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Well It`s Been Awhile ...

December 22nd, 2012 at 02:07 am

i can`t believe it has been a few years since i have posted here! my last post was about getting engaged and buying a house!

well, three years later we have been married for over 2.5 years and have a beautiful 1 year-old girl (as of the 17th). i graduated from college with my BA in accounting the day before she was born. we are also expecting number two in july!

financially i feel like we are doing really well given our age (24 & 25) and both being self employed. we have 65K collectively spread among our sinking funds and EF - enough to live on for 1.5 years if we were both completely out of work and didn`t change spending habits. we have one car loan and a student loan (each about 10K). we also have about 10K in our roth IRAs. our goals in 2013 are to fully fund both of our roths and pay off all non-mortgage debt. we are also considering purchasing a rental property or flipping one.

DH owns a general contracting company and i am self employed as a bookkeeper (specializing in payroll). i am also employed with a window washing company as their bookkeeper and on weekends i work at a coffee shop. i am blessed to work from home the majority of the time.

there`s my check-in! now i`m curious how many of you are still blogging from a few years back?

Cumulative 2010 Goals

January 7th, 2010 at 07:15 pm

a few personal goals, financial goals, and to-dos for the new year.

FINANCIAL
*track work expenditures for tax purposes
*set up DF's roth
*put aside $1,000 to start a medical deductible fund
*set aside $2,362 for our honeymoon/misc.
*pay off DF's car (about 11K)
*pay off macy's 0% interest card that has our couch on it - about $1,600
*contribute $6,800 to roths
*put $7,500 into our efund for a balance of 20K
*put aside $1,000 for our wedding
*plan a weekly menu
*replace DF's windshield
*get new tires and a new clutch for DF
*start and maintain a quickbooks file

FAMILY
*place bella in a good home
*at least one date night per month with DF
*spend time with my mom, dad, and in laws at least one time per month each
*set a date and get married
*go on a honeymoon
*look into premarital counseling
*hang out w/my sister two times per month
*take wesson to the vet for a physical
*enroll wesson in dog obedience

HOUSE
*fence in the backyard
*start a small garden
*donate our massive donate pile
*possibly tile the master bath

HEALTH
*do something active w/DF one time per month
*take wesson on walks two times per week when he is old enough
*visit dentist every six months
*workout 4-5X per week with a combination of independent workouts and classes
*eat at least four salads per week
*get visibly toned

2009 Year in Review

January 7th, 2010 at 05:43 pm

for 2009 my goals were as follows ...

- open a joint checking account with DF
- add DF as a joint holder to my savings account
- save an additional 6-7K to bring the ING account to 10K
- pay off my car
- up Roth IRA contrib. from $150 to $200/mo.

DF and i opened a joint account and funded it with some money we got back from closing on our house. i added DF as a joint holder to ING but he still needs to call ING to authorize it. all said and done we have a little over 10K in our savings. i did NOT increase my Roth contribution for 2009 because we bought a house. i will continue to contribute $150/mo. through the first half of 2010. in july 2010 i will start to contribute $416/mo.

UPDATE ...

we moved into our house right before the holidays and since then it has been so hectic catching up at work and getting our home in order. we also got a puppy a week ago. the current dog we have is food aggressive so you can't touch, pet, or even get near her when there is food around or she may attack. the new puppy has brought to light these issues and we are currently looking at placing her with a one dog family with older kids, or a young adult that has experience with dogs. i am worried that she may continue this aggression when we have kids and i don't want to ever have the possibility of putting her to sleep. our new pup is a german shepherd. they are much easier to train, do well off leash, and are great family dogs. my heart is breaking because of this decision we have had to make.

DF and i have pretty much decided to push our wedding off until winter 2010. june is far too close and we have NOTHING set up. so i feel like i have to settle on every little detail. a winter wedding will cost less and will allow us time to find a venue we love. i will be posting cumulative 2010 goals soon ...

Maximizing Tax Savings

December 4th, 2009 at 04:31 pm

Between DF and I, our gross incomes combined should be around 85K for 2010. DF will continue to take zero allowances to have the maximum tax withheld from his paycheck. I want to bump my allowances up to five (currently at two) for all of 2010. We don't have any dependents so this could be risky (but nothing we couldn't pay if a tax bill comes due).

I will also have a home office (specifically for work, our other extra room will be our personal office) in our new house so I will be able to deduct mileage to and from my actual office (estimate 9,000 miles over the year), what I could get paid if I rented the room out for the year (estimate 5,000), a portion of all utilities and any additions/maintenance/repairs that we have to do on the house. We will also get to deduct our mortgage interest and property taxes. And I will be going back to school in September 2010 so there may be some deductions associated with that. We also have probably close to 7K worth of things to donate in January after our move is complete. So I think we may be okay if I take such a large number of allowances. Are there any tax professionals that can speak to this or give advice on further deductions to take?

Revised Budget & House News

December 2nd, 2009 at 09:29 pm

So I did get a 'raise' at work and along with that I will need to work an average of 25 hours more per pay period (semimonthly). The raise, if I remember correctly, will be an additional $920 gross/month. This went into affect yesterday.

We are financing our home via a USDA home loan which is taking VERY long to process. Our lock for a mortgage rate of 5 and 3/8% expires tomorrow. Because our home was completed early last week, our real estate agent was able to negotiate USDA paying our relock fee of $700ish as well as lowering and relocking our interest rate at 5%. This lowers our monthly mortgage payment by $70/mo. saving over 25K (just principal) over the life of the loan! We have been given an estimated closing date of mid-December.

DF and his father (general contractors) have also secured work in advance for at least the next year! They have like eight or nine jobs lined up right now which is an extraordinary amount of work for a contractor in this state of economy.

So between these three changes I have revised our 2010 budget as follows [because we will have DF's car paid off in Feb./Mar. these figures will basically be reflecting our budget as if his car is paid off] ...

Income
$3500.oo (me)
$2400.oo (DF)

Expenses
$1290.oo (mortgage)
$220.oo (property taxes)
$22.oo (home insurance)
$290.oo (car insurance)
$210.oo (fuel)
$85.oo (gym)
$250.oo (groceries/paper products)
$150.oo (DF roth IRA)
$150.oo (DF fun money)
$70.oo (copays [don't expect to actually meet this every month but 70X12 = $840.oo which should cover most small procedures])
$35.oo (HOA dues)
$250.oo (utilities [decided not to get cable Smile])
$200.oo (vet/car maintenance/clothes)
$50.oo (office supplies [I will be working from home 2X/wk])
$50.oo (household/cleaning)
$70.oo (DF line of credit)
$200.oo (DF health insurance [mine is deducted pre-tax from paycheck])
$150.oo (me roth IRA)
$19.oo (netflix)
$200.oo (my fun money)
$20.oo (birth control)
$100.oo (gifts/Christmas)

Total Expense
$4081.oo
Total Leftover
$1819.oo

All of the leftover funds will be applied to DF's car until the balance is paid off with the first time homebuyer's tax credit. I'll get the remainder of the tax credit as well as any tax refunds we get back to do with what I want (estimate around 1K). After DF's car is paid off these funds will be spread over our 2010 goals from my last post. We will begin applying $833.oo between our roth's starting in July which will bring our total leftover funds down to about $1286/mo. which will still be spread amongst our goals. So far so good? Any words of wisdom? Happy hump day!



2010 Goals

November 30th, 2009 at 10:13 pm

So I have been mulling over my goals for the year ahead and I think I have my first rough draft ...

1) Pay of DF's car with the first time homebuyer's tax credit.
2) Pay off furniture (new mattress and sectional) before interest starts to accrue (around June) and I expect this amount to be about 4K.
3) Save 2K for our wedding - I don't expect our portion to be much more than this.
4) Add an additional 5K to our emergency fund for a balance of 20K.
5) Send 1.5K to our car fund - DF's car will need tires and a clutch before the end of the year.
6) Send 1.2K for home maintenance for various projects - we would like to put tile into our master bath or start a deck.
7) Set aside about 1.6K for either a small honeymoon or a blow money fund.
8) 6.8K to our Roth's between both of our accounts.

This may be edited over the remainder of 2009 but here is my list so far! Happy Monday!

Monday Musings

November 24th, 2009 at 12:13 am

So DF and I get to see our house tomorrow *happy dance*! It should basically be finished - they just have landscaping left to do. I'm so excited to see everything! The carpets! The appliances! And I'm soooo excited to see my fridge! What 21yo gets excited about a fridge?!

We went to look at furniture on Saturday and put a tempur-pedic bed and a sectional on hold at Macy's. We will be financing it via a six month same as cash promotion but we need to wait until closing so as not to interfere with our home financing. After, delivery and tax the total will come to about 4.5K. More than I wanted to spend but doable.

I've also been nibbling away at Christmas. I got my dad some new moccassin slippers for $5.46 at Kohl's. He loves his old ones but the soles are wearing thru. I will also be getting him 6 months of that blockbuster dealio that is similar to netflix. I got my sister some lancome makeup which will be coming with NINE free samples! She will also be getting an oil heater thing and a couple of oils to help her dorm room smell better LOL. Got the MIL and FIL a couple of candles. I want to get them a bottle of wine and a movie to. Total spending thus far - about $150. Still need to snag my brother and iTunes gift card and some nice noise blocking headphones. My mom and I agreed to not exchange gifts this year but I will be taking her out to a nice dinner for her birthday on the 22nd. And DF and I have agreed to keep it small at $100 each for things like candy, CDs, movies, etc. DF will take care of buying his little brother something for his birthday and Christmas. We will be in Palm Springs for the holidays and will be spending time with DF's grandparents. I'm wondering what a nice token gift would be to give them for hosting us. Any thoughts?

It's almost that time to get goals for the new year down in writing ... I'll be working on that - ta ta for now!

Wowza

November 18th, 2009 at 04:42 pm

Yesterday was a helluva day. Warning - kinda sad and ranty.

My mom called me around 10AM at work and said she was taking her dog in to get a c-section and it was at 11:15 if I wanted to watch. She just went through a c-section with another dog and when the momma dog came to she tried to bite the pups and wouldn't let them nurse. My mom bottle fed them but they both passed away after four days. This was just a week or so ago so she was pretty shaken up. I went for moral support and also because I have welped about 15 litters with her. So she was told that there were probably 4, maybe 5, pups in her dog. After 5 came out she said 'this must be it' and the vet said 'nope - there are at least that many more to come!' and our jaws dropped LOL. She ended up having 10 pups. One had a cleft palate and ended up passing soon after birth (I have never had to watch a puppy take its last breaths, VERY sad) and another was VERY premie (like 7 oz. and for a german shepherd pup that is TINY). He freaked us out for about a half hour but is now fighting like hell and holding his own. Our breeder said that she has never had that small of a pup make it. So a couple more days will tell. DF and I will be picking out one of the boys - I'm going to watch the premie and see how he grows, that endearing little guy grabbed my heart from the start. So far so good.

I had a skin screening to check out any moles yesterday and everything came out great - apparently I have a 3.5-4% chance of ever developing skin cancer in my lifetime. He said to come back every year or two. Only cost was $30 for a copay and it was well worth it for the peace of mind!

Talked with my boss yesterday as well ... We need to lay someone off because her performance has been VERY lax for months now but my boss is extremely non confrontational. I would be taking over her work and getting that $1200 raise I mentioned before. The boss is going to give her two weeks notice today when she gets in - we will see if that happens. Ha!

Happy hump day!

Whew ...

November 12th, 2009 at 12:03 am

Feeling a bit pooped today. And worried. I'm a worrier and I hate it! I have no reason to be worried about my job or DF's job security but I still do.

I'll be taking three weekdays off (coinciding w/a weekend for a total of five days) when our house closes and I'll be setting up our 2010 finances. For Jan-June I'm going to have myself and DF setup to invest $150/mo. into Roth IRAs. I already do this (and have close to 3K woot!) but it's time to pull DF onto the retirement train. Starting in July, I want to start putting the max/12 into our Roths (~416/ea.) but I'm wondering if we should leave our auto contributions @ $150/mo. and just add the rest when we can? Ugh, it's the nervousness that's speaking. This whole economy just has me on edge.

We SHOULD have roughly 15K saved as an emergency fund by the end of 2009 and we hope to add another 5K to it throughout 2010. And another 5K in 2011 for a total of 25K and then divert any funds above and beyond the 25K to other various investments. FYI we can easily slash our expenses to about 3.5K/mo. so a 25K efund would be a little over seven months' worth of expenses. This would also be if we BOTH lost our jobs and literally had no income coming in - highly unlikely. We already have $200/mo. set aside in the budget for clothes, vet expenses, and car maintenance. Considering DF's car is a 2004 and mine is a 2008 I don't foresee us needing much in the way of car stuff over the next couple of years. DF will need a new clutch, tires, and brakes sometime in late 2010, and I will probably need tires in 2012/13 or so, so I'm not too worried on that front. Our house is also going to be brand spanking new so other than regular maintenance I don't foresee much outflow on that end.

We should have an overage of roughly 11K next year to put to other various financial goals after fully funding our efund to 20K and putting about 6.8K to our Roths. This will probably be eaten up pretty fast between our wedding, honeymoon, starting a baby fund (no worries, no baby till 2014 if all goes as planned!), car replacement fund, and various house stuff - ie that mattress and sectional I was talking about in the last post Wink

Oh, and did I mention that we should be totally debt free by the end of March 2010!?

Our House!

November 9th, 2009 at 04:19 pm

Yesterday, DF and I took a tour of our soon to be home and it looks AMAZING! The last few things they have to do are install the carpets, appliances, and fixtures. Then they landscape the front yard and we have a corrections walk-thru to get any nicks, etc. fixed before we move in. Then it's orientation (learn about HOA/warranties/etc.) and escrow! Hopefully we will be closing in the first part of December, woohoo! And we finally got dimensions for the area that we want to put a couch and I am starting to hunt around.

I'm starting to get antsy about savings - I just want to spend, spend, spend right now! I think it may be a combination of seeing such a large number in savings as well as feeling like I need to start nesting - LOL. We are at $10,550 in savings and anticipate getting to about 19-20K by EOY. Just need to stay on the straight and narrow ...

Holy Cow

November 5th, 2009 at 03:44 pm

I think I may have just possibly negotiated a $1200/mo. raise bringing my take home pay to around $3800/mo. It would require me to work 10-15 more hours per week but I was going to look for a part time job anyways so this is perfect ... I would start mid-November if this actually pans out, will keep everyone posted!

Persistent Headache

November 4th, 2009 at 07:46 pm

Oh my goodness life is stressful lately. Between buying a home, planning a wedding, and full-time work, I'm finding it hard to keep my head on straight!

DF and I are supposed to close on our house on 11/30 but we aren't holding our breath because financing is so backed up and the construction crews that are building our home can call non-workdays at any point in time. I'm hoping we are closed by mid-December so that we will have time to paint, move-in, build a fence, etc. because we will be in Palm Springs for the holidays.

But it sounds like the first time home buyers tax credit extension is almost inevitable which is AWESOME. We will likely use most of it to pay off DF's car loan and then the only debt we will have is DF's 2.5K LOC and our mortgage! Wait ... I might take that last statement back about being debt free ... I have a couple questions and would like some opinions - the only couch we have had is almost like a loveseat and it only comfortably fits one person. It was also located in DF's bachelor pad (shared with two other guys) before we moved in together. It smells, it looks terrible, and it isn't comfortable. So I would like to look at buying a sectional for our living room. I will use Craigslist, etc. if possible but I want to make sure that it is a quality piece of furniture. I also want to look at getting a tempur-pedic mattress. DF goes to sleep much later than I do and he always wakes me up. I'm a very light sleeper if I'm on a bad mattress. Add on that DF snores and it makes for a horrible night's sleep and I can't function at work. We bought a sleigh bed from DF's uncle for like $175 but the mattress seems like it is going to suck. It's springy and not supportive. I think I would consider a new mattress as an investment in my health and my job. I would prefer to get both the couch and mattress on one of those no interest for a year blah blah blah plans so that we can keep our money working for us as long as possible.

Time to put my nose back to the grindstone - happy November!

New House Budget - Realistic?

August 22nd, 2009 at 01:45 am

Income
$2650 (me)
$2000 (fiance)
$550 (renter)
$400+ (part-time jobs)
Total - $5600

Expenses
$1314 (mortgage)
$250 (prop. taxes)
$36 (HOA dues)
$40 (home ins.)
$300 (car ins.)
$245.03 (car payment)
$150 (ROTH me)
$150 (ROTH fiance)
$175 (fuel)
$250 (utilities)
$250 (dog food, groceries, paper)
$200 (vet, clothes, car repairs)
$100 (my allowance)
$100 (fiance allowance)
$40 (co-pays)
$75 (fiance loan)
$19 (netflix)
$50 (float, household items)
$1855.97 (savings)

Fiance's car loan is at 5.99% with a balance of $12070. His personal loan is at 10.99% with a balance of 3.7K. We will be making payments of about $200 to the principal of the car loan/mo. until Jan. 2010. So his balance should be around 11K by the end of the year. We will then be sending as much as we can to the car loan each month. We also intend to send 7K of the 8K first time homebuyer's credit to his car loan. We expect to have this paid off in March of 2010 to free up that $250/mo. We should be able to pay off his personal loan by June 2010. And then we will start maxing our ROTHs in July! We should have 10K in retirement accounts by the end of 2010 and over 20K in savings! We will be looking for a renter in January 2010 to rent out our extra bedroom. We will also be getting part time jobs to help supplement our savings and just to break up our weeks. Fiance spends so many hours on video games and I work a VERY stressful accounting job so it would be good for both of us to have something enjoyable and to be able to feel un-responsible for a few hours of each week!

So even if we don't find a renter or even get part-time jobs, We will still have about 1K surplus every month. We will also begin making wedding plans after we move into our home. We will be getting married in August or September of 2010. we will be going CHEAP. i actually asked fiance if he wouldn't mind going to the courthouse LOL. our families will both be contributing towards our wedding which I expect to cost us nothing. We will probably end up paying for the majority of the honeymoon but that's okay with me! We are trying to figure out where to go ... Neither of us have taken a vacation in five or more years which is unheard of for our group of peers. So we are thinking about splurging a bit (barring unforeseen circumstances) and going somewhere like Paris, Fiji, etc. There is so much to do over this next year!

House Musings, Engaged, the Usual ...

August 22nd, 2009 at 01:25 am

I have been gone for far to long but I have been keeping up with everyone's blogs. Too much has happened since my last post. My boyfriend proposed to me on July 4th and of course I said yes! We have also taken the leap into homeownership. We made an executive decision to buy through Quadrant Homes (they build highly-known developments in the Pacific Northwest). They have lowered their prices by 25K, offered us 10K towards closing costs, and we will also (almost positively) close in time to receive the 8K credit. Not to mention my real estate agent was just able to negotiate another 2K from them to use towards our dream refrigerator in the showroom. We have financed at zero down, no PMI, and locked our rate in at 5.375%.

We bought at zero down because we feel ready for homeownership, have the financial flexibility to afford a mortgage, and seriously, who can pass up 45K? They have just poured our foundation and we should be in before Thanksgiving. They have an extremely rigid process of building these homes (exactly 54 business days).

I was talking to one of my colleagues about a month ago and she said that she and her husband went into debt about 15K with each house they bought. I was incredulous. We have basically all of our furniture. We will be buying a 3 y/o used washer and dryer for $200 from my boss' family. We will need to build a fence but fiance does contracting for a living so that will be cheap. the only major thing we really need is a sectional. seriously. the little loveseat thing we have smells like pee, beer, and other bodily fluids. it used to reside in fiance's bachelor house so that HAS TO GO. it is gross. our families will be helping us out with gift cards, etc. to help defray the costs of getting our home up and running.

I have been without health insurance for a couple of months now. I work for a VERY small employer who can't offer health insurance due to the way it would have to be set up. Basically we would have to insure her daughter who incurs half a million dollars in medical bills every year which would increase all of our premiums to around 2K/mo. I'll pass Smile So my employer gave me my raise a few months early which completely covers my premiums for dental, vision, and health. it also leaves me about $8/mo. Big Grin So now I am making almost 40K. pretty good if you ask me! I am very, very thankful.

Since paying off my car in April I have been diligently working to increase our emergency fund before our first mortgage payment (early January). It is up to 6.5K and we are currently adding 2K/mo. so we should have close to 14K come end of year. I'm going to make a separate post for our projected budget and I would love for some of you to look it over and let me know if it looks realistic.

Glad to be back! I'm hoping to post on a more regular basis now that we are going to be going through ALOT of changes and upheavals!

Paid Off Car

April 27th, 2009 at 03:20 am

I paid of my car last Wednesday and my net worth jumped from a couple thousand to 18K!