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Archive for September, 2008

September Tracking

September 30th, 2008 at 09:48 am

Looking over the September spending- we did not do as well as I had hoped.Good news- We had 2 NSD. But we had a few unexpected one time expenses and considering that BB and I were both unemployed with BB also having knee surgery this month, I think we did pretty well.

Here are our gory details:

TOTAL INCOME: $3354.00
Rent: $1750
EBay: $904
Baseball: $350.00
Garage Sale: $200
Rebates: $150.00

EBay:
Earned: $1112.00
Shipping: -$112.00
Ebay fees: -$96.00
Net: $904.00

EXPENSES: $1551.00
Rent: $500.00
Groceries: $388.00
Gas: $150.00
Electricity: $184.00
Lawn: $100.00
Health Insurance: $89.00
Water: $60.00
Phone & Internet: $45.00
Waste service: $35.00

ONE TIME EXPENSES:$2560.00
Wedding expenses$1344.00
New Computer: $830.00
New Dog: $386.00

FUN: $586.00
Takeaway/Dining Out: $244.00
Gifts: $95.00
Clothes & Shoes: $70.00
Vitamins: $61.00
Scrapbooking $50.00
Video Games: $44.00
House Improvement: $17.00
Misc: $3.00
Car Improvement: $2.00

Total -$1343.00 Going on the credit card

It's not as bad as it looks. The negative amount is about equal to the wedding expenses, and that will be paid off in full after the wedding next month. What I thought was interesting is the eBay results. That really adds up! So does shipping though!

A peek into my thoughts right now

September 29th, 2008 at 11:54 am

Not withdrawing from the market was a good idea. Not withdrawing from the market was a good idea. Not withdrawing from the market was a good idea....

This is cyclical. This is cyclical. This is cyclical...

These lawmakers know what they are doing. These lawmakers know what they are doing. These lawmakers know what they are doing...

I don't need this money for 30 years. I don't need this money for 30 years. I don't need this money for 30 years...

My stock market portfolio

September 29th, 2008 at 07:39 am

I am feeling better about my position in the stock market.

Before Wall Street opened this morning my financial advisor called me regarding the email I sent over the weekend explaining I wanted to make changes in my portfolio.

It turns out I have been reading my monthly statements wrong. I thought I was 98% in stocks and 2% in cash/cash equivalents...but it is 98% mutual funds (and I think I need to relearn what mutual funds are.)

He said I am actually about 50/50 in safe investments and stocks. I have about 7% in mutual funds, 7% treasury bonds, 21% bond funds and 8% in cash. The rest are also in mutual funds...but mutual funds that are losing money so maybe aggressive mutual funds? Is that possible?

He told me that the conversation we had about a year ago where I said I wanted to go more conservative was a good move because now I am 50/50- but going more conservative will mean missing the upswings of the market.

So after talking to him...I felt better that even if the market tanks, 50% of my money is safe-and so I did not change anything in the portfolio.

I was expecting the market to increase today with the news of the bailout- but the pullout of foreign countries has tanked the market some more- once again what I THOUGHT would happen did not...so oddly enough it makes me feel better that maybe my fear of the market collapsing is unfounded.

ummm...in other news- that house pic I posted 3 days ago explaining BB and I love it- dropped 40k in price last night. It's only been on the market 2 weeks! BB and I are bummed believe it or not- because now someone is sure to sweep it up before we can get out to see it in November. Plus- now it is in a price category that tends to tell me the neighborhood is really bad...so that is disappointing as well.

Quite a nice family day...and not spending a dime!

September 28th, 2008 at 05:16 pm

Today was an excellent no spend day.

Baseball boy and I took our new dog, Casey, to the baseball field and let her run around on the field. She loved it!

Then I worked at BB's baseball school for a few hours filling in. BB went to the gym.

In the afternoon I came home and napped.

Afterward BB and I took Casey to the beach. It was Casey's first time at the beach. She loved it and was very amusing. At one point I looked up after wading out into the water to see 3 huge fins rising out of the water not far from Casey and I! After yelling to BB and grabbing the dog I processed that they were not sharks, they were dolphin! They were in pretty shallow water so everyone stood on the beach to give the dolphin their space and admire the show.

After we got home we relaxed..then I got bored and decided to test out the rollerblades I bought yesterday at the garage sale. It was amusing but I got the hang of it quickly. Overall a good $8.00 purchase. (until I end up in the hospital..less a matter of 'if', more a 'when'.) I hooked Casey to the leash and let her pull me around the neighborhood on the skates. She was good- but only because she was exhausted from the beach. She's normally a bit out of control on the leash...still learning her manners.

Baseball boy grilled himself some steaks and made me a few grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.

Now Casey is sleeping on the couch with me. And I am debating an early turn in too.

Garage sale success

September 27th, 2008 at 10:33 am

Garage sale was a sucess- sort of. I made $206.00 (good) but only sold about 60% of the stuff. Overall it was a good time- I am just frustrated thinking about hauling it all in.
And I bought a pair of rollerblades from next door. I have never rollerbladed in my life- but guess I will give it a shot.

It's hard to figure out what will sell and what wont-you see it all as 'crap' and so you have a hard time arranging the sale to showcase your best 'crap.'

I sold a mink coat (at a huge discount...but the woman was really thrilled with it)..1 barbie in a box, 1 porcelain doll in a box, 2 waterford ornaments, all my scrapbooking stuff, all my CD's, an unopened makeup set, a jewlery cleaner, 3 necklaces, and a tupperware set. And 4 books! (leaving multiple barbies, dolls, books, and jewelery to go back into the house.)

Anyways...I am feeling better about the market today. Sort of. I am still going to go more conservative.

I may miss a soar in the market but I don't care. If this was a few thousand dollars I was playing around with and learning about the market- or I had previously been playing around in the market and knew enough to know what I dont know, or knew enough to be cocky- then I would stay in. But as it is- The money I have invested is too great an amount for me to feel comfortable managing based on my zero knowledge of finances.

In the back of my mind I still think some anti-Americans could really do us some damage right now and I don't want to have a heart attack if that happens.

I am wussing out of the market.

September 26th, 2008 at 06:55 pm

I am once again trying to figure out the market...so forgive my ignorance a bit, I have some questions here:

I am in 'aggressive stocks' and 'conservative stocks.' But what do those terms mean? How much does a stock gain/lose in what time frame to be considered aggressive or conservative?

The news gives accounts of the stock market by saying "the market is down 20% from last month.." and obv that 20% is a compilation of stocks rising while others fail. But are conservative stocks currently tanking as well?

I am thinking of getting out a little bit. I am 98% in the stock market- I think 60% aggressive/40% conservative...and I want to move maybe 20% into a money market account just to make sure that come hell or high water I will have something in the end.

So I should take 20% from the aggressive stocks...right? I imagine the conservative stocks are quietly going along dipping and gaining in small increments and it is the aggressive stocks that are causing the wild fluctuations in my monthly statements-right?

I know you guys will tell me to look at my statements to find my weakest links...but honestly I really have trouble understanding my statement. I am going to set up a phone meeting with my financial advisor but we don't talk very often and I am not sure I am such a huge priority to him. He will do what I ask him to do-but does not often have many suggestions for me.

Also- The money is in an IRA I inherited- If I move money into a money market fund...I need to pay taxes on that money-right? I dont mind that idea- once the bailout starts and a new president comes in- he will probably raise taxes. Better to pay them now than later.

Do I sound completely crazy? My mind is kind of panicky. And I just want to be done with this wild ride. The govt may be doing all they can to calm people down with this bailout...but I just have a bad feeling about things. America seems very vulnerable right now and in this global environment- we are not the only people who know that. And once we begin this bailout plan- we will still be very vulnerable because I imagine the country might be close to broke for a while.

I dont have the experience to imagine what is going to happen in the future, nor the faith to see this course through. I may have my whole life to let the markets recover- but I also have my whole life to get back into the market later.

I feel like such a wimp. But I am done with worrying about the markets.

Garage Sale Preparation-

September 26th, 2008 at 08:46 am


Why is it that you look around your house and think you have so much junk and imagine a house clutter free and cleaner...but then it comes time for garage sale selling you cannot bring yourself to add anything to the sell pile?

I want to get rid of all the porcelain dolls still in their boxes. I want to get rid of all the paperback books- I never reread them. Scrapbooking stuff that I will never use. Stuffed animals with tags still attached. Barbies still in their box. Shoes still in their box.....

But now we have a garage sale tomorrow and my sell pile is so small!

I think to myself.."If the junk sells then my bookshelf is clear to keep all these books."..."No one will pay $10 for these designer jeans but they were $60 and after tearing off the tags I never wore them once!"...."I hate this little figurine but if I sell it and my friend who gave it to me asks where it is-what will I say?"

And so back into the closets and far corners of the house the junk goes!

I WANT the junk-junk to sell so my semi-junk will have a place to live...but no one will buy the junk-junk and will pay such low prices for the semi-junk that I think I should keep it!

Lunacy! It is! I gotta get detached. Keep the vision of a clean house fresh in my mind.

30% down payment?

September 26th, 2008 at 05:34 am





(Up above is a house Baseball boy and I have been admiring online....)

Well...my house down payment is locked up at WAMU/J.P.Morgan. No sweat...not looking for a home...well not looking for a home seriously.

I am wondering about mortgage interest rates though. I wonder if this bailout will mean they raise interest rates because the economy is more stable/ to help the banks a bit more.

I am lucky to have seen this housing crisis from the beginning as an outsider. I learned alot. It confirmed that my initial plan was good to put down 20% despite pressure from peers and advertisements to "jump in now- you are a fool if you miss this opportunity." I decided on the 20% route because that's the way homeowners who still own their home 10,20,40 years later did. It's a proven course to success...all this other stuff was just trendy bling.

But sadly...I think I am a bit spoiled on the mortgage rates. 5% interest sounds good. Quite tasty. Now people are remembering interest rates from the eighties for 10-11%? No way! I'm not paying that! I want to lock in now!

So off to crunch the numbers I went last night. We cant afford it....I am having an opposite problem of most people- I finally have a decent down payment-but don't think we can afford the monthly mortgage.

So now the new goal is to put 30% down. Frown I am kind of sad about it because 30% of $200-250,000 is a long way off...but to sleep at peace Baseball boy and I want to keep the mortgage and all house bills at or under $1600 a month.

So...nothing much to report here. I am financially the same as I was yesterday, just a bit further behind in our life-goals. But we are still going house hunting in November. ~Just to look though!

My man IS on the path to fiancial freedom!

September 25th, 2008 at 08:20 am

Ok, I know someone out there has a husband who builds/resells gaming electronics.

I was cleaning behind our TV yesterday and came across an XBox controller. For the OLD xbox- not the 360. It is green with the cord attached...just dusty. Baseball boy told me to toss it.

Can I sell it on eBay? Is there a market for it? I tried to look it up on ebay but typing in 'xbox controller' brought up NEW controllers. Is it worth anything?

In other news- eBay is making me some money. I added $400 to my house fund yesterday, and more is coming...I am quickly replenishing the $3400 I 'borrowed' to pay off the credit card. Just this wedding next month- things/finances are getting blurry. Glad it will be done and business as normal in 6 weeks!

AND! The charts on the fridge are WORKING! I have posted:
1 chart of our daily spending totals
1 chart of our wedding expenses
1 chart of our house fund balance...
Yesterday BB was looking at the fridge and says "Hey! We have not had a No Spend Day this month!" I was overjoyed. Truly. I am still smiling.

Question regarding this bailout package

September 25th, 2008 at 04:56 am

So I watched President Bush last night. (Keep in mind- I am a democrat, never liked Bush.)

Anyways, to start off- he did seem to be trying to 'sell' this bailout package. I thought president's talk and people do.

Bush sounded like he was trying to convince us to 'buy' something. And I understand the bill needs to pass congress, and Congress won't pass it without the public's support...

But last I checked there were still enough people who trusted Bush to support his plan. In addition, the plan SOUNDS good to average people who don't pay attention to economics and industry. I mean, to say that the govt is going to use $700 billion to put into the banking system so that banks don't fail, lending still continues, the stock market recovers, and in several more years the money will be repaid plus interest...well- I think that would get plenty of support from average people. Especially with the economy as it is- I think people are looking for anything with the promise of improvement. So just the president's endorsement should be enough to pass this bill.

But instead the president sounded very alarming. He used sensational words to get an extreme emotional reaction, and predicted an outcome worse than I anticipated was possible...he really strongly implied that America as we know it will be wiped out if the bailout package does not pass.

So my questions are these:
1. Now- what if it does not pass? Will Americans go into a panic because they thought this was the answer and without it America is doomed? Pres Bush really suggested there were no alternatives besides the bailout. He just set us all up to panic if the bill does not pass.

2. MUCH more important than the first. What if the bailout passes but FAILS? All the experts are trying to figure out if it will pass...but what if it passes, the treasury invests $700 billion in mortgages/banks, and the economy still continues going downhill? What are we putting up at stake here? What are the risks?

I can't help but remember President Bush's last big idea to start the Iraq war. After the war on terror. And the bombing in Afghanistan. In my book, President Bush has had marginal success in some cases and less in others. Not a great track record.

Therefore...I really am concerned about this bailout NOT WORKING...and I am at a loss to imagine what the government/society/economics/daily life is like in the case of failure or mistakes or mismanagement.

my stupid $800 computer

September 24th, 2008 at 03:59 pm

ok, I am on my new computer.

I dont know why my computer was $800. oh yes I do.

It was $650. The cheapest in the store was $500 but the sales guy said it wont last a year. This model was the next cheapest price. But then I had to pay $150 for them to wipe it clean from unwanted programs and install security stuff. Then taxes. And my printer is obsolete and is not compatible with this laptop....all came to $830.00.

New question...old computer had 2005 microsoft word. We purchased Microsoft office word 2007-upgraded and installed it on old computer...bringing old windows into the current version.
-we are trying to install word on this computer using the upgraded disk but it asks for a 25 digit product key that we thought we found on the bottom of the computer...but it is 'invalid'. Any ideas?