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Increased my Roth IRA contribution and yearly goal update

July 3rd, 2007 at 02:15 pm

My Roth IRA at Vanguard is now worth $ 2,456.51. Up 5.66% since January 19. Not bad.

I've decided to increase the contribution from $50 to $75.

It's not going to make a HUGE difference, but it's still 50% more.

2007 GOAL UPDATE
My goal of putting 10% of our income in a savings account is not going to happen. I am able to put between $100 and $200 every month, but $7,000 is too much at that point.

I have come up with a Debt repayment plan a few months ago, and we are sticking to it. So far so good! We should end up with only one CC by December.
The car loan will be gone by February, just like my goal was set to. Smile

Right now, we cannot make the $1,550 and $300 payment on the mortgage as I wanted to, so I am sticking with the regular payments of $1,477.32 and $252.45 respectively.

What happens to my money for 4 days??

May 24th, 2007 at 07:28 am

I opened an HSBC savings account a few months ago. I am scheduling a transfer for this month, and checked last month's transfer to see for what day I should plan it...

Well, well, I didn't notice but, the money was taken out of my account on April 19, only to be credited in the HSBC one on April 23. That's 4 days of money floating around somewhere. Granted, it was only $25 so I didn't lose a lot of interest, but if I'm not getting the interests, someone else must be...

Just a thought!...

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!

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.

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

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.

Monthly deposit to E-Loan account

November 1st, 2006 at 10:46 am

Made another transfer to our new e-loan account, which brings our balance to $5,800.

Below is the state of our affairs... A lot of the entries under liabilities have to go. Namely Amazon, Target, Orchard and Aspire for the credit cards.
Our dental and medical bills will also be paid starting Jan 2007.


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.

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.