Tag Archives: Budget

Dude Don’t Wanna

Nobody likes paying taxes. Let’s just get that out of the way really fast.

No one likes it. Period.

However much we grit our teeth, mumble under our breath or whine and complain, though, we gotta do it. What’s more, I’m thinking we might actually want to try and feel a bit better about the whole thing.

I know a lot of dudes have difficulties with paying taxes because of all the fun stuff certain people in government like to bring up to rally their base. They like to bring up what they consider to be wasteful spending. Then make fun of it. They like to talk about all the pork in every budget and say it should all be cut. Then under their breaths, whisper something along the lines of, “Well, except for mine because that’s not pork that’s just good sense.”

So, yeah. There are problems. There is waste in the budget, but I’d argue that the good far outweighs the bad.

Our taxes don’t only go to fund (insert your idea of a wasteful project here [but, again, I’d probably argue with you about it because it might actually be of benefit, just not an obvious benefit]), but also go to fund things we all need and use.

Taxes go to fund police and fire and ambulance. They go to fund schools, which try their best to educate our children so they will become productive, happy members of society. They go to fund building inspectors, so that great new house you just moved in to doesn’t fall down around your ears.

Taxes go to fund infrastructure repair and improvement. Though I’d argue that not enough goes to fund that sort of thing. The sorry, scary state of our nation’s bridges alone are enough to give any dude nightmares and make us think twice about crossing most bridges. In addition, taxes go toward funding our national defense. We have a volunteer armed force, so we’ve got to pay these people. We don’t just force them into the army or air force and then expect them to serve free.

We also can be thankful that our taxes go toward helping out many of those in our society who need our help, who were failed by our school system and didn’t get the education they need to successfully compete in today’s job market. And, yes, for Medicare, Medicaid and our country’s latest foray into medical care, Obamacare. Which I think is working out just swell.

So, yeah. Taxes are a pain in the butt and, yeah, I’d certainly rather not pay them. But I understand that, no matter how much I dislike them, and no matter how much I dislike some of the things our money is spent on, I realize that taxes are necessary if we are to remain a somewhat fully functioning democracy.

Have fun, today.

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Watch Out For That Shopping Mistake

by Richard

Consumer Reports is an amazing group. Taking no advertising money, staying strictly unbiased, they look into what is good, what isn’t good, what you should buy and what you should run screaming from.

The thing is, though, they’re not only focused on products and services you can buy. They also have some great tips for consumers no matter what they’re doing. Listening to these folks about how you spend your money is a good idea. Now, since I’ve got a subscription to the magazine and you might not, I thought I’d pass along a few tips and hints from the magazine as we enter the Christmas shopping homestretch.

Most importantly, before you do all your shopping, make a budget and stick to it. Consumer Reports surveyed folks and found that, on average, people went at least 16 percent over budget. Remember to include mailing costs, packing, tips to service providers and the like when you’re making up your budget.

As you’re creating your budget, you dudes, like a lot of us, might be tempted to put a lot of the Christmas holiday on your credit cards. Okay, fine. But make sure you can pay it off quickly. Leaving a lot of debt on your credit cards is a great way to make sure you have no extra money for the foreseeable future. Need time to pay for something? See if the store you like offers a layaway plan. This might be a bit late for this year, but keep it in mind for next Christmas.

One of the other things I like about Consumer Reports is they’re not afraid to tell it like it is about the extended warranty. When you buy something at Best Buy or some other giant electronics store, they’ll push the extended warranty like their lives depended on it. The problem is, while they make it sound like a good deal, it isn’t. At all. A computer warranty that includes extended technical support, might be worth it if you’re not an expert user, but that’s just the exception that proves the rule.

Here’s a tip most of you dudes might not know about. Remember to haggle. No, really. While only 13 percent of the people responding to the CR survey who purchased electronics at a walk-in store tried to haggle, they saved an average of $82. Shoppers saved an average of $105 on televisions, $53 on digital cameras and $43 on DVD/Blu-ray players. That is a great idea. It might not be something you’re used to, but it looks like something worth investigating.

Finally, no matter how hard you or your friends and family try, there will be times you have to return a gift. Or, horror of horrors, one of the gifts you gave someone will be returned. When you’re buying a gift, make sure to check out the store’s return policy. There’s nothing worse than getting a present you abhor, stuffing it into a closet for a while and then not being able to return it.

 

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Back Up To Speed

by Richard

It’s tough, returning from a vacation and trying to get back up to speed on just what’s been going on in your absence.

It’s even more of a challenge to keep a happy face on while you’re doing so.

For instance, Hyper Lad has an iPod Touch, which is basically an iPhone but without the ability to make telephone calls. The problem I have with it is that it also has a lot of games on it. Games which Hyper Lad will play for hours and hours and hours and hours until I or another adult tell the little dude to knock it off.

He knows that he’s not supposed to take the iPod Touch to bed with him because I want him to sleep. While I wasn’t here, though, he was able to sweet talk his grandmother and mom into letting him take it to bed. Most likely he just didn’t tell them about it and took it to bed without them knowing.

When I got home, he tried to tell me how he’d taken the iPod Touch to bed with him, but still got up on time and wasn’t sleepy. The problem for the little dude was that this meant he had been disobeying the house rules, which is what got focused on more than the fact that he got up.

He’s not the only slacker around Casa Dude. Not that I’m calling them all slackers, but I did find that things that I normally do when I’m here didn’t get done when I was gone. So I have to ease them and me back into the groove we’d established before the vacation.

It was different when I was working outside the house. Then I hated to take vacations because I’d always be afraid the bosses would discover that they really didn’t need me and I wouldn’t have a job when I got back. It’s not paranoia. Well, okay, maybe it was.

Anyway, it’s something to remember when you’re planning on going away. Always budget some time when you get back for getting back into the swing of life at home without a mai tai.

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