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Archive for March, 2008

a little more to the tikis

March 29th, 2008 at 03:48 pm

I managed to put a little more into the tiki fund this month:
$25 from ING for opening an account, a $10 referral from ING for my sister setting up an account ( a small miracle..), and another $41 in ad sales for one of my Web sites.

That brings my total up to $672.40 for the year.

The $20 challenge is such a great idea. It's really made me more aware of alternative income streams. And, it's made me pay more attention to little bits of income that otherwise we would have frittered away. Very cool.

money sense doesn't run in the family...

March 28th, 2008 at 02:23 pm

My sister stayed over last night. We were talking about tax refunds and such. Somehow, the subject of savings accounts came up. I asked her if she had a high-interest savings account and she looked at me like I was crazy. She said "my bank doesn't pay interest on my savings account."

So I asked her if she'd considered opening an online account and she said "You know that stuff makes my head spin."

We've gone around and around on money. Last year, I had to help her refinance her house so she didn't lose it. She had refinanced a few years before to pay off her car and credit card debt. Do you know how she found the loan? she answered an add on television-- then didn't even read the terms. it was an adjustable rate mortgage with rates about 4 percent higher than what she could have gotten at the local bank-- and it was about to reset to about 15 percent. Ugh. Luckily, we avoided that mess.

That inspired her to ask me to help her develop a financial plan and a budget. So I went through all of her documents, bills, etc. and set up a relatively easy to follow and not too onerous saving and debt reduction plan. 2 years later, it's still gathering dust. And I just found out she cashed out her entire retirement plan to pay off credit card debt. (She's 38).

(This isn't even going into the times I've had to bail her out. I've paid her monthly mortgage twice-- due to no emergency fund when she lost her job. I've also moved in with her to help her save and get ahead on bills, only to have her immediately quit her job after I moved in, because she could now afford to...)

Ugh. It's like she doesn't want to deal with money at all, because she doesn't want to sacrifice or deal with her demons. But yet, the longer you let things go, the bigger the demons.

And here is the worst part-- she works in accounting. She loves her job, but yet she can't seem to translate that into her personal life.

Sorry for the rant. I just worry about her and sometimes it makes me mad.

Backyard orchards? one way to get cheap fresh fruit!

March 26th, 2008 at 07:41 pm

I saw is article in the NY Times. I'm glad I'm not the only one getting ready to rip out a bunch of evergreens and plant fruit trees in their stead.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/garden/13orchyarding.html?...

My hubby and I have been systematically turning all of the existing flower beds around our home into mini farms. Last year, we had literally 50 pounds or more of fresh veggies, just from our own little beds. We didn't buy one veggie all summer, and we just finished the last of the pasta sauce we made from the roma toamtoes. It's one answer to higher grocery costs...

Anyway, here is the article.

Do any of you read TheStreet.com?

March 26th, 2008 at 04:03 pm

I am new to that site, but they just called and asked if I wanted to be a regular contributor. (I'm a financial journalist by trade.)

Just want to get your thoughts on their personal finance section.

Can going Green make you rich?

March 25th, 2008 at 08:44 pm

A worthy question. I read a lot of personal finance books, so I was intrigued when I ran across this article by David Bach (of Rich Couples Finish Rich fame). He has written a new book about how going green can make you rich and this article is a rundown of the ways you can save or make money by being more environmentally aware.

It's interesting that such a high-profile writer is taking on this topic. Of course, some of the suggestions are things us eco-geeks have been doing for years, like freecycling and donating used goods, but it may be worth a read anyway.

http://finance.yahoo.com/expert/article/millionaire/72749;_y...

Rich Dad books- not sure what I think of them

March 24th, 2008 at 07:48 pm

I just finished the first Rich Dad Poor Dad book and am halfway through the investing one, which is the third in the series. I'm not sure what I think of them. At first, I was interested because they were a little different than the standard p. finance books out there. But now, I don't know.

In the investing book, there is a lot of talk about generating assets. I think the idea is right on, but I'm not so sure the advice is as nitty gritty how to as I'd like it to be.

I'm wondering if there is another book out there that could give more concrete advice on how to create assets and generate passive income...

One day, I would like to not have to depend on work and jobs for money. And not just in a living off of dividends in retirement kind of way, you know?

Anyway, if you have any thoughts on this. Or any book recommendations, I'd love to hear them.

$25 offer from ING

March 22nd, 2008 at 05:38 pm

I just got an offer for a free $25 from ING if I open a savings act with them. Is it worth it to open an account and leave some money in it just long enough to get the cash bonus? (I think in this case it's 30 days...)

Savings act interest =lead balloon

March 22nd, 2008 at 05:35 pm

All these Fed rate cuts are killing me. I just keep watching the interest rate on my savings act. go down. It was 5 percent a couple of months ago. Now I'll be lucky if it stays above 3. Anyone have any ideas on a better place to stash my cash??

$15.24 to challenge plus March savings

March 22nd, 2008 at 05:34 pm

I just socked another $15.24 in the tiki $20 challenge fund. The money came from sales of a display ad on one of my Web sites. I'm happy that there is now over $600 in the tiki bar fund, and it's only March.

We also managed to sock an additional
$175 in the 529 plan for the soon-to-be-born bean
$200 extra in the savings account
$180 in the stock-buying account.

Feels nice. Also, when the checks for my latest freelance project come in, it should be enough to max out my IRA for the year. Yay!

Being forced to articulate my goals on this blog has really helped me make things happen. I wish I had started sooner...

Taxes filed, extra freelance coming in, life is good...

March 16th, 2008 at 03:55 pm

The last 1099 finally arrived, so I finished our state and federal taxes. It was almost a wash. We qualified for a $1,130 Federal refund but then had to pay about $900 to the state. So, we have about $200 to spare tax wise. Like a geek, I've already transferred it to the savings account.

I also earned a good chunk freelancing this month. I got a gig covering a securities fraud trial in Ohio for a news service. I've managed to put in a good 70 hours on this project this month. That is welcome money, considering we're two weeks away from having our first baby.

I may be able to earn some more from a related trial this week, but at 38 weeks pregnant, big as a house and swelling ankles, the wood courthouse benches don't seem that appealing. (The bailiffs also keep asking me if they need to go boil water...)

Still, I think I should try to work as much as possible while I still don't have to worry about babysitters...

Last week was a good week for freelancing because Bankrate.com also published another one of my stories, so that is more to the IRA. Between these two projects and another Bankrate project, it looks like I'll be able to max out my IRA by May this year. That feels good.

After that, the hubby may let me use some of my writing money to fund the future tiki bar fund. At least, I have my fingers crossed.

Otherwise, March has been a slow month, as you can see from my Tiki calculations on the sidebar. Only about $20 has gone into the fund so far and the month is halfway over. Oh well, I guess I should expect that number to go down when I have to focus so much of my energy on my main income stream.