Monthly Archives: December 2009

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Mmm...foam block.I just sorta coasted through 2009.

A lot of people seem to do that for their entire lives, you know, just going through the motions and I’m glad that I’m not one of them.

At the same time, though I coasted, I can’t say that I made any poor financial decisions during the past year.

But I’m also fairly certain that I didn’t spend and/or save as wisely as I could have if I’d had a concrete plan set for the year and beyond.

I’m looking to change that in 2010.

Without any debts to attack besides the mortgage and that lingering renovation project that still needs to be initiated (I’m dragging my feet), 2010’s goals are going to be about saving and investing.

I’m not going to be modest either — easily attainable goals are simply that…easily attainable.

So, barring any unforeseen circumstances, here goes…

  • I’m looking to, again, contribute the $5000 allowable maximum (online) to I-series US Treasury Bonds.

    I know that I’m far too young to be investing in something so conservative but I somewhat indiscriminately did it in 2009 and I’m certainly not kicking myself for it.

    Besides, $5k really isn’t that much spread out over the span of a year.

  • I’m going to give in and open up a Roth IRA — and then fully fund it.

    I’ve toyed with the idea before but could never really grasp the benefits.

    I still don’t really understand their appeal but with my 401k no longer receiving an employer match and the added desire to have access to the money should I need it (or to pay for that renovation I keep talking about), it seems like a wise place to stash an additional $5000 and potentially earn a lot more than I would in savings bonds or in a savings account.

  • I want to more than double the current balance of my savings account.

    If the renovation project doesn’t happen in 2010, I want there to be at least $25000 in my savings account.

  • I want to step up my mortgage payments again.

    Plain and simple, though I continue to go back and forth on the idea of paying my mortage off, I don’t want to have to pay a monthly mortgage bill for the next 22 years.

    Or even the next 10 years.

    Eh, while we’re at it, I don’t want to have a mortgage payment anymore in 5 years

    For the past few months, I’ve lowered my “extra” principle payments down to $75 per week. While that’s still a pretty respectable number, I’m not seeing the balance fall as quickly as I’d like.

    I need to double it in order to approach the level that’d have me lined up nicely for an early payoff.

  • I’m going to actively attempt to curb my hobby expenditures.

    My spending in this area has been on the decline for years now but like everyone notices in each and every spending report — I still spend far too much money adding to my game worn hockey jersey collection.

    From here on out, or at least until I get the house fixed up, it’s gotta be something that I’ve truly wanted for some time or something from a player that my Dad, who can’t even be considered a casual hockey fan, will have heard of for a great price.

    Dad — please tell me the name Ovechkin rings a bell…

    Bottom line, though I don’t regret a single one, no more late night eBay impulse purchases.

I think that’s where I’ll draw the line…

Tallying up the first four goals — the concrete ones — they add up to a sum of $30300. That’s $5000 towards I-Bonds, $5000 towards a Roth IRA, $12000 towards savings, and $7800 ($150 per week for 52 weeks) towards the mortgage.

Back during my days buried in credit card debt, that’s about how much I was sending back to the fine folks at Mastercard and VISA during each calendar year.

I’m not making as much as I did back then but I’m also not spending as much either.

I think I can do it.

And maybe I can even add an Ovechkin to the collection along the way too…

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Ghetto SantaA few days later than usual but that’s because I’m always reluctant to report less-than-inspiring news…

Without sugar coating it, I spent $3581.74 in November. That’s a lot of money — far more than I can afford to spend each month.

Here’s how it all breaks down:

  • $1500.00 : Mortgage
  • $653.00 : Homeowners Insurance
  • $297.33 : Hockey Jerseys
  • $166.52 : Business Expenses
  • $161.99 : Baby Stuff
  • $131.95 : Electricity
  • $116.08 : Water/Sewer
  • $111.50 : Cable/Internet
  • $105.15 : Gas
  • $102.31 : Natural Gas
  • $95.40 : Lowe’s & Home Depot (the faucet project)
  • $64.51 : Phone
  • $60.00 : Cash
  • $16.00 : College Hockey Tickets

For $3500, you’d think the list would be longer…

Anyway, the biggie this month came in the form of the homeowners insurance. You’d think that I’d be upset by this but I’m actually elated.

See, this means that it’s been an entire year with a conventional insurance policy — after 5+ years without on something inapproriately named the FAIR plan.

The hockey jerseys are what they are. Yes, I spend too much on them month after month after month but I’m not putting myself in debt doing it like I was in the past. For once in my life, I can afford it.

I’m working on it. Honest.

The “baby stuff” was a new car seat for Duncan. We did the single car seat thing — swapping it from one car to the other — for six months and that was enough. For those having kids in the near future, two car seats are the way to go. Sooooo much easier.

Everything else is just kinda routine stuff. And — since we’re so far into December already I can tell you that this month isn’t going real well either…

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PIAC Post Extenstion:
BrainyYeah, so see that horrible picture of Duncan and Santa up there?

Well, though we usually shop at Target, this past weekend we wandered into Walmart and this ghetto Santa talked us into having a picture taken.

You can tell than Duncan is thrilled — he *was* looking pretty enthusiastic as I dug through that $5 DVD bin moments earlier. No so much in the arms of, um, Santa.

Hey, to this Walmart Santa’s credit, his beard was real but my wife got that icky alcoholic drug addict vibe from him. I wanted to disagree but really couldn’t. He was a dirty Santa in a dirty Santa suit — about what you’d expect from Walmart.

At least it was complimentary…

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December 2009 Net WorthWell, it wasn’t great news across the board but the bottom line was certainly nice.

A gain of $7430 works out to nearly three and a half percent and, at this stage, any time the gain exceeds even one percent, it’s pretty substantial.

Anyway, here are the details:

Not much movement here but when I report my spending for the month in the coming days, well, I should be quite happy with a drop of just $465.

I took it on the chin here this month but, nope, it wasn’t the result of a spending spree. ( I wish!)

Gov’t Bonds
This is where the money went! I hinted at it and then I did it. While I won’t reap the benefits of this move for a few months, it’ll earn me a lot more than I’d have earned keeping it in a savings account.

You know, the higher the balance gets, the more I realize how little my monthly contributions do. As I’m no longer earning an employer match, I’m beginning to think about pulling back in 2010 to further fund a few other areas instead.

While it’s not the mansion that I really want, it *is* worth over double what I owe on it.

Auto 1 & Auto 2:
Eh, whatever…

Credit Cards, Auto Loans, and Other Loans:
Zilch. Zero. Nada.

Staying the course here. I should pay it down faster. I want to pay it down faster. But I think I’m just going to wait until January to start up a new and more rigid payment plan.

Can You Dig It?