Monthly Archives: December 2011

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December 2012 Net WorthIn these unstable times, I’m perfectly happy with modest $773 gain. Especially with all of the holiday spending, though, I suppose I shouldn’t make a final judgement until next month’s update.

Cash:
There’s no real strategy here at all. I get paid every two weeks and I’ve got automatic payments pulling from my checking account right down to the $2000 balance level (to avoid bank fees). It’s like auto-pilot.

Savings:
I withdrew $600 from here early in the month (to pay off a credit card balance) but managed to replenish it almost 100 percent. Unfortunately my property taxes are due this month so it’s going to drop off considerably but that’s what I set the savings account up for — property taxes.

Gov’t Bonds:
Month after month I question why I still have these. The return is just so much better than a savings account that, for some reason, I just can’t part with them completely…

401k:
It’s up. It’s down. It’s…whatever…

Home:
It’s worth far more to me but the mortgage payment says otherwise. It’s a total win-win.

Auto 1, Auto 2, and Auto 3:
Just this month I realized that we have four “older” cars (my wife owns one that isn’t reported here) that all have insanely low mileage. It doesn’t really mean anything, I suppose, but I’m starting to think that when you have a mini-fleet of cars to choose from, they all last longer.

Credit Cards:
I’m kinda shocked this went down, actually. That week after Thanksgiving turned out to be pretty expensive but I guess I didn’t charge quite as much as I thought I did. That’s a good thing — we’ve got to get this slate wiped clean by May 2011.

For the record, nearly the entire balance is on a Chase Slate card. See what I did there? Pretty cool, huh?

Auto Loans and Other Loans:
Nothing to report.

Mortgage:
Just another minimum payment.

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HenrikNovember just flew right by — I don’t even remember finding the time to spend *any* money but according to my reports (have I mentioned that I finally replaced my beloved Micrososft Money with Moneydance yet?), I certainly spent freely:

$922.22 : Day Care
$618.97 : Christmas Presents
$501.30 : Business Expenses
$498.72 : Mortgage
$398.65 : Gasoline
$360.00 : Cash
$164.65 : Electricity
$145.57 : School Pictures
$137.78 : Cable/Internet
$129.14 : Finance Charges
$122.82 : Vacation
$114.37 : Water/Sewer
$92.69 : Natural Gas
$85.24 : Groceries
$13.02 : Clothes

That totals $4305.13.

The daycare at the top is really starting to wear on me. That’s actually only half of the total bill as my wife pays the other half (as well as for 99% of the groceries and eating-out expenses.)

I mean, just over two years ago we somehow had nearly $2000 worth of extra disposable income per MONTH?! Now I’m not saying the kids aren’t worth every penny — they are, which is why I want another one — but if you haven’t had kids yet, starting thinking about doing something intelligent with your “extra” money before the kids come along.

I’m just sayin’…

The holiday season is upon us. I almost wanted to wait and combine the November and December spending to showcase how crazy I went with Christmas this year. Christmas was all but cancelled last year following the death of my dad (while decorating for, get this, Christmas).

While trying to remember what the “big” gift for Duncan was last year, I was coming up blank. Reason being, we didn’t get him anything last year. Sure, we had Christmas (there’s even a picture) but it was pretty low key.

Now, with Henrik in the fold (and in the picture at the top of this post), I wanted to make up for it.

Tomorrow morning is going to be smurf-tastic.

Business expenses were high in November too but it was mostly on hardware and equipment, you know, real things that’ll serve a purpose for years to come. Most importantly, I added two terrabytes to my fileserver which is something I’d been dragging my feet on for, well, forever.

School pictures are a rip-off. We even got ripped off worse as they took one picture of both of our kids like it was a 2-for-1 special or something. I’d have much prefered individual sittings, though I suppose then it would have cost me twice as much…

Yes, I still want three.

Vacation in November? Well, sort of. We spent a night in a hotel following our awesome Thanksgiving feast. I’m not usually a fan of big sit-down type meals (burger and fries are more my thing) but there was plenty for me to hunt-and-peck at — and then not have to drive for two hours to get home, well, totally worth the expense.

Honestly, though, seeing my two boys and they’re three cousins running wild for a few hours was worth the room rate all by itself. Can’t wait until they’re all a bit older….

And those pesky finance charges… Argh!?

Well, great news on that front too — it’s going to drop like a rock.

A year ago now, I wrote about Smart Credit Card Strategies and, once again, I’ve followed my own advice and made a wise money move.

After years of being debt free and then suddenly finding myself paying over $200/month in finance charges again (as recently as August) as the 0% offers expired, I’ve transfered the balances again to a more manageable offer where I’ll have the balances paid off in full long before the offers expire.

Just taking advantage of the tools in my wallet…

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Duncan's 2011 School PictureBet you were starting to wonder if I’d ever return…

Yeah, I know, it’s December 24th and I’m just now posting my spending report for the month of October. No excuses.

But worry not! After all these years, my finances are practically on auto-pilot. Occasionally there’s some turbulence but never anything too extreme.

Here are the expenses from October:

$922.22 : Day Care
$498.72 : Mortgage
$450.00 : Auto Insurance
$276.52 : Gas
$271.78 : Clothes
$260.00 : Cash
$150.52 : Electricity
$135.43 : Finance Charges
$131.85 : Groceries
$128.06 : Cable/Internet
$80.16 : Life Insurance
$54.47 : Business Expenses
$49.09 : Natural Gas
$24.75 : Toys
$14.00 : Bank of America Maintenance Fee
$5.00 : Car Wash

That all adds up to $3452.57 which, while high, is the second lowest total all year. Hooray for me!

I’ll spare you the line-by-line analysis since, well, all of this spending occured months ago and there isn’t really anything terribly unusual or hard to comprehend on there…

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Angry BirdI hope they, the buttons with resistance, don’t go the way of the record player.

In the 1980’s, while I was honing my own typing skills playing games like Sierra On-Line’s King’s Quest, I used to cringe watching my dad type on a keyboard while doing whatever it was he actually did on the computer — both index fingers fully extended hunting and pecking away on the keys.

He was pretty fast but, still, who uses their index fingers for every single keystroke?

Things like Ctrl-Alt-Del were always a challenge for those utilizing the two-finger methodology.

Fast forward a couple of generations…

Of late, I’ve noticed that my 2 year old, Duncan, already “expects” a touch screen interface.

A few weeks ago he got to “play” Angry Birds on a friend’s tablet, you know, flat glassy looking thing without any buttons.

He “played” for no more than 5 minutes, max, before losing interest.

But since then, I’ve caught him, on more than one occasion, touching the television screen and flicking his finger as if that’s how we change the channel.

He even does it with my wife’s non-touchscreen cell phone. Pretty much anywhere that there’s a digital “display”, he thinks it’s for touching and quickly sliding an extended finger across.

Yet, he has zero interest in a keyboard and only a slight fascination with the mouse — though I’m not sure he yet realizes that the pointer on the screen is directly related to the mouse…

Won’t be long now, I’m sure, until he shows interest in that controllerless Xbox Kinect thing I keep seeing commercials for.

And twenty years down the road he’ll probably get a good chuckle out of how dad even owned a button-smashing Punch-Out arcade game

Can You Dig It?

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