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One Receipt a Day

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Jo and I recently had the pleasure (and by pleasure, I mean painful realization) of reorganizing our family budget. There are two reasons for this, we want to be debt-free (including our house) and we have a non-governmental level spending addiction. We’ve realized that, though we aren’t bad stewards of our finances, we have the potential to do a lot more.

So here is our experiment. For the next 30 days, we are going to limit ourselves to one…no matter what, one purchase a day. One purchase. One receipt. Seems pretty simple, right? Well we’ve made it 4 days and here is what it has forced us to do so far:

1. We have to plan meals. There are no last minute runs to the grocery store or last second decisions for take-out.

2. We have to C.O.M.M.U.N.I.C.A.T.E. We operate pretty independently as a couple, so we have to constantly talk about our planned expenditures. She can’t go grab Starbucks on the same day I have a lunch appointment. It’s not just food either…it’s doctor visits, clothes, utilities…this is harder than you’d think. We’ve already failed once at this by accident.

3. We have to buy in a single location. We don’t chase the sales, we just get what we need and get out of whatever store we are in. You’d be surprised at how little you spend after pre-planning the shopping.

These are just the first few lessons we’ve noticed, but I’m sure there will be many more. The big question is, in the end, how much money did we save…maybe a lot…maybe none. In any case, we are going to have fun trying to best our spending driven culture.

Starting on October 2nd, Northstar will be doing a 5 week teaching series focused around your financial health with topics and resourcing about being/getting debt-free, starting a business, financial planning, and even changing the outlook on unemployment. I’m stoked about it and sharing with other people whether or not this experiment was a flop or a success.

Feel free to join in the experiment if you like!

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Written by Josh

August 15th, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Posted in Experiences,family

Valuable Feedback

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Tonight I purposefully released a hand full of concepts that outside designers have been developing (http://99designs.com/logo-design/vote-8is4y0). I released it without a clear explanation. I did that because a logo isn’t ever really afforded a conversation or instruction. It is just there and open for interpretation. So maybe that was stupid, but it was perfectly executed stupid. Aside from the negative things that normally come from activities like this, there are a lot of positive things one can learn. I believe there are two kinds of feedback. The first is what people say or type with me paying particularly close attention to statements “this makes me feel this”, “this reminds me of”, or “maybe change this”. At least to me, statements like “I love” and “I hate” don’t seem to communicate all that much anymore.

I am not a design feedback specialist and I could be completely wrong, but would think the second type of feedback is probably even more important and the one that is easiest to decipher. It’s the one in which there is no reaction, no reason to want to be included, and no reason to want to share an opinion (like 200 people viewed, but only 20 left options). Maybe they hate you, maybe they just hate all the designs and just gave up choosing, maybe their computer crashed right at that second, or maybe they just don’t care. Either way you didn’t register or relate and that means they were looking for something not on the page.

Special thanks to all the designers submitting work on 99 Designs. It was greatly helpful for feedback and outside influence. Please if you haven’t left feedback I still want it and you can find it at (http://99designs.com/logo-design/vote-8is4y0).

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Written by Josh

December 26th, 2010 at 3:09 am

Posted in Experiences

Tagged with

2 kids and counting

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As of 3.2.10, I am the proud parent of two. I could image more kids being a ton more work, but then the reward increases with each one. I think Jo and I are done, but for the next 18 years at least, our life is on target for a wild ride.

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Written by Josh

April 8th, 2010 at 10:46 am

Posted in Experiences,family

Realist by day, Idealist by night

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I’ve often thought of myself as an idealist. Hope about what the world is destine to become seems to be always on an Idealist’s mind. I remained exactly that way until I started my first company. For two years I ran everything like and idealist. At times I paid 80% out in payroll, took no profits or pay. Sure my employees loved me, but my bank account said I was crazy. I was crazy. I thought if you put together a system that rewards hard work and provides great pay with flexibility, then the company is destine for success. Just because things are noble, it doesn’t make them good.

What the Idealist side fails to recognize is that people are, by nature, variables. As a species, we are inconsistent. Our dreams change from season to season in life. I’ve wanted to be a counselor, a trombonist, a pastor, president, and at times enjoy the simple life of garbage man. In a few short years in college, I switched my major 4 times. Maybe you are not as fickle as that, but I certainly doubt you went on to be a ballerina or a race car driver. The Idealist gathers attention most often for being controversial, while the Realist focuses on completion. Dreams are basically nothing more than descriptions. Realism is nothing more than working. Put them together and you will find something extraordinary.

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Written by Josh

September 11th, 2009 at 11:39 pm


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