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Archive for January, 2010

More than Twice Goal

January 31st, 2010 at 06:21 pm

I just sold 4 more items on ebay this evening for $23.67! I also listed another 7 items that will end next Sunday. These new sales mean my total for the Ebay challenge this month is twice my goal of $100!

2010 Ebay Challenge Total
January: $201.89

What are you waiting for? It's time to sale that clutter on ebay!

2010 Goals: Take 2

January 30th, 2010 at 11:23 am

In light of my previous post, where my husband and I determined that we will pay off our van loan before saving for a truck, I revised the 2010 goals.

1) Max out our Roth IRA's = $10,000
2) Save 7% of basic pay in TSP
3) Pay off home equity loan
4) Save money for college = $3,300
5) Add money to emergency fund = $7,000
6) Pay off van beginning balance = $19,444
7) Convert IRA's to Roth IRA's

I have deleted the goal to save for the truck in 2010. We will end up being able to save quite a bit of cash at the beginning of 2011 for the truck.

Since, I have already made one regular van payment in 2010, our current balance is now, $19,012.14. I will start a ticker on the side once this becomes our primary goal. This will not occur until at least June of this year.

It is good to have goals and know what you want to accomplish. I'm looking forward to working on this new plan!

Pay It Off

January 29th, 2010 at 08:00 pm

Just had a discussion with my husband about whether to pay down the van loan or just make regular payments and save the extra funds towards his new truck. He said focus on the debt we have!

His reason was simply that he has not decided which vehicle to get when he returns from deployment. I will have about $10K to put toward this purchase even with a paid off van.

Obviously, I'm still first and foremost focused on the home equity loan. Following that will be the van loan.

Updated Our 2010 Goals

January 29th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

I updated our 2010 financial goals on my page to the left. Previously, I had left the amounts blank. I did not know at the time what amounts I could allocate to each area. Now I know.

1) Max out our Roth IRA's = $10,000
2) Save 7% of basic pay in TSP
3) Pay off home equity loan
4) Save money for college = $3,300
5) Add money to our emergency fund = $7,000
6) Pay down van loan = $7,500
7) Save cash for a truck = $7,350
8) Convert IRA's to Roth IRA's

I'm not entirely decided about paying extra on the van loan. It is at 3.9% interest rate. The next truck loan will probably be higher, so it may be better to simply save for the truck, to reduce the amount we would need to borrow. It's hard to decide when it is over a year away.

I'm just realizing that most of our goals are saving! Cool.

Ebay Update: Another Sale

January 28th, 2010 at 10:38 am

I made another sale on half.com! I actually sold two dvd's to one customer. My net proceeds were $6.13.

2010 Ebay Challenge Total
January: $178.22

What is up with half.com's notification of sales? I actually went to the site early this morning and it didn't show any new sales. Then around 11am today, I receive an email about the sales that was stamped 3:44am! What? Half.com could you improve your notification, please!!

More Items to Sell

January 28th, 2010 at 06:00 am

I found some more items to sell on ebay. It looks like I will have at least 7 listings to start on Sunday.

I usually leave my husband's things alone. But I did ask yesterday, if he had any books to get rid of. He brought me 5 out of probably the 15 he owns! One will be a money maker since it is a recent book release. The others will go on half.com until the next garage sale.

Since last summer, I have had the girls Bratz dolls, Barbie dolls and My Little Pony's to get rid of. I tried listing the Bratz dolls on craigslist, but did not get a response. I might try that route again with all three items. They do sell on ebay, but because shipping can be high for a big lot, the price people pay isn't what I want out of them. I don't believe we have anything rare that would bring a higher price. I will keep thinking about it.

I'm having a good time with the sales. I'm very motivated with this goal this year!!

Tax Refunds Arriving THIS Week

January 26th, 2010 at 02:43 pm

I e-filed our taxes last Wednesday. Both were accepted in less than 24 hours!

I can see that the state refund is a pending deposit in our checking account for tomorrow. I expect to see our federal refund on Friday, since that is the expected deposit date they listed when our return was accepted.

Fast. I like fast.

I hope to get some of this money in to our home equity loan next week. I will finally get to write an update!!

Another Small Sale

January 25th, 2010 at 05:58 pm

I sold a CD on Half.com today. My net profit after the commission and shipping is $1.28. Can't complain, right?

Ebay Challenge Totals:
January $172.09

I already have a bid on one of my ebay items this week. I also have people watching two of the other three. The auctions still have six more days to go, so I'm very pleased.

Ebay Challenge Update

January 25th, 2010 at 08:42 am

Last night all three of my auctions sold!! I'm amazed sometimes at what people will pay for things. It is always a nice surprise.

My total sales were $46.49. I sold four items between the three auctions. Much better than a garage sale!

Ebay Challenge Totals:
January $170.81

I have another set of 4 auctions up for this week. They are primarily books. I will spend some of my time this week, getting auctions ready to start on Sunday. I might as well keep going, since it is going so well.

Roth Conversion Plan

January 24th, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I think we can convert our Roth IRA's in 2010 without any money out of pocket. In fact, I expect we will still get a refund.

Approximate calculations:
$54,940 AGI
($12,100) itemized deductions
($14,600) personal exemptions (4)
$23,240 Taxable Income

$3,398 Tax before credits
($2,000) Child tax credits (2)
($400) Retirement savings credit
$998 Total Tax

$814 Withholding
$800 Making work pay credit
$1,614 Total Payments

Payments - Tax = $616 Refund

AGI includes 2010 taxable income, roth conversions, interest income and 2009 state refund. Most of our income in 2010 will be non taxable because of it will be earned in a combat zone.

We qualify, just barely income wise, for the retirement saver's credit on our 2010 roth contributions, which we will max out this year.

I'm being very conservative with our itemized deductions as well. We may end up donating more or having a little bit more interest to deduct since we have yet to pay off the home equity loan.

If I convert less money to the roth's we could actually qualify for the earned income tax credit. Crazy. Financially, it will be our best year yet. One scenario I ran where we qualified for the EITC, we would receive a refund of $2875.

Can you see anything wrong with the detailed plan above?

Convenience Spending

January 23rd, 2010 at 10:23 am

Our garage door opener decided to stop working on Thursday. It would hum like the motor was running or stuck, but the door or the chain wouldn't move. My husband thought it needed a tension adjustment. Nope. Our guess is that a part was stripped out and was no longer connecting to the motor.

It really was not the best time to replace this item. Not monetarily, but just time wise. My husband's time at home is becoming more and more limited. I thought this is not something that has to be replaced. It is a convenience item. I'm strong and healthy enough to lift a garage door up and down. No big deal.

My husband thought otherwise. He spent his Thursday evening buying a new garage door opener and installing it. Only took 2.5 hours. We bought the same brand and type and only replaced the main component and the rail. All other wiring remained intact.

Cost: $148

It is nice to have it working, of course. The decision was so quick, I just hope it was the right one. Maybe the stripped part could have been replaced cheaper. But how easily to find the part? How easy to replace? We won't ever know...because we made a quick decision. Lucky for us, the decision isn't going to break the bank.

Does this happen to you? Do you make quick decisions? Do you wonder if they are more costly?

A Half.com Sale

January 22nd, 2010 at 11:14 am

On Tuesday, I listed 36 items on half.com. It was a little tedious getting everything listed, but I did it.

I already made one sale! It was for a children's book that I listed for $0.99. Funny thing too. There was only one book listed of this same title. It was listed for over $300! Crazy. I guess I'm a little more reasonable. This was not more than a $4 book from Scholastic. Ours was in good shape, except for a cut on the cover which I disclosed.

Half.com reimburses for shipping at the media mail rate. I was able to ship this very small paperback book first class for less. I netted $1.56. I bet I would have only received a quarter at a garage sale.

Small sale, but they do all add up. Who else has books listed on half.com? It doesn't cost anything to list. If they don't sell, you are not out anything. I have a book that has been listed for at least 6 months and still hasn't sold!

Taxes Done: Refund

January 21st, 2010 at 06:19 am

I had to compete online yesterday with all the other military members to obtain my husband's W2! Once that was obtained, I plugged the numbers into the online tax program. We are using taxactonline.com. I paid $17.95 to print, and efile both income tax returns.

The result is a refund from both the federal and state governments. Unfortunately, the refund is more than expected. Seriously, I can never get us to zero!! I try. I really do.

Federal Refund: $399
State Refund: $728
Total Reunds: $1,127

I was only expecting around $700 total. I'm sure I can find a place to put the extra $400+ !

Currently, I'm holding on to extra cash. With deployment nearing, my husband has expenses that I can't quite anticipate. Last week he bought a new duffel bag and tshirts. We spent about $100!

At some point...that home equity loan will be paid off. Maybe even in one lump sum!

Anyone else have their taxes done?

Tax Free Month

January 20th, 2010 at 07:49 am

First of all, I keep thinking about Monkey Mama and her husband. I don't remember the exact surgery date. It could be today. Yesterday? Not sure. My prayers and thoughts are focused on a good outcome. Send your own positive vibe their way if you feel so inclined!

A benefit of participating in a combat zone is tax free income. My husband is going to get a bonus month of tax free income because of a 10 day trip to the 'zone' in the near future. Actually, you only need one day in the 'zone' to qualify! We still pay Medicare and Social Security taxes.

This extra month only helps convince me that we should convert our IRA's to Roth's this year. I just want to know what it will end up costing us. I think we have at least $30K that we could convert. Of course, we don't have to convert it all. If I remember correct, we can split the tax bill between 2010 and 2011. I wonder if it has to be an even split?

Ebay update: I have three items listed and two already have bids!! I also found several books that I think will sell best on ebay, so I will get those up this Sunday.

Kids are home because of ice. We are getting 1/2 inch or so. I think school may be extended until mid June!!

Ebay Challenge: Sold Books

January 19th, 2010 at 06:01 am

Check out my previous posts you may have missed while the servers were down. Smile

I sold 15 books to Powells.com last night for $17.25. Most of these were children's books. This is the first site I have found to accept these types of books for cash. Yipee!

They didn't accept all of the books I have, so I will be listing quite a few on half.com until the garage sale comes around.

2010 Ebay Challenge Total
Jan: $122.76

New Purge Point Total: 114