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A personal economics mini-rant. AKA: The Universe Knows When You Have a Dollar Login/Join 
Picture of vthoky
A few years ago, my dear friend / "adopted sister" said to me, "The Universe knows when you have a dollar." What was unspoken was the follow-up: "And it will do all it can to take that dollar from you."

As leftovers from a previous chapter in my life, I have a little debt. It's not horrible or overbearing, but I need to get free of it. I make progress. It's my own elephant, and I've got to eat it [one bite at a time, they say]. Fine.

Last year, I made progress. Good progress! I made some moves that will save me money monthly, and the economy has been great. I like it. Last month I knocked off a pretty solid chunk of it. But just when I start feeling good about the progress, here comes that old familiar shadow at the door. "Ding-dong, Universe calling!" Fargin' bastige....

Like I said, I was making progress. Then I got/had to travel a bit for work. What that really means is that the dog got a good long trip to the kennel (aka: the Spa). That's all fine, but there's a cost associated with that. And while Miss Noodlehead was there, she decided to take on a little spell of "hey, why don't I chew all the hair off my flank? Dad will love me for that!" No... Dad did not. Because, as you can predict, the kennel bill also came with a stout vet bill. Checkup, diagnosis, treatment, meds... yeah, you know what I'm saying. Cha-ching! So I raided the piggy bank, paid the vet, and carried on. Oh, and I spent a week and a half wrestling the Cone of Shame onto and off of Miss Noodlehead.

The chance to upgrade some equipment here at the house came along, with the long-term benefit of reducing the monthly outflow by nearly $50. Nice! Six-month payback period, you say? No-brainer, let's get to it.

"Ding-dong! Universe calling! Hey, vthoky, you know that truck you're so happy with due to its longevity and reliability? Front pinion seal is dripping its goo on the garage floor. Howyadoin'? Oh, and the fan in your bathroom is going to crap out in three... two.. gotta go! See ya later."


The truck repair is lined up, I replaced the fan, and then I got a little post-it note from the boss. Raise coming next month. Excellent! It's not yuge, and not as much as I'd like for it to be, but I'm not going to fuss about it. (Much.) It darned sure could be worse, right?

Holidays come, time to hit the road and see the family. This will be a nice break. I pack my gear, take the dog to the Spa, and get on the road. The day before I head back, the veterinarian is calling... "hey, vthoky, Miss Noodlehead has picked up a case of the diarrhea." Great. Checkup, tests, antibiotics, probiotics, you know the drill. I swear, this dog's going to have to get a job!

Good news! I've gotten into a little work on the side. I can do the work in the evenings after work, from home, even have a beverage while I work if I'd like. Awesome! Here we go!

Design, produce, test, experience stupendous failure. Redesign. Produce, test, fail. Go again. Dangit! So far, this little side venture has cost me over $400, and not brought a cent of revenue.

To be fair, my word's not harsh. I'm healthy and employed, upright and on this side of the grass. I go to work in the morning, come home in the evening. I'm not shoveling stables, and nobody shoots at me while I'm out. My family, friends, and dog love me, and I can depend on them (and SF) for advice and guidance. Well... can't really depend on the dog for guidance, but a good solid rubbin' between her ears does us both some good.

Life's good, and 2020's going to be better!
Just keep an eye on that ol' Universe, ladies and gents. That jerk will sneak up on ya in no time. Big Grin

God bless America.
Posts: 10125 | Location: Hokie Nation! | Registered: July 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
His Royal Hiney
Picture of Rey HRH
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The dog issue was from her anxiety. Was this the first time you left her?

As far as debt goes, I suppose it's just a mindset. There's good debt and there's bad debt. Good businesses use debt to their advantage.

I still have a student loan but it's 1.87% interest. I have a mortgage on my house.

For short term, I use credit cards as much as I can and pay off monthly. Sometimes when the need arise, I take advantage of those no interest offers.

I used to think the universe was out to get me when something when wrong with my car that I had to fix. My wife told me it's just life and that's why we built up savings for it.

If you have debt in your life, that's fine. If your life is in debt, that's not fine.

"It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life – daily and hourly. Our answer must consist not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual." Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, 1946.
Posts: 15903 | Location: Bay Area, CA | Registered: March 24, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of vthoky
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Good points, Rey.
Regarding kennel stress: I understand that, but she's sort of a "regular" there. She gets a weekend there once a month or so, and a week here and there. The crew there takes really good care of their boarders, and she's been doing her overnighters there for almost 13 years. That said, I do recognize that she's getting older (almost 14 now) and that may make it a bit more stressful for her there when all the "young whippersnappers" are there during her longer stays.

The debt isn't oppressive -- I really like the last sentence of your post. And your wife's statement on savings seems to match my thought on it. The old thing about "saving for a rainy day," comes to mind.

I do still think the Universe sticks its foot out in front of us from time to time. Wink

God bless America.
Posts: 10125 | Location: Hokie Nation! | Registered: July 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The idea that the universe knows when you have a dollar isn't too far from the truth.

There are companies that do research on the average income of a given geographic area. Prices in said area are tailored to that well researched, average. Businesses (etc) all want a proportioned cut of what you make.

They also know how much a given profession or business brings in.

Here's the trick; it's my opinion that everyone should have a side gig of some kind that doesn't show up on these weasel's radar.

So yes, the universe DOES know when you have a dollar in your pocket - or at least they're looking real hard.

Posts: 273 | Location: Pacific NW | Registered: April 09, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Leemur
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Same thing here. Things were going great, dog tears her ACL. Get past that, trying to get some things repaired/modernized around the house, water heater (that’s only 3 years old) starts acting up. I’m afraid of what’s next.
Posts: 12431 | Location: Shenandoah Valley, VA | Registered: October 16, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The OP needs a wife! That'll replace the minor dog issues nicely. What needs to happen is he needs to step down in his living style just a little. Until he pays off all the crap. Or just hang in there until things get better.

As for everyone knowing that he has a dollar, its not the truth. They know when his credit cards are a dollar short of the limit. They need and have a digital target. They can't target dollars because he keeps those hidden in his moldy old wallet. Its one of my "secrets" of not being in debt. I pay in cash whenever possible. Of course it carries along the problem of if I don't have the money (not credit), I don't spend it.

A couple of years ago one of my son's friends went on vacation. During that time, their cat developed a dental infection. He wasn't there so his loving wife (unemployed home wife) didn't hesitate and blew a $1000 on the dental bill. Sure, if its a kid, you just do it. His quote "its just a god damned cat!" Frown Its fine that you love your pets. But the next time you adopt, keep in mind future medical bills.

At least if you had the non-expensive wife, you'd save all those kennel bills and what not! Big Grin A word of truth, any time you take on an additional responsibility, its going to cost you more at some point. If you've avoided the wife so far, you've dodged the most expensive part of it. Nothing costs as much as pussy. It can be worth it, or so I'm told.

Unhappy ammo seeker
Posts: 17271 | Location: Kentucky, USA | Registered: February 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of smlsig
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Greta read VT!
Happy New Years to you and the poodle...


Our Founding Fathers were men who understood that the right thing is not necessarily the written thing. -kkina
Posts: 4639 | Location: SML & OBX | Registered: February 19, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of vthoky
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Originally posted by smlsig:
Greta read VT!
Happy New Years to you and the poodle...

Eek! All this time, and NOW you tell me she's a poodle? Big Grin Good grief, man!

Rburg, you're not incorrect about the utility of some genuine help around the house, particularly in terms of dog care. Interestingly, it was the [ex-] wife who brought the dog into the family some years ago. This, too, is a situation that will change for the better in time.

You're also correct about the "cash is king" philosophy. It's liberating! (Even if my wallet is old and moldy. Razz

Happy New Year, all, from me and the, um, poodle. Cool

God bless America.
Posts: 10125 | Location: Hokie Nation! | Registered: July 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Ugly Bag of
Mostly Water
Picture of ridgerat
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Excellent rant!

Endowment Life Member, NRA • Member, Arizona Citizens Defense League
Posts: 2378 | Location: Near Tucson AZ | Registered: March 25, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Having raised two sons, and now having 9 grand-children and 5 great-grandchildren, I understand exactly what the OP is saying about the Universe and the periodic doses of reality.

About 50 years ago I discovered that saving $100 was the surest method of causing a $200 emergency. The only thing that has changed since then is that the $200 emergency now costs $2000.

We have to keep swimming, otherwise we will sink, and most of life's course will be upstream all the way.

I am very fortunate to have a partner (wife) who shares the goals of savings and investment. While others around us were taking the dream vacations, buying new cars every couple of years, and refinancing their houses to pay off the credit card debt, we continued living modestly while retiring our debts and saving for the future.

I built our last home with my own hands 22 years ago. Appraised for $129,000 on completion, with $66,000 invested (plus my labor), took a 15-year mortgage and paid it off in 7 years. What we had been paying in mortgage payments went straight into a money market account.

When I retired we sold the house and purchased our retirement home for cash. We now have 2 social security benefits, 3 retirement funds, plus savings & investments, totaling $1.5 million. No debt. The most difficult part of our transition has been getting my wife to understand that we can actually have just about anything we want and we no longer have to save every spare penny.

Being debt-free is like having the weight of the world taken off your shoulders! Keep working toward that goal and you will get there!

Retired holster maker.
Retired police chief.
Formerly Sergeant, US Army Airborne Infantry, Pathfinders
Posts: 642 | Location: Colorado | Registered: March 07, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Skins2881
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Hopefully the rest of 2020 is better. If you snap a few pics of the bathfan I should be able to walk you through how to replace (super easy if it's a standard model) and tell you what you need to order.


Sic Semper Tyrannis
Posts: 17311 | Location: Loudoun County, Virginia | Registered: December 27, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of vthoky
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Way to go, Lobo!

And thank you, Skins. I got the job done last weekend -- it wasn't a difficult thing, just more difficult than it needed to be. The removal of the old one made me blurt out things I'm quite sure my mom would turn me over her knee for (even at this age!), and that event is what prompted the procrastination in the installation of the new one. Each time I looked at the hole in the ceiling, I got a little angry at the project, and walked away from it. Once I got my head back in the game last weekend, putting the new one in place took all of about 20 minutes. I have only myself to be annoyed at for that one. Well, and the Universe, for jacking up the old one in the first place. Wink

God bless America.
Posts: 10125 | Location: Hokie Nation! | Registered: July 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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