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Archive for August, 2010

Desk Day

August 31st, 2010 at 07:15 am

Today is going to be a desk decluttering day. I have to stay home this morning while I wait for someone to come by and repair my gas stove. It is definitely not heating right. While I wait, I will go through the desk and clean it up. Once I'm done with the desk, I only have the garage and the basement to do! Only. Ha.

I also have to make a run to the grocery store, the food offerings at the house are getting pretty sparse, especially when the oven doesn't heat properly. Smile

As a result of the above, I can officially say today is a spending day. Joy.

Decluttering

August 30th, 2010 at 09:11 am

I'm going room by room and pulling out the clutter. I'm organizing a bit as I go. I have pulled quite a few things. This is all in preparation for a garage sale later in September. Well, it is for my sanity, too!!Why keep outgrown shoes and a swimsuit that wasn't worn since last summer?

This keeps me out of the stores, also! I think my allowance from this past payday is gone. We still have food and gas for the van.

I do see purchases in our future. Leotards for dance and tumbling along with a new pair of jazz shoes. Hmm...maybe someone will be selling an old pair? I also know the fundraisers will start coming home soon. I noticed older daughter will need a jacket soon, too. With all the new we have to buy, it just means more old to get rid of, preferably by selling.

The Dow: An Answer

August 28th, 2010 at 06:12 am

Yesterday, I asked if you knew what the Dow is. Ready to hear the answer?

In a nutshell: an economic indicator

The Dow, also referred to as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), is an index or collection of 30 blue chip US stocks. It is an indicator that is over 100 years old. At one time it was a true average. The final price of each stock on a trading day tallied up and divided by 30. However, stock splits have occured making the divisor slightly different in order to provide continuity.

On the next trading day the same thing occurs and it is compared to the average from the day before. The average price is either up or down from the day before. This is often reported on the news.

Just think, though, only 30 stocks are represented! That is a very narrow view of the stock market. Sure, it includes some big companies (blue chips) that are considered leaders in their industry. However, it is not the whole picture.

There other indexes that are more broad that included stock performance of many more companies. There is the S&P 500 (500 companies are represented), the Wilshire 5000, the Russell 2000, and many more.

Many people buy index mutual funds that simply mirror or hold the same stocks that are included in one of the many indexes. It's a no brainer, on some level. If the index goes up, your index fund will go up also. There is not a fund manager to make decisions on what stocks to hold in the fund, because they have already been picked by the index.

Last I checked, Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in the world suggested index funds for the average investor. I actually own a fair amount of an S&P 500 fund.

There is more I could tell about the Dow, but I'll leave it at that for now. If you have any questions or want to add additional details in the comments feel free.

So, did you have any idea that is what the Dow is? Care to tell me what you thought it was?

Do You Know What the Dow Is?

August 27th, 2010 at 05:54 am

I ask the question because I explained it to my sister recently and she was quite surprised at my answer. And surprised because she never really knew what it was. It makes me wonder how many people know.

So, tell me do you know? Can you explain it?

I will post the answer and clarify any misunderstandings that come up.

6 Days to Go

August 26th, 2010 at 07:58 am

until payday! I did make yesterday a no spend day. Yipee!! I have about $60 left to make it through these next six days. I have enough food from what I can tell. I might need to fill in with a few things.

The air conditioning is staying off again today. It is so nice to have nearly zero humidity. I can stand heat, but not humidity.

I'm going to add a disclosure when I write these type of emails, because it never fails that when I say I only have $X left, someone says I need to plan better. Maybe I do. However, what isn't said is that we have zero credit card debt, all bills are current, we only owe money on our van loan and mortgage. We have saved 15% of our gross income for retirement, made college contributions and paid additional principal on our van loan. We have even set money aside for short term needs, such as the next auto insurance premium. When I say I only have $X left before a pay day it refers to our budgeted spending money. If I need something that exceeds that I do have cash available, I am not on my last dime!! To say otherwise is insulting.

No Air Conditioning

August 25th, 2010 at 09:11 am

I was able to turn off the air conditioning last night and open the windows. Very refreshing. I think I will be able to leave it off at least through tomorrow. I like knowing I'm saving a little on my electric bill.

I'm expecting a no spend day, too!

Increased Homeowner's Insurance

August 24th, 2010 at 09:26 am

Lovely. Our homeowner's insurance premium is increasing again. Ugh!

Last Year: $658.47
This Year: $823.09
Increase: $164.62

This means I need to increase my escrow savings by at least $14 per month. The year previous to the last our homowners insurance was around $500. It is increasing at a faster rate.

It would have been even higher last year, but I increased our deductible to $1000. It will remain there. I'm not willing to go to a higher deductible.

It is what it is, right?

A Sale!

August 23rd, 2010 at 05:41 pm

Wow! I wasn't expecting it. I made a sale on half.com. I listed the book in January. Profit is minimal at $3.04, but I'll take it.

I'm not sure that I will get to it in August, but I can feel the need to start listing on ebay and craigslist after labor day. And I'm pretty sure we'll have a garage sale in September. Fun, fun!!

I also completed a Pinecone survey and should receive a payment tomorrow. They are so quick with the paypal payments.

Points Add Up To Dollars

August 21st, 2010 at 07:46 am

A look at some of our point accumulations reveal the following:

Debit card points: $75 worth that can redeemed for cash or a gift card at various stores.

My Points: Approximately 150 point shy of a $50 gift card to Target!! I also already have enough for $50 to Home Depot or Lowe's. I need even less of my point for a $50 gift card to Old Navy. I shop at Target much more often...so I need to figure out which card makes sense for me.

I mentioned a few days ago that I earned $5 at Amazon through the swagbucks program. I have yet to spend that. I will likely use towards Christmas gifts!

I like free money. If you like free money and would like to join MyPoints, please post your email with your first intial and last name (it can be a fake name if you want) Smile. You will receive an invite to my points. I receive 25 points if you join! I will delete your email asap.

Life Related to Money

August 20th, 2010 at 06:59 pm

Interesting day today:

Slipped into a convenience store between the girls meet the teacher events to use the restroom. Bought $6 worth of junk on the way out.

Volunteered to buy clorox wipes for the elementary teacher, as well as snacks for the class in September. Cost yet unknown.

Invited to the neighbors for leftover birthday cake. Gave their daughter a fabric pouch I made out of fabric I already had and the zipper I purchased yesterday. Borrowed a music stand from them, saving myself nearly $20. They gave me two ears of sweet corn and confirmation of garage sale participation this fall.

Spent so much time at the neighbors, I felt the need to run for fast food for dinner and spent about $16. Regret it. I had other things to eat, even if it was not the dinner I had originally planned (baked chicken).

Earlier in the day, I had my daughter try on shoes that were delivered in the mail (because the store didn't have her size). Turns out they did fit, but didn't 'feel right' to her. So they need to be returned to our local store and we need to be on the lookout for another pair. Oh, and the jazz shoes from last year are too small, too. Another purchase to pursue.

As I said, an interesting day as it relates to money. A little spending. A little saving.

Swagbucks: I'm Back On

August 19th, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Well, I got back on the swagbucks bandwagon. I earned another $5 Amazon gift card. I will try to accumulate as many as I can before the Christmas shopping season begins. It does take me awhile because I don't sign up for too many offers where I have to give out my personal information.

If you want to explore swagbucks and earn gift certificates and prizes, click on my sidebar for more information.

Oh...and I spent more money today.

Zipper and a candy bar for DD: $2.53
Gym shorts: $8.47

Just realized those purchases were an even $11!!

Purchases: A List

August 18th, 2010 at 07:45 am

Here's what I have bought in the last few days. I do not recommend following these 'deals'.

Eye Doctor: $63
Glasses DD #2: $89
Glasses DD #1: $226
2 Pairs of Sneakers: $88
Uniform Shirt: $5
Pizza for sleepover: $17
Donuts for sleepover: $8
Redbox movie rental: $1

It'a big total. Feel free to add it up it you want.

Can I just say that teenagers get pretty picky about the glasses they wear, thus I was stuck with the pricier glasses. I do have the cash, otherwise, there would have been a different outcome. And I know...I didn't need to buy takeout for a sleepover, but it sure is easier! Next sleepover will be tacos or pasta at home and cereal for breakfast. Smile

The Van Loan Balance Drops AGAIN!

August 17th, 2010 at 06:16 am

We made our regular van payment with $448 going to principal. This brings our new balance below $13K!

New Balance: $12,593

Our regular payment is $496, but as we have paid down the principal balance on the loan, I've noticed that Honda is lowering our payment due. For instance, next month our payment will be $493.82. I guess that is good...I just need to add a few dollars extra to the principal payment.

Other news related to the van: I've requested cancellation of the GAP insurance we purchased. I'm hoping for at least $200 back. I believe it will get sent directly to our loan, so I need to keep an eye on that account. I'm not exactly proud of buying a vehicle that we had to buy GAP insurance on, but we are paying this loan down pretty quickly. It would have been more financially devastating to have owed money on a vehicle that we could no longer drive. And I must say...I love my van. Smile

Prepping for Back To School

August 16th, 2010 at 05:57 am

It's our final week of summer. It's time to double check the shoes and clothes and fit in a good time here and there.

This week the girls have eye appointments. Read that as: new glasses and a pair of contacts for one. We are in the market for new sneakers and a couple of shirts. It's still summer, so no long sleeves or jeans needed yet. Those few things will add up, but I have cash to spend.

The last few outings aren't yet planned, but they need to be close to free. I have spent a fair amount this summer keeping us entertained. Again with cash!

What do your school preparations look like?

Sidebar Edition: Van Principal Payments

August 14th, 2010 at 09:23 am

I have added a new page to my sidebar which will list the extra principal payments we make on our van loan. Here's what it looks like so far:

07072010 $265
07152010 $560
07222010 $700
08012010 $1200
08132010 $615

YTD Total = $3340

Not bad in just over 5 weeks time!!