My bank balance is at zero again. This is a good and not so good thing. Good b/c the money was spent wisely. Not so good b/c it took a long time to save and I have to start all over again.
The money was spent on a down payment for a home in Florida. Hubby and I figured while the prices were low that now would be a good time to buy. We also took into account the very low mortgage rates. We purchased a very nice home in an area that will greatly appreciate in the future. We don't plan on really living in it for about ten years. In that amount of time we hope to make extra payments on the mortgage, without penalty and have the house paid off in about 12 years. By that time my husband and I will be retired. We will spend 6 months in Fl and 6 months in NY. We should have our primary home paid off in about 5 years. That will give us some breathing room.
WE also have had to shell out about 5,000.00 to get our pool fixed. I have to say that was money well spent too. The pool has never looked better and already we have gotten so much use out of it.
My projects with the home improvements have been progressing but very slowly. Still waiting on the hard wood floors.
Starting July 1st I am going to put myself on a very strict financial budget and get myself back on track again with the savings. It's kind of weird, I'm so happy about the house but I also feel guilty about spending the money to get the house.
Viewing the 'Goals' Category
My bank balance is at zero again. This is a good and not so good thing. Good b/c the money was spent wisely. Not so good b/c it took a long time to save and I have to start all over again.
I have been following the same principles as I have from last year and I am happy to say that except for a few transgressions, minding my money and wasting less has become a way of life for me. I guess this is why I haven't been journaling much. It is not new to me any more and I feel, if I write I am just repeating myself and being monotonous. I do like keeping track of my progress on the side bar.
My mortgage is coming down nicely.
The two extra principle payments made last year, were a really big boost. Now for the first time, money going to the principle exceeds the money being paid towards the interest.YIPEE!
The stock market on the other hand is a big mess. How a few greedy SO and SO's have disrupted our whole economy and the lives of so many is really scarey!!! Isn't there such a thing as a regulatory commission to over see misteps such as these? Or do these people turn a blind eye for their cut of the money, while a whole nation suffers from their greed? If their was someone paying attention and not so greedy I don't think this mess would have ever occurred, I am not in the financial field and from the beginning of these exotic mortgage schemes I new there would be a painful ending. Logically, it just could not have worked...Now it is up to us to pick up the slack, with higher taxes for all to compensate for the errors of just a few, while those few walk away with multimillion dollar benefit packages and no conscience.
Why aren't they made to pay for their errors? Or is this just the american way of doing business ???
I am still investing in the market because I do believe that things will turn around eventually.
Now that the year is coming to a close I have to say that this year I have been especially mindful of my savings. For a full year I have kept an eye on my spending and have watched my savings grow. Overall it has been a very good year and I hope that it continues. My setbacks have been very minor and I have been able to recoup any and all losses. Most of my projects have been completed well with in budget. The only outstanding project remaining is to get the wood floors for my home.
The cabin purchase is on hold indefinately at the moment. The kit price came in fine but the builders estimates put us way over the top of our budget. So, for now we are forgoing this opportuinity and will continue saving.
My plans for the new year are pretty similiar to the goals that I had set this past year. I hope to be able to stay on track.
We are waiting for the materials cost of the kit. We should have the quote by this week. Next step is to go to the general contractor and get his quote so that we can apply for a construction loan. I'm a little nervous b/c I have heard that the lending standards have become so tight. We are putting 25% down and we already own the property. I am currenty trying to get my credit score into the 800-850 range so that I look really good on paper in preparation for the loan. Keeping my fingers crossed!
We have received the preliminary drawings for our cabin and have also retained a general contractor for the building of the cabin. I'm waiting to hear what the material quote will be. I should be hearing something this week.
After, I receive this quote then I have to go to the contractor and find out how much it will cost to get the kit together and build the cabin. My husband and I would like the home to be in turn key condition b/c neither one of us is very handy when it comes to carpentry.
I am very excited about this and I am also worried.
From what I have ben hearing, the lending standards have become much tighter and there are only a few places that deal with these types of construction loans.
We intend on putting 25% down and we already own the property that the home will sit on. Right now I am trying to figure out how to get my credit score to the 800-850 range so that I will look really good on paper when I go to apply.
I know that I have mentioned in the past that I have my free checking and savings with WAMU. The savings account is great! I get 5% interest with no minimum balance. The other thing that I like about WAMU is that I have their credit card and some of the features of that card is when you go online you are able to get your credit score free of charge. The credit score is updated once a month. You only get the score and it alternates between the credit agencies. This month my score was generated by Transunion. If you want a detailed explanation of the score, they give you the option to purchase it, right on the same page.
What I find hard to understand...is that my score goes up and down. From 730-760. Without me doing a thing. For instance I have not carried a balance on a single credit card for over a year. Or for that matter have taken out any type of loan. I haven't been late on any payments. So why should my score change at all? For example the begining of last year my score was the highest it had ever been 765 then it droped to the 740's. Meanwhile my savings account had increased and my mortgage was going down???
I just can't understand how they arrive at their numbers.
I would like to get my score even higher by the end of the year b/c I will be taking out a builders loan for the cabin I intend on building. I would love to qualify for a great interset rate at that time.
Today marked the end of the 3rd quarter for the year. I think that I am ahead of last year in the savings department. But I will not know for sure until 12/31/07. That is day when hubby and I go over al the investments and savings for the year and set our goals for the new year. We started this New Years tradition about 3 years ago. We look forward to it very much. We actually make a day of it and afterwards have a nice celbration.
The only thing that I know of that will affect next year is building the cabin. Which for now is still on hold until we can get septic and building permits. To tell the truth I am a little scared about taking on such a huge expense at this time. But my husband and I are not getting any younger and we want to do this before we get too old and no one wants to loan us money. We will be putting down a large down payment and that will be coming out of savings(nervous). We will also be making smaller payments for stuff such as building plans and 10% down for the kit. I am just wondering if we will like the place so much that we will make that our permanent home and sell this house? The taxes and the cost of living would be so much cheaper.
On another note, I have tried the paperback swap and it is a really nice site to trade books. It is very easy to use and the members are very friendly.
This weekend will be a big spend weekend. I am taking my Dad upstate for a wedding. My Dad is the kind of person that likes to keep his hands in his pockets if you know what I mean . So I will be paying for almost everything. I don't really know this side of the family so when he asked if I would take him I was hesitant but then said sure. He never goes anywhere. Anyway that is how I am spending my weekend.
While I was away I finally had the ceiling repaired. What a difference. My driveway also got a facelift with a new black top seal coating. I was so pleasantly suprised when I got home . All this work was done by my brothers while they wre babysitting my dogs. They didn't ask for any money but when I get the bills for this month straightend out they will certainly get paid. They also threw in a few extra's like washing and detailing dh's car and doing some landscaping around the house. Now the only thing left on the to do list for this year is to get the wood floors done. That will be a major and expensive job. I have one very large great room that has carpet over a cement slab and I want it replaced with hardwood flooring not laminate. Then my living room and dining room need the wood floors refinished. So, I think this week I will get a few numbers and call for estimates. I intend to pull up the carpeting and move the furniture myself, saving myself a few dollars in the process.
It was a beautiful day here on Long Island. Went to the beach with DD( used my empire pass) and it was perfect. The weather was great no bugs and not too crowded. We had a good time. Had pizza for dinner and picked up a movie from The Red Box.
Started my walking routine again in hopes that I will be losing a few pounds before the wedding. I know, the pizza is not a diet food. But it sure tasted good. I am still at 160 maybe I will lose something this week. One can hope.
For the 4th of July hubby and I decided to go upstate again and try to speak to someone about the log cabin. This time we actually have an appointment on a Saturday afternoon. We will spend a few days up there and we also decided to take a quick trip to Montreal.
Montreal happens to be one of my favorite cities. The people are friendly and it is very clean and well cared for. Their public transportation system is excellent. My daughter also loves it there, she will be going in Sept. to see a concert and staying over night.
With regards to this trip, last night I was trying to find a good rate on a room. I didn't want to spend a lot of money since I really don't spend much time in the room(just to sleep). I tried Hotwire.com. It was kind of strange. This was my first time using this site. You select which grade of room you would be interested in and the price, without knowing the hotel name or it's exact location. They tell you the ammenties and its general location and that is all the information you get until you pay. After you pay they give you the name of the hotel, the address and then you are able to access the hotel's website directly. I was afraid to submit payment. I had my daughter telling me not to and my husband saying what the heck go ahead and try it out. After submitting payment, I found out that I was given the Omni hotel in downtown Montreal which is a 5 star hotel for 103.00/night plus tax. Wow I couldn't believe my good luck. Now I just have to wait and see the room. My daughter is still warning me. She said that they will be booking me in the broom closet. We will see. I will let you know how it worked out when I get back.
Today was pay day and I am happy to report that I was able to put most of it away into savings. Hubby and I picked our 2 DRIPS for the month.
Summer is moving along so fast...My tomatoe plants have sprouted tomatoes in the last two days(sooo cute). I sure hope they taste good.
The deck was finally finished yesterday. Now I just have to wait two days for it to dry so that I can put down the sealer. I can do this myself if my brothers do not return. My front door also got a good sanding and a coat of high gloss polyurethane. The house is starting to look like its old self again.
On another note I have to really start getting serious about my weight. It started going down in Jan. and now I have gained the 4lbs. that I had lost. I really need to lose 20 lbs by the end of August. I am starting to take it seriously as of today. No more goodies for me and a lot more exercise.
I have to cash in some bottle returns today. And clean the inside of my house. I may go to the office for a little while to catch up on some paper work.
With all the projects going on around here, I still have been able to save some money. This obviously makes me very happy. We are pretty much putting the savings towards retirement. The only big purchases that we forsee in the future are to develope our land in PA. We would like to put a nice sized cabin on the property. My DH would also use a portion of the cabin as business space. He would like to set up a fly fishing office. He would take customers out on the Delaware River to fly fish, have fly tying lessons and casting lessons. He would also be writing his own books on his experiences on fly fishing the different enviroments he has fished in his many years as a fly fisherman. The property faces the Delaware river. We purchased it several years ago and have been waiting for the kids to finish college before we started to break ground.
The other purchase would be to buy a town house on Amelia Island in Jacksonville FL.. This area is so beautiful and the weather is so great. The only thing is that the real estate there is still so very expensive. I don't think that they are facing the same housing problems as the rest of the USA. Any way my thoughts on this are to buy something soon and to rent it out for the next 10 years or so. Until I am ready to live there on a part time basis. This way hopefully the mortgage will be paid.
My time frame for both of these projects are over the next 10-12 years. This is what is driving my frugal ways. It may turn out that I will never have the property in FL. but that is ok too. I have also considered the possiblity of renting when I'm ready for 6 months of the year.
So, getting the two properies and having enough money to live comfortably on are my driving forces. So when I see something that I want at the store I ask myself do I really want to waste my money on it or do I want to save it and get what I really want.
Well I kind of new that if I got my brothers involved in any type of project it would a) cost me big bucks
b) take forever to complete
c) be filled with aggravation
I love my brothers dearly and I would rather give them the job rather than a stranger. I know that they could really use the money.
But I don't get treated the same way by them as they would treat a stranger. For a stranger they would have the job done as promised but b/c I'm their sister they are very lax. This happens all the time and I am getting fed up. I have to run out and buy the supplies. Be ready to help and also watch their kids. Supply them with food,drinks,etc.. The deck is pretty much sanded at this point, I know I could finish the rest on my own. I just need to do a little more sanding then stain and seal it.
The good news about the deck is that it should last about 10 more years not the three that I originally estimated. Once the wood was sanded down it was found to be in great shape except for the planks that were replace due to water damage. And that was only 6 planks.
One word of advice...Never, Ever, paint a deck. Just stain it and keep repeating the sealer once a year. It is such a big job getting the paint up. I will never do it again...
I had a very good experience with the roof being repaired. I have a 3800 sq. foot house and the roof and gutters were repaired in two days. The guys were neat and professional and worked their tails off the whole time they were here. So, now no more leaks. And I tick off two items on my to do list. Today I will be working on the deck in the back of my house with my two brothers. I hope that this will only be a weekend project. Sometimes with my brothers it can go on for quite some time before it is actually finished.
On the savings front, I was able to save 80% of my pay this week. Next week there will not be any savings b/c I want to pay off my CC balance in full.
My puppy is all better. She didn't have any repeat episodes of last week.
To all the moms out here, Happy Mothers Day!
I received my state refund yesterday. This money will be earmarked for my 2007 IRA contribution. It will sit in my WAMU account earning 5% until next year and then April 2008 it will go to the IRA. This refund will not be added to the 20.00 savings since it is already earmarked but I will put the interest earned after the year is up into the 20.00 challenge. I saved 100% of my paycheck this week. I am doing fairly well in reaching my goals. I hope to be right on target by the end of this year. The only place I did not put any money into was the savings bonds. I don't think I will until they offer a better return. I ususally by I bonds but I do have some EE bonds. Right now the savings account is at %5 and I am happy with that. There is an online bank which I read in a post by my money that is offering 6%. I don't have that much money held in my savings for one extra percentage to make any difference to me. If I have mega bucks then it would.
I have only one CC right now that is carrying a balance at 0% for 875.00. I didn't even list it on the side b/c I will being paying it off in full by the end of this month.
I bought a bike yesterday. It is my attempt at decreasing the amount of fuel I use going to the local stores to pick up things on a daily basis. I plan on putting several baskets on the bike so that I may ride up to the local food stores and CVS. I could also ride into town which is only a few miles away. The gas prices are up to 3.25 and the summer is only a few weeks away. I do beleive that gas will be 4.00 by June or towards the end of June. Not only am I attempting to save on fuel but also help the enviroment and my health.
I had to bring my dog into the vet on Tuesday. She was vomitting alot and on the last episode she vomitted blood . I really got scared and rushed her to the vet.. They didn't know what was wrong with her so they sent me over to the emergency center, where they examined her and took blood from her. They didn't have a diagnosis for her and told me to take her home and observe her and if she continued to vomit to bring her back and they would do an ultra sound on her. She didn't vomit again. Thankfully, I didn't have to bring her back. I got the bill from both vets. yesterday, 500.00. I couldn't believe how expensive it was. I am so happy nothing is wrong with her and that she is back to her old self. But WOW it costs more to take care of the dog than myself???
I spent some money on myself. I decided that I didn't like the feeling or the look of letting myself go... another minute longer.
Dental appointment for cleaning and exam cost 117.00.
Manicure 7.00 with a 3.00 tip=10.00.
Hair color 60.00 at the salon.
Hair cut at the salon 65.00. Tips for haircut and color 25.00.
It may seem like a lot of money but I have to tell you that I feel and look 100% better than I did before I went to have all this maintenance done. I was going to call it pampering but at my age it really is a necessity, so therefore I will call it maintenance. I vowed to myself that I would not let myself go that long again between visits. The last time I had an overhaul like this was in October. I am going to commit to every three months from here on in. In between the three months I will color my hair myself and get my nails done every two to three weeks.
Regarding the dental visit, everything went very well. My teeth and gums are in pretty good shape. I just have to be very vigilant about the flossing. Big money saver there. No expensive procedures. Good thing. I don't have dental insurance.
At this point in my life, my goal is to keep myself healthy and looking good for as long as I can while trying to save for a comfortable retirement.
My IRA took a slight hit yesterday and is still down today. I'm not worried b/c I have had this account for quite a while and every now and then it gets hiccups like this and then recovers nicely. In fact I think if the market stays down I think I will be asking hubby if we could invest more(in our DRIP account) than what we are now.
Pay check went entirely to bills this week with nothing left over.
Tonight, Salmon with Cilantro and Lime sauce for dinner.
Today was a no spend day. Again b/c I worked all day. There was also nothing to save today as well. Had breakfast, lunch and dinner at home. Tonights dinner, Salmon, Couscous and broccoli.
Tomorrow I'm planning to go upstate to my condo. I haven't been there since Oct.4th.2006. I'm going to be bringing my brother and his 7 year old son with me for the weekend. It should be fun. Although there is a chance of snow for both Saturday and Sunday. I hope I don't get stuck up there. It will probably be a money spending weekend. Since my brother doesn't have much money, I usually treat them to dinner out. I also pay for all of the supplies we will be needing gas and tolls.
Lost 2lbs. this week, 1 last week. New weight 155lbs.
Well, after entering all the numbers for 2006 we came up with a number pretty close to our gestimate. We did really well in the savings department and would even like to improve upon it for 2007.
When I make entries onto my blog I ususally just include my earnings and savings but at the end of the year my hubby and I add together our numbers. He is the bigger earner and pays most of the bills as well as the mortgage. We live primarly on his salary and I have a few designated bills. He is able to save some of his earnings while I am able to save most of mine. We combine both to get our yearly total.
Even though we are in a housing bubble it hasn't really effected the value of homes in our neck of the woods. Our house is holding its equity nicely. Which is a big boost to the bottom line.
For 2007 I will contribute 4,000.00 to my IRA. Put 1,000.00/month into the stock fund. Contribute as much as I can to the cash fund. Continue the 20.00 challenge into my WAMU account. In this account I will place the money I receive from Half.com, Ebay, rebates, bottle return money and rolled coins.
Well, I think that about covers it. Happy New Year to all!
I have always wanted to give my daughter a good head start. Financially, hubby and I started getting stock for her when she was about 4.
When she was 16 we signed her up with her own checking and savings account as well as her first CC. The CC we signed her up for was set at a very low max(250). We taught her how to use credit responsibly. She had a job working at the local supermarket, making a decent salary for a 16 yo. After she had that CC for a while we had the max increase to 1000.00 and we also encourage her to get more CC cards. DD was able to get an Amex,Discover card and a Visa. All with pretty good credit limits.
I have also kept an eye on her FICO which is 785 and that is b/c she doesn't have longevity with credit. It should go higher when she is about 25. Right now, I think it is still pretty good for someone of her age(21).
Last January I had read a few articles in the financial journals stating that one of the best moves for a young person financially would be to get started with a Roth IRA at a very early age. I did some research and I found that T.Rowe Price would let you open an account with as little as 50.00 so long as you made it in automatic payments from a checking account. T. Rowe Price also has a very low expense ratio which also attracted me. The other option I had in mind was Vanguard but they wouldn't let you open with just 50.00. We put in 75.00 and she puts in 75.00 to total 150.00 every month. I have also set her up with an Emmigrant savings account 50.00 per month gets put in there and that hopefully will serve as her future emergency fund. She has another savings account that she saves her money in to buy herself things. I think I have covered pretty much everything that is in the works for her.Oh, one more thing, she has an insurance policy(SBLI) I got this for her when she was 2 or 3. I know this is the wrong kind of insurance, whole not term but she has had it for so long I am not going to get rid of it now. I hope this gives her a good start when she wonders out on her own.
I don't have much planned for this month financially speaking. I'm just trying to save more and spend less.
I'm doing okay with the credit card...I guess. I do have a small balance on one of the cards and that is because I have been doing some Christmas shopping I'm sure that the balance will go a lot higher by the end of December. Having a zero balance while it lasted made me feel good. Now I kind of feel blah. Oh well! I like using the old CC because of the ease of use and the buyer's protection that it offers.
I did come into some money over the past two weeks. I received my state and federal return money( I filed late). I had forgotten about it...so it was a nice suprise. It all went into savings. I am going to go over the finances and come up with a new strategy for the coming year. We were very good this year so I think next year will be very hard to top. WE didn't take any time off work or go on a family vacation this year. First time this has happened since we have been married. Next year I would like to go on a couple of vacations to make up for this past year. We will see.
Now that my youngest is in her senior year of college, we are seeing an end in sight (of tuition payments). We had made a promise to all three of them that undergraduate school would be paid for by us. Graduate school would have to be paid for by them. It was kind of rough in the beginning because we had two going to college at the same time (there was only 1 year age difference)we didn't have a savings account for this at the time and we didn't qualify for financial aid butwe managed. It was difficult, things were tight and gradually we got used to having and living on less. Now that the youngest has one more semester left we are looking ahead to a few things for ourselves.
We have property in PA and we would love to put a cabin on it. It has always been my husbands dream to have a fishing cabin.
I would love to have a decent sized townhouse in FL. for retirement. With regards to the FL.property I would like to purchase something soon and have it rented for the next ten to fifteen years until I'm ready to retire. This way it will kind of pay for itself. Anyway, saving for these two properties is my third goal. They are only dreams right now but maybe someday....
This October I am going to really start focusing in on my savings vehicles. Right now, I have an ING Annuity IRA which is really not performing well at all. I had to roll over a pension fund and a 403b from previous employers about 4 years ago. That is before I knew what I know now. Back then I didn't have any idea what a front end load was and I had know idea what they were saying when they were talking about 8 year hold or incur penalties. It wasn't until the end of last year that I began to read finance books and began to learn and realize what exactly I had gotten myself into. The woman that openned my account at the bank was very friendly and she seemed like she was knowledgeable. But as timed passed I began to realize that the only time this person ever showed me any interest was when she was trying to sell me a new product. Finally, I was on to her(Beware account advisor = salesperson,large commission). So, now I am stuck with a just barely breaking even retirement account. Pretty much the amount I have in the account is the money I have put in. I really have not made any interest or gains. I think the new savings rates would give me a better return on the money. So, this is what brings me to my new goal.
I am going to check over this account again in October and see if I can move things around inside the annuity and see if that makes a difference. Next I would like to open a Vanguard account, total stock index and just have that as a mutual fund, not another retirement vehicle. I would also like to look into the stock market and open a couple of DRIPS. Lastly, since the interest rates on short term CD's are looking pretty good I would like to open a few of those and ladder them. Hopefully with some of these changes I will actually see some of my money work for me.
My goals are as follows:
1. Keep my self healthy. This one without question is the most important to me. If you don't have your health then you don't have anything. Forget about saving and spending. Too often this simple goal is so over looked. Ever since I had a cancer scare(Thank God, it wasn't the Big C) a few years back, this thought was really driven home to me. I changed the way I ate and the way I exercised. I also make sure that I go for all my anual check ups. General MD, Gyn, and Mamography visits. Even the dentist. Recent studies have found links between dental health and heart disease. I know that I want to be around for a long time to enjoy my remaining goals and to set future goals.
So on that thread, the things that I think that I do right for my health and my pocket are as follows:
Regular checkup. Or if I think there is something wrong I immediately go to my doctor before a promblem becomes more than a problem.
I don't drink alcohol, although there is proof that a small amount may be good for you. I just don't because more often than not one usually becomes more than one. Saves big bucks at the restaurants too. For me I drink a glass of OJ in the AM, water and tea throuhout the day.
I don't smoke. Just could never get my head around the idea of inhaling smoke through my lungs and finding it enjoyable.
Don't do drugs, prescription or otherwise. Big money saver. I know quite a few people that think recreational use of drugs is okay. These are the same people that complain that they are broke all the time.
There are areas that I could and should do much better in, such as exercisng more and gaining more nutritional knowledge but I'm still a work in progress.
I bought a townhouse back in the 90's in upstate New York. I bought it as a foreclosure. I thought that it would be a great place to have, especially for the kids. And the price was right. I knew when I purchased the place that I would have it paid off before the 15 year mark and I did just that. I had it paid off 5 years early. It wasn't a hardship, I would just put a little extra money towards the principle every month and before I knew it, that little extra was really making a difference. Now, for the past 6 years I have been enjoying my little slice of heaven free and clear. It's a wonderful feeling. This weekend I enjoyed my time up there. The weather was 80 during the afternoon and at night it would get cool. The leaves are already starting to change color. By next week the fall foliage should be in full swing. Even with the gas prices being what they are, I never regret buying my little get away. I know since buying my place that it's value has increased substantially. So, it also is a nice little asset. One in which I get to enjoy over and over again.