Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April Side Gigs

This month's extra $$$ from side jobs.

Tutoring $330
Online Surveys $9
eBay sales $2.10
Lawn mowing $360

Total for the month $701.10

$201.10 added to the emergency fund.
$500 added to retirement accounts.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March Savings and Net Worth

Normal monthly savings:
401k (includes match) $867
Roth IRA (Hers) $300
Roth IRA (His) $300
HSA account $500
Taxable Mutual Fund $210
Emergency Fund $300

Extra monthly savings:
Extra EF from side-gigs $292
Extra EF from money squeezed out of budget $140.25
Extra saved from Tax Refund (went in various accounts) $5,000

Total saved for the month $7,909.25
An unusually high amount due to tax refund hitting our accounts in March.
Due to a lousy stock-market in March, the net worth didn't go up by much.

Net Worth as of 3/31/14 $569,215
Increase year-to-date $20,544  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I Was Featured on One of my Favorite Financial Sites

Recently I was asked to do a guest post on one of my favorite financial sites, Mad Fientist

At the risk of sounding very self-promoting, check it out Here

Everyone was very kind with their comments and it was a great experience

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Staying Balanced

Keeping the balance between saving for tomorrow and enjoying life today is a challenge for me at times. I am much more inclined to save money for the future than to spend it now. I realize that it's better to be a compulsive saver than a compulsive spender. But how does one reach a balance?

Unless you have $10 million in the bank or are deep in debt, this applies to you. If you are incredibly wealthy you can spend today and tomorrow and way into the future and you don't need to worry about balance as much. Likewise if you are in debt than you should be doing everything you can to get out of  debt and start saving like crazy. Actually if you are in debt why are you even reading this? You should be working 2 or 3 jobs to get out of debt. Then you can come back and browse all the time-wasting websites you want.

I have to mentally stop myself from trying to save every dollar I make that doesn't get spent on necessities. I need to remind myself it's OK to let down what little hair I have left and spend a few dollars every now and again. Especially while I am not a geezer and can actually enjoy it.

I could save even more if I wanted to. But since we are on track to retire in 13 years, I feel comfortable with the balance we currently have. Besides we have too much fun going to the beach each year, letting the kids participate in a reasonable amount of sports and other activities, having a summer pool membership (well the wife and kids enjoy that, going in some skanky water with 200 sweaty obese people doesn't hold much appeal to me, the wife and I go out for lunch on the 20th of each month to celebrate our wedding anniversary. 

I have no problem keeping the thermostat on 60 during the winter if it helps pay for beach house during the summer. Or reusing ziplock baggies if that means we can grill some steaks every now and again.

Listen I'm not gonna go nuts with the spending though. You aren't gonna catch me in a Starsux, ever. And I won't be paying to go to a yoga class and have someone teach me how to pose (you people ever heard of YouTube or borrowing DVD's from a library?). And my wardrobe will still consist of hand-me-downs and thrift store bargains.

So let's all lighten up and enjoy life a bit. Go on vacation once in awhile, send your wife to Victoria Secrets, let your kid have peanut-butter and jelly.

PS-don't tell my wife and kids I said it was ok to spend money on occasion.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Rule of 752

Like Area 51, the Rule of 752 is all about hidden power!!!Take a weekly expense and multiply it by 752. The result is the real cost of that expense over 10 years had you invested the money instead. Can you feel the Power?

Spend $20 on picking up coffee on the way to work each week instead of drinking the free stuff at the office? If invested that would be $15,040.

Eating $25 worth of lard at McFat's for lunch every week? That equals $18,800.

Sucking down $30 worth of suds weekly? $22,560.

Blowing $35 a week on smokes? Well that could buy you a nice car after 10 years. $26,320.

Trim $100 a week from you budget through a combination of things and you will have $75,200 after 10 years. Enough to get all the plastic surgery your heart desires.

You get the idea. Just another way to think of real costs of those little "harmless" purchases.

No I didn't make up the Rule of 752, just passing it on. I believe that Triple M came up with it.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Go Ahead and Splurge

No really, I'm serious. Splurging once in a while can help you get out of debt faster and save more in the long run.

If you are constantly paying down debt and/or stashing money into savings and doing nothing fun, you may soon become frustrated. Especially if the results are slow in coming. And then you might go out and blow a ton of money on something silly instead of just blowing a little bit.

Living like a desert monk is good for the finances but all that scrimping and saving can get to you. Instead set aside a bit of money each payday for fun. Call it your Blow money. Once you have it, go Blow it on something. Dinner out, new shoes, a box of Lucky Charms cereal, disco-ball, whatever meets your fancy.

Just don't go bonkers and spend tons of money each payday doing this, make it a reasonable amount for your current financial situation. 

Want to splurge on a larger purchase? Then save your monthly splurge money until you have enough and then go for it. Buy that leopard-print couch or that autographed collection of Kim Kardashian bikini pictures*.

*this blog does not endorse the buying of this product, nor accept any responsibility for what happens to your eyes if you look at this product

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Over the Top Birthday Parties

The following rant was promoted by an article on kid’s birthday parties that I recently read.
Kid’s birthday parties should cost under $50, actually they should cost under $25 but I’m feeling generous.

What is it with parents taking kids to places like; build-a-badger, laser tag, bowling alleys, gun clubs, fashion shows etc…Did they have such deprived childhood’s that they have to live through their kid’s? Are they guilty about something? Wusses who can’t say no? 

These are the same people you hear complain about never having enough money as they are heading to the mall in their leased car to shop. Well, duh. Waah, waah waah, someone call the waahmbulance.

Party-bags?! Really? We just fed and entertained your sugared-up brats for 3 hours and now we have to give out a party-bag! What’s that you say? You gave my kid a gift? Well no sugar Sherlock, it’s his birthday you douche. But you know what? We don’t really need any gifts; we have enough junk in our house already. But if you want a party-bag for your kid filled with dollar store crapolla, then fine, enjoy. I hope that in the middle of the night you step on some small plastic pieces while walking around barefoot.

So tell me what’s the deal with inviting tons of kids? I hear of parents inviting their kid’s entire school class so no one’s feelings get hurt. Hey kid, you were not invited because my kid thinks you are a booger-eating-goober. Get over it, that’s life. Thank God my kids are homeschooled. My kids get a party from ages 5 thru 10. And that’s it. And they get to invite one friend for each year old they are.

Social media like; Facebook, Instagram and Vine just make matters worse. People post all their self-indulgent pictures and videos of events like birthday parties. They are just showing you a small slice of life. The good life, through a rose colored internet. They want you to think that everything is all peaches and cream. When underneath the peaches are rotting and cream is curdling. Guess what? You might be fooling others and even yourself for a while, but you ain't fooling us.

Gift registries for kid’s birthdays, really? I’m speechless.

Some of the more outrageous themes in the article: ice sculptures, snow machine parties (for backyard sledding), karaoke bar, live animals, spa parties (yes at a spa). In that light hauling a bunch of brats to the bowling alley or Chucky E. Cheese is kinda quaint, still stupid, but quaint.

Be careful. You give your little girl a 5th birthday party that costs $500 and you are gonna have a helluva bill when the princess gets married. And you sure aren’t doing your future son-in-law any favors.

#throwing #birthday # parties #over-the-top #sucky #parents

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February Savings and Net Worth

Monies put away in savings during February:

401k (includes match) $867
Roth IRA (Hers) $300
Roth IRA (His) $300
HSA account $500
Taxable Mutual Fund $210
Emergency Fund $300
Extra EF from side-gigs/found money $305

Total saved for the month $2,782

We may have to trim the amount going into savings in the spring/summer since the kids have more activities (sports and such). But we won't let it go below $2k per month. In late spring thru early fall, I have regular side-gig work of $500-$700 per month (cutting lawns 1 or 2 evenings per week after work. I've been doing that since 1992). So I am hopeful we can stay in the $2,500 per month range.

The grass cutting money is normally used to max-out the HIS and HERS IRA's. We will retire before we are old. We also use some of the money for our vacation at the beach.

Net worth as of 2/28/14 $562,301.00
Increase year to date $ 13,631.00

Thursday, February 27, 2014

February Side Gigs

My stay at home bride makes extra $$$ now and again by watching others kids a few hours at the time or by tutoring them. She home-schools our kids, so mixing in another one isn't too much stress...I think...

This month's extra $$$

02/06/14 - childcare $40
6 days this month - tutoring $150
02/20/14 - childcare $40
02/27/14 - childcare $25

Total for the month $255

Plus $50 bill found on side of the road while running.

Grand total $305

$305 extra dollars added to the emergency fund.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Running Pays Part 2

Found a dime (the coin, not a bag of weed) while running yesterday. Yes I stopped and picked it up.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Running Pays

I've been a life-long runner. Well since I was 12. I run daily, as in everyday. About once a month I find loose change on the road, usually nickels and dimes. 5 years ago I found a $20 bill one morning.

Today that was topped. Found this on the side of the road. Mushed into some gravel and leftover road-salt. I'd like to put it into one of our retirement accounts. My bride wants me to take her out to dinner.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Curse you Mr. Snow Miser

Average monthly utility bill for last year $350
Average monthly utility bill during the winter $450
January actual utility bills are all that cold and snow $597

As a side insult, the older I get, the more faggy I get about the cold. I need to move to Florida. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Getting a Tax Refund?

Getting a chunk of money back from the Feds and/or State? What to do with that money? Here is the strategy we use each year. I will use a refund of $5,000 to make the example easier.

10% - $500 to Charity
10% - $500 hers
10% - $500 his (which really means hers)
70% - $3,500 to savings (retirement, emergency fund, regular savings)

So 20% will probably be going for wicker furniture or upgrading a bathroom or new drapes or some other exhilarating project. Sadly it probably won't be going towards a shopping spree at Victoria Secrets. 

If we had any outstanding debt I would use at least half of the 70% for debt repayment.

Don't forget to consider adjusting your withholding with your payroll department so you get more money each paycheck instead of a large refund. The only reason we get a tax refund is because of the EIC (earned income credit) we get because of all the yard-apes. Yeah I know the EIC is basically a commie program to keep crack-heads happy, but as long as the morons in D.C. are giving it out, I'll take it.

Now all I have to do is finish gathering all my 2013 tax docs so I can get my refund. Lame I know. I should have done that by now.

Here is an article from Money Talk News with other suggestions on how to use your refund.

Here are the highlights from the article:

4 smart uses for a tax refund
1. Create an emergency fund
2. Save on insurance
3. Start a business
4. Save for retirement or college

10 dumb things to do with your tax refund
1. Spending it rather than investing it
2. Spending it rather than paying down debt
3. Spending it on something that won’t lower next year’s taxes
4. Failing to create a memory
5. Loaning it to someone
6. Not doing something to improve yourself
7. Using it to create more debt
8. Failing to prevent future big refunds
9. Going to the mall
10. Using it to sustain an unsustainable lifestyle