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Archive for February, 2011

February 2011 Budget Report

March 1st, 2011 at 05:26 am

So once again I am pleased with my overall results. My paycheck income was short due to 2/28/11 being a 9 day pay period, instead of the usual 11. And of course I received those beautiful income tax refunds. While at first glance I exceeded quite a few places, it was all planned.

I did fine with groceries and utilities, but I went over on credit card spending.

I went to a baby shower last weekend and bought a gift. Another friend who I thought might be attending had a baby 3 weeks ago, so I bought a gift for her and took it to the shower as well. She ended up not attending, so I will have to make other plans for delivering that gift. A third friend had a baby in January, so I brought a gift for her new baby. That same friend has a 2 year old, and there was some snafu with my attending that shower. Long story short, I brought a gift for the 2 year old. The four gifts did add up.

A few weeks ago, I bought tickets for son and BF and I to see a stand up comic who did a show in my city. Paula Poundstone. It was a great show!

So the gifts and the comedy show together, along with my gas and Netflix, were too much for my credit card spending budget.

"Everything Else" was my 6 month car insurance premium.

February 2011 Net Worth

March 1st, 2011 at 05:09 am

Well, I'm glad to be back over 100k. It's been about a year and a half since I was last over 100k net worth. Three years ago, I was closing in on 250k.

Ultimately, I would like to have a net worth of approximately 1 million (600k traditional IRA, 150k Roth, a paid for house). So at age 41, with a net worth approaching 250k, I felt very optimistic about reaching 1 million by age 65. I only needed my net worth to double twice in 24 years. Now I am 44, and to reach 1 million net worth by age 65, I need my net worth to double 3 times plus some more in 21 years.

Wow! What a difference 3 little years can make.

Unexpected Co-Pay Refund

February 27th, 2011 at 12:08 am

A few months back, I was seeing a specialist medical doctor and had several offce visits. My co-pay for a specialist is $30. Somehow, I overpaid. I received a detailed account transaction list and check for $30 in the mail today. I had NO IDEA it was coming.

So, when I make March's mortgage payment, I will be adding $200 from my income tax refund, $23.10 from Plastic Jungle, $20 from Chase Freedom rewards, and $30 from the co-pay refund, as well as the few dollars I budget to pay extra.

March will be my "chippiest" month yet!

I have decided that I am going to start being better about recycling water bottles, and using that money towards my mortgage.

Federal Refund In My Hot Little Hand

February 23rd, 2011 at 08:10 pm


Looking forward to my next Statement of Net Worth!

Cashed In At Inbox Dollars

February 22nd, 2011 at 03:34 am

Tonight I got up to $50.01, so I cashed in. There is still a $3.00 processing fee, so now I know. However, I did immediately receive a $3.00 bonus, so it's not so bad.

It should ship around April 1, hope it makes it here in time to add to April's payment. If not, it will make a fine mortgage chip in May.

State Refund Already

February 19th, 2011 at 07:08 pm

I e-filed my returns on Monday, and today I see that my state refund has already hit my bank account. Thank you, state of California! Smile


February 18th, 2011 at 08:02 pm

This is something new to me. Inbox dollars paid me $3 to sign up with Offermatic. You register your credit/debit card with Offermatic and based on your activity, you are offered rebates. For example, spend $20 at Target, get a $10 rebate right on your credit/debit card. Spend $20 at Shell, get a $10 rebate. So, I went right ahead and registered.

Here is a referral link, if you are interested. If you do Inbox dollars, be sure to link from them to get your $3.

Cancelling Universal Life Policy

February 18th, 2011 at 04:44 am

The last joint account that my ex-husband and I have is a universal life insurance policy. The benefit amount is 300k on him, 130k on me, and 5k riders on each child. We are still splitting the cost and it has a small cash value (I think right around $1900). Our daughter is 20 and married, living in another state with her husband who is in the Army. Our son is 15. As we are no longer married, the chance of us dying together is quite small. I feel we no longer need this policy. I told ex-husband this several months back, but he wanted to keep it.

Additionally, I have a 50k term policy with ex-husband being the beneficiary. I would like to change that to 50% each child. They are already the primary beneficiaries of my retirement funds.

Ex-husband called me today and says he wants to cancel the universal life policy. He needs his half of the cash value and doesn't want to keep paying the premiums. He says he will up the term policy he buys through work. I said that is fine with me.

So, he will be cancelling that soon and I will be receiving my half. I have thought it over today, and I think I will put my half into my Roth.

Also, my life insurance costs will decrease by $28 per month. I plan to send $25 to my emergency fund and allow another $3 for "everything else".

My emergency fund should break the 10k mark in April. I think that is enough of an e-fund for someone with credit card debt, so after breaking 10k, I will direct those dollars to B of A Visa.

A Pleasant Discovery

February 17th, 2011 at 04:36 am

So last night was bill paying night, and when I finished making transfers and writing checks, I was shocked at my balance. I have just over $1100 in checking, though I still have to pay for my pest service (bill hasn't arrived yet). Also, I will have to visit the grocery store before the month is over. Wow! I'm very pleased. Smile This is much more than I typically have after mid-month bill paying. It's a good thing too, since this pay period has only 9 days in it, my paycheck will be smaller than usual.

Also, when I went to the bank to deposit my paycheck and take out my $80 cash allowance, I looked in my wallet and saw I still had $57 from last time! I withdrew $60 and transferred $20 to my spending savings account. Ideally, I would like the cash allowance to fund all clothing and grooming items, for both me and my son. I started with $0, so it may take some time to build up enough to cover all such expenditures.

I'm excited and encouraged about tracking, it really is helping me to cut back! Smile

Need to Pay More Attention to Retirement Account

February 11th, 2011 at 05:39 pm

My boss just told me that I need to pay more attention to my retirement account. He just discovered that he forgot to send in contributions for Feb and May of last year (including his own). Lol. So that means my Simple IRA is about to get a little boost. Smile

A Good Day for Mortgage Chips

February 11th, 2011 at 05:14 pm

Yesterday I received an e-mail from Plastic Jungle. I sold a gift card I had never used for $23.10, and my check is in the mail! There is a nice little mortgage chip.

Also yesterday I received a rewards check from Chase for $20. This too will make a nice little mortgage chip.

More Budget Tweaks

February 7th, 2011 at 11:32 pm

I decided to go ahead and tweak my monthly budget. Since I spent $360 out of $500 budgeted grocery dollars, I am going to cut my grocery budget to $450. I am going to save an additional $20 in my emergency fund, pay an additional $5 on my credit card debt, and bump "Everything Else" from $163 to $188. Ideally, I won't be spending much of "Everything Else" and so will have some surplus built up in checking to handle unbudgeted expenses.

"Groceries" is really for groceries and household items such as cleaning products, lightbulbs, etc. I have to feed myself, my 15 year old son 5 days a week, my 34 year old nephew, and 3 dogs. One dog is my nephew's, the other two are dogs my ex-husband let my son adopt. When my ex-husband lost his house to foreclosure last year, he couldn't find a rental which would allow him to keep the dogs. My son loves those dogs, I couldn't let them go to the pound, so I have them now.

Also, I count my son's meals at school as "groceries".

I think I can do better than $450, but I don't want to adjust my budget down further based on only 1 month's grocery expenditures. I'm still new to this tracking business, so I don't have much data for analysis.

Buy a House with Boyfriend?

February 6th, 2011 at 08:22 pm

Boyfriend and I have kicked around the idea of buying a house together. Boyfriend needs to sell his current home for his own reasons, and expects to realize a decent amount of cash. We have talked about him moving in with me, and plan to do that once he has everything in order. The appeal for him to buy another house is that he doesn't want to sell low and then be out of the residential real estate market altogether. The appeal for me to buy another house is that I think we are about at the bottom and I stand to enjoy some nice appreciation from buying now.

(I live in one of the worst hit areas. Home values in my town have fallen two-thirds from the bubble peak.)

I would have to turn my current house into a rental which is not completely thrilling to me. I have been a landlord in the past so am familiar with the "joys" which can crop up. Smile

If we bought a house together, we would go half-sies. Probably, he would put his half down and I would take a mortgage for the other half. The payments would be substantially smaller than the payments on my present home, and should be more than covered by the rent I would collect on my house. I've already talked to my current lender (Wells Fargo Home Mortgage) and discovered that I qualify if I decide to go ahead.

I am unwilling to move into a home which he buys solo and rent out my home. In that situation, I take on the risks associated with being a landlord but do not participate at all in the potential appreciation of the home he buys.


Mortgage Payment #34

February 3rd, 2011 at 06:13 pm

I just transferred $1292.43 to my mortgage ($1290.00 budgeted, +2.43 from Lending Club). The scheculed P + I is $1060.23. Here is a snip from my spreadsheet:

My new balance is $183,574.01. I have chipped payment #359 down to $581.49.

January 2011 Budget Report :)

February 3rd, 2011 at 12:28 am

Here is how I did:

My comments:

Net Pay - Short this month due to a 10 day pay period.

Groceries - I did much better than I had guesstimated! I'm not going to lower the budgeted amount for now, but if I can consistently come in lower, then I will cut it and use some of those dollars elsewhere.

Utilities - I came in under on the variable bills.

Visa Allowance - I went over a little. I had the car battery issue in January, so I'm pleased that I didn't go over much.

Everything Else - The only expense here were library fines.

All in all, I am pleased with my spending in January. January gets a Smile

Extra Income Allocation

February 1st, 2011 at 10:49 pm

So, after setting aside money for my car insurance, I will have just over 2k in extra income from my income tax refunds. I have tweaked my extra income allocation and plan to do the following:

30% - Emergency Fund
20% - Credit Card Debt
20% - Egypt Fund
20% - Roth
10% - Mortgage

In about 2.5 months, I will have 4 - 5k or so extra income, and will do the same with that.