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Starting from Zero Again

June 14th, 2008 at 06:21 am

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.

Update

February 9th, 2008 at 10:01 am

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.

Years End

December 29th, 2007 at 08:42 am

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.

Cabin Update

November 25th, 2007 at 08:17 am

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!

November 25th, 2007 at 08:10 am


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.

754

October 20th, 2007 at 06:49 am

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.

3RD Quarter Over

September 28th, 2007 at 03:16 pm

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.

Completing a few more goals

September 9th, 2007 at 08:21 am

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.

Beautiful Day

August 11th, 2007 at 04:27 pm

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.

4th of July Plans

June 28th, 2007 at 02:10 pm

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.

Sunday 5/27/07

May 27th, 2007 at 06:27 am

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.

Long Term Goals

May 26th, 2007 at 07:54 am

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.

My Deck

May 17th, 2007 at 11:47 am

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...

Roof Repair

May 12th, 2007 at 08:04 am

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!

May 5th-A Week in Review

May 5th, 2007 at 06:02 am

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???