Friday, June 29, 2012
Now don’t get jealous. It’s not like we’re living a life of luxury in a huge mansion and driving fancy new cars or anything like that. We live in a modest, two bedroom one bath condo and live a regular lifestyle. However, being able to live without a mortgage, begs the question, where does our money go now that we don’t have to pay the bank?
Rebuilding Emergency Savings
Our first move will be to begin rebuilding our emergency fund. After putting most of our available cash toward our home, we are going to be left a bit short in this area initially. We like to try to have at least a $5,000 emergency fund on hand as a reserve in a checking account since we feel that this number can cover a variety of unexpected events and costs.
However, this rebuilt fund likely won’t last long due to the following expenses on this list, and which will once again drain our coffers.
With a new baby on the way, we are planning to be hit with medical and baby preparation expenses in the range of $6,000 to $7,000 come this fall. Pair this with a property tax bill coming along to the tune of about $1,400 or $1,500, and we’re looking at a sizeable chunk of change. This means that our rebuilt (hopefully) emergency fund will be put toward these costs. Thankfully, without mortgage costs, we are hoping to be able to save an additional $400 to $500 a month until this time, which will be put solely toward these costs.
Schooling/College Savings for Kids
After the baby and property tax costs have been put behind us, it will be time to start looking ahead toward the future. Of course, our first son will be heading off to elementary school soon, which means additional costs, and of course with a new baby, there will be continued supply costs there as well. However, we hope that even with these additional expenses to be dealt with, we will still be able to put a little extra cash each month toward saving for our kids’ eventual college costs.
What little is left after the aforementioned expenses will be put toward our retirement savings. At this point, once those larger lump sum costs I mentioned previously have been paid off in full, my wife (who recently started a new job) may begin to contribute to her employer-sponsored retirement plan. And since I’m self-employed, I will likely be putting any extra cash (which there won’t be much of) toward those college savings for the kids and again, attempting to rebuild our emergency fund.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Here is how I’m doing so far on this year’s resolutions.
Explore at Least Two New Forms of Income
I am currently working on finishing up several eBooks that I should have ready and online within a few months time. I’m hoping that these little jewels could garner me a bit more income, but to this point, I’m still uncertain as to the results of such a venture and how it could affect my annual income.
I’ve also recently been testing the waters with a nearby consignment shop. While I’ve done consignment style sales before with a local eBay store, I’ve never tried it through an actual, physical store. While we’re starting slow, and aren’t really looking for much in the way of regular income from this particular money-making option, we have started off with a West Elm chandelier and a large mirror to test the waters to see where it takes us. The one downside to this form of sales though, is that the store commission is 50 percent, which is a pretty big chunk of our possible profits
Meet or Beat My Budget
Leave Room for Fun
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
In a matter of minutes I had found numerous repair offerings, one of which was advice regarding using toothpaste. Since toothpaste is a light abrasive, the site noted that it could be great for removing scratches from CDs and DVDs. The person offering this piece of advice had successfully tested it on 3 out of 5 CDs. I then watched a quick two-minute video on the process and gave it a shot.
Since our DVD was severely scratched, the toothpaste repair it didn’t fix it perfectly, but at least repaired it enough to make it through the episode without too much aggravation. Now, I’m almost looking forward to testing this method again the next time a scratched disc rears its ugly face.
Learning New Things
I haven’t worn a watch in nearly eight years. While there were several reasons for this; the main reason being that I got tired of having to take it into the mall or a jewelry store to get the battery changed. It was time consuming and I didn’t like having to pay $20 for a tiny watch battery and the labor involved in the process.
While cleaning up the bedroom the other day, I found my watch sitting in my bedside drawer. I decided I wanted to know what was so tough about changing a watch battery that I’d been paying someone else to do it my entire life. After a quick Internet search and another two-minute video, I found there was no reason why I couldn’t do it myself.
After seeing how to make the switch, I dropped by the local dollar store where they were selling the size of watch battery I needed, eight for a dollar. It took me about five minutes, and 12.5 cents (per piece price for the battery) to get it changed. That’s much better than $20, and I now have the knowledge and confidence to do the job myself not only for myself but for family members as well.
With the Internet as a tool, you might have the ability to teach yourself. Whether it’s how to write a movie script, how to do your own taxes, or whatever, the information is out there.
It made me realize how great (and affordable) a teacher the Internet can be for those looking to improve themselves and try new things.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
This allowed me to gauge my annual expenses when it came to homeownership, as well as know to the penny, just how much money our home was costing us. I could also determine our profit/loss (which was most certainly a loss) after closing costs and realtor commission when we sold.
Having a spreadsheet to gauge both income and expenses is a great way for me to track my financial progress over time. I can watch how much I earn and how much I spend on a monthly and yearly basis. This can be extremely beneficial when it comes to looking for ways to cut costs, areas in which I might increase my income, year-over-year progress, and personal inflation rates.
I like knowing where my assets and liabilities lay and in what amounts. Being able to determine how my investments are doing, whether they’re advancing or declining, the interest rates they are earning, and what percentage of my portfolio they comprise at a moment’s notice makes my financial life easier and quicker to evaluate on a regular basis. Just one page -- copied and continued each following month -- is enough to give me an overall picture of where I’m standing financially and how my overall net worth has performed in relation to previous months.
Even more recently, I’ve used a spreadsheet to come up with a retirement plan for my mother that figures her expenses, income, and assets. I am even using a spreadsheet to plan our upcoming vacation and Christmas costs and budgets.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Don’t Have an Indoor Sale
One of the best ways to secure yourself from losses and security issues due to having a yard sale inside your home may be to keep it outdoors. We tend to do all we can to keep our sales limited to the garage, driveway and yard. From checking the weather forecast ahead of time, to having a backup plan (such as quickly moving everything inside the garage) should rain or inclement weather hit, we do our best to keep people out of our private spaces to begin with.
Hide or Secure Valuables