Tags Posts tagged with "Savings"


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ING LionDrat. Just as I was putting together the numbers for a bunch of “end-of-year” postings, I logged into my ING account and saw the news.

Interest Rate Change to 2.472% (2.50% APY)

Can’t say I didn’t see it coming, but it’s still disappointing…

Why didn’t I start sooner?

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Must be Santa!Okay, so it’s been awhile since I last mentioned *any* specifics regarding my finances…

Well, it was just one month ago that I set out on a goal to save 50% of my income.

So how’m I doing?

If I were to include my 401k contributions, this entry would be a triumphant declaration of success full of gloating but because I “pretend” that my 401k contributions don’t exist as income, I’m instead going to reluctantly admit that I’m not there yet.

Saving 50% of my take home was too lofty.

No, that’s not accurate. I guess I’ve found that I’m just not willing to sacrifice enough to get to that point.

And that’s fine.

The good news is that I’ve managed to stick to my outrageously aggressive ING auto-savings plan for over two months and I haven’t had a a single “low balance” warning from my checking account come through.

I’m not going to say that it hasn’t come close on a few occasions, it’s been tight, but over the past few months, I’ve come to realize that I am capable of getting by while putting such a large amount to the side each week.

Wanna know what’s crazy about that?

After poo-pooing the necessity of having a “six months worth of expenses” emergency fund, I’m on cusp of actually having one myself.

It feels good. Thanks Grantyou were right! Hey, it only took seven months to get there… though most of it came within these last few months.

We’ll see how long I can stick it out for, I mean, my grand plan isn’t to “use” it as an emergency fund, but to finance a renovation our house so desperately needs.

But hopefully my routine has changed enough so that I can just keep on keepin’ on this savings route and seven months after I spend it all, I’ll be right back where I am now.

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Dow Jones on December 16, 2008

As welcome as a 4-5% jump in the markets is, I know deep down that it will fall back as the week goes on. Maybe, just maybe, it’s the pessimist in me.

And soon, no doubt, my latest plan (of saving aggressively rather than spending) will backfire.

Perhaps “backfire” is the wrong word.

Saving is always a good thing — but to think, while I was too busy paying down debt to even consider saving, online banks like ING and Emigrant were offering interest rates in excess of five percent.

Now, or in the next few days probably, the rate I’ll be earning with ING will more than likely be under two percent… Shucks…

I missed the bust not by a few minutes but by about a year. That’s how it feels.

But hey, at least I erased the debt in the nick of time…

Things could definitely be worse.

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Green means GO!

Yep, it’s time to start getting serious about saving. I’m not entirely sure why we weren’t able to go all gung-ho in November (or even October, for that matter…), but now that December is around the corner, we really need to get started.

And though we’re heading into December and there will undoubtedly be some Christmas expenditures, we have to stop putting this off.

Here’s the plan:

    1. Save 50% of the take home.

That’s it.

Pretty simple, huh?

The idea is simple. Being able to actually do it might not be so…

In a nutshell, to get the ball rolling, I’m pretending that I get paid twice a month (instead of bi-weekly) and that there are 4 weeks in a month.

Using the bottom line from one paycheck, I’m dividing by 4 (for the number of weeks in my version of a month) and transferring that amount into my ING account each Friday.

That works out to 50% of my monthly income transferred to savings over four weeks (to lessen the blow).

Can I do it? In addition to the $400/month I’m already transferring there in place of my former car payments? Yikes!

Maybe this is a little too amibitious…

We’ll see…

So far, I’m 2 weeks in to a test run and things are going relatively smoothly.


Of course, I haven’t had to pay a mortgage bill yet either…

That could be the red light at the next intersection.

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Debt Free...again!So remember that ill advised $1500 “convenience” check that I wrote to myself as a birthday present and used to pay down the principle on my mortgage in a failed attempt at having my PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) removed?

Well, sticking to the original 15-week “set it and forget it” payment plan, it’s officially gone as of this morning.

My credit card balances are all $0, just like they were back in March

It still hasn’t sunk in yet.

And I’m not sure it really will.

It didn’t the first time…

I’ve found that saving (instead of paying back) is really, really, really hard

So much so that I’m considering writing an even bigger check (the kind that come with your credit card statements) to myself, transferring it into my ING savings account, and then paying down the subsequent balance like I’ve become so accustomed…

Roundabout way of operating, I know, but it’s just a thought…

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Drew and his lamp -- looking a little sketchy...I often complain about how the invoices that I send out for my side business each month never seem to get paid on time, in full, or, at all…

Yesterday’s mail had two checks in it — one was for $150 from a client that has always paid promptly and the other was for $40 for some photo prints that I’d had done up last week.

I deposited them this morning into my checking account like they were nothing.

Sure, in the past I was dropping in checks totaling $3000, so an extra $190 might not feel like very much anymore, but I can’t tell you what I would have done to get checks for $190 ten years ago.

Do you know how much crap you can buy on eBay for $190?

I’ve been jonesing for a lava lamp for nearly 20 years, and I know they suck because my sister had one, but still, I could probably get like 6 or 7 of them for $190…

Man, I’m almost salivating at the thought…

(Mom — do NOT get me a lava lamp for Christmas.)

At the onset, right out of university, I started my side business to bring in disposable income. Plain and simple — it was supposed to be for crap on eBay, video games, hockey tickets, hockey jerseys.

Somewhere along the line, though, it turned into income that I counted on. It wasn’t disposable income anymore (probably a good thing as the checks began to get larger and larger) and before I knew it, I felt trapped — not by my *real* job, but by my side job!?

I wouldn’t be able to pay all of my bills if I didn’t work each morning before work, again after work, and every weekend too.

That wears you down… and for the most part, that type of lifestyle has passed.

I wish I could say that this latest $190 could be classified as disposable income, you know, like it used to be.

Not there yet…

I’m already transferring it from checking to savings…

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Piggy BankI’ve tried over and over to put together a savings plan where I’ll make weekly transfers to keep things on a steady and constant up-and-up. It worked so well for paying down my debts.

But right now, it’s not working.

All too often, I’m projecting that my checking account will come up short nearly every other month — and on the months that it doesn’t come up short, well, it’ll be too close for comfort.

You know, when the ATM receipt tells you that you’ve only got $0.95 left in your account

That scenario was okay when I was paying down debt, I was supposed to be poor — sorta like a self-imposed punishment for running up my credit cards so high, but now that I’m not in debt, it’s not acceptable.

My next paycheck — coming in on November 6 — won’t be enough to pay the bills *and* make the yet-to-be scheduled transfers before the following paycheck comes in, two weeks later.

Even if it were enough, it’s far too close to the paycheck-to-paycheck existence that I thought, at this stage, would be in my rear view mirror for good.

So, instead, I think I’m going to use the November 6 paycheck to pay the December mortgage bill and all of the utility bills. That’s it. I’ll pay all of the bills and then idle for two weeks. No savings plans.

Then, the November 20 paycheck (along with all paid invoices) will go almost entirely into savings. The monies that don’t go into savings will be to pay the bill for the credit card I continue to use for day-to-day purchases and knick-knacks that I pick up along the way…

Not exactly how I want it, but until I have a little bit more of a buffer in my checking account, I really can’t afford to do it in a more structured way…

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The Cat’s Out of the BagI’ve been living in squalid conditions for over a year.

Rice and beans, beans and rice, right?

I was too “busy” paying down my debt to notice, right?

Cutting corners, you know, to save money?

That’s how I can justify how horrible that room looks…


Well, not exactly.

While I am horribly ashamed of that photo of the entry way to my home, the rest of the house isn’t like that at all.

If it were, I mean, dontcha think I’d be a prime candidate for the police to come barging through the door with a camera crew in tow for a taping of the show Cops?

The setting is almost too perfect. All it needs is a plaid couch with cigarette burns in the cushions and domestic beer cans strewn randomly about the floor…

My crime would be driving without a front license plate. (Did you know that they’re required?)

“Suspect is a white male of average build. Last seen driving a late model BMW in the vicinity of Gargamel’s castle…”

But now that I’ve shamed myself on the internet (what was I thinking?), it’s time to get things moving on this room (and entire first floor, while I’m at it) and set up a budget for 2009 to pay for it all, which I’ll start in November.

In the months ahead, I have one bill to pay that will likely be paid from my savings account. My horrible homeowners insurance premium is $902 (ouch!) and it’s due on December 18.

Aside from that, though, the month-to-month finances should remain consistent from here on out. No trips planned, no weddings scheduled, no huge holiday expenditures on the horizon, and we never really spend much for our birthdays (which are in the summer anyway). Basically, it’s an empty schedule.

Also, in an effort to speed things up even more, I’m going to try to get my wife on board — wipe out her credit card and boost her savings. A lot.

But my savings need the most work…

Resorting back to what worked so well while paying down debt, I realize that the only way to go is to make it automatic and then, if anything is left over, keep throwing that on to the pile too.

At the height of my pay down, it wasn’t unusual for me to make 7-8 payments to the same creditor in a week’s time. I’ve got to grow my savings the exact same way. If I find $5 in my winter coat pocket, that’s enough to initiate a transfer. Just do it.

So what’s my ultimate plan?

I’d like to be able to save up at least 1/3 of the cost of the remodeling cost before we get started. I’m not saying that I’ll use it all at the onset of the project, but for peace of mind, if nothing else, I want to have it available before I commit myself to such a huge debt load.

The remaining 2/3 would be financed on credit cards.

I know, I know, if you’re new to this site, that must sound crazy. Who’s willing to charge that much?

Well, that’s the method we used on the siding project and it was a whole lot more cost effective than the more common home improvement loan route we took for the roof the year before.

If you’ve got the right cards, the right offers, and a zero balance, you can borrow tens of thousands of dollars at well under 5 percent. No bank or contractor can offer financing that approaches that.

So, to begin, I’m going to continue the auto savings plan I started this month where I’m transferring $400 per month into an ING savings account. I may not reserve it for a vehicle purchase anymore, but I’m not going to cancel the transfer series either.

I was also planning to step up my extra mortgage payments from $50/week to $165/week to keep me on pace to have the mortgage paid off by 2015, but now, instead, I’m going to send that to my savings account plus what I would have been contributing to my savings account anyway and all of my passive income.

All together, on a good month (you know, when my clients actually pay their invoices), that would be around $2310 going in to savings right off the top. That’s freakin’ huge.

Basically, almost $10k every 4 months.

Sounds lofty. Borderline un-realistic.

Probably is.

I’m not really sure, I’ve never not had huge bills to pay…

The plan starts next week.

Can You Dig It?