Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I know I've been slacking on my post and I am sorry. So to let you know where I am at, we had to trade in the vehicle that we've been having trouble with, we were putting more money into it than it was worth. So we have a new truck. It is nice, but I am not looking forward to having a car payment. Oh well, I don't have to worry about it breaking down. I will start posting more, I've just been lazy.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Carnival of Personal Finance #123

The carnival of personal finance is up on Dough Roller's blog. Just wanted to say thanks to Dough Roller for including my article on life insurance. As always check out the blog there are a lot of great entries. I will post some of my favorites once I get a chance to read them.

Friday, October 19, 2007

More Drama

So since having work done one both cars, one of the cars has decided to continue to have problems. I guess it's because it is an '98 and has never given us problems until now. Oh well I guess that is life. If it's not one thing it's another. Well hopefully we have everything fixed now that needed to be fixed and the car will last us a little longer. The car is paid of and I really don't want to get into another car payment, but it looks like if it is going to cost us more to maintain it may be better to get rid of it and get something new. The bad thing is, is that I am attached to the car and don't want to get rid of it. So I guess we will see how it runs for a while. Hopefully we can keep it, since I am kind of attached to it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Emergency Fund Works

Turns out we had to have all kinds of work done on both our cars this month. It was unexpected and we were short on cash also. So our emergency fund came to the rescue. It sure beat busting out the credit cards again. So anyway we got most of the work done and only have a couple of minor things to take care of. Start an emergency fund it works.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Life Insurance, How Much is Enough?

Life Insurance may be taboo to talk about because no one wants to talk about their mortality, but Life Insurance is something everyone definitely needs. Well how much do you need? Money Magazine says that you need to multiply your income by five to come up with the amount that you need. Much of the question is how much will your family need to survive if you pass away. Then there is the question of whether to get a term life policy or a whole life policy. A term life policy is good for the amount of years you purchase it for 10yrs, 15yrs, etc.... A whole life policy is more like an investment, you are investing a premium into your policy and if at a certain age you have not passed away, you can start withdrawing on your money. The younger you are the cheaper it is to get a life policy and you can have a lot invested by the time that you are ready to retire. The best thing to do is get with a good agent and have them go over your many options.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

College Tuitions

I just read an awesome article on why college tuition's are so high. I know my tuition puts the hurt on my wallet. Even worse than tuition is the cost of books, and the fact that there are new books every semester, so you are stuck with buying new instead of used books. Click the link on the title to read the original blog entry.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Stocks are on the rise

Hopefully this trend continues so I can either break even or make some money on my stock. I always second guess myself when to get out and end up in the position I am in. Either take the loss or wait forever for the stock to break even. I guess I should read up more on stocks. Anyway enough complaining stocks are up, woo-hoo.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Top 10 Money Drains

Bankrate.com has listed 10 of the daily expenses that eat away at your money on daily expenses.

1) Coffee - for all you coffee addicts out there save your money, make your own coffee.
2) Cigarettes- this pretty much talks for itself, quit smoking save money.
3) Alcohol- Many of us spend way too much on this, cut it out and save muh-lah.
4) Bottled Water- This is one of my addictions, why pay a buck for bottled water.
5) Manicures- Women do your own nails, save money.
6) Car Washes- It's easy to blow $20 or more getting a car wash, wash you own car even at a car wash may cost around $5 in change.
7)Eating Out- Eating out kills your wallet, take a lunch to work and cook at home instead of going out.
8) Vending Machines- As a student it is very easy to waste a couple of bucks on junk food between classes or during breaks.
9) Credit Cards- Need I say any more? This should be number one.
10 Unused memberships- Like gym memberships, if you aren't using them cut them out.

Other places I think you can save money on is cutting out cable or satellite channels. Get the basic coverage if you need it. Let me know if you have any other ideas on how to save money or cut things out.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Classes Starting Again

Well classes are starting again this month. I am taking an Internet class, because I want to be able to spend more time with our baby. The good thing about taking classes is that it saves me money because I am studying most of the time. Anything that saves money is a good thing. So I am definitely looking forward to going back to class. I will probably be able to cut down some of the satellite channels and some other stuff, I won't have time to watch or do. This should help save even more.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Stocks Rising

Looks like stocks are rising, which is good because I almost made a major boo-boo by getting out at the bottom and cutting my losses. Hopefully this trend lasts. I guess I will just have to be patient and see what happens. I need to get back to reading more on stocks and the forex market. I've been slacking and that's what got me in trouble to begin with. If anyone has any recommends on either subject, I would greatly appreciate any input.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Investing Problems

So my investments aren't doing so hot. I didn't get out when I should have and my stocks dropped big time. Now I'm stuck either waiting for them to go back up or getting out at the bottom and trying again. So basically I get the shaft both ways. I think I will wait it out and see that it hopefully gets back up to where I was at. Now you know why I am an amateur investor. Oh well, each mistake is a learning experience.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Carnival of Personal Finance #108

The 108th Carnival of Personal Finance is being held by Broke-Ass Student this week. Just wanted to say thanks for the great job and for including my article on Spending Too Much on Your Kids. There are a lot of awesome posts so check them out. I will post some of my favorites once I get a chance to read some of them.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Happy July 4th

Hope everyone had a happy 4th of July. We did, we spent time with friends and family, so we had a great time. Hopefully no on lost any digits playing with fireworks. Again Happy late 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Spending Too Much on Your Kids

MSN has a good article that talks about how parents are spending too much money on their kids and not putting money away for retirement. Being a new parent I can see how this happens. There are so many things out there for kids and you want your kids to have the world, but how much is too much? We are lucky enough to be a two income family, but I can still see how we could overspend on our new baby. This is why we are trying to work up a budget that still lets us put money away for retirement and for our emergency savings account. The article talks about some of the reasons people are getting in debt for their children; paying for private schools, buying bigger homes, trying to keep up with the Jones' kids, and not teaching your kids the value of money. I think this is the most important of all and plan on teaching our kid when she is old enough the value of money and savings. This way she won't be in the same boat my wife and I are in. Anyway the article is pretty good, check it out.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I really hate budgets

I really hate budgets for some reason. One we never meet them or we just blow them off and two they are just a pain in the butt. I know I need to work on one to track our spending better, but I just dread taking the time to go through everything. Anyone have any ideas or comments. I'd like an easy budget and something that we would be able to not only keep up with, but would be willing to continue using.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Where We Are With Our Goals

Here is an update on where we are with our goals and with our debt.

1) Get out of debt. We are still working on this one, but at least we have consolidated all of our credit cards.
2) We are investing for retirement.
3) I am continuing my education college and investing.
4) We've had a baby.
5) We've remodeled our kitchen.

Our five year goals are still to get out of debt, buy a new house, rent or sell the current one, fix up our yard, get fit & lose weight. So we are halfway there and it has only been a year. I guess it's time to rethink or redo our five year plan, so we can stay on track of things.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Motivation and Goal Setting

I was looking over some notes that I have and found this and thought that it would make a good post again. I don't remember what book I got it from or which seminar I heard it from, but I give props out to whoever came up with it.

1) Examine your identity.
2) Define your Values.
3) Establish goals and create sub goals.
4) Create and action plan.
5) Implement various motivations.
6) Establish Discipline.
7) Maintain Flexibility.
8) Reach an outcome.

I feel that it is good to get refocused on your goals so that you stay on track. This is one way to keep on track or to actually get on track. If I remember where I got this from I will list the author so that you can check it out.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Old Habits

It seems that we have gone back to our old habit of eating out a lot, which is eating up a lot of our income. We had been doing pretty well with buying groceries and cooking at home, but it all starts to become a pain in the butt. Besides junk food is so much easier to get and jacks up your fat intake and your body weight. Anyway it looks like we are going to have to get strict with ourselves and start making meals at home again. Back to the fun of home cooking.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bad Blogger

So I have been a bad blogger lately. Part of it is the new baby, but most of it is running out of things to talk about. Now that things are getting back to normal, I will start blogging more. I've got a couple of books that I want to do reviews on and talk about the evils of credit cards again. Speaking of credit cards, have you noticed that when you stop using them, credit card companies start sending you new cards, checks to use on your credit card, and about anything else they can throw your way to get you to get yourself back in debt. Well their Jedi mind tricks won't work on me. Just say no to credit card debt. Anyway I will get back to my usual posting habits.


Monday, April 30, 2007

Ready For A Bigger House

Now that we have a new addition to our family, it looks like our house has shrunk a little more. I am ready for a bigger house already, but we need to wait on paying off the loan we took out to pay off our credit cards. So it looks like we will be stuck in a small house for a while longer. We should be able to manage, we might just have to get creative with the space that we currently have. Anyway just wanted to rant a little about our tiny house.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

It's a Girl

Just wanted to let everyone know that we had our baby. She's a beautiful little girl. I should be posting more again now as things start getting back to normal. Sorry it's been a while since I've had a post. I will get back on the ball.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Our Emergency Fund Is Coming Along

Since we have been using HSBCdirect to grow our emergency fund, our account has been growing slowly but surely. I've also been very happy with their service, seeing that I locked myself out of my account a couple of times and was always able to reach someone from customer service to help me out. We have enough in right now to cover a small emergency, but I would like to save enough to where if something came up, we wouldn't have to go back to charging on our credit cards. So knock on wood that nothing comes up. Anyway I am very happy with the service that we have been getting from HSBC and would recommend them to anyone looking for an online savings account.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Eating Out Less

Last month we noticed that we had been going out to eat too much and spending way to much on restaurants. So we decided to see what would happen if we cut out eating out and spent more time making meals at home. Well we have spent about $300 a month on groceries, but we have saved a ton of money by just eating at home. We have still gone out a couple of times, but not as much as we were before. Hopefully we can keep up with this trend because we need to be saving as much money as we can for when the baby comes. Which means we will be spending a lot of time at home and with family for a while. I am new to fatherhood so I am not sure about how soon you take your baby out and all that stuff, so it should be an interesting experience.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

1st Payment on Loan

Today was our first payment on the loan that we got to consolidate all of our credit card debt. It felt really good just to be making one lump payment and not a bunch of small ones. The other good thing is that we can actually see the light at the other end of the tunnel. Unlike when we were just paying on the credit cards, we actually know that we will have everything paid off in 4 years. So I am pretty excited about that. I have also been slacking on my blogging duties, part of it is writer's block, and maybe a little bit of laziness. I will get back on track and try to start posting more often.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Cold Turkey, Cutting Our Spending

In an attept to cut our spending and save some extra cash, we took a look at our budget and bank statements and realized that we were going out to eat way too much. So this past month we hit up the grocery store and have been eating and spending more time at home. Turns out our budget looks a little better this month and our dollars are stretching a little more than they have the past couple of months. We still went out to eat once or twice, but nothing like we had before. I guess you don't actually know how much you are spending on junk or wasting money until you actually sit down and look at it. This month may actually turn out to be a good one after all.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Our Love with Debt

I just read an awesome article on debt called, "Deep In Debt, Deeper In Denial" by Laura Rowley. It talks about a documentary that is coming out called "Maxed Out", my life story. Anyway it talks about how bad Americans are in debt and how much creditors and collection agencies are loving it. Pretty sick if you ask me, especially since I am in debt. I am looking forward to checking out this documentary. Definitely read the article, it has a lot of great information.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Budget Time Again

Well now that we got the loan to pay off all of our credit card debt, it's time to do our budget again to make sure that we have everything paid on time and aren't broke most of the month. I was paying all of our bills at the beginning of the month, but now I'm going to have to split it between the 1st and the 15th. I hate budgeting, but it has to be done. I am glad that we have all of our credit card bills consolidated now and only have to make one payment instead of many. I am also trying to put some money away for when the baby comes, just in case we have any extra costs. Hopefully the budget works out with out too many hassles.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Get Rid of the Clutter

Well slowly, but surely, I have been reading Suze Orman's "The Courage to be Rich". I've come across an interesting part about getting rid of the clutter in your life and getting yourself organized. This not only shows you that you have too much junk in your house, but also the amount of money that you have wasted on things that you don't really need. We have a ton of stuff we can get rid of, especially since we are losing a room to the baby. It doesn't help that my wife is a pack rat and has kept everything she owns since the dawn of time. So now it is time for us to get organized and unfortunately move some stuff into storage. The amount we are paying for storage could be going to better things, like savings or investments, but when you live in a super small house we don't have much choice. So hopefully soon we will have all of the stuff in our house either organized or stored, so we can start saving more money by not buying more junk. Anyway I thought this was pretty interesting from Suze, especially since it applies to me. Will keep you informed on anything else I find interesting in her book.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

V-Day Is Almost Here

Well Valentine's Day is almost here. We have decided to go the cheap route because of our impending new arrival. A couple of cards, some small gifts, and a home cooked meal. Maybe even starting to paint the babies room pink. Nothing says romance like painting a room pink & lavender. I guess our priorities are starting to change, which is good. We need to start focusing on our baby anyway. Anyway just wanted to say that I hope everyone has a happy and enjoyable Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Slacking Again

Okay so I've been slacking on my blog lately. My reasons? I've been down with the flu and I've been spending a lot of time working on the babies room. It seems that changing out the base boards on an old house is a lot more work than I had bargained for. So because of these reasons I haven't blogged in a while, sorry. Will get back on the ball as soon as I start feeling better.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Good News

Well we got good news, we got the loan to pay off all of our evil credit cards. Now all that is left to do is to put them to their death; by shredder with no blind fold and no last requests. Even though it seems far away it feels good to know that we will have everything payed off in four years or less and as soon as that is over with I'm sure it will be time to start looking for a larger house for us and our new addition. So the fight against debt continues, hopefully at a better pace. Will keep everyone posted.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Paying Off Our Credit Card Debt

Well we are continuing to work on our credit card debt. I put in for a consolidation loan at one of our local Federal Credit Unions, so it looks like we may be able to cut down the amount of time it is going to take to pay off our debt from forever to around 4 yrs if we can get the loan and a pretty decent interest rate. So far things are looking pretty good and I would rather have one payment than a whole bunch of small and large payments. I hate credit cards. If I have learned anything from all this is that credit cards are evil. We are also continuing to put money aside into our emergency fund, so that anything that comes up unexpectedly will be paid with cash. So everyone cross your fingers, and hope that this loan goes through.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Carnivals this week

Just wanted to thank Blueprint for Financial Prosperity for including my article on Being Mature About Debt in this weeks Carnival of Personal Finance. Jim's done a great job of hosting even though it seems overwhelming with the shear number of entries. I am looking forward to reading alot of the articles and will post links to some of my favorites.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Being Mature About Debt

I found this article interesting on Yahoo finance called "6 ways to be a grown-up about debt" by George Mannes from Money Magazine. Since I've been down on our credit card debt I was happy to see that I was not the only one in this sinking ship. It seems that since 1990 credit card debt has more than doubled according to CardTrak.com. The reason why? Because it's so easy to charge things and have that "I want it now mentality". So what can you do to save your financial prosperity?

Money Magazine suggests this:

1) Admit that you're the problem. Almost sounds like AA, Hi my name is Mike and I have a credit card addiction. Actually this means taking responsibility for your credit dilemmas. Understand that eating out and using your credit card to pay for it makes for a very expensive meal.
2) Play Tricks on Yourself. Lock up the credit cards, shred them, burn them. Do anything to keep them out of reach and don't use them anymore. Start putting money aside for an emergency fund, so that if something comes up you aren't tempted to bust out a credit card.
Another good idea that they have is that if you need to get something big, pull the money out and put it in envelopes until you have enough for that large purchase.
3) Make success simple. Now that you've put a brake on your credit card debt, come up with a plan to start paying off your cards. Start by paying of the highest interest card and work your way down.
4) Beware of the easy out. Debt consolidation and Home equity loans can keep you in the same trouble if you don't change your spending habits and your mentality on credit card debt. Also with a home equity loan you are risking your home to get out of debt.
5) Get help if needed. Get help from a reputable credit counselor, who may be able to get you some better rates on your credit cards, just don't pay more than $75 and do your research.
6) Think outside the debt. Even though you are in debt don't forget to save some for an emergency and for retirement. Talk your expenses over with your significant other so that the future will look much brighter.

This article made me feel a little better, especially since I just figured out that we owe a ton of money on our credit cards. We didn't get in debt overnight, so I guess we aren't going to get out of debt overnight either.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Forex 101 Pt 2

I've been checking out some of the forex forums online and came across an awesome site for forex newbies, like myself. The site is www.babypips.com and it is full of all types of useful information. One of the things I found very interesting is their subject on what to look for in an online Forex Broker/Dealer. The following comes straight off of their site, so all of the credit is theirs.

What to look for in an online Forex broker/dealer:

1) Low Spreads. In Forex trading the "spread" is the difference between the buy and sell price of any given currency pair. Lower spreads save you money.
2) Low minimum account openings. For those that [are] new to Forex trading and for those that don't have millions of dollars in risk capital to trade, being able to open a micro trading account with only $250 (We recommend at least $1000) is a great feature for new traders.
3) Instant automatic execution of your orders. This is very important when choosing a Forex broker. Don't settle with a firm that re-quotes you when you click on a price or a firm that allows for price "slippage". This is very important when trading for small profits. [...].
4) Free charting and technical analysis. Choose a broker that gives you access to the best charting and technical analysis available to active traders. Look for a broker that provides free professional charting services and allows traders to trade directly on the charts.
5) Leverage. Leverage can either make you super rich or super broke. Most likely, it will be the later. As an inexperienced trader, you don't want too much leverage. A good rule of thumb is to not use more than 100:1 leverage for Standard (100k) accounts and 200:1 for Mini (10k) accounts.


I have been having a hard time figuring out which brokerage sites were better, which were legit and pretty much everything else about forex accounts. If you are as confused as I am please check out their site. They have alot of information an make it easy to understand.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Doing the Nasty, Figuring Out Our Credit Card Debt

So since this was one of my New Year's Resolutions, I figured it was time to recalculate our credit card debt. Pretty depressing. We owe around $25,000 in credit card bills and around $6,000 in a home remodeling loan. Someone shoot me if we ever pick up a credit card again. Actually most of the stuff was for our wedding, and stuff for our first house, so I shouldn't feel too bad, but if I had it to do over again I sure would do it a different way. Well enough wining it's time to come up with a plan to knock out our debt. I've heard of a lot of different ideas, but I think we are going to go with paying more on our highest interest credit card and working our way down. The only thing that worries me is that having an addition to our family may make this hard, so I am going to have to look at some alternate ways of picking up some income. I already have an simple IRA through work that matches my deposits, and have a Roth IRA to work on our retirement, so I am thinking about starting a Forex account to hopefully get some extra money going to pay off some bills. I really don't want to get a part time job or anything like that, so I better get a move on learning about the Forex Market. As of right now I am reading "Forex Made Easy: 6 Ways to Trade the Dollar" by James Dicks, but I was left a comment by Jon that says I should also check out a book called Forex Evolution so I will try to search for this book also. Thanks for the info Jon. Any other books or suggestions on forex would be appreciated.

Monday, January 08, 2007

To Hedge or Not to Hedge?

As an Amateur Investor, I am not ashamed to say that I do not or did not have a clue to what hedging was. I usually see or read about investors hedging, but never really got the gist of what they are talking about or what they really meant about hedging. I have been reading a new book called "Forex Made Easy: 6 Ways To Trade The Dollar" by James Dicks. As anyone who has read this blog before knows I really want to get into forex trading. I've just started reading this book and found it interesting that the author talks about four mistakes investors make:

1) Trading against the trend- I've made this mistake, luckily I just had to wait it out and was able to make my gains back, but if I would have cut my losses and got back in at the bottom I would have done a lot better.

2) Don't listen to so called experts, they all have there own agenda. (So if I took his advice I shouldn't be reading his book) This part I get because most of the experts on TV, stockbrokers, etc... are pretty much looking out for there best interest. This is why I like to read blogs, I can usually find a lot of great information out there.

3) Unwillingness to sell. I guess this would be the Enron syndrome, where the boat is sinking and no one is getting out.

4) Getting emotionally involved. This is how I got into mistake number 1. I kept saying to myself "hey this is a good company they will come back", luckily they did, but what if they would not have. Leave emotions out, if the signs say get out, get out.

Anyway in between explaining the mistakes investors make, the author starts talking about how Forex can be a hedge to your stock market investments. The only problem is that he didn't explain what a hedge was and what I was getting out of it was to hedging was like diversifying, but it turns out that they are totally different things. Wikipedia says that a hedge is an investment that is taken out specifically to reduce the risk in another investment. So I guess what the author is saying about Forex is that you can use it to offset some of the risk of your stock market investment and vice versa. Though I still don't totally understand the whole hedging thing, at least I have kind of an idea what it is, If anyone out there can explain it better to me I would greatly appreciate it. Anyway I will keep you up to date on the book and on the more I find out about hedging.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Moving the Computer

Well there goes the computer room. I got everything moved into our bedroom making it smaller that it already was. So if anyone has been wondering about why I haven't been posting in a while, it's cause we are in the process of getting the babies room organized and ready to paint, my blue walls will be changing to pink and some other pastel color. I actually like the move with the computer. Now I can watch TV, jam to tunes, surf the net, and work on my blog all at the same time. How is that for multi-tasking. Anyway wanted to let people know what's up and I will get back to posting more personal finance material as soon as I can.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Resolution Time

Well the New Year has begun. Hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday. Now it's time to work on those new resolutions. I've already started clearing our my office for the impending arrival of our daughter. I am also going to total out our credit card debt, which should be pretty depressing, so that we can make our plan of attack on how we are going to get these evil pieces of plastic paid off faster. This is probably the one thing that I am not looking forward to. The one good thing that came out of the Holiday's is that this past year we did not use our credit cards once for either Christmas or New Year's, so I am very happy about that. We didn't even go through withdrawals for going cold turkey on our credit cards. Anyway I will be working on our debt numbers and a budget for the year and will keep everyone up to date on our progress. Even though I was feeling like it was going to take forever to pay of, this year I am a little more optimistic. My year has started out well and I hope everyone else's has too.