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.