Archive for January, 2011
This is a tricky topic I think. I have evolved to the point I view life as a journey. I'd like to think I have learned from my mistakes and grown because of them. If I could undo those mistakes, wouldn't I just make different, similar mistakes? Probably.
But if I could go back to some earlier date and change things, first and foremost, I would love myself more. I am certain I would make better choices as a direct result. I know I would have stood up for myself more.
I love my children. I wouldn't have them if I hadn't made the mistake of marrying their father, so I don't want to undo that.
I finished my BS last June, though I started working on it in the fall of 1985. If I could go back, that 20 year old me would stay in college full time, even if it meant living in my car.
I'm very happy with my life now. I feel that I walked a long, difficult road to get here. I love myself now, that wasn't always true. I have made peace with the disfunction in my original family. I am comfortable in my own skin.
And I must say, I LOOOOVE the American Opportunity credit! I will get back $2852 from federal and state combined. I can't e-file yet of course, but I am ready to do so the moment they are ready for my Sch A and education credit.
I won't be getting any further education credits for myself, I graduated last June. Double
This evening, my nephew surprised me with another $100. I believe I will throw it at my credit card debt.
In other financial news, my Inbox dollars account is up to $41.64. If I request a check, I get the message about the $3 fee. I am waiting for a $6 payment from Nielsen (that one is paid after 35 days) and $15 for applying for a Sony card (through Capital One). Once I hit $50, if there is still a $3 fee then I will just pay it. At the moment, I prefer to wait just a bit longer and see if I can avoid it.
And finally, it looks as though my income tax situation for 2010 is refunds of $1600 or so. I received my 1098T (for tuition) today and will run a diagnostic tomorrow to determine which credit works best for me, or perhaps take the deduction. Then I will be all ready to e-file, and will be more concrete than "$1600 or so". My car insurance will need to be paid soon, so I will deposit $800 into checking to cover that, and the rest will go towards credit card debt reduction.
Yesterday I transferred $2.43 from my Lending Club account to my checking account. This staggering sum will be mortgage chip money. Have you ever lent money on Lending Club? I opened an account when they were having a promotion, open an account and get a $25 bonus. So, I did. I didn't put in a cent of my own money. Lending Club was ok with that. I lent out the money, and the person I lent to has thus far made all of her payments. Every few months, I transfer the money out and chip away at my mortgage.
Worked another 5 OT hours today, so we are up to 10 now.
Oh! AND, I received my first piece of decoy mail yesterday. So now I have earned a whole $.25!! Lol. Looking forward to building up my volume again.
One of my retirement dreams is to live someplace pretty. South Lake Tahoe, California is one of my favorite spots to consider. So yesterday I was browsing, and found some nice level lots on city streets in the 30k range. If I had not bought my house, I could now pay cash for such a lot and a prefab kit, and would only lack the funds for the labor to put it together. Instead, I have a 183k mortgage. Sigh.
The next time real estate is hot, I intend to sell my house, bank the money, and rent a little place until I am ready to buy my final home. I expect that time is a decade or so away, so a studio apt should suit me fine at that time. Then I will have to wait for the market to cool, so that level lots in South Lake Tahoe are back in my price range again.
I intended to put in a whole day's work today, but slept a bit late, lingered over the newspaper with coffee, then took my son to get a haircut. Didn't manage to arrive at work until 1pm, and quit at 6. So, I have kicked off OT season with 5 hours.
I've been watching The Grapes of Wrath on Netflix. I read the book years ago, have never seen the movie. It gets to me. My Mom's family were sharecroppers near Oklahoma City pre-dust bowl, and came out here to California when she was small. She lived what is depicted in the movie. Ma Joad reminds me of my Grandma.
I was reading blogs this morning and saw a post about this prefab house, kit starts at under 40k:
I love this little house!
So today is payday, and I see I will be netting an additional $46 per month. Here is where it is going:
BofA credit card - $20
mortgage - $3
main savings - $3
everything else - $20
So, I am pleased about that.
So far this month, I have been doing very well with my spending, even with the car battery replacement and jump start service. I intend to report at the end of each month how I did. I wish I knew how to post an excerpt from Excel.
At the end of the year, I like to look at the current value of my nest egg and make some projections.
In my tax-deferred accounts:
My minimum goal is 600k.
If I stop contributing now and earn 7%, I will have 487k at age 65, 558k at age 67.
If I continue contributing at my current rate and earn 7%, I will have 632k at age 65, 731k at age 67.
In my Roth:
My minimum goal is 150k.
If I stop contributing now and earn 7%, I will have 33k at age 65, 38k at age 67.
If I continue contributing at my current rate and earn 7%, I will have 131k at age 65, 155k at age 67.
I also crunch what I will have if I earn 5%, 6%, 8%, or 9%. Those 8s and 9s sure are pretty! However, I think 7 is a more reasonable assumption.
Something I like to do at the end of each year is look at the current value of my nest egg and make some projections.
In my tax deferred accounts:
If I stop contributing now and earn a little over 8%, I will hit my minimum goal of 600k at age 65. If I earn 7.25%, I will hit it at age 67. I don't want to count on anything higher than 7%, but of course, I wouldn't mind.
If I continue contributing at my current rate and earn 7%, I will have 632k at age 65, 731k at age 67.
So I am glad that I have a good shot at hitting my minimum goal.
In my Roth, if I stop contributing now there is no way I will come close to my minimum goal.
If I continue contributing as I am now and earn 7%, I will have 131k at age 65, 155k at age 67.
Do you participate in Inbox Dollars? Have you heard of it? Basically, they inundate you with sales offers, and you can earn a tiny bit of cash by putting up with them.
I have an email address I use just for Inbox Dollars. They send you emails which you are paid $.02 each to read. They are ads, of course. They send you survey offers, special promotional offers, and they have an area called "tasks" for which you are paid to perform some minor tasks. I haven't tried any of the tasks yet, but who knows, one of these days I just may get around to it. Stranger things have happened.
You save up your earnings and can cash out anytime you hit $30. I have been doing this for 6 months or so, and am cents away from my first $30. To be honest, I make an effort for a week or so, then ignore them weeks on end.
Today I filled out an application for a Discover card which has a $50 bonus if you spend $500 the first 3 months. For using their link and being approved, Inbox dollars will pay me an additional $15. I believe I will wait for this to be credited, then request a check for $45.
If anyone is interested, you can get a $5 sign-up bonus by using the following link. I get some sort of bonus too, a percentage based on your activity (does not impact your earnings):
This will be mortgage chip money, along with my $50 Discover bonus.
I'm supposed to be underway to BF's right now, but here I sit waiting for a tow truck to give me a jump start. My car battery is dead.
My car is a 2005 Honda Accord. The original car battery died at 35k miles. The dealer sent a tow truck, towed it and replaced the battery at their expense (still under Honda's 36k mile warranty). My car has 73k miles now, and the second battery is dead. I am beginning to suspect that Honda does not provide good batteries. This tow and new battery is on me.
I intend to spend the night at BF's tonight and Monday night. I am attending a 1 day class in a city near BF's home tomorrow for work. Hopefully, I will be underway soon so that we can enjoy the evening together.
Are you pessimistic or optimistic about your future?
As I obsess about my budget, I realize that I am optimistic. I can envision finding ways to trim expenses and divert a bit more towards long-term goals. I anticipate hitting 10k in my general savings account, and diverting some of those budget dollars elsewhere. I anticipate eliminating my credit card debt and diverting those dollars elsewhere. I anticipate that my next raise will be put to excellent use, not just mysteriously disappear into expense-creep.
And on 1/15, I will know exactly how recent payroll tax and witholding table changes will impact my take-home pay. I just may have a few extra dollars to put towards my wealth building efforts.
Yes, definately optimistic.
I've been sprucing the place up. Did you notice? What do you think?
I have a general savings account, a "piddly" account (change from my wallet), and a savings account specifically for our trip to Egypt (hopefully 2012).
I have decided to open yet another, and fund it with dollars I don't spend from my "cash allowance" budget item. These dollars are intended to pay for clothing, grooming, splurges, etc. I will open it at Ally. At the moment, I have $63 in my wallet, with 9 days to go until payday. On payday, I will withdraw $80 (as per my budget )and deposit whatever bills I have left. I will then transfer them to my newest savings account. I think this method will help me to not fritter away the dollars in my wallet.
What shall I name it? Helen? No, that seems silly.
Boyfriend spent the weekend, and was still at my house this morning. As I was getting ready for work, he made our breakfast and packed my lunch. Awwww. When I opened my lunch today, he had written a mushy note on my napkin. What a guy! He is so sweet.
I will tag this "spending", as he contributed to my efforts to spend less on lunch. See? This post is COMPLETELY financial.
This morning I changed my Netflix plan from 3 dvds to 1 (unlimited), thereby reducing spending by $8 per month.
A small step, but in the right direction.
I was playing around with mint.com yesterday, and decided to make some changes I decided that instead of tracking a lot of small expenses, I would lump them together and give myself a cash amount monthly to cover them. Further, I decided that I will not leave any amount unbudgeted, but will strive to leave the excess sitting in my checking account, to be used when irregular expenses crop up. If either the amount in my checking account or my cash on hand builds up to an amount I feel is excessive, I will then deposit some into savings.
1. "Cash in bank" is a summation of all cash accounts.
I keep the bulk of my cash at Ally to earn as much interest as I can.
2. "Trad IRAs" is a summation of my traditional IRA and my SIMPLE IRA, my employer's plan. These have the same exact purpose, providing monthly income post-retirement, so I view them as one pot of money.
3. I use Zillow to estimate my home value and Kelley Blue Book to estimate my car value.