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First update in a year

August 30th, 2011 at 05:41 pm

I've decided to do an assessment of my overall goals. I have not picked up any new debt but the "wealth accumulation" phase is moving much, much slower than I anticipated. The interesting thing is that in the past year, I've received a promotion and a couple of raises that total $21,000! That's great news, right? So what the heck is going on?

I'm not sure. I haven't really loosened my belt that much. I am now finally maxing out my 403(b) and my Roth as well as continuing to build my EF. I don't eat out any more or shop any more than I used to. Yet the money is still slipping through my fingers, more than it should. I have some work to do. It just goes to show that it is always a work in progress even when you think you've got it all figured out.

Emergency fund takes a hit

June 25th, 2010 at 08:04 pm

The transmission on my Jeep went out and I had to shell out $2500 for a new one. Grrrr.... My first thought was I need to get rid of this heap but of course that is ridiculous since I won't be able to buy another reliable car for $2500 but still.....I hate spending money on anything automotive related, it seems like such a waste of money. Thank goodness, for the emergency fund but it is still infuriating.

Update on installment savings

August 16th, 2009 at 07:50 am

A few months ago I posted that I opened an installment savings account. For those of you unfamiliar with this concept, it is basically a forced savings in which you agree to deposit a certain amount over a certain amount of time. For myself, I chose to open an account for $20,000 over 3 years. The interest rate is %5.5. That means I will deposit a total of $18,331 (509.20/month). This is great if you are in a building phase of your savings and if you have job security.

So anyway, it has turned out to be a great idea. I know it's psychological but by treating it as a bill complete with a coupon book, I find saving for that account non-negotiable. On the other hand, I currently use a high-yield checking acct for the rest of my savings, interest rate %5.25. I have to confess that I am not as strict with my budget some months due to that readily available cushion. So I am supposed to have around $1600 a month left to deposit into this savings but some months I am off by a couple of hundred. I'm embarassed by that.

This doesn't make any sense

June 21st, 2009 at 09:12 am

I had my yard sale yesterday. Net proceeds=$12. I'm not too upset. The weather down here was miserable hot and my signs kept falling over. The important thing is I got a lot of crap out of my house. All the money I raise this summer is going to go to charity. Then I came home to this:


All of these are my husband's shoes. There are others scattered all around the house. No they didn't just magically appear but for some reason I am just now "seeing" them. This makes no sense. How many pairs of athletic shoes does one person need? How much money is laying on the floor of our closet right now?

I asked him to get rid of some of them and to be more prudent about buying shoes going forward. He agreed but he is looking at me like I'm crazy.

I'm going to have a yard sale- my first

June 2nd, 2009 at 07:58 pm

I hope I can pull it off. I want to go ahead and start my charity scholarship fund (instead of waiting until I'm rich) so I've decided to make that my focus this summer. The best place to start to raise money would be to have a yard sale. I will admit that I find it hard to believe that many people would want to buy the crap that I have around the house but you have to start somewhere.

I've been to the mountaintop!

May 30th, 2009 at 02:20 pm

Today I climbed to the top of Stone Mountain! For those of you who've done it before I know you're thinking "big deal". But it's a big deal to me: I'm afraid of heights! Kilimanjaro, here I come!

Installment Savings Account

April 20th, 2009 at 05:39 pm

Now that I have paid off the credit card, I am making a serious move to increase my emergency fund in addition to increasing my retirement. I want to increase my cash savings. HSBC is only paying 1.65% and for such a small balance it is not a big deal. But I've been reading about the installment savings accounts that are so popular at Korean-American banks and it sounded like a good idea. I ran the numnbers all weekend and today I pulled the trigger. I was a little nervous because it's different. There is a lot of negativity about this type of account but if you need to save for a goal and if you want to develop the mindset to pay yourself first, I think it's great. If I already had 20K, I might have went with CD ladders instead. I chose the $20,000 option over 3 years at 5.5%. That means I'll contribute $509.20 a month for 36 months. I calculated that if I try to stay with HSBC and raise that amount I would need to contribute an additional $1226 dollars over the same period of time.

Here's a link to Woori Bank's One Heart Savings if you want to see what the payments are for various amounts:

Text is http://www.wooriamericabank.com/eng/one_heart_E_all.html and Link is

At the same time, I have opened a high-yield checking at 5.25% to replace the HSBC account. I'm hoping to put up to the max of 25K in that account over the next three years and keeping my fingers crossed that interest rates don't go down so drastically. It's a pain in the butt because you have to do the 10 debit card transactions per month but as the balance grows, that will cut less into my interest earnings. Both types of accounts have their drawbacks and their rewards but I'll get to see which one serves my needs better.

I did everything wrong today

April 8th, 2009 at 04:33 pm

Started a mini-vacation for spring break today, yaaaay! I guess the freedom is getting to my head because I went for broke:

-bought $5 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets
-bought a magazine off the rack, expensive!
-bought a candy bar and two cokes
-shopped at Walmart, a store I detest for many reasons

Tomorrow we leave for Disney, thank goodness we already have a set amount of money set aside for that. It'll be fun to see how much under budget we are able to finish.

Reviewing all expenses

March 29th, 2009 at 10:15 am

I could kick myself. Every year I review all of my expenses but for some reason my homeowner's insurance had gotten away from me. I just checked it and we are waaay over-insured.

We are insured for dwelling extensions which covers unattached buildings on our property- We don't have any!

$175,00 for personal property inside the house? Please. I could refurnish the entire house and re-clothe the whole family for far, far less.

Plus we only had a $500 deductible. That's what I get for not paying attention. So I made the changes, upped the deductible to $2500 and sent it in to my agent. I bet I save at least $400 or $500 a year.


March 14th, 2009 at 09:21 am

I've been fighting a flu-like virus for a little over a week now. I can't believe how long it has taken me to get back to normal but today is a good day!

Paid off the last bit of credit card ($1022)accumulated during grad school.

Added $600 to my savings. My plan is to increase my EF to 15K and then pay off my student loan.

Readjusted the payoff date on my student loan to a month sooner!

Cashed in $13.03 from my fatwallet cashback account-that will go straight to savings.

Next task: do my taxes. Ugh! That will be a chore plus we owe.

Do you ever feel like Sisyphus?

March 5th, 2009 at 09:04 pm

Remember the guy from Greek mythology who was doomed to push a rock uphill for an eternity only every time he reached the top it rolled back down? That's the way I'm feeling these days (a little).

I resumed my 401(K) contributions......and the market tanked even more. (Sorry guys!)

I put money in my savings account......and the interest rate drops.

I pay my mortgage.....and my home value drops.

Oh well at least I'm not taking on debt. I am making progress in centimeters. But some days, I tell ya.

Snow outside and Golden Girls on the TV

March 1st, 2009 at 11:49 am

It's snowing outside but there's a Golden Girls marathon on the Hallmark Channel so I'm in a good place.

This confinement has also gave me a chance to re-evaluate the financial situation. This time it's the husband. A year and a half ago I found he had $42000 of cc debt with an average of 15% interest rate and the balances were climbing. Since then I have worked on it and he is down to 26K. But he's not fully on board. Next weekend he is going on an overnight fishing trip for 3 nights. I prepare his budget so I know how much money he has and how much he doesn't. How does he plan to fund this trip? Furthermore in the words of Suze Orman, he can't afford it. I'm really tired of him; my brow is crinkled as I work out a budget for him, transferring cc balances to various 0% cards and he really is just fine with debt. The only reason I care is because I feel that he is exposing the entire family to risk by carrying so much debt but he doesn't see it that way.

Made a little extra today and I had to turn the heat back on today, oh well....

February 11th, 2009 at 05:46 pm

We've been enjoying some mild weather down here lately so I've had the heat turned off since Friday. Well, when I got home today, the house was a bit chilly so I guess the good times are over. Still my heat bill should be a bit lower than I'd planned for thanks to our brief spring fling.

I did a long-term care assessment for the insurance co. today for a little bit of extra cash. I lucked out, my client was a very pleasant 80+ year old lady in good health. She was on only two maintenance meds! It was a nice break from the folks with two pages of medications and a health history so involved they can't remember it all. We should all be so lucky!

I won, I won, I won!!

February 5th, 2009 at 04:07 pm

I participated in the Universal Studios promotion this weekend and I found out today that I won a free ticket to Universal. This is so great because we are taking the kids to Orlando for spring break this year and I am on a mission to reduce the costs of this trip. So far, I also have an additional free ticket I got when I cashed in my MyCokeRewards points. Since the cost to get into Universal is $73 then I have saved $146 on the cost of tickets already. Additionally, I got a $100 restaurant.com gift card over the weekend for signing up for some identity theft protection with a free 30-day trial. The best thing about this trip is going to be seeing how much we can do for free.

the Bernie Madoff "victims"

January 18th, 2009 at 06:08 pm

I was watching the Suze Orman show last night and she had one of Bernie Madoff's victims on. While she has every right to be upset....they lost $5 million dollars!....I am finding it harder and harder to feel sorry for these people. This couple, like so many others had darn near everything invested with this guy, how dumb was that? I mean really. And as the conversation wore on, it turned out that her husband was still working and they made $300,000 a year, they live in a $2 million home that's paid for and they still have $200,000 in the bank. They are in no danger of hitting the skids. Of course the husband is 75, but even if he retired tomorrow, couldn't they sell the house, buy another great home for $1 million dollars and still have a mill left over? Sheesh......