The Great Cell Phone Experiment

When I (Ansen) look over the line-items in our budget, the cell-phones category always catches my eye. And not in a good way. The amount we spend on our wireless bill is over twice what we spend on television and broadband combined. It’s one of the most expensive categories in our entire budget, only behind the likes of our mortgage payments and grocery bills. Dri and I both own smartphones with service from Verizon Wireless. These phones have served us quite well and we’ve come to be pretty reliant on them. However, our 2-year contract with Verizon recently expired, giving us the opportunity to evaluate our options.

Book Review: The Hunger Games

A while back, Dri read the Hunger Games trilogy. She kept mentioning to me that these were books I needed to read, but I wasn’t fully convinced that I had the time or the interest. When the movie came out to theaters, she told me she wanted to go see it, and I agreed to go. The problem was, I’ve always had a “read the book first” approach to movie adaptations. If I was to stick to that, it was time to sit down and at least read the first book of the series.

I dug into The Hunger Games on Sunday evening. I finished it just over four hours later. The next night I cracked open Catching Fire, the second installment. And on Tuesday, I wrapped up the third and final book, Mockingjay. Three books in three days. In my defense, I’ve always been a fast reader. But I suppose it’s rather obvious that the storyline successfully captured my attention.

Setting (and Cutting) a Budget

People get pretty nervous when they hear the word budget. It sounds a lot like some scary weapon your spouse brandishes at you to prevent you from having any fun. At best, a budget sounds like a lot of stress.

In reality, I believe a budget can be remarkably stress relieving. At least most of the time.

A budget is really just a plan. By spending your money on paper before the month even begins, you’re making sure that when the time comes for those bills to be paid and for money to start disappearing from your checking account, it’s not any more than you were already expecting. And if things are working correctly, that same amount of money will subsequently be replaced by your income…