Budgets, like the people who use them, come in a variety of packages. Our budget lists our basic expenses and a few different savings accounts we push money into every month (few being like 7…). As the manager of our budget, I find it much easier if I have separate accounts for each of those goals. Here are the extra accounts we have at ING (currently at 1.1%) and Smarty Pig (currently at 2.15%): Emergency Fund – The cash we have set aside for job loss or anything unexpected that the other accounts won’t cover. Taxes and Insurance – We don’t escrow, so we put aside money every month for property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Auto and Home Maintenance – Ever since we paid my car off, we’ve been paying ourselves that payment for future car and home costs. We upped that amount when we bought our house but are keeping it somewhat minimal since we’re trying to pay off my husband’s car as quickly as possible. Roth IRA and Stocks – We put extra money here even though we also contribute automatically to the Roth IRA. We use this extra money as an opportunity fund. Vacations – We save here for our … Read more
For anyone new to BFS, I post a net worth update at the beginning of every month in order to keep myself motivated and to involve BFS readers. Please feel free to ask questions, make suggestions, or even post your net worths too. I am a particpant-motivated blogger, so please jump on in. I calculate our net worth as listed below. I don’t include the value of our possessions, I round down to the nearest hundred for assets, and I round up to the nearest hundred for liabilities. I also don’t include my husband’s pension account since I’m too lazy to keep up with it and it shouldn’t actually matter until he retires. Assets1. Cash – $25,500 (we paid for grad school’s 1st summer session…yuck)2. Stocks – $12,300 ($100 loss…icky)3. Retirement – $36,0004. Home – $130,0005. Cars – $16,000 Liabilities1. Home – $72,7002. Car – $9,900 (We made an extra $500 principal payment in mid-April, yay!) Total Net Worth = $137,200 Increase/Decrease = Up $3800 from last month That’s way better than I was expecting due to grad school. We’ve been living on less lately since we’ve been staying in a lot. Hubby’s been working on grad school and I’m a paid blogging woman now. Those two link … Read more
BFS is a member of the Yakezie Alexa Ranking Challenge! My ranking last week was 455,774. Now it is 369,629! The ultimate goal is to be in the top 200,000 by July 4, 2010. I’m giving weekly rank updates in order to track our progress. Not too shabby for a blog that started at 8,531,858 when it joined the challenge in March 2010! I would like to sincerely thank all of my readers and the members of the Yakezie Challenge. Obviously, this would be impossible without all of you. In case you didn’t know, Alexa traffic rankings are determined by the numbers of hits a site gets by people with the Alexa toolbar. If you want to be part of this ranking community, you can download the Alexa toolbar here. If you are a Yakezie member and don’t see yourself on my member list, please send me an email or leave a comment here to be added, thanks!
The library is an oasis for anybody looking for entertainment. Readers can enjoy books, books on tape or CD’s, and ebooks to our heart’s content. Movie lovers can browse the DVD’s. People who like to stay in-the-know could take a look at a variety of newspapers and magazines that would cost a personal fortune to have delivered. They also have computer access with databases galore for anybody dying to go online or find research materials. In short, the library offers a ton of free entertainment options that are pretty easy to enjoy. In many cases, it’s even easier than browsing the shelves or spending half an hour searching down the book you know they have. Many libraries have a site online that you can use to find and request what you are looking for. That can be used to request an item anywhere in the library system or even request an item from somewhere else. Once the item reaches the location of your choice, you can pick it up right off a hold shelf, check it out, and be back to your car in less than 5-10 minutes. Interlibary lending has allowed me to have access to over 100 paranormal fictions and murder mysteries … Read more
My guest post, Retirement Savings Mistakes, is up at Learn Save Invest today. It’s an overview of a retirement savings mistakes article and how we are stacking up. Please take a look if you get a chance!
I hit on the main ways of diagnosing your financial health in this past post. I’m going to use Wednesdays to go further in depth on each point since I truly believe that financial health leads to less stress and happier lives. I have already covered the first two points, Spend Less Than You Earn and starting an Emergency Fund. The third point was to save enough for retirement. This means saving consistently to fully fund the years after you stop working full time. Whether you choose to retire or simply age out, retirement savings is a truly important part of your fiscal life since you lose options with age. Look at Your Options You may be eligible for a 401k, 403b, IRA, Roth IRA, pension plan, etc. We even plan on using our stock investments at Scottrade as retirement income down the road. Out of all of these options, I’d first concentrate on the 401k to see if your employer matches any contributions. If so, make sure to contribute as much as you need to in order to get the full employer contribution. Otherwise, you are literally ignoring free money. What other investment do you know of with a 50% – 100% rate … Read more
I was inspired by this article to give a proper shout out to my parents. Thank you Mom and Dad for everything you taught me from as far back as I can remember. You are the reason I love personal finance and have never had to deal with high interest debt. Okay, no more mushy stuff, I promise. The article above has a great 15 item list, but I really honed in on these points: Only spend what you earn. Only allow yourself to spend 50% of that. Guide and advise but don’t dictate your kids’ spending. At some point, cut your kids off. I’d also like to add these specific suggestions since they either helped me or people I know: Help your kids open a banking account…having my own account spurred me to save. Teach your kids how to balance a checkbook and what those numbers mean. Have fun going over compound interest…I loved learning what my money could do. Explain debt’s consequences…this works best if they already know about compound interest. Introduce investment ideas…my mom went over CDs with me when I was 10. They help teach patience too. Quickly highlight what credit scores are and what they’re … Read more