Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Glimmer

I know that I'm not supposed to check in on my long term investments, My 401K, on a regular basis. But after checking on my 401K, I'm happy to report a slight swing to the positive side (the first gains this year).

Monday, April 20, 2009

Let's do the numbers

1) Max out 401ks - $33,000
(2) Max out 2009 IRAs - $10,000
(3) House project and furniture - $10,000
(4) Add to baby fund - $5,000
(5) Lasik surgery for Mr. Sam - $5,000
(6) Add to emergency fund - $10,000
Total - $73,000

(1) $8704 (26%)
(2) $10000 (100%)
(3) $563 (6%)
(4) $157 (3%)
(5) $0
(6) $0 ($18,576 in our ING e/r account)
Total - $19,426 (27%)

Hooray for one goal completed, five to go. We are also on target for goal #1.

Life of a Product

How long should a particular product last? Companion question, how long should one wait to replace a particular product?

This past weekend I finally replaced my 19 year old Sony alarm clock radio with a new Sony alarm clock radio. My old alarm clock, which was at least 19 years old, still kept time but the radio tuner no longer worked and I didn't care for being awoken by the buzzer. So we stopped by the local Best Buy and I picked up an almost identical style Sony alarm clock radio (after reviewing all the new fangled options - CD alarm clock, IPod docking station alarm clocks, etc.). I was pleased that I was able to pick up a similar alarm clock and pleased that my old alarm clock lasted so long.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

2009 IRAs

We can now cross off 2009 IRAs from our 2009 savings goal list. As of yesterday, tax day, we have fully funded both our 2009 IRAs for a total of $10,000.

We use our IRA monies to buy individual stocks and we have been picking up some great stocks that are on super sale (basically 50% off).

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cost of Doing Business?

Today, while paying my monthly bills I noticed that two of my recurring costs are creeping up by a total of about $8 a month. Not a whole lot of money but that creep upwards can be dramatic over the course of a few years.

First, DirecTV has gone up @ $4.50 a month and is now costing us $88.25 (includes two receivers and we pay for HBO, we get free Showtime for being loyal customers). I called to find out why and was told that they had a "rate increase." I complained, nicely, and the DirecTV representative gave me a $5 off coupon for the next 6 months.

Second, ADT is going up @ $9 a quarter and is now costing us $136.94 for three months. I called ADT to inquire as to the increase and they explained the increase as "cost of doing business." I explained that raising rates on good customers during gloomy economic times is a sure fire way to motivate them to find another provider. The ADT representative was very friendly and took the increase off and we will be receiving a credit.

I'm wondering if businesses are increasing costs to cover the loss of business from other customers. But as demonstrated above, it pays to call and inquire about a reduction. I was two for two today and it only took me about 15 minutes of time to save $66.00 and stop the creep upward.