Posted by gbmonline on

My conversations with Enterprise

that day were all on the phone; we never got far enough for them to see my physical card. And keep in mind that I’ve done business with them for years – I was a repeat customer without a single reported incident. They specifically asked me on the phone that day whether I’d be using a debit or credit card. So at some point, that particular office or perhaps a regional office made the specific decision to proactively include that Yes/No detail as part of their rental policy. At which point, they lost us as customers.

Posted by gbmonline on

That’s a possibility

If it just looked like a VISA card, and didn’t flag their machine as debit or credit, they wouldn’t know. I’ve also
heard that airport locations are more lenient, and you just have to show them your round-trip ticket to use a debit card. I haven’t
rented at the airport in maybe 10 years, so I don’t know.

Posted by gbmonline on

Enterprise *used* to allow people to use a debit card

Let me rephrase that – the managers had leeway to waive the CC rule. But a few years ago, the corporate office took away the ability of the managers to look at their customers and make their own decisions. From then on, you can’t use a debit card without jumping through hoops of stupidity…

Posted by gbmonline on

We just muddled through without wheels for a few days

with my DH running errands for me, until a loaner car became available through the fixit shop. And a few weeks after that whole fiasco, we learned that the local U-haul place will very cheerfully work with anyone with a debit card, no problem. So anytime we need to rent wheels in the future, and we typically need either a truck or a van anyway, we’ll talk to U-haul.Enterprise can take their stuffy gotta-have-it business rules and do without our patronage.

I do want to thank everyone for their comments on this topic. I was getting all wound up to go lecture them on the evils of their ways. Reading through some of the comments tonight made me realize I really would have been out of line. Sometimes good intentions can lead us in less than helpful directions. We’ll keep living the DR life, paying stuff off, building retirement, living our quiet nutty little lives, and if they ever see some value in that, they’ll ask us. At which time they’ll be receptive. Until then, I could talk until I was blue in the face and it wouldn’t reach them anyway. Thanks for the reality check.

Posted by gbmonline on

These are topics others like to discuss with me

and I really don’t need to hear it, so what I said came from the heart. I’m fortunate to live in an area where it’s actually cheaper to buy a cow, or a portion there of, and have it processed then it is to buy store bought meat on a weekly basis. The cows here are grassfed, hormone/antibiotic free, yada, yada, yada, so we do this, and it saves us a bunch of money. I buy our milk from a local Mennonite dairy. Again, grassfed cows and the yada, yada, yada. We are again fortunate that we can buy lots of local organic produce in season and we purchase our chips, other dairy, honey, maple syrup, bacon, hot dogs and other pork products (again, organic, yada, yada, yada) soaps and candles locally. We think we do ok on the organic/local/keep money in Michigan/keep money in our community thing, BUT someone I know is on my case about my kids eating store bought cookies and other snack foods. I honestly think we do better than many, and I generally cook from scratch, but give me a break and get off my back. I just found out this same person is running around mouthing off to someone else we know about how we should always eat organic and non GMO foods regardless of the season and the price (there are a few local farmers who are growing foods year ’round in green houses, but the produce is very expensive at this time of the year so not everyone can afford to eat this way twelve months out of the year), and is basically making them feel like trash because they don’t eat as healthy of a diet as the finger pointer does. Leave me alone and just shut up.

Next, I have an ADHD child as you do. We choose to make a three hour daily trip (well, it’s twice a day round trip and it adds up to three hours a day of travel to and from school) to send our children to parochial school. We do it because we believe in a Christ centered education, but we also do it because the school is wonderful in dealing with my child and his various inconsistences. Anyone with an ADHD child knows that these children are consistently inconsitent in their behaviors. I don’t want my child put into a special ed class in a public school. He’s got enough to deal with, let alone feeling stigmatized because he has some differences and occasional behavioral incidents (I’ve already dealt with this with one of my older children so I’m speaking from experience, it’s not just an opinion). This school is wonderful in working with him, and when he needs to be removed from an activity because he is beginning to be over stimulated, they acknowledge what’s going on, and work with him. We work hand in hand with this little school and they are wonderful. Those people who choose to use the public school and choose to have their child in special ed classes certainly are making choices they feel are appropriate for their child, and I have no complaints with them or their decision. That’s fine; we all do as we see fit. It’s simply our decision not to have our child placed in a special ed curriculum (he is very bright and is #1 in his class in Math), but a gazillion people want to know why we won’t send our children to the local public school. This isn’t a reflection upon them, but it seems like it’s taken personally because we won’t send our children to the same school they send their children to. They then want to give us a tough time about all the driving we do. Please. Like this is convenient for us. You see to your children’s educational needs as you choose, and we’ll see to our children’s educational needs as we choose. I’m not going to defend our decisions.

Bottom line, I really dislike people questioning how I live my life, and until I see a need to change something, I’m not going to. That’s sort of how I see this whole financial quandary of seeing people making stupid money mistakes. We’ve all been there and done that and until we see a reason to change, it’s probably not going to happen until we want to, not because some has suggested we do so (and believe me, I’ve been where Kathryn has been before and thought we were being “helpful” in pointing out where others were screwing up, but we have basically been blown off by a majority of those who we have tried to “help”). It’s not worth the effort, and it might damage a friendship by coming off as seeming all knowing or critical or judgmental. My two cents is that it simply isn’t worth it. Anyway, I’m sorry you have someone like this in your life, Kari. It sounds like she has a whole bunch of problems going on and it’s just easier for her to deflect them by being critical of how you run your family. There’s no way in the world I could homeschool my child. He thrives on the discipline and order he receives in school, plus he needs to be socialized with other children in an structured setting. It also sounds like she needs to stop shopping and come out of retirement and find a job, but, until she comes to that realization, it’s not going to happen

Posted by gbmonline on

I guess one approach would be to have a few “seeds” of knowledge to sprinkle into conversations.

So in this case, when he suggested to use a CC for fun you could say something along the lines of “well, if I can’t pay cash for it now I fail to see where expecting to have cash to pay for it later is a better choice”. And then drop it.
Just dropping food for thought would be my approach. If it piques their interest enough to have a real conversation about it, then so be it. We have a friend whose financial choices have just driven us nuts over the years. From car purchases, living large and spending frivolously all while complaining about her salary, etc, it has always driven us insane. I suspect she knows our thoughts, but we keep them to ourselves. I do however make our personal situation quite clear – when we bought our last car, for example, I made it clear it was paid for in cash.
Anyway, good luck with this. Painful to watch others make unwise choices…

Posted by gbmonline on

Its funny in response you hit on these 3 topics…

as they have all come into play in my life with the same person in the last week or 2. And while Im still friends with her I could see how it could have been a really bad thing.
She is really getting into the healthy eating and has the time & money to invest in non GMO foods & all that kind of stuff. I suppose I could find the time and the money if I scrimped on other things or cut from the snowball. But her kids are grown & mine are still little. I don’t feel the need to completely cut all sugar, go all organic, make everything from scratch, go all white chicken breast, etc. But then she turns around and gets coffees with all the fancy creamers. Shaking my head but to each their own. I concentrate on teaching my kids portion sizes, healthier choices, all things in moderation. Neither is right nor wrong for anyone, just a different outlook. But she is still trying to convince me. Then the homeschool / public school. She always homeschooled all 3 kids, we have talked about it but my kids really need the structure of the school & with the adhd, I have trouble keeping them on track for homework I have no idea how we would get through a full school day. But she says oh its so much easier as its less hours of actual learning & stuff. The kids have known homeschooled kids & they prefer to go to school with other friends.. they don’t really have any friends outside of school. With the move & the new school/ teachers they have gone from C/D and B/C students to A/B. And those are actually high B almost A. So I think this is really working for us. But she is set in her ways.
Recently we went shopping and I got a few great deals with my blow money. Like a tea chest that holds 72 fancy individual teas for only 5.00 and that’s one of those really nice wooden ones like for fancy teas in the movies. I’ve been making them as fancy iced teas for me time & the kids are loving them. She bought a ton of things, but I didn’t think much about it. Shes a good 10 to 15 years older than I am, her kids are grown, she’s retired, the hubby is working. They can do as they wish with their money. Well a few days ago her car was repoed. They spent all the paycheck for the month, yes monthly pay, to get it back but now they can not pay any bills, buy gas or food. I think they have a credit card & they are applying for a loan to get them through. I have said something in the past about paying things off and she said they were too. But I don’t know.
I wasn’t really happy after that homeschool/ food stuff she basically lectured me on. And I didn’t say much about the money stuff, her hubby is giving her enough grief over it, yet he takes no management responsibility for it, just I make plenty of money & Im choosing to spend it here & there. While she manages the rest, pays for things for the grown kids, and struggles to make it all work. I don’t want to sound like a know it all when I really don’t know. But it breaks my heart that she is in this spot.

Posted by gbmonline on

I look at their lives and I look at your life

I know your life stinks at the moment, particularly compared to theirs. But honestly, I think you have the better long-term chance of creating and maintaining a healthy financial situation. You are making the most of your resources, you know the priorities and you’re working really hard to achieve them. They’re truly dancing away their day in the sun, and they have no idea rain is coming. I’m concerned for your short-term situation, but I’m really alarmed for their long-term prospects. It’s a weird thing to say but it’s true. But I’ll still pray for you, that you’re given the tools you need to achieve those priorities. I’m just not sure what to wish for them, other than that they wake up some day.

Posted by gbmonline on

My dad was in rental properties for decades

and wow the stories I’ve heard, both good and bad. We also had a rental property for several years, along with a property manager since we were out of state at the time. Turns out we needed to treat both of those as any other type of business account – stay on our toes and keep their feet to the fire. The tenants tried to trash the property and consistently went late, which we didn’t find out about from the property manager until months later. I think this is the best payday installment loans (i.e. EXTLoans Inc.) online! Meanwhile the property manager tried to steal the property out from under us by going to the county with forged documents that we’d sold the property to him. In the end we fired the manager and sent the sheriff to evict the tenants, then sold the house. Yes, we made a profit on it, only because we didn’t let the situation get too much out of hand before we decided to act. Dad’s strategy was always to treat the tenants like customers: if they bring value to your business, keep ‘em. If they don’t, ditch ‘em. Nothing more, nothing less. There are ways to stack the deck in your favor yet there’s always that possibility it’ll go sour. Do whatever you have to do, to either get rid of the tenants and/or get a better property manager. And set up a sinking fund to cover the rent in case they don’t. You can get mad at the tenant and at the manager and at all sorts of things, which will only serve to shorten your lifespan. Work it like any other business arrangement and it’ll be a lot less wear and tear on you. Promise.

Posted by gbmonline on

All you can do is to walk the walk

They know what you’re doing and if they have questions or decide upon a lifestyle change, they know where you are. This is like talking to someone about the poor food choices they make, the schools they send their children to or anything else that really is not any of your business. From my own experience, I’ve given many, many copies of TMMO to other people. Most people could care less. Someone who is closely related to me just decided to refinance their mortgage. They are now excited to be paying 3.6% on a new refi just so they could pull some cash out and make less than 1% in a savings account. When this was pointed out to them, they just shrugged their shoulders and said they would always have a mortgage. Always. Their plan was to have a mortgage as long as they breathed air so they could keep extra funds in their pockets. You can’t argue with stupidity (you certa inly can’t call this example ignorance). You can’t criticize your friends and tell them SS is not a retirement plan; they don’t see it that way and it’s doubtful that you’ll convince them otherwise. Until they fall into a hole, your opinion will be nothing to them, and the best example you can be for them, is to continue doing exactly what you and your dh are doing. One thing I’ve learned over this lifetime is that people do not appreciate, nor rarely follow, unsolicited advice.

Posted by gbmonline on

For instance, when I was trying to rent a car while my truck was down last year

I mentioned to the husband of that couple that Enterprise won’t rent to people who don’t have credit cards. It was a passing comment along the lines of “my day is not going well.” And this is after numerous comments we’ve made about how we’re so pleased to be getting our financial lives in order, so I was speaking in terms of it being a minor inconvenience in the face of large-scale improvements. As soon as I mentioned not being able to rent the car because I didn’t have a credit card, the husband reacted strongly. He said something to the effect of “oh my gosh, it’s stupid not to have a credit card, how do you live? Why are you so willing to inconvenience yourself when it’s so obvious what the solution is? No responsible adult is without a credit card and anyone who says otherwise is doing you a disservice.” And the conversation sorta went downhill from there. And when we choose to spend money on things like pantry items, farm equipment, or put it into savings, we’re “wasting” it, and we should go out and “live a little”.After all, credit cards exist purely to make life FUN.

Like I said, about as anti-DR as you can possibly get. I suspect anything I said would in fact be taken exactly as you suggested – that I would be calling their money management stupid just like they called our money management stupid. Probably best to just leave it alone, since they are not only not interested, but actively criticize our own efforts to build a solid financial future. I know we’ve talked about that before, but it’s still hard to watch. I was just sorta hoping that someone had the “baa ram ewe” password so that they’d listen.

Posted by gbmonline on

Keep your mouth shut if you value this relationship

All you can do is to walk the walk. They know what you’re doing and if they have questions or decide upon a lifestyle change, they know where you are. This is like talking to someone about the poor food choices they make, the schools they send their children to or anything else that really is not any of your business. From my own experience, I’ve given many, many copies of TMMO to other people. Most people could care less. Someone who is closely related to me just decided to refinance their mortgage. They are now excited to be paying 3.6% on a new refi just so they could pull some cash out and make less than 1% in a savings account. When this was pointed out to them, they just shrugged their shoulders and said they would always have a mortgage. Always. Their plan was to have a mortgage as long as they breathed air so they could keep extra funds in their pockets. You can’t argue with stupidity (you certainly can’t call this example ignorance). You can’t criticize your friends and tell them SS is not a retirement plan; they don’t see it that way and it’s doubtful that you’ll convince them otherwise. Until they fall into a hole, your opinion will be nothing to them, and the best example you can be for them, is to continue doing exactly what you and your dh are doing. One thing I’ve learned over this lifetime is that people do not appreciate, nor rarely follow, unsolicited advice.

Posted by gbmonline on

We’re starting to get deposits for our upcoming hog sale

which occurs the first week of April. We’re expecting a total of $4200 from this particular sale. We also are just starting to sell hay, and we have a target # of bales we want to sell which would bring in a total of $2800. And now I have the pleasant dilemma of how to allocate all of that.

DH and I had considered using that income to pay down debt. But we already have our debt snowball going on a slow but acceptable schedule. And we agreed that we want 100% of the farm earnings to go back into the farm, so that we can show that the farm is standing on its own financially. While that might be a subtle point in the grand scheme of things, it’s important for us philosophically to know that the farm is starting to pay its own way and make a profit. We will be paid our hourly wages from those earnings, so we can budget those wages in our household’s zero-based monthly budget like any other form of personal income. But the rest of the earnings, we’ve decided will stay on the farm side of the ledger.

Towards that end, we still have some decisions to make. We already have a break-even analysis worked out, such that we know what our costs were for the hogs and the hay, and we know that we’re making a profit at our asking price for each. Given that, we can:
1) put all earnings back towards the general Farm savings account, to be drawn from for any future farm cost. This would give us a lot of flexibility, but it would be harder to track what we spent vs earned in any given farm category.

2) set up specific sinking funds for Swine and Hay, and use the earnings from each to fund all future costs for each. That would keep “swine money” in the Swine category, and “hay money” in the Hay category; in other words we would be barred from spending that income outside of their respective categories. There is a certain comfort in that idea, because it’s “cleaner” in terms of accounting. But it also restricts our options for other farm expenses.

3) put just enough of the earnings into each account to cover what we spent for that product batch, then put our profits in the general farm account to be used in whatever way is needed. Frankly, I like this option the best, because it’s the closest to what we want – each product type generates enough profit to not only cover the costs, but also give us extra which we can then put back into the farm however we want or need.

I’d be curious for those folks on the list who have their own businesses, whether one of the three options above is clearly a better answer than the others, and why. In a way this might be nothing more than an academic argument. But we’re trying to apply zero-based budgeting strategies to the farm just like we’re doing for the household. So how we allocate those earnings now, will really shape the ongoing ease of working with the farm budget over time. Any suggestions?

Posted by gbmonline on

You already know the saga of the paycheck

As of Friday the comptroller was saying she wasn’t going to change anything and that no one should be upset about it, that after all it’s “extra” money and therefore they shouldn’t bank on it until they get it. Which is correct, what she’s overlooking is it is THEIR money and they shouldn’t have to wait for it. Dh said over half the company is pretty dadburn upset about it. So we’ll see how long she sticks to it.

He also said there are two men he knows of (NOT him and ds) that have already been looking for jobs elsewhere and both have said that if it doesn’t straighten up by the time they leave they are considering calling fair wage and hour because of the withholding of the overtime. So the drama around all that at work was a little taxing to say the least to dh and ds.

I had the gall to come down with the punies for the better part of the weekend, but other than being a little weak I’m much better now. Of course the guys weren’t sure what to do when Mom is down and out, but we all survived thanks to the fact they are both good cooks and ds saved the kitchen. I rewarded them last night with spaghetti, meatballs, garlic bread, iced tea (no sugar), a salad and cherry turnovers made from scratch for dinner. Of course the weakness nearly got me at the last bit so they ended up finishing the garlic toast and draining the pasta. The meal was wonderful, but it did tax my strength to put it together. Tomorrow I’ll be back at top notch though.

Ds came down with whatever it was I had over the weekend late last night and just called to say he’s on his way home from work. So I’ll have to go back to get dh this evening.

Dh finished our taxes and I’m celebrating, we ONLY owe $1,800 total for state and fed. I know some of you are gasping air over that, while others are saying “lucky” but we had to pay in over $3,700 last year so we cut it in half! That is exciting to me. I’ve already got about $500 budgeted out this last overtime for it and dh says the overtime is getting ready to start again, plus it looks like both he and ds are going to be traveling for work soon. So we should (if Murphy stays away) have it all before April 12 when we will mail the payments.
Dh said that Turbo Tax said to not change the deductions any so the paycheck will stay the same (whatever that is). Since we’ve all agreed about not doing the mystery shops next year’s taxes should be even better with the technically lower income. They will definitely be a whole lot faster to do with not having to figure the deductions for fuel, depreciation, ink, paper, clothing etc.

The mystery shopping companies are not amused that I’m quitting on them, because the three of us were practically the only ones who do this area. They want to pay a LOT more, then we MIGHT talk, but not likely. We are all liking me not having to jump and run in the middle of a project to go do a job or 20. I won’t burn any bridges with the companies because you never know what life hands you, but I won’t do enough this year to require filing taxes in 2014.

With the taxes finished our minds are rolling on to the next project. Dh has the designs for the can rotators and step shelf for my pantry nearly completed and it looks like those may get build this coming weekend. I certainly hope so because with the pantry all torn apart things are pretty messy in the dining room and finding the ingredients to cook a meal is a major Easter egg hunt right now.

On the agenda for me to do this week is to calculate the cost of putting in the garden this year. We need several layers of “soil” added to the Lasagna Garden and so I need to do a cost analysis of the various ways to do that and the budget impact of putting in versus what we will get out of it. Since I’ll be home and not doing the shops any more I can better tend it. but if we have another drought year…. So I’ll be doing research heavily this week.

I also need to start seed germination testing, garden layout planning and of course removing the geese from the garden planning. So that will take a good deal of my time.
I plan on doing a lot of blogging this week too, so everyone stay tuned and watch for changes in my signature line.