Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Back Again

In May of 2008, our net worth totaled $987,376, then the stock market fell apart in the summer and early fall of 2008 and our net worth dropped to $897,080 in October of 2008.

Now in September of 2009, our net worth is back to $987,749. The celebration will be short lived, come November of 2009 I will plug in our Florida real estate values (once we receive final values from the County property appraiser) and I expect our net worth to drop by $200,000-$300,000.

It is easy to get caught up in our NetworthIQ numbers each month, and while I recommend paying attention to the numbers, it is important to remember that the rise and fall of the 401K and the IRA and real estate values are some what illusory. The fact is that there is no profit or loss on the stocks, funds or real estate until we sell same.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wishful Thinking

One of my spending weaknesses is real Art. I love Art and I don't mind spending money on real Art (no prints for me).

One of my favorite artists is deceased and his work goes up for auction now and again. I keep track of the auction schedule and I was determined to bid on one of his pieces this weekend. I registered for the on-line auction and I set a budget for myself ($5,000.00) the item was listed as worth $3,000.00 - $6,000.00. But this morning I was at work and I realized that I could not download the on-line auction software on my work computer. Cue disappointment. But I told myself, Sam if you cannot bid then take it as Fate or the Gods telling you that this item is out of your price range or that this item is not meant for you, etc.

Well, I went back to my work and checked the auction outcome just recently, the item that I had planned to bid on, went for $18,000.00+. Yikes, who says we are in a recession!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cash vs. Debit

I am a big fan of my debit card, by switching from credit to debit card back in 2007 I was able to slash my discretionary spending almost in half. Using debit also allows me to keep track of my spending (we use Quicken and download the bank statements into the program) and get a good picture of where the money is going. Also using debit requires me to pay attention to my finances, I only keep a certain amount of money in my checking account (my allowance) so I have to check my on-line balance once a day and I balance my checking account with a check registrar (just like Mom used to use) by writing down each transaction.

But all that tracking and monitoring takes time and effort and I am starting to wonder whether I ought to adjust my habits a bit. This week, a short work week due to Labor Day, I took $60 out of my checking account and I used that money for my day to day spending and I still have $10 left and I did not have any debit card transactions from Tuesday to today. The upside, I did not have to keep such close tabs on my account this week and I generally know where that money went (gas, eating out [lunch and coffee], and picking up a few items at the drug store). The down side, those purchases will not make it into Quicken.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Let's Do the Numbers

(1) Max out 401ks - $33,000
(2) Max out 2009 IRAs - $10,000
(3) House project and furniture - $6,000
(4) Add to baby fund - $5,000
(5) Add to emergency fund - $10,000
Total - $64,000

(1) $22, 586 (68%)
(2) $10,000 (100%) (this goal is completed)
(3) $1017 (17%)
(4) $689 (14%) ($5,689 in our ING baby account)
(5) $1,008 (17%) ($22,889 in our ING e/r account)
Total - $35,300 (55%)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

3/50 Program

This past weekend, I spent $53.00 and $57.00, respectively, at two of my local "Mom and Pop" or independent retail shops in my local down town shopping district.

The $57.00 was for dog food (a very large bag) and dog treats for Mr. Snarfle. We normally spend about $100.00 a month for Snarfle, @$40 in dog food and @$60 for the dog walker.

The $53.00 was spent on two birthday gifts.

And on Friday night we went our with friends (again in our local down town area) and spent $40.00 or so on drinks and snackeroos.

So, without diverting any money from our budget we participated in the 3/50 Program.

The point of the 3/50 Program:

Think about which three independently owned businesses you’d miss most if they were gone. Stop in and say hello. Pick up a little something that will make someone smile. Your contribution is what keeps those businesses around.

If just half the employed U.S. population spent $50 each month in independently owned businesses, their purchases would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue. Imagine the positive impact if 3/4 of the employed population did that.

Now, I am not suggesting or encouraging mindless spending by mentioning this program. In fact the money we spent last weekend was money we were going to spend regardless of where we spent it. The point is, if you are spending budgeted money, consider diverting that money to support your local independent retailers.