• Posts Tagged ‘about’

    Financial Doppelganger

    by  • May 25, 2010 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments


    original photo: Photos8.com, modified in compliance with its Creative Commons License

    On last night’s season finale of How I Met Your Mother, we’re reminded that almost all of the gang has seen his or her corresponsing doppelganger roaming the streets of New York, except for one (Barney, of course, for all of the HIMYM fans out there, HOLLA).

    Anywho, at the end of the episode Ted compares the Robin of today with the Robin of 5 years ago. He says that the Robin of the past was great, but her doppelganger, the Robin of today, is AMAZING.

    That got me to thinking: As my doppelganger from 5 years ago, how have I changed financially?

    I think that the me of 5 years ago would be shocked at the current me. Not only because I’ve kept my boyish good looks, but because of all of the financial obstacles that Her and I have overcome. The me of 5 years ago had little financial knowledge, and had even less knowledge about our financial situation back then. I don’t know if the me of 5 years ago would even believe everything that has been accomplished.

    What about you? What would the you 5 years ago think about their doppelganger of today?

    (yes, this post doesn’t exemplify the best use of the word "doppelganger", but just run with it, ok?)

    Meet Stacy, Our new Writer

    by  • May 5, 2010 • Tagged:   • Comments


    photo: dark.molly

    Hey kids! The biggest change we have for this blog is the addition of a new writer, Stacy. You may know her from her blog Birds and Bills, where she writes about…

    …wait for it….

    …personal finance!

    If you haven’t read her blog, I suggest you do so. She is the CNNMoney.com’s small business editor, so I think that she may know what she’s talking about when it comes to money. Just a hunch.

    She is also another urban dweller, a resident of New York, the city that wishes it were Chicago. Or is it the other way around?

    Anyway, she’ll have a post once a week here at least for the next two months. You can read more about her in our about page. I look forward to her contributions.

    Welcome, Stacy!

    Checking In

    by  • February 11, 2010 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments

    Uh, hi.

    It’s been over 9 months since I’ve last posted here.

    We’re bankrupt.

    Hahaha no we’re not.

    Much has happened since the last time I posted. I think we still have a positive net worth, but I need to add up the numbers to make sure. Who know how long that’ll take.

    We have not been totally silent on the financial front. We’ve been writing over at the Credit Union National Association blog for the past 3 years or so. Head on over there to read some of our stuff. Don’t blame me for the crappy navigation.

    Other than updating the magic net worth number, does anyone still have any interest in the financial events of our now married life?

    Let me know. It’s still not too late to resurrect this blog.

    Five Things, Happy Holidays!

    by  • December 22, 2006 • Tagged:   • Comments

    The nice people at We’re in Debt has tagged us to tell you five things about us that you don’t know. Without further ado, I’ll go first:

    1. I really, really like snow pants. However I do not own any.

    2. My garden gnome has traveled around the world and I have photos to prove it.

    3. I once had a boss exactly like Michael Scott on The Office. He loved to give high fives. High five? I don’t do that jive.

    4. All of my pets have people names.

    5. I once received a food dehydrator as a Christmas gift. I was ten years old.

    Now for five things from Him:

    1. He has injured following parts of his body: thumb (fracture), elbow (fracture and dislocated), ACL (torn ligament), foot (hairline fracture).

    2. He has eaten the following deep-fried foods: olives, Oreo, Twinkie

    3. He first went bowling at the age of 19.

    4. He made his first batch of smoked spare ribs this summer.

    5. The only food that Him really doesn’t like are pickles. Sometimes raisins.

    We hope you have enjoyed our collective things about us that you probably didn’t know. We’re not tagging anyone else because…well we think everyone’s been tagged. Meh.

    We’ll be taking the holiday weekend off from posting and will resume in the middle of next week.

    Happy Holidays everyone!

    Almost Seven Months of Making Love, Not Debt – A Retrosepective

    by  • June 26, 2006 • Tagged: , , , ,  • Comments

    It took a lot of badgering to get Her to buy my idea about starting a personal finance blog that deals with money and relationships. Her finally bought it, and on the first day of 2006, we wrote our first post. Ironically, the current majority of posts on this blog are written by Her.

    Back then, we were merely beginners in the game of personal finance. We erroneously included our non-wealth building life insurance as a part of our net worth, putting our net worth in the positive. When we realized the error, we truly realized how much work we have to do, not to mention how much we are in the negative.

    Since then, about seven months have passed. We’ve been steadily making our way into the positive net worth, but more importantly, we’re steadily getting out of debt. It is easy to see that from the numbers, though. Here’s a smattering of things we have also improved upon since we’ve started this blog:

    – The interest on my credit card debt now ranges from 0% (until April 2007, and will be paid off in September 2006) to 2.99%; a far cry from the 12.99% to 20.99% that I had. For all of our credit card debt, we’re paying 5% interest or below.
    – Her dropped the interest rates on her variable interest rate student loans by a few percentage points.
    – We’ve maximized the use of coupons.
    – We haven’t accrued any new debt. Anything that we put on a zero balance credit card is paid off ASAP, and only put on that credit card to reap the rewards. We’re still committed to not going into more debt for the wedding.
    – We have both received raises. (hmm, I realized that our income isn’t up on the site anymore…we’ll have to look into changing that)
    – We’ve planned to get out of all credit card debt by the time we get married.
    – I sold my car a few months before I started this blog. Now we only have one car that we seldom drive, saving us tons of money of insurance, maintenance, gas, and other automobile related expenses.
    – Most importantly, we’ve been able to manage our debt so that it is not a barrier to the things we like to do everyday. This past weekend we’ve enjoyed the first of three summer music festivals, Intonation Music Fest. We’re headed to Cirque Shanghai, Ravinia twice, and other Chicago Festivals this summer. By squeezing our budget on most days, we’ve figured out how to enjoy life and pay off debt. We’re only in our 20′s once, so we figure we’ll enjoy it while we’re living in a big city such as Chicago and can physically and mentally tackle everything. We figure that we’ll be out of debt by the time we have kids, and then we’ll have no time for all of the things that we’re doing today.

    We’ve been at this for seven months, and we’re exited to see our progress. We can’t wait to see what’s coming up.

    Make Love, Not Debt ver 2.0

    by  • May 21, 2006 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    If this isn’t your first time here, you’ve probably noticed that things look very different around here. If you’re still wondering, the answer is “redesign.” You onboard yet? Good. If this your first time here, we’d like to say “Welcome!” We’d like to especially welcome those who can from the Chicago Tribune article that featured Young and Broke, MyMoneyBlog, as well as us.

    Let us show you around the blog.

    Up on top in the header is your basic navigation. Get back to the homepage, cruise the archives, get in contact with us, or search the blog. Easy.

    On the right hand side of every page are “tags,” a fancy way of saying “categories.” They look funny because they’re in what is known as a tag cloud, with the larger tags containing more entries.

    In the right sidebar of the homepage, there is an aggregated listing of the latest 10 comments or trackbacks that have been posted on this blog. If you have been following comments in a certain article, be sure to look there first.

    Also in the sidebar is a place where you can subscribe to our blog. You can either subscribe to our RSS Feed (if you’re into that), or you can elect to receive an email notifying you when our site has been updated. Here’s more details on subscribing to our blog. Please, do subscribe before you leave.

    Last but not least in the homepage is the footer. There you can see our updated blogroll, featuring blogs and other websites we like to visit on a regular basis. Coming soon will be a listing of articles that we think are worthwhile to read, but not make a full entry on the blog about it. You’ll also find an ever growing listing of books that we have read and may have featured on this blog.

    Now on to actual content. Here are some tidbits about us, Her overview, and my overview. Read about our cheap sex, mistakes we’ve made, progress on our wedding plans, coupons coupons coupons, and how I’d spend money like I was never going to run out.

    So please join us on our financial journey. It’s going to be a hell of a ride.

    Welcome BusinessWeek Online Readers!

    by  • February 24, 2006 • Tagged:   • Comments

    Hello those coming from Business Week! We’re very flattered that we’ve been mentioned, given our relative youth in the PFBlog community. The mention was small, but totally surprised us! We hope to keep writing about our trials and tribulations with debt, money and each other.

    Before you leave, please subscribe to our RSS feed. It’s like PB&J that comes in your newsreader!

    Here are some articles that readers have liked, and will tell you a little more about us:

    How He got into this mess
    How She got into this mess
    Cheap Sex
    Our Net Worth (or should it be Our Net Worthlessness?)
    Our Engagement

    We’d also like for you to visit the other blogs mentioned in the article:

    MyMoneyBlog (who the article focuses on)
    My Open Wallet
    NYC Money
    Boston Gal’s Open Wallet
    Networth IQ
    My Open Wallet
    Savvy Saver

    And of course, if you’d like to keep track of EVERYTHING that goes on in the PFBlog community, visit pfblogs.org, who keep track of over 200 personal finance blogs.

    See everyone in the Caymans! (which we didn’t look at as Honeymooning spot before…)

    Welcome visitors!

    by  • January 22, 2006 • Tagged:   • Comments

    We’d like to thank JLP for making us blog of the week — we are very grateful and honored. We hope that you’ll stick around with us for the long-run, as we have many financial obstacles to overcome; both as individuals and as a couple. I mean, right now it is 11:53PM on a Saturday night, and we’re doing the most financially sound thing you can do in the city of Chicago: NOTHING.

    Before I forget, please subscribe to our feed.

    In the next few years, we hope to accomplish many goals. Here is a preview as to what’s in store:

    –Wedding, wedding, wedding! Frugal wedding? NO WAY. We’ll show you how we’ll keep shooting ourselves in the financial feet!

    –Debt, debt, debt! See how my Citicard’s grandfathered 20.99% interest rate will make me wake up in cold sweats and how my low credit rating that won’t allow me to get a better card!

    –Anecdotes, anecdotes, anecdotes! Statistics, who needs them? Follow our advice (of course, after reading our disclaimer) when we don’t know what we’re doing. Sounds good to me!

    –Humor, humor, humor! Are you sick of everyone posting about ING, HSBC, and Emigrant Direct? WE’RE GOING TO POST ABOUT THEM EVERY CHANCE WE GET. TWICE. Seriously, personal finance blogs can get a bit dry, so we’re going to try and spice things up a bit.

    So please, come for the Him and Her relationship finance banter. Stay for the pie.

    I owe how much?!

    by  • January 17, 2006 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    Since this is my first post, I’ll start at the beginning. As a freshman in college I got my first credit card, with a limit somewhere around $400. I remember my first purchase: A rocking chair. Yep, I took on debt to look geriatric at 18. It wasn’t the rocking chair that did me in; it was the rush of being able to buy anything I wanted without paying for it. Within a few months I had blown past the limit on the card and was completely unable to make the minimum payment with my $4.50/hour job. My parents bailed me out and I was hooked. I immediately began charging the card up again.

    Though I managed to always make my payments on time, I was steadily accumulating debt. I was paying for college completely on my own, so I would take out a student loan at the beginning of the semester, pay down some of my credit cards with the cash, and then spend the rest of the semester piling the debt back onto the cards. By the end of graduate school I had no idea how much I owed, but I felt confident with my new professional job and salary. I rewarded myself with a new pair of $500 high heels (a fact which I am now mortified to admit).

    Then it all came crashing down. My student loans came due. I would get my paycheck and sit down to pay bills, but my paycheck could no longer cover even half my monthly debt service. I was unable to sleep and petrified to tell anyone, especially my then-boyfriend. Finally I buckled under the stress and confessed everything, bawling my eyes out in the middle of the night. He gave me an ultimatum: get rid of the debt or we were through. We had been dating for 6 years and were deeply in love, but he knew I had a serious addiction. The threat of losing everything saved me.

    For the first time ever, he made me write down all my credit card balances and the corresponding interest rate. The amount was staggering: over $17,000 in credit card debt and about $140,000 in student loans. My interest rates weren’t too bad, due to my timely payments all those years and a low federal interest rate.

    I threw myself into debt reduction mode. I put all my credit cards into a box that my boyfriend hid. I wrote a list of all the people I was hurting with my debt on a piece of paper and put it in my wallet where my credit cards had been. I ranked my debts by interest rate and began paying off the highest card. I called my student loan companies and asked them to reduce the payments. I called the credit card companies and asked them to lower my interest rates. I quit spending money. And it was HARD. It went much deeper than being denied a few splurges at the mall. I had linked my self worth to my net worth, and with credit cards I had felt rich. Now I felt worthless and lost. I had to change every aspect of my life and it felt like I was losing everything. Thank God my boyfriend was there to support me. He helped me get through the really rough times and gradually helped me see more clearly what I had done.

    With the new lower payments, I was able to use the extra cash to pay off my highest rate store cards first. With each card paid off, more money was freed up to pay down the next card. Today, my credit card debt stands at $14,800. I have paid off 16 credit cards and have 5 remaining. I haven’t used a credit card to pay for anything in over a year. My student loans are down to $136,000. Every month when we pay bills we record our current debt on a spreadsheet in Excel and track our debt reduction with a graph. It feels great. But the real reward came this Christmas, when my boyfriend showed he trusts me again by asking me to marry him. As for the ring? We saved for months, he paid cash, and it’s beautiful.

    My financial history

    by  • January 9, 2006 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    We’d like to provide a frame of reference when it comes to writing about our financial troubles, so I’m going to start with how I got into a large financial hole. She will follow up soon.

    When I was in high school, I got my first job when I was 15, a cashier at the local neighborhood McDonald’s. I met a lot cool people there, and learned how to have a strong work ethic. A eventually quit that job, and worked at a Turtle Wax car wash center. That was a great job because I got paid mostly in tips. The harder I worked, the more money I received. Don’t you wish that’s how all jobs were?

    I didn’t have a problem with money in high school. I got good grades, worked, and never asked for money from my parents. I was a pretty cocky teenager, but I didn’t have any debt. Then came the college years.

    Freshman year went by with me swatting away all of the credit card offers that came with free T-shirts, frisbees, etc. I had a debt card from my parents, and I was to withdraw between $20-$40 every week. During those years, I was frequently reprimanded for taking money out of an ATM that wasn’t from our bank, thus incurring a fee. My parents didn’t like (and still don’t) giving away money to banks. Hey, it isn’t my fault, by bank’s ATM was in the student Union, not near any of the cool restaurants or bars.

    I got my first credit card when I was 19. I still have it – a University MBNA card, with a $2,000 balance! My room in my fraternity house was empty, I didn’t have many cool clothes, so I bought stuff. A lot of stuff. I maxed out that credit card pretty quickly. That started the waterfall of credit cards; not just Visa’s, MasterCard’s, but store cards. I needed to look good. After all, that’s how I met my fiancĂ©e. Structure (now Express Men) was my weakness. Items that I put on the credit cards included many hung-over meals, beer, a home entertainment center, beer, clothes that I couldn’t afford on my store cards, beer, and many gag gifts for holiday presents. By the time I graduated with my bachelor’s, I racked up about $5,000 in credit card debt.

    Luckily for me, they don’t check your FICO score when you apply for grad school, so I got in. At the time, I think it was a dismal under-600. Since I was in grad school, most of my friends in undergrad had moved on, so the incessant partying and trying to fit in stopped. I wanted to mature, intellectually, emotionally, and financially. My program provided me with a $19,500 stipend per year – payable monthly. I had to learn how to budget very quickly.

    At that time I had six credit cards that I was only making the minimum monthly payments on. Figuring out how to balance those payments, rent, food, and other necessities on a once a month paycheck was to be a challenge. The interest on my credit cards ranged from 12%-21%, so I decided to go down to my credit union to see if they could offer me a personal loan for the amount of my credit card balances for a lower average interest rate. To my surprise, that is exactly what they did. So I paid off the credit cards, and had a low monthly payment that was automatically deducted from my pay so I wouldn’t even notice it was gone.

    Until I charged up the cards again. On what? A $200 remote control? Yep. Food? Yep. More beer? Sometimes. An interview suit? Yes.

    By the time I got my Master’s I had paid off the loan, but was back at square one, with about $5K in credit card debt. I ended up getting a pretty good job in Chicago, and I was determined to pay off all of my credit card debt once and for all! I still needed to make better decisions, and that meant that I was to stop using my credit cards for good.

    A year has passed since I finished up my Master’s, and since then I have used a credit card once – in an emergency when my car broke down. While they still aren’t all paid off, I have managed to drastically reduce the amount I owe. I even bought her engagement ring with cash.

    Not only do I have to deal with my financial demons from the past, but now so does she. Hopefully, we can overcome all of this and one day look back, and laugh. At least a little.

    A new beginning

    by  • January 2, 2006 • Tagged:   • Comments

    This morning we woke up with bad hangovers – a reminder of our debauchery to celebrate the New Year. The total cost of the night was $170: $150 for two tickets to a nice Chicago bar, and $20 for cab rides to and from said bar. If you count the $20 breakfast at IHOP this morning to ease the hangover, then the total cost of the night was $190.

    The kicker? We now have $60 in our checking account. To last us until Friday.

    We are Him and Her — a recently engaged couple living and working in Chicago. We are two of Suze Orman’s Young, Fabulous, and Broke. Don’t let our positive net worth fool you: much of that is tied up as life insurance and personal property. We have a mountain of debt that we’re trying to overcome, and now we’re trying to plan a wedding.

    This is the second incarnation of this blog. We tried to start this a few months ago, but decided to put it on hiatus for a while. Join us this time around as we learn, as a couple, how to take control of our financial lives.