Friday, May 2, 2008

Memberships have their perks

I'm going to share a few quick thoughts since I just got home from work and need to rush and change and get ready for the Opera! Yay!

My one thought for the day is that Memberships have their perks and often times more than pay for themselves.

I have 1/2 of a dual Young Patron Membership to the High Museum of Arts in Atlanta, primarily to take advantage of their foreign film festivals and Friday Night Jazz once a month. Its a great deal, essentially just visiting the museum 5 times more than pays for the membership not to mention the film festivals. But on top of that there's other great perks like discounts at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and for the Atlanta Opera. Tonight I'm able to attend the Atlanta Opera's Marriage of Figaro performance and sit in the Orchestra level seat which normally cost $123 for only $25 a seat. Talk about the membership paying for it self in just one event.

I know not everyone lives in Atlanta or is interested in these types of activities but there are a ton of other similar programs in other cities for various activities - I recommend checking them out if you can.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Quality and Personal Finance

Almost three weeks ago I started a new role with my company, I'm responsible for the Quality Control and Assurance for the construction of a 5 star hotel and condo. I spend most of my day in the field performing inspections and overseeing the work being installed. Anyway this got me to thinking about how much money is being wasted on the project by subcontractors for taking a few extra minutes to install work correctly the first time. I don't think it for lack of caring that they don't take the few extra minutes because most everyone takes pride in their work, but we are almost 5 months over schedule and every hour, heck every second, on the job is precious especially since in the coming months we'll be going to three shifts and working 24 hours a day.

By not taking the extra few minutes upfront to make sure that the work is by the most recently issued blue print and is aligned etc everyone is having to go back and repair work that's already been installed and often times the repair takes longer than the initial install since most of the time the task must be started over from scratch after removing the first attempt. Plus the added time and cost of the subcontractor's management having to look at the problem I notify them of and then filter it back down to the workers.

Taking the extra time to make sure its right the first time applies to personal finance as well. If we took a few extra minutes to first determine what we really need/want so that we can ensure we're not overbuying or under buying either would led to more expenses. (Under buying because you'd have to re-buy to get what you really need.) After determining what is really needed or wanted we should all take a little extra time to research specifications, reliability, etc before larger purchases. Last put not least if we take a few extra minutes to comparison shop, even as little as calculating unit prices in the grocery store we can all save a few extra pennies.

I try and do all of those to save money. After watching all the money being wasted on the project for not doing everything right the first time I'm further motivated to make sure I don't waste money by not taking the time upfront.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Benifits of Renting vs. Owning

Recently I've been thinking about why I'm glad I am currently a renter and not a home owner.

My main reason is money. I'm not going to go through the analysis to try and prove that one can rent the same house for less money than owning the house or anything else along those lines - mainly because I don't think its always true instead I'm going to look at why renting is better for me at this point in my life.

1. Location of renting is better --- I currently live in a fantastic location (and am loving it!). Regardless of the quality of the home from a "handyman special" to a "McMansion" there is not a house or condo with in a 10 block area of my current location that I could buy with a mortgage and HOA's that would be even close to my current rent.
2. By renting I'm more willing to settle for less space, amenities, and upgrades --- Because I'm only committed to living in my apartment for a short period of time I know that I can always upgrade if needed or wanted so I'm much more willing to rent something that works for right now rather than hunting for room to grow. I'm also okay with lesser quality than I'd want in a home.
3. Renting allows for easier roommates situations --- By renting both my roommate and I are held to the same contract with our apartment complex so if either of us were to break the lease the apartment complex gets to be the bad guy. If I were a home owner I'd want to make sure I could afford the mortgage on my own with out needing to rely on a roommate but even if I had a roommate I'd have to forced into the position of landlord.
4. No maintenance costs --- No maintenance costs is what got me thinking about why I'm glad to be a renter. Sunday afternoon our A/C stopped working, I checked it out and it wasn't any of the obvious fixes so Fashionista and I called our apartment's maintenance answering service, about twenty minutes later they called us back and tried to walk us through the basics for repairing (which I'd already done) since none of that worked and A/C problems are considered emergencies by our apartment complex a maintenance repairman arrived about an hour after we called and discovered it was the compressor. It then took him a little over 6 hours for the new compressor to be installed and the pipes welded in place. As Steve, the repair guy, was working on this I couldn't help be think of the expense, compressors usually cost between $1,500 and $3,000 not to mention the overtime/off hours time that having a repairman at your home on a Sunday probably costs. After this repair it made me extra happy to be a renter and the bill be sent to my complex and not to me.

At least for right now I'm very happy that I'm currently renting. I know in the future I will become a home owner and will hopefully be just as happy.

Are you a renter or a home owner? What's benefits do you have?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Monthly Net Worth Update -- May 2008

As discussed a few times on this blog, I’m a very conservative person so I tend to under estimate. In my last net worth update I predicted that I would reach the $100,000 net worth mark in seems that I'm not a very good predictor (which is a good thing). I actually reached the $100,000 mark about a month and a half earlier since this month my net worth is now officially over $100,000! Yeah!

Updated 4/29/08

Change from Previous Update

Updated 4/3/08

Total Net Worth




Net Worth Comprised of

Retirement Savings:








Roth IRA




House Down Payment/CD's:




Future Car Savings




Emergency Fund/Money Market:








Analyzing the table I thought I’d take a moment to explain a few irregularities.

My future car savings does not reflect any increase this month because my transfer into my emigrant direct savings earmarked for my future car is on the 1st of each month so last month I updated my net worth on 4/3/08 so it was after the transfer and this month I’ve updated my net worth prior the 1st of the month and the transfer.

My “cash”/checking looks very light because I have my bi-weekly paycheck deposited into my money market fund to take advantage of high interest rates and then once a month transfer my expenses from that account into my “cash”/checking account.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday's Money Funny - Tax Rebates

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 the Asian Market Down turn.

Excitingly Bush announced this past week that the Tax Rebates would start being distributed a week earlier than expected so I thought it approapirate for this week's Monday Money Funny be about a "what if" scenario about Americans spending every penny of their tax rebate.

Here's the highlights from the article, check out MSN Money for the full article:

But what if every penny of that $100 billion were spent this summer, jolting the economy exactly as lawmakers intend?

Wide-screen televisions would fly off the shelves. Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Walt Disney would think it was Christmas all over again. Tens of thousands of teenagers would get summer jobs. And for a few months, U.S. economic growth would surge to twice the rate expected. And then fall, possibly on its face.

As with all Monday's Money Funnies this article promoted me to research. Personally, I'm going to be bad and "help" the economy and use my tax rebate to fund my new LCD TV but for those of you who are going to be good I thought I'd share below some articles I found about how to put your tax rebate to good use.

MSN Money's The Best Ways to Spend a Tax Rebate's Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Rebate

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, April 27, 2008

Weekend Round-Up

Sunday has rolled around and tomorrow the work week starts back up again, I don't know where the weekend has gone.

Starting the new project has been crazy lately, I've been working all kinds of hours and sadly I don't see it lessening any time soon so I've been having to catch up on all my blog reading on the weekends since I barely have enough time to eat dinner and go to sleep before I have to start the work cycle all over again the next day.

Anway....Below are a few articles that caught my eye this weekend as I caught up:

Living Almost Large writes about having financial priorities and it is okay to splurge some times. I'm in full agreement wit LAL - I often write about financial "savy-ness" is all about smart money choice.

Mom at Wide Open Wallet shared about her friend was contemplating a second job instead of reducing luxury spending in her post I deserve it.

Penelope Pince from Our Fourpence Worth also discussed luxuries versus necessities and has a great break down on how to decide the difference. So often I hear people say they have to have xyz when in reality its a luxury.

All in all my thoughts are if you don't have the money stick to the necessities, if you have your necessities covered, are not in debt (other than a mortgage), have a healthy emergency fund, and are contributing to your retirement than you should be able to make wise money choices and fund some luxuries but keep in mind unless you have an endless money supply you can't have every luxury and so you have to pick and choose to stay within your budget.

No Debt Plan's Kevin answered a reader question regarding opening a Roth IRA and minimum investments. For anyone who hasn't already started a Roth IRA I highly recommend it - check out Kevin's Million Dollar Retirement plan using only a Roth IRA.

Kristy at Master Your Card posted about the additional costs associated with paying your federal taxes by credit card. Can't say I ever thought about paying them with credit card but now that I know the costs involved I most definitly will not be paying via credit card, I'll continue to whip out the good ole check book.

The Social Margin's Cinder helped remind me that you need to Treat Your Job like an Investment. I'm wondering with all of the blog posts and articles about leaving bad jobs are not a sign, but then again my job only got bad recently when I was transfered to the "problem project", but all food for thought. Thanks Cinder for posting about this.

I also enjoyed Seb's post at Pinching Copper about Is the Price of gas really that bad? The secretary at my old project would always complain about the rising cost of gas and how its almost so bad people can't afford to pay the gas to go to work anymore and according to her people are actually paying more gas each day than they make. I can't tell you how many times I tried to explain to her using all kinds of examples of how people make more than pay for gas to drive every day. Oh well some people like to focus in on one thing.

Well that's it for this Sunday. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

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