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Archive for January, 2007

Re: Update on hubby's CCs

January 30th, 2007 at 11:47 am

Following the previous post on my

Text is husband's credit cards and Link is http://lau.savingadvice.com/2006/12/13/update-on-hubbys-ccs_18822/
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

Text is Blueprint for Financial Prosperity and Link is http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/
Blueprint for Financial Prosperity posted this blog today:
Text is Go Open A Roth IRA Right Now!!! and Link is http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/go-open-a-roth-ira-right-now.html
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:
Text is Open A Roth IRA Now and Link is http://consumerist.com/consumer/roth-ira/open-a-roth-ira-now-229863.php
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
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.


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:

Text is 10 new tax laws you need to know and Link is http://www.bankrate.com/nltrack/itax/news/taxguide/20070110_new_tax_laws_a1.asp
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:

Text is Auto rates may drop but not for all in 2007 and Link is http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2006/11/30/auto_rates_may_drop_but_not_for_all_in_2007/
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:

Text is Credits and Link is http://www.bankrate.com/nltrack/green/taxes/basicsfour-intro.asp?caret=44
Earned income tax credit
Child-related tax credits
Education tax credits
Retirement saver's credit
We qualify for... well, none
Text is Deductions and Link is http://www.bankrate.com/nltrack/green/taxes/basicsthree-intro.asp?caret=43
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
Text is Telephone excise tax refund and Link is http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=161506,00.html
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

Text is Loan amortization schedule and Link is http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/TC010197771033.aspx?pid=CT101172751033
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
Text is MIT offers free online courses and Link is http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/index.htm
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

Text is Get Rich Slowly and Link is http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/
Get Rich Slowly (very a propos!) wrote about
Text is The Beauty of Penny Stocks and Link is http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2006/12/27/the-beauty-of-penny-stocks/
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:
Text is REIT Money Flows Into 2007 and Link is http://www.forbes.com/markets/2007/01/02/american-financial-realty-markets-equity-cx_mk_0102markets11.html?partner=rss
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

Text is RSS feed and Link is http://lau.savingadvice.com/2006/12/27/happy-holidays_19306/
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
Text is StopBuyingCrap.com and Link is http://www.stopbuyingcrap.com/
StopBuyingCrap.com, and ran across this post:
Text is Customer of the Year and Link is http://www.stopbuyingcrap.com/2006/12/29/customer-of-the-year/
Customer of the Year... Enjoy!

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

Jim at
Text is Blueprint for Financial Prosperity and Link is http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/
Blueprint for Financial Prosperity tells us
Text is 5 Easy Steps to Becoming A Millionaire and Link is http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/5-easy-steps-to-becoming-a-millionaire.html
5 Easy Steps to Becoming A Millionaire. Jim has a little sweepstakes where you can
Text is Win Health Care on Less Than You Think and Link is http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/win-health-care-on-less-than-you-think.html
Win Health Care on Less Than You Think

A little edit here. I just found out from
Text is The Consumerism and Link is http://www.consumerist.com/
The Consumerism that
Text is Bank Of America To Charge For "Free" Checking and Link is http://www.consumerist.com/consumer/bank-of-america/bank-of-america-to-charge-for-free-checking-224169.php
Bank Of America To Charge For "Free" Checking and thought some people might want to know.
I recently
Text is opened a Bank of America account and Link is http://lau.savingadvice.com/2006/12/12/opened-a-bank-of-america-account_18766/
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

Text is Baypath Humane Society of Hopkinton and Link is http://www.baypathhumane.org/index.php
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.