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Archive for October, 2006

Biggest check I've ever written... and a little surprise

October 30th, 2006 at 07:05 pm

So we closed on the house we just moved in on Thursday (October 26th). I had to give a little over $20k to our lawyer. Ouch! That's the biggest amount I've ever had to give at one time. But it's definitely worth it.

DH is already making a list of EVERYTHING we have to buy. Sure... why not? Let's go crazy and spend the little bit we have left.

Oh yeah... I forgot. 36 hours before we were supposed to close, my mortgage broker calls and tells us we have to add an extra $5k to our down payment. WHAT?!?! And why is that? Well, since the last time our credit reports were checked (May) and now, we apparently have extra minimum payments on credit cards, which will bring our income/debt ratio a little above 45%. That is the lender's limit apparently. To bring that ratio down under 45%, we have to add $5k. hhmm!! They've had our loan application for over 2 weeks, you'd think they would have bothered to do a credit check before that... nah!

The point that made me tick was when she said: "well, they've looked at your bank statement, and they know you have the funds"...!!!!!!!!!!!! So what? we have the "extra" money so they'll just ask for it? What if we didn't have it? What if we had $10k or $20k "extra"? Would they had asked for that then? That's just not right.

Our real estate agent told us this was predatory lending and that we should report them... I don't know what to think. It's not like the money has vanished, it's more equity already in the house, but I don't think I'll do business with these guys again in the future.

Unpacked!!!

October 30th, 2006 at 02:24 pm

Well that feels good. We have everything unpacked - I think one or two boxes are still somewhere around OUR house Smile

Yay!! we have a house... anyway, I am back and will be able to post again on a daily basis

Packing...

October 22nd, 2006 at 02:58 pm

I hate moving. I never really liked the place we've lived in for the past 4 1/2 years, but I knew that the next move was going to be on our home. That's why I didn't want to find another appartment. I just didn't know when that was going to be.

Well, we are almost all packed. It wasn't as painful as I though it would be. There are still a few things here and there, but we ran out of boxes this afternoon, so we had to stop. Kitchen is still a bit of a mess, as is the bedroom.

Moving date is Friday!!! I can't wait...

CC Change in Terms... update

October 20th, 2006 at 10:11 am

DH called the CC company this morning. The bad news is that they won't change the rate. The good news is that the new APR will only apply for purchases made after Dec. 4th. The existing balance will be paid off by then, and no new purchase will be made with it. So it's not a big problem.

BTW, for those following, this was CC#3

He also called about CC#2, and got the late fee refunded for a $120 payment. I had him call his CC companies and between the late and overlimit fees, I think they refunded somewhere around $80.

CC Change in Terms

October 18th, 2006 at 05:04 pm

DH got a notice of change in terms tonight in the mail. From what I understand, APR on one of his CC will go from 17.15% to 27.99% (WOW!). Only reason stated: "The changes are based on a careful review of your credit history with us and with others."

Is there any way to dispute that and to get what was already a high APR back to that same level?

Dear hubby's great credit score got him those rates...

October 13th, 2006 at 06:02 pm

I have been in charge of my husband's credit cards for a month now. He is bad with money, really bad, and got all four of his cards maxed out, some over the limit (=fees), making late payments (=more fees). Two of them are secured cards, and one come up with little charges like "Account Maintenance Fee" (add me some more fees, will ya??). The end result isa mess.

CC#1 22.9%, 66.5% balance to limit
CC#2 21.0%, 84.7% balance to limit
CC#3 24.0%, 71.6% balance to limit
CC#4 27.75%, 57.4% balance to limit

The limit of each card is either $400 or 500, so not THAT high, but it adds up.

Goal: have them all paid by January.
Plan of attack:
- CC#4, which is also the one with the maintenance fee, will have to go first. Balance is "only" $230. I can probably have it paid this month

- CC#2 had a Late Fee posted to it 2 months ago. I want him to call tomorrow and have it refunded if we make a $120 payment this month. I have had him play this little game this whole month of calling them and remove fee for extra payment. It's worked pretty well so far!

- I will make more than minimum payment on CC1 and 3, and they should be gone by December.

So that's my plan/strategy

Using VoIP to knock your phone bill down

October 13th, 2006 at 12:24 pm

I switched to VoIP about 18 months ago already. Went with Lingo since one of their offer includes unlimited calls to Western Europe for $21.95, which after tax comes to at about $24. That, off course, includes unlimited local and long distance and CANADA!!! Ok, I don't call Canada very often... but it's a very sweet deal.

Now to the bad:
- The voice quality is not always optimum and I've had some calls dropped because the phone adapter was not set to allow enough bandwith for voice.

Update 1 - I forgot you need a high-speed connection such as Cable or DSL for it to work. I personally have cable because DSL isn't available where I live. It's expensive, but worth it, I think. And my little week-end project is to call and have them cut my bill a bit Wink

Update 2 - With Tina's help, I remembered (it's Friday, give me a break...) that VoIP will not work if either your power or your internet connection are out. There is the 911 issue, which I never really looked into...

But 24 bucks to call everyone I know at no extra charge, I'll put up with the occasional dropped call.

Random act of kindness...

October 12th, 2006 at 06:19 pm

I feel good about myself today, and here's why: my boss had a conference today, ordered lunch in (not for us, we don't deserve that kind of treatment I guess). But anyway, she did bring us the leftovers, woohoo! I took home 3 sandwiches, and since there are just 2 of us at home, I gave one away to a person who was asking for money in the subway station on my way back home, with a bag of chips.

It feels good to help someone in need, even with a small gesture.

I also wanted to donate blood this morning. There was an MGH truck parked near my work. They told me they couldn't accept my blood because I spent to much time in Europe. That's a weird policy, but their loss, I say...

My personnality

October 12th, 2006 at 12:50 pm

Just finished my questionnaire after find this link on Tina.p.Beana's Blog


-----
You Are An ISTJ
The Duty Fulfiller

You are responsible, reliable, and hardworking - you get the job done.
You prefer productive hobbies, like woodworking or knittings.
Quiet and serious, you are well prepared for whatever life hands you.
Conservative and down-to-earth, you hardly ever do anything crazy.

You would make a great business executive, accountant, or lawyer.
-----
Well there you have it "business executive, accountant, or lawyer."... hm! interesting

No more introductory APR

October 12th, 2006 at 08:44 am

Well, I just looked at one of my CC's online statement. APR went from the introductory 4.9% to it's "normal" rate: 17.24%.

I will have to call these guys asap and get that rate down. $22 finance charge for a $1,600 balance is just way to much.

---------
Update
Boy! that didn't take too much persuasion: "Hi, I noticed that my introductory APR period is over and my current rate is 17.24%, can you get that back down?"
- "Sure, how does 10.74% sound?"
- "Great!"
- "Ok, I'll go ahead and change that for you. Anything else I can do for you?
- "Nope, thanks. Have a good day!"

Phone call took about 3 minutes total.
10.74% is still higher than the 7.9% I have on another card, but that still wasn't bad.

Projected spending

October 11th, 2006 at 12:03 pm


I put together our budget for when we will be in the house and have to pay mortgage vs. rent

EXPENSES
Tel. (Cell & Fixed) $ 92.00
Cable (Internet & TV) $ 109.57
Oil/Gas $ 145.83
Electricity $ 60.00
Food $ 300.00
Insurance - car $ 80.75
Insurance - home $ 42.83
Property Taxes $ 225.67

DEBT
Mortgage 1 $ 1,477.32
Mortgage 2 $ 287.64
CC#1 $ 100.00
CC#2 $ 100.00
CC#3 $ 100.00
CC#4 $ 100.00
CC#5 $ 250.00
CC#6 $ 125.00
Car $ 375.00

Total $ 2,914.96

The 4 CCs @ $100 will be gone by Feb 1st so that will be a nice weight off our shoulders.

The regular car payment are $267, but I want to get rid of that loan sooo bad!

The Oil/Gas is just an approximation. We've been heating our appartment with gas so far and the house is heated with oil. It's also larger than our appartment... I guess we'll see how that works, but any input on this

First down payments went through

October 11th, 2006 at 08:00 am

Ouch! I knew they were going to come out of my account one of those days, but seeing
Debit $9,500
Debit $ 500
In my online statement hurt a little. plus the $5,000 for e-loan - which isn't money lost, I know. But it's a lot of money out of my checking and savings at once.

E-loan Account opened and running!

October 11th, 2006 at 07:51 am

I got my verification deposit yesterday and confirmed today... YAY! Let the saving start.

Opened my e-loan account last night

October 10th, 2006 at 07:51 am

So after careful consideration, I opened an E-Loan savings account yesterday. I am waiting for the few cents to be deposited in my current savings account for verification. Does anyone know how long this should take?

I told my husband a few days ago I wanted to do that. We have a savings account, but we always take a few dollars here, a few dollars there from it. We went over our grocery budget? We went to Target and bought something really great that we didn't really need? Let's just transfer the money from the savings when we get home. I decided we needed something where the money was easily accessible, but not as accessible as we currently have it. E-Loan offers great APY (5.50% for those who have been living in a cave... just kidding!). A tad better than Sovereign Bank's 0.25% (yes, it's 1/4%), which amounts to less than $1 every month.

When we close on the house on the 26th and the movers, the closing costs and all those little extra expenses we did not think about are paid, I'll transfer what's left over to E-Loan.

First blog

October 9th, 2006 at 07:10 pm

So here I am... posting my first blog EVER! I have been reading many people's blog and though I should start my own.

So here is a little background about me:
I'm a 26-year old content manager. It's one of those title you don't know what they mean, really. My boss has never been able to come up with a title for me. But anyway, I work for a small start-up company in Cambridge, MA. My dream is to be able to quit in 5 years when my husband and I have mamaged to create enough passive income that we can both quit.

We bought our first house and are getting ready to move in on Oct 27th.. YAY! I'm very excited. Real estate in Massachusetts is a little crazy but I think we got a good deal. I was affraid we would not be approved for a prime laon because of my husband's credit score. Back in May, our mortgage broker told us it would be iffy. But hey! Surprised, when she put the numbers back in a few weeks ago, we were approved for a nice 6.25% 30-yr fixed mortgage. We could not come up with the full 20% down payment, so we piggybacked. We are not paying any points. It would take almost 4 years for the points amount to breakeven and I'm not sure we won't refi by then.