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Archive for September, 2008

Peaceful weekend and random musings.

September 29th, 2008 at 09:20 am

Saturday we only left the house to grab food and Sunday we didn't leave the house at all. Very peaceful. First time in months that we have spent so much time at home.

Unfortunately the house is trashed because we are getting things packed. Ugg. On one hand, I have a lot of items that won't be going to a new house with us but on the other hand, I only own things that we use so packing in advance is a little difficult.

I have been informed by my friend that she expects me to host Thanksgiving. I am really hoping we have a house by then because we don't have the space to do it justice in our current apartment. Maybe we will make Thanksgiving dinner at her place if we don't have a house by then... Hmmm.

Next weekend is the Harvest Festival already. So looking forward to the pumpkin picking and carving. Fall is my favorite time of the year. Must resist urge to load up on harvest and halloween decorations...

What are you saving for retirement?

September 26th, 2008 at 08:00 am

Starting in January, my household will be saving at least 25% of our income for retirement and the original plan was to save 31%. I am wondering if the original plan of 31% might be a little too agressive given that we will be adapting to owning a house and maybe needing to fix up things. Not to mention our emergency fund will be depleted after buying a house...Hmmm...

Maybe I won't worry about funding DH's Roth IRA until next year. That way we can save for our short and mid-term goals as well as for retirement.

If I only do 25% to retirement, we can do 12.5% for our EF to replenish it. I figure we will need between 14k-19k in the EF to cover 6 months comfortably. At the rate I have it, that would take 16-22 months to do.

Another 3% could even go towards vacations because we love to travel. My big concern though is getting the EF replenished.

We are shooting to be financially independent in our 50's so that we can have whatever type of job we want (workaholics with lots of interests) so that is probably something to keep in mind.

So what do you think is a reasonable percent of a budget to save solely for retirement?

October budget, getting back on track

September 19th, 2008 at 11:10 am

Periodically we have to reset our budget because we get a little carried away so this is the plan for the discretionary part of our budget for October.

$75 x4 trips for groceries
$20 for 2 burger runs
$36 for Royal Gorge Park tickets
$20 for food for Royal Gorge outing
$40 for Harvest festival
$40 for 2 sushi runs
$40 for food while house shopping

It will equalize out the recent overspending to get everything back where we want it.

I have also told DH that we have $50 he can spend and I have $50 for groceries to get us through the rest of this month which should be manageable.

Part of his money will go to buy sticky mousetraps for our apartment...Have I mentioned I am looking forward to a house?

Planning our Finances after the house

September 18th, 2008 at 07:23 am

So spoke with my DH yesterday about the food bill (he pays the out to eat). Find out he hasn't checked it very thoroughly and its been running over by a decent amount as a result. While I have learned alot of finance by controlling our finances, he's dealt with it so little that he really doesn't have that sense of budget and need for restraint. All he sees is rent, savings and out to eat.

We talked about what we could do and we decided a couple of things would help.

1. We are going to close his checking account (we are joint on both accounts) because it doesn't have any autopays out of it and just use mine.

2. We are going to add him as a joint user on my credit card that I use for the household budget so everything is going on one card. That way we have the complete picture of our spending.

3. We are going to take turns paying all of the bills at once. Instead of a partial picture, we both will be able to see everything that is happening at any given point. So once we have everything settled, he gets to take over paying for everything. Every couple of months we will swap who controls the finances.

Over the past 8 years together, we have been gradually heading this way but its only recently that our finances have simplified sufficiently to do this. He had no objections really to doing this sooner but I was the hold out. Well I am fine with merging now.

The weird part is I think I am only okay with this because we have almost all the debt gone. I don't feel like I am burdening him with my mistakes. That and the effort of saving up money and paying off debts as a team has shown me that we can operate our finances as one pot.

Its still going to be about 6 months before we can do this since things get really messy come Jan-April due to last minute Roth IRA's, the paying off of the last debt and building a new budget for the house BUT I will have him help me through all of that and then will turn the reigns over to him.

Progress on the house buying

September 10th, 2008 at 07:51 am

So got the preapproval, looks like they did it just off of my DH's income since we are asking for so little. We have an FHA 15 year at 5.5%. As of this Monday, we will have all the money to close and this Saturday we are meeting with a Realtor that I know from work. (She has a sense of humor, always takes good care of her contacts and seems to have enough time to get things done right despite being very busy).

So tonight DH and I get to put together a list of houses, a list of wants and needs, and a list of questions for the Realtor. Not only that, if we are closing before December and maybe sooner, I need to start packing.

So basically, all we are missing is the house :P

Set up an appointment with a mortgage counselor from a local bank

September 5th, 2008 at 09:16 am

Have to say, I was more than a little surprised by the not so subtle desperation in her voice. I know the industry is in bad shape but I didn't expect a bank based mortgage counselor to sound so desperate. After all, local banks tend to be stricter about qualifying for mortgages so they shouldn't be as bad as the mortgage brokers.

I was more than a little surprised when she offered to come to our home if we wanted rather than having to come to her office (we told her the office was fine). We did claim evening was best for contacting though so she is probably the one who works nights and weekends alot.

I figure meeting with the mortgage counselor is my last minute sanity check before starting this whole process. That and I know this bank does renovation loans which may be a nice way to go depending on what we get.

We meet on Monday(our day off) so will let you know how it goes!

End of August Update

September 2nd, 2008 at 08:35 am

August was an extra paycheck month for my DH so our savings got an extra boost. I was about $200 overbudget for this month but despite that, we are $400 ahead of our savings budget. Between overtime and having a skimpy base budget, we had room for the overrun.

I am still trying to figure out how much to set aside for travelling and festivals. I know that $25 per month is definitely not enough so once we settle into a home I may have to take a look back through the year and attempt to figure out what I need. I suspect it will be trial and error for awhile. Currently I only separate out a little bit and then take the rest from the monthly free money.

Since I only use a credit card that I pay in full each month, when we start travelling again I will need to do a better job of saving out that money. Currently, the small trips have worked pretty well in the monthly budget so I just need to really save out for the big items (plane tickets, reservations, etc).