Category Archives: society

How much do you pay to banks each month? Take a closer look!

I am curious, do you know the exactly how much money you are paying in interest and bank fees each month?

I ask because recently I’ve been particularly worried about this one credit card account I have. It was literally the first card I got when I decided to try reestablishing myself credit wise.

This means I had to pay an annual fee for the card and a pretty high interest rate. It was something I felt was necessary though since nobody would extend credit to me otherwise.

Well just the other day I got a notice from that credit card company about how the account terms are being changed. The annual fee is going up and so is the interest rate, big time. It’s been five years since I accepted that car and I actually forgot just how much I was paying them to extend credit to me!

Since accepting that credit card offer I’ve improved my credit tons and I now have several lower APR/ no annual fee cards that are a much better deal. I quickly decided that this first credit card is something I don’t need to be paying for any longer and am closing it.

Well, this all got me thinking about how much N and I are unknowingly throwing away on bank fees and interest charges each month. I was scared to sit down and figure out the exact dollar amount but I also knew that if I didn’t we wouldn’t truly see how much we can cut back and even save if we make some small changes.

Let me tell you adding it all up and listing it all really does put it in perspective folks! It also really helped me to see which accounts we wanted to focus on paying down first. Throwing less money away is always a good thing right? You gotta take those blinders off first though.

Plus, once it is all listed you can go through it and see how the interest rates and owed balances are looking. Available balances and interest rates are two very different things, just because you have the money available to spend doesn’t mean you should.

Listing your monthly interest and fees paid will also help you see if you are using high interest rate cards too often or if you have too much charged to them. It will help you determine if you should be paying more towards one card as opposed to another. It will also help you to see if certain cards are just charging you too much in comparison to all your other accounts. Ignorance is bliss… but it is bliss you probably can’t afford right now!

Are you convinced yet? If so you can use this free spreadsheet right now to plug in your own information. It will figure totals for you over a 6 month period, then you can print it out and keep it as a reference if you want.

I am also curious to see how much individuals are paying each month and how all my readers average so I made an anonymous survey I hope you’ll take.

It is just asking for your January 2009 numbers, no personal information. It’s all recorded on a spreadsheet and then I’ll share the anonymous values with you all in another post so you can see how you compare to other readers.

In these times of economic hardship everyone is looking for ways to cut back and to save money. Watching your monthly budget and spending trends is a simple and obvious way to find areas that you can cut back. How much interest and fees banks charge you is a big one many people overlook!

Coming out of the winter coma on a warm and sunny weekend…

You’ve heard about S.A.D right? It is a type of “winter mood disorder”

I’ve seen commercials about S.A.D and the prescription pills that “I should ask my doctor about if I am experiencing similar symptoms”. I have always rolled my eyes about the idea of the winter season making people depressed enough to need a special prescription.

Well, N and I were chatting about how strangely productive we’re feeling as a result of the oddly warm and nice weather we are having and have been having all weekend. We might be coming out of our own winter depression or something! (by the way that is why I didn’t post all weekend, we were busy doing stuff outside…)

We got all our storm debris cut up and ready to be hauled away and we finished the 100% homemade rabbit hutch for Boner! We went grocery shopping, made yummy meals together for dinner, cleaned stuff, looked at rental home possibilities, toyed with the idea of trying to get approved for a mortgage, tried to have the brakes replaced and were outside in the fresh air. It was so nice.

I am super proud of N’s rabbit hutch project (I hope he’ll blog about it and share the plans). We are just waiting for the sealant to dry then it is ready for Boner to move in! Look how it turned out:



Oh, and we stopped in our local Circuit City just for fun to see what deals were to be had (N still wants a 42in flat screen LCD tv…). Have you been to their going out of business sale? We were just amazed at how many people were still looking for and actually buying those high ticket electronic items.

Actually all this weekend we saw people everywhere buying all this high priced non necessity stuff like big screen TV’s and other electronics despite the claimed economic hard times so many are experiencing. N and I just scratch our heads when we see it. We DIDN’T buy a tv by the way…

I mean these aren’t wealthy people, they appear to be mid to lower class and they are just lining up for a $2000 big screen tv or a new video game system. Um, hello! Save your money and think ahead about your economic future guys!

Oh and don’t even get me started on Nadya Suleman, the now mother of 14 who just had octuplets

HIV discrimination and reproductive rights. Your thoughts?

HIV is still a pretty taboo topic in some circles and I know there are still people out there with skewed views on the disease, how it is contracted and who gets it. Everyday people have contracted HIV, they aren’t all sex addicts, dirty needle users or whatever. Still many people look down on those who are infected.

The ignorance of some is unfortunate but sadly it does not surprise me. However, I was surprised to hear that a woman was forcibly sterilized in Chile because she was HIV positive (according to a press release I just received). I also found similar information already published online.

First off, forcible sterilization? Did you know that is happening? It brings to mind the cases of genetic mutilation that I’ve heard of in many countries. Both ideas are inhumane and just sickening to me. Besides how can a that sort of thing be acceptable?

Secondly, HIV positive sterilization? That is just ignorance based policy if you ask me. An HIV positive mother does not automatically mean an HIV positive child will be born. How can people not know that?

Further more how can large groups of people (and even governments) feel that it is best to strip the infected ones of their choice altogether? Preventing HIV infected people from procreating isn’t going to rid the population of HIV you know… Those people are still going to be having sex and could still infect others, regardless of wheather or not they produce offspring.

Wouldn’t it be better to insure those who are infected are aware of the infection and provided with the best medical treatment and knowledge about the disease? Knowledge and medical treatment are the best ways to prevent further spread of the diesease right?

If you were diagnosed as HIV positive would you become pregnant after learning of the diagnosis, why or why not? Additionally, would you want your reproductive rights preserved or would you be okay with forcible sterilization for those infected?

It is something most of us will never have to worry about but it is an interesting thing to ponder.

Blog for Choice Day, 2009

Did you know that today, January 22nd 2009, is the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade? I am sure you already know that I am pro-choice big time, since I blogged for choice last year and all.

I don’t think I’ll ever have an abortion but that doesn’t mean I’ll let anyone take my right away. Besides I am just not of the belief that government needs to be ruling on what we are and are not allowed to do with our bodies.

Each of us should be free to decide what is best for us and our current situation. It is all a freedom thing you know. With freedom comes the need for informed decision. Just because someone chooses something that you feel is wrong doesn’t mean we should take the right to choose away.

I don’t like women who use abortion as a means for birth control, I personally do not agree with it and it makes me sick. Those people need to be taught better morals and better self control not refused the right to have an abortion. I am not going to rant on and on about this though. I know where President Barack Obama stands on choice and abortion. If you need a refresher here is a video:

Today’s Blog for Choice question is: What is your top pro-choice hope for President Obama and/or the new Congress ?

I hope that our administration can get away from using the law to force us in to doing what one group views as not being for our own good. Now that is wishing huh? I also hope we can reform the health care/ insurance industries so that they are all inclusive and are a benifit to everyone not just a manipulation and money making device.

Seriously a woman’s right to choose goes beyond abortion and the pill. Women should have access to and insurance coverage for ANY type of family planning/ birth control method she chooses. I don’t just mean birth control either. Insurance should cover birth control but it should also cover all types of family planning and birth control methods including FAM (fertility awareness method) and NFP (natural family planning).

To me a woman’s right to choose also encompasses birthing rights, how can states outlaw midwives and force women to birth in hospitals? That just goes back to how the health care/ insurance industries have an unfair monopoly and are acting unethically but that is a rant for another day.

So there you have it those are my pro-choice wishes for the new administration. What are yours?

Circling the drain.

Nothing much is going on this weekend. We are staying in, trying to not spend money and just enjoy some quite time.

Last night we went to N’s boss’ Christmas party and had fun, it was the first time I met all his coworkers since moving here. We weren’t out too late then we came home and had hot coco before bed.

I am feeling perfect these days and have been more active and present in day to day stuff, thank goodness the 2nd trimester is almost here. Smooth sailing is good!

The state of the economy is hitting home hard so that is something that is always on our minds. Personally we are doing okay but many others are going without utilities and are having to make some hard decisions about what is an isn’t a necessity right now. Things are really bad for many people and that makes me sad.

I am also sick of hearing about bailouts. I don’t even think I agree with them anymore, I mean there is so much wrong with these companies who are in trouble right now and isn’t the purpose of the free market system to let bad business practices result in bankruptcy?

I also see the huge impact that loosing all those jobs will bring but how will those bad decision makers and greedy CEO’s get what is coming to them if we just bail them out? Could the “big three” failure be exactly what the auto industry needs in the long run… It might be.

Bottom line is we are all hurting right now economically speaking. My mom refers to it as “circling the drain” and unfortunately some big changes are necessary in our lifestyles and ways of living in order to keep afloat. The thing is these can’t just be changes that are made and felt by the lower and middle class. As a society we need to change (even the rich and wealthy) and I just hope it happens soon, the longer this all takes the harder it is going to be.

On politicians and real life…

Guess who The Secret Service just cleared to interview Sarah Palin?. She was attending a rally in Jeffersonville on the 29th according to this article and the plan was for him to interview her at the airport in the afternoon of the 29th.

When he found out his first reaction was, “How am I going to keep from laughing through the entire interview?”. We are not fans of hers if you can’t tell. I said he could chew the inside of his cheek or pinch himself to inflict some pain and keep him from laughing in her face.

This whole presidential election has provided us with a few eye opening experiences. For example, when we lived in Flagstaff, AZ a few months ago N was often set to interview John McCain. Funny thing is actually having those scheduled interviews pan out is rare.

Once N was booked to talk with McCain (McCain’s press people sought the station out to book the interview) after he arrived in Northern Arizona, he went waited and when McCain landed his entourage surrounded him and quickly shuffled him in to the motorcade while his press people shouted to N that the interview was off.

It seems the trend is to repeatedly treat members of the media like the dirt on the bottom of your shoe because I just got word that Palin didn’t show for her scheduled interview this afternoon. N camped out waiting to try and get an interview with her late last night. If you want to see more you can follow the story here.

Dealing with The Secret Service was and exciting and surreal experience for him. The security checks were very detailed and Palin’s media people even needed all his interview questions a day in advance. This especially made him mad. “I don’t want them coaching her on what to say beforehand.”

All in all it was an eventful experience for him, he was Palinated as he calls it. We still wont be voting republican through. So, have you even met a politician face to face? If so how did you feel afterward?

I need health insurance, damn the man!!

For those of you who don’t know about N and I we just got engaged but have been together for about 6 years. We’ve been living together for 5 of those years, our finances and our lives are intertwined. We have joint checking accounts, shared credit card accounts, we are beneficiaries on life insurance policies, we share a lease and the list just goes on.

While living in Arizona we enjoyed being domestic partners, his insurance covered me and our domestic partnership declaration provided some legal rights for the other person if anything terrible were to happen. Having shared benefits and a declaration of partnership provided us with peace of mind and the time to save up and prepare for the engagement and wedding we want.

Well now we have picked up and moved to Evansville, IN, we researched the rules of our new state. Domestic partnerships did exist. N arrived at the new job and was filling out his human resources paperwork when he learned domestic partnerships are not an option through his new employer. The university of Indiana does recognize same sex partnerships but generally everyone else doesn’t. Basically if you are not married on paper you are not eligible for company insurance.

Additionally Indiana does not recognize common law marriages (neither did Arizona) so there appears to be no way for us to have shared health insurance unless we run out and get a marriage license and then have a ceremony performed here before we have our actual wedding with family and friends. We are planning to be married eventually but saving for and planning a wedding takes time!

I am just so mad about this country right now. So much is so  a$$ backwards here! The health care issue makes me mad. Only legally married people can enjoy shared health insurance, do you know how many people that leaves out? If committed people want to partake in shared employer sponsored health care and they are the ones paying for it why not let them?

Making marriage the only way to shared health insurance and legal rights only entices people to rush out and marry for the wrong reasons, that just leads to divorce… It all just makes no sense to me!

Also, how can you limit domestic partnerships to “same sex unions”? I think we all deserve the same rights and benefits regardless of sexual orientation.

I am just so bothered by all this right now and my mood stinks. Perhaps it is the period huh? Where is my huge bag of M&M’s? I need chocolate and sweat pants and laziness.

So much chaos and uncertainty in the USA right now *sigh*

I have been following the news of the massive flooding occurring in the Midwest right now since Indiana is a place we may be relocating to. Many people are displaced and have had their homes ravaged by the flooding and storms. Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa are in a state of emergency as a result of the flooding and the video footage is just heartbreaking to see, houses are just being swept away by raging waters.

In the east people are experiencing a heat wave as temperatures reach triple digits and earthquakes are devastating many in places such as Nevada, California and Greece. I was left thinking “Holy cow, what is going on with the weather” after learning of all the chaos.

Add the weather stress to the economic stress of fast rising gas prices, home foreclosures, layoffs and financial uncertainty and you can pretty much guarantee you know someone who is having a tough time right now. All this craziness is sad and it makes for a hard time for many, thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach and it is surreal.

Chilling and watching TV today, what is with these shows?

So am lazy today and planned to chill out on the couch with my laptop watching TV and doing stuff on the internet. So I have the oxygen channel on right now (becasue that was the channel the TV was already on), they are airing the show “The Bad Girls Club”, what the hell kind of show is this? It’s some kind of reality show about bitchy girls or something…

Part of me wants to watch it because it is just so out there but at the same time if we as a society get into watching people act nasty on reality shows aren’t we just encouraging the bad behavior and nastiness in our society?

What do you think about this? Have you ever seen the show I am talking about?