Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cashing in Vacation

My husband started his new job on December 20th.  He was with his previous employer for 4+ years.  He had 86 hours of vacation time owed to him.  He called the person in HR to verify the amount of vacation he had before he put in his notice.  He called earlier this week to inquire on getting paid the vacation pay that was due him.  The head lady in HR told him that they would pay him but not until after the first of the year.  He is also owed some money for reimbursements for working out of town.  I'm not sure the amount that he is owed because it was impossible to keep track with that employer.  He would randomly get a check but it never had an itemization on what days it was reimbursement for.  He had to turn in his receipts so I don't even have any documentation if they try to screw us which I fully anticipate they will.  It doesn't make any sense to me that they would have to wait until after the first of the year to pay him for his vacation time.  He had already earned the time when he quit December 17th.

I hope we get that money because things are tight for us right now because he won't get a paycheck until January 15th from his new job.  The whole situation seems fishy to me.  The positive thing is that he is no longer employed there.  We won't have to deal with this again. 

Has anybody else had any luck with collecting money from vacation earned after you leave the company?  Any tips?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Savings vs. Paying down Debt

I had the following comment that I thought I would write a post explaining my situation:

Wouldn't it make more sense to pay off the loans and then have $45,000 in savings? Less money in cash but huge interest savings. Just a thought.

Yes, it most situations it would make more sense but not in our situation.  First of all, my car is financed at 0% and my student loan is at 4.5%.  It doesn't make sense to pay more on my car because I'm not losing anything by keeping it.  My student loan interest is tax deductible so that essentially brings the interest rate down to 3.6%.  So why do we want so much cash compared to paying down debt?

We plan to build our own house either this summer or in the spring of 2012.  My husband is going to do most of the work himself.  We will hire out the septic, foundation, and outside shell.  My husband can do the interior including the plumbing, electric, and drywall.  We might hire the kitchen and flooring.  Most construction loans require the work be completed in 6 months or possibly less.  Since my hubby will be doing the majority of the interior work himself and working full time, I highly doubt that we would be able to make the 6 month requirement.  We plan to pay for the exterior and a good majority of the interior with our cash.

For the obvious question, how do you plan to build a house with $65,000?  That amount will take care of the exterior and a good chunk of the interior because we won't be paying for labor.  The house that we plan to build could probably be built for about $150,000 if we hired everything out.  A good portion of that is labor.  We will probably get a construction loan toward the end of construction to pay for the kitchen, fixtures, and flooring.  Those items could easily run us about $30-40K but after you pay for them, they are done quickly.

So, the savings that we could get from paying off my student loan would be very quickly eaten up by hiring out more things when we build our house. 

Is it a financial risk to plan to do it this way?  Of course but we're prepared to take that risk.  Is my husband qualified to do a majority of the house?  Yes, he was a plumber by trade until recently.  He finished off the lower level of our bi-level in our old house.  He did the wiring, sheetrock, finishing, and trim. 

Do you think we're crazy for this plan of action?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winter is Expensive

There are so many expensive things about winter compared to summer.  For starters, we needed propane to heat our house.  We ended up ordering 750 gallons at $1.66 per gallon.  That works out to be $1245.  We are also paying $40 a time for snow removal.  We now live in the country and aside from buying a plow truck, we don't have any options for doing snow removal ourselves.  It just keeps on snowing.  Twice last week and again the end of this week.  We also received a notice that they would like to reappraise our property for tax purposes.  An increase in our taxes is the last thing that we need.  I know that it really does even out as far as expenses go but it just seems like we're getting hit right now.  I need to be thankful that in the summer we won't have a water or gas bill. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 Financial Goals Update

  • Escrow account to $7000--fail, we sold our house so we don't really need this account so I didn't finish it
  • Savings to $10,000  Done!
  • Student loan under $6000  Fail--it's just under $7500
  • My Roth IRA to $10,000  Done!
  • My Roth IRA contributions to $3500 Done!
  • Stock Account to $2500 Done!
  • Mortgage under $100,000  Done--because we sold our house and bought a different one
  • Business savings to $12,000--fail, its at $9000
  • Savings to $15,000  Done!

2011 Goals

Here are my 2011 Goals
  • Have $65,000 in liquid savings
  • Student loan under $6000
  • Have car loan under $14,000
  • Contribute $2500 to Roth IRA
  • Have ING Stock account to $8000
  • Have Business Savings to $10,000 (this isn't included in my regular savings)
  • Finish Will
  • Complete a 5K Run

Alltel Phones

Husband and I switched to Alltel on Christmas Eve.  We'd debated about switching but we plan to use the wireless internet as our home internet and Verizon doesn't offer unlimited wireless internet.  The good thing about going with Alltel is that I will be able to write off the wireless internet on my taxes since I will be using it for work.  My husband got a Blackberry and I got a regular phone.  We had to have one Smart Phone with the unlimited internet. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

December Goal Progress

1.  Track Spending  Fail!!!
2.  Have 10 No spend Days  Fail!  (I haven't been tracking my spending).
3.  Make goals for the New Year--2011  Done!
4.  Add at least $500 to savings  Done!
5.  Pay the credit card in full--I paid our new home insurance and for the appraisal on it  Done!
6.  Close on our new house  Done as of 12/2!
7.  Get propane delivered for our new house  Done!  I called today to get it done. 
8.  Get Direct TV set up  Done!

It is so hard for me to track my spending.  Any tips?  I'm not sure why I suck so much at this.  I don't even have a prayer for keeping track of my husband's spending.  Of course, I know what he spends out of our checking account but cash dissolves in his hands. 

How does everybody else keep such good track of their spending?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Favorite Store

I have a new favorite store.  It's so awesome!  It's Toys R Us!  I went there with my daughter last night and I love it.  We both had a lot of fun.  She's almost 1 1/2 years old and had a blast trying out the many different toys.  My husband's grandpa had given us $100 for her for Christmas.  I was going to put it in her savings account but I decided that she should have a gift from him.  I bought her a musical table that was $45, so about $50 with tax.  I will put the other $50 in her account.  I know that her great-grandpa will have a lot of fun watching her play with her new toy from him. 

That store is so cool though.  They have everything.  I would have loved to be a kid in that store.  I remember thinking that the toy section in KMart was the coolest thing. :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Changing Cell Phone Providers

We've been with Verizon for about 4 years now.  I'm thinking of switching to Alltel because they have a better plan for us.  We can't get regular internet at our house because we live in the country.  Dial up isn't an option because my husband won't put up with that.  We can get satellite internet but its about $50 per month, even paired with our Direct TV.  So that leaves us looking at wireless internet through our cell phone provider.  I talked to Verizon and its $50 a month for a limited internet package.  I was at the mall during my lunch hour doing some Christmas shopping and I happened to stop in the Alltel store.  Basically, our cell phone bill is right around $103 per month.  That includes two regular phones (not smart phones) with 1400 any time minutes with a limited texting package on each phone.  For about $150 per month (taxes included), we would get 2 phones with 1200 any time minutes, 1 regular and 1 smartphone, unlimited texting, and unlimited wireless internet.  They are very close but Alltel includes the smart phone in their package which my husband really wants a smart phone. 
Has anybody had any luck with Alltel?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New House

We closed on our new house on Friday.  I'm so happy that its finally done.  My husband got the job that he applied for and he starts 2 weeks from yesterday.  We'll have to get more information on the benefits he will have.  I do know that health insurance is completely paid for our family. 

Now we have to get our propane filled up.  Holy Batman, that's expensive!  Much more expensive than having natural gas.  We don't even have the option of natural gas because our new place is in the country.  I've been tracking my spending for December and its high.  I will try to do a post on that later.  We're in the process of getting internet at our new house.  It's also going to be expensive because of location. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Quitting Walmart!

Last week we spent like crazy at Walmart to the tune of over $400.  I talked it over with my husband and we both decided that we would steer clear of Walmart and get our groceries at a regular grocery store.  Often Walmart does have very good prices on groceries but we end up buying so many other things there that we may or may not need.  We did buy a few turkeys at rock bottom prices of 50 cents per pound and we needed to stock up on a few things but I feel that we wouldn't have spent as much at a regular grocery store.  This past Wednesday, my husband went to the grocery store and only got what was on my shopping list.  He's much better about following a list than me.  He will often not have one extra item from not on the list.  I always get what is on my shopping list plus a bunch of other items.

Has anybody else stayed away from Walmart because you spend too much there?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Net Worth

I don't keep track of my current net worth the way that most people do but I keep my own version.  The reason I don't do it like most is because I don't figure that I will actually sell some things.  For instance, most people track their home net worth by subracting their mortgage(s) from their home value.  That is very deceiving because there are a lot of fees to actually sell your house and you would have to pay them to gain access to that money.  We also have a couple paid for motorcycles and another vehicle but I don't see us selling them so I don't include them.  Anyway, here goes. 

Assets
Savings  63,009.61
Retirement  12,201.14
Stocks  5,655.59

Liabilities
Student loan  7,576.48
Car  18,950.00

The huge increase in savings is because we sold our old house but have still not closed on our new house.  The car loan is at 0% and my student loan is at 4.5%.  I only keep a cushion of $500 in my checking account and I don't include that.  I also do have a business checking and business savings but these totals don't reflect those balances.  The retirement is just mine.  My husband has a 401K and a Roth IRA but I don't include those balances.

Tracking spending and December Goals

Today is December 1st.  I'm going to track all of my spending in December.  It's kinda weird but it actually makes me excited to have a better control of my finances.  With moving in November, I completely lost it for that month.  For December, my goals are:
1.  Track Spending
2.  Have 10 No spend Days
3.  Make goals for the New Year--2011
4.  Add at least $500 to savings
5.  Pay the credit card in full--I paid our new home insurance and for the appraisal on it
6.  Close on our new house
7.  Get propane delivered for our new house
8.  Get Direct TV set up

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving is Expensive

I went grocery shopping last night and its so expensive buying all the things you need.  I'm not even hosting but I'm bringing a pecan pie, green bean dish, and a wine sangria slush to my in-laws house.  I had to buy everything I needed last night to make only a couple recipes and it really adds up.  I guess it would be nice if I had everything stockpiled but I don't because we just moved.  But even if I did have a stockpile, would I really have chopped pecans and slivered almonds?  Probably not because they would be eaten so quickly in my house.  I also bought a couple turkeys to give to two friends who helped us move.  I feel funny giving friends cash but I'm okay with giving gifts or food.  One friend has a turkey fryer so we will probably deep fry the turkey that we're giving him at our house.  Maybe I could pick up a bottle of booze for each of the friends to go with the turkey.  I know that they don't expect anything but I just want them to know how much we appreciate all of their help. 

Would you be okay with getting a turkey for helping a friend move? 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tracking Spending and Goals

One of my goals for November was to have 10 no spend days.  It doesn't look like this will happen because I haven't been tracking my spending.  With moving, I probably wouldn't have gotten 10 no spend days.  It is amazing when you don't track your spending how out of control it feels like you are.  Of course my bills are paid and my checkbook is balanced but it still feels as if something is amiss financially. 

For December, I will definitely track my spending.  That will be my first goal.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We sold our House!

I just came from the title company and we sold our house.  The closing on our house has been pushed back to not sure when because of the comps on the appraisal.  Buying rural property is hard. 

It feels anticlimactic and bittersweet to sell our first house.  It was a very nice house and I will miss it :(

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Settlement Statement

We are closing on both houses tomorrow.  At least, we hope so.  We are definitely closing on our current house.  I have not yet received a settlement statement that details out what exactly we'll be getting from the sale of our house.  I'm a little concerned because we are within 24 hours of closing and I want to see that statement. 

What do they expect me to do?  See it at closing and take their word that they will fix any mistakes.  This really pisses me off!  I do not trust that there won't be any mistakes.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saving Change

As we were moving this weekend, I was reminded that we have a lot of change.  My husband and I have been married for 6 1/2 years and we've never cashed in our change.  We have a lot.  I haven't counted for a long time.  We talked of cashing it in before the move but put it off so we again moved all of it to our new house.  Before we moved into the house that we just moved out of, I rolled most of it because our bank at that time didn't take loose change.  We had over $1000 at that time.  I have no idea how much is there now.

My husband and I have talked about cashing it in but we haven't because we haven't needed it and we don't know what to do with it.  Obviously, we've saved the money for quite some time now so it feels like we should do something worthwhile with it.  I don't want to just cash it in and put it into our savings account.  We talked about using it for a vacation but I have no idea when that would happen. 

Since we're moving into the country, we could put it towards a four wheeler.  That is something that we really want and I think we would get a lot of use from it.  We could put it towards an education fund for our daughter as well.  She has a savings account that her birthday and Christmas money goes into but nothing specifically for college. 

The responsible pf blogger in me knows that keeping that much money at home without earning interest isn't very responsible.  Also, when comparing the four wheeler to an education fund for my daughter, well...   I really want a four wheeler though.  Maybe we could split it 3 ways, 2 parts to the four wheeler and 1 part to a college fund. 

Any thoughts?  Ideas?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Home insurance annoyance

I cancelled my old home insurance effective the day that we're closing.  I logged in today to check to see when I might expect a refund.  They automatically refunded the amount of $147.53 back to my credit card that I had paid the premium in the first place.  It was a bit annoying to me because I would have just rather had a check.  I had to pay for my new home insurance premium anyway so I just put it on the same card.  I will get the cash back rewards for my card so it isn't all bad.  I do use my credit card for some large purchases to get the cash back but I find that its harder to budget with it.

For me, I would never be able to charge everything I paid for one month on my card and pay it off.  I think that I would consistently run short.  I admire people who are able to do that but I don't think I could on a regular basis.

Possible New Job for Hubby

My hubby is looking at a new job with the state.  He currently works in the trades and makes a decent living.  His company was bought out 2 years ago and now the management is terrible.  On Sunday night, he often won't know where he's working yet for Monday morning.  Sometimes, its 90 miles away and he needs to be there by 7:00 on Monday morning.  His manager sounds very disorganized and constantly pushes his guys for improved efficiency.  He wants them to be at the job and working 15 minutes before their scheduled start time of 7 a.m.  We think that this is ridiculous.  I agree that employees should be as efficient as they can but I also think its illegal to try to make people work before they're getting paid.

He applied for a position with the state working at a college.  It would be in a related field but not doing the exact same things.  We're not sure exactly what the position pays but it will be very comparable.  The awesome thing about this job are the benefits.  It would have an automatic 9% deposited into a retirement plan.  Health insurance for family would be paid in full.  There are a few other benefits too.  We are so optimistic because it is a state job so my husband should have veteran preference. 

Right now for health insurance, we both have it through our respective employers and our daughter is on my health insurance.  I weighed the options and this was the least expensive option for us.  Hubby pays $48 per month for him and I pay $320 per month for my daughter and me.  That would be $370 per month that we wouldn't have to pay for so even if there is a slight pay cut, we would be okay with that.

Hopefully, they give him a call soon.  Since he has military preference, if they give it to somebody else, they have to notify him via certified mail.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

7,500 miles

For my October goals, I wanted to get my oil changed.  I bought my car new in June and have not yet gotten an oil change.  I was feeling kind of bad that I had been putting it off.  I decided to look in my owner's manuel to see how many miles it is recommended to go on an oil change.  It said for normal driving you should go 7,500 miles.  Yippee!  I only have about 7,200 miles on my car so I have a little bit of time yet and I'm not over.  Cars have become so much more efficient with oil.  I appreciate it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Moving on a Budget

I have no idea how people move and stay on budget.  We close in one week so we need to be out of our house.  This week we are packing everything up and will be moving most of our things over the weekend.  Last night, hubby and I packed up the kitchen.  We left out a cake pan, huge frying pan, pizza cutter, and paper plates with plastic silverware.  I know that we will likely be eating out or picking up pizza to cook at home because we are limited to what we'll be able to make.  I think that some of our friends will be helping us move so we will be buying them lunch/dinner.  We also discovered that we need to buy more packing tape.  We haven't even gotten to the part for gas to actually move. 

Moving is so overwhelming.  I feel like I can't control everything and I just want it to slow down.  I would like to hire a mover but its an added expense that won't happen.

Does anybody have any tips for moving on a budget?

Monday, November 8, 2010

I heart Redbox.

This weekend was a local holiday, also known as deer hunting.  As I was left for the weekend alone with my daughter, I opted to rent a chick flick for both Friday and Saturday nights.  I went to Redbox where new releases are all of $1.07.  If I forget to return the movie, it is $1.07 for each additional night until the movie is paid for.  At that point, I get to keep the movie.  It has saved us so much money from going to Blockbuster or even Netflix. 

Does anybody else do Redbox?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shopping!!

I go in stages where I just want to shop.  I had my hair cut a couple days ago in the mall so I went to JCPenney to get a couple things for my daughter.  I had a $10 off of $25 purchase coupon.  I bought her a winter hat and mittens (which she needed) and a couple pajamas for her.  Now it feels like I've opened up the flood gate and I want to go shopping again.  The more I go into the mall or any other clothing store, the more I want to go.  It's addictive to a certain degree. 

To give you some background, I have never struggled with credit card debt but I have shopped quite a bit in my past.  I used to shop all the time, for clothes mostly.  I quit the habit when my husband was in Iraq and we were saving for a house.  I saved all of his money and some of my money.  I only went shopping once during that year.  It also helped that the mall in the town where I lived then was terrible. 

I keep thinking of new things that I NEED!  Yeah, right!  I don't really need them but for some reason I just WANT them!  Does anybody else struggle with this issue? 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Switching Savings Accounts?

We are set to sell our current house and buy another one later this month.  We will be putting 20% down on our new house but we will still have around $28,000 left from the sale of our current home.  Our plan is to only put down 20% because we will be building a house on the land in about 1 1/2 years.  We want to have as much liquid as we can for building a house because we may have problems with a construction loan.  The reason I think this is because my husband plans to do a large majority of the work himself.  From what I have researched, most construction loans don't allow this because they want to make sure that the house gets built and in a timely manner (usually 6-9 months). 

Currently, I have a couple savings accounts set up.  I have 2 savings accounts with my regular brick and mortar bank that I have our checking account at.  I keep around $10-15K just in case.  I also have a separate savings account that is linked to my business checking at another bank.  These aren't actually set up as business accounts but I use them for that purpose.  I have an online savings account at ING.  There is about $6,000 in there that I would usually use to pay our property taxes and insurance for the year. 

For the $28K coming up, do I stay with ING with their 1.1% or do I switch to another online bank like Ally or Sallie Mae.  I know that Sallie Mae is currently offering 1.4% on their savings accounts and Ally is offering 1.24%.  The difference for a year on a deposit of 26K is only $78 per year.  Is that worth it to switch?  ING was at 3% when I started with them and they dropped their rate shortly thereafter.  There's no telling that Sallie Mae won't do the same thing. 

Does anybody bank with Sallie Mae or Ally?  What would you recommend?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Please Vote Today!

I've never missed voting in an election and its a right and privilege that I don't take for granted.  As a woman, it's very special to me to vote.  The suffrage movement was huge and it means a lot that I'm able to vote.  Many people have died protecting our right to vote. 

Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now but please vote!

Did you exercise your right to vote?

Monday, November 1, 2010

October Goal Recap



October's Goals

  • Buy $100 in stock--retail account   DONE
  • Keep Grocery Budget under $350    DONE
  • Have $14,300 in savings at month's end  Failed--I would have completed this goal but we put $2500 down for our new place, I ended with $12,326.97
  • Have my daughter's pictures taken  DONE
  • Pay an extra $200 to my student loan  Failed--I did pay an extra $50 but I hesitated to pay that much because we're trying to save all the money for our new house.
  • Have 8 no spend days DONE
  • Get my oil changed  Failed--No excuse!

Weekend Fun!

I won a ticket to a hockey game about 3 1/2 hours from my house through a contest at work.  I wasn't going to go because its so far away and spouses weren't invited.  I received quite a bit of pressure last week so I did end up going.  I rode down with my coworkers and shared a room.  My manager and assistant manager were there and they paid for all my drinks.  I should have had a blast but I missed my husband and daughter very badly. 

In total, I ended up spending about $30 and I did get a $100 gift card for going so I actually made money by attending the function.  It was a good time but I much prefer low key weekends spent with my family or close friends.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Payday Today!!!

Yay!  I love paydays!  I always have.  I even program them in my phone so I have a reminder in the morning.  My second payday of the month includes my commissions so I especially look forward to them.  The reality is that I do spend more on the weekends after paydays.  I usually do more grocery shopping and miscellaneous spending after paydays.  I try to not spend as much but I always do.  Not totally out of my budget, but still.  Do you tend to spend more right after you get paid?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We're officially moving!

We are officially moving.  Things were a little bit up in the air for a bit because there was a discrepency with the acreage.  Our original contract was written for 19.65 acres.  The seller signed off on it and later came back and said the the acreage that he was selling was 17.49 acres.  WTH!!  We would not accept that because we already had a contract in place.  Our realtors couldn't work it out so yesterday my hubby met with the seller face to face.  Hubby agreed to the 17.49 acres with a $6000 decrease in the price and a riding lawn mower. 

We are hopefully closing on November 17 on 17.49 acres for $109,000.  Our mortgage payment should be peanuts so I'm super excited.  We will have to save money for when we build our house.  We will probably build in the spring of 2012. 

Our biggest concern is finding a solution for snow removal.  We get quite a bit of snow here and living in the country, it drifts pretty bad.

Lots of big changes ahead!

Monday, October 25, 2010

October 3rd Week Spending Report

Sunday 10/17 Groceries 20.14
Monday 10/18 No Spend Day
Tuesday 10/19 No Spend Day
Wednesday 10/20 No Spend Day
Thursday 10/21 C-Store 4.71
                         Gas 47.00
Friday 10/22 Entertainment 10.27
Saturday 10/23 No Spend Day
Total Gas 47.00
         C-Store 4.71
         Entertainment 10.27
         Groceries 20.14

Yay!  I have 10 no spend days for the month!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Weekly Money Check-Up

Over at My Pretty Pennies, she has a weekly money check-up.  Here goes.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on daycare at $115 per week.
2. Today I feel ambivalent towards money.  I've been so worried about saving all of our money for our new to us home purchase that its kind of exhausting but there are so many things that I would like to buy.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free/inexpensive thing I did last week that made me happy was went on a bike ride with my daughter.  She rides in the bike trailer and smiles the entire time.  We biked around the bike trails in our neighborhood. 
4. I will consider this week a success if I get my oil changed in my car.
5. My favorite cereal is Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  I drift away to other cereals but I always come back to this one.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Does Sam's Club really save $?

My hubby and I have this never ending debate on whether Sam's Club saves our family money.  To give you some background, it is him, me and our 1 year old daughter.  I'm not against buying in bulk.  I routinely buy in bulk from toilet paper to canned soup to all of our meat.  Regarding our meat, we even buy a quarter beef, half a pig, and our chickens by the case.  I recognize that buying in bulk if you have the storage space can save one money. 

The problem that I have with Sam's Club is that it encourages people to buy items that they don't need and may or may not use.  For example, my hubby likes to buy spices there.  He once bought a jumbo container of grilling spice.  Sure, we're still using it but we really didn't need it and I could've made do without it. 

When we did have a Sam's Club membership, we went about once every month or two.  We would on average spend around $100 each time.  We haven't went to Sam's for over a year and we spend much less on groceries now, around $100 less per month.  Also, Sam's doesn't take coupons and while they have everyday good prices, they don't really have sales.

However, Sam's Club has samples.  On a busy day, they will usually have a sample at least every 10 feet.  The samples are good, creative, and a great way to lure people to buy their tasty product.  I think that the samples are the real reason that my hubby loves that store. 

How about you?  Do you like warehouse stores?  Do you think they are worth the money?

October 2nd Week Spending Recap

  Sunday 10/10          Eating Out  25.56
Monday 10/11         Drugstore  6.61
                               C-store    6.72
                               Gas          50
Tuesday 10/12        Fundraiser  19.00
Wednesday 10/13  No Spend Day
Thursday 10/14      No Spend Day
Friday  10/15          Eating Out 10.67
                              C-Store  4.95
Saturday 10/16       Groceries  51.43
Total  174.94

The c-store is usually smokes and/or pop/junk food.  Yes, I know that its a bad habit.  I'm hoping for 3 no spend days this week. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Talking to Friends about Finance

Why is it that in real life I can talk freely to some people about money and not at all to others? 

I have 2 people that I consider very good friends.  One is my best friend and has been since we were about 10.  The other is a very good friend and we were actually roommates 3 different times before we were married.  I've known her since middle school and I know that she will always be there for me. 

I actually told Friend 1 about this blog so I know that she can and will actually be looking at what I have to say about money and personal finance.  (She's actually the only person in real life that I told about this blog. )  With buying a different place, I talk freely to her about how much it costs, what our payments will be, what we are putting down, and everything else.  She cares about money but is not interested in personal finance.  She didn't even know what a personal finance blog was before I told her that I'm starting one. 

With Friend 2, I told her that I thought we had a place lined up.  She asked me if it was for a good price and I replied that it was.  I described to her where it is and I know that she immediately went online and looked it up for the price.  I didn't tell her how much we offered or anything like that.  It annoyed me that she went online to look up the price and  I know that she did because she mentioned that she saw it online.  She has more schooling than me but makes less and I think that she's a bitter person about money.  She also has massive student loan debt because she refused to work in college.  It's almost like we are in a financial competition but we're not, right?

It's just interesting what a different dynamic you can have with friends about money.  Does anybody else have any experience with talking to friends about money and having mixed results?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Locked in Mortgage Rate

I met with the banker today and locked in our new mortgage rate at 4.25%.  That is with the .25% additional because it is a manufactured house.  Now we just need to wait to see how the appraisal comes back.  I'm hoping we don't have any problems with it.  I had so much trouble finding a bank that would lend to us because it is a manufactured house.  As soon as they heard that it was a manufactured house, they told us that they couldn't do it and we likely wouldn't find any bank that would lend us the money. 

I don't want to live in a manufactured house long term but for us this is a good thing right now because we will be able to live in it while we build our own house.  My hubby will do a good majority of the construction himself so a typical construction loan wouldn't fit our needs because they will usually only do them for 6 to 9 months.  Since he will be doing most of the work, I think that it will be longer than 9 months.  So, we will have to have a good chunk of money to do the exterior of the house on cash. 

In 3 to 4 years time, I will have a new house that I love on 20 acres of land in the country.  For that, I'm willing to do what it takes.

Do you have preconceived ideas about people who live in mobile homes?  Would you ever do it to get the end result that you want?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

We're Moving!!!

Wow, we're moving!  We accepted an offer on our house on Monday so we are set to close on November 17th!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Helping Friends Out

My hubby is in a construction trade.  My hubby is very nice about helping people and is usually all about it.  He is in a skill that everybody needs and not just anybody can do without training.  His skill is usually billed out at about $100 per hour.  In the past, he has not ever billed his friends for his time and effort but usually people will pick up the tab for beer and/or food. 

Last May and June, a good friend our ours was remodeling his lake house.  Naturally, he asked my hubby for "help".  This help turned into about 6 full days of my hubby at his place and doing the complete remodel in his field of expertise.  That would be one thing but for 2 of those full days, his buddy wasn't even there.  He was fishing because it was fishing opener.  I thought that it was getting a bit ridiculous and I pushed him to ask his buddy if he was going to pay him.  This was no longer just helping out a friend when they expect you to be there to get the job done and they are fishing.  His friend said that he was going to pay him $300 in a gift card but now my husband ruined the surprise.  After working out the hours that my hubby had put in, he told his friend that $450 would be fair.  Well, he did give him $300 but never gave him the $150 because he was having "money issues".  Needless to say, he did this entire remodel to his lake house without taking out a loan but he apparently had money issues.  Sure!

Flash forward to this past Friday, he came over with his girlfriend with a check for $150.  In a way, I should just be happy that he got the rest of the money but I still can't help feeling a little bit used.  If he would have hired out what hubby did, it would have been about $6000.  He's not in the construction trades and maybe he doesn't know how much they bill out for but I highly doubt it.

Lesson learned:  When helping out a friend for anything more than one day, discuss payment upfront.

BTW, the $150 is going directly to our savings.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

October First Week Spending

This is a little more than a week but it goes back to the first of October.  I already have 4 no spend days!  Yay!!!  My goal is for 8 no spends this month but I can always exceed that!

Friday 10/1      Gas  50.03
                        Groceries  153.94
                        Eating Out  7.59
Saturday 10/2  Eating Out 22.00
                        Haircut  5.00
                        Groceries  12.00
Sunday  10/3   Groceries 19.60
                       Drugstore  14.68
Monday  10/4  No spend day
Tuesday  10/5  C-store  6.52
Wednesday 10/6  No spend day
Thursday 10/7  Groceries  17.14
                        Eating Out  27.41
Friday 10/8  No spend day
Saturday 10/9 No spend day
Totals     Groceries  202.68
              Drugstore  14.68
              Eating out  57.00
              Gas   50.03
              Misc.  5.00
The groceries are a bit high because I hit a bunch of sales and stocked up for most of the things we need for the month.  I will just have to buy produce, dairy products, and bread for the rest of the month.  Eating out was higher than I thought.  It didn't feel like we ate out much but I guess that lunches out really add up. 
                      

October's Goals

I know that a good chuck of October is already gone but these are my goals for the month. 
  • Buy $100 in stock--retail account
  • Keep Grocery Budget under $350
  • Have $14,300 in savings at month's end
  • Have my daughter's pictures taken
  • Pay an extra $200 to my student loan
  • Have 8 no spend days
  • Get my oil changed

Friday, October 8, 2010

Unexpected Dinner Out

I received a call 2 days ago asking to show our house yesterday at 5:30.  I said that would be fine and I specifically asked about how long they would be.  Their realtor told me that they would for sure be done by 6:00.  Yesterday, I picked up my daughter from daycare (I have to pick her up by 5:30) and we went to the farmer's market.  I spent $12.50 there buying a couple pumpkins, squash, potatoes, garlic, and peas.  From there we head home.  At 6:00, they're still there so we head to a park for a little bit and snack on the peas.  We drive by our house again at 6:15 and again at 6:30.  By this time, we're starving so I head for the local pizzeria.  I wasn't expecting to eat out but what could we do?  I know that there probably were other options but they didn't leave our house until 7:15.  Total damage for the pizza, $21.15 (we brought some home for hubby, he had class last night).  I was just annoyed at having to spend the money.  However, anybody who spend over 1 1/2 hours in our house has to be very interested.  Hopefully we will get an offer soon.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hubby's Money

I always get the mail.  It's almost an obsession of mine.  I love it.  As soon as I get home, I get my daughter out of the car and walk to the mailbox.  Yesterday, there was a paycheck stub for my husband.  I often open up his paycheck stubs because sometimes there are real checks in there.  He is not a fan of me opening his mail.  In fact, this had lead to many fights in our household but I just have to know what's in there.  I refrained from opening his mail yesterday and low and behold, there was a check in there for $120.  At first, he said that he was just going to keep it but I thought that it should be deposited into our account because we are saving for our next house.  This morning he did leave it on the counter for me to deposit.

This is where I run into a bit of a moral dilemma.  I know that he would like to cash it and use it for personal spending money but he pretty much spends whatever he wants the way it is without regard to trying to save money.  I used to let him have "fun money" but he bought a $10,000 motorcycle this past summer and our current agreement is that he doesn't get any fun money because we are still making up that amount in our savings.  Should I feel bad about depositing the check into savings versus letting him cash it and do whatever with the money?

I should add that he fully supports us saving money for our next house purchase but he spends more than me on a regular basis and it annoys me. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Welcome!!!

Welcome to my new blog about money and everyday life!  I have a few goals with this blog but first and foremost to obtain better control of my financial life.  I've had financial goals for quite some time but I find my world spinning like crazy lately.  We are in the process of buying a new house and selling our current house.  The seller's have accepted our offer and we just have to wait for an offer on our house.