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Archive for May, 2007

Net Worth Down

May 31st, 2007 at 10:33 pm

Our net worth took a hit this month but it is because we used a chunk of the money we had in savings for home improvements. Necessary repairs that hopefully have added some value to our home.

Getting Ready for NYC

May 31st, 2007 at 10:16 am


I leave early tomorrow morning for NYC, so this is going to be a busy day. I have to go into work for a while today, but I think I'll leave early. I need to get a ton of laundry done, get paychecks ready to deposit and pack.

I got a $200 advance to cover some of my expenses and also have the System credit card for the rest. I think I'll get out $100 of my own money just in case I find something that I'd like to buy, but I don't plan on spending it. I am going to try to find free books at Expo for the family. There should be enough variety that I can find something for everyone.

This is going to be a long and tiring weekend, but it will be fun, I'm sure.

Debt Payments

May 30th, 2007 at 12:46 am

On Thursday I will be paying an extra $233.90 on mortgage #1 and doubling my payment for this month on the furniture loan. This will bring our overall debt total down to $70,505.08. We're closing in on goal #3!


Setting Financial Goals

May 29th, 2007 at 10:11 am


You should set personal financial goals so that you have a "road" to follow to get where you want to go.

Goals need to:

1. Be realistic: You should set your goals based on your own earnings and life situation.

2. Be in precise, measurable terms: Know exactly what you're aiming for and create a plan to achieve it.

3. Have a set time frame: This will help you to see if you're advancing toward your goal.

4. State the action needed to achieve the desired result: Use your goals as the basis for your future financial decisions.

3 Categories of Personal Financial Goals

May 28th, 2007 at 11:37 am


When working through your personal financial plan you should set 3 types of financial goals:

Short-term goals: typically goals that you strive to reach in a year or less (small debt pay-off, vacation trips, etc.)

Intermediate goals: aim for a time period of 2 to 5 years (paying off smaller loans, saving up a down-payment for a newer car, etc.)

Long-term goals: these goals can be achieved in 2 to 5 years (college savings, retirement funding, etc.)

All of these goals should be worked into your financial plan. As you achieve the short-term goals you'll earn a sense of satisfaction and it will give you the drive you need to accomplish your longer term goals.

The 6 Steps to Personal Financial Planning

May 28th, 2007 at 01:37 am


Personal financial planning is the process of managing your money to reach economic satisfaction. This process gives you control of your finances. By having a financial plan you enhance your quality of life and increase your satisfaction because economic uncertainties about your future needs and resources are minimized.

There are 6 steps to personal financial planning. They are:

#1: Determining where you stand currently with your finances

#2: Developing financial goals

#3: Strategizing different courses of action

#4: Evaluating your alternatives

#5: Creating and putting your financial plan into action

#6: Periodically reviewing the plan to see if it's working for you

Research has shown that people with their own financial plan save more money than those who haven't taken the time to develop a plan.

New York City, Here I Come!

May 27th, 2007 at 10:23 pm


Yes, I'm going to New York City! Can't pass up a free trip!

DH will see to everything at home while I'm gone. He'll get DS#2 to the camp he's working at for the summer (a 2.5 hour drive one way) and make sure he has his seizure medicine. He'll also oversee the last day of school and graduation and the parties we've been invited to.

DH is determined that I'm going so I guess I'd better get planning.

Should I Go On a Free Trip to NYC?

May 26th, 2007 at 08:55 pm


I got a phone call at home today from one of the librarians in our system. She offered me her place on a trip to NYC to attend Book Expo 2007. They leave this Thursday! Should I go? Can I get everything ready in order to go?

I'll miss graduation next weekend. We don't have any children graduating this year, but DS#2's good friend is graduating so I wouldn't be here for that.

DS#2 also leaves next Sunday for his summer job so I wouldn't be here to take him. DH can do it, but would he do as a good of a job as I would? LOL! Would he make sure that DS has his seizure medicine to last him all summer? Would he nag him to death up until the final second of saying good-bye to remember to take it every night like he needs to?

Can my family make it without me for 5 days?

It's free, it would be a blast, I'd love to see NYC again...what to do????

Little Addition to Emergency Fund

May 26th, 2007 at 07:38 pm


I wrapped up $12.50 in coins today and decided to deposit that in my EF. I normally deposit $25.00 per week out of DH's overtime. I decided this would be a nice little boost to get us closer to my minimum of $1,000.

We picked up our siding for the house this morning, so that was another chunk out of the house repair fund. Between that and putting a new porch roof on, the house repair money is getting hit heavy this spring.

Top 10 Reasons to Buy Term Life Insurance

May 26th, 2007 at 01:57 am


#10: You have a stay-at-home spouse that relies on your income and would not be able to support themselves if something happened to you

#9: You're a stay-at-home spouse that performs duties that a full-time working spouse would find impossible to duplicate

#8: You do not have enough other assets built up that would provide support for your dependents

#7: To protect your minor children until they reach maturity and can fend for themselves

#6: Life insurance is not meant to be an investment (like whole-life is), it's protection

#5: You can choose a policy length that suits your needs

#4: Compared to whole life, term insurance is very low cost for the coverage you get

#3: You can lock in a fixed premium that is guaranteed renewable

#2: It will give you peace of mind

#1: It's the responsible (and smart!) thing to do

Technology Headache

May 25th, 2007 at 02:39 pm

We got an announcement a few weeks ago that our local bank was going to be upgrading their website so that it was more secure and user-friendly. Great, right? Ha!

The first day the "new and improved" site was ready to be used I tried to log on. We had gotten a letter, with a booklet, telling us how to log on the first time. We were to put our username in all caps and then enter our regular password. Okay, no problem. I eagerly logged on and entered my username in all caps, hit the enter button and, at the next screen, entered my password as usual. Up pops a message telling me that I'd exceeded my allowed number of attempts to log on and would now have to call an 800 number to have my account unlocked! What!!! Exceeded the number of allowed attempts after one try?!!



I dial the 800 number, push "2" for the correct extension and am promptly greeted with the announcement that my call cannot be answered because there is an unusally high traffic volume. Hmmm...wonder why?

I wait 4 days and try again. This morning I am finally successful after 2 attempts and another message about high traffic volume to get put on hold. After waiting 34 minutes I am finally connected to a real live person who is not surprised at all to hear that my one attempt caused such havoc. She quickly reset my account and I finally have on-line access again.

Ugh! The cost of the convenience of technology!

Up and Running

May 25th, 2007 at 10:25 am


I finally feel like I have my Quicken up and running again since my computer reformat on Mother's Day. I think I have most of my recurring bills entered and reminders scheduled.

The only lingering problem from the computer reformat is that I cannot get into my phone bill online. I have to have my account number and PIN that comes on my statement. Well, I no longer get the statement in the mail since I pay it online so I don't know what the PIN is. They can't give it to me over the phone so I'm waiting for a printed statement to arrive in the mail. Once that comes I'll have access again.

I was under the impression that once you logged in with that information and created your own user name and password that you no longer needed that information. But since the site doesn't recognize my computer anymore I have to have that info in order to gain access once again. What a pain!

Fuel Economy Website

May 23rd, 2007 at 11:37 pm


I discovered the Fuel Economy website last week and decided to track my mileage on there to see how many miles to the gallon I'm getting and also to compare gasoline stations to see if there is a difference in miles to the gallon with the different gasolines.

I only have 2 entries so far but the first time I got 20 miles to the gallon and this time I'm up to almost 25. This should prove interesting to watch.

You can choose to share your information and can compare with others.

Update on Cousin's Baby

May 23rd, 2007 at 01:13 am

I got this email tonight:

Today they took syd off the ventilator and pulled all her tubes out, except the ones in her
right leg. The only part of her brain stem that is still functioning is the part that tells her
heart to beat and her lungs to breathe. So we are just playing a waiting game for now.

A Little Too Close for Comfort

May 18th, 2007 at 06:31 pm

We have a situation in our extended family that's hitting a little too close to home right now.

I've written about DS#2's hemiplegic migraines and seizures. Well, my cousin's 18 month-old daughter had a seizure this past weekend that ended up with her in cardiac arrest for 10 minutes. She was life-flighted to a larger hospital and is now on a respirator. They've done an MRI and she has damage to her brain stem.

The situation is not good and the parents and grandparents are having a difficult time coping, naturally. It's made me more aware of what could happen.

They all could use some prayers right now.

Operating in the Dark

May 18th, 2007 at 10:58 am


I feel like I'm operating in the dark here without my Quicken program being fully functional. I had it all set up with reminders to pay all of my bills throughout the year. Now with having lost all of that, I'm afraid I'm going to miss something.

I am slowly adding the information back in as I go, but it's been slow and tedious. Just setting up the reminders for my transfers to ING each week was dicey since I'd also lost my budgeting spreadsheets. More reason to order a flash drive and start backing up onto that!

Feeling Squeezed

May 16th, 2007 at 10:35 am


I assume it's just the price of gas and the fact that we now have 7 to feed again for the summer since college is out, but I'm feeling the financial pinch. We just got rid of the credit card debt so you'd think that I'd have some extra money laying around. Not!

I am adding extra to the mortgage payment but that is all coming out of overtime pay.

I think what I need to do is get that EF back up to $1,000 and I'll probably relax a bit. It makes me nervous to not have some money tucked away, just in case.

Lost Money

May 14th, 2007 at 06:34 pm


Not mine, but DH's. My mom gave him $20 for his birthday yesterday and now he can't find it.

I swear that he and DS#2 are SO much alike. Always losing something and accusing everyone else of putting it somewhere. Then after a bit it will show up exactly where they had it last. It drives me crazy! I'm the extremely organized type so for them to do this just drives me up the wall.

I looked for it today after he left. I searched his shorts pockets that he'd been wearing this weekend but didn't find it.

Before he left he was telling me that he remembers taking it out of the envelope and laying the card on the kitchen counter. I told him he can't possibly remember doing that because I gave it to him in the garage! I saw that he did go to the garage before he left for work so hopefully he found it there. Ack!

Starting Over

May 14th, 2007 at 01:32 pm


I had to begin the process today of starting over with Quicken. I had to totally reformat my computer this weekend because it would not do anything, so all my Quicken records are gone (hadn't backed them up for a while) and also my spreadsheets.

I'm kind of glad to start again with Quicken because I had way too much in there anyway. It will just be a tedious process to get all of my bills reentered and the bill-paying schedule going. Oh well, I'll enjoy it!

Free 2-Day Getaway

May 12th, 2007 at 10:09 am


My boss recently bought a new truck. The dealership threw in a buying incentive of 2 days at a Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott. She knew that she would never use it so yesterday she gave it to me.

It has to be used by October 1st and you have to book 30 days in advance. There are several hotels listed in the 2 states that are closest to us. Now to just decide where and when we'd like to get away!

Something's Fishy on Ebay

May 11th, 2007 at 09:35 pm


I put 2 exercise DVDs up for sale on Ebay this morning and happened to think to check on them around noon today. Imagine my surprise to see that they both had bids on them for over $25 when I had made the starting price $7.50! As I investigated further I see that only 2 people have bid on these DVDs and the same person outbid themselves a couple of times. Both people joined Ebay May 3rd. It just seems fishy to me.

Who in the world would pay over $25 for an exercise DVD??? I will hold back my excitement at making so much money until I find out if it's legit or not.

IRA Contributions

May 11th, 2007 at 09:57 am


I would really like to fully fund my IRA this year, but it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to do it. I currently contribute $2500 a year to it. I figured out that if I were to have the full amount withheld I would be missing another $56 out of both paychecks each month. My budget just won't support that.

I'm hoping that when I get my raise next year I can put all of that in the IRA. I think if I just keep my paycheck the same I won't even miss that money.

Only $921.66 More...

May 10th, 2007 at 10:06 am

to reach goal #3 of getting our overall debt below $70,000 this year! That is definitely within sight! Now I'll have to come up with some new goals. Hmmm...putting on my thinking cap.

Women & Money: Month 4

May 8th, 2007 at 12:54 am


In Suze Orman's Women & Money book she lists 3 documents that every woman needs to have. They are:

- a will
- a revocable living trust with incapacity clause
- an advance directive and durable power of attorney for health care

A will alone is not enough if something were to happen to you. A will tells how you want your assets and material possessions to be distributed to your loved ones upon your death. It can also include who you want to have custody of your minor children. Almost every will goes through probate to establish that if is valid and a court order to distribute the contents of the will as stated. This process can take months or even years and cost a lot of money.

A revocable living trust is the most powerful of the must-have documents. Because it is revocable you can change it at any time. It is a living document in that it is in effect while you are living. Upon death, there is no probate period. The successor trustee (the one in charge after death of the trustee) signs an affidavit of the death of the trustee and then can sign papers to follow the trustees wishes as expressed in the living trust and will.

When setting up a trust make sure you fund it. To do this you must change the title of all property to be held in the trust from your own individual name to that of the trust.

What a trust contains:
- real estate
- nonretirement investments
- savings
- outstanding loans that have not been repaid

The trust should have an incapicity clause. This is in case you become incapable of managing matters while still alive. This clause will give someone of your choosing the legal authority to handle your affairs for you.

The trust will take care of your larger assets while the will is the place to state whom you would like to receive smaller assets that you have (family heirlooms, pictures, etc.)

An advance directive and durable power of attorney for health care is important in case we are ever physically incapable of speaking for ourselves. The advance directive will state the level of medical intervention you want if you are ever unable to speak for yourself. This is also known as a living will.

A durable power of attorney is someone you appoint that you trust to carry out your wishes if you are unable to speak. They will be your 'voice'. Put a lot of thought into your choice. It needs to be someone that is strong enough to stand against opposition by family that may not want to see your wishes carried out. Make sure that your entire family knows who you have chosen. This will avoid some hurt and angry feelings in the case of a tragedy when the news is sprung upon them.

Changed My Mind

May 6th, 2007 at 11:49 am


I've changed my mind on what debt I'm attacking next with my debt snowball. I've decided to roll my credit card payment onto mortgage #1 instead of the car loan. The mortgage has an interest rate of 9.38% and the car loan is 7.09%.

I can have the mortgage paid off in March of '09 at the rate I intend on paying. My challenge to myself will be to pay it off even sooner with extra money I can save and find.

This mortgage is the one that has our taxes and insurance escrowed into the payment. They are the bank that decided they weren't paying our fall taxes and never notified us so we were turned into a collection agency. I'd really like to be done with them as soon as possible.

Love My Electric Orange...

May 1st, 2007 at 11:58 pm

checking account, that is!



I got a bill in the mail today from the local hardware store that we get odds and ends at for our home repair projects. Normally I would have to transfer the money out of savings and into checking, write a check, then go to the post office to mail it. When I set up my Electric Orange account last month I put some of our home repair money in there so it would earn interest. So this time all I had to do was fill out a check form online and ING will send it first class mail tomorrow morning and I don't even have to pay postage! Nice!

If you're interested in checking out ING's Electric Orange account or their other financial services you can go to ING Direct. They are paying 4% on checking accounts and 4.5% on savings accounts right now.

Credit Card Debt Wiped Out!

May 1st, 2007 at 10:35 am


It is official: our credit card debt is gone as of today!!!

I paid the remaining $208.85 on the Discover Card this morning. We are credit card debt free!!!!

There is light at the end of the tunnel...