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January 22nd, 2008 at 09:23 pm

It's been a busy January. We have been in contact with the people for the cabin and it is now a sore subject. We are no longer building a cabin. When we got right down to the constructiion of the home it was just way too expensive. The kit was affordable but we had no idea of the expense of putting it together. The total would have come to 436,000.00 and that price was just for the shell. It did not iclude the kitchen , bathrooms or flooring on the main level of the home. I was just so surprised. I figured with housing the way it is today that we could have gotten a decent quote but no way! So the project is on hold until we reach a new plan for the property. We will probably go wtih a stick frame house.

As you can see my savings account went way down. That is b/c I purchased a bunch of stock on the down turn. It will be fun growing it again. Now that we are not building a home it frees us up quite a bit.

My health insurance company is going out of business after 14 years of being with the plan. I received a letter from them that I would have to start looking for a new insurance provider. As of December 31st I ahve not had insurance and have been busy scrambling around trying to find a decent contract that was similiar to what we had. I found one today and enrolled. I am hoping that we will be enrolled for the beginning of February. I went with the Oxford group which is good b/c my doctors are in the plan as well as my hospital.

What was I Thinking?

August 9th, 2007 at 08:03 pm

Dinner with DS was really great! We had a very nice time and it is so good to see him doing so well for himself. His apartment is very cute and he has it decorated so nicely. He has recently been collecting antiques. His newest purchase was an old victrola. It is such a beautiful piece of furniture. Other than his antiques he lives very frugally. Even the antiques he does buy he gets them from thrift stores or give aways and ebay.

I am so pissed at myself. Today I went to pay my bills on billpay gathered them all up and as I was paying them realized that one of the bills to the cc company was due yesterday. God, I can't stand those late fees...which by the way will be more than what I put on the CC. It just kills me. I should be more careful but for some reason I had it in my head that all the bills were due around the same time.
I thought I had a good system but I have to do better.

Purchased some shares today of AT&T,Kraft Foods and Pfizer. Put two books up on half.com.

Just Venting

July 31st, 2007 at 12:05 am

Well, the girls showed up for work today. I was really suprised to see them. I was all prepared to work solo today.

I picked up our tickets from the travel agent today. We are going to St. Thomas for my husbands oldest daughters wedding. Not too thrilled about going. The last time the flight was horrible, we had such severe turbulence all the way there. A lot of people on the plane got sick. I also don't get along with my step daughter...not at all. We are like oil and vinegar. She had a real dislike for me from day one and that is the way it continued, even though I met her Dad 2 years after her parents divorced. I have tried to make amends several times and I got slapped in the face for making the effort. I am only going to this wedding for my husband who doesn't want to go alone. We aren't even staying on the same island we are going to stay on St. John. My husband doesn't get along with his ex. So he wanted to be as far away from her as possible. Other than the one day that we have to attend the wedding the rest of the time there we will be on a much needed vacation. You may be asking why does she have to get married in St. Thomas? Well, we asked ourselves the same question and her answer was she didn't want to have the same old cookie cutter wedding. At the same time she didn't care how much it excluded the people that couldn't fly or afford to hop on a plane. Or how much it is costing the people who are traveling and staying there. Anyway, enough about the wedding. Just had to vent a little there.

I got a scare today with my share builder account. They stated that I was (-) in my account and I new I plenty to cover the trade that I made on Friday in my checking account. So, I called them directly and they said it was b/c I used the express purchase option when buying on Friday and that money has to be in a money market account b/c it gets withdrawn immediately which I didn't know. So I had to trransfer funds. It was only for 1.40 but I didn't know what it was b/f I spoke to a customer service rep. I thought I had really screwed up my account. Well I'll just chalk it up to a learning experience.

Down But Not Out

July 28th, 2007 at 02:45 pm

I'm down about 6K in my Ira today. Do I feel bad? Not for a second. The market will turn around. So, I will wait and ride the wave without panicing. Been through this enough times to know better. I also know that I am diversified enough so that my whole life savings is not wrapped up in the market and never will be.

Being that the market was down yesterday, I bought more funds to add to my new ShareBuilder account. And my husband bought more indivual stocks within his IRA. We tried to take advantage of the past two days bad news and turn it into something good.

The new people that my DH hired, I think will probably not show up for work on Monday. They have only been working for 3 months with us and have already asked for a raise. Mind you one of them showed up almost a half an hour late for work on the day she asked for the raise. Not only that, the both of them have already called in sick, come strolling in 5- 10 minutes late everyday and think nothing of it. They also ask to leave early everyday and expect to get paid for it. When we don't have clients they sit and lay around talk on their cell phones and pretty much don't do anything unless they are specifially asked. So, when they asked for a raise yesterday DH laid it on the line and told him what he really thought of their performance and told them they didn't deserve a raise but if he saw improvement on their part he certainly would not hesitate giving them a raise. My husband is not cheap but he certainly believes in getting what he is paying for. So, on Monday he and I will probably be back to square one working with just the two of us for a while.
Oh well!

Investing, One for the bottom line and one for the soul

June 10th, 2007 at 10:16 pm

I have done a lot of frugal and unfrugal things this past week. So I guess that means that I broke even.

Yesterday, it was raining here most of the day so I was checking out share builder through COSTCO and decided to open an account. I already have an IRA as noted in my previous entry but there were a few other funds that I found interesting but ING did not offer these ETFS. So I thought that I would open an account get what I wanted and use the dollar cost averaging approach. It was a very easy process and COSTCO gives you a sign up bonus. I was feeling so good after my purchase that I finally committed to the KIVA site, instead of just visiting it. I fininshed off three people's loans( people who are close to the totals on what they are requesting) and also made a donation to KIVA itself. The amount of my loans totaled 300.00. It went to women who were seeking to improve their business thereby increasing their income. As I have mentioned it is a loan. But in the impoverished countries that these people are from there is a good chance that the loan may not get repaid. I realized this an thought that it was an acceptable risk.

So, for me there were two kinds of investing going on here yesterday. One for the bottom line and one for the soul.

Changes in my ING Account

June 6th, 2007 at 09:16 pm

Just finished getting off the phone with ING. They hold my traditional IRA account. One of the funds in that account will mature on June 15th. I had to make a decison on what to do with the funds. Since it really didn't make to much of a gain since inception(2002)I have decided to invest the 15,000.00 in that fund into a new fund. The new fund that I chose was the Fidelity Contrafund. Morning star rated it pretty highly with a fairly good outlook. So, I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that it does well. There were other funds in my porfolio that just weren't living up to expectations, so, I reallocated them as well. So, Fidelity Contra fund starts on June 15th and the new funds start after 6pm tonight. The money for these two new funds came from a Money Market account inside my IRA that was performing so poorly at 0.4%. This was established back in 2002 by the banks finacial advisor. Now that I am more knowledgeable. I can't believe that the advisor put me in such poor funds. As of today I do not have any of the original funds that I had started with. And the only time I hear from this advisor is when she is trying to sell me something with a huge upfront load. No thanks!

Happy June 1st

June 2nd, 2007 at 12:10 am

Most of my projects are completed at this point. In September I will start the floors. The deck came out beautiful and I am very happy with it. Total cost including materials $1500.00. Not bad. It is a very large deck, it runs the width of our house.

I didn't save anything this week b/c I had to replace what I took out of savings for the deck. I didn't charge any of it.

The stock market is doing well this week and I just checked on my IRA and it is doing great.

I think that I am on target with most of my goals that I set in January. Now that today is June 1st and pretty much the half way mark. I think I will have accomplished most of what I set out to do by December. Hopefully the weight issue as well.

All in all it has been a very good and productive week.


March 22nd, 2007 at 11:55 pm

This week I allocated the 15,000.00 in the following way.
$4,000.00 went into my IRA for my 2006 contribution,$4,000.00 went into two seperate energy fund stocks. Now hopefully the stock market will behave itself.

I will add the amount for this month's 20.00 challenge at the end of the month once I talley up the loose ends.

AlwaysCheck Your Receipts

March 10th, 2007 at 02:41 pm

I went food shopping on Wed. and purchased a good amount of food. I had quite a few coupons with me and had to make sure that the cashier took them off. I did this while I was bagging the groceries. I thought that I had done pretty well for myself with the coupon savings of 10.00 and change. That was until I got home and realized that I was charged twice for the same item that was priced at 7.59. I was really annoyed at this b/c I should have reviewed my receipt while I was in the store, instead of at home. It's just that the store was so crowded and people just want to get out of the store after their purchase (you can't really just hold up traffic to review the receipt in the store). I didn't think that the store would return my money once I had left the premises. I figured that I would call the store's customer service dept. anyway to see if they could shed some light on the situation. I was glad that I did. The person told me that she would write down that I had called and what the problem was and to bring my receipt back the following day and they would refund the money. Sure enough, the store did refund the 7.59. It really pays to review your receipts!

Yesterday, I had to cancel my AT&T service to the phone line in my vacation condo. It was getting expensive to have the service and there wasn't a point to keeping it b/c my cellphone can make the long distance calls. Well, let me tell you the customer service rep. tried to sell me everything but the Brookly Bridge during the phone conversation. She also told me something of interest which I did not know. She said that after I discontinued the long distance service that I would then have to call my regular phone carrier that maintains the line and tell them that the AT&T service was disconnected and that the phone service would have to send AT&T a letter letting them know that I actually did call them and made the request b/c w/o it they wouldn't disconnect service. I thought wow that is pretty nervy, why can't they do what I ask? The answer is...If anyone goes to use the phone to make a long distance phone call unknowingly and AT&T doesn't receive the letter they can actually stay attached to the phone line and charge really hefty fees for any calls made. This I didn't know. I hope this helps anyone that is disconnecting from a service.

Today, I have to sit down with hubby and allocate my 2006 contribution to my IRA. I wish I knew when I purchased my IRA that I was getting into an annuity instead of a straight forth IRA. I have to say, I have learned so much over the last four years. "I wish I knew then what I know now." I guess I shouldn't really think that way...I should be grateful that I have a savings at all. I just wished that I had been smarter. My parents were not savers and not good with money. I never had a solid foundation from them. This is why I so believe in teaching children from a young age about money. I think it should be one of the building blocks of eduation such as reading, writing, math and science.

IRA Took A Hit

March 1st, 2007 at 08:17 pm

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.

DRIP,DRIP...Not A Leaky Faucet

February 2nd, 2007 at 12:21 am

Deposited 38.69(Ebay money) into the 20.00 challenge today. Sent off two checks today for my DRIP account, 500.00 a piece, first one to a gas and oil company and the second one to a mortgage company(Jan. contribution). This is the first time in about two years that I can contribute something to this fund. The end of this month I hope that I will be able to write another two checks for two more stocks in my portfolio. I am very happy to be realizing one of my financial goals for the new year.

This was the first week in a long time that I didn't shop with coupons. I didn't have any good coupons and the stores really didn't have much that I needed. I only bought a few things this week and used mostly what I had in the house. I did have the store flyer coupon which gave me 5.00 off my entire order.

2006 -2007

December 31st, 2006 at 09:26 pm

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!

Follow up to Saving for a Child

December 6th, 2006 at 12:48 pm

As a follow up, The Dollar Stretcher has a good article entitled Mutual Funds for The Little Guy. There is a link to the The Dollar Stretcher under sites I frequent.

Trying To Save For A Childs Future

December 6th, 2006 at 01:16 am

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.

Goal Three

September 28th, 2006 at 11:38 am

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....

Goal Two

September 24th, 2006 at 11:42 pm

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.

A Productive Day

September 21st, 2006 at 10:36 pm

Today, was quite a busy day as was yesterday. Went to work in the AM. Mowed the grass. Took down the puppy's crate cleaned it and gave it back to my brother. Then cleanned the floors. I brought my older dog to PT. Made lunch for hubby and myself and then cooked two PotRoast dinners. One to have tomorrow night and the other one I froze to have at a later date.
Today was also payday, so off to the bank I went. There was only 5% left of my pay this week to put into savings. I had to pay school taxes on some property I have in PA. Next week it will be the same deal for the property I have in upstate New York. So for about two weeks I will have next to nothing to save. Kind of a bummer, but the way I see it ...it is a payment towards an investment.
Today also turned out to be a no spend day. A pretty good and productive daySmile

A Little Slice of Heaven

September 17th, 2006 at 11:26 pm

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.