30 Day Money Cleanse

As tax season is wrapping up.. now is a good time to get a better handle on our family’s finances. Timely too as my tan is just wearing off from a trip to Mexico (courtesy of my rockstar wife) and I’m getting ready for a bachelor party in New Orleans at the end of the month. One thing’s already clear – rope in the “discretionary spending”.

The 30 Money Cleanse

I have been listening to Nick Loper’s Side Hustle Nation podcast for several months – and it rocks. Every week he’s got a kick ass guest on that talks about their specialty niche or business.

In January he challenged his audience to the 30 Day Money Cleanse – amended from Personal Capital’s.

I’m taking a stab at it… I won’t update this every day – as some daily goals aren’t entirely interesting and there’s not much to say about them. Some days I expect to complete more than one.  Maybe weekly updates… so here we go!

Update 1: 3/22/2017

Day 1: Track Down Your Money

WOW. We have money spread across over 15 accounts. However this includes 4 credit cards. Two 529 plans for my daughter and a “gift cards” category ($2,000 in unused gift cards!!).

Day 2: Identify your financial goals

Easy – I want to increase by $1,500/month by the end of the year to cover daycare costs.

Day 3: Discover Your Net Worth

This was easy after we found out where everything was in Day 1!

Day 5: Know How Much You Spend

As mentioned in the intro.. miscellaneous discretionary spending is an embarrassing number. We don’t spend an extravagantly on absurd things – I don’t buy thousand dollar watches, and my wife doesn’t buy a new designer purse every other month. But it’s a lot of little things. Some of the most notable:

Bar/Restaurant: read BOOZE. Love throwing a few back with my buddies and having a good bottle of wine with my wife. But there’s probably a boundary that we should set.

Amazon: Yes, we rely on Amazon for a lot of household items (subscribe and save is a game changer!). But I am a radical impulse shopper – and Amazon only enable that. I have countless broken cheap gadgets sitting in a box in my home office – I was on a headphone binge for a while (yes, I realize how weird that sounds). But I was determined to find a pair of bluetooth headphones that I could comfortably workout in. Looking back, I probably could have bought one pair of quality headphones (beats maybe?) and not wasted my time with 8 pairs of junk ones.

But I’m hoping to turn that spending spree into something productive. I WILL WRITE REVIEWS.



Finding a Super Hero For My Princess

(I originally wrote this on lifeofdad.com)

As our new family is getting settled into our new home in the suburbs, it’s time to start decorating – the walls of baby’s playroom. At 9 months old, she loves Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, Frozen and everything Disney. An easy direction for any little girl would be Princesses. But we wanted something unique. Not just box art or movie poster reprints.. so my wife went shopping! There are a lot of very cool options out there (just check these on etsy).

Some of those same artists do superhero work. But this stuff would really be for me, right?

Ok.. US – my wife likes cool shit too.

But the baby doesn’t know what it is… she’s never sat through any superhero movies. We tried watching Iron Man a few weeks back, and she didn’t last 5 minutes. There’s not enough singing!

So I texted my wife back, “we need to find singing superhero movies!” And that’s where this all begins.

I’m all for the Disney Princess movies.. hell, my wife slaps me every time I introduce my daughter as Princess Colette. “People are gonna think we really named her that!”

And I completely support Princess Colette being a girly girl.

But she should be exposed to something more. This is not a gender roles thing, I swear. But superheros are awesome! They teach life lessons: overcoming evil, being yourself, standing up for the little guy, wearing underpants on top of your shorts. All the things I want my daughter to learn. I want her to be empowered!

And so my quest has begun…

A google search brought me countless results like:

Best Super Hero Movies for Kids

10 Movies to Watch with your kids…

But nothing with SINGING. Nothing that would engage a 9 month old. I don’t know about yours, but when Belle comes on and starts singing, Colette stops immediately and turns to watch. And smiles and dances.

The new mission: How to introduce my 9 month old daughter to SUPERHEROES.

So I joined a few forums. Some about movies, some about parenting. I asked a simple question: Are there any “superhero” movies that contain singing?

As I typed it, I thought of The Lego Movie. Not a traditional superhero movie, but it’ll work (bought it on ebay for six bucks).

So far I have two (technically 4) specific recommendations.

1 (2 and 3): Toy Story 1 – 3

Truthfully, I don’t remember any song in the original – but I haven’t seen it in years. So we’ll give it a shot. Plus, Buzz is kind of a super hero right?

2 (4): Big Hero 6

I’ve never seen this one, but hell.. its got the word HERO right in it!

So here we are… a father and his quest to find a superhero for his princess. I’ll let you know how it goes. And if any of you have recommendations, lay em on me!

Thanks for reading.

How to start and where to go next?

This is an interesting question…

In the same way I didn’t start because I didn’t have a name, I’m also not sure how to do this.

And I have bad case of ‘paralysis by analysis’ or perfectionist syndrome where I can’t get started until I have the entire plan laid out just right. 

Luckily I got a random LinkedIn connect request from a Microsoft Excel expert (!!) who I have never met before. We have no mutual connections. He’s probably a great guy.

After reviewing his website, it made me realize that my personal blog doesn’t have to be a huge Michael Bay style triple A production.

This simple no frills layout is exactly what I needed to get started.

And this, like anything, will be a constantly evolving work in progress.

So what’s next? You ask.

To answer that, I’m relying on the internet for help. Here are two “Challenges” that will get the juices flowing. 

Stay tuned…

What are we doing here?

A little bit of everything, I suppose.

I wanted a place to journal but it’s 2017, and I’ll be damned if I’m writing in a notebook!

I’ve always got something on my mind and I’ve been searching for the right “brand” to build it under.

I wanted it to be creative and catchy (like raginrefrigerator.com). But nothing seemed right.

Then it hit me. YOUR NAME! 

Who knows where the spark of genius comes from?

So here we are at dmarella.com. And now the floodgates have opened, get ready for me to hit you with some serious wisdom and nonstop entertainment.

It’s a mystery where this blog will go. I’m not a writer and I don’t have particular plan. 

But you can expect (hopefully insightful) updates about me… anecdotes about raising a daughter on the hard streets of suburban Chicagoland.. productivity tips… thoughts on health and fitness… maybe I’ll share the music I’m listening to or books I’m reading.

This is an experiment in being Dom.

For example, did you know I started a business with a friend in 2015 to capitalize on the hoverboard craze before that Christmas? Sure, that business had its own website. And that website sold hoverboard. Buy it didn’t talk about the process of selling hoverboards. And it wasn’t supposed to.

It didn’t talk about the 3am skype calls with manufacturers in China. Or evaluating whether the cost of a Samsung battery over “china bat” was worth it.

(It was… no fires here)

Or the pros/cons of printing a custom branded box. (We decided against that, by the way.)

So there we have post number one.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope this will be fun for all of us.