Sunday, July 20, 2008


As part of my deep thinking and rejuvenating on the cruise I've made a decision about the blog. Lately its been feeling forced and despite Changing my post schedule my post have still been short and not the quality that I really want to share so I've yet again changed my mind. I'm going to go back to the reason I've

I'm going to blog just for my personal enjoyment and I'm only going to blog when I have the time and when I have something to share. So who knows when my next post will be, maybe some time this week maybe sometime next month, but I can assure you that This Future Millionaire will still be on track financaily and she still wants to share plenty with readers so keep checking back every so often or subscribe to my reader so that you can be sure to find when my next post pops up.

Until then...Happy Personal Finance Thought!

Back from the Cruise and some exciting news to share

Hey Guys. I'm back from my much needed vacation. I have to say a week of being waited on hand and foot by the cruise line staff sure does help one relax and rejuvenate. I'm happy to say I'm almost back to my normal self before I started working on the Project from hell in April.

Lets see some updates in my life that unfortunately due to the job and life I've not been able to post about. I've had several contacts through the grapevine about potential jobs, I've not really hit the real job market because for one thing I started getting cold feet about changing jobs, I really do love my current company its just that I don't love the current assignment. My second reason is I'm a little worried about changing jobs, going into the unknown. I've only ever really worked for one company (sure I have a variety of miscellaneous , but I'm talking career jobs I've only worked for one company) so who knows what other companies might hold out there. I'm also a little nervous because I've not yet received that promotion and I it has to do with politics, so I'm afraid if I change companies now that I might be further delayed in obtaining a promotion. Lets see the list goes on and on. But despite that I've talked to a few close confidants with in the industry to seek there opinion about what I should do and that's lead to several contacts about potential jobs, none of which I've followed up upon too closely. Well the other day (two weeks ago) out the blue I received a call from a rather small GC that wanted to talk to me about an estimating job. I was curious to know how they received my name and it appears that I have a pretty good reputation with in the business. So yay for that! Anyway I have an interview with them towards the end of next week. So we'll see how it goes, I have a ton of reservations about working for a small GC, changing companies etc etc etc etc but I feel I owe it to myself to check them out so I'm going to at least talk to them, I figure they have to sell me at this point not the other way around.

Wish me luck on the interview.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Hey Y'all. In case you were getting worried about where I was, I'm on a much needed vacation and am on a cruise so my internet access is pretty much non existent unless I want to pay ridiculous rates. I'll be back from my cruise on the 21st and I'll chat with ya then.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Guest Post ---- Your Credit Cards Can Save You Money

Below is a great post from fellow personal finance blogger Miranda who edits for if you enjoy her post be sure to check out Destroy Debt.

It seems counterintuitive that a personal finance writer would advocate the use of credit cards, but that's what I do -- provided that you can use your credit card responsibly and pay it off every month. Just like so much else in this life, credit cards themselves aren't evil. But using them in a way that is detrimental can result in a great deal of trouble. But if you use them the right way, your credit cards can actually save you money.

Choosing the right rewards

First of all, don't just choose any card with any old rewards program. You need to find a rewards program that works well for you -- offering you the rewards that you will actually use. Compare offers and decide what will benefit you the most. Whether you want travel points, cash or consumer goods, you need to pick a rewards program that will provide you with what you need.

Be warned: Too many different cards, with too many different rewards, can dilute the effectiveness of your rewards program. Instead, choose no more than three that you want to work on.

Create a plan for building credit card rewards that can save you money

Any financial planning tool -- including credit cards -- requires, well, a plan. You need to decide how you are going to amass rewards. However, the key here is to only spend money on things you would buy anyway. Here is an example of how I spend my money, and which credit cards I use to pay for them:

  • Capital One No Hassle card: All grocery store purchases, gas and recurring bills. Receive miles that I can redeem for airfare or other travel. Last year: Free round trip ticket to New York to visit my husband's family. This year: Free round-trip ticket to Phoenix, AZ to see my grandfather. Planning to use the rest of the points for car rental and for hotel while taking a mini-vacation within the trip to New York.
  • Upromise card: All online purchases. Percentage of purchases goes into an account that is in turn invested into a tax-preferred 529 college savings plan for our son.
  • Cash back card: Large consumer purchases. Once the reward is $10, a check is sent. Almost every time we make a large purchase (computer, TV, sofa, etc.) we get a check in the mail. That check immediately goes into our emergency fund -- which is a high yield savings account. It's not the only money we put in there, but it gives the fund a periodic boost.

Retirement is our most important goal, but we find that we can work toward our next most important goals (defraying travel costs to see family and helping our son pay for college) without having to spend extra money.

Warnings when using credit cards in this manner

It is important to take heed. Without a plan, you can quickly fall into the trap of not paying off your credit cards each month, and entering the cycle of debt (and the attendant interest). Here are some things to remember when using credit cards to save you money:

  • Once you start paying interest, the value of your rewards is eroded and can even be destroyed. So pay off your credit cards each month.
  • Make sure that you have the money before you buy something. That way you will be able to pay off the credit card at the end of the month.
  • Be aware that going over you limit or paying late can mean being locked out of your rewards. You won't be able to access them until you are back under your limit, or you've made your payment (and paid your late fees).
  • Late fees and over the limit fees can erode the value of your rewards.

If you plan carefully and use your credit cards in a constructive manner, you will find that your credit card companies are paying you -- instead of you paying them.

Miranda Marquit edits information on debt consolidation for

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Net Worth Update --- Looks Like the Stock Market Is Starting to Impact Me

Its July 1st which means that the 4th of July Holiday is right around the corner. It also means its time for me to update my net worth. Below is my new update.

Updated 7/1/08 Change from Previous Update Updated 5/30/08
Total Net Worth $105,413.65 $559.93 $104,853.72
Net Worth Comprised of
Retirement Savings: $29,881.15 $321.37 $29,559.78
401k $23,932.15 $361.08 $23,571.07
Roth IRA $5,949.00 -$39.71 $5,988.71
House Down Payment/CD's: $57,401.89 $157.06 $57,244.83
Future Car Savings $5,458.48 $157.76 $5,300.72
Emergency Fund/Money Market: $11,435.17 $227.89 $11,207.28
"Cash"/Checking: $1,236.96 -$304.15 $1,541.11

At first I was really concerned that I'd only increase my net worth by less than $560 because that's much less than my typical $2,000. There's two main reasons for this less than normal net worth increase, the first is that my Money Market decreased because I paid for part of my vacation that I'm taking in July the other main reason that my net worth decreased is that despite contributions of over $1700 to my retirement accounts they only increased by $321. I guess the current stock market and economy is finally taking its toll on me.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday's Money Funny

No Monday Funny this week. With the project from Hell and my worse than normal hours (that unfortunately will last the duration of this project) I've not been keeping as abreast of financial news as I like to and sadly didn't open a paper, magazine or website last week.

If you're fortunate enough to keep up with the news give me a shout if you find any good Money Funnies.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Weekend Round Up

Its been an exciting week around in the PF Bloggers World this past week. A few highlights include:

Living Almost Large
explains all about IRA's.
Penelope @ Our Fourpence Worth gave tips on how to Resist the Urge to Slurge.
Master Your Card's Kristy gave a great test to determine if you're smarter than a 5th Grader when it comes to Credit Cards. (I love that TV show!)
Ashley from Wide Open Wallet shared a great story about a play it forward for coupons. Such a great idea.
Girls Just Wanna have Fund's Ginger shared tips on saving money when Vacationing.
And Seb from Pinching Copper wrote another great letter to Mr. Bernake.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I recently received a reader request from Allison (shout out to Allison --- Thanks for reading!). She suggested that I share my budget as she felt readers might be interested. So here it goes…in addition to sharing my budget numbers I thought I’d take it a step further and share my philosophy on budgets which is that is has to be stretchy like a rubber band or it will never work.

My monthly budget is $1800, excluding savings and automatic withdraws from my paycheck*. This increases several months a year when I have irregular expenses like car maintenance, vacation, taxes etc. To account for these irregular expenses I save monthly so in reality I still stay with in my budget. My budget line items are pretty simple – I like to keep it easy as can be. Big Expenses include Rent ($620), Charity ($500), Dinning/Entertainment ($230), Utilities ($150), Gas ($100), Groceries/Sundries ($100), Misc-clothing, memberships, gifts etc ($100). Any left over from the month I roll over to my irregular expenses savings in addition to my normal savings.

* My health insurance, flexible spending account, renters insurance, retirement contributions etc is automatically deducted from my paycheck

While my monthly budget is $1800, I don’t hold strictly to my line item budgets. Each month is slightly different for me – one month I might eat out more often but buy less Groceries, another months I might splurge a little big more on gifts (especially around June when I have three birthdays in a row) but I’m so busy at Birthday parties that I don’t drive as much. I don’t beat myself up over this if I go over my targeted line item budget, I simply adjust for it from another category. If you don’t adjust for it then its like you’re on a really strict diet and I don’t know about you but I can never seem to follow those because eventually you just can’t take it anymore and have to splurge so I allow myself that splurging. It also allows you to do last minutes items that aren’t planned for – if my friends are going out and I don’t have to say no just because I’ve reached the $230 limit, I can just “borrow” a little for another category or if I absolutely need some toilet paper but I’ve used up my $100 groceries/sundries budget I can still get the items I need and “borrow” it from gas etc. The only two that I don’t borrow from are Rent because I prefer not to get evicted and I don’t borrow from Charity because I make that a priority. But all the rest are adjustable.

To help ensure that I’m staying on track with my budget, at least once a week I check on my total expenses for the month (excluding the irregular expenses) and calculate how much remaining money I have – this helps me to adjust my spending and help me remember my goal with my budget. I also check on each of my line items to make sure I’m in the ballpark and if I notice a trend over several months I adjust accordingly as well.

That’s my take on budgets --- how do you manage your budget and what does your budget look like?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Carnival of Personal Finance #158

The Carnival of Personal Finance #158 Hosted by Mrs. Micahis up and running.

There's a tone of great posts by fellow bloggers, but sure to check them out and while you're there check out my article which is post under Assorted Instruments.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Monday's Money Funny - Tipping

One of the regular features on my blog is "Monday's Money Funny" which are humorous (at least to me) articles/jokes/just about anything that I've discovered over the weekend when I catch up on all my on line reading that spark a need for knowledge. For example the previous Monday Money Funny was about how People that are too Happy to be Rich.

This week's Money Funny is To Tip or Not to Tip from Do the Right Thing advice column on CNN Money.

Below are the highlights. You can check out the full column by clicking here.

Question: I was at standing on a pier recently when my hat blew into the lake. A nice kid, maybe 9 or 10 years old, swam out and got it for me. I thanked him appreciatively and also thanked his mother, who was nearby. A friend says a “thank you” wasn’t enough - that I should have given the boy ten bucks, or maybe treated him and his friends to ice cream cones. What do you think?

When should you tip? I know when I'm out with my mom she is always asking me should I give him a tip, how much? Well I've scored all of Emily Post's Guidelines, Encyclopedias, and just about every resource I know and have found the best all inclusive guidelines for you at Findalink. It covers everything from tipping at restaurant to tipping at a funeral and all things in between so all of your bases are covered.

Personally I try and follow common courtesy but in general I tip when I feel its appropriate and I tend to "over tip". I'm an extremely generous tipping when I receive good service. It just makes sense to appreciate job well done. For example I tip my hair dresser around 30% despite the guide calling for 10-20%, I do this because this the the woman who controls whether I have a good hair day or bad hair day for the next 4 months, so when she does a great job I let her know. Plus when I come back she remembers (although I've been going to Leslie since I was in elementary school so I think she remembers me, but the large tips help her remember to take good care of me). The same is true of a waiter or waitress, I tip large when I've had really good service, not because I think I'm going to get the same server the next time but by tipping large I'm reinforcing the good service that they offered so they will continue this habit. That's just my two cents on tipping.

Stay tuned for next week's Monday's Money Funny. If you run across any Money Funnies please email them to me at and if I use them I will give you credit and link to your blog.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Weekend Round Up -- The Neglected Edition

Ugh -- this past week has been exceptionally rough on the Project from Hell. This week we were trying to top out the building so it meant even more exceptionally long hours (Thursday I was at the job site for a solid 20 hours yuck!) -- I think I'm still sleep walking trying to catch up on sleep. I'm now trying to spend a lazy Sunday on the sofa sleeping and catching up on the PF Bloggers World -- while I was sleep walking my peers on PF Blogger were busy keeping up informed.

A few highlights from this past were include:

Ashley from Wide Open Wallet featured another guest post from Bruce the Tax Guy about how to hire a professional. Very good advice - especially since I've started thinking I might want to hire a professional financial adviser but that discussion is for another post.

Kevin from No Debt Plan discusses Target Date Retirement Funds. This is what the bulk of my retirement is housed in because its really easy to manage.

Master Your Card's Kristy shared how to Get Perfect Credit -- looks like no matter what I'm going to have to wait another 20 years before I can potentially have perfect credit, I guess I'm okay settling for near perfect credit ;)

Penelope from Our Four Pence Worth
shared an interesting twist on Monopoly with accounts.

Living Almost Large raised some interesting questions about are Credit Cards really the cause of debt or is it simply the people using them. Personally I use a credit card for every purchase, I think for the last month I've had the same $12 in my wallet. I'd be in real trouble if I could only use cash. Until Mr. Be Mine I'd never met anyone who was a strickly cash person, to me it seems a lot more difficult and more expense - always having to drive to the bank plus you have to keep all of your receipts to keep track of your spending. Are you a cash or credit person?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Weekdend Round Up - Happy Dad's Day Ya'll

Hope everyone's having a wonderful Sunday with their Dad's.

This past week in the PF Bloggers World was most exciting a few highlights to check out are:

This week Ashley from Wide Open Wallet and I exchanged financial data and posted Millionaire in the Making Stories about each other.

Kristy from Master Your Card
posted about how young is too young to have a credit card. I have to say I got my first card that I was responsible for when I was 18 however I listed as an authorized user on one of my mom's credit cards since I was 12. About a year ago I had to ask my mom to take me off of as being an authorized user because it was great when I was younger to have a long credit history but the balance my mom carried on that card was hurting my debt to credit limit since she was close to maxed out on the credit card.

No Debt Plan's Kevin shared about do-it-your-self projects. I think I'm like Kevin a lot in that my DIY project end up taking forever and a day longer than planned. About 4 months ago I bought an unfinished side table and you guessed it - it only have one coat on it right now. Maybe Kevin's success story will help motivate me to finish it up.

Living Almost Large posted about Medical Costs in Retirement. I know that's a big concern for a lot of retirees. I guess I'll have to make sure my mortgage is paid off so I can afford medical care in retirement.

Congrats go out to Ginger from Girls Just Wanna Have Funds for being featured on Good Morning America. -- You go girl!

Also out side of the PF Bloggers World Banker Girl posted 6 Secrets for Fast-Tracking your climb up the corporate ladder. Very useful to me since I'm aiming to make it to the next rung this year.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Millionaire in the Making

I’m a huge fan of the Millionaire in the Making stories that CNN Money publishes. Ashley from Wide Open Wallet and I decided to swap financial data and write each other’s Millionaire in the Makings stories. You can view my story written by Ashley at her blog Wide Open Wallet, below is her story.

Millionaires in the Making:

Ashley and her Dear Husband (DH)

Ages: Ashley 31, DH 42
Occupations: SAHM and Telecommunications Installer
Salary: Approximately $91,000 combined
Home and Land Value: $110,000 estimated equity
Retirement: $17,200
Cash on Hand: Approx $20,000
Monthly Expenses: $4,000 - $5,000
Debt: $34,732 outside of mortgage

Ashley started her blog, Wide Open Wallet, because she wanted an outlet to share her financial views since according to Ashley her friends grew tired of listening to her talk about personal finance. So you know this couple has to have their head on straight when it comes to money.

The couple has two young children, a girl and a boy. Ashley’s DH works in telecommunication as a telephone system installer and she stays home with the children. Ashley plans to eventually return to work after their youngest goes back to school but that won’t be for a few more years. However, she had tried a few part time jobs such as elder care but it’s not really worked out for the time and energy involved.

Currently the household earns around $91,000 a year. This is great considering the household expenses are between $4,000 and $5,000 each month. They have minimum debt out side of their mortgage. Their total non-mortgage debt is $34,732, which is comprised mainly of car loans.

The couple bought their current home in 2004 for $184,000. The home is in a great location in Arizona and has appreciated in value since purchasing. Currently the house is appraised at over $250,000 despite the current housing crisis.

Unfortunately, the couple got a late start saving for retirement. Currently DH has $2,700 in an IRA and is contributing $100 a month. Ashley has a retirement plan that’s currently valued at $14,500 and is saving $50 a month towards her retirement.

The couple’s financial goals include providing for their children and one day retiring.

Future Millionaire’s Take

With their current savings and home value Mom and her DH are well on their way to becoming millionaires – it’s just a matter of when. Calculating a modest return of 7% they will become millionaires in 43 years.

But the even bigger question for this couple will be “Is a Million Dollars Enough for Retirement?” This is a big question for Mom and her DH that needs to be investigated. I recommend they review their current spending and determine which expenses they will still have in retirement and any future expenses, including medical, they might have. Then develop an approximate monthly budget for retirement and add at least a 10% safety net. This will give Ashley and her DH a goal amount and can adjust their savings accordingly. Then determine what monthly contribution is needed to reach this goal. One can determine this by using Bankrate’s calculator for saving goal.

While they are starting to work towards their retirement goal Ashley and her DH should tackle some other financial objectives. Priority number one should be building up their emergency fund to have between 8 – 12 months of living expenses. Even at their bare minimum expenses of $4,000 they only have 5 months and that includes liquidating all sources of cash on hand, not just their emergency fund. The other piece of securing their emergency fund is to make sure it’s earning some money, put it in a high yield Money Market or On-line savings account where they still have easy access but are gaining some interest at the same time.

Ashley and her DH should also look into starting to plan for their kid’s college. As young as their children are who knows if Daughter or Son will go to college but by starting to save for them now will save their children from the burden of working full time while in college or having to take out student loans. (I fully support kids being responsible for a portion of their education, it will make them value it more but if possible it’s nice if parents are able to help them out). The best way to start saving for their children’s college expenses is via a state 529 plan. This allows for tax exempt dollars to be saved and grow to be used towards college expenses much like a 401k except you’re not taxed on the money at the time of withdraw if its used for college expenses. If they are not sure if Daughter or Son will attend college they can still save because they can change the beneficiary to another qualifying family member at any time in order to keep the account going and avoid taking non-qualified withdrawals when the original beneficiary doesn't need those funds. And even if all else fails 529 Federal law only imposed a 10% penalty on the earnings from this plan.

Once their Emergency Fund contains between 8-12 months of living expenses and college savings has been started for their children Mom and her DH should look into accelerating their debt pay off and then establish a future car savings account so that any future car purchases can be paid in full and avoid paying interest. After that Ashley and her DH should just focus on enjoying a good financial future.

All in all Ashley and her DH are right on track to be Millionaires in the Making.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday Money's Funny -- Too Happy to be Rich

One of the regular features on my blog is "Monday's Money Funny" which are humorous (at least to me) articles/jokes/just about anything that I've discovered over the weekend when I catch up on all my on line reading that spark a need for knowledge. For example the previous Monday Money Funny was a not so Funny Money Funny about being unable to Afford the Mortgage.

This week's Monday Money Funny is from CNN Money. Its an article called What to be Rich? Don't get to Happy.

Below are highlights from the article, click here to read the article in full:

"Diener and his colleagues used data from the World Values Survey, which measures the happiness of respondents on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 the happiest). They found that income did indeed increase along with happiness but not at the very top. The 10s earned significantly less than the 8s and the 9s. The latter were also more likely to have gone to college, have engaged in the political process and have saved money."

For those of you too happy to get rich here's a few resources to help you still get rich. (PS Teach me to be that happy!)

Business Week's Advice for How to Get a Raise at Work Ieke's Top Ten Saving Money Tips

Stay tuned for next week's Monday's Money Funny. If you run across any Money Funnies please email them to me at and if I use them I will give you credit and link to your blog.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Weekend Round Up

I had a lovely weekend. We celebrated my mom's Birthday and I baked a storm. I spend all of Saturday in the kitchen but it was well worth it to see my mom so appreciative. So times in life the best presents are the ones that are of your time and energy.

Now for some highlights from this week in the PF Blogger World:

Our Four Pence Worth's Penelope Pince posted Simple Solutions to Staying out of Debt.
Kristy from Master Your Card posted about the Modern "Necessities" that Drain your Cash. (Althought I have to say I love my cable TV)
Girls Just Wanna have Fund's Ginger provide a great link for the Ultimate Graduation Resource List. Good luck to all of your recent Graduates!
Mom @ Wide Open Wallet posted about the Opportunity Cost of Having a Baby. Its very interesting read for any one especially a career woman.
No Debt Plan's Kevin post about Portion Control and your Finances. I'm always worried about portion control for food and finances as a Marathon Runner and as a Future Millionaire.
Living Almost Large posted Food Inflation. No wonder my grocery bill keeps going up.
And Seb from Pinching Copper with is humorously truthful posted posted the death of the SUV with rising gas prices.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Carnival of Personal Finance #155

The Carnival of Personal Finance #155 Hosted by Pinyo @ Moolanomy is up and running.

Check out my article which is post #4 under Money Management.

There's a ton of great articles (a total of 98), I know what I'll be doing this weekend in addition to celebrating my mom's B-day.

While you're reading all of the great articles - the ones I scanned so far seem to be very useful (especially the career ones in my case) don't forget to check out fellow PF Bloggers posts by Our Four Pence and Living Almost Large that were included in the Carnival.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Annual Review is coming up

My annual performance review is coming up and one of my financial goals for this year is to obtain a promotion.

I'm a little worried that my goal of a promotion might not happen this year, not because of a lack of performance on my part but because my role in the company has changed. The new role which is on a difference career ladder I've only been performing for about 6 weeks now, definitly not enough to prove myself in to obtain a promotion but I definitly deserved in my old role.

I feel like a promotion was coming if I had been able to stay in my old role or go back to preconstruction, especially since on Monday my old boss, who's doing my review, called to make sure I was going to fill out a skills assessment that he was going to email me. I said I'd never heard of it before and he said it was a tool that he liked to use to prove to the brass that someone was ready for a promotion.

I've filled that form out and have all of my other ducks in a row to prove I'm ready for a promotion so we'll see how it all goes - unfortunately I won't find out anything until late August.

So we'll see how it all turns out - wish me luck.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Monday's Money Funny --- Can't Afford Mortgage

One of the regular features on my blog is "Monday's Money Funny" which are humorous (at least to me) articles/jokes/just about anything that I've discovered over the weekend when I catch up on all my on line reading that spark a need for knowledge. For example the previous Monday Money Funny was a about the Cost of Pop Culture Icons in today's Dollars.

This week's Money Funny really is not funny, it really sad, but I wanted to use it as a Monday Money Funny because I wanted to share the advice I've found on coping with situations like this.

Last week, Kevin from No Debt Plan wrote a post called People Living in Cars in Santa Barbara that he read about from CNN. (You can check out the full article here.)

Highlights from the CNN article are below:
A former loan processor, the 67-year-old mother of three grown children said she never thought she'd spend her golden years sleeping in her car in a parking lot.

"This is my bed, my dogs," she said. "This is my life in this car right now."

Harvey was forced into homelessness this year after being laid off. She said that three-quarters of her income went to paying rent in Santa Barbara, where the median house in the scenic oceanfront city costs more than $1 million. She lost her condo two months ago and had little savings as backup.

"It went to hell in a handbasket," she said. "I didn't think this would happen to me. It's just something that I don't think that people think is going to happen to them, is what it amounts to. It happens very quickly, too."

Harvey now works part time for $8 an hour, and she draws Social Security to help make ends meet. But she still cannot afford an apartment, and so every night she pulls into a gated parking lot to sleep in her car, along with other women who find themselves in a similar predicament.

If you find your self in a situation where you can't afford your mortgage payments, my advice would be to get out as soon as you discover this problem because its not going to get better only worse. Since I'm not a trained professional that's only my gut instinct but I've found many reputable sources with similar suggestions as well as step by step methods.
New York States Guide to When You Can't Afford Your Mortgage
Non-Profit Neighborhood Works' Mortgage Solutions
HUD's Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure

I hope no one is facing this problem but I know with the current housing market problems and US economy this could be a very real problem for many.

Stay tuned for next week's Monday's Money Funny. If you run across any Money Funnies please email them to me at and if I use them I will give you credit and link to your blog.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Weekend Round Up

I was sick most of last week so I had plenty of time to read blogs. Here's some of the highlights from this last week in the PF Blogger world.

Living Almost Large posted about Money Personalities. I checked out the quiz and discovered I'm 38% Saver, 25% Empire Builder, and 13% Guardian.

Jonathan from Master Your Card posted 7 Ways to Curb Overspending. I think I do/will try all of them except I probably won't be freezing my credit cards any time.

Our For Pence Worth's Penelope posted a Vacation Checklist. Which is perfect for me since I'll be leaving for my cruise on July 11th.

Seb at Pinching Copper wrote a very interesting post about Pennies, especially since his blog name is about saving pennies.

Wide Open Wallet's
Mom pulled out her budget from last year to check her personal inflation. I love the idea, now I need to go dig around and bull my budget from last year to compare.

Don't forget to check out all of the PF Blogger's blogs and posts by visiting the left tool bar for the links. Hope everyone has a great week.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Net Worth Update -- June 2008

Updated 5/31/08 Change from Previous Update Updated 4/29/08
Total Net Worth $104,853.72 $4,777.40 $100,076.32

Net Worth Comprised of

Retirement Savings: $29,559.78 $1,728.25 $27,831.53
401k $23,571.07 $1,347.39 $22,223.68
Roth IRA $5,988.71 $380.86 $5,607.85

House Down Payment/CD's: $57,244.83 $163.70 $57,081.13

Future Car Savings $5,300.72 $5,100.45 $200.27

Emergency Fund/Money Market: $11,207.28 -$3,738.37 $14,945.65

"Cash"/Checking: $1,541.11 $1,523.37 $17.74

I'm less than $150 away from my goal net worth for 2008 and the year is only half way over. YAY! This means I need to reevaluate my net worth goal. I have increased my net worth goal to $127,000. I came up with this number based upon my current net worth plus what I anticipate contributing to retirement via my 401k and Roth IRA ($10,250), plus what I anticipate receiving as a bonus after taxes from the project I just completed ($10,000), plus my monthly car savings for the next 6 months ($900), and then I added saving an extra $100/month and rounded up.

I think this new goal is definitely achievable but I will have to push myself to achieve it because it extends beyond my automatic savings.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Cost of Getting Sick

I have a viral infection...oh the joy. At first I thought it might just be a cold but then Wednesday I woke up with a fever and knew I couldn't go to work and I needed to go visit the doctor. I've since spend the last few days laying in bed trying to get better.

Fortunately my fever finally broke today and I'm starting to feel much better, I started thinking about the finances involved in being sick.

Doctors Visit Co-Pay: $20
Soar Throat Drops: $3.00
Nose Spray: $3.50
Sudafed PE: $6.00
Box of Kleenex: $1.50
Prescription Co-Pay: $40
Special Sick/Comfort Food: $15
"Vacation Days" from Work: Loss of real vacation since vacation day had to be used for sick days

All in all the damage from being sick is $89 -- its a good thing this is the first time I've been sick in about 4 years. Fortunately I also have a flexible spending account that allows me to get reimbursed for most of these expenses with pre-tax dollars.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

What to do with $5,000?

I've struggling with a rather good personal finance dilemma since updating my net worth last month.

From the left side bar you can see that my Money Market for my Emergency Fund is nearing $15,000. I've made a rule of keeping at least $10,000 in my emergency fund which equates to a little over 5 months worth of expenses at my current spending. However, if a real emergency occurred I most likely would cut back on spending including eating out, entertainment, and savings which would extend my emergency fund to over 9 months worth of expenses. All in all I feel very comfortable with having an emergency fund of $10,000 even given my current work situation.

I have my pay checks and expense reimbursements direct deposited into my Money Market and then only transfer the funds I need into my checking to pay bills, this allows all of my savings to gather in my Money Market, plus earn a little extra interest. In the past when I reached $15,000 I would then take $5,000 and transfer it into a higher interest earning CD ear marked for my future house down payment.

I continued this method even after reaching my House Down Payment goal. I now have over $57,000 for a down payment which is over the 20% needed for any house I would choose -- the price range of houses I'd feel comfortable buying would be around (most likely less than) $250,000. So there's not a real need to put the $5,000 from my money market towards my house down payment funds.

So what do I do with this $5,000? (See I told you it was a good dilemma to have).

My options they way I look at it are:
- Earmark it for additional money towards a house
- Add it to my car savings pot so that I'm closer to achieving that goal
- Set it aside and forget about it until I really need/want to use it for something
- Invest this money in the stock market, since I don't really need it for anything it won't actually hurt me if its all lost
- Blow it --- but I can't think of anything that would really be worth $5,000, plus the saver in me really struggles to part with even a penny

I've basically ruled out blowing it, and I'm am just too overwhelmed by the stock market right now so I've ruled that out. That pretty much leaves my options as house, car, or hold on to it. Since I couldn't make up my mind I've opted to combine the three. I'm going to officially earmark the $5,000 towards my future car and add it to my emigrant direct savings account. I have decided to add $5,000 to my car savings, primarily so that my monthly contribution does not have to increase and now I have a reasonable chance of achieving $20,000 in the next 6 years when I would start thinking about purchasing a new car. And since all of this money is in a saving account its easily movable so I can always change my mind at a later date since most likely I'll be buying a house before I buy a new car plus I can always transfer the $5,000 to something else if I finally decide a reason to hang on to it.

I've also decided to increase my monthly car savings contribution to $150 in an effort to achieve the $20,000 with in 6 years. I have another financial dilemma, what should my next savings goal/plan be since I think I'm on track with everything else. I know I probably should start investing outside of my retirement accounts but to be honest it just plain scares me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Staying on Financial Track --- Check your Credit Report

I wrote last week about how to stay on Financial Track no matter how busy you were

Scott, a regular reader, send me a link to a USA Today Article about how to Use the Web to Help Keep your Finances in Order and I wanted to share it with you. It has some great advice, including checking your Credit Report. It served as a good reminder to me since I have not checked my credit report in a little over a year. I quickly did so and you all will be happy to know that there's nothing on there that's in correct (very exciting).

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

(Start of Work Week) Money Funny - Cost of Pop Culture Icons Today

One of the regular features on my blog is "Monday's Money Funny" which are humorous (at least to me) articles/jokes/just about anything that I've discovered over the weekend when I catch up on all my on line reading that spark a need for knowledge. For example the previous Monday Money Funny was a about the City of Atlanta spending $300k on toilets when they are in a $141 Million Deficit.

This week I thought I'd share an article from CNNMoney about what Pop Culture Icons would cost in today's dollars.

Below is a highlight from one of the icons they reviewed, click here to view the entire article and all 10 icons.

The Brady Bunch - 1969 to 1974
  • Est. home value in the '70s: $87,700
  • 2008 est. value: $509,700
  • Actual 2008 value of "real"
    Brady house:
    $1.5 million
  • Raising six kids has never been easy, and architects don't make as much money as television's Mike Brady would lead us to believe. Wow, there's a surprise.

    The Bradys lived in a large, four-bedroom house with a live-in housekeeper in suburban Los Angeles. In the earliest figures available from the National Association of Realtors, the average cost of a single-family home in the area was $87,700 in 1979.

    Today, the average house in the same area goes for $509,700, and a house that can fit nine (not counting Oliver) would probably cost a lot more. Real estate Web site, currently values the "real" Brady House at about $1.5 million.

    An architect's annual pay averages $64,150, according to the latest estimates from the BLS. That would mean Mike made an inflation-adjusted $15,687 a year during the show's final season in 1974 when Greg was getting ready to go college.

    As with all Money Funnies this promoted me to research. Unfortunately there's not a lot you can do to combat inflation, however you can learn more about what is inflation so I thought I'd share an entry explaining inflation.

    Stay tuned for next week's Monday's Money Funny. If you run across any Money Funnies please email them to me at and if I use them I will give you credit and link to your blog.

    Monday, May 26, 2008

    Weekend Round Up

    I hope everyone's had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. Its time for the Weekend Round Up highlighting some of the great posts shared over the last week by my fellow PFBloggers.

    Kristy over at Master Your Card continues the Emergency Fund Debate. Personally, I don't see how one can not have a emergency fund, life happens and you've got to have a pool of money some place that you can draw from. What are your thoughts on Emergency Funds, please share over at Kristy's post.

    Living Almost Large posted about the Rising Luggage Costs. I guess I've been living in a cave and haven't seen the news lately and haven't traveled in the last month to be aware of this new trend. Luckily when I fly for business I rarely check bags but I usually fly once or twice a year for personal travel and always check bags, I guess I'll be having to figure out a new plan of action this year.

    Get Rich or Die Trying's JB recently got married (Congrats go out to him) and is on his way to Vega. He posted about why he choose to spend money on a Honeymoon rather than paying off his debt. I think he did the right thing, you can't go on an all out money diet or you will fall off the band wagon, I think JB is making the smart money moneys, even though he's going on vacation he was still budget conscious. What do you think?

    Seb at Pinching Copper pondered whether Credit Cards will be the next Financial Crises. I'm sad to say I think they will. I think its a spiral effect, first the house then the car and then credit cards. I think we headed down a couple of years of bad times. But I'm hopeful none the less.

    Wide Open Wallet's Mom recently posted about Credit Protection and why its not needed. Everyone watch out, there's all types of gimmicks like this around. I told you all a while back about booking my cruise for this summer, well one of the add ons included unless you specifically requested it be removed was medical protection insurance, basically for an extra $30/person you are guaranteed that your money from the cruise will be refunded if you have a medical reason documented by a doctor for being unable to attend. But what they don't tell you is that up to 7 days before the cruise you can receive 60% of the costs back no matter the reason and IMHO if you really can't afford to loose the costs of the cruise then you shouldn't be going anyway.

    Kevin at No Debt Plan shares why you should only buy appreciating assets on credit. Also check out his post on Credit Cards and Depreciating Assets don't mix. We're in full agreement. I plan to never buy any depreciating asset on credit including cars.

    Despite agreeing that credit cards and depreciating assets don't mix, I am still a fan of the credit card much like Penelope at Our Four Pence Worth who posted about why Credit Cards Really Aren't so Bad.

    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    Too Lazy to Pay Mortagage -- How to Stay on Financial Track No Matter how Busy or Lazy You Are

    I recently found out some very "interesting" information about an acquaintance that shocked me. The other day Be-Mine and I were out with his best friend and his best friend's wife. The four of us are very together people especially financially. One of the topics of conversation was about a couple who they are friends with struggling to put their old house on the market. A few conversations later we started talking about how prevalent its become for people to just walk away from their mortgages and allowing their homes to go into foreclosure. I remarked about how I just couldn't ever imagine doing that and "wife" brought up the fact that the wife of the couple we were just talking about just walked away from her house a year ago after she got married because she just never listed it for sale with a real estate agent. It was joked that she was more lazy than our two men combined.

    This blew me way, how can someone be so lazy that they allow a house to go into foreclosure, especially this individual who I've always know to have a ton of energy and be very dedicated. I'm not certain this is the full story since I am aware that this couple has had some financial troubles in the past and declared bankruptcy, but none the less, I thought I'd explore this idea of being too lazy or just too busy to take care of financial business. I know we are all busy people and some times get stretched way too thin (I'm feeling that pain right now) so I thought I'd recommend some ways to ensure that your financial matters get taken care of no matter how busy you are or how lazy you are.

    1. Automatic Bill Pay for recurring payments (Rent/Mortgage, Car Payment, Insurance etc) --- Use it for all of those bills that you know are the same amount each month and you don't need to check before they are paid.
    2. Use online banking --- Use online banking to quickly check your accounts on a regular basis so that you do not have to waste time at the end of each month reconciling accounts to ensure that the checks that cleared were correct.
    3. Utilize online bill pay --- Don't waste time organizing bills to be mailed on certain dates, writing checks, and stuffing envelopes. I love online bill pay, I receive a bill in the mail and that very day I open it, review it and then schedule payment. I probably spend all of 5 minutes max performing this task.
    4. Make Savings Automatic via banking transfers --- Save time and ensure commitment towards saving by having a pre-determined amount of money transfered from your checking to saving monthly/weekly/regularly
    5. Make Retirement Savings automatic via payroll deductions --- Sign up for your 401k/403b etc at work and all the paperwork is complete for you. In addition to this you can sign up for payroll deductions to your Roth IRA or other retirement accounts. It only takes a few minutes to sign up with your HR department and then you never have to think of it again for a full year
    6. The Number One Way to Ensure you're on financial track despite busy times is to MAKE GOALS AND REVIEW THEM OFTEN --- Every year I set goals for myself - financially, professionally, and personally. I write these down because goals only move from dreams to goals when written, I then create an action plan for each goal and post both my goals and action items in a nifty colorful pyramid and post these in appropriate places. For example my professional goals are posted on my desk drawer, my personal goals which include my running goals are posted on the refrigerator, and my financial goals are posted next to my computer. Goals help you keep your eye on the prize no matter how busy or lazy your are, plus by creating action steps you not only have a starting point towards achieving your goal but also baby steps that can be accomplished even in busy times.

    I hope these tips help you stay focused during busy times. I'd love to hear your tips for keeping on financial track when you're busy or if you're just plain lazy?

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    Weekend Round Up

    Hey all. With my new no guilt for not posting concept. I didn't have enough time (and still get 6 hours of sleep) to finish catching up on my fellow BFBloggers posts from the past week. I plan to do in the coming week and include those highlights with next week's Weekend Round Up.

    But in the mean time I thought I'd remind you all to check out their blogs for some good ideas/tips and stories.

    Sunday, May 18, 2008

    Changing Post Schedule

    I just got back from am amazing get away. Mr. Be-Mine and I went Hiking and celebrated his Birthday.

    It was wonderful to get away from the real world, away from my job problems, away from tvs, computes, phones etc and just chill. I can't remember the last time I was able to truly enjoy a sunrise. Normally sunrises occur when I'm standing in the building trying to get pre-task plans complete with the work crews so we can start our day and normally the sunrise goes completely unnoticed other than to note that the site lighting at the job site can be turned off.

    While I was up in the Mountains, I realized that lately I've been stretching myself way too thin lately. The primary reason is because of the demands and expectations of my new project. In the construction industry, I've always anticipated/expected to work 10 hours a day, 12 hours at busier times or when we've behind schedule but since joining this new project I've been regularly working 14+ hours a day on top of running every morning, posting here, volunteering at the food bank (although not as much as I'd like to lately), and trying to do the day to day activities of life all while trying to get sufficent sleep to accomplish all of this activities. To be honest its just not working and some things are slipping through the cracks, so I realized things have to give.

    One of them is posting 6 days a week on this blog. Unfortunately I've not even been able to even keep up with this, and each day I go with out a post I feel incredibly guilty so to avoid the guilt I'm just going to make the decision that I'm only going to post 3-4 times a week.

    By reducing the number of times I plan to post it will do two things. 1 - It will remove my guilt for when I don't post. 2 - It will allow me more time to complete posts and really put together quality posts that I was able to do when I was working on the project in Valdosta.

    I hope you all will still check in regularly to follow Saving Savy by a Future Millionaire as I really appreciate all of your feed back and will need it even more now I as go with this new challenge in life.

    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    Its Offical - I'm looking for a New Job

    I knew this day was coming, every thing had been building up but the explosion happened yesterday. Yesterday, I have officially decided to seek a new job (in Atlanta). Wow -- even typing it for the blog makes it seem more final and more scary.

    It's been a really hard decision for a number of reasons but I've weighed all of the pros and cons and have really thought out all of my options and I think this is the course I need to take. So as of yesterday, I'm officially one the job search. I'm going to take things slow thought, primarily because I have a large bonus coming from the project I just completed and it won't be distributed until September 19th. My second reason for taking things slow is that I'm the eternal optimist and I can't help but hope/wish/dream that things will change and I can stay with my current company.

    Since deciding that I need to seek a new job I've been trying to think out my action plan so here's what I've got so far:
    -By Next Weekend update my resume
    - Tuesday, May 20th have dinner with my old mentor to seek guidance
    - Start contacting people I know that work for other GC's to feel out their job market
    - Talk to my old boss about being a reference and if he has any suggestions of places to look
    - Contact people through professional organizations that I'm involved with.

    Any other good ideas?

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    Stimulus Check is HERE --- I think...

    Yay! I had almost given up hope on when I'd recieve my stimulas check but I think it will officially hit my account tomorrow.

    I logged online to my bank just now in order to schedule payment for my power bill and noticed that my account balance was exactly $600 more than my available balance. When this happens it usually means that there is a direct deposit pending. So yay - I think my rebate check is coming.

    For those of you who've not yet received your check you can check on the IRS website for the status of your check, just make sure to enter your exact refund amount and all of your other pertanant details to find out where your check is. The one catch is that the status check only works if your check has already been released per the IRS Schedule.

    I hope you all enjoy your stimulus check as much as I am enjoying mine aka my new LCD TV.

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    Advice for 18 Year Old Future Millionaire

    Two of my fellow PFBloggers, Kevin from No Debt Plan and Kristy from Master Your Card recently shared advice they would have given themselves when they were 18. It got me to thinking and reflecting on how my life has shaped up in the years since I was 18 and I decided to join them by posting the advice I would give myself when I turned 18.

    I have a few words of wisdom to share to myself at 18 but nothing major. I think every experience I've had from 18 to now has shaped me to become the person I am today and I very content and happy with who I am in general and also financially so I wouldn't want any radical changes.

    1. Watch out for that Curb!!! -- My first semester of college I was carrying my freshly laundered clothes back to my dorm from the laundry mat and misstepped on a curb and dislocated my shoulder. Three surgeries and almost a year of physical therapy I was finally back to normal, if I had it to do all over again I'd never pile up so many clothes I couldn't see where I was going.

    2. Study Abroad, the Money will work out. -- The summer between my 1st and 2nd year I had the opportunity to Study Abroad in France (to date I've never been out of the country) and after much debate and number crunching I decided against studying abroad because I was concerned that I would not have enough funds to cover that semester with out working and be able to pay tuition the following semester.

    3. Stay in touch with your High School Friends. -- This is not a financial advice but good advice none the less. College is a new exciting experience and unfortunately I got distracted with new experiences in college and as the years went by I lost touch with several of my friends from high school. To date I only stay in close contact with one of my high school friends.

    4. Negotiate Harder for your salary. -- In my opinion I am well compensated for my job, however I can't help but think about some of the potential I might have given up by not pushing a little harder instead of accepting the first counter offer.

    5. Have Fun, Enjoy College, it ends sooner than you think (even thought its well over 4 years). -- I don't really have any regrets, but I do miss the good ole days. :)

    What about you? Any good advice for yourself at 18?

    Monday, May 12, 2008

    Monday's Money Funny - Budgeting

    One of the regular features on my blog is "Monday's Money Funny" which are humorous (at least to me) articles/jokes/just about anything that I've discovered over the weekend when I catch up on all my on line reading that spark a need for knowledge. For example the previous Monday Money Funny was a about Americans seeking second jobs.

    This week I thought I'd continue the theme of the economy's recession. Heck all of the media are sensationalizing the recession by running daily series like "Surviving" and "Your Daily Cents," so this week's Monday Money Funny is about budgeting.

    Lately the City of Atlanta has been having some budgeting issues, that's putting it mildly there's a $141 Million budget deficits that the city was unaware of until recently. In fact they thought there was a surplus and has already spent what they thought was the surplus. To get the budget back in line the city is laying off 441 workers. If you're curious about the back story check out this AJC article.

    This week's Monday Money Funny is a video from CNN show casing how the City of Atlanta is spending $300k on toilets despite being in a $141 Million deficit. Talk about mismanagement of funds.

    Since obviously the City of Atlanta needs some help figuring out how to budget I thought I'd provide some links for their use (not that the Mayors reads my blog but you never know) and also for those of you who'd like more information about budgeting.

    Check out:'s article explaining How to Set Up a Successful Budget
    eHow's article explaining How to Budget Wisely
    and Jonathan's at Master Your Card post explaining the Basics of Budgeting Money

    Stay tuned for next week's Monday's Money Funny. If you run across any Money Funnies please email them to me at and if I use them I will give you credit and link to your blog.

    Sunday, May 11, 2008

    Weekend Round Up!

    Happy Mothers Day to all the Mothers out there. This weekend I've caught up on my blog reading from posts this week so I thought I'd share some of the highlights from the PFBloggers world.

    Living Almost Large shares a story of how one of her husband's fellow grad students wants to just Add it To Her Tab, and doesn't get the big picture about how much debt she's going to be in.

    Penelope @ Our Four Pence Worth reminded us all that the cost of mailing via the USPS is increasing on Monday. Unfortunately I still have stamps from when it only cost 39 cents to mail a letter, looks like when I mail letters I'm going to have a total of 4 stamps (one 39 cent and 3 one cent stamps) on each letter.

    Get Rich or Die Trying's JB reminds us all of why to save.

    Seb @ Pinching Copper draws paralells between Grand Theft Auto IV and personal finance.

    Wide Open Wallet's Mom share's her father's own Millionaire Next Door Story. I love stories like this - it reminds me to keep on my saving path so I can become a Future Millionaire.

    Continuing with the Millionaire Theme, Kevin from No Debt Plan shares 10 steps to Avoid Becoming a Millionaire in response to Kristy from Master Your Card shared 10 steps to becoming a Millionaire.

    Friday, May 9, 2008

    The Little Things Make a Big Difference

    I can honestly say this has be one of the worst work weeks I've had in a long time. The sad thing is that I don't clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel, all I see is a small light at the end which is really just a train barely towards me...

    Despite the rotten week I did have one bright moment and that way this evening.

    A month or so ago when I was at target I received a store coupon attached to my receipt for $2.00 off any two Garnier Fructis Hair Care Products. It just so happens that I typically use Garnier's sleek and shine shampoo and conditioner so I stuck it inside my wallet to save for when I needed to buy the next time I ran out of shampoo and conditioner.

    Today on my way home from work I stopped at Target to pick up some toilet paper because Fashinoista and I were our last roll - never a good place to be. While picking up some t.p. I noticed that one of the end caps was displaying Garnier Shampoo and Conditioner on sale for $1.99 (its normally around $3 a bottle). When I see the sale I get all excited, I'm going to get to use my coupon for $2.00 off any two products and essentially get one of my bottles for free - Yay! When I stopped at the end cap to select my type of shampoo and conditioner I discovered that some of the shampoos had instant $1.00 off coupons. Its even more my lucky day for hair care - I take off two of the coupons for instant $1.00 off and grab my shampoo and conditioner and head to the check out line - I'm not quick sure if they'll accept 3 different coupons for my two bottles but it worked!!!! I bought $3.98 worth of products and had 2 each $1.00 coupons and one $2.00 coupon so I actually made money by buying shampoo and conditioner. (Hey two cents is two cents -- plus I now have a stock pile of shampoo and conditioner for when I run out of my current bottles).

    I was so happy with myself for the deal I got in fact it was probably the highlight of my week, see coupons pay off.

    This time when I checked out attached to my receipt was a $1.00 off any sized Colgate toothpaste. It doesn't expire until June 2 so I'm already mentally trying to figure out where to find additional coupons so that I can get my toothpaste for free too. :)

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