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Archive for July, 2011

July 2011 Net Worth

July 30th, 2011 at 08:21 pm

Jumping the gun a tiny bit, but here is my net worth as of 7-31-11.

My car value continues to inexplicably creep up. Apparently, that made my home value jealous so it decided to creep up a tiny bit too.

My Roth at ING has now been folded into my Roth at Vanguard. Thanks to ImaSaver for alerting me to that $50 bonus. Smile

My Betterment account is a taxable investment account. I have decided to go with a 40/60 stock/bond ratio. I am going to throw in just a little each month. I am counting these contributions as part of my regular savings contributions.

My credit card debt is now nicely consolidated at 0% until January 2013, so my plan is to pay in full no later than December 2012.

Nothing terribly earth-shattering here, I simply continue to plod along.

Mid Month Mortgage Chips

July 27th, 2011 at 05:32 pm

So in the past week, I have transferred 3 small chips to my mortgage. I had never done this before, I have always saved my chips to send with my next regular payment. I had thought the chips would be held in suspense and then applied on the 1st of the month. But look at this:

Date Description Amount Principal Balance
07/25/11 PRINCIPAL PMT ( Details) $0.81 $181,912.06
07/25/11 PRINCIPAL PMT ( Details) $6.72 $181,905.34
07/22/11 PRINCIPAL PMT ( Details) $9.00 $181,912.87
07/05/11 PAYMENT ( Details) $1,273.49 $181,921.87

Wells Fargo has been applying the chips directly to my balance. I expect the chips will not reduce the interest accrued in July. By rights, they shouldn't. I calculate I should be charged $795.91 of interest when I make my August payment. We will see if that is what happens.

In other riveting news, I have received my first Citi MC bill. It came a few days ago and is due early in August. I am not fond of the timing. I think I will go ahead and send them their minimum payment now (although I have already made my July credit card debt payments) and then in mid August, I will use bill pay to send them what I want to send them. The timing will be off, but if I send them their minimum now, I will be ahead of the game and it should turn out OK. I will have to keep an eye on it though, so that I don't have a billing period with 2 payments and then a billing period with none.

I applied and was approved for an Amex Blue yesterday. I have too many rewards cards with too many small point balances. I am going to work on getting my rewards up to cash out level, then close some of the cards. I won't close Chase Freedom (since 2004) or B of A (since 2003), but Discover and Sapphire can go. Then I will begin using Amex Blue. It pays 3% cash back on groceries and drug stores, 2% cash back on gasoline and department stores, 1% cash back on everything else. Not bad. I will have to get in the habit of charging my groceries.

Where Art Thou, Balance Transfer Fee?

July 22nd, 2011 at 04:01 pm

Both balance transfer checks have now posted to my Citi MC account ($800 and $1300), as well as a $24 balance transfer fee for the $800 check. And that is all. Where is the $39 balance transfer fee for the $1300 check? Well, that is a really good question. I don't know quite what to make of this.

Update: My balance transfer fee has finally shown up, on 8/16/11!

My mortgage is owned by Wells Fargo, which is where I also do my banking. Therefore, I make my mortgage payment by logging on to my account and doing a transfer from checking to mortgage. Just for kicks, I went ahead today and transferred $9, specifying it is an additional principal payment. I just wanted to see how they will handle it. Will it just float around in suspense until I make my regular payment? I suspect that it will, but I would like to KNOW.

Gift Card as Thank You from Client

July 21st, 2011 at 06:37 pm

Last week, I received a gift card as a thank you gift from a client. It is a gift card to Olive Garden, which I love, but which will not help me at all with my weight loss. Stick Out Tongue I have been contemplating selling it on plastic jungle and using the proceeds to chip at my mortgage. Is that tacky?

I have been reluctant to post this, as I suspect people will say "Yes, tacky, don't do it" and then if I do it anyway, how incredibly tacky will I be?

UPDATE: BF and I had dinner at Olive Garden Sunday evening. We split a shrimp appetizer which has 500 calories, and I ordered the apricot chicken served with steamed veggies which has 400 calories. Then we had salad and breadsticks, of course. (I would love to report that I skipped the breadsticks, but I ate two!) I did stick with water. I love Olive Garden's chicken scampi, yummmmm. But it has approximately 3 million calories so was out of the running. The apricot chicken was good. It was a nice meal out. Smile

I just got paid $9 for a secret shop I did a few months ago, I plan to mortgage chip that. (No more credit card chipping, I will just stick with my Dec 2012 payoff schedule.)

Morningstar Investing Classroom

July 20th, 2011 at 12:13 am

This is a blatant plug for Morningstar's Investing Classroom. Some remarks I read today got me to wondering....people know about this fabulous, free resource, right?

Morningstar is an independent company which rates stocks, bonds, mutual funds, investing companies, etc. Morningstar's star-rating is often quoted in other financial publications and many products with high star ratings will include that honor in their advertising. Morningstar has a number of highly regarded financial writers on staff, with a wealth of archived articles available.

Anyone can have a basic Morningstar membership, though registration is required. There is also a premium membership available requiring a fee. Your basic membership gives you access to a wealth of information, including the highly regarded Investing Classroom. Each "class" is a short article followed by a couple of multiple choice questions. There are very basic topics covered, as well as some more "meaty" topics. I personally found it very, very helpful and beneficial when I was first learning about investing.

Text is and Link is

More Planned Budget Changes

July 15th, 2011 at 03:21 am

Beginning in August, this will be my new zero based budget:

My credit card debt is now all at 0.0% until January 2013. If I pay $128 per month, it will be paid in full December 2012. This is fine with me and I don't feel I need to pay it off any faster.

I have been gaining weight lately, so.... I joined another gym. No initiation fee, no contract, $25 per month. Also, I joined Nutrisystem. It costs $300 per month, so I have increased my food budget.

To help compensate for these new costs, I have cut my cash allowance by $40. Sometimes I save up cash from my allowance and treat myself to a mani or pedi. I have decided to stop those for now, and therefore can afford a cut.

I have been concerned that my traditional IRA isn't growing enough, so I will begin contributing $50 per month. That will help a little. Not a whole lot, but a little.

After all the dust from the above settles, I had a bit of cash to bump up my monthly savings.

So here it is, my re-re-re-re-rearrranged budget. Smile

Credit Card Debt Transfers

July 13th, 2011 at 08:40 pm

My Bank of America credit card is now charging me 7.24%. It seems that all of my extra payments were applied to the debt that is at 1.99% until September, not the part that was at 1.99% until June. I thought that was no longer allowed, but it is allowed because it was all at 1.99% at the time the extra payments were made. So the remaining balance is now being charged 7.24%. What is a girl to do? Well, I did a balance transfer of the last $800 to Citi today. There is a 3% fee and I am at 0.0% until January 2013.

I called Discover and learned that I am at 0.0% until July 25th, then the rate will be going to 14.99%. I did a balance transfer of the last $1300 to Citi today under the same terms.

That's $2163 and 18 months to pay it off before more interest is charged. So that is just what I am going to do. Smile

Chase Sapphire

July 6th, 2011 at 07:47 pm

Over the weekend, I received my new Chase Sapphire card. My offer was 50,000 bonus pts if I spend at least 3k in the first 3 months. My boyfriend bought his trailer today, it came to $2600ish. That means I only have to spend $400 in the next 3 months. With gas so high, that will be no problem.

Edit: Just for the record, I am not financing the trailer for BF. He will be paying in full when the bill arrives. This is merely a devious plot to rack up reward points. Smile

I just emailed Chase using the suggested script from My Money Blog, asking that they extend the 100,000 bonus pts offer to me. They don't have to, so we will see if they are willing or not.

At any rate, I will have at least $250 cash for my trouble ($500 split with BF).

Thanks again, Monkey Mama!!

Update: Got a response already. The answer is no, I will not be getting the extra 50,000 pts. Further, the rep said they will be reversing the extra bonus pts already awarded to other customers! Here is the actual response:

Dear xxxxx,

I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your e-mail regarding the sign up bonus offer inquiry on your Chase Sapphire account ending in xxxx.

I would first like to take this opportunity to personally thank you for choosing Chase to handle your account. As per the offer on your account, you will receive 50,000 Chase Sapphire bonus points after spending $3,000.00 in purchases within 93 days of account open date. These points will post to your account within one to two billing cycles.

The 100,000 bonus point?s offer was made through a small direct mail test and is non-transferable. The Offer Code and Invitation Number included in the mailing can only be applied to the recipient?s account. If you are not listed as the addressee of the mailing, we will be unable to apply the offer to your account. I understand you may be disappointed and I am sincerely sorry for any confusion.
Please know that we will consider reviewing the terms of other offers you receive in the future. We are aware of unintended card member manage to earn extra points and we are going to reverse those points in the near future.

Your satisfaction is important to us and I sincerely value your business. If you have any further questions, please reply using the Secure Message Center.

Thank you,


June 2011 Net Worth

July 1st, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Well, credit card debt is up due to my class. Home value hits yet another new low.

July 2011 Budget

July 1st, 2011 at 11:26 pm

More of my endless budget tweaking.

June 2011 Budget Report

July 1st, 2011 at 11:24 pm

The results are in. Here is how I did:

With 2 extra people in the house, my grocery spending was way over budget.

Cash allowance was over due to a planned outing this coming weekend.