Friday, July 29, 2011

Are you on the edge of your seat?

Wondering whether Congress will reach a compromise on this debt ceiling debacle? I've been following some tweets on Twitter....and what a divided nation we are! When you have two sides so completely entrenched in their beliefs and values, and neither side has full control of the legislative process....there has to be compromise. I do wish it included spending cuts and a balanced budget amendment, but I guess we'll have to take what we can get.

No major news on my home front. I am stressed to the max for some reason today. Lots of work deadlines approaching. My daughter has her team tryouts tomorrow, and that seems to be more stressful for the moms than it is for the girls. Have any of you watched Dance Moms? I will say I am hooked on that show....probably because it makes me and my circle of Dance Moms seem so normal and down-to-earth. Kind of like watching Hoarders? Then you can look away from the messes since your own house is a thousand times better than the ones on that show! LOL

OK....lots to do. Better get to it. I've even got my fingers crossed for some overtime the next couple of weeks. That would certainly help the August budget! Send good thoughts for lots of energy and no child care issues....Momma needs to work!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Savings Accounts for Kids

I'm still keeping my eye on ING, but I was excited to find out this week they have kid-friendly savings accounts.
  • no minimums
  • no fees
  • the same 1% annual yield my other accounts get
Check it out here.

My 9 yr. old has been wanting an "account." I'm so happy to find a fee-friendly option for her. I remember my mom taking me to the bank --- probably younger than 9 --- to open my own passbook savings. Does anyone else remember those little ledgers in a folder that looked like a passport??? Gosh, I'm old.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Great Recovery

Will you be watching tonight? I am going to try. That's a bad hour in our house for focused viewing, but I really could use some hope about where our country is headed.

Frugal Birthday Cards

I just ordered 20 photo cards (using a picture of my kids and adding some text with birthday wishes) for $1.49. That's less than 8¢ per card!!! I can't even make them with my scrapbook stash that cheaply! And my family will love them...

Here's a link so you can order your own!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Did you read your letter from ING Direct?

I heard the news last month about the agreement reached between Capital One and ING Direct. Here's the letter that was in my inbox this morning:

I have loved my ING Direct savings accounts for seven years! I opened two Sharebuilder accounts (one Regular, one Roth) earlier this year, and the customer service has been amazing!

I feel very leary about wolves coming in with my sheep. So I'll be keeping my eyes open for other options and watching like a hawk for changes in corporate policy.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thinking Out Loud

Please feel free to skim right over this if it gets too hairy for ya. It's kinda confusing in my mind so I'm posting here to help me think through a potential transaction spurred on by Mortgaged Life and her use of equity lines vs. savings. Of course, if you want to offer your opinion I'll gladly listen.


HELOC - secured by our rental property (the old home). Total line of credit is $100,000. Current balance is $68,229 which was amortized on a 15-year 4.99% loan back in November, roughly 160 pmts. remaining.

Chase Card #2 - was a credit card that Chase refused to lower my 11 or 12% interest rate. So I paid it off by drawing on the line of credit. This part of the line was not amortized on the 15-year loan (above), and is a variable rate of prime minus 0.5% (currently 2.75%). Current balance on this portion is $4,327.

Love that I'm paying 2.75% instead of 12%. But because of my "bucket" mentality, it bugs me that I've mixed the rental loan with the credit card loan. Kinda like my kids hate for their foods to touch each other on the dinner plate I guess.

Word has it (and a homeowners' meeting confirmed) that we will be handed a rather hefty assessment for the rental property (condo) for a MAJOR retaining wall, underpining project. Basically one row of homes was practically sliding off the hill. And yes, when you own a condo you are responsible for everyone's property not just your own. It was really no big surprise....or at least I'm over the shock and prepared to write a check for $4-5K.

I actually have enough in the Rental Emergency Fund to cover that and still have 3 months of expenses (payment, taxes, HOA fees) left over.

So now I'm thinking I drain the Rental E-Fund ---- after all it is my money ---- and pay enough down on the line of credit to obliterate Chase Card #2.

Then when the bill comes in for the assessment, I draw on the line to pay the assessment.

Yes I know....I'll end up with basically the same amount of debt. But in my mind, then every dollar on that line of credit will really be related to the rental property. My bucket mentality sometimes makes my life alot more complicated than it has to be.....

And now that I've typed this out, I've realized I better wait and make sure I don't need to draw any more money on the line to pay for our dance team trip!!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Net Worth Funded - 2Q 2011

At least I have the spreadsheet to make me feel a little better. It's nice to see that although it feels like treading water, slow progress is being made. I think my goal to pay down $10K of debt this year is definitely obtainable. Not exactly gazelle intense, but more like the persistant tortoise.

The next two months might be the killer. Our annual trip (600 miles away this year!) for dd9's dance competition and back to school expenses might just do me in. Let's hope I've socked enough away --or at least can juggle the budget-- to cover it all. I have my fingers crossed, but I'm leary.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I forgot to update you on more Good News!

Due to a change in their living situation, I agreed to let my old tenants out of their lease six months early. Two gets married...other one moves out....condo is much bigger and more expensive than a pair of newlyweds needs. They wanted to move to smaller and cheaper housing and who am I to stand in the way of anyone trying to better their financial situation.

The awesome thing was that ONE ad on Craigslist yielded 3 showings and 1 approved application. I did the exit walk-through and got the keys from the old tenant on a Monday evening. We had carpet cleaners there on Tuesday morning. My husband detail cleaned the kitchen, bathrooms, baseboards while the carpet cleaners were there. And Tuesday evening I met the new tenant and handed her the keys! Not even 24 hours vacant....I didn't have to take over any utilities....and I didn't miss a single day of rent income!

That's pretty awesome considering it took us forever to find our first tenants back in 2009....

Life is a mix of Bad and Good

We're just keeping on keeping on....crossing our fingers the summer expenses aren't going to kill us again this year. I've been scared to update the reports, the budget, the checkbook.

Bad news: No raises this year. UGH! Even a 1-2% raise helps keep up with the rising cost of gas, groceries, and health insurance.... Now I know how the Social Security recipients have been feeling the past couple of years.

More Bad news: DH is not working right now. We both agreed it was not a long-term situation....I try to mind my own business though on his timing of making his exit.

Good news: The little one starts kindergarten in just 7 weeks! Although I'll still be paying for after-school care for him, it will be ALOT less than the monthly check to preschool I've been writing for what seems like forever!! PLEASE PLEASE let that stretch further than just the cost-of-living increases!

More good news: I cashed out more Swagbucks this morning for a $5 Amazon gift card. And I'll probably be cashing out $10 or so from M-Turk in the next few days. Good thing the little things keep me happy.

Hope you all have a safe and Happy Fourth!!!!!