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Archive for December, 2006

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??

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:

Text is InfoRSS and Link is http://inforss.mozdev.org/index.html
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).


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

Text is fallout with Comcast and Link is http://lau.savingadvice.com/2006/11/11/so-much-for-getting-my-comcast-discount_17120/
fallout with Comcast, I decided to
Text is sign-up with RCN and Link is http://lau.savingadvice.com/2006/11/13/rcn-here-i-come_17224/
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:

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)

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.

I was reading
Text is this post and Link is http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/how-comcast-will-regain-me-as-a-customer-for-250.html
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

Text is previous post and Link is http://lau.savingadvice.com/2006/10/13/dear-hubbys-great-credit-score-got-him-t_15660/
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!