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Net Worth update October 2, 2006

Posted by irishmadness in Debt, Retirement, Saving, Student loans.

I’ve increased my net worth by $5,300 since I started tracking it six months ago, and I’m now at -$1,750. My best estimate has me breaking into positive territory by Nov. 1, which would rock!

Part of that is because I’ve increased my emergency fund and 401(k) by about $2,200, and part is because I’ve cut my debt by about $3,500. I’m on track to pay off my CC by late February if an opportunity I’m pursuing pans out, or mid-March if it doesn’t. That’s much better than my original target of August 2007!


Adjusting payments September 14, 2006

Posted by irishmadness in Budgeting, Debt, Saving.

Now that I’ve got a few hundred dollars stashed in my ING Direct account, I decided it was time to reduce the amount I put into my pinch-point savings from $50 a week to $25 a week. $15 of the difference is going toward my CC payment; the other $10 is going to ING Direct.

I also set up three subaccounts with ING: House, vacation and car. The house account gets $5 a week, the vacation account gets $15 a week and the car account gets $50 a week. That leaves $5 a week from my deposit to stay in the main account. Once my CC is paid off (February is my best guess), I’ll adjust the amounts as I start putting the bulk of that money into savings.

Update September 5, 2006

Posted by irishmadness in Credit cards, Debt, Saving.

My plan this month is to give my CC balance a big hit because I get an “extra” paycheck in September. So I’ll be able to put an extra three weeks worth of money toward knocking down that debt. 🙂

My initial ING Direct deposit cleared, and my first weekly payment goes in tomorrow. (Yay!) I’ll move a chunk over to my CC shortly before the low interest rate goes away so I get as much interest from ING Direct as possible, then knock the CC balance down as low as possible before the rate goes up.

(For anyone interested in opening an ING Direct account, clicking on a link below will get you a $25 bonus when you deposit at least $250. I’ll get a $10 for referring you.)




If the links are either used or expired, e-mail me at colorguard@mac.com and I’ll post more.

I’m also starting to plan for Christmas and birthdays. (My immediate family’s birthdays are ALL in December and January.) Of the 11 family presents I have to buy, four are purchased. I have a price estimate for the three others selected – $55. That leaves four presents for two people. I suspect my post-Thanksgiving shopping trip will take care of the remaining four. But I’m in good shape for me, both progress-wise and budget-wise.

Also in good news, my electric bill will go down below its current $25/month now that the weather’s cooler, and gas prices are dropping dramatically, so that should allow me to stash some extra money during the next few months.

Net worth update August 23, 2006

Posted by irishmadness in Debt.

I haven’t been into my spreadsheet for a while, so I just spent a few minutes updating figures and calculating my current net worth.

Thanks to better 401(k) performance and a slightly revised estimate of my car’s value (from a local dealer), my net worth is up to -$2,500! And that includes about $7,000 of a student loan at less than 4 percent interest, so I figure I’m in pretty good shape.

I also opened an ING Direct account this week, using a referral link from Jane Dough to get the extra $25. Starting the first week in September, I’ll be putting $65 a week into it as a car fund. At the end of the year, I’ll assess my car’s health – it’s due for a major servicing then – and if all seems well, I’ll transfer a big chunk out to pay down my CC balance.

On the negative side, some work craziness plus my recent vacation led to me adding to my CC balance. Nothing huge, but enough so that what I’ve been putting towards it the last two or three weeks is just about covering what I added. I’m trying to get back on track, though.

Grocery store gas August 19, 2006

Posted by irishmadness in Frugal living.

My grocery store now has a gas station to help them compete with the store scheduled to open next week that *also* has a gas station. My store has an opening special for customers with a rewards card, so I got gas for $2.57 last night, when the best price elsewhere in town is $2.72. The rewards card also will save me 3 cents off the regular price/gallon all the time. So I’m enjoying slightly less expensive gas for the moment. 🙂

My other big gas savings is our new loop road around the city. I live near one end of it, and it opened last week while I was on vacation. It’s great! Now instead of dealing with a million downtown traffic lights, I can just hop on and cruise around.

Explaining pensions August 18, 2006

Posted by irishmadness in Retirement.
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As Doris noted below, I didn’t make it back Wednesday night. But I’m back now.

Last night, I spent several minutes trying to explain pensions to my guy (aka WG), since he’s considering early retirement for a few reasons. The benefit of working at the same company since he was a teenager means he’s got a lot of years of service and can think about this. But trying to explain that he needs to find out what level of benefits he gets now vs. waiting to get more years of service was tough. (We won’t even mention the problems with explaining how pension benefits top out after X years.)

He needed me to explain it so, as he put it, he knows what he’s supposed to ask his HR person. I didn’t do a great job at the time, since I wasn’t expecting the discussion. (He’s mentioned early retirement before, so that wasn’t news. It was the nuts and bolts part I wasn’t expecting. We digressed from a discussion about annual salary.) So I e-mailed him this afternoon with clearer (I hope) explanation.

The discussion did get me thinking though, especially with the bill that just passed Congress. I haven’t read much about it yet, but it’s on my to-do list. How many non-union companies still offer pensions? And how many will continue to do so?

Back from vacation August 16, 2006

Posted by irishmadness in Admin.

Sorry for the hiatus, but I was on vacation and never quite managed to blog while I was gone.

I’m still wading through piles at work – amazing how much accumulates during an 11-day absence – but will hopefully be back tonight with a substantive post.

Watching the electric bill August 1, 2006

Posted by irishmadness in Frugal living.

We’re under a severe heat warning until 6 p.m. Thursday around here, so I might be breaking my “avoid AC” rule at home – for health reasons. I’m waiting to see what it’s like when I get home tonight. Fortunately, I’m on an earlier work schedule this week, so I’m spending the hottest hours in AC at the office. On the flip side, I get out mid-evening instead of close to midnight, which means my apartment won’t have as much time to cool off. We shall see…

Bemoaning gas prices July 31, 2006

Posted by irishmadness in Car, Uncategorized.

*sigh* I leave Saturday for 11 days with my family in Massachusetts. And no, the sigh is not because I’m spending that much time with them. It’s because the trip will run me close to $200 in gas money alone. That’s no worse than Amtrak or flying, possibly slightly better, but it’s a big chunk of change.

It used to be that gas up and back would be less than half that, making driving the logical choice. Now it’s a toss-up, and driving wins mostly because of flexibility while traveling, as well as not having to borrow a car from another family member to get around while I’m up there. (My brother already has to do that, since he doesn’t have his own. I’d offer him mine next year, but he thinks it’s too tiny.)

So I’ll be getting my oil changed and having my tire pressure checked before I go to maximize gas milage. Then I’ll just grin and bear it – and remind myself that’s the price I pay for living in a different part of the country. But man, I hate to see those pump prices rising as my departure date gets closer.

Getting ready for ING Direct July 28, 2006

Posted by irishmadness in Saving.
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I don’t have enough in savings to take advantage of the ING Direct referral bonus yet, but I will before Labor Day. *cheers*

I did head over to their site yesterday to familiarize myself with the process to open an account. I also went into my bank account site and adjusted my CC payment and arranged to transfer the difference into savings – out of sight, out of mind, as far as I’m concerned.

I’ll still keep my pinch-point account active – the one with my bank – but once I build the balance up, I’ll start adding an extra CC payment using some of that money. That might take a month or two, since I still have Root Canal No. 2 and the associated crown to pay for. (And schedule: note to self – call dentist after vacation to schedule appointment.)

Alas, this likely means my early goal payoff date of April 2007 is more realistic than year-end. But having the money available should my car become terminal is more important to me right now. I figure I’ll stop diverting money to that account once it hits $1,500, so at that point the CC repayment picks up again.

Plus, the income picture is looking considerably brighter for a few months down the road. As things becomes clearer there, I can adjust my plans again. I’m not expecting any actual impact until January, but there’s a slight possibility dominoes could tumble sooner…