Friday, April 29, 2011

Recommend PF Blogs

I have found several new pf blogs since I've started blogging.  If you would like to recommend a pf blog, leave the information in my comments.  Also, if you are a blogger that would like to be on my blog list, let me know and I will check out your blog.

I really like the pf blogs that are personal in nature.  I don't want to read a post about why everybody should have Roth IRA's or very general blogs.  I want to get to know the blogger through their blog, learn about why they do what they do and what personal challenges are coming there way. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Regular Savings Rates Suck

I keep savings in my bank for emergencies in case we don't have time to get at our money in ING.  We just got our interest for the month and it was much less than last month.  Our savings rate dropped from .25% to .10% on our money market savings.  I know that I don't have that money in our local bank to make much money but its still disheartening.  I don't like to see that I'm making 83 cents on 10K for one month. 

I checked savings rates at Bankrate.com and 1.1% is the best that I can find on there.  I will be content to leave the rest of our savings with ING for 1%.

Do the savings rates bum anybody else out?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Building Our House

I've mentioned before that we are saving to build a house.  We have put that off until at least next year because we're not as organized as we should be if we wanted to build this year.  And we need more money.  Y will be doing a good majority of the work for our house.  He will be doing most of the interior including the plumbing, electricity, drywall, painting, and flooring.  Y might be doing the taping and texturing depending on time and money. 

I know that we will have a very difficult time getting the financing for the house because we want to do part of the work and we'll have time constraints with a construction loan.  Most construction loans are only for 6 months maximum.  I think that there are a few local banks that will stretch it to 9 months.  This puts us in a very difficult position because we really want Y to do a lot of work.  That will save us a ton of money.  Actually, it probably won't really save us money but we will be able to afford a better house for less money.  Better in that it will have the amenities that we really want like a large kitchen, master bath and walk-in closet.  To be honest, if we can't have the amenities that we want, we will just wait longer to build.

 A part of me just wants to quit trying so hard to save.  We can just  finance more of it and hire out more of it so we can fit into the bank's time constraints.  I have not talked to a banker regarding a construction loan yet.  We are waiting to hear back from a very highly recommended builder. I'm really hoping that we will like his quote.  I already know that he does quality work and I've heard that he's very affordable, too. 

Has anybody else built?  Any advice?

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Credit Card

I received a call on Friday from my bank.  I had gotten a letter this past week about fees going on my US Bank accounts for about $12 per month.  The rep called me and told me that I wouldn't be charged because of all the different products that I have with the bank.  She also started talking to me about a credit card through US Bank.  I asked a couple questions and got off the phone with her.

I was thinking about what she said so I called my banker.  I have one banker that I always work and he is great.  He told me that I was eligible for a credit card that earned points, 1 1/2 points for every dollar spent and double points for certain things like gas or cell phone bill.  He also said that I could pay my credit card with a simple transfer from my checking account to the credit card because they are all with US Bank.  I did go ahead and apply for a new card with US Bank.

I currently have a cash back credit card that I like but its one point for every dollar spent.  I will be earning 50% more with this card.  If I could figure out a way to use this like our debit card, I would charge everything on it.  By that, I mean that I want to make sure that we have the money when the bill comes due.  If I could efficiently track my purchases and know that I have the money, I could just pay if off then.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Random Friday/Easter Tidbits

It's been a rough week for me.  I went to the doctor yesterday and I have tonsillitis.  Nice!  She gave me an antibiotic that should clear it up for me.  I just want to feel better for this weekend.

Last year for Easter, my daughter was too little to get it.  I still don't think that she will get Easter but she does get presents and toys.  I have to run to the drugstore today to get her some Easter gifts and things for her Easter basket (which is really an Easter pail).  I'm not going to get any candy for her.  I think that I will just get her fruit snacks.  She loves them and they are way healthier than a bunch of jelly beans.  I do give her candy occasionally but should a 21 month old really be eating jelly beans?  Seems kinda young to me.  I'm okay with giving her part of my chocolate candy bar but thats about it. 

One of my April goals was to track my spending and I've failed.  I did it for the first 10 days and have thought of it but haven't followed through. 

Happy Easter Readers!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Quitting Roth Contributions

We contribute $150 per month to my Roth and $100 to Y's Roth IRA.  We're contemplating stopping our Roth contributions because we want to be able to save more money for our house.  I know that this goes completely against PF blogging morals but this is my life. 

I know that I will miss out on compounding interest and opportunity cost.  I know that from an outside perspective it just looks dumb.  However, we want to build the majority of our house with cash so Y can do the work.  A construction loan will put a time limit on us that probably be more costly than the opportunity cost of not contributing to our Roths.

Regarding our retirement, Y has 9% of his pay going into his pension that his employer provides.  He also has $100 per month going into a 457.  I do not currently have an employer sponsered retirement plan but I will in less than a year if I stay with my current employer. 

I have already called to stop my contributions but Y hasn't.  I can always just log on and still contribute any time that I like.

So, what do you think? 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Y selling motorcycle

Y and I have talked about selling his motorcycle.  He has two and we would be selling the older one that he doesn't ride anymore.  The plan when he bought his new one was to have me ride it.  However, I have a toddler and my in-laws (ie. babysitters) go to the lake all summer so that doesn't work out very well. 

His friend's sister came and looked at it last week and will hopefully buy it.  The price is $3500 with the sissy bar or $3300 without the sissy bar.  The sissy bar is the bar that would support the back of the passenger or that you can tie your bag to.  That was about $350 on its own.  I think that she does want the sissy bar.   Otherwise, Y can take it off and sell it on Craig's List. 

We had talked about using that money for a 4-wheeler but we're going to hold off on that until we have our house built.  Speaking of which, we should be getting a quote from a home builder soon who came highly recommended to us for his competence and competitiveness.  So, he's good and cheap! 

I also listed some books on E-bay.  I'm willing to sell whatever to get money for this house to be built.  We would like to have 100K liquid to build (that's another post).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I didn't get the Job

I hadn't heard anything on Friday afternoon so I called the woman who had interviewed me.  She said that I was great but the job didn't pay what I was looking for.  I asked her if she had already offered the job to somebody else and she said she had.  I am very disappointed because I would've taken less money.  I wish she would've contacted me to talk about less pay.

I cried for quite awhile on Friday and had a pity party for myself.  I will keep on looking and try to make the best of my job.  

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stop Loss Pay

I had a pleasant surprise this morning when I logged into our bank account and had an unexpected deposit of $6,566.50.  It is money from Y being stop lossed in the army for over a year. 

Y and I got married when he was an active soldier in the army.  We were married for about 15 months before he deployed to Iraq.  I thought that he wouldn't have to deploy because he was scheduled to get out of the army in early November and they were going to deploy in September.  I thought that since his scheduled date was so close, they would just let him out.  I was wrong.  I began to have inclinations that I might be wrong that spring.  There wasn't any word of him gettting out (with the army, there is a ton of paperwork to exit).  By June, he had been stop lossed which meant that he was unable to get out because he had orders to deploy.  It felt like my world was crashing down. 

We tried to enjoy the summer before he left but in reality, it pretty much sucked.  We were counting down the days until he had to go to war.  This was in 2005 and Iraq was very much a hot spot.  Every day on the news, we were losing more American lives there.  He didn't know where he was going in Iraq.  We didn't have an actual date of him leaving but it was tentatively in September.  We had plans to go fishing for one weekend so I had the entire weekend off.  I got home from work on Thursday night and Y woke up to tell me that he as leaving on Monday morning for Iraq.  My eyes still well up to think of the emotion from that awful night.  We tried to spend time together that weekend but I pretty much cried the whole time.  It was not a good weekend with quality time. 

He was deployed for almost a year, just three days shy of a year.  That year was very hard for both of us.  At a certain point, I wasn't able to see his face in my memory.  I had kind of forgotten him.  Now that sounds awful to say but that's how it was.  Sometimes I would go a couple weeks without getting a call from him and I would just remember that no news is good news.  I didn't watch the news but because I lived near the army base, I would still hear stuff like there was a bad roadside bomb in the area that he was and 10 soldiers were killed.  When there was a death, the soldiers aren't allowed access to phones until all family members of the deceased were notified so I would just have to wait. 

We made it through the year and I thought that things were great.  Little did I know that it would take 2 years for Y to actually get back to "normal".  He would freak out over the littlest things and even told me a couple times that I would not be alive if I was at war because I didn't listen.  Um, really?  The two years following his deployment were just as much of a test to our marriage as the year when he was deployed. 

We found out last fall that Y was eligible for stop loss pay.  Basically, the army was going to pay him $500 per month for every month that he was kept after his original date of separation from the army.  We got that money today.  I told Y that he can spend the money however he would like and he said to put it toward the house.  The pay is nice but it brings back bittersweet memories of his stop loss. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gas is Ridiculous!!!!

I know that there is nothing original about this post but I just need to vent.  It costs $60 to fill up my car and $80 to fill up my husband's pick-up.  What happened to $20 to fill your tank and buy a pop and candy bar?  Obviously I'm just that old.  The price of gas is really starting to put a dent into our budget.  We have had an increase in our driving due to Y having a couple doctors appointments 45 minutes away and I've noticed the increased spending. 

We are incredibly blessed that we do have room in our budget for the increased price.  We can cut back in other areas and still make it work.  For many elderly living on a limited fixed budget, how do they handle the increase?  Their social security isn't going up because gas is increasing.  Food prices follow gas prices usually so it is only a matter of time before everything in the grocery store becomes more expensive. 

I follow a number of stocks through Yahoo Finance and I noticed that BP is the only stock that is up today of the ones I'm following.  Hmmm...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Careless with Money

My stomach has been in knots for the last few days with anticipation and worry about getting this new job.  I find myself being very careless with money.  I'm not really watching what I spend and am very good at justifying stupid purchases.  For instance, I went into the convenience store yesterday to buy cigarettes (I know, I shouldn't smoke but I have all this anxiety) and proceeded to buy a pop and candy bar.  That's about an extra 3 bucks that was completely unnecessary.  I was heading to my friend's house to have a beer.  I really didn't need a snack to eat on the 2 minute car ride there.  I bought lunch yesterday because I justified it by thinking that I just had to get away from my office.  Really? 

Does anybody else pinpoint situations that aren't good for their wallet?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Interview

My interview went well today.  Thank you for the well wishes.  I should know by the end of this week as to whether I got the job or not.  She asked me about the salary range that I wanted and I said 36 to 40K.  I know that the starting salary for that job is 32K but I don't think that I'm supposed to know that.  The only reason I know that is because my friend's dad checked into it for me.  I make 42K now plus commissions. That is quite a pay cut but I have a ton of expenses now.  I wouldn't have any expenses with the new job and I would have a lot less stress.  I'm pretty sure that I will take the position if I'm offered it.  Fingers crossed!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

April 2011 1st Week Spending

Friday 4/1 Lunch 2.68
                 Circus 17.00
                 Haircut/Shampoo 40.00
Saturday 4/2 No Spend Day
Sunday 4/3 No Spend Day
Monday 4/4 No Spend Day
Tuesday 4/5 Gas 43.86
                    Restaurant 11.41
Wednesday 4/6 Groceries 10.10
                         Drinks 33.78
Thursday 4/7 Parking 34.00
                     Gas 58.72
                     Snacks 2.80
Friday 4/8 Groceries 17.06
                 Clothes 52.87
Saturday 4/9 No Spend Day
Sunday 4/10 Restaurant 19.26

My spending isn't all that great for this week but it did include a couple days out of town.

I have my interview tomorrow for the job I mentioned awhile back.  Hoping it goes well!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Borrowing Money from Parents

I had a nice trip to the Twin Cities.  While there, I hung out with my friend for two days straight.  Her husband has some unexpected medical expenses and they are going to borrow money from her father-in-law for the deductible to the tune of $3000.  That is the deductible amount plus the maximum out of pocket which they will reach.  I know that they have repeatedly borrowed money from her in-laws for various things like their wedding, downpayment for their current house, and things for their child.  She didn't seem to have a problem borrowing money for their medical needs because they needed the money.  This begs the obvious question, why don't they save money? 

She told me how well they are doing financially.  Her husband has gotten about a 25% raise in the past six months.  Her business is going well.  She is self-employed and told me that she is making about 20K more than her previous full-time job.  Her baby had everything plus some.  She told me that she gets regular massages and buys organic bath products.  These are just a few examples that I saw of how much money she spends. 

I regularly cut corners on day to day things like toiletries.  I don't get massages because I like the idea of getting a massage but I'm really not willing to pay for them.  I'm fine with shopping for clothes at second hand stores because the stuff is still good and works for us.

I don't borrow money from parents or in-laws because I like to be self-sufficient.  I was a little bit surprised the way that she was so nonchalant about borrowing money.  I realize that they didn't plan on the medical expense but apparently they don't have any money saved for the unexpected. 

I know that I shouldn't judge people for their personal money habits but I do find it hard to understand being in the habit of borrowing money when one's spending habits are fairly relaxed.  Before I would spend money on organic bath products, I would try to save my money.

Do you think its okay to borrow money from parents when one could easily cut back their regular spending?

Disclosure:  I would borrow money from my in-laws if we lost a job and were in danger of losing our home or absolutely needed it for my daughter's well-being.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Little Trip to the Twin Cities

Today I'm going to the Twin Cities with my daughter to hang out with a friend.  We will be staying with her in her motel so there won't be a cost there.  I'm actually going to watch her daughter from 8 to noon tomorrow and Thursday while she has class.  I will have to pay for gas and food.  We will have our kids so we're not planning on going shopping or going out.  Well, definitely not going out but we might do a little shopping. 

The Twin Cities are always a favorite of mine.  It will be so nice to get away for a couple days and hang out.  I do not want to worry about work at all when I'm there.

I will post a budget recap when I get back. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

1st Quarter Check Up of 2011 Annual Goals

This is an update of my annual goals for 2011. 
  • Have $65,000 in liquid savings--I have $43,000 in liquid savings.  This has not been growing much at all.  I don't see 65K happening this year but we'll keep plugging along.
  • Student loan under $6000--This stands at about $7300.  The rate is at 4.5% and I have only made one extra payment of $50 this year. 
  • Have car loan under $14,000--This is at $17,550.  With my scheduled payments, I would need to pay an additional $400.  I haven't paid any extra.
  • Contribute $2500 to Roth IRA--I have it set up to automatically contribute $1800.  I haven't made any extra contributions but plan to make $200 this month.
  • Have ING Stock account to $8000--This is at about $6500.  I'm not sure how much I really want to add to this account because I will probably need the money in under a year.  It would be nice if it would grow by itself to $8000.  Nice but probably not likely.
  • Have Business Savings to $10,000 (this isn't included in my regular savings)--I haven't put any additional in my business savings.  This stands at 9K.  Plan to put $500 in this month.
  • Finish Will --Done! 
  • Complete a 5K Run--Haven't even started running yet.  Maybe I will do this one in the late summer/fall.
The only one that I've done is the will.  I've tried to add money to savings but its been a very expensive first quarter.  Here's to hoping that this next quarter will be better.  I would like to have 47K in it by the end of this quarter. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Survivor and Amazing Race

This isn't related to PF at all.  I absolutely love watching Phillip on Survivor.  He is my favorite.  He has so much passion for life.  I can see where he might be a little annoying but he stirs everything up.  I also can't believe that he's walking around in pink underwear on Survivor.  How hilarious! 

My other favorite show is Amazing Race.  I love the Cowboys.  They are such good people and never get mad.  They truly seem to enjoy where they are at any given moment.  Close second favorites on the Amazing Race are the Globetrotters. 

Happy Weekend!

April 2011 Goals

My goals are as follow for April:

1. Track Spending
2. Increase Savings by $1000
3. Keep Grocery Budget to $400
4. Put $500 into Business Savings
5. Put additional $200 into Roth IRA
6. Do not complain/nag at Y for tractor repairs--This has become a thorn in my side.  I can't wait until there isn't any work left to be done on the stupid tractor.  It's a good thing that Y is handy and can do it himself.

In other news, I had a phone interview yesterday for the position that I talked about a few weeks ago and I think it went well.  She said that she would call back on Tuesday for face to face interviews.  Fingers crossed!