Proverbs 22:7

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Taxes and the Evil 1%

Disclaimer: If politics hack you off, don't bother reading any further. This is a very political opinion post.

Today, I ran across this gem of an occupy poster. Go ahead. Read it now before you come back. I'll wait.

Personally, I love the concept. It makes sense, and it seems to be working for them. However, as I posted on FB today, we aren't taxed equally. The problem is that Americans don't want to be taxed the way Scandinavians are. You have the the left, who is fighting sooooooo hard to not tax the poor anymore because they "can't afford it" and you've got the right, who doesn't want to play in the game of redistribution of wealth. If we'd go to a Fair Tax system...maybe this would make sense. But as long as we have the current knuckleheads in office, it ain't gonna happen.

Okay, so something totally hit me today about the crazy leftists who have their undies in a bunch at the thought of a fair tax system. Yes I called you crazy, deal with it. One of those crazies snarked back at me with "fair tax punishes the poor. Consumption taxes are unfair to those who spend 90% of their income while the rich (who spend more like 2%) get off Scott free."

Mr. Crazy, you obviously haven't done your research about Fair Tax, because if you had, you would know that everyone would get a prebate equivalent to the taxes that you would pay on the basic necessities for living. Read that again for me. In other words, if those poor people are sooooo poor that they can literally only afford to "survive" they still wouldn't pay a tax at all because the prebate would cover those basic needs. To further clarify, those poor folks would only pay taxes on everything outside of those basic necessities to live: a consumption tax on everything above and beyond.

Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me. Oooooh, wait. I forgot. Those crazy lefties don't stop looking at it there. They can't just look at how it affects THEM. They have to look at how it affects everyone else, and if someone is getting a "perceived" better deal than them, then they want to fuss and complain about how life's not fair.

Didn't your Mama ever tell you that life's not fair?

Why can't the lefties and these poor folks look at what a GOOD DEAL this is for them? Because it's not fair. It's not fair that those evil rich folks would ALSO get a prebate (equal, fair, standard across the board) because they make more money! They can "afford" it. They don't need the prebate. So it's not fair that they also get it.

Why is it not fair? You get a prebate. They get a prebate. Equal opportunity. Equal treatment. HOW IS THAT NOT FAIR?

You know, if you would worry more about yourself than worrying about what other people are doing, life would be so much easier for you.

Dumb guy that I quoted above said "Consumption taxes are unfair to those who spend 90% of their income while the rich [spend more like 2%].

Yes, it's basic math that if you only make 20K per year, the percentage of the money you spend just for basic living needs is a higher percentage than those tho make say, a few hundred grand a year. I mean, using that 90% thing as an example... 90% of 20K is 18K.  A poor person could buy 18K worth of basic living, and that would be 90% of his/her income. A rich person, could go out with the identical exact same shopping list of products, and also purchase 18K worth of basic living needs. If that rich person made $900,000 (not even a million) that would be the appropriate math to show that person only spending 2% of his/her income.

Let's be honest. Someone who makes $900K is not going to only spend $18K.  They are going to spend much more than that. Even if they invest a whole bunch, they are going live off more than 18K. If we're talking about a rich person who makes say half of that - 450K, that's 4%. Even someone who makes nearly half a million dollars is not going to only spend 18K. But even if they did.... why does that matter to you? Really? Why does it matter how a rich person spends his money? Quit whining. You're being selfish, moping and complaining about how that person spends his money. If you would do better for yourself, you could spend money the way he does too. If you want to be a rich person, make rich people decisions. That means lay off the cigarettes and lotto tickets.

The number of millionaires and billionaires is a relatively small number of the total U.S. population. A quick google search tells me that the population of the US in 2011 was 311,591,917. In 2010, there were 3.1 million millionaires, and 403 billionaires.. What a coincidence, that's where the term "the 1%" came from. 1 percent of the US are "rich" and you people are having a conniption over how they spend their money. Why do you care? If everyone.... the other 99% (which I'm a part of, thank you) would just worry about themselves instead of pointing fingers at the evil rich people, this debt crisis would correct itself.

FAIR TAX... consumption tax is the way to go. EVERYONE pays. If you're a legal citizen, you get a prebate. If you're a sorry-butt-illegal-moocher, YOU DON'T get a prebate because you aren't entitled to one, but your sure as heck would be paying a consumption tax for mooching off us. Thank you!

This is such a no-brainer. I cannot understand why so many people don't get it. Quit whining about what other people are doing and worry about yourself. You know, if you would do that, you might climb your way up to be one of those evil 1% folks. But I guess it's easier to sit at the bottom and wait for a handout. That's just pathetic.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

When one door closes, another one opens...

The last 3 1/2 years of my life has been a complete whirlwind. Fabulous, Not-so-fabulous, and anywhere in between. I feel so blessed for the tough times because they have made me stronger.

Last Fall, after trying unsuccessfully for 6 months to get pregnant, I was diagnosed with PCOS and insulin resistant. That was the swift kick in the tush that I needed to get serious about getting my health in order. While I wouldn't consider myself as intense as some health gurus out there, I have make some pretty drastic changes to my eating habits. I'm nowhere near where I want to be, because I'm still working on it. However, my choices are getting better, and my health is improving. Sure, starting a family is a motivating factor, but I also know that it will happen when it's meant to happen. God has a plan for us.

I feel like part of that plan is this journey He has put me on in order to get my health where it needs to be. Clean Eating is a no brainer. Lean meats, 5-6 small meals a day of a complex carb and a lean protein, whole grains, throw in some healthy fats, drink lots of water, stay away from sugar, and if you're going to use salt, use sea salt instead, and in moderation. There ya go, that's the cliff's notes version of eating clean.

During this process, I have found that I can't seem to learn enough about organic foods, supporting local farmers, ethical treatment of animals for the meat we eat, etc. I've watched documentaries, I've researched articles, I've signed petitions, etc etc. I'm really trying to become a vegetarian, but... it's pretty difficult. I've significantly cut back on red meat, but chicken and shrimp are REALLY hard to give up...Even after watching Food Inc.

Another aspect of this health journey that was recently introduced to me is the safety of products we use in our everyday lives. Cosmetics, personal care, household cleaners, etc. It goes hand in hand with healthy eating - what you put ON your body (makeup, lotion, soap, etc) is just as important as what you put IN your body.

Through my research, I learned of the cosmetic database. The cosmetic industry loaded with toxic chemicals. Sunscreen is a necessary evil, right? Did you ever wonder why the warning labels mention that it's flammable? Really, isn't it common sense that if something is flammable, it's probably not safe to put on your body? Your skin is an organ, and the products you put on it soak into your blood stream, and can make you sick. This is a reason why so many women struggle with infertility... so when I heard that, it really got my attention.

I dare you.... I dare you to go to the website and check out the toxicity/safety levels of your favorite products. YES, even the ones who market themselves as natural and organic.

As you all know, last summer, I became a consultant for a large direct sales company. When I became a consultant, I never had the intention of being a superstar. Direct Sales people scare me. It's like, when you see them coming, you want to run the other way because you think they are going to ask you to buy something or ask you to host a party when you really just don't want matter how much "fun" they try to spin it as. That wasn't me. That wasn't what I wanted. I LOVED the products. I had been a regular customer for years and years, and finally thought, "Why not, it's something to do, and hey, I'm on a journey to get out of debt, so I can get my products at half price and will save some money! YEAH!"

It is a good company. It works for some people, but it did not work for me. The hoops you have to jump through in order to get the discount, hidden costs (shipping, prepurchasing an inventory, etc) that I wasn't prepared for, just really turned me off. I wasn't holding parties. I wasn't really trying to hold parties, I was happy with my handful of regular customers and I was happy to help them. But really, rather than saving money, it was costing me money to keep the business going. I was trying to tough it out for a full year before throwing in the towel... but then I found the cosmetic database I mentioned above, and when I researched my longtime favorite products of this company, it was then that I knew that my part in the business was officially over.

I heard about the cosmetic database by going to one of those at home parties for another company, Ava Anderson Non-Toxic. It's a young company, it's only been around for 2 1/2 years, so that may be why you've never hard of it. I won't bore you with too many details right now, but this is where I learned about the cosmetic database, and the dangers of the everyday products that we are accustomed to. It's just like processed food. Processed food is marketed to be quick, cheap, and convenient, and these personal products are marketed very similarly. It's all about how can you be convinced to buy the product - the packaging, the claims of being healthy and organic (or cheap, if that's your concern), all the while having ingredients that are used in items that you wouldn't dream of being a kissing cousin to the product you put on your body.

I had SO MUCH FUN at that party. I went, thinking I may buy a lip balm, or something like that, and while I was there, it dawned on me that this was the next dimension to my quest for my health and safety of my body, and my family. So much in fact that I knew I was going to become a regular customer of these products. Roll your eyes, or sigh in frustration if you must, but as I am STILL on a quest to get out of debt, I had to think big picture. I realized that I was going to be buying these products, specifically the skin care, makeup, and sunscreen on a regular basis. As with most at home parties, you are given a glimpse into the business opportunity. At first I said "No thank you" because I was already burned once in direct sales and wasn't interested.

As I thought about it some more, I decided that I wanted to know more about HOW the business opportunity worked. What was the catch? How did the discount work, was I required to prepurchase inventory, was I required to pay shipping for my customers items, or did THEY pay for shipping, etc etc. After asking the right questions, I found that everything that had been a concern of mine with the previous company was a non-issue with Ava. I learned that by being a regular customer and purchasing my own products, I will meet the minimum requirements to get the discount, and so therefore, it only made sense for me to sign up.

I didn't sign up specifically for the business opportunity - that was not my motivation for doing it. I signed up because I already like the products. I REALLY like what the company stands for, and I wanted to save money on the products I know I will be buying. Funny thing is, Ava started the company not necessarily to make money, but because she was upset with the fact that most cosmetics are not safe. She's lobbying in Washington to get the cosmetic industry regulated so it will HAVE to be safe. If/when she's successful, other companies will be forced to offer safer products, which may result in a drop in sales of her products. From what I've been told, that's not a concern... she just wants there to be an availability of products that are truly safe. This is one reason why I'm so impressed with this company - they aren't concerned about their bottom line profit - they are more concerned about educating the public on the serious hazards of our everyday products.

While I didn't sign up necessarily to make a big business out of this, I DO want the opportunity to share what I've learned with my family and friends. I know that not everyone is as gung-ho about the safety of their products, and some of you reading this may think I'm a crazy for taking it so seriously. Hopefully there are others of you who may one day give me the chance to share with you what I've learned. This is one of those situations that once you learn about something, you want to share it with the whole world. Many of you reading this have small kids. Aren't you the least bit curious to know what the lasting effects of the ingredients in the products you use on them may have?

Anyway... yes, I'm technically a new consultant for Ava Anderson Non-Toxic. I would love the opportunity to tell you Ava's story (she started the company when she was 16 - yes, that means she's only 18 now). I'm going to be hosting a launch party soon (TBA), and I would absolutely love it if you could come support me. Let me share the story of how and why Ava started the company, and why the products you put on your body are so important to your health, so you can see why I am so excited about this.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Renewing Our Commitment to Use Envelopes

Last weekend, I stumbled across this template for making envelopes. They were also available to purchase on Etsy, but.... I was trying to save money (obviously). So I used the template, and some card stock I already had at home, bought a roll of contact paper for $5 to laminate and reinforce the envelopes so they wouldn't fall apart so easily, and made my own.

With Jonny's new job, our finances feel so much more under control now. As I posted last week, we started using YNAB to put together our budget, and it's making a HUGE difference in holding me accountable for where money is coming in and going out. As a result, I am trying desperately to recommit to using envelopes for "everyday spending." No more debit card purchases because I was too lazy to go to the ATM or withdraw cash at the bank.

Last night was a true testimony for me on how you spend less cash because cash "hurts" to spend more than swiping a plastic card does. Even if it's a debit card, the emotional triggers in your brain don't hurt as bad as when you spend cash. We went out to dinner and bowling with some friends. Afterwards, we discussed going to get coffee, but as I looked at our Entertainment envelope, I realized I didn't want to spend so much more of our entertainment money on one night. We had already spent $28.00 for dinner and a tip. We probably could have done without the appetizer and our meal would have been less expensive, but MAN those corn nuggets sure were good. Then we went to the bowling alley. We had coupons for 1 free game of bowling, so we paid for our shoes,which was just under $10 for both of us. Good grief when did bowling shoe rental get so expensive? I don't bowl regularly, but at that rate, it may be worth buying my own bowling shoes one of these days! So anyway, we bowled our first free game, and then decided to do another game, which was $11 and some change for the 2 of us. So $28 + $10 + $11 = $49. Yowza! So after doing all that math and seeing the dwindling dollar bills in my entertainment envelope, we decided that we didn't want to go spend another $10 on some fru-fru coffee, because we wanted to save the money for something else later on this month.

If we had been using the debit card, I don't think I would have given it a second thought. I would have swipe swipe swiped until I got home and then added up the receipts, and THEN I would have cringed at the total spent.

So yeah, I'm really looking forward to "sticking to my budget" by using cash. Once it's gone, it's gone. No more.