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Transfers and thinkings

March 11th, 2012 at 11:07 am

My monthly transfers to savings went through. It really has been helping me to have them all go at once, and knowing what paycheck is used to pay what. I refer to my chart a lot.

This month I did what I did last month, which was to transfer a few of the deposits to k's credit card. I took it out of my savings, house savings, car savings, bill savings (to get a head of mortgage when k wasn't working) and taxes. I know I need to save for these things, but I think paying the credit card is better at this point. Together its another $1000 or so to the card. I am not touching my emergency savings (now at $18,000!, the cat savings (for vets) now at $4500, or any of my trip funds (saving for England and Italy and friends come visit). k's credit card balance should drop to $11,500. And he has been ok with not charging too much.

I have been seriously thinking about the refinance. I've run a few numbers, and even signed up with lending tree. Just checked the email, they are "confident that we can find a loan option that fits your financing needs." My current mortgage is $317,000 at 5.375 (8 years in). I also have a home equity loan at $131,500, variable but currently at 2.99%. (this was run up by a lot of things that were beyond my control and really bothers me, perhaps some day i'll figure out how to blog about it nicely. but for now, lets just call it debt and accept it.)

Total is about $450,000. I think I should combine them (I think I might even have to.). The house is valued by Zillow over $600,000 so we have at least 20% down. I know I have 'excellent' credit (750 I think, was checked within a few months) and I assume k does also. I'm sure we make enough with income we can document to satisfy the mortgage, our combined take home is about $8000, and that's after retirement withdrawals.
I currently pay about $2000 for my mortgage payment (not counting taxes) and $340 for the loan which is just covering interest. I was going to start working on it after k's credit card. But its such a huge debt I think it would be better handled with the mortgage. Interest rates are going up.
So I have been running numbers. And I signed up with lending tree to see what they could do. (Anyone have experience with them?).
I got an offer for 3.75% for 30 year fixed. That would give me a payment of $1922. If the rate is 4%, its $2148. These numbers aren't that different to me, and both are in the range of my current mortgage payment (without the home equity loan). So I could combine my loans and pay about what I am paying now. If I took the monies I am currently paying the loan ($340/month) and my emergency savings ($1400/month) I have almost a mortgage payment, so if I add that to the mortgage as additional each month (and a bit more) I can pay off the entire thing in about 10 years.
So it looks like the thing to do is combine the loan and look for a fixed rate 30%, and even 4% is ok.
HomePlus Mortgage offered 3.75% and no points. Anyone know anything about this?
My current loan is with GMAC through USAA. I tried running the numbers through both their online refinance calculators but got loans that required $45,000 or so down. I am planning on calling them on Monday to see what they can offer me, telling them about the 3.75% fixed with no points for the full amount I've already been offered. Then I will call HomePlus and see what they can really offer :}
What I want is - the entire amount refinanced. No points. Low closing costs. I'll accept a higher APR for these.
I would like to refinance with the bank I already have. But I need to think about how to evaluate/choose another bank. How much does it matter who I pay a check to?
Should I be doing anything to prepare for the refinance? Should I pay off the credit card? Does $11,000 in debt mean anything when you're borrowing half a million? I have quite a few credit cards with no balances. I don't know what my total line of credit is (but, now that I think of it, that's probably something I should be figuring out and blogging about since its 'financial'). I do recall that I had to close a few cards when I first bought the house, but that was when credit was still crazy and they kept increasing my limits every year (and I was getting bombarded with credit card checks). I do recall my credit card limit then was some ridiculous amount like $150,000. My mortgage person joked that I could almost have bought the house on my cards. I am sure my limit isn't that high, but I can think of several cards that have a $20,000 or more limit, so perhaps I should figure that out and close/limit some accounts. TODO - organize credit cards & figure out limits and close accounts if not needed. Or max them all out and run off to an island. Should always keep that option open.

Investing - IRA

January 30th, 2012 at 09:59 pm

I decided what to invest the $31,000 I had in cash in my traditional IRA. Some of the money was not invested when I rolled money over, some is from 99 cent only store sales.

So I am set up to buy (tomorrow hopefully, I have market limits set that should get triggered).:
Starbucks (SBUX), Intercontinental (IHG), Southwest (LUV), and Seniors Living (SRZ). The first 3 are companies I use frequently and think they will be in business for a while. The last was a calculated gamble. Well, its all a calculated gamble. More than just numbers.

I currently have $31,000 already invested in this account, stocks I bought in July when I rolled. $4000 of that is earnings, the stocks I chose are doing ok. I'm quite liking Coach - COH.

This is an interesting retirement account, I don't think I will be able to add money to it. So it starts here and goes for 14-24 years. I'll switch to more conservative investments in the future :} Or not. Perhaps I'll be conservative with other accounts.

I have a few other brokerage accounts that need stock. TO DO.

ING and Disneyland

January 19th, 2012 at 07:41 pm

Finally got into my ING account. I have several savings accounts adding to about $3000. And a stock account (with cash) of $4600. Need to invest/move at some point.

Had fun the last few days, but most of my financial things were about spending.

Disneyland was $240 (tickets) + $54 (mouse ears) + $60 Lunch + $7 (snacks) + $15 (parking)= $376. For 3. My niece said it was her best birthday ever so that's priceless.

I don't have an estimate on how much I spent for the time the girls were here, I tried to pay for everything. We ate out a few times, and went shopping. I bought the birthday niece who just got a job she needs to dress for, some clothes and shoes. We went to discount stores (Marshalls and Payless) and only spent about $100 for several outfits and 2 pairs of shoes. I bought myself a new shirt for $15.

Jan 13 update

January 13th, 2012 at 09:34 am

I was inspired again last night, and spent several hours organizing...

I finished the business books. Just wrote about the business in a comment - http://purple.savingadvice.com/2012/01/12/jan-12-update_90101/#comment-197691

I thought I had already finished the books, but I had one last statement to resolve. The merchant/credit card, so it took a bit of time. I bought a lot of inventory this year so I think I officially lost money, my quicken summary shows only $2000 or so profit and I still have to deduct rent. I'm hoping not to make money, I would like to not have a big tax bill this year. Last year was over $10,000 combined. :{

I organized all my personal files, I moved the ones I don't use regularly and have a really nice empty drawer for this year's financial things. I went through and organized all my personal tax items, and everything else is at least in the proper file folder.

I started entering charities into an excel file and got all the info from the receipts I have and and my checkbook registry. Still have to do the credit cards.

I also entered the charity receipts from the Veterans Association. I bring them 'snacks' on a regular basis. I bring them cup of noodles soups they can just heat up for a meal. I go to the VA regularly and was bringing them magazines, and a few years ago they asked if I could possibly bring food. Apparently when some of the vets have long appointment days and no money they sometimes steal food, and end up in jail. So if the volunteer office can give out food it doesn't happen. So I have been the snack lady for the last few years (4 or 5?). I buy 'flats' of the soup (16 or so?) for about $4 at the store I get my paper towels, toilet paper, etc. I go once a month (or K does, and he's trained to get the vet snacks) and buy a few flats. Costs me about $20-25 a month, 5 minutes of my time, and has an incredible ROI. There hasn't been one jailing for food theft (that's saved me in tax dollars!) and there's been a lot of vets fed.

Jan 12 update

January 12th, 2012 at 03:11 pm

I'm trying to blog every day to stay on track and spend time focusing about money and not wasting it playing on the web. I love playing on the web :}

I was inspired after blogging yesterday to finish entering the remaining statements for my hobby business. I tend to call it a hobby business because its not my main job, but its a real business, it did gross $150,000 last year and employed 22 people at least part-time. Plus me, but I work for free :} Its run from my house and I do a lot of advice, but the daily stuff is run by others. I do all the financials though. I am currently a sole owner so it all goes on my personal income tax.

Other things I need to compile for taxes - charity donations - work trip receipts (Germany, ?), bank info (interest, mortgage interest), Kansas house sale info + income before sale, stock sell info (wasn't there a letter about this from last Jan?), ... I'm sure I"m missing things. Next year I will be more prepared because of this wonderful blog that will help keep me organized.

TODO - organize paperwork and set up files so they will be maintained over the year instead of just putting everything in a 'to be filed' hanging folder.

I bought a $50 coupon for a local Mexican restaurant for $4 yesterday. Yes, FOUR dollars. From Restaurants.com. Regularly $20, but I got $16 off by going through upromise and typing in DINNER for a coupon. My friend is getting 13% for her student loan. I chose a place I haven't been that I think my nieces will enjoy. Its an inexpensive place and I'm not sure we can even eat $50 worth!
I also bought some toner and other things for the business using the upromise link, Staples.com offers 2% so I bought all the things I usually do at the end of tax time (1099 forms, storage boxes, etc) and got free shipping, and they will arrive before I could have gone shopping anyhow.

I also opened a new type of savings account and transferred my 6-month emergency fund to it (and set up the $1200/month automatic savings). The old savings was getting 0.25 (going to .3 at 25,000), the new one is 0.30 now going to 0.35 at 25,000. Not a huge difference. The CD rates weren't worth the lock. This savings is something to look into when I start studying my investments... (TODO)

Jan 11 update

January 11th, 2012 at 05:44 pm

Had my new consolidated deposits go through today. $2575 in total. It dropped my bank balance to $650 which was a bit unnerving, I like it over $1000. I didn't get a $1741.15 paycheck automatically deposited, I need to look into that, not sure I turned in the timesheet or if it was just late due to the holidays.

I transferred that exact amount from my 6-month living expense/saving, I will transfer it back when I get the money. So my checking account is accurate - $2675 with about $1200 that hasn't cleared. I'm caught up on bills, and according to my http://purple.savingadvice.com/2011/12/28/time-line_89165/ timeline I have more income coming in before I pay my credit card (have $1000 budgeted, but it will be more this month thanks to Vegas. http://purple.savingadvice.com/2012/01/11/vegas-and-vistors_...

I need to start focusing on taxes. I see my accountant on Feb 4. I have to finish my books for my hobby business, pay sales tax and issue W-1099s by the end of the month. And start on my personal stuff which will be complacdo this year.

TO DO - enquirer about paycheck
TO DO -move 6-month savings into at least CDS. Balance is currently over $16,000.
TO DO - change timeline figure so the dates are accurate.
TO DO - TAXES!!!!!!


January 11th, 2012 at 11:43 am

I joined upromise to help a good friend pay off her student loans. She's already out of school, I think the program is through Sallie Mae.
I set up the toolbar so all my relevant online purchases will get credited.
I also applied for a credit card and got it, it will give 3% on top of any other deals towards her loans. The bank gave me a $15,000 limit, so I'm thinking crazy credit is the norm again. (I have a few things to post about this in the future, I've played some funny credit card games - all in my favour!).
I have already done some shopping using my card and the upromise site, and bought things I usually purchase like flea stuff for the cat, cat food, and last night I went through drugstore.com and picked up a few things I usually buy and have wanted. I think so far I've made her about $40 for her loans. A few of the places gave back 8% when I used the credit card too.

I made one unplanned purchase; I bought one share of a stock certificate from the 99 cent only store (NDN). I am getting an actual certificate, matted and an engraved plaque which I am having 'Thanks for the ride'. I have bought a lot of this stock (NDN) over the years, its made me a lot of money, and its about to go private. I currently have hundreds of shares which I guess will be sold. The shareholders meeting is tomorrow to vote, but since the board wants to sell I assume it is a done deal. So I guess this is officially artwork.

TO DO - make a list of all the stuff I buy and compare online prices. I don't like shopping (except at the farmers market) and tend to buy most things online anyhow.

Vegas and Vistors

January 11th, 2012 at 11:24 am

Wrote a long post last night and lost it. I hit 'save and publish' and it went into the eithers. And I wasn't awake enough to save it.

I posted about my recent vacation with my boyfriend, we met in Vegas for a few nights. We live in different countries so don't get together often. I got a deal for $109 at the Venetian (from the email list, we've stayed before). He flew in on miles ($114) in fees. And I drove. We didn't spend much else, the fancy dinner I budgeted $100 was only $56, and we mostly won back the money we spend so we could get free Heinkeins in the casinos. I find gambling a bit boring so can't do it for too long. I think its more interesting when the outcome might actually change ones life. I originally budgeted $1500 for the trip, I need to see how close I came. And I have no money saved (I only planned the trip last month). I should have enough in my monthly discretionary funds to pay it all this month, but perhaps I'll have to dig into next months money.

I have 2 nieces coming on Friday for 5 nights. This trip has been planned for 6 months and back then I started a special account and put in automatic savings. I have already used it to pay for their airline tickets, and have $780 left. The only big thing we have planned is Disneyland for one of the nieces birthdays. (they are in their 20s so they will have their own spending money, but aunti likes to pay for things). I'm thinking the money I have saved should easily cover things.

TO DO - get actual figures for both trips.


December 26th, 2011 at 10:40 am

I need to do a lot in this category. I have vague ideas where my money goes and comes from, but its been a while since I've looked at specific financials.

Its hard for me to care in too much detail when my mortgage is so high. I pay $2600/month (includes taxes). So adding up my $3 coffees spent once a week seems a bit silly. But I really should do it so I can actually quantify this view, and perhaps the numbers won't actually be like my perceptions.

Here's a good place to start. Add to my TODO...