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CNBC Portfolio Challenge

February 25th, 2007 at 07:40 am

I was watching Suze Orman last night (yeah.. we're such party hoots!! Smile ) when an advertisement for CNBC Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge came up.

I start Monday, March 5th, next Monday.

I've signed up and am ready to trade!! I have no expectation whatsoever, but I think it could be fun.

If you're interested, you can sign-up

Edit:
After Ima's comment, I realize I might not have given enough information. Below are some of the rules. To view the whole thing: Click Here

The Contest is a stock trading game that provides Participants with a fictional trading account, One Million (1,000,000) fictional dollars (“CNBC Bucks”) and the fictional ability to trade individual stocks on the NYSE, NASDAQ and/or AMEX exchanges. At the end of the Contest, the winner will be announced on CNBC television and/or CNBC.com.

Car insurance premium way down...

February 12th, 2007 at 12:37 pm

I just notified our car insurance company of our change of address. Somehow it never occurred to me what a difference it would make. Otherwise, I would have notified them the day we moved (10/26/06).

Result?
This change will give you a new annual premium. The annual premium has changed from $969 to $656, causing a $18 prorated credit on your policy from now until your policy renewal on 03/07/07

Wow... $313 for having a "nicer" address? I'm shocked.

Wow... Water bill

February 10th, 2007 at 12:08 pm

We got our first water bill a few days ago: $103.41 for 69 days. 10% discount if paid before 02/26.

This is my first ever water bill, so I didn't bother to really look at it. And then today, I did take a closer look:

Rate Information:
Water $4.06 per 100 CF
Sewer $7.43 per 100 CF

We used 900 CF, or 6732 gallons. This seems like a lo-oot of money. So I look around and find out what other Massachusetts cities are charging for water/sewer:
Rate for Shrewsbury, MA:
Min. charge $ 16.50/qtr. (5,000 gallons)
5,001 to 25,000 gallons $ 2.85/1000 gallons

At that rate, we would have paid:
16.50 + 4.94 = $21.44

Ok, so Shrewsbury is in no way the reference here. I just happen to find that particular information quickly. But this is still a huge difference.

Can I get feedback from you guys? What does your water bill look like?

Re: Update on hubby's CCs

January 30th, 2007 at 11:47 am

Following the previous post on my husband's credit cards
All 4 small balances credit cards are paid off!!!! Yay... I'm really happy.

Next, I'm going to snowball what I used to send them to my much larger balance credit cards and pay those off by the end of the year.

Let's recap:
That was back then (October 13):
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

This was then (December 13):
CC#1 22.9%, 53.1% balance to limit
CC#2 21.0%, 39.0% balance to limit
CC#3 24.0%, 0.0% balance to limit
CC#4 27.75%, 0.0% balance to limit

This is now (January 30)
CC#1 22.9%, 0.0% balance to limit
CC#2 21.0%, 0.0% balance to limit
CC#3 24.0%, 0.0% balance to limit
CC#4 27.75%, 0.0% balance to limit

Well... that feels pretty good!

E-loan drops its rate again

January 19th, 2007 at 12:09 pm

I was checking my E-Loan account this afternoon, and noticed the rate at 5.25%. A few weeks ago, they already came down to 5.36% from 5.50%. That sucks!

Got myself a shinny new Roth IRA

January 18th, 2007 at 03:02 pm

So I was opening myself a Roth IRA on Vanguard yesterday when I could not find any fund that had a minimum investment less than $3,000. So I gave up on it...

Today, Jim at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity posted this blog today: Go Open A Roth IRA Right Now!!!, which gave me a little extra motivation to check it out again. So I found a fund that requires $1,000 minimum investment, which I can do.

So guess what? I did it... I am now the proud owner of a Roth IRA account.

------- Edit ------
This morning, even the Consumerist was suggesting the post by Jim:
Open A Roth IRA Now

Now do you think you should open that Roth IRA??

Spam Comment...

January 17th, 2007 at 08:22 am

I was very very surprised to find the following comment this morning to one of my earlier post about my car insurance:


Author: keiko
E-mail: asiankeiko24@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.CarInsuranceDaddy.com
Comment:
Hi my name is Keiko. I am sweet Japanese girl.

I want to say thank you to nice man for email to me about http://www.CarInsuranceDaddy.com

It make me so happy! Now I understand how to buy right car insurance.

Love,
Keiko


I tried posting this to the forum, but somehow I do not have access to it anymore... Anyone else has gotten this kind of comments??

Balance transfer

January 13th, 2007 at 10:22 am

I talked about how we got a new credit card a few weeks ago with a 0% APR on balance transfer for 12 months. We had managed to charge on it already, but the balance transfer wasn't done. We consider it done. I'm waiting for the money to be moved around (ie: Chase cards paid, Citi cards charged), but the request was sent on Thursday.

And on a lighter note, here are two pictures of a new dog, Beaux:




10 new tax laws you need to know

January 12th, 2007 at 11:00 am

I found this very helpful article in my Bankrate newsletter this afternoon:

10 new tax laws you need to know

State of our affairs...

January 9th, 2007 at 07:55 am

I am late posting our end of month status. I have had to adjust it because I had forgotten accounts. This thing is getting larger every month.

Anyway, here it is.


What has changed?
- I added my Scottrade account info. As you can see, not very brilliant.
- I got a new Citi card. I only got it for the 0% APR on balance transfer, and was going to transfer the whole Chase card balance on it. I have not done that. However,I successfully charged stuff to it already!! Damn me...

Our net worth is up a bit, but our debt has subsequently gone up, which isn't good. I blame it all on Christmas! Smile

I forgot the Car Insurance!!

January 8th, 2007 at 03:02 pm

I have been completely obsessed with our budget lately, counting to the penny what comes in and goes out every month and trying to figure out what will come in a go out in the next few months. Well you dummy! What about the car insurance?!?!

Last year in March, our insurance comes up. Because I didn't have my US license and we were switching companies, it took a few months for the premium to actually shows as it should. We went from $1,600 to $2,100 back to the "normal" premium of $900. But while it was very high, our monthly payment due was also way up there, and whether I liked it or not, I had to make the $2,100/12 payment for a few months. Long story short, our premium ended up being paid way early in July I think and I sort of forgot we ever had to pay for car insurance. Now our policy is going to come up in 2 months and I didn't factor that into the budget.

Ok, we'll have to readjust he number a little bit. What really makes me angry? This article from Boston.com: Auto rates may drop but not for all in 2007:

A state law passed in 2004 changed the effective date of the 2007 auto insurance rates from Jan. 1 until April 1, which means anyone renewing their policy during the first three months of the coming year will continue to be billed at the 2006 rate for all of 2007.


And when is my policy being renewed??? Huh huh... in March! Damn you people making laws

Are we really going to owe taxes??

January 5th, 2007 at 11:59 am

I tried to figure out our taxes last night and surprise! We might be owing taxes. I've never owed taxes, I've always gotten a refund. Here's what has changed:
- We both do make more money
- DH's son was living with us so we could claim him as a dependent... not no more!

Since we bought a house only 2 months ago, we have not paid enough interest or real estate taxes to itemize, so we have to take the standard deduction. I have a small capital loss on my Scottrade account, but not enough. This is a really a big bummer!

------- EDIT -------
After a little bit a digging around, I found out that there are 2 things that can be done to lower taxes:
- Credits:
• Earned income tax credit
• Child-related tax credits
• Education tax credits
• Retirement saver's credit
We qualify for... well, none
and,
- Deductions, which consist of
• Standard Deduction/Itemization
• Above-the-line Deductions - I was hoping to find something in the latter, but no such luck
• Exemptions - nothing surprising there, we are 2, so 2 * $3,300 = $6,600 deductions.

Well, haven't found anything for us to use, but I hope I helped someone else with their taxes!

Anyway, whatever you do, don't forgot the Telephone excise tax refund

My favorite spreadhseet and Free MIT courses?

January 5th, 2007 at 07:58 am



I have mentioned this a few times in various comments I've left, but I wanted to share with everyone this little spreadsheet that has come very handy to me while figuring a lot of loan-related things: car loan and mortgage mainly.

I found the Loan amortization schedule template on the Microsoft template website.

Once you've entered all the information in the gray cells, it automatically displays your whole payment schedule, with how much you're paying for towards interest and capital. You can see the impact that making extra payment has on your total interest payment, as well as on the actual number of payments you will end up making. I think it's a fantastic little tool.

--------- EDIT ---------
This is not brand new, but I just found out that MIT offers free online courses from Aeronautics and Astronautics to Writing and Humanistic Studies. I have actually already used it to get a refreshing course in Java.

Bought mutual funds and REIT

January 4th, 2007 at 01:10 pm

Here's a little advice for you starting to invest in the stock market thinking you're going to get rich of of of these Penny Stock (you know, those ending with an .OB or .PK): YOU WON'T!!! If you're going to learn from experience, please learn from mine.

I started trading about a year ago. I thought I would be a millionaire by the end of this year. I was in la-la-land, that's what happened! At first, I thought I couldn't go wrong with penny stocks. Some of them went up 100% in a day. That's great. Exactly what need. All I have to do is find the right ones. Well, good luck with that!

Even though I did well three times with returns close and even over 100% in days, I did bad about a dozen times. The end result is that I lost about 20% of my initial capital in 1 year. For more reasons why not to buy penny stocks, J.D. at Get Rich Slowly (very a propos!) wrote about The Beauty of Penny Stocks

I still hold one penny stock which will be gone tomorrow. But now is time to get serious. To get (re-)started, I've decided to go with mutual funds. Two of my criteria are that it has to be:
- a no-load fund
- rated 5-star by MorningStar.com
My first pick is TWEIX. It is an American Century Investments fund.
Is has posted a Year to Date Return: 17.76% and 5-Year Average Return: 10.61%. Both very decent returns.

Scottrade let's me chose whether I want to reinvest dividends or not. I've chosen to do so.

The second type of investment I've chosen to go with is a Real Estate Investment Trusts or REIT. Even though real estate is not very hot right now, REITs are. And my pick was FUR.
Forbes has a good article about them: REIT Money Flows Into 2007

So far,
TICKER # Shares Buy Price Current Price
FUR 60 6.69 6.85
TWEIX 46.508 8.68 8.59

I'll keep the performances posted.

New Category: Grazing Through PF Blog

January 2nd, 2007 at 12:45 pm

I've decided to add this category on my blog: Grazing Through PF Blog.

I use an RSS feed and have to admit that it makes my life so much easier. Once in while, I come through great posts (that's actually more than once in a while), and I thought I would share them with you. I do not want to clutter my blog with links to other blogs, so I'll try to keep it short and consolidated, meaning that I will post more a set of links once a week rather than one link a day.

To get started on a light note, I stopped by StopBuyingCrap.com, and ran across this post: Customer of the Year... Enjoy!

-------- Update --------

Jim at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity tells us 5 Easy Steps to Becoming A Millionaire. Jim has a little sweepstakes where you can Win Health Care on Less Than You Think

A little edit here. I just found out from The Consumerism that Bank Of America To Charge For "Free" Checking and thought some people might want to know.
I recently opened a Bank of America account. I think that once my bonus money is in, I will close it and transfer it all to my old bank account at Sovereign Bank.

New year, New dog...

January 2nd, 2007 at 10:31 am

First of all: Happy New Year everyone!!! I wish you all the best for 2007.

Ok, now back to the new dog part. Well, that was DH most wanted present and he finally got it. It is crazy how much most shelters want for dogs. We could not find any place that required less than $350 for a mix race, nothing-special dog. I told him that at this price we could get a pure breed, but finally, on Sunday, as I was looking (one more time) at shelters around Eastern Mass, I found the Baypath Humane Society of Hopkinton. It was still a good chunk of money, but not as much as I was getting myself ready to spend, and we are already ssoooo in love with our little Beaux. His original name was Gomer. Not a big fan! He's a 6-month old black lab-terrier mix and the most adorable thing.
Hubby's happy, I'm happy... The cats? well, not so thrilled, but they're getting used to him.

Goals for 2007!

December 28th, 2006 at 09:47 am

I said I would do it yesterday, so I'm doing it.

This is still a draft, and I will have to refine it a bit, but here's the list for our goals for the New Year:







:: Savings ::
1. Save 10% of income into E-Loan account (+ ~$7,000)
2. Get my Scottrade account at $3,000 (+ ~50%)
3. Fund DH's 401(k) by $3,000
4. Pay off DH's 401(k) loan

:: Credit cards ::
5. Amazon, Target card paid off by March (3 payments)
6. Chase transfered to 0% APR by January and paid of by December
7. MBNA: send regular payment + raise every month - Have it paid off by December

:: Mortgage ::
8. Make at least $300 payment on mortgage #2 every month
9. Make at least $1,550 payment on mortgage #1 every month

:: Car ::
10. Payment of at least $450/month


-------- Update --------
Here are a few notes on the items above:
1. 10% is not much compared to what I've seen people in the personal finance community do, but it is realistic for us. Anything over this would be great and will go in savings.

2. I was lucky to be able to have $2,500 to "play" with for the past year trading stocks. Well, let's face it, I'm not too good at it. Although I did go as high as $4,200 in a few months only to lose it and come back down to $2,000. My goal is to get more conservative stocks, mutual funds and REITs and with the help of a few deposits along the year get back up there.

3. The max contribution for a 401(k) is $14,000 but that would be about 50% of DH's income. So not gonna happen. Again, I'm trying to be realistic.

4. Oh yeah! That one is a stupid one, and believe me he understands now why you never take loans out of your 401(k):
- He paid a 15% early withdraw fee plus 10% income tax = 25% lost for a lousy $400 loan, that's $100 gone for no good reason!

7. I will get a raise and in the spirit of living one raise behind, I will send every penny of that raise to pay off that credit card and pretend I never got it!

8 and 9. Regular payment on both mortgages are respectively $1,477.32 and $252.45. A few dollar more every money will save thousands in interest over time!
For argument sake, let's say we keep both loan for the whole 30 years - well actually the smaller one has a balloon payment in 15 years.


Mortgage 1
Loan Amount: $236,800.00
Monthly payment: $1,477.32
Over 30 years that's $295,036.61 in interest.

Payment at $1,550 cuts 54 months (4.5 years) of payments and we'll "only pay" $251,915.36 in interest. $43,121.25 saved.

Mortgage 2
Loan Amount: $34,000.00
Monthly payment: $252.45
Balloon payment due on month 180: $26,218.06

Payment at $300 cuts the final balloon payment to $9,739.28

See how amazing only a few extra dollars can make??

Finally,
10. Regular monthly car payment are $263.59. I have been making more than regular monthly payment starting at month #2. I already shaved off 6 months off our scheduled 5 years loan. I'm expecting this to be paid somewhere in May/June 2008. It should have been paid in March 2010.

Happy Holidays...

December 27th, 2006 at 11:43 am

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

My little present to you all bloggers: InfoRSS . You can only use it with Firefox, but if you do, I strongly recommend it.

Read all of your favorite blogs. You can even read Saving Advice blogs (which you cannot do with Yahoo! RSS feed).

Enjoy...!

And Happy New Year to all...

And PS: my goal for tomorrow is to have our goal for 2007 posted. I started working on the list today, and hope to finish it for a big reveal tomorrow :-)

How is RCN already going to lose me...

December 22nd, 2006 at 11:26 am

Following my fallout with Comcast, I decided to sign-up with RCN

I AM NOT HAPPY WITH RCN... And here's why:

Let me recap what I was told:

Internet: $35.99 (discount from $38.99 because we own our own modem)
TV: $38.00
-$20.00 for 1 year
TOTAL: $54.99

Now, when I called, I was told we didn't need the cable box because basic cable doesn't require them. Ok, fine.
However, the installation guy brought 2 of them with him. Customer service rep had said: $4.95 for the first one, and $7.95 (total of $12.90) for both boxes. Ok, it's a totally wasted expense, but the box allows for the use of guide, which is pretty useful, so I said "alright, put the boxes in as well".

So, my bill should have been:

54.99
12.90
5.00 (est. taxes)
-------
72.89 -- let's round this to $73

Now for the big surprise. I received my first bill: $82.15!!
After 3 weeks, yes 3 weeks of calling customer support (I work full time, and don't have time during the day to spend 20 minutes on hold, so it took a lot of trying - and billing dept isn't open on week ends, off course!). So after 3 weeks of calling customer service reps, I finally find out that:

#1. We do not qualify for 2 promotions. We can either have the special $77.99 bundle package (again, that's Internet: $38.99 + TV: $39.00) or the $20 discount/month.

I was never told that the $77.99 package was a "special" rate, nor that we had to choose one or the other. Again, it was the bundle and the $20 off.

So the "regular" charge is $80.99. Not a big difference from the $77.99, but that's not it...

#2. 2 cable boxes: $15.90! What? I thought it was $4.95 + $7.95. "Oh, but no, you only can get the 1st one at 4.95 if you sign up for a movie channel package.

Another thing I wasn't told!

#3. You could have though that the $80.99 included modem rental, since that's how they advertised the special bundle rate ($77.99 - $3 for customer owned modem), but you'd be wrong!

So let me break this down:

$83.99 (incl. modem rental)
+ $15.90 (2 boxes)
- $ 3.00 (modem)
- $20.00
+ $ 5.26 (taxes)
----------------
$82.15

So let's face it, it's only $10.00. Although $10.00 is not negligible, but the reason I am completely fed up with RCN already is that:
1. Every customer service rep blew me off. All I heard was "there's nothing I can do for you" and transfered me to the next person.
2. I signed up with them expecting to pay a certain amount. My bill shows up higher than what I had agreed with, and I can't do anything about it.
3. They are willing to lose a brand new customer over that lousy $10, because, yes, I'm already looking for another ISP.
4. Oh and I almost forgot, my next bill already showed up yesterday. There's a $50 equipment charge on it that I was also never told about. They will refund this when I return all he equipment to them...

... That should be very soon.

--------------------------------------
UPDATE
I was reading this post on Blueprint for Financial Prosperity. I'm seriously thinking of going back with Comcast since they're willing to offer better deal to "brand new" customer rather than the people who have been with them for over 5 years.

Update on hubby's CCs

December 13th, 2006 at 10:22 am

Follow up on my previous post

That was then (October 13):
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

This is now (December 13):
CC#1 22.9%, 53.1% balance to limit
CC#2 21.0%, 39.0% balance to limit
CC#3 24.0%, 0.0% balance to limit
CC#4 27.75%, 0.0% balance to limit

Woohoo... 2 cards are completely paid off. The other 2 are used for christmas shopping.

Opened a Bank of America account

December 12th, 2006 at 10:30 am

My husband wanted to change bank and he did a few month ago and went to Bank of America. When he went to his old bank to close his account, the teller asked him where he was opening his new account. When he told him where, the teller said soemthing to the effect of: "You're leaving us for THEM??". Ok, that was a side note.

Bottom line is he could get a $25 referal, so could I. We also got a coupon in the mail with $75 for opening an account there. I thought "100 free dollars?... hell yeah!". So it's done, and I have another checking account that I don't know what I'm going to do with, but which I'll get $100 for opening. :-D

We are we at?

December 1st, 2006 at 06:52 pm

November is over... So how did we do?
Actually pretty good. Let's see, liabilities are down $647.57, assets are up $781.30. Our net worth has gone up $1,428.87.
I give myself a pat in the back... I though we weren't doing good, but this is proof of the contrary... Yay me!





In dire need of a pep talk!!

November 29th, 2006 at 11:38 am

I'm such a chicken...

Let's rewind to yesterday. My 2 little helpers at work submit their hours twice a month to my boss. Because she cannot actually check them and make sure they are correct, last week she asked me to check and approve them before sending them to her. Well, one of them has gone overboard. I actually do keep track of their hours (yeah, ok, it's a little sneaky, but I had a few suspicions). He has submittted a whole 12 hours more than what I have. I am very mad because I know he knows he didn't work that many hours. Now, I have to make things clear that I will not tolerate that, but I'm so not that kind of boss. I'm the kind of person that will leave you alone as long as you do what you're supposed to do. I hate confrontation. I'm getting all shaky right now just writing about it.

But I can't let him get away with this either. Our boss is a bit of a pain (ok, she's a huge pain), but it doean't mean you can take advantage of it like that.
All morning I've been telling myself to talk to him. I just can't get my butt of this chair!!! I need you guys to motivate me... It WILL BE DONE BY THE END OF TODAY!!

My list... Did I miss the momentum?

November 19th, 2006 at 02:49 pm

Ok, I know, I'm a little late for that. I have been thinking about what I would put in that list for the past few days. I haven't been able to come up with that many, but here it is:

1. I'm an only child. Grew up in a village in the Eastern part of France. Population: 500.

2. I went to elementary school where there were about 25 kids (K through 5). The school is still there today and 32 kids were signed up at the beginning of this school year.

3. I got into a car accident when I was 16. I still carry the scars on my forehead, and hands. My husband tells me he can't see them, but I know they're there.

4. I had a piece of glass in my forehead for about a year after that accident that was eventually removed. It caused me my worst headaches.

5. As another result of this accident, I had a nose job at 19. I don't like to shout that out. I feel like people perceive me as shallow if I mention it. Then I feel obligated to explain why. So I don't bring it up.

6. I was born in Switzerland, but I am French.

7. My husband is 15 years older than I am. It doesn't bother me, but doesn't sit too well with mummy dearest. After being together for 6 years, living together for 5 and being married for 1 year, you'd think she got over it a little.

8. I have a Master's degree.

9. I love computer and technology in general.

10. I don't trust people very easily.

11. Both the cars I have (one is in France, the other one is here) are VW. I just love these cars.

12. My husband is the bad one with finances, I'm the good one. I've been trying to make him change some of his bad spending habits, and to my delight, he HAS changed (some) of them. He still has a little bit to go, but I'm very proud.

13. I was always the quiet one (still am). I never participated in anything in junior high, high school or college because I was shy. Which I regret because...

14. ... I'm very curious and want to learn everything about everything. When we bought our comforter about a year ago, I researched for weeks the different kind of comforter, learnt all the terms. It took forever and drove my husband crazy. But we got a great comforter.

15. I once completely ripped out both someone else's front bumper and mine getting out of parking lot with my car because I had a little bit too much too drink. I know it shouldn't be funny and I should have never been drinking and driving but it was hilarious then, and still is the funniest thing to me. You should have seen my friends faces when I arrived at the house we were meeting at: "Where is your front bumper??", and me pulling it out of back seat.

16. I worked at Six Flags Magic Mountain for 3 months in the summer of 1999.

17. And got a tattoo while walking on Venice beach one afternoon I had off.

18. My grandpa is from Corsica, a tiny island off the south coast of France. I've only been there once, and wish to go back some day. He was a veteran in the French Army, and went to WWII.

19. Talking about veterans, my husband is also a veteran. He went to the Gulf War (the first one) and was stationed in Saudi Arabia for 9 months (I think)... and I was only 11 (Oh! he hates when I remind him) Smile

20. I was lucky to have a mother who took me to every part of the world when I was younger. She took me to Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, The Maldives, Saint Lucia. Too bad I was too young to appreciate it to the fullest.
I also grew up few hours from the Italian border, and never bothered to go there!! Go figure

Hey, I've made it to 20. Never though it would happen. Hope you enjoy as much as I've enjoyed all of your lists!

Stock options?... Huh?... What?

November 15th, 2006 at 11:17 am

Here's my situation: I've been working for a start-up company for 3 1/2 years now. The company itself is 7 years old (and still can be classified as a start-up apparently!).

Anyhow, my boss has brought up a few times the fact that I would get stock options... Someday.... Maybe. I want to sit her down, talk about it, and come up with a figure. The problem? I have no idea what I should be asking for, or what I'm worth.

I know the people with more experience (the ones who know what start-ups are all about that is!) she has hired recently have come to an agreement about stock options before even accepting the job.

So why haven't I done that? Well, I got this job when I was a student, not knowing what start-ups where, let alone stock options. I feel like I should be getting some decent number of shares, if only for the fact that I am the employee with the most seniority - we do have quite a turnover here. I am also the only one around here that knows both about how the software we build works (and that's no small task) as well as the database (ditto!). Therefore, I am valuable Smile And I can say that without feeling like I'm a complete ass who thinks the world of herself, because it is actually true.

So that where you guys come in the picture... December 31st is big step as far as me working here, and I want to have something signed by then. My boss is not going to just offer me what I'm worth (she WILL try to get me to agree on the smallest number that she can). I need your help here! If you've had experience in a similar situation, I do need feedback so I can be prepared.

Our first mortgage payment...

November 13th, 2006 at 06:11 pm

... will be paid on 11/17, (due 12/01). Strangely, it feels good. It also made me realize we'll be overbudget this month. I've known that payment was due on 12/01, but for some reason, didn't bother to include it in the monthly budget. I though "Oh great, we don't have mortgage payment due until Dec. 1st, let's send super duper mega payments to all the credit cards, and car loan this month". Tonight I'm thinking that wasn't such a great idea. We'll get over it, we have little (tiny) cushion, but we'll have to be careful from now on.

RCN here I come!!

November 13th, 2006 at 01:16 pm

After my delightful conversation with a Comcast service rep on Saturday, I decided to call RCN to see what these guys had to offer.

Ok, let's compare the 2:
Comcast
Internet: $47.90 (incl. an extra IP)
TV: $62.25 (incl. $9.95 for int'l channel)
TOTAL: $110.15
------------------------
RCN
Internet: $35.99 (discount from $39.95 because we own our own modem)
TV: $39.00
-$20.00 for 1 year
TOTAL: $54.99

Well that's a big head scratcher!!
Someone is scheduled to come to our house on Saturday Smile

So much for getting my Comcast discount

November 11th, 2006 at 11:03 am

That post is under the "Savings" category. But it should be "Savings... or trying to". Smile

So I just called Comcast. First I wanted to make sure a credit from my account at the previous address had, in fact, been credited to my new account, which it had.

Second, I wanted to cancel an international channel we receive. It cost $9.95 (yes, $9.95 for ONE channel) a month and I barely watch it. That was a waste. They charge me a one time fee of $1.95 for change of service. All I could do was sigh at it. $1.95 for a guy to go into my account and click the "delete" button next to that channel. That must be worht that much, at least!

Last, I asked for a discount. I explained that I have been with Comcast for 5 years, like their service, BUT they were expensive and I now had the opportunity to go with other providers of high speed internet and cable TV for cheaper than what they offered. The rep replied he couldn't give me a promotional offer, to which I quickly replied that I was not interested in a promotional rate, I just wanted a discount on my current rate. He ended transfering me to some other department because he couldn't anything for me apparently.
The woman I then spoke with told me she couldn't offer any discount because I was getting the $25 dish buy-back credit already. I explained that I had been a cutomer of Comcast for 5 years... yaddi-yaddi-yadda!! Same speach all over again. I also mentioned that I should not be getting the dish buy-back credit anymore, that it should have stopped on 10/21. I AM TELLING HER THAT COMCAST DOESN'T OWE ME THIS MONEY ANYMORE!!! You'd think she would run a stop it. But no, she would not change her speach about the dish promotion and that I couldn't get any other discount because of it.
I was not very subtle about the fact that RCN offers a better rate and that I was consider mocing my business to them... I guess Comcast doesn't really care about their retention rate!

Update: 1st E-loan interest and other stuff...

November 9th, 2006 at 09:26 am

I haven't been keeping up with my goal to post at least every other day. Not that I don't have a lot to say. I've been busy at work and getting home at 8pm doesn't make me want to get in front of my computer... Anyway... Let's see...

I checked my E-Loan account the other day and saw the interest paid (actually not paid... It shows the interest, but it doesn't show in the balance)
Their FAQ says:
"Q: How do you calculate interest?
A: Interest on your account is compounded daily and credited monthly. For more details, see our Terms and Conditions."

We bought a programmable thermostat over the week-end. I wanted to install it but I'm waiting for day light to do it. So we don't freeze to death in case I mess it up, and have the time to call someone... Just in case! lol. Anyway, dear hubby doesn't trust me to do the job right I guess. He called an electrician to come next week end. :/ Nice. I'm not too offended acutally. I was getting a little scared to do this myself.

Best deal on Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

November 4th, 2006 at 05:34 pm

I went to our local Home Depot this afternoon (in Reading, MA) to get a few things for the house. Tomorrow I will install our programmable thermostat.
We also went for Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs, and boy did we find a deal. The pack of 6 bulbs usually goes for $9.99. They were on sale for $3.99. In addition, I found coupons, in the store, for an extra $2 off a pack. That means we got 3 6-pack for only $1.99 a pack!! Woohoo... we have enough CFL bulbs to last us a lifetime.


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