So...I had today off! I do not claim to work harder or longer than any one or group of individuals, however, man, I needed these last two days!
I got up at 5:30 a.m. (that old biological clock won't stay asleep) and headed to the gym. Today was an upper body day and cardio. Felt great! My local gym versus an "exercise room" off the lobby of a Hampton Inn...no comparison..lololol.
Anyway, after returning home at around 8:00 a.m., I would normally hit the shower...not today! Today, I brewed some coffee, sat, alone in my home office, read the news on line and watched a great Netflix Documentary about Jim Carrey and his role as Andy Kaufman back in ~1995 (Man on the Moon).
After giving myself a nice hair cut, I showered, dressed and headed out to run some errands. I had a check to deposit into my "Loose Change Fund", a document that needed to be faxed (yes, you read that correctly), a birthday card and other gift cards to pick up for Christmas and a quick stop at my Chinese Restaurant to order 10 quarts of their amazing Chicken and Rice soup for the football games on Sunday. That's when it happened...
While walking from the car to the restaurant, I noticed a bright, shiny dime! It was beautiful. I stooped and picked it up. Looking around to make sure someone hand't dropped it, I slid it into my pocket.
Now, to some, 10 cents doesn't seem like much, however, it inspired me. I started thinking about "luck" and sometimes, it's okay to wish upon it. After ordering the soup, I looked at my paper change and saw four crinkled one dollar bills.
I took those four one dollar bills and bought four one dollar scratch off tickets (I can't remember the last time I paid for a scratch off ticket) but said what the heck.
After getting home, I took care of some papers, etc., and scratched the four tickets. All together, a gross earning of $5.00, net $1.00. Rest assured, they will all end up in the Loose Change Fund.
The moral to my story, keep your chin down when walking around! You never know when you might stumble upon some Loose Change of your own!
Viewing the 'Personal Finance' Category
So...I had today off! I do not claim to work harder or longer than any one or group of individuals, however, man, I needed these last two days!
So...it feels like forever since I have been able to focus on my blog and unfortunately, tonight will be no different. Spending an evening with the kids and then another turn around tomorrow a.m.
Hope everyone is well and able to focus on your goals!
So...it's been a while since I've posted. While I am finally home (until Monday), I thought I'd take care of some personal administrative tasks and settle in and catch up with my SA "family".
So many wonderful posts, conversations, supportive comments and updates, it's been a pleasure reading. I have made a couple minor changes to my blog. One being I no longer have a "New Car Fund". Rather, I have a "Loose Change Fund". Psychologically, not have the stress of "saving for a new car" versus "saving my loose change" seems to be a better fit for me. A play on words? Maybe. However, again, it works for me.
On 7/31/17, my very first mortgage pre-payment hit my account. As of 10/10/17, my principal balance has been reduced $1,473.97 (supported also by the principal reduction via my monthly payment which increases $3.00 per month). Not too bad! It's almost like another retirement fund. Every dollar I apply towards the principal balance is another dollar in equity earned. For me, equity equals retirement. It's also a lot of fun chipping away at the balance. Someday, God willing, I'll make my final payment or sell my house and wipe out the mortgage. What a thrill that day will be.
So...$5.59 in deposits to the New Car Fund. Believe it or not, part of that deposit was the "take" from this past Saturday's "Yard Sale".
No, you DID read that correctly. Our total "take", $2.00. The gentleman even paid with two one dollar coins...lolololol!
You see, I got a bit behind on the marketing of said "Yard Sale". I.e., no signage, no social media announcements, no nothing! I rolled the dice and stayed the course on setting up and watching at least 500 cars drive by. Two cars stopped, one person bought a $2.00 gas can.
I will say, however, the weather was beautiful, the time spent with family sitting around the table talking, reading, laughing and sharing was worth all the money in the world.
No complaints at all. Next time, however, I will spread the word much better!
So...plans for the yard sale are taking shape. Saturday, 9/2/17 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The items for sale will be tagged and priced. Between myself, my better half and kids, each one of us will add our initials to our item(s) to ensure the money is paid out accurately.
I, for one will be adding my proceeds to the New Car Fund, which was funded a few times this past week so progress continues.
I am pretty excited about the "sale". Again, I have never coordinated one but really enjoy going to them. This time, I am going to try to market it for a full scale "blue lite special". Let's hope for good weather and spendy visitors.
So...I redeemed credit card cash rewards for a total of $5.80. This is going directly into the New Car Fund of course.
I think a month or so ago I may have blogged about gathering some items for a yard sale. The initial though was that my parents would house the sale and I'd simply contribute some goods to it. Well, it sounds as if my mother is going to put off having it until next summer. That doesn't work for me.
You see, I am the type of person that once I get something in my head, planned or unplanned, I tend to move forward with great tenacity and focus. At times, this has backfired and put me in a "line of fire" that looking back, was foolish and careless, heroism aside. Other times, it has proven tactful and necessary with positive results.
Consequently, when my mother announced the sale of the century, I went through my entire house and although not a pack rat or the type to hoard anything, I couldn't believe how many items I found I really didn't need, would ever use or otherwise wanted anymore. Useless to me.....treasures for others.
All this leads me to a decision...next Sunday, I think I am going to have a yard sale. Nothing fancy...a sign at each end of my road. Maybe have a friend post something on Facebook (I do not do social media) and setup a table or two with my "goods". My thought is, worse case scenario, I can enjoy a pot of coffee in the morning and some tasty water in the afternoon, read a good book and share some laughs with anyone who wishes to visit.
Good night all!
What is the true definition, as applicable to this site, of a "Snowflake".
Thanks a ton!
So...as you know, on July 14, 2017, I mailed the payment in full for my car.....$13,000.00. Today being about two weeks later, I called the bank to see if there was anything else I needed to provide in order to obtain the lien release.
After waiting for a few minutes, the girl stated the loan department was not answering her call but she would gather the information for me and call me back.
As I feared, as soon as I got "hot and heavy" into a work related task, she called. I motioned to my partner to take the call and of course, he did. A few minutes later I asked him what she said and he informed me that my lien release would be mailed on August 2, 2017. He also stated I needed to call the girl back asap for additional information.
I called her back. It seems I overpaid by ~$61.00!! She said this check would be included in the same mailing as my lien release to do with what I pleased.
A few thoughts...first, I really appreciated the privacy she maintained while speaking with my partner. Of course, I hide nothing from him, but he is not me! Next, I was extremely pleased with her sense of customer service. Finally, I am going to throw that ~$61.00 right into my new car fund.
Sort of ironic, the old car contributing towards the savings of its replacement.
So...every month I receive a very small Veterans Benefit of $134.00. Over the years, I have saved it, transferred it into my Operations Account, spent it on "fun stuff" or any number of other activities that required some cash.
One of the updates to my savings plan, now that my car is paid off, is to stash any/all extra monies in preparation for my new car purchase in about 22-24 months. CC cash rewards, loose change, rounding up my other accounts, transferring those small amounts of odd balances and now, my monthly VA Benefit! That alone will net me ~$3,200.00 in two years. That really excites me!
So..my Ode to Fred Sanford. My mother called me the other day and invited my sister (from an earlier call) and I to join her in a September Family Yard Sale. "It'll be fun! I already have a box for you and your sister to go through before the sale to see if you want anything from them!" Her excitement was masking her real request...
"I want to have a yard sale and I need you two to move all your father and my junk that you have moved at least fifteen times over the past twenty years in the hopes that any money earned will support our Bingo trips and continued perusing of yard sales and flea markets whereby we will refill all of the empty spaces that housed the previous stuff that is now being moved, again, by you and your sister to support this September Family Yard Sale!" Get the picture?!
Well, this time I thought I'd turn the table on her and accept with glee, simultaneously letting her know that I'll see if I have anything to contribute as well and whatever doesn't sell, we will have the Salvation Army or Goodwill Center be the recipient of a large donation (I am also tempted to have her sign a contract stating I nor my sister will be asked to move anything, ever again..lolololol).
This afternoon, I started thinking about what I would contribute to the "sale". Since my divorce and subsequent remodel of my house, I am finally able to live the lifestyle I have always wanted! CLUTTER FREE. Everything has a place, every place necessary has a thing! I do not collect anything that takes up loads of space or collects dust. I no longer have tons and tons of clothes to find homes for nor do I have piles of magazines, Tupperware, decorations or other area eating "things". All of my art is on the wall or bookshelves. All of my decorations are in totes, labeled and stacked neatly in the shed. My plates, pots, pans, Tupperware and any other form of cooking utensil or container has a home. My buddies swear I am the male version of Martha Stewart!
Anyway, I thought, maybe if I start in the farthest corner of the house, walk slowly and look around at my belongings, I might find some things that can be sold and as such, support my New Car Account. I made a deal with myself that anything chosen for the sale would not be missed and has no real meaning, purpose or call to remain in the house. After a quick mental one over, I thought may, if I had ten items, that would be a lot.
Well...I am not kidding when I say, I neatly filled a 10'x10' area of my shed with salable items! Let's see:
HUGE Normal Rockwell book showcasing every picture he ever painted (coffee table book). This had about an inch of dust on it;
2016 Guinness Book of World Records Book;
March of the Penguins book;
Three bottles I thought at the time were cool looking, but somehow got stashed behind the bar;
About three, unopened "fashion design" kits from when the girls were little;
A dozen coloring books;
A three hold punch tool;
Fake nail kit;
Four exterior motion lights that I never installed after finding ones I liked better;
A Kurig machine I never use;
An old coffee pot I never use;
Some filing tools, extra pliers, dimmer switches, outlet covers and recessed lighting trim rings. All from the remodel that were either excess or not used;
A desk lamp;
Three skill saw blades never opened;
One of two skill saws (I think one of the contractors left it here and never came to get it after numerous calls);
A brand new, never opened, never used New Wave Oven (as seen on TV);
Some doll accessories like one of those cars;
A jewelry hanging thing that looks like a ladies body but instead of a torso and head, these arm like things that you hang necklaces on;
A small wicker basket;
A whole zip lock bag of hair ties;
Etc., etc., etc.,
I could NOT believe how much stuff I actually had to sell. And, once I went to the other shed that houses the bikes, golf clubs, etc., I found two of those little scooters, a 5 gallon gas can, some empty outdoor planters and a watering can.
If I can get $100.00 for everything and an additional $50.00 for the New Wave Oven, I will be ecstatic. If not, the donation write off from Goodwill will suit me just fine.
So...my potential future brother and sister in law along with their son and daughter joined us at the cottage this weekend. They came in from Chicago and it's always so great seeing them. He and I exchange war stories, he helps me with a lake project (this year we redesigned a new ladder off the deck) and she is such an amazing friend. She is a doctor of child psych so her approach to everything is like water off a ducks back in comparison to the horror she sees/hears daily.
Anyway, this morning, none of us felt like cooking breakfast after the massive "lake drink" taste test we participated in last night. Very, very rare for me but the evening was perfect. A variety of dark beers, local wine, bloody mary mixtures and a family margeritta recipe.
So...considering he insisted on paying for the ladder supplies, I sprung for breakfast. $84.00 later, I must admit.....money well spent and zero cleanup. Currently sitting on the deck, reading Salems Lot, listening to Gordon Lightfoot and looking forward to the evenings chicken bbq. Peace all.
So...I received a call from the appraiser this afternoon, scheduling the rental appraisal for Tuesday, 7/25/17 at noon.
I can't tell how excited I am to get this refinance done. I have run the numbers a variety of ways and have decided upon a few things related and unrelated:
1. Without the "beautification" project, the rent is going up $75.00/mo. With the "beautification" project, the rent is going up $100.00/month;
2. With or without the refinance, all passive income is going towards the pre-payment on the rental mortgage;
3. The monthly "car" payment that no longer exists is going towards the pre-payment on the primary residence mortgage. I found a great mortgage calculator on the Forum Section and will shave about 10 years off my term with just that added principal only payment!!!
Exciting times.....thank you all for the comments, feedback, suggestions and support. You are all very inspirational and motivational.
So...over the past month I have started my "Loose Change Fund". Currently, I have about $57.00 in it. Mostly from tiny CC cash rewards and a jar of change I finally got around to taking to Coin Star.
This evening while filing some paperwork specific to the payoff of my car (I wrote the check and mailed it last Friday), I realized that in two years, my youngest daughter will be ready to take on her first vehicle. Over the past five years, I have been able to payoff my vehicles as they fall out of reimbursement due to depreciation and put them in storage for each of my previous two kids. My middle child just put her's on the road this past February. As I said, my youngest turns 15 in November, 2017, will turn 16 in November 2018 and at that point, will get her learners permit. After driving for six months, she can take her road test which will qualify her for her Jr. License.
All said, in 22 months, I'll be looking to gift her my car, as I have her two siblings, and purchase a new vehicle. My thought is, I have 22 months to get creative in my "Loose Change Account" deposits of which, I can put towards paying cash for my next car. I hope to never finance one again and I think if I focus, I can most likely surprise myself with the amount I can sock away without adversely affecting my other investments.
We shall see, but I thought it a good idea nonetheless. It certainly gives me something to shoot for.
So...I am 95 percent done with my rental refinance pre-closing tasks. You know, uploading documents, etc. This refinance will save me $184.00 per month right out of the gate. Once some beautification tasks are completed, i'll raise the rent $200.00 per month..new tenants so no legal issues, and thus, improve my positive cash flow to $384.00 per month. This will be turned back into a mortgage prepayment cycle.
My spending since last Friday, 7/14/17 has been high. $500.00 deposit on the refinance loan, groceries for the lake house, lunch yesterday and a few cups of coffee from the road. Uuuuugh. However, I will be getting $500.00 cash back from the refinance due to a work related credit, scored an additional $750.00 closing cost credit and am due $218.00 cash out due to the loan amount. All of which will be an initial prepayment to yhe new mortgage.
All in all I am very happy with this past months fiscal housekeeping. And blogging about it is icing on the cake.
So...this weeks accomplishments with a final Saturday update:
1. Took $13K from cash reserves and paid off the auto loan. Monthly payment of $250.00 will go toward Primary Residence mortgage (I know I initially earmarked this to the rental mortgage, however, keep reading);
2. Rebalanced $50K for my ex as per the decree. Put it in the American Balanced Fund. Safe, secure and doing pretty well over the past 10 years;
3. Rebalanced $17K to a Target 2040 Retirement Date Fund;
4. Rebalanced Roth IRA to a Target 2040 Retirement Date Fund;
5. Obtained a refinance loan quote. Would add $8K to my $81K balance and take me back to 30 years, however, my interested rate goes from 7.9% to 4.9%. My payment goes from $705.00/mo to $455.00/month.
Once done, I will provide 30 days notice to my tenant. Although I really hate to do it, my plan very simply is to completely update the entire rental with drywall repairs, new hardwood laminate in laundry room, bath room and kitchen, new light fixtures, paint, refinish hardwood floors and new landscaping. Once done (I am going to give my contractor 30 days. He will be paid via cash reserves), I'll have relisted it with a monthly rental increase of $200.00/mo.
With the $250.00 mortgage payment savings and the additional rent of $200.00/mo, I'll take the $450.00 and apply it towards the principal balance each month.
Yes, it's late...how does my thinking regarding the duplex strike you? Thoughts?
So...today was a BSD. I had to purchase fruit, vegetables, water and some other snacks for our weekend at the lake cottage.
Between DG and Grocery Store...$~$80.00
My personal car was literally on fumes so that called for a ~$35.00 fill up
I sprang for lunch today which was ~$23.00.
All up/all in..~$138.00
I have never been so sensitive to spending money! Don't get me wrong, it's good to be sensitive, however, I never, ever took the time to really focus on my spending. I find it frustrating to see expenditures that are not revenue/income generating,but can't help but think how blessed I am, truly, to be able to maintain a health financial lifestyle for not only me and my future, but for my children as well.
Have a great weekend everyone! Blessings.
So...I met with my financial adviser today. It really wasn't that bad. The pain fit in somewhere between the dentist and rubbing Aunt Edna's bunion.
Actually, it wasn't that bad. I am happy to report that after returning to my office, I immediately transferred $13K from my Capital One 360 MM account and paid of my car loan. That free's up about $250.00/month which will go toward the rental mortgage.
Due to time constraints, I wasn't able to keep my meeting with the banker to discuss the refinance of said rental mortgage, however, it's next on the list.
I was also able to re-balance a couple of old investment accounts and review my existing retirement funds. All in all it was a great day. I feel good about paying off the car while still maintaining ~$37K in liquidity. Although still too high for an emergency fund, once I accept a refinance program for the rental, I'm sure additional funds will be reallocated.
So...as you know, after ten years, I will be meeting with my financial adviser tomorrow afternoon. That meeting is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and I must admit, I am rather excited.
As I suggested yesterday, I know there are going to be friendly and not so friendly ideas brought to the table, however, all in the good spirit of fiscal responsibility, growth and development!
As for the second meeting, I scheduled a 4:00 p.m. appointment with my banker. She is a very kind individual who, through thick and thin, has always stood ready to support my thoughts and ideas. Anyway, we are going to discuss refinancing the rental property. Her initial reply was taking it from 7.9% to 5.6%. Once we talked more, it became obvious that a 1:1 sit down was prudent.
So...two very important meetings tomorrow with a few of the same goals/questions in mind: Do I take cash and payoff the car? Do I refinance without pulling equity out? Do I add a bit more risk to my retirement accounts (I know 46 isn't old and I certainly don't feel it, but man, time sure does fly by)? I can't wait to wrap my head around all of the discussion points tomorrow brings and of course, bringing them back here, hopefully with some good news!
Oh, and I almost forgot, today is a NSD! Gonna need more gas tomorrow though!
So...it was a great NSD....right up until 5:30 p.m. I was in my home office wrapping up a few reports when I heard a car pull in. It was child #1. Junior in college, very hard working young lady and never asks for anything! She is a great example of "what good looks like" and mom and I couldn't be more proud of her!
Well, after a shower she popped into my office and slumped down in my recliner. She looked very tired as she is working full time as a life guard and part time as a swimming teacher. After asking what she was up to, she asked if we could just go somewhere and do something. Now, what type of Dad would I be if I didn't take her up on the opportunity to spend time (and money) together??!?!?
Let's See.....5:00 a.m. to 5:06 p.m. - Total Spend $0.00
5:30 p.m. to 7:39 p.m. - Total Spend: $93.45
$26.34 - Dinner at Applebees
$2.35 - Two donuts from Dunkin Donuts
$33.59 - Full Tank of Gas
$31.17 - The Goodwill Store
The way I look at it is for $59.86, I had some dinner and a little desert with my daughter, picked up about four movies and six books for me, two for her and a box of Hot Tamales...remember those...like the old fire balls but chewy!
It's really hard to control my disappointment in frivolous spending (and all the red boxes on my daily spend excel spreadsheet) but as I keep telling myself, I can't turn away from some of the little luxuries in life all the time.
So...funny story...maybe....sort of....
While driving this past weekend I went through one of those driver's license/registration checkpoints. Feeling confident (and a bit arrogant as I am in Law Enforcement), I looked forward to saying "hello" to one of my brother or sister law enforcement officers. Pulling up along side, I rolled down the window and said "hello". The fine young man was having none of it. Road weary, tired and obviously not in the mood, he asked for my driver's license and proof of registration.
Now, honestly, for no other reason than efficiency sake, I keep my driver's license in the same "billfold" case as my law enforcement credentials. My registration, however, is in my cars glove box. Once I read the officer's facial expressions, I calmly placed my hands on the steering wheel (at 10:00 and 2:00) and asked permission to reach in my duffel bag on the rear seat for my license. He stated yes. Keeping one hand on the wheel, I did turned over my right shoulder and grabbed the "billfold" looking item.
I then asked permission to grab my registration. Again, he said yes.
Once he opened the "billfold" and saw my credentials, he asked what branch of law enforcement I was in. After stating Federal, he said thank you and asked that I "sit tight" for a moment. After about ten minutes, the fine young officer returned. Handing me my "billfold" and registration, he also handed me a ticket for failing to notify the DMV of my change of address, obviously stemming from my divorce (I said to myself). In addition, he handed me a printed copy of the form I could use to mail in to make my address change. He informed me that making the address change was free of charge if I did it online....the instructions were at the bottom of the form.
Finally, he suggested mailing in a copy of any proof showing I have made the address change as the court may lower the charge and/or fine, as applicable.
I thanked him and drove away....I AM NOT ABOVE THE LAW!
This morning, first thing, I not only updated my address, personally, at the DMV but renewed my license as it was coming due in October. $72.00 seemed like a lot of money, however, it is good for 8 years. Proof of my renewal along with my "guilty plea" on the ticket were mailed into the Town Court. I am expecting about a $100.00 fine/surcharge. Deservedly so.
Also, this afternoon, as he did last week, I returned the favor by purchasing lunch for my partner and I. We had Pontillos Sub's. $20.91.
Finally, total spend for the day thus far....$92.91. Like I said, some of my spend was "had to"....some "chose to". Peace Out!
So...check out what I got done today:
On my way back home from the soccer tourney, I stopped by the DG and picked up a $25.00 gift card for a birthday present (remember the ~$10.00 spend for the two greeting cards!?!?!?!? This was the gift for the birthday card...hahaha). After the $4.95 processing fee, the total came to $29.95. That plus the $1.09 for coffee at McDonalds for the drive home took my spend to $31.04 for the day. Money well spent! Anyway...
I went home, gathered the bottles and cans along with my loose change jar and went to the coin star and bottle return station. That net came to $23.00.
From there, I dropped off the bank deposit into my Loose Change Fund at the night deposit box.
Back home....gathered and sorted the laundry, threw in a load of dark's and updated my Quicken account with said deposit.
Went through a bunch of emails as my cell was not syncing for some reason.
As the breeze was nice I opened all the doors and windows. This soon brought to light the dust that was all over my floors, so....I swept and dust busted the kitchen, bathroom and foyer.
On to the the work room to grab my work sunglasses (lololol...not the old man kind, just not my Ray Bans to work in the yard) and keys to the tractor...out to the shed I went.
I mowed and trimmed the entire lawn...this only takes me about 1 hour total so it's certainly not too bad. I am pretty particular about my lawn (and house in general from what my daughters say) so I take my time and try to do a good job. It makes me feel good. OCD but hey, could be worse.
Back to the laundry room. Dark's in the dryer, whites in the washer.
After some cleaning here and there, I folded and put away the dark's and loaded the whites in the dryer.
Finally, whites dried, folded and put away and now it's time to blog a bit.
If I have bored you, my apologies, if not, I am glad you read this and as always, thanks for your inspiration!
Credit Card 1 - Balance $0 - Netflix, Cell, Internet, SJCH Donation, Auto Insurance are auto charged each month for a total of $230.00
Credit Card 2 - Balance $0 - Misc charges include but are not limited to food/groceries, entertainment, household needs, kids needs, etc. Monthly charges ~$770.00 (Wow, when I put it on paper, it really is way too high). Eating out is the big killer....so easy and less stressful...this has got to change)
Mortgage - Original Loan Amount - $108K. Balance - ~$96K. $952.00/mo includes principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI)
Car - $240.00/mo
Electric - ~$90.00/mo
Refuse - $17.00/mo
Support - $725.00/mo
Total Monthly Debt: ~$3,024.00
Rental Income - $95.00/mo
Military Benefit - $130.00/mo
Salary (including auto stipend) - $4,100.00/mo
Total Monthly Income: ~$4,325.00
Debt to Income: ~$1,293.00
Non Winter Savings Commitment: ~$1,000.00/mo
Winter Savings Commitment (differentiator is propane for heat at ~$500.00/mo): ~$500.00/mo
Miscellaneous Funds (cash, unplanned expense(s), etc.): ~$293.00
Roth IRA - $5,412.06 - Balance as of 7/1/17 (for Tax Year 2017 fully funded)
Emergency Fund - $2,143.02 - Balance as of 7/1/17 (Every $10K saved in E.F. supports a $5K transfer to the Capital One 360 MMA)
Capital One 360 MMA - Balance as of 7/1/17 - $50,226.58
It's been a "long and winding road", but I am finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel, coming out of the darkness and satisfied my family is not only financially stable but protected for years to come.