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Made $72 extra today

September 18th, 2007 at 06:56 pm

I finally got around to calling XM and cancelling my account. My new car isn't equipped with XM, and with car payments now, I don't have the money to have it installed. So, I called up today and stopped the service. Since I paid for a year in advance in April, I should get a credit to my credit card for around $70. I missed XM at first, but honestly, I've found some new local stations that aren't too bad. And on road trips I have the CD player.

Now, I just need to do the same sort of thing with my cable--either cancel the digital cable/DVR, or try Dish or DirecTV.

Money Related Regrets

September 5th, 2007 at 07:14 pm

Earlier this week, I read this post on Blunt Money:http://www.bluntmoney.com/7-money-related-things-i-regret-do...
This got me thinking about my own money-related regrets, and I thought I'd share them here.

1. I rented for over 15 years. I don't even want to think how much that rent totals up too, but I just did. I was at my last apartment 11 years with a rent around $400 a month: $52,800. Still, if I had purchased a house sooner, I wouldn't have been able to afford anything like where I am now. So maybe waiting had its advantages.

2. I ignored my finances while I was in my 20s and 30s. Now I'm 40ish and time seems to be going much faster now.

3. I bought a cash value life insurance policy. This was my first investment decision, and I think it probably wasn't the best decision.

4. I love electronic gadgets like MP3 players, TiVo, and other such things. And sometimes those "must have" purchases sit around unused after a few months. A perfect example is my PDA. I just had to have it, and now it seems too big to even bother carrying around.

The rest are car related.

5. When my previous car was paid off, I didn't apply my payment to savings. I just kept the extra money in my checking account and enjoyed having the extra money for splurges. I eventually did start saving, but I wasted a few years before doing so. Big mistake.

These last two regrets are ones I am living with now.

6. Taking out a car loan again. I should have driven my Sunfire into the ground, but I wanted something newer and safer. Now I'm adjusting to having a payment again and worried I may have over-extended myself.

7. I bought a vehicle with poor gas mileage because I wanted something to haul things in. This has forced me to start combining trips and has virtually put an end to quick jaunts to the store. So in that respect, perhaps it is good that I am conserving more.

I'm sure I could come up with more regrets given time! Do you have any?

Thanks for Nothing

September 2nd, 2007 at 06:51 pm

I never posted about this, but back at the beginning of August, I received notice of my raise this year: 3%. Can you see why I didn't mention it? Anyway, I found out yesterday that starting in January, we can expect a 5% increase in the cost of our health insurance. Great. So much for that raise. With that 5% on top of the increased cost of parking, I'll probably make less this year than last, even with that raise.

I sometimes feel like I'll never get ahead.

A $7.54 Confession

August 31st, 2007 at 06:02 pm

I broke the budget today. It was such a beautiful day. I went and bought a 6 pack of Mikes Hard Lemonade and sat outside for an hour reading a book and enjoying a drink. I love to sit outside and read, and this was the first opportunity I've had to do this in my new house. It was so nice to be in my own place. So, that splurge put me slightly over budget. But the booze was on clearance!

I took yesterday and today off from work. I spent most of today cleaning my vinyl siding. It was filthy. I still have the back of the house and one more side to do. That was hard work, but the house looks so much nicer now.

I also got estimates from tree trimming companies. I have a large cedar tree growing right next to my house that I need to do something about. I was originally thinking of just trimming it back, but now I'm leaning towards removing the tree entirely. I just think it will always be a problem, so I might as well bite the bullet and remove it now. It does provide a bit of privacy, though, so I'll hate to lose that.

I got estimates from 3 companies. One was very professional, but also very expensive: $675. YIKES. One company gave me a good price, but he didn't seem very professional. The third company that came out today is probably who I'll have do the work. His price was $355, and he was very professional and knowledgeable. So, anyway, I hate to spend the money on this, but I also don't want to have any damage done to the house or to the roof.

Too Much Month at the End of the Money

August 28th, 2007 at 06:52 pm

That's what this month is like. I won't get paid by my full time job until Sept. 5. I will get a check from my part time job on Friday, but I'm expecting that to be less than $100. And, of course, the mortgage payment is due on the 31st. That doesn't leave much left over for things like groceries. And, of course, this is a long holiday weekend. I could transfer a little money from my savings to tide me over if needed, but I'm trying not to do that.

I got my electric bill yesterday. Most expensive yet at $142. I was expecting it to be bad with the heat wave. Can't wait for things to cool off.

Foreclosures

August 25th, 2007 at 03:53 pm

I found this article in my local newspaper and thought it was a very interesting read:
http://www.showmenews.com/2007/Aug/20070825Busi004.asp

Of course, I figured the rate of foreclosures was up, but I didn't realize by how much. And this is a town with a fairly stable employment pool, so there haven't been big layoffs or anything of that nature feeding this.

I also found it interesting that the representative from the banking association points to sub-prime lenders as the problem, not reputable commercial banks, and yet 20 out of the 35 foreclosures in July in my county were by traditional banks.

I can't believe people can live with such filth. I guess when you realize you're losing your house, you just don't give a hoot anymore.



Check from Home Warranty

August 25th, 2007 at 12:37 pm

I picked up the mail today and found a check from the home warranty for the AC repair. I was surprised it came so quickly, since I just faxed the repair receipt to the company on Monday. So, kudos to them. I thought I'd have to keep hounding them to get anything back. The check was for $653 and the total cost of the repair was $928, so the cost to me was under $300. I'm very glad about that.

I opened an ING Orange account earlier this week with about $150. I have my emergency fund in a money market mutual fund with American Funds, but I thought I'd try ING for extra savings. Since my Furniture Row debt is at no payments, no interest until June 08, I thought I'd make payments to ING instead of Furniture Row, and then pay that debt off in May. Or sooner, with any luck saving.

One other observation-I've got to get better at buying only from my list at the grocery store. I stayed well within my budget today, but I still bought more "what the heck" items than I should have.

The Importance of an Emergency Fund

August 15th, 2007 at 05:13 pm

Dang it is hot, hot, hot here in Missouri. And of course, nothing like a heat wave to confirm that, yes, that AC isn't cooling like it should. So, the cooling company came out today. 2 parts on the AC were defective, plus the unit had not been cleaned in a very long time. I just bought this place a few months ago, and the house was a rental unit before, so I doubt they took great care of it.

It was expensive to fix. But the sellers paid for a home warranty as part of our contract, so much of the expense will be covered by the warranty. As I was writing the check, I thought about how glad I was that I had the money available to write a check for the service. Sure, I don't want to spend it. But, that's just part of the joys of home ownership, right? It just gives you a certain amount of confidence to know those funds are there. Now I just have to replenish that Emergency Fund.

Citizen's Auto Finance

August 11th, 2007 at 01:37 pm

Does any one here have any experience with this company? My new car loan is from Citizens. I have yet to receive any information from them regarding my loan, and my first payment is due on the 27th of August. So, Wednesday I finally found their phone number (thanks to a Yahoo Answers question--the phone number is not on any of my documents and I couldn't find a website) and gave them a call. They said they do the billing for the month on the 7th. Well, now it is the 11th, and I still don't have a bill from them. Plus, their website is really terrible and it costs an extra $12 to make an online payment. Really stupid.

My last car loan came from a bank that sent a book of vouchers at the beginning of the loan. Now I guess most companies don't do that anymore. I much prefer the old way, and I'd prefer to pay online. I think it is crazy to charge extra for that feature.

An Introduction

August 4th, 2007 at 06:14 pm

I've never really worried about money before. Although I'm fairly frugal with my money, I have never tried to stay on a budget before. Yes, I have a budget set up in MS Money, but I never stressed about sticking to it. And I always seemed to have the money I needed to get by.

But 2007 has changed all that. I bought a house in May. This was a good move for me financially, since I won't be tossing my money away on rent anymore. But I've also spent a ton of money since May buying things I need for the new home: lawnmower, weed whacker, tools, furniture. It seems like there is always something I need for the house.

Buying a house was a smart move, but I have also made a couple of other money decisions that weren't so wise. In July, I purchased a new (to me) car. So, after years of having no car payment, I'm facing years of debt. I like the car, but I'm not sure this is the wisest decision I've made.

So, instead of stressing about what I've done, I've decided it is time to get proactive with my finances and get rid of that debt as fast as possible.

So, here's where I stand: I have $1580 left to pay on the new furniture I bought for the house. And $15,995 for the car.

I know I can reel my spending in and save money, and I'm excited to see what I can learn in this process.