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Archive for March, 2011

March 2011 Net Worth

April 1st, 2011 at 04:22 am

And here is my net worth report. Dipped back under 100k again.

My house value has hit a new low. It seems I say that every month!

I hadn't checked Kelley Blue Book for my car value in a few months and was surprised that it booked a few hundred higher. I must have put in the wrong mileage last time.

March 2011 Budget Report

April 1st, 2011 at 03:48 am

Here is my report card for March. Smile

My wages were a bit more than budgeted due to a 12 day pay period. I also managed a nice bit of extra income.

I paid extra on the mortgage with some of Feb's extra income, as planned.

The groceries and utilities really did come in with the same total. It's a coincidence not an error. We did good in both catergories.

This was the second month my water bill was based on usage, not on a flat rate. My water/sewer/garbage bill was $98 per month, but the past 2 months it has been $87ish. So not a huge difference, but definately nice.

I overspent on my Visa. Again. As well as my gasoline and Netflix, we ate out a couple of times, I bought son some needed new shoes, and I made a donation to the American Red Cross for Japan relief efforts. Eating out continues to be a problem spending area for me.

I made my regular Roth IRA contribution, then opened a new Roth at ING (thanks, Ima Saver!) with an additional $200 contribution. After I receive my $50 bonus, I will transfer it to Vanguard.

That was my last gym membership payment.

I paid $420 on my Visa debt, some of which was from extra income.

I haven't paid any medical co-pays in a few months, but the time will come when I will go over.

That's it, end of report.

My Roth IRA Goals

March 31st, 2011 at 07:03 pm

My target for Roth IRA is 150k. I have made the following contributions:

2008 2k
2009 2k
2010 3k

Current value: 9k

If I contribute 3k per year from now on, I will reach my target of 150k at age 65 if I earn just a hair over 6%. The return isn't guaranteed of course, but 6% is extremely possible. So, I intend to scrape up at least 3k each and every year for my Roth.

In other news, I have a large hedge on the right-hand side of my driveway which was terribly overgrown. BF has trimmed it back neatly, and my nephew and son took care of all the branches. So some progress has been made already, with much more to follow in the coming weeks.

Spring Plans

March 20th, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Yesterday, my Mom spent the day at my house, along with son, nephew, nephew's son, and BF. So we were chatting about the sad state of my backyard and the current unkempt state of my front yard. I haven't done much at all with my yards since buying the house. There were other priorities, but the time has come to spend a little money and a lot of elbow grease and get them looking nice. (And I really do want to spend a little money!)

There are a few other items around the house I need to address. I sense some of my B of A Visa money slipping away. {sigh}.

When I bought my house, it was in rough condition. It was a foreclosure, and it had been owned by someone with very questionable taste. I wish I had taken a bunch of "before" pictures! Some of the "selling features":

1. There were bathroom tiles hot-glued onto one wall in the living room, in a sort of checkerboard pattern, but not touching each other. They weren't lined up neatly. Some were brownish, some were gray, some were a metallic copper color. They were about halfway up the wall. Underneath, someone had painted vertical stripes of peach and brownish-red. They hadn't used a ruler or tape or anything. I mean, why would you? Wink

The wall had to be re-textured after the tile came off.

2. Someone had rag-rolled the kitchen walls, and done it badly.

3. The hall bathroom had been painted a very bright green. They had painted the walls and ceiling. They hadn't bothered to remove the mirror, cover the tub enclosure, etc. So in addition to re-painting, there was a lot of paint removing to be done. Good times!

4. One bedroom was painted a bright red. A very, very, bright red. It hurt my eyes. The theme of failing to do any prep work was repeated in the bedroom. They had not covered switch plates, protected the carpet, nothing. The carpet was not salvageable, too many large paint splotches.

I think I will find my camera, take a few "before" shots of the yards, some "in-progress" shots, and some "after" shots. I have some very simple improvements in mind, but I think they will help both curb appeal (in the front) and our enjoyment (in the back) a lot. I really want to keep it low-cost and low-maintenance (in the future).

Bill Paying Evening

March 16th, 2011 at 05:18 pm

So last night was bill paying evening, after paying everything, I have $1200 left in checking, and I have another $226 coming in next week. Not bad at all, considering the small 2/28 paycheck. I have decided I will not keep surplus greater than $1500 sitting there, but will instead transfer it to savings.

This month I paid $420 to B of A Visa. That's $85 budgeted, plus $149 from EF (sent it $1), plus $78 from selling a credit card reward gift card, plus $8 from Beezag, plus $100 received from someone who owed me $100. My new balance is $3,330.53. I think I will be able to pay it in full next month. Smile

My 3/31 paycheck will be for 12 days, so that will make up for half of 2/28's shortage. My budget is based on 11 workdays per pay period, but the occasional 10 and 12 days do happen. That 9 though was really ugly.

Secret Shop Today

March 13th, 2011 at 06:04 am

I did a secret shop today at an auto service chain. I needed an oil change anyway, and the shop reimburses up to $33. I actually spent more than that because I went ahead and had my tires rotated and bought new air filters. Still, it took me only 30 min or so to complete and submit the report. Well worth it!

I also went by my gym to turn in a 30 day notice. They offered to make me inactive for 6 months at no charge. So, I went for that.

I enjoyed my day off today so much, I was ready for one! BF and son and I went to my Mom's house. The four of us played cards all afternoon, then had a nice dinner. It was a nice relaxing time. BF has been here more than a week and has bought groceries, so my grocery tab for the month should look pretty good!

Today I received a check for $78 from Plastic Jungle. I logged on to Discover because I thought I should have my $50 check from them, only to "discover" that I hadn't completed my transaction. I still had the same rewards balance. So I tried again and opted for the instant statement credit instead.

And I reached 8,000 pts on Beezag, so have ordered my first $8 pay out from them.

Intent to Kill (B of A credit card)

March 9th, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I have decided something else too. I am not going to chip the $128 in credit card rewards I expect any moment now. I am not going to add any new money to my main savings account. I am not going to use my bonus money next month towards savings, Roth, mortgage, etc. Instead, I am going to kill my B of A credit card debt.

I should be able to kill it next month. Following its demise, I will have a bit more free cash flow to use towards savings goals.

Another Budget Cut

March 9th, 2011 at 07:22 pm

So after careful consideration, I have decided to ditch the gym membership. BF and I have decided to start taking bike rides together. I live near a nice walking trail which I utilize when I have a walking partner. I own Wii fit, and Netflix has tons of workout videos for streaming. I am going to miss it, but I really could use the money elsewhere.

It is not a slam dunk gain though, as I have been paying for BF to be on my gym membership in exchange for him adding my cell line and my Mom's on his plan. Since I am cancelling the gym membership, I feel I need to reimburse him for the cost of our lines.

Offermatic Rebates

March 8th, 2011 at 01:35 am

I received e-mails today about my two Offermatic rebates. You have to follow the link in the e-mail which takes you to Offermatic, log-in, and then enter your credit card information. The rebates are pending. Smile

I don't think I am going to chip my rebates. I think I will just use them to help me keep my total credit card charges down to my budgeted $400 per month, something I have not managed yet!

I hope I get some new offers soon. I especially like those gas ones!

Home Value Falls Further

March 2nd, 2011 at 05:37 pm

This morning on, I noted that according to Zillow, my home value has fallen another $4,500 to $127,500. I am now at 144% LTV. Frown

Sometimes I wonder: am I being foolish? Am I missing the opportunity of a lifetime? Should I buy a different home for myself at today's prices and just let mine go? Yes, I put 53k down and immediately another 10k on repairs/maintenance, but that's gone and there is nothing to be done about that.

In Pursuit of Credit Card Rewards

March 2nd, 2011 at 05:07 am

So in January, I applied for two credit cards in order to earn money from InBox Dollars. I was credited $15 for one but am still waiting to be credited $15 for the other.

Meanwhile, one of the two cards is a Discover card. Today I noticed that I have available rewards, and just ordered a $50 direct deposit into my checking account. Yay!

The other card is a Sony Visa from Capital One. I was awarded 10,000 pts which I redeemed for a $100 Sony Style gift card. Today I sold it on Plastic Jungle and will receive $78 cash. Double Yay!!

So hopefully, I will have $128 to chip on my mortgage next month.

On InBox dollars, I did ask about my $15 credit and was told I should look at my confirmation e-mail from Capital One which I should have received when I applied. I didn't receive any such e-mail. I do however have an e-mail dated 2/2/11 telling me that my card has shipped. So in a few days I will try their on-line help again. (They want you to wait 30 days before asking about your credit.)

Additionally, for Valentine's day they had a promotion where if you spent $10 of real money for World Winner games, they will pay you $20. The offer details state the $20 will be credited around 2/28/11. I haven't been credited for that yet, either.

Mortgage Payment #35

March 1st, 2011 at 07:41 pm

I made my chippy little mortgage payment. Payment #359 is now eliminated, and payment #358 is now reduced to $467.12 Smile

I wish I could make this much progress every month!