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 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 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.