I'd really like to get back to building up my savings again. My savings accounts were depleted in an effort to pay down debt, but I'd like to have that assurance of having something set aside again. Also, after more than 12 years of owning my own home it has belatedly dawned on me that I really need to have an account for those unexpected, yet expected, home repairs & maintenance costs.
Viewing the 'Home sweet home' Category
A few weeks ago I wrote a pretty long blog summing up my past few months & it appears it was never posted. Don't you hate when they happens?
My last entry was in February & since then the following things have happened:
Took a trip to Greece & New York in March. It was a wonderful experience, perfect weather in Greece. I got to experience my first St. Patrick's Dqy parade in New York & take in some great Broadway shows including the preview shows of Mean Girls & My Fair Lady. Also saw, Chicago which never gets old.
I filed my taxes and owed over $4k. Ouch. I'm on a 120 day payment plan & have to pay it off by the end of July. I knew I would owe, but wasn't planning on paying nearly that much.
April was fairly quiet. Last month I had two deaths in the family, one expected as my grandmother was in the final stages of dementia, and the other unexpected as my younger cousin died suddenly. It was a rough couple of weeks there.
I'm hoping that June will be better.I am not planning on taking any trips this summer. I am preparing for my biannual lab inspection & planning some fun in between working my two jobs.
I have a couple of trips planned for the fall, to Seattle & Vancouver, and possibly a winter trip to NYC.
This has been a spendy week between paying off one trip, booking another trip, and having to replace my laptop that died on me. And yes, I could kick myself for not having backed up my computer before it finally died on me. Oh well, I will have to get someone to try & recover those files or call them a loss. Nothing is irreplaceable I don't think. Most of my pictures I upload to my FB account or have in my phone.
I ended up buying the Dell Inspiron 11" 3000. It's a 2-in-1, which I finally figured out is like a laptop & a tablet combined. I don't do much besides browsing the web on my laptop & keeping track of my financial goals in Excel spreadsheets so it's probably more than sufficient for my needs.
I've noted that the big boost that my home value got in the months following the flood has disappeared so I have adjusted for that. I also finally got my insurance claim settled for my plumbing leak damages so we scheduled the repairs for next month. I'll be so happy to not have to look at holes in my ceilings & walls!
I had a wonderful vacation in New York & Virginia earlier this month. We saw several shows. I personally saw Bandstand, Hello Dolly, Sweeney Todd, The Great Comet, and 1984. We also visited the Met & the Cloisters. On Sunday I got to go to Hillsong church which I also did last year. I took the train from Penn Station to Union Station and spent 4 days with my sister's family. I really enjoyed my time with the kids.
I am looking forward to my cruise in October and my trip to England & Scotland after Christmas. In March I have a trip planned to Greece. I can't think about booking anymore trips for a while. I am working more hours at my second job in between my trips. Fun comes at a cost!
I have increased payments for my auto & TSP loans, as well as my mortgage. Those few dollars won't be missed, but over time they will really add up towards paying down my debt sooner. I am now very close to breaking even on my principal vs. interest amounts. Very soon I will be paying more on principal that interest. And I have more than 50% equity in my home. I wish that I had increased payments sooner, but better late than never.
I am going to enjoy this long Memorial Day weekend. Yesterday I got up early to take my car in for service. I purchased the tire care package when I bought my car & I have made good use of it. I think this is the second tire that I have had replaced already. They found a small hole that couldn't be patched.
Then I came home & napped, which I have needed. Last weekend I worked 24 hours while fighting a cold. Then yesterday evening I dropped by my co-workers' son's 16th birthday to give him a card and some cash for his gift. They had a ton of food. I ate some there & they send me home with a plate of shrimp, my favorite.
Today I am just being lazy until it's time for church this evening. I will eventually do some much needed cleaning. The gym is not closed tomorrow for the holiday so I won't get out of my run.
At home I have several ceiling repairs to be done due to roof leaks & a tub leak from my second floor bathroom. The plumbing repairs of nearly $700 I had to pay for, but the damages will be covered by insurance. It's so hard to find contractors at this time.
Oh, updates on my other passion besides personal finance...travel! I am going to New York & DC over 4th of July. Taking a short cruise this autumn, traveling to England & Scotland after Christmas, and Greece in the spring. I'm turning 40 in December & celebrating all year!
I have a lot of home updates, improvements, & repairs coming up. Checking them off one by one. I know it's important to take care of your home to protect your investment, but as I spend time at home, I know that I also want a home that looks good & feels comfortable.
As we head into fall, I was thinking about reaching this year's goals & looking ahead to next year's goals. This year my main goals are retirement & debt repayment, as they are every year. I always meet my retirement goal, as I will this year. In January I funded my Roth IRA with the maximum $5,500. I don't know if I'll be able to do that this January. I may have to fund it throughout the year, since my savings have been somewhat depleted to pay down debt. I will continue to fund my retirement account at work with my maximum contribution. I have not read if they're anticipating another increase in limits next year, though. A $500 increase would only mean an extra $20 biweekly though.
Last year I transferred the majority of my credit card debt to a card with 0% interest for 18 months. I started out paying $200 weekly, but now pay $100 weekly since I have one job. I still plan to have that paid off before the 18 months of no interest.
On a lighter note, I am going to enjoy this 3 day weekend by taking some time to cook, relax, and visit with family & friends.
Just when you think you're finally getting ahead, or even catching up, expenses just seem to keep coming. After getting new tires, I've decided that I've put off repairs around my house for long enough. I'm taking off next week, but I'm not going on vacation. I'll be at home getting things done around the house as well as well as picking up a few extra hours at my other job. That will help with the expenses a little. I need new fans, new light fixtures, check for a leak under my sink, some landscaping. Too many things!
Well, I'm out almost $400 today for a new set of tires. Thank goodness my air conditioning is still holding on. When it rains, it pours.
I'm nervous about what my investments will do when the markets open Monday. This government impasse is making me nervous with every passing hour.
My list of home improvements just keep piling up and I have made no effort to accomplish any of them. I must stop being so lazy! I'm thinking of replacing my sliding doors for French doors. I need two light fixtures replaced, a ceiling fan replaced, and a tree and bush removed from my patio area. I should also get my carpets cleaned and air conditioner serviced. *sigh*
My mom and I went to the Parade of Homes yesterday and today. We saw some absolutely beautiful homes that made me appreciative to even be a home owner, but also made me dream of the possibilities. These homes that we saw, particularly yesterday, were spectacular, custom built homes with all sorts of amenities. I could only wonder at the cost and time to keep those homes looking so show ready. I can barely keep my home up and have a growing to do list. But then again, if I had one of those homes I could afford the help to keep it up. My mom and I had a lot of fun. It was good to enjoy ourselves after burying my uncle this past week. We needed a weekend like this, it was an escape.
My air conditioning went out last weekend. I called a company to come on Monday afternoon, took a few hours off from work to meet them, they charged me a ridiculous price ($301) to change a wire and tried to convince me to buy one of their overpriced A/C's or pay over $1,000 in repairs that may or may not work. My dad talked to a cousin and he came out Saturday. He changed some little thingy dingy and it cost me $65. I'll never use that company again.
I decided to write down my goals for 2008.
Contribute $245 to my three accounts. My goal is $15,000 in 3 years, my current balance is just over$5,000.
I have about $2,000 on a credit card. I will contribute $500 plus the amount of my monthly purchases every payment.
My original Sallie Mae loan is now at $300. With automatic payments my loan will be paid off in about 4 months. My grad school loans will begin repayment 6 months after my December 2008 graduation.
My car payment will be $326. After finishing with the credit card balance I will contribute the extra to the car payment.
Continue contributing $400 biweekly to my 457. That is an annual contribution of $10,400.
Continue to fund my Roth IRA to the maximum. That will be $5,000 in 2008.
My payments are $313 biweekly. I occasionally get a few pennies interest from a savings account and will transfer to principal. Otherwise, my payments will continue as is for this category. I'm more focused on the other debt.
CAREER AND SCHOOL:
In somewhat related plans, I want to focus on school and looking for a new job. I'm off this week since I worked the holiday (12 hour shifts for 4 days) and I'm writing papers and taking civil service tests.
The lady asked why I wanted to take the test again since I scored so well. I told her that I wanted an 80 on the test. I scored a 74. She said that few people score so well and I must be a perfectionist. I'm not. What I am is really motivated to move on to a better position.
I took another test since it hadn't been 28 days since I took the one that I wanted to retest on. Next time I'll take a different one again. I'll keep taking them until I'm where I want to be.
What are your goals???
I sold my car Tuesday for $2,000. I'm happy to have it sold. I probably could have gotten more if I had been patient, but I wanted it done with and I was trying to do something good. It was somewhat of a stressful transaction for me and next time I'll know what to do differently.
I'm using the money to pay off my credit card and student loans for good. That will be such a good feeling. I was thinking about using it to pad my emergency fund, but Dave Ramsey has inspired me to get Sallie Mae out of my life!
Turned on the heater last night. 68 degrees is a little hot. I'll have to try lower the next time I need it. I may ask for an electric blanket for my birthday or Christmas.