February 24, 2016

It's Cold & Rainy

After the great weekend of weather, the hounds and I have been on a gentle slope toward snow tomorrow. It's been a slow process, first the temps dropped, a day later the sun disappeared, last night it started raining and today it's been 'freezing' around 40° and a constant rain.

It's reminded me of my time in the PNW, experiencing the winters on Whidbey Island for ten years ... cold, dark and rainy. Therefore, I've had more than my normal two cups of coffee today. I have read all kinds of new blogs on new topics. I've looked at houses on Zillow, checked a few old neighborhoods on Google Satellite Maps ... basically have just hung out inside.

The hounds haven't done much at all and certainly nothing to blog about. Heidi will only go out twice on a day like this. Remember she has a threshold of 70° for a lot of outdoor activity. She is older and she knows when to let me know when she needs to go outside. Otherwise I can find her hidden in blankets in her spot on the bed.

Stella and Sadie went outside numerous times but never stayed long even when I was willing to let them roam. They did what they had to do and came running back to the house. They napped most of the day. Those times they wrestled inside my favorite camera ... the Nikon D3200 ... failed to work again to get the photo of them.

I am not sure if it is the lens or the camera but I do know that I am tired of trying to figure it out. NO, I will not send it back in to the repair center. They had their chance, it worked for a short time. Plus I read on the Nikon D3200 forums that I am not the only operator that has this problem. Not sure what my next camera will be nor when I'll buy it ... I might go an entirely different direction this time in choosing one.

Heidi's skin has improved today, after I wrote about how red it was yesterday. It's a very light pink and I am not sure if that is even an accurate description. Let's say it's close to a normal skin color with just a little tint of faded red. My attempt to capture that photo to show the color was a failed attempt with the Nikon 18mm-55mm lens.

So by the time I grabbed a different lens, lock and loaded the camera ... Stella and Sadie were willing to pose for a photo.

The other day while finding new blogs or articles to read I came across a different way of budgeting. Currently I have the 8-9 different categories that Dave Ramsey recommends, filled out on my spreadsheet where I have been tracking my expenditures since 1999. The different kind of budgeting recommended only 3 categories and percentages 50/20/30 of your take home pay.

I follow a pretty tight budget because basically I am probably what some have called me ... cheap. At least I know where it went and I always have some money left over every month ... so it's good. These new categories gave me some breathing room. In areas I thought I was spending max amounts under Dave Ramsey's ideas, I was well within range of the 50/20/30 percentages. It didn't matter if I was eating out or buying groceries, it was just food.

If you have read this far and someone interested in budgets ... Let me explain more in detail.

Do not include or count any of your income that goes to investments, 401Ks or IRAs that are taken out of your pay check before taxes. Do not count anything that is withdrawn from your gross income, such as medical, taxes or social security. Just take your net income and work with that amount. The 50/20/30 are max spending limits.

50% is for "Fixed Spending" -- these are monthly payments that will not change until they are paid.
  • Mortgage, Auto Loans, Insurance, Utilities, Water, Phone, Internet Provider, Trash Pickup, HOA Fees, Rent
20% is for "Financial Goals" -- only 3 categories here, pay off credit card debt, saving for emergency fund or retirement

30% is for "Flexible Spending" -- Other stuff you buy during the month where spending amounts are different.
  • Groceries, Dining Out, Gas, Hobbies, Shopping, Other Fun Stuff
I found that once I sat up a spreadsheet and plugged in that information, I found out that I was better off than I had been thinking I was. It gave me a little more flexibility financially ... some breathing room. I guess I can go back to the Casino and put my money played on the craps table in the "Other Fun Stuff" category and still be under my 30% limit.  :)

Also a little side note. For those that have this site bookmarked with the .net domain ... stop, don't do it anymore. Due to the large amount of uncontrollable hacking attempts on that domain, I have changed the settings of that .net domain to "park"... it will not bring you to this site anymore in the next few hours once the servers are reset.

On Wordpress I was getting a large amount of spam hits on the domain even after being online just a day. In that case I was able to install a WordPress plug-in to block them and their comments. On blogger I have yet to find a way to block ALL spam attempts. My Blogger traffic reports show the .net is the source of a huge amount of hits, outside the normal numbers. Based on the countries those hits are coming from, I know they are spam attacks.

So ... you can bookmark or add to your blog side bar the .com domain but delete the .net domain. I have no plans to renew either domain this year so this blog will eventually go back to www.bhounds.blogspot.com. If you want to just bookmark that url, that will work also.

So ... really not much went out today in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

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