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Saturday Update

July 15th, 2017 at 08:03 pm

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?

Big Spend Day (BSD) versus No Spend Day (NSD)

July 14th, 2017 at 12:24 pm

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.

Meetings are Over....Here is the Scoop

July 13th, 2017 at 02:44 pm

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.

Setup another meeting as per my SA Friends Advise

July 12th, 2017 at 01:57 pm

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!

What to Do....All Input Welcome

July 11th, 2017 at 07:26 pm

So...as you know, I have two mortgages (one residential and one rental) and an auto loan:

Principal Mortgage - Original Amt: $108K; Current Balance: $97K; Interest Rate: 4.125%; 25 years left

Rental Mortgage - Original Amt: $101K; Current Balance: $81K; Interest Rate: 7.9%; 18 years left

Auto Loan: Original Amt: $17K; Current Balance: $12K; Interest Rate: 3.6%; 4 years left

I need your opinion on which to pound away at and payoff early. If you could, support your advise with detail/data.

Look forward to your comment.

Thursday, July 13, 2017....1:00 p.m.

July 11th, 2017 at 05:58 pm

So...I am going to do something I have not done in almost 10 years. I am going to meet with my financial adviser.

For so long, be it out of shame, sadness, embarrassment or any number of self loathing reasons, I have hidden from personal finance. I have plugged along, minding my own business and simply stayed out of the fiscal limelight.

On July 1, 2017, thanks in part to this community, I started blogging and sharing and thinking and focusing to my current and future financial state. Thank you all!

Thursday at 1:00 p.m., I will be meeting with my adviser to discuss the following:

1. Earmark/transfer a court ordered amount of retirement to my ex wife;

2. Identify what to do with the balance of said retirement fund for my future;

3. Re-valuate my existing Roth IRA to ensure it is allocated appropriately based upon my desired risk;

4. Discuss the best move for the relatively high balance in my Cap One 360 MM Account after emergency reserves of course;

5. Discuss opening a Roth IRA for child #1 as she works PT year round

I may not accomplish all that I set out to accomplish and I may not like all the feedback I receive. However, I am taking another step towards preparing for retirement and making sure that even if I have a high spend month with nothing to show for it but some memories and books, my compass with continue to point north.

NSD....Right up Until 5:00 p.m.

July 11th, 2017 at 05:26 pm

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.

I Had/Chose to Spend Money Today

July 10th, 2017 at 10:49 am

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!

I think the choice is simple, but you might know better

July 9th, 2017 at 04:39 pm

So...as you may know I only have three large debts remaining:

1. Primary Residence Mortgage. The original loan amount was $108,000.00 in 2012. The balance is $97,000.00. I've paid off $11,000.00 in five years.

2. Auto Loan. The original loan amount was $17,000.00 in 2015. The balance is $12,000.00. I've paid off $5,000.00 in two years.

3. Rental Mortgage. The original loan amount was $101,000.00 in 2005. The balance is $81,000.00. I've paid off $20,000.00 in twelve years.

I am trying to decide which loan to pound away at from a pre-pay standpoint first. My thought is the Auto Loan. It is unsecured but has no deduction benefit(s). The car is in great condition and runs very well! No issues, thank God!

Next, in my opinion, would be the rental mortgage. The only purpose for this would be to increase the equity (by reducing the mortgage amount), get it to about 30% and refinance it. Pulling cash out to reinvest in updates, improvements, landscaping, etc. I can easily increase the monthly rent by $200.00 if I complete said improvements.

Finally, my primary residence.

As I think you will see once I focus to the retirement baseline plan, a big part of it is reducing/eliminating debt. If I can get rid of the auto loan, continue to maintain fiscal requirements at the rental via rental income and payoff my primary residence, I would be taking a massive step towards putting myself in position to possibly retire. This would increase upon the sale of the primary residence and/or rental as well.

Still a work, I mean a plan in progress, but these were just some thoughts I had running through my head tonight.

Thanks for listening..............

So much done today......and a Loose Change Deposit

July 9th, 2017 at 04:06 pm

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!

Making Coffee to support a fourth NSD but alas, Fuel killed me

July 8th, 2017 at 03:31 pm

So...I was invited to a soccer tourney starting this morning (Saturday) till midday tomorrow. Having travelled all week for work I initially declined, however, after a bit of pressure, agreed to go. I immediately budgeted $75.00 for fuel and hotel. I figured I could bring my own food and snacks. Well, to my surprise the invitation included a room, picnic/cookout and breakfast as the league covered it all. How could I say,no. Thus far my spend has been $25.00 for gas but I needed that,anyway. I hate the thought of gas negating my NSD run but as Billy Bats says, what's right is right.

However, normally my travels would include a 20 oz black coffee from DD.....$2.79. Instead, I made a pot last night, set the timer, filled the travel mug and thermos and headed out this am. I am gonna put $2.79 in my Loose Change Account to celebrate.

Question for my Friends

July 7th, 2017 at 04:57 pm

So...I just posted a blog and of course, thought of another question for my friends to give some thought to.

As you know, I have opened a "Loose Change Account". My sidebar reflects my progress. I still don't know what I am saving for but it's fun to do nonetheless. Anyway, I had an idea after loading next week income/expense transactions:

What if I maintained an even balance in all of my bank accounts (operating account, emergency fund, rental account, etc), taking the minor overages and putting them in "Loose Change Account".

Just a thought...what say you?

NSD #4 In a Row!

July 7th, 2017 at 04:37 pm

So...fourth consecutive NSD. I had some strawberries, blueberries and two bananas for lunch/dinner along with a ham sandwich. The fruit is gonzo...time to reload.

Next Friday is payday. As I am now using two credit cards (one for month over month auto bill/donation payments) and the other for any household expenses and/or entertainment. I usually schedule my deposit and bill pays the Friday before (tonight). After getting my mortgage and electric bill plugged in, I front loaded the entire remaining months auto bill payments for CC #1 with a $10.00 cushion. This came to $80.00. I then front loaded a $25.00 gift card for a birthday present, $25.00 for gas and $50.00 for groceries for CC #2.

When all was said and done, I was able to toss ~$800.00 into my emergency fund and keep about $100.00 in my operating account for any "pop up" expenses.

I am still looking for a simple website to download and print Aldis coupons.

Everyone have a great evening.

Third NSD in a row!

July 6th, 2017 at 05:39 pm

So...I must admit, although I am celebrating my third NSD in July, I need gas and some groceries as packing lunch and eating breakfast and dinner at home has depleted my fridge. But I have also been studying ways to reduce my grocery bill. Something new to me is going to Aldi's and a greater focus to the Dollar General. I am going to split my grocery list into two parts: Part 1 will be Aldi's. Here is where my meat, fish, poultry, fruits, breads and veggies will come from and tonight I'll be researching coupons. Part 2 will be Dollar General. Here is where my milk, eggs and other household staples will come from, assuming the price is better than Aldi's. I am going to try to find where to print Aldi coupons and stay faithful to the grocery list each week.

If anyone knows of a fast, efficient site to download and print Aldi and/or Dollar General coupons, I'd be most grateful.

Oddly enough....loose change has been hard to come by on the streets. Maybe others are catching on...hahahahah

Another NSD and another deposit into the Loose Change Account

July 5th, 2017 at 03:10 pm

So, after checking, re-checking, trying to remember, searching through my suit pockets for any receipts, slips of paper, loose change, etc., I am proud to report my second (and consecutive) NSD! Nothing spent. Not a plugged nickel! Seems like I should reward myself?!?!?!?! Does anyone self-reward for NSD's? If so, how?!

Also, I checked my Capital One CC rewards and found $3.06 just sitting there. I "cashed out" and made a deposit into my Loose Change Account. Check out my side bar for the current transaction information.

Also, might I add....I LOVE THIS BLOG SITE!

NSD and Punishment Delivered

July 4th, 2017 at 06:05 pm

So, for the first time in July (and the first time ever for that matter), I opened my daily spend log and entered NSD!!!!!! For some, this may not sound like a big deal but for me, it's a very special occasion. I am very pleased with the fact that I didn't spend a plugged nickel today!

Also, for those who read my blog yesterday, you'll see my "foolish move of the week" being the purchase of two greeting cards at a major grocery store for $10.78. This evening, I calculated the cost of two greeting cards at my local Dollar General (DG) being $1.00 each with $.08 tax for a total of $2.16, subtracted it from my actual spend of $10.78 and transferred said $8.62 to my Loose Change Account.

Still not sure what I am going to do with the Loose Change Account but it sure is fun having a place to watch the little things add up to bigger ones!

I am both angry and disappointed

July 3rd, 2017 at 07:29 am

So, this morning I and a co-worker decided to work "out of the office". Our location, believe it or not, is a mega-grocery store with a very nice mobile office facility upstairs whereby you can access Wi-Fi, etc.

I was in need of two greeting cards. Usually I visit my local Dollar General and purchase them at a cost between $.50 and $1.00 (less 8% tax of course). Today, for the sake of convenience and "so I don't forget", I found two that I needed and proceeded to checkout. The total...$10.78!

I am left feeling angry and disappointed in myself over my rush to check it off my list knowing full well the financial penalty I would pay (and did). Assuming I paid $1.08 for each card (including tax)at the DG, totaling $2.16 and taking that amount from my actual spend of $10.78, I need to find just "punishment" for the $8.62.


Loose Change Account

July 1st, 2017 at 09:22 am

Ok. I have been thinking about this for a long time. On my dresser is a canister about the size of a can of coffee (not the big fatty, rather, the normal refill size). Whenever I have any spare change, which is rare as I usually do not carry/use cash, I toss it in. I am always scouring the ground for "droppings" and sometimes, hit on a few pennies. This morning, while reviewing my cash rewards via my new Capital One Quicksilver account which pays 1.5% on all charges, I noticed that after only two weeks of usage with a total balance paid of $205.00, I have earned $3.06. Theoretically, this could net me about ~$6.00/month. Not a lot, however, $72.00/year supports some nice stocking stuffers!!!!! I'll take it.

At any rate, I was thinking, do any of you have tips or tricks to capturing small earnings? Little things that require little to no commitment and/or efforts other than bending, stooping or surfing?

I look forward to your brilliance.

Start Base as of June 30, 2017

June 30th, 2017 at 01:52 pm


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.

Life is Full of Goals

June 29th, 2017 at 07:43 pm

So, I work to save 20% of my net income (after ensuring a full tax year contribution to my Roth IRA and Emergency Fund Deposit). One of my goals toward financial freedom (errrrr, ummmmmm, early retirement via debt elimination versus retirement income only) is to eliminate my mortgage. Now, I know I can do this by simply selling my home, investing the proceeds and renting a small, one bedroom apartment allowing the property manager to shovel the snow, mow the lawn and take out the garbage. Rather, I'd like to leave my children a bit of a nest egg partially in the form of home equity by pounding away at the principal. I am a very visual man. Watching the balance drop each month is extremely motivating to me. I am going to try to share my success (or failure) with you all and hopefully gain some insight along the way.