can’t have her getting sick. So, instead we pay $53 for 20 pounds of her food. It’s made of the finest ingredients and keeps her happy and healthy. She also goes through that in about a week, so if all she needed was food, we’d be just over $200 to own our puppy.

Comfort – In my opinion, dogs are family members too, and they have just as much of a right to have a comfortable place to sleep as I do. The only problem is, Sweetness likes to eat her beds. We started out with a nice puppy bed from PetSmart; that was gone in a week. Eventually we reverted to giving her pillows. They’re cheap, and the funny thing is, she doesn’t chew them up…again, Sweetness has expensive taste!

Toys, Toys, Toys – Because Sweetness is a border collie, she’s incredibly active. She was bread to herd cattle; and she loves to run! So, we have to keep her busy or she gets a bit ornery.  Although we have a back yard, if there’s no toys for her to play with, she’ll make her own. You know, by digging the roots of trees out of the ground and chewing on them….not a good thing! Anyway, we’ve learned that like any other kid, Sweetness needs her fair share of toys.

Sweetness After ChewingFurniture – Nope, I’m not talking about doggy furniture, we’ve already covered that. I’m talking about people furniture, and shoes, and anything else the puppy can reach. You know, before we got a puppy, I heard about them chewing, but thought it was easily manageable. Well, there I went thinking again…I was wrong. As a matter of fact, yesterday we left the house for about 5 minutes to go to the local corner store. When we got back, my beautiful leather ottoman was damaged beyond recognition. Although this is the first time a piece of furniture has been destroyed beyond repair, and it’s the first time she’s chewed in a while (We’ve been doing extensive training.) it was incredibly upsetting to come home to. At this point, I’d say Sweetness has eaten at least $500 in non-food items around the house.

Training – Luckily for me, I have a buddy that’s incredibly good at training dogs, and he’s given me tons of pointers. As a matter of fact, at 6 months, Sweetness was already sitting, giving paw, and rolling over! Teach em young…they’ll know the tricks forever! Anyway, if I didn’t have a friend that knew dogs so well, training would have been crazy expensive. We’ve seen plans ranging from $150 a month to $300 per month. However, it would have been worth it if we needed it.

Medical – Dogs get sick too, and when they do, they need to see a doctor. You can go about medical in 2 ways. Either you can get insurance, or you can just pay for the vet visits. I’ve set aside money for vet visits and will replenish the funds as needed. However, if you don’t have at least a thousand dollars laying around for the next vet bill, you may want to consider insurance. Although, a thousand dollar vet bill is rare, it’s important to be prepared for everything!

Final Thoughts

Sweetness is one heck of a dog. She’s expensive, she’s hyper, and most of all she’s sweet! No matter what it costs to raise her, we love our puppy and wouldn’t trade her for the world. Although, we would have liked to have been more prepared for the expenses of owning a puppy, we’ve done pretty well so far. Nonetheless, if you’re considering puppy parenthood, we’ve learned that it’s important to consider your finances as well! Thanks for reading everyone!

Great Posts From Around The Blogosphere

How To Make A Career Change – Natalie, one of our PF MVP nominees for this week writes yet another awesome post. Learn a great strategy for making a career change here!

More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About The Frugal Woods Family – I’m getting more and more into the Frugal Woods blog. Learn more about the family behind the blog in this post!

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Hamas Attack

Hey everyone, today’s post is going to be a bit different than what you’ve come to expect from me and CNA Finance as a whole. However, I think that it’s something that really needs to be talked about at the very least. So, here goes nothing…

My Client/Friend Is In Danger

As a freelance writer, many of my freelancer/client relationships evolve into friendships. In this case, I’ve got a client living in Israel that over the past month or so has really started to become my friend. We talk just about every day via Skype and for the most part the conversations are get to know you conversations more than get this done conversations. Anyway, I was trying to chat with my buddy yesterday, but I wasn’t getting a response. So, I naturally asked…”Are you around?”.

After not getting a response for a while, I thought everything was fine. With the time difference, maybe he just called it an early night. Then I heard the Skype sound and read a message I would have never expected. Here’s how the beginning of the conversation went.

My friend – things are hectic in Israel now

My friend – chance for a war

Me – I’m sorry to hear that.

Me – It’s been getting worse over there, I’ve been watching the news…

Me – Is everything OK with you and your family

My friend – Yes.. thank you

My friend – Not sure if i get drafted or not

The conversation went on sporadically for quite a while when he had a moment to respond. Through our conversation, I learned that like many others, I was absolutely oblivious to what is actually going on. So, I asked my friend if we could do an interview and I could share with you the story from inside the danger zone. Although he personally couldn’t answer the questions for me, he had his friend (An American citizen by the way) answer them for me.

Before I publish the answers, it’s important that you know grammar and punctuation isn’t perfect. The person I had the pleasure of interviewing was both working his day job, and under fire at the time of the interview. So, I’m happy to excuse the errors. However, I don’t want to skew the overall picture, so I will not change anything in his answers…

My Interview With Avishai Is Coming Up Right After This Video

What started the conflict and when?

The majority will say that the conflict started since the independence of Israel in 1948, Hamas has declared that their sole mission is to demolish the state of Israel. The rocket fire by Hamas has reached the international news and media channels just a couple of years ago. Hamas has been around since 87′ and they have multiple times attacked us with suicide boobmers and shooting incidents. In June 2007 Hamas took by force complete control of Gaza strip and then the rocket fire really started becoming permanent problem affecting 3.5 million Israelis who have to live underground because of the terror. This week what started the conflict was the killing of 3 Israeli boys who were kidnapped and brutally murdered by Hamas militants.

Who is Hamas? Are they as strong as ISIS?

Hamas are one of the two main factions in Palestine, Fatah is the opposing party which is considered more moderate and they control the west bank. Hamas are known for using lethal force against their own people and they took Gaza by force. The organization is categorized by the United States, Europe and even by Egypt and Jordan as a Terrorist organization. The majority of their funding trails back to the Republic of Iran which supplies them with weapons and military training as well. If you compare them to ISIS I can tell you that without a doubt they are much more organized and stronger than ISIS, they are at least double in Military size personal and they have much more advanced weapons and units which include their underground military brigade that fights in tunnels and a navel commando unit. In the bottom line Hamas can teach ISIS a thing or two about organized terror.

How has the conflict affected your life?

It has affected mostly my work life, I work at imonomy an in-image advertising startup that works with international companies all over the world. Our office is in the middle of Ramat Gan and it’s challenging to work when sirens go on and off. In a moments notice we need to run to the safe room, I am constantly distracted by the thoughts of what might happen next. I do my best under the circumstances to keep focused and although the situation isn’t normal I am managing with a lot of effort to keep a normal lifestyle while staying alert at all times.

What are your fears about being drafted?(Question originally to my friend, an Israel citizen)

I am a advocacy volunteer so I an not in danger of being drafted, but my fiance who is a Military Hummer driver has already been called urgently to the front lines so I am afraid for her. Around 60% of Israels army are reserves and they are all in jeopardy of having to leave their families behind to go and stop the terror.

Do you live in fear of what may happen from day to day as a result of the terrorism?

Yes, Hamas is known for their specialization in blowing up buses and firing rockets at Israels civilian population, innocent people all around including me have to pray that we will manage to make it today from point A to point B.

Have you ever witnessed any displays of brutality as a result of the conflict?

When I was young I found myself 300 feet away from a suicide bomber, that was carried out by the The al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades a group with similar ambitions to ones Hamas have.

As an Israeli, and US Citizen, what would you like to see the United States do to help your people?

No It’s not a US fight, I only want symbolic support and zero criticism because Israel is only defending itself, no nation would accept having an Al Qaeda equivalent in their back yard. Would you be willing to live under a constant threat of rockets? The US called all it’s allies to fight half way across world in Iraq and Afghanistan, we never call for help because Israel has always been and will always be alone in the fight against terror on it’s boarders. If I could request from the US government one thing it would be this: Stop Iran, there are talks going on that can lead to a much more worse outcome and that is a Nuclear Iran.

— I would be happy to supply images of our safe room — (I’ll share them with you when I receive them)

Avishai Sam Bitton is an American living in Israel, he is the VP of Marketing at imonomy and a Volunteering Manager in the IDC Herzliya situation room which runs the Israel Under Fire Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Photo Credit

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Sunset

One of my good blogging friends, Jeremy from Modest Money informed me of a great list of videos J.P. Morgan put together about home buying. Some day soon, I may be in the market to buy a house (possibly the house Ana and I are renting right now) and I found most of the videos to be incredibly helpful. Although I already knew quite a bit about interest, it was pretty neat to learn exactly what sets a mortgage aside from other loans. So, I figured I’d share. I’ll keep the writing short today because I’m incredibly busy, but I hope you enjoy the videos; by the way, just refresh the screen and a new video will load…pretty cool huh!

Great Posts From Around The Blogosphere

How I Save 85% Of My Income – This is an awesome post by Will at First Quarter Finance where he explains how he saves a ridiculous amount of his income. I bet he’ll never go broke!

Financial Independence Is NOT Like Going On A Diet – In this post, the FI Pilgrim explains the difference between financial independence and binge dieting as well as his plans to cut the binge dieting out of his life!

Thought Leader Discussions

Gevo, Inc. GEVO Stock News

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Gevo, Inc. (NASDAQ: GEVO) Before we get into this interview, I'd like to extend a special thanks to my friend Joey who both set up the...