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Archive for November, 2009

Financial chores accomplished

November 20th, 2009 at 04:27 pm

I paid off the card that wanted to jack my interest rate up to 30% (but don't worry, after two months of paying on time they would refund 10% *note sarcasm*) with a 0% offer yesterday. This really should be the last balance transfer because all my interest rates are locked in now (aka no one else can tell me that they have a lovely present for me).

I have also scheduled the payoff for one of my cards for 12/04, which means I will be down to two cards.

Saw that my promotional rate for my internet was going to expire so I called them up and agreed to a 2 year contract in exchange for a permanent rate reduction and faster speed (this will probably be the last time you read that I signed a contract, with everything else I am moving away from contracts but I will be homeless before I give up my internet connection).

I also ported my phone number to net10 now that I know for sure that it works and have used most of my Tmobile minutes.

Hopefully that will be it for awhile. I hate trying to make time for phone calls and playing hot potatos with the credit cards and savings accounts.

My Financial Priorities

November 18th, 2009 at 09:47 pm

1 Pets
Got rid of saltwater tanks, limit toys and treats to reasonable level

2 Video Games/Bikes
Try to buy used, replace as things break

3 House Repairs
Plan cash expenditures to level needed

4 Financial Independence
Pay off debts quickly, keep saving for retirement

5 Eating Out and Eating In
Set a reasonable expenditure level and stay under

6 music/gardening/decorating/books
Occasional splurge, keep impact on budget minimal (shouldn't have its own category)

7 Travelling/Car Maintenance/Entertainment
Minimal till debt is gone, then goes up to have its own category

8 Charity/Generosity
usually project based, after debt payoff, gets its own category

9 Electronics/Furniture/Eventual Car Replacement
should be another 5 years before this needs to become a category

This is my current priority list. Everything that I value that has a strong financial impact on my life is listed whether I need to spend on it right now or not. I am sure it will change in the future but for now this is it.

This list is based on how strongly I feel about it not the amount of money that is required to support it. Underneath each I listed my plan for keeping the expense part down. Surprisingly, financial independence is fourth on the list. I would honestly work longer for the items listed above it. Strange hunh?

I'm so excited, I just can't hide it

November 18th, 2009 at 05:31 pm

Yes, I am singing that song in my head. Blame the adrenaline rush of lifting weights this morning.

We finally have our new trikes! And this weekend is supposed to be gorgeous. Soo much fun. We plan on taking them down to the old trail that we used to ride all the time on our road bikes so that we can get an apples to apples comparison. Its going to be so amazing not to have a stiff neck and a sore tailbone.

The trail there and back is roughly 30 miles so we may find out that we can't do that distance right off the bat (or more likely, not with any great speed) despite it being relatively flat but its worth getting a good comparison in.

For those of you curious, yes my husband and I will bike all winter long when its not below 30. 40 and about is just fine, especially since 3 wheels means slush and snow are far less hazardous. Oh and no more diaper pants! Yeah!

(By and by, my buyer's remorse is gone, I only have buyer's remorse before paying for something, not after, go figure.)

Random Updates

November 17th, 2009 at 02:57 pm

Spent $110 on groceries this past Thursday but that included stock up and Thanksgiving meal prep so its hardly surprising. Still feels weird to have it more than $30 though.

I rejigged my numbers again(I know, you are completely shocked, I never do that) and I can pay off one of my cards in December and another in February. After that, I will just be down to one which simplifies things immensely. Right now the numbers are pointing to a June debt free date but I wouldn't hold your breath, spring seems to expensive thanks to yard stuff but I am going to try to keep that down.

Still need to buy our plane tickets to our home state for my brother's graduation and make the hotel reservations but I figure I will do that in December since this month has been so hectic. That however, is the last of the big expenses till spring so that is nice.

1st Payoff.

November 13th, 2009 at 03:18 pm

Today I am paying off the first of my remaining credit cards. $4344 going poof. This would be more impressive if it was my largest remaining but sadly it is not. However, we are in the final stretch of the pay off so all is well.

Hint of things to come

November 11th, 2009 at 06:11 pm

So hubby suspects that his current workplace will be offering him a permanent position within the month, it was a condition for his manager to give up her best workers to another department. Should be interesting to see how this plays out, especially since base pay tends to go up when you go from temp to permanent. It would be really nice for him to have benefits again too.

We shall see. In the meantime I am anxiously awaiting the final payoff on one of my credit cards scheduled for this Friday which will be nice. We will be dropping from 4 credit cards to 3.

I am also waiting to hear this week how much the final price tag on our bikes are. At least it will keep us from spending a lot of money on the nice days. If you are biking for half a day to a day, its hard to spend money at the same time, lol.

Thinking of doing a budget diet...

November 10th, 2009 at 06:44 pm

By that I mean, cut our allowance for the months of December and January to $100 per week (includes groceries). It would let us build up some more savings so that I felt more secure. I think I have just gotten used to having a set amount of money in savings and would like to keep it that way.

Those two months don't involve a whole lot going on so it would make it easier to stick to as well. I have also been cutting back on the eating out because I don't need to be eating all that junk food.

The advantage here is that since I am the big spender and instigator, if I cut back, our expenses go down. I will have to see how it works out...

Another interest rate hike

November 9th, 2009 at 04:38 pm

So my Citicard who was the only card that hadn't raised rates due to market conditions, just jumped mine up 4.4x its current level. Ouch. I always feel like I did something wrong when I get increases like that but in my head, I realize that its just the economy and record defaults. Still. Nasty raise in rate. So another 0% balance transfer has been accepted elsewhere so I can pay the card in full and not close it by Dec 20th (I just got the notice Friday).

I basically break even when you take into account transfer fees (this is the one card that had some interest being applied) so I shouldn't complain too much. I have redone the budget to reflect the change.

So after the credit card payoff this Friday and this new transfer, the credit cards will look like this:

CC#1 11,330 0% (My payment $200)
CC#2 2,380 0% (My payment $40)
CC#3 4,082 0% (No min, no payment)

I really can't wait for July 2010 when these are all paid off. *Sigh*

Refund!

November 5th, 2009 at 11:10 pm

My TV just went on sale so I will be getting $100 + tax back. It pays to watch the sales online when you have a 60 day price guarantee.

What percentage of your income goes to paying off debt?

November 4th, 2009 at 07:18 pm

I tend to send over 40% of our income towards debt. As a result I expect us to be rid of the debt by July. That said, I sometimes wonder if we focus on repaying debt so quickly that we forget to enjoy the here and now.

I am a big fan of the 50/30/20 budget but don't actually put it into practice. For one because my necessities don't require a whole 50% and for another reason is because we don't get close to even 20% on wants let alone 30%...

I have tried to loosen our purse strings a little so we can enjoy things but always feel guilty when I do.

My personal rate of return

November 4th, 2009 at 05:01 pm

I used a calculator to figure that since I have started my retirement accounts my personal rate of return has been 18%! Since I have only had a retirement account for 2 1/2 years, that's not super impressive but does show the advantage of buying low.

I am pretty sure it will drop for the next ten years till it gets to a real rate of return but nonetheless its encouraging. Mainly because I was thinking that a ROR over 6% was completely unrealistic over the longterm (now I am wondering if maybe it is possible). I guess I had thought that with this market I was only doing about 6% now and figured if this is one of the more profitable years, then 6% was definitely not possible.

In defense of my ignorance, I did have to do a little digging thanks to some rearrangement of funds to figure actual contributions and expenses.

DH's personal rate of return is better though. He had the advantage of free money in his 401(k) so I think his is closer to 26% overall. Hopefully his next full time job will offer a 401(k) again with matching because that was extremely handy for squirrelling away money. (I only have an IRA as my retirement fund, and that's true for quite some time to come).

I expect next year to be bumpy but that just gives me another opportunity to buy cheaply.

Cheaper project list

November 3rd, 2009 at 03:20 pm

March 2011 Electric panel + wiring
Sept 2011 New Asphalt roof
Sept 2011 New Siding
Sept 2011 New Gutters
Sept 2011 New Fence
March 2012 New Furnace
Aug 2012 Bathroom remodel
Sept 2012 Refinish hardwoods
Jan 2013 Newish car
Jan 2014 Payoff student loan early

I like this time line better. Not the least of which it fits the 5 year timeline I have for prioritizing house repairs over savings (not over retirement savings but over mid term savings). What I don't like is the asphalt roof. I may have to get over that though if the metal is as expensive as I believe it to be. Especially since this list doesn't include my dream projects (anything that is more than 10 years away) of redoing the basement stairs and refinishing the basement.

I am beginning to see why people like using HELOC's for remodeling. It certainly allows you to get the remodels faster. But since our goal is to be completely debt free at an early age so we can focus on saving, that is not something we are interested in.

My project list..ugg

November 2nd, 2009 at 08:09 pm

July 2010 Last of cc debt paid off
March 2012 New metal roof
April 2012 New siding for carport and top of house plus new gutters

Sept 2012 Replace fence
Oct 2012 New electric panel and wiring
May 2013 Bathroom remodel
Aug 2013 New furnace
May 2014 Refinish hardwood floors
Jan 2015 Relatively new car

Hmmm...there has got to be a way to cut costs down to make this go faster. *Sigh* This is what I get for wanting to do everything right the first time. I am sure as the time gets closer I will figure ways of getting what I want for less. Its just painful to see how long all this work is going to take.