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Archive for October, 2008

WHOOHOO!!!

October 26th, 2008 at 07:25 am

I just logged onto my eBay site and there has been a bidder on my most expensive item!! I have listed this item, and a few similar items several several times before with no bids. Always lots of watchers but no one will spend the money...but today someone is feeling rich!!

This will totally throw off my eBay numbers that I calculated a few days ago but IT'S A GOOD PROBLEM TO HAVE!! Whoohoo! Happy happy dance!

October Spending Tally

October 23rd, 2008 at 02:00 pm

Ok, stock market aside I thought I should go ahead and tally up BB and My October spending. I'll be busy with wedding preparations pretty soon and want to see how this month has panned out. Overall, I think we did well. I am pleased.

............September... October
Income.......$3354....$3977
Bills........$1551....$1166
1 time expenses$1216....$1064
Fun..........$644....$771

So we have increased our income (amazing because BB earned $280 this month-no really, he did.)and decreased everything else except fun. Looking over the 'fun' individual list~ BB ordered a Mother load of vitamins this month and that accounts for well over half of the 'fun' spending.

I am really proud of my eBay sales. I grossed over $1900 this month. Then shipping and fees took their cut..still left me with $1500.

BTW-everything was nicely lined up before it gets posted, sorry for the messy lines.

ok, I'm staying in

October 23rd, 2008 at 09:53 am

Alright...I am in. I am doing this. And I am not going to get out.
I actually convinced myself to stay in after my last 2 posts.

I wrote down that I can handle my shares all dropping ALMOST to the point of extinction- as long as they do not go to $0. I can handle that because I have faith that in 30 years it will be built back up. I was just really afraid that the market would go to $0. But after thinking about the market going to $0...I don't think my money sitting in some bank account will do anything for me anyways. Money might be worthless and crime would be so bad I would just be a target anyways.

And I have it in my head that the more shares you have...the more you will earn in the good times. I already have so many shares and funds and whatnot that it's a shame to sell all that and start over again.

And I am not a greedy little b*ch. Pardon the language but I always told myself that this money alone is more money than I ever thought I would see in one spot, and I dont care if it earns crazy gains because the turtle wins the race and I am already starting out in a sweet sweet spot. So as long as I retire with the same amount of money I started with-I'm ok with that.

And the best way to ensure that I retire with the same amount I started with is to withdraw a majority of my retirement at least 5 years before I retire. As long as I do that, then I should be fine.

And I need to remember that the stock market is not a net worth. Up til recently I thought it was a net worth. Now I see the stock market as a type of business...you put capital in-let it do its thing for a while-monitor it for issues-and at the end of it all you will have a net worth when its over.

I just get so caught up in everyone else freaking out. The news announced today that we are in "a credit crisis tsunami". -Well that sounds alarming! It makes me think that bad times are coming and I better prepare.

I mean, I have felt a tightening in the economy. Ebay sales are way down..the monthly interest payment in my bank account is pretty low..I don't have as much 'extra cash' in my accounts as I am used to...and everyone everywhere is flipping out about the economy. So I 'see' it...but personally for me-it's not hitting me as badly as I think it should. I'm just a bit uncomfortable. I'm not at the level the news and experts seem to tell me I should be at.

So I panic and think the bad stuff is coming. I think that I am on the verge of major problems.

But I need to remind myself WHY I am not on the front lines of this financial crisis.
*I don't own a house
*I don't own a business
*I don't have student loan debt, car debt or any debt
*I am not retired or about to retire where I need the stock market money
*I have not made any large financial commitments that I need to uphold in these tightening times.

So maybe I will get through this relatively unscathed. I don't think I deserve to be mildly affected though when everyone around me is flipping out. It doesn't seem very fair.

update to last nights worried post

October 23rd, 2008 at 06:45 am

Ok I'm throwing it out there. I know you guys who are telling me to stay in the market are right. You guys have been there/done that. But when BA asked me to picture what the market would look like in late December...ok. I admit it. In my head I picture big trouble.

I worry because I don't think the market has really done bad enough yet. Everybody is freaking out and complaining and the news is going crazy...but c'mon- do we really think this is it? That the worst has passed?

This cant be it! We have had financial giants tumble, and all anyone feels is a range from basically unaffected to short term uncomfortable. We are not even in an official recession yet!

And the other countries are only starting to become affected with the economy problems. What will happen when the whole world is at its lowest point?

All I am thinking is (and this stuff is pretty crazy-you guys might laugh); The big American/ European holidays are coming up..and anybody who wants to bring down America might see this financial situation as a good way to do it...

Plus we might have a controversial president coming into office and who knows how many crazies with guns will get stupid ideas in their heads...

And then I think- this cant be it. THIS is IT? Unemployment goes up a few points? People lose their house value for four or five years? The stock market teeters up and down up and down for a while?

Everything financial related is uncomfortable but not unlivable?

We have everyone freaking out on the news, in the streets, in the political box...there has got to be more bad coming.

So selfishly I wonder...why do I need to be in the market when the bad comes? Why cant I get out and then get back in during the upswing? What are the benefits to staying in all the way down then up? If I stay in the market and my shares go down to $1 a share...I CAN handle that-I know that when I need the money the stock market will be all functional again. But in the event there is more bad coming-a lot more- is there a chance my money will go to zero and it will be gone?

I dont get the stock market-many MANY questions in this post...

October 22nd, 2008 at 03:43 pm

Ok I don't understand stocks. I cant wrap my brain around it.I am about to knock out a few possibly wildly incorrect assumptions about the market that I use as factual. This could be a big part in my inability to understand the market. I am also about to throw out a HUGE amount of questions...

I try to understand stocks like house values. You buy one stock at $10. The more people want the stock (house), the more it is worth. The less people want the stock (house), the less it is worth.

BUT! Do stocks top out after a while? You buy a stock for $10. It averages an appreciation every year. After a few years its worth $200. yippeee! But how far up will your stock continue to climb? $1,000? $2,000? $10,000? I cant imagine many people buying one stock for $10,000.
People say to buy and hold..but if you buy and hold for 30 years wont your stock have topped out at some point? It cant keep going up forever..right?


And people tell me to not get out of the market now because I will lock in my losses. But I don't understand that either.

If I have $100 in the market...it tanks and I have $50 in the market and I sell all. I have $50. I lost 50%.

But the stock market will do 1 of 2 things. Go up or down.

Lets say it goes down. I pulled out as it was going down. My $100 was worth $50 when I pulled out. Then the market goes down some more. My $50 could have gone down to $5.

Then the stock begins to go back up.

How would STAYING in the market ALL THE WAY DOWN have given me an advantage over pulling out halfway through the decline and putting the money back in halfway through the climb?

If the stock market is going up and I put my $50 back in...and it goes up and up. How have I locked in my losses? As long as I buy in before the $50 mark...and when the market surpasses $100- I made money, right?

But what if the market goes down to 0. Then I have no shares to go up when the market goes back up.

I guess I am wondering...why everyone wants me to STAY in the market during the downswing. I can understand BUYING into the market in the downswing. Cuz your money has nowhere to go but up. But why stay in if your initial investment is going down, down down? Why not pull out halfway through the down and buy back in halfway through the upswing. You still will have a ways to climb to get back to your initial investment. The only way you will have 'locked in your losses' is if you permantly pull out of the market in a downswing. Or if you pull out in a downswing then buy back in after the market has climbed above your initial investment amount. Wouldnt pulling out during a downswing give you an opportunity to buy MORE STOCKS than you previously owned?

If you own 1 stock and it goes down then up- fine. you own 1 stock making money. But if you sell your 1 stock for a loss and it goes WAY down...and you buy in- you can maybe buy 2 or 3 stocks for the price you sold your 1 stock!

And I was In the market during the record highs. I was in that market a year or so ago. So if I pull out of TODAYS market going down down down...it will take a while to get back up to those record high numbers...I would have PLENTY OF TIME to get back into that climb before we reach the record highs from a year or so ago. This has taken a year to decline, wouldn't it take at least 6 months to get out of the red? So why would people tell me I will miss the jumps of the market if I pull out now? I might miss 1 or 2 jumps...but as long as I am back fully in by the time the stock climbs back to my selling point..I'm not missing anything.

I guess I wonder...if I sell when the DOW is at 10,000 points...and it goes all the way down to 5,000 points before going back up...as long as I buy back in before it hits 10,000 points then I will be making money-right? Why should I stay in the whole time?

if I have 100 shares worth of a $10 stock- I have $1000 invested. That stocks goes way down to $2 a share...I still have 10 shares...and I wait for it to go up...and it does go up...my $2 eventually goes back to $10 a share but I have only broken even. Everyone in the news is celebrating that the stock went up a million points but in reality I broke even. All the people who BOUGHT IN during the climb should be celebrating...but not us folks who bought years ago and just survived this whole ordeal.

And another thing...so what if my $10 stock goes down and then goes up to $100 a share...does that make me rich? I am only rich when I withdraw it right? Does that $90 I made pay me out a dividend or anything? Do I actually make money off the stock? I guess I can understand the excitement of a stock climbing if I got a cash payout every month...but I only see a return on my investment when I sell the entire stock -right?

They say the stock market historically yields a higher climb than a high interest bearing savings account so it is better to long term invest in the market...but a savings account pays me interest every month that gets compounded. It adds 3% onto the principle the 1st of every month and as long as I choose to compound the interest, I have a larger principle every month. I can withdraw some money when it is convenient, I can choose to spend the interest every month..but there is always $ invested earning interest.

That savings account money is an actual number. It is a net worth. You cant base your net worth on a stock price because it could be gone tomorrow. I thought the whole point in saving or earning money is to have security. Security to know you can put a roof over your head. To know that your kid will go to college. I can see how investing in stocks can be a way to EARN money...but I dont see how you can count your stocks as money you HAVE. Not until you cash them out.

How does a stock market come to be seen as what you are worth? How do you know you have $100,000 for retirement? Just because you had it 10 minutes ago does not mean You will have it when you retire!

But compared to a savings account once again, I get that the market on average yields something like 10% a year over the course of a decade or whatever that formula is- if I buy and hold the same stocks over the course of 30 years... but I never get to 'hold in my hands' any extra earned money (interest payment) unless I sell the whole stock. I own 1 stock for 30 years...and it is worth 10x my initial investment after 30 years...I must sell that 1 stock to actually have money in my hands and then what?-that's it. I no longer have principle in the market. My 1 stock is gone and it would cost $100 to buy it back. It would cost my entire 30 year gain if I decided I wanted to invest in the market again. It seems a one shot deal. I either own it and it is making money 'on paper' but I cant ever actually 'hold' that money the stock has earned me unless I end the game. ...

Wait. I guess the market is NOT like the housing market. Because with houses you can withdraw appreciation on your house (HELOC)..and the house will continue to appreciate! Just like a savings account..you withdraw a portion of the account but the account remains active and continues to earn interest every month. But not stocks. You are in or out. There is no 'being invested and enjoying the fruits of your investment' until you sell the whole thing.

All those years you look at your monthly stock report and see it going up (on average) a year...but that's not really your money. It's only your money when you cash it out. And once you cash it out-it would cost you everything you just earned to get back in.

Are these ramblings making sense? Is my basic knowledge of how the market works correct? I know I am only questioning the philosophy of the market because I am losing money...but the more I try to understand why I should stay in the market, the less I understand why I should stay in the market.

Anyone else heard this?

October 20th, 2008 at 05:33 pm

Have I heard rumblings that our two presidential candidates have talked about DEcreasing taxes paid on retirement accounts for a few years to try and help retirees who have lost lots of money in the last few months?

Does that mean I will be able to take my retirement funds out of the market and pay minimal tax penalties...then put them back into the market and later when I retire I don't need to pay tax??

I'm a glass half full kind of gal

October 20th, 2008 at 10:49 am

Hi guys, still around, still saving. BB and I have been so good the last several weeks to really stop spending. I am so proud because BB has eliminated almost all his habitual spending, and we can really see a difference! Both of us have higher account balances than we normally carry.

I didn't realize how give and take our spending habits are. He wants some take-out food so he gets some for me. Then he wants a movie so he also buys me a movie he knows I will like. Then I feel bad he has spent so much $$ on me in the last few days I surprise him with a pizza. And on the cycle goes. But that has just about stopped completely.

But he did have a birthday recently. And on his birthday, budgeting stopped. He took the day off from work. We went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast, then we drove to his favorite store so he could pick out two new video games of his choice, then we finished the day off with dinner at the Cheesecake Factory (far away AND expensive!).
I must say that it felt nice to go back to our old lifestyle. Eating at restaurants, DRIVING, buying things without worrying about sales/tax/price...it was nice just to let go and refuse to think about long term consequences of our actions today.

I can understand how hard it is for people to go from a mindless spending lifestyle to a controlled budget. It was so easy, carefree and relaxing to just live and not think about money.

But! I think that because we have been living very frugally and watching our money- that we enjoyed his birthday MORE than we would have otherwise. Honestly, he gets pampered every birthday, but this one was one of the most enjoyable days we have celebrated. I think one reason was because in the past we have lived each day somewhat lavishly by going out to eat regularly, buying items as we wanted them- so when a birthday came up- it was difficult to top our normal lifestyle. We would try by eating out at a verrry expensive place, or getting several several gifts, but it didn't have the same effect that this birthday had.

The economy falling has been an eye opening experience for me on many levels. I wish I did not lose money in the stock market, but I think this experience might save me money over the course of my life. I have already gotten used to a cheaper lifestyle, and if we get into the real estate market soon then we might end up saving a lot of $$ due to this depressed economy.

Yup. Although this economy has been hard to digest for everyone- I think I have learned and experienced a lot that I would have missed out on ordinarily.

Selling the Antiques??

October 16th, 2008 at 12:11 pm



I inherited a few large antique pieces of furniture that I am not in love with. In the interest in adding to my house down payment fund- I called an auction house to see how I can get an appraiser to come out and tell me about the pieces that I have. I know NOTHING about the pieces other than I have been told it is an antique.

The auction house guy was kind of vague.He said he is not an appraisor but does sell antiques in the auctions. He said he will come to the house on Tuesday to look at the pieces I have and tell me what he thinks.

He did warn me that antique sales have been down in today's economy.

I hate this feeling of being uneducated and vulnerable to swindlers but really experience is the only thing that will teach me what I need to know. But by the time I have experience the antiques will be gone.

I know I will get low balled. But everyone is going to low ball me so they can make a profit on the sale.

So since I really have no baseline idea of what I would 'like' to get for each piece...I am nervous that I wont recognize a REALLY low ball offer or a decent offer. And I don't know if I should call other places and get other offers...I am just not sure who else to call.



Breeding Strays but passing them off as purebreds

October 15th, 2008 at 03:09 pm

I just got a call from someone looking for the Australian Cattle looking dog I found last week and posted on Craigslist. The woman said that he looks like a purebred and wants him. I told her I couldn't handle him and took him to the shelter so he could be neutered and checked over by a vet and he was likely up for adoption by now if she wanted to call the shelter. She said that if I had posted in the Craigslist ad that he was un-nuetered I could have "gotten around a thousand bucks for him-Even without papers." Well now I am so glad I took him to the shelter and dont have to worry about swarmy people trying to use this poor cast away dog as a breeding machine for their own profit. I could never sell a dog for money.

And a lesson for all readers that buy their pets from breeders!!! REMEMBER THIS STORY! I FOUND a dog that LOOKS like a purebred to my totally untrained eye-and some girl wants to breed him and sell the babies as purebreds!! She was willing to invest $1,000 into him (and who even knows how old he is??)-imagine what she would charge for the babies?? Go to the shelters, you'll get just as quality a dog it seems.

My man LOVES to turn down money!

October 15th, 2008 at 11:50 am

So 10 yrs ago the boy gets offered 100k to play pro ball out of high school. What does he do? He decides to go to college. Money earned: 6k is given to him to play out of college.

He plays baseball for a few years making about 5k a year. The boy gets offered 32k to coach college ball. What does he do?- he turns it down to keep playing ball.

The next year he is offered 40k to coach college ball. Nope. Still wants to play ball for 5k a year.

Then he gets offered to play ball in Columbia (the country)for 4k a month- "to dangerous" he says.

Then he gets to go to Italy to play for about 4k a month. No longer dangerous..but does he go? No! He wants to play in the states for 1k a month.

Now he is offered a chance to play in Peurto Rico for 6k a month and does he accept? No! It's not dangerous and it's close to home! So what now? His knee hurts and he does not think he will play well. So he turns it down.

Then TODAY he got offered a scouting job for an MLB team for 30k a year and guess what?! NO! He wants to keep playing ball for the promised 8k a year his playing salary gets bumped up to next year.

Jeezealou. It was not until I just got off the phone with him about this latest job offer that it ran through my mind,"He keeps turning down money!" Is he afraid of it? Does he equate money with lack of freedom, with growing up, with responsibility...what could it be? Why is he doing this?

Important decisions

October 15th, 2008 at 10:45 am

So BB and I decided to take one baby step closer to home ownership and see if the price range we think we can afford is the price range the lenders think we can afford.

Interesting morning. I started off checking our credit scores (both our scores are in mid-800's good job us). BB and I were VERY surprised to find out BB has a student loan out in his name with a balance due of 11k. (paid up to date) BB's parents had never mentioned a loan out, actually they said they took an equity credit to pay both kids schools outright. BB has not been in college for about 7 yrs...so...hmmmm. At any rate it's a speedbump. The payment due is $130 a month and since BB earns 10k a year I can see this not getting paid off anytime soon and GREATLY hindering the lenders ability to account for BB's salary.

Anyways- that surprise aside- The lenders didn't really know what to do with me. Since we want to buy out of state we are stuck in the "you cant be approved until you have a job and you cant get a job till you live in the state" issue. Rather than renting in future city and getting a job- I was hoping to just get approved based on my meager rental income and my assets. Bless the lenders heart they were struggling to approve me but by the end of the phone conversation even I would be hard pressed to lend to myself.

So I got off the phone with options. I can get a co-signer (NO WAY!), I can move to the state and get a job (possible but not to practical), I can pull out a mortgage or equity loan from my rental property to fund the house (riskier and more expensive than I would like), or we can buy a duplex, and 70% of the rental agreement income will become a part of my income. This is the most likely scenario. We have been talking about duplexes off and on...weighing the pros and cons and leaving it as a possibility. Actually it sounds ideal- I am just concerned because the duplexes we can afford are in shady parts of town. But now with this mortgage issue...looks like that is the way we need to go.

I am just annoyed because I paid cash for my new vehicle last year. I paid cash for my masters degree. I am paying cash for this wedding coming up next month. Does that count?? No! And if I had not been Dave Ramsey responsible I would have 50% of my future house price to pay in cash!

Anyways, after feeling
really poor and unsuccessful in life I check my email and lo and behold- a lender approved me for 250k! What are they thinking?! I cant afford that!

stock market upswing

October 13th, 2008 at 02:03 pm

My financial advisor called me today to tell me we had invested in developing market funds last year and now the fund has been acting a little wacky so he is suggesting I sell. I sold and put 50% in money markets and 50% in high yield bonds. Now I turn on the news to find out the stock market had a spectacular day today! Hope my selling caught it on the upswing and I made a bit of money. Didn't even think to ask him about that.

hmmm....(house buying related)

October 12th, 2008 at 12:58 pm

This weekend Baseball boy's father came to visit us for a few days. Psychologically /Emotionally it was a bit topsy-turvy.

BB's dad has always made me defensive when it comes to the home buying thing. In the past he has dismissed our desire to buy a home by saying that owning a home is a huge responsibility. He acts like he views us as kids who cant function without his help. Maybe he doesnt think this- but I am so sensitive to feeling dependent on a person that my radar for picking up comments like that is razor sharp.

If I didn't actually need his help I would never even include him in the purchasing plan. Just to save myself the irritation of being talked to like a child. But he is the only 'adult' I regularly talk to, whose opinion I respect and I know he has useful information stored in his brain that I need.

As soon as the topic of house buying came up he starts off with a laundry list of things we have to do to 'educate' ourselves before starting to look for a house. Which would be fine- if we had not been preparing to buy a house for the past 3 years and the advice he was giving us such as "School systems are important for resale value" was information that can be heard on HGTV everyday. I was irritated to no end. I took it to mean that he believes we just woke up and said "I think I want to buy a house today".

To hurry up this irritating part of the conversation, I was like, "I know-I know all that." So he then starts up with a list of personal roadblocks for us to consider, "well you need a garage, I would be worried about your jeep."- These comments continued to irritate me- does he think I am going to spend over 20k on a brand new vehicle and then just completely forget to accomodate the vehicle when house hunting? My jeep has actually been a focal point in our house search this whole time. But he just starts in assuming we never thought about this stuff.

Then comes the financial roadblock. "you guys cant afford it. Right now with the economy as it is, you need 25% to put down." To which I was able to reply to him we have almost 40k to use as a down payment. That honestly gave him pause. He was silent- trying to find a point to argue. He came up with nothing.

Then suddenly the whole topic changed course. He started asking ME questions about our plan. He started saying optimistic lines like, "now is a good time to buy a house." And from then on the conversation flowed about how to get us into a house.

Then! Later that night I got the information I knew he had and I was patiently waiting for. He found us a way to add $17,000 extra on our down payment!

He assured me the $7500 tax break is applicable to us, and explained to me how I can pull $10,000 out of my IRA TAX FREE for our 1st home purchase.

Then it was all talk of how "now is the best time to buy a place, we will never get a shot at this again with having the power to negotiate and take advantage of interest rates..." So now he is on board with us 100% and even wanted to meet the realtor with us to look at houses together.

The whole tone changed over the weekend. Before he was treating us like we were about to make a huge mistake and we needed him to babysit us just to protect us from our own ignorance, then suddenly he became so excited that he wants to help us!

I find it frustrating that it was the down payment that changed his mind. We have been saving for 3 years. That means he spent the last 3 years thinking we were foolishly wasting money. While we were saving he was judging us for being broke thinking we were just bad with money.

Yeah -BB was guilty of using his dad's CC sometimes- leading Dad to feel he was supporting us and he was keeping us in a lifestyle unaffordable to us- and that has been a battle keeping BB off that card- but did Dad really think BB was charging fuel and groceries because we were spending our income on stupid stuff?

Did Dad really think this whole time that were just saying we wanted to buy a house and not doing anything about accomplishing the goal?

hmmm...

Need help!

October 10th, 2008 at 09:42 am

Ok, I posted on Craigslist saying I found a dog and he needs a new home. I was planning to take him to the shelter today when I just got a call from a young woman saying she is looking for a companion dog for her female dog.
The woman is driving almost an hour to get here and take this dog. However- I am worried because I have heard that dog fighting rings will pick up free dogs to use as 'bait' dogs in dog training. Now I am worried.

How can I scout this woman out to be sure this dog will be going to a safe home?

I was posting mainly to find the owner and posted almost nothing about this dogs tempermant or personality. This woman asked no questions about the dog just asked if he is still available and where do I live.