Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Updates on Debt

I've recently, as of today, updated our networth debt numbers.  One of our goals for 2015 was to get our total debt load under $500,000 and I'm pleased to report that our debt is now at $489,000.  Since, January 2007, our debt load has gone from $735,054 down to $489,000.  That means, on average we have killed about $30,000 in debt per year since 2007.

On our primary home, purchased in 2004, we have paid off $105,546 in principal.  Since we refinanced our mortgage a couple years ago to 2.75% our payments have accelerated.  We also refinanced from a 25 year loan to a 15 year loan and cut off 7 years from our overall term.  On our three investment property mortgages, as of next month, all three mortgages should be below $100,000.

As for our other debt, I've struggled with credit card debt, pay it down, run it up, pay it down, etc.  I really need to kill it once and for all as its now been hanging around since the baby arrived.  We also have a new debt that is not yet listed, 0% financing on floor tile that we bought for one of our investment properties.  That debt is a couple of thousand dollars.

As for Mr. Sam's new truck, we continue to pay down his truck debt (we paid for his new truck half in cash and half in 0% financing) at $500 a month, so that debt will be gone in seven months.  I really need to be saving for a nused car for me, as my car has been acting up.  Recently it was out of commission for a few weeks with an electrical problem but the fix ended up only costing $250.  There are several other more expensive things wrong with the car, but the dealer says none are pressing to fix as of now.  The dealer gave me a print out of things to fix that would likely cost $4000 which is more than the car is worth.  It was kinda funny as I had started to research my next car.  Since Baby Sam arrived I, of course, want a family car.  But, I'm better off trying to make my car last another year or so as I've only got $400 saved in my nused car fund.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Black Hole

I've entered a deep, dark black hole life otherwise known as being a working professional with a demanding job and also mother to a small baby while also serving as wife, daughter, daughter in law, sister, friend, etc.

There is little sleep here, I tend to run from one emergency to another and feel like I'm spinning my wheels most of the time.  I'm sure there are many out there who have been in my same position.

I just spent three hours in the middle of my busy work day paying bills and trying to noodle out a few financial riddles.

In the process of doing that I figured out that instead of paying our utility bill I paid my tenant's utility bill.  I've got all the accounts set up in bill pay because as the properties revert back to us, in between tenants, we have to pay the utility bill.  I'm sure our tenants will be pleasantly surprised by the credit on their utility account.  No, I'm not going to try and get the money back from them.

I also figured out that in July I paid our mortgage twice and that is why we were so short on cash that month.  The upside, since I've figured that out I don't have to pay November's bill.  I normally would and just stay ahead or ask them to convert the extra payment to principal, but our credit card debt is up to $10,000 so I can put that mortgage money towards that bill.

I don't have a good idea as to where we are on savings goals, my husband who is the Excel spreadsheet guru never set one up for 2015 and we are into Oct.  Hubby's situation is similar to mine except he has been spending his extra time, little that is, turning one of our rental properties into a permanent home for his father.

I know this will get better and being a Mom is such a gift, but right now I feel like I'm doing a mediocre job on everything in my life.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

NetWorth Update

I have updated out networth numbers over on NetworthIQ.com.  That site remains wonky and spotty, but I know how to use it and I can do a quick update when it works.

Angie (a reader here) had told me about NetworthShare.com, and I did create an account and had them port over data, but not all of my data came over.  So I need to spend some time, which I'm perpetually short on these days, bringing the rest of my data over and getting used to the site, etc.

Our expenses have gone way up with Baby Sam which is mostly due to child care costs.  We have also had some cash flow issues since we are converting a rental property.  As a result, we've been relying on our credit card to fill some holes in our monthly budget which I hate to do.

We do have plenty of cash in our savings so its not necessary to do this, but I don't want to take cash from savings.  Its been somewhat circular this summer.  I really, really need to kill the credit card debt once and for all and then cut the card to get us out of this habit.

The positive is that we should be under the $500,000 debt number by end of year (one of our goals).  If I killed the credit card debt we would be below the $500,000 number in a month.  Another positive is that we have stayed above the $2 Million mark (in assets) for a year now.

Otherwise, we continue to struggle with putting money into our IRA 2015 fund, and we will need to work hard on that goal this fall.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Uphill Battle

I'm sorry I've not posted here more.  But, now I understand how busy one gets with a full time job and a new baby.

Financially, we are all over the place.  We can't seem to get back on track post baby.  While our incoming salaries remain the same or better, our outgoing expenses are much. much higher than normal.

Child care is running $1900 a month ($22,800 a year) which appears to be way higher than normal for Florida, but I don't know anyone in my circle paying the Florida annual average of $8300.  Add in diapers, formula, wipes, etc. at $300 a month or so and we are up to $2200 in expenses.  And, we actually don't spend much on Baby Sam, we hit the thrift stores for books and toys and I stick to super sales for baby clothes.  At present, we are also adding $200 a month to Baby Sam's college fund.  So in total, about $2400 a month in baby expenses.

Another challenge, we are converting a rental property from rental to family.  We have, in the past, utilized one of rental properties for our snow bird relatives which was a financial hit.  Now, that we are turning the rental property to a family property, we have had a couple of months where our old tenants have not paid us.  So that also, obviously, impacts our cash flow.

Anyways, we continue to contribute to our 401ks, at max level, and continue to put money into savings, but we need to catch up on our IRAs.

Hope your summer is going well.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Update on Swap.com Experiment

Earlier, I posted about my Swap.com experiment.

Almost a month later and I have earned $80 in profit.  I've sold about 18 items (a couple of which were sets).  The least expensive item I sold was $3.00.  The most expensive item I sold was $15.00.  Initially, the first week or so that my items were posted on the web site (they do the photographing and posting), I sold several items that were lower priced.  Then my selling rate slowed down and I sold an item here or there but the items were more expensive.  I have 8 items (include a couple of sets) posted and priced that have not sold.

I did much better selling maternity clothes that I did selling infant/baby items.  In fact, I have only sold one baby item thus far.

At present, I have another big box of mostly maternity items to send off now.  The items I am sending in this time are my high end, business and fashion maternity items.  I also had almost all of these items dry-cleaned so I will need to price the items high enough to recoup my dry-cleaning expenses.   These items will likely be priced at $30 or more to account for dry-cleaning costs of $10 and original prices of $80 - $130 per item (and many were only slightly worn).

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Some Slightly Better News on the Rising Cost of College

Glad to hear that the dramatic rise in college costs is starting to slow down a bit.  As I posted previously, we have started a 529 fund for Baby Sam.  So far, we have contributed $2100 to the fund.

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Windfall is Coming

As you can tell from the title of this post, clearly I'm a Game of Thrones fan.

So, I received news that I'm getting a bonus this year.  This bonus was unexpected for a couple of reasons.  First, I was on maternity leave for more than three months.  Second, I did not believe I was eligible for this type of bonus.

So money is coming our way and it is a decent size chunk of cash.  Of course, after Uncle Sam takes his bite and after the deduction for my 401k, the number shrinks.  But, I won't complain one bit.

My tentative plan for the money is as follows (final plan depends a bit on the amount).  First, 50% will go to our baby debt (which presently is $5421 at 0%).  Second, 25% will go towards our upcoming summer vacation (so, into our travel savings fund).  Third, 15% will go towards our 2015 IRA savings account.  And, finally, 10% is for me to do what I want with (spa, clothes, dinner out, or some other kind of treat).

How do you spend bonus money?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cars, cars, cars

Back in 2008, the first year of this blog, we saved up $17,000 and I bought a 2006 nused car.  While that feels like a short time ago, its been almost 7 years.  That car has served me well, but last year (and the prior year) it cost me a pretty penny in repair costs.

Now that we have Baby Sam, and I have to wiggle and wrangle that baby stroller in and out of my trunk (even though its very large) and as the car approaches the 10 year mark, I've started thinking that I need a new/nused car.  I'm thinking about a small SUV or cross over type of car.  Something with a larger back storage area (not a trunk) so I can more easily fit the baby stroller and all the stuff that goes along with a baby.

The length of time Americans keep their cars has grown.  On average, a new car is kept for 71.4 months (or just under 6 years).  On average, a nused car is kept for 49.9 months (a bit over 4 years).  In my situation, I've exceeded the average for both data points. since I've been driving my nused car for more than 6 years.

I generally do well with resisting the influence of friends and colleagues, but most everyone I know is driving a newish car.  In fact, I recently got together with a good friend and she has a newly leased SUV.  In the last 15 years she has had 5 cars and I have had 2.  In our family, I was the one with the nice car since Mr. Sam was driving an old 1998 truck.  But, that's not true anymore.

While I'm starting to pine for a new car, our financial situation is stretched.  We have the expenses of the baby, indeed we still have a little baby debt.  We have Mr. Sam's truck debt.  And, we've barely made any progress on our 2015 savings goals (indeed we've hardly started).  We also have child care costs and a college fund to feed.  So, if I can hold off on a new or nused car for a couple of years, we'd be much better off.

As a result, my tentative plan is to start a nused car fund now so I feel like I am working towards a goal.  I need to also spend some money to get my car cleaned and tuned up, oil change, tire rotation, etc.  If I do that, I'll feel like my car is in better condition and won't be so antsy for a change.