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How does someone steal your house?

I was reading Bruce Shneier’s web site on security (it’s a bit technical at times, and is aimed a little more to the Geek crowd like me, but still a good read (it is in my Blogroll)), and I stumbled across the following story:

Identity Thief Steals House

This astounded me and I had to read the story, and it left me shivering with fear. If all someone has to do is having your Social Security, or in Canada your Social Insurance Number to steal your house, HOLY COW!!!

I implore you to be careful and watch out for those identity thieves


Back to School

It is that time of the year again, my kids are going back to school (luckily none are going to University yet, but that is coming, and that is a topic for another day).

In Ottawa, for me September means a very large cash lay out, and not just for the normal school stuff:

  • School supplies for each kid which could add up to almost $100.00 each (and that is not clothing either, but it does include a backpack). This is a big hunk of money, but hopefully a 1 time charge. The schools typically send a list at the end of the previous school year for the next year (so this could be dealt with earlier in the summer I guess).
  • Clothing, well, it’s not like you can let your kids go to school naked, can you? This can be anywhere from $200-$400 per child, depending on what you are buying, whether your kids allow for hand-me-downs or previously enjoyed clothes or the like. This could be much higher if your child is a fashion Diva as well. ☺
  • Bus passes. This one is a tough one for me to swallow, {careful a RANT follows} I now have 2 children (soon to be 3) that I have to buy city bus passes to get them to school. This means $120 per month for 9 months (yeh, that one really hurts). Over $1000 for the year! Once my third child has to take the city bus, it will be cheaper to lease a car.
  • Musical instrument rental or purchase (this is one you don’t think about until your kid starts the music program). If your child is interested in music, you are either paying $200 to rent an instrument or $700 to buy one! You need to figure out which method works better for you.
  • School fees! This one really grinds my gears. Every school and pretty much each teacher gouges me for fees (and my kids are going to a PUBLIC school), that add up. This can be up to $50-$75 per child (and this isn’t for field trips or clubs either).
  • School lunch add on programs. The school has Pizza Fridays, and a juice/Milk program, ok, gotta kick in another $50.00 for 3 months there too.

What I noticed is that September and December are my two worst months for large cash outlays (barring catastrophic things like furnace replacements and the like). This is true for the past 4 years running. I have a Christmas fund where I put money aside for the holidays which I put money into every year, I think this year I am going to create a “Back to School” fund for next year, because this cash crunch is getting to be painful.

Don’t die the death of 1000 paper cuts, watch your back to school spending!  αω


He has lunch out, so I can…. (part 2)

The story continues. Just as an epilogue to part 1, my friend usually ate lunch at work because his wife made him lunch (and she did that to be FRUGAL and to make sure he eats properly).

So my friend went on a “toot” and bought lunches out the week his wife was away (not a serious sin, but the story gets better).

I found out from a source my friend’s wife’s side of this story, and it was a bit of a mind blower. My friend’s wife evidently either knew or guessed that my friend was going out for lunches while she was away, and in response she was going to go out to some expensive furniture stores to get some furniture. I am not positive this is a direct reaction to the “going out for lunch” but it was a contributing factor. Now my friend has previously told his wife to stop buying furniture, so his wife KNEW that this would bother my friend (i.e. this was a calculated act).

So, now you have two grown people who are doing financially silly things, because their partner isn’t doing what they should do. I don’t know, but the first time I heard this I thought, “How childish is that?”, but then I realized that I know I am guilty of the same thinking with my wife, so I should be careful of the “glass house syndrome”.

Conclusions: Talk with your partner about money, and the things that you want to do to save money and such. You may not get agreement across the board, but be adult enough to tell your partner what you are doing, and don’t end up in the following argument:

Partner 1: I just bought a new big screen TV, isn’t it great?
Partner 2: WHAT?!??! How could you do that, we never discussed that? Where did you find the money?
Partner 1: Well you got to buy that new dress so I thought it was only fair…
{At this point the argument would degrade into hellishly childish discussions, I can assure you}

Plan together, and work together and life will be a lot more enjoyable –C8j

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He has lunch out, so I can…. (part 1)

It’s always fun to go out and talk with friends about life and things, but it seems more and more I am intrigued by the “financial fisticuffs” that goes on in some relationships (most relationships actually).

I was talking to a friend, and he had mentioned to me that his wife was out of town with the kids and that because of that he was taking advantage and going out for lunch during the week. Now on the surface, that doesn’t sound too bad (these folks are doing well financially, so he is not creating any kind of hardship doing this, and it is not like he was saying, “I am dropping by the strip club every night”) but after I had a chance to think about it I had time to think that this kind of behavior is still perilous in a relationship (any kind, marriage, business, whatever).

This kind of secrecy is a slippery slope to take, especially with money (but in general as well). If you do something, which you know might upset your spouse or partner, so you don’t tell them about it while in many occasions is prudent, nobody likes to “argy bargy” about things, it may be a symptom of a larger problem.

Money is one of those things that can destroy all parts of any relationship. Normal rational humans can become completely unglued and do the strangest out of character things, all in the name of money, keeping it, or spending it (or worse still in reaction to what someone else is doing with money).

If you feel you have to hide how you are spending your money from your partner, you really must ask yourself “Why am I doing this?”. Maybe you need to talk to your partner frankly about this behavior, because you might be surprised to find out what your partner thinks.

We leave this posting for now, but I will continue it in a day or so with the next step in this kind of “monetary trickery”, and more to the story I am telling.

Tomorrow:  Part II

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Haven’t had a reminder post of the importance of Giving in your life.

Giving of your time, your experience, your knowledge or your money (or even just you) is an amazing thing to do for the receiver. My kids have been lucky enough to have volunteers help them out in sports, and I really appreciate those volunteers efforts. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just something, anything and you will make YOURSELF feel better.

If you are religious, the idea of “Better to give than receive” or “Positive Karma” are very much up this alley, but even if you aren’t religious, it just makes you a better person if you help someone out or help a group of people out. Don’t worry if the folks who you are doing this for appreciate it, I find that giving is a SELFISH thing to do, because it makes ME feel good.

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