Decluttering: The Work Never Ends

I’m definitely not what you’d call a minimalist - I have way too much stuff for that - but I’ve been taking small steps toward decreasing some of the junk in my house. Awhile back, I cut my wardrobe down drastically when I cleaned out my closet, and I’ve been on the lookout for other things I can consolidate, organize, downsize, and/or throw away.

Last year, when I decided to cut the cable cord, one of my goals was finding a way to get rid of all my DVDs. The cabinet under my TV was bursting at the seams (it was the replacement for the ugly DVD tower I used to have) and I knew there had to be a better solution.

Since then, I’ve spent hours ripping my DVDs to iTunes. From there, Jayden and I can stream our movies to any device in the house, including the TV in the living room (thanks to the miracle that is Apple TV). I was kind of upset to find that my DVDs were only worth an average of a dollar each, but it felt AMAZING to clear out the clutter and reclaim my TV cabinet’s storage space for more important things.

The problem? I found more DVDs in the basement yesterday.

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My Apologies….

I’d like to apologize to all of you - because of my failure to be diligent, I made a huge mistake that could have been far worse if a reader hadn’t been cool enough to alert me.

I received what I thought was an original guest post, which my subscribers and visitors saw this morning. Little did I know that it was actually a post from the great Seth Godin’s blog, with a different title and some changes in the wording and formatting.

I’d like to laugh this off as an honest mistake, but I have a hard time believing that someone would go to the trouble of pasting portions of another blog post and changing the title if they simply wanted to share the original article. I am so offended and disgusted, I don’t even know what to say.

I would NEVER condone plagiarism or ripping off another blogger. The offending post has been removed and I will no longer accept guest posts unless they come from a blogger I know and trust.

Again, my apologies to all of you and especially to Seth Godin (not that he would ever know that this happened). Sometimes I forget that integrity is a relative term. But I won’t forget again.

The 3 Types of Debt (and How to Get Out)

I’m no financial guru, but I’m a self-proclaimed expert on getting into debt. I amassed about $30,000 in useless consumer debt (which was wiped out in Chapter 7 bankruptcy) by the time I was 23 years old. At age 26, I was back in debt to the tune of $60,000 between credit card debt, student loans, and a car loan. It’s pretty obvious that bankruptcy didn’t teach me much, but now at 29 I’m finally figuring out how to change my lifestyle and spending habits.

One of the things I’ve realized about debt is that no one accumulates it randomly. There are three distinct types of debt, each taken on with different motivations and justifications. As such, a cookie cutter approach to debt payoff may not be the most effective way to get over your debt once and for all.

Let’s talk about the three types of debt, where they come from, and how to tell them where to go.

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Weekend Randomness: Plus and Minus Edition

I can’t even express how glad I am that the month of March is over! The weather has been fantastic, but I can’t remember the last time I had so many ups and downs in a 30-day period. A few of the things going on:

Plus: I got the new iPad AND I DIDN’T BUY IT! An extremely generous friend thought I could use some joy in my life and just bought it for me like it was no big deal. I’m still kind of in shock! I sold the old iPad on eBay in an attempt to feel less guilty about the fact that I own the new one. Thank you, friend!

Minus: Long story, but some things happened in early March that have basically made it impossible for me to earn the kind of money I used to earn from blogging and freelancing. (Email me if you want the long version.) I’m not even posting my income and spending because the income portion is so depressing. I know the progress bar looked good, but I assure you, it was deceiving. I’m now scrambling to find a job. *very sad face*

Plus: UK plays for the NCAA championship tomorrow night! I know some of you don’t like sports and don’t want to hear about it, but I can’t help being excited. College basketball in Kentucky is a phenomenon unlike anything most people ever experienced - I’ll try my best to shut up now that March Madness is (basically) over.

Minus: I’ve been too depressed to keep up with reading, commenting, and linking to other blogs, which is normally one of my favorite things to do. I’m determined to step it up in April, assuming I don’t find a soul-sucking job that takes up all my time and energy. My apologies to all my blogger friends!

Plus: The community at Curiosity Killed the Blog is growing (slowly) and I’ve been hired by quite a few bloggers to do conversions to WordPress, site design, and blog consulting work. I don’t know if it can save me from returning to a “real” job, but I hope to see things pick up over there. If you’re a blogger or thinking of becoming one, I encourage you to check it out!

Minus: Season two of The Walking Dead has ended, so now I have nothing to watch until October. If you guys know of some good shows for the pickiest person in the universe, let me know. I usually don’t watch TV but I might make an exception since I’ve been moping around the house for weeks.

NEUTRAL: I know I just switched to regular WordPress comments and many of you rejoiced, but I’m trying one last comment system before I give up and conform. Intense Debate is VERY similar in that you can comment with just a name and email address - you don’t have to sign up for anything. I just can’t stand the WordPress comment system; it’s ugly and I’ve been behind on moderating ever since the switch. I hope you’ll approach Intense Debate with an open mind, and please let me know if you have ANY problems.

Those are the highlights from my life in March - what about you? Tell me the best and worst things that happened last month, and we’ll be back to normal finance stuff tomorrow!