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Fit in a Fun Friday – Curling…Yes, Curling

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My husband has recently thrown himself into Curling. Yes, that’s right…Houston man…not much ice…ice sport…I do see the funny. 🙂 For those of you that have not been introduced to this sport, IMHO it’s a little like shuffleboard on ice. It requires a lot more coordination and heavy breathing than shuffleboard, but that’s the gist on how you score. Here’s a more thorough and accurate explanation of the game. Since my husband was so interested, we found a Curling league in our area and attended a class last weekend. After much cussing, knee bruising, and numb fingers, I realized this was not an activity for me. On the other hand, my husband was smitten. Think kid in a candy shop – that was my husband after 2 hours of practice. He’ll be returning to this painful super fun league this weekend to join up. On the financial side of this new hobby, he’ll be looking at weekly league dues and some equipment costs like shoes ($30-$200 depending on quality and brand) and a Curling broom ($20-$50). Thankfully, the league supplies the granite stones that are slid across the ice. They will also let him borrow the basic supplies in the … Read more

Our Wedding – Frugal and SOOO Fun!

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I was reading one of my favorite blogs today, FMF, and saw this post.  All of the comments were interesting, but the ones specifically about the cost of the engagement ring and wedding brought me to this post. I met my hubby during our freshman year of college.  I was bored during a midnight shift on the 24 hour help desk at our dorm and he kept walking past.  By his third pass, I asked him to keep me company and didn’t find out for years that he was hoping I’d want company…that still makes me smile! He proposed less than a year later with the ring I picked out (with him of course) – white gold with a diamond chip for $125.  I love that ring.  We got married 3 years later on a gorgeous early-summer day.  It was an awesome day!  Even though the ceremony had to start a little late, my hubby was waiting patiently at the end of the aisle with a huge grin on his face.  I happily cried through at least half of the thing, we had a great reception, and then we hung out in our miniature apartment with our closest friends until 3am.  We opened … Read more

Our Monthly Budget

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To lay the last bit of our financial foundation, I wanted to share our monthly budget.  Our exact expenses change a little month-to-month, but this is the basic picture of our spending: Mortgage – $900 Emergency Fund – $500 Tax Account – $400 Home Account – $350 Roth IRA – $300 Vacation Account – $250 Cash – $200 Extra Roth IRA – $120 Extra Masters Money – $125 Car Payment – $330 Car Insurance – $110 Gasoline – $150 Electricity – $150 Cable & Internet – $100 Cell Phones – $80 Water – $30 Garbage – $20 Groceries – $300 Fast Food/Restaurants – $200 Misc Bills/Car Maintenance – $200 Entertainment/Misc Fun ($75 each and $100 joint) – $250 Medical – $100 Maid Service (biweekly $45) – $100 Lawn Service (biweekly 8 months a year) – $50 Netflix – $20 Pet Expenses – $100 Massage Envy – $50 Total = $5485 That comes to $65,820 a year.  We make $78,000 before taxes plus the $4000 a year my hubby makes as a sports official.  Taxes, the pension, the 401k, and our benefits account for the other $16,180. Needless to say, I am anal enough to keep up with every single expenditure.  Unplanned expenses are taken from the appropriate target accounts.  Also, before … Read more

How We Chose to Budget in the Fun Stuff

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As my last post explained, we do make it a priority to have fun now while saving for our future.  My husband and I actually went back and forth on this for a couple of years since I felt we should save everything we possibly could, but he thought we should be able to live a little too. He was right, but we had to find a way that could make us both happy.  He asked me what I was worried about, and I realized that I just wanted all our bases covered.  I wasn’t pissed that we spent money, I was worried we weren’t saving enough. We started a plan that would make us both happy. We sat down one Saturday evening and wrote out our big life goals.  We then broke those into financial goals that could be achieved with our combined $78,000 income before taxes.  We set target amounts for each goal.  That sheet looked something like this in a couple of hours: Targets: Mortgage – Continue overpaying $160 a month. Tax and Insurance Account – $400 a month since we don’t escrow and this would cover taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and our CPA. 401k – Continue contributing 6% of my … Read more

General Steps to Financial Stability

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Before I start posting specific spending scenarios, I wanted to post a general idea of how you could cover your basic financial bases.  Please disregard if you are beyond this of course.  These are the steps we use: 1. Create a budget after monitoring your spending and income for a month.  This will need to be updated with forgotten items as you go. 2. Pay all necessary bills. 3. Set up an emergency fund for at least 3 months (see below for the rest). 4. Maximum matching to your 401k. 5. Max out at least one Roth IRA. 6. Add small “fun” money allowances into the budget.  This is important to keep yourselves on track.  Without a little “fun” money breathing room, you’ll catch yourselves splurging more often…this could slow down your progress quite a bit. 7. Overpay your mortgage to at least the nearest $100. We overpay to the $100 after that for a total of an extra $160 a month. Continual extra principal payments will save you thousands in interest. 8. Hit your specific goals – In our case, we put money aside for my husband’s graduate classes, extra into our emergency fund since we want it to be large enough to cover at … Read more

January 2010 Net Worth

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I wanted to use this blog to be as open as possible with our finances and to create a lasting record.  With that in mind, I’ll start off by posting our current net worth. We calculate our net worth as listed below.  We don’t include the value of our possessions, we round down to the nearest hundred for assets, and we round up to the nearest hundred for liabilities. Assets 1. Cash – $21,000 2. Stocks – $11,700 3. Retirement – $31,400 4. Home – $130,000 5. Cars – $17,000 Liabilities 1. Home – $74,400 2. Car – $12,000 Total Net Worth = $124,700 I base the value of our home on two things: comparables selling in our neighborhood and the estimated appraisal by Chase Home Value Estimator.  I will always estimate low. I base the value of our cars on Kelley Blue Book’s Private Party Value of our vehicles in “Good” condition truncated down to the nearest $1000.  For example, if my car is valued at $4600, I’d calculate that as $4000. How is your net worth coming?  Anything you’re trying to change?