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Archive for September, 2008

Our solution to the stock market drop: Throw in another $11,000

September 30th, 2008 at 08:06 am

After the hubby and I were left scratching our heads yesterday after the 777 point drop, we woke up today with a new plan. Well, an old plan really.

Yesterday, we didn't know what to do. We weren't going to be dumb enough to sell stock and seal our losses. But we wondered if we should be tightening our belt more and stocking up on our cash reserves. Or, if we should be buying more stock. We just didn't know.

Hubby and I decided to stick with our original investment plan. Several months ago we had discussed a plan to eventually get out of individual stocks and into all Vanguard mutual funds. We based our portfolio on some of those in the "Lazy Person's Guide to Investing" (A great book, by the way).

"When I woke up today I thought, what better time than now to buy some more Vanguard mutual funds?"

Cruising through our accounts, I realized we had $10,900 in cash in various accounts. Just sitting there. I have no idea why. I guess with the Baby Bean we forgot about it and just left it there to earn like no interest.

So, I bought mutual funds on the cheap today.

Our portfolio is a 10 Vanguard fund model, for maximum diversification. large cap, small cap, international, emerging, and bonds, basically.

Today, we diversified with some VIVAX, VISVX and NAESX. (All funds we had planned to buy but hadn't yet.)

I guess, in times of turmoil, sometimes the best plan is no change of plans at all.

Hard not to freak out right now

September 29th, 2008 at 02:02 pm

I am usually Ok when t he stock market tanks, because I view it as an opportunity to buy stocks for cheap. But today, on top of everything else? even the hubby and I were asking, "Well, should we do something?" Start hoarding more cash? Buy more stocks, What? For once, we had absolutely no answer. What are you planning to do?

Financial stock risk: spoke too soon!

September 29th, 2008 at 12:07 pm

The stock I bought for cheap wasn't cheap enough. I was up 40 percent last week, and I am don 50 percent today. Oh well! The price is down to about $1.44 a share. So what did I do? I just put in an order for 100 more shares. I'm willing to risk another $150 on 100 more shares. What the hell right? Market dips = stocks on sale!

I also bought 100 shares of Sallie Mae. I'd been waiting for them to dip to $10 a share and today they did. Down from $60 a share last year!

My money pit is finally paying off

September 27th, 2008 at 05:47 pm

My money pit- the used hot tub I bought on Craigslist. FINALLY works. after 1 year and almost $2400 extra spent on electrical wiring and repairs I am FINALLY going to get to sit in it tonight. And the weather is perfect. It's nice to finally have a payoff for the outlay of wasted cash!

Had a nice cheap "faux" date last night

September 25th, 2008 at 04:33 pm

The hubby and I rarely get much time together these days, thanks to work and the bean but last night we had a nice cheap faux date. We broke out the air popcorn popper, got some free DVDs from the library, and stayed up late watching movies together, snuggling on the bean bag chair. it was nice, and it was cheap!

Also, I looked at one of the bars that was for sale today. Definitely NOT the right one for me. It was a nice, cheap building, but it wasn't right for me. It would be a great neighborhood Cheers-y place, but not a Polynesian Tiki Palace!

Nov. will be no spend month

September 25th, 2008 at 06:26 am

I was talking to the hubby about this blog post:
[url]http://smallnotebook.org/2008/07/01/july-is-no-spend-month-whats-it-about/[/url]

And he surprised me. Let's try it! Sounds interesting. Of course then he tried to talk his way out of it, but I committed him and us to only spending $250 or less in November (that doesn't include utilities, bills, savings, etc ).

I put it on the calendar. So we'll see. I am intrigued to see if we can do it, and what it will be like.

We didn't do october because his parents are coming to stay with us for a WHOLE MONTH. (Don't even get me started on that...)

Revamped money goals and revamped tiki challenge

September 24th, 2008 at 01:42 pm

Finding those two bars for sale has really been a kick in the pants. It's true that chance favors the prepared, and it's time to REALLY get prepared so that when my dream tiki bar location goes on sale, I will be ready to jump on it.

So, I'm revamping the savings strategy and the tiki bar fund strategy.

From now on, any money I make from jobs or freelance will be divided as follows:
50 percent to the family savings account
25 percent to extra on the student loan
25 percent to the tiki fund

My goal is to save $40k to start the bar and buy a building, without significantly impacting my family's finances.

This new system will allow me to compile the money faster, while still padding the savings account and paying off our one debt. It will allow me to save without hurting the family money and while getting ahead.

All of this is predicated on us accomplishing the overall savings goals
outlined on my sidebar.

For instance, if we haven't met our goals for IRAs, 529 contributions, etc., then no deal, and the money will flow to those first, and to the tiki last.

I have about $1150 in the tiki fund this year. Obviously way short of the goal, but as this was the first year, it was more of an experiment to see what could be done by saving little bits. And all of that money came from money I made not from my usual line of work.

I think this new system will also motivate me to track down more freelance money and more odd jobs. It may even help me get my photo business up and running, as that pays well.

Motivation has a cascading effect: the more I make for the tiki fund, the more I am making for my family. What better motivation is that?

I am also thinking of going on a "seriously trimming down the consumption" kick for me and the hubby. We seem to spend a lot of money but not really buy anything substantial, so it's time to slow the leak.

Boy, I am feeling the burn of inspiration.

Found a bar for sale!

September 24th, 2008 at 10:32 am

I found two bars for sale, both include the building and the liquor license. One is $224k, the other $130k. The second is what I want, with rentals above to pay the note. These are very inexpensive, so I am doing a drive by later to check out the areas. The $224k one would work, but doesn't have rentals, so isn't quite what I am looking for. (Both would save big bucks on getting the license and not having to buy all the bar equipment).

My plan is to open the bar in five years, but it can't hurt to start looking now so I can identify a good deal when I see one.

Took a chance on financial stock that actually paid off

September 23rd, 2008 at 07:18 am

several months ago I noticed that two Ohio bank stock prices had plummeted to $3 or $4 a share. I know these banks, and I was convinced that this was really a rock bottom price, so I bought several hundred shares.

I looked today, and on one stock I am up $539, basically doubling my original investment. And on the second, I am up $174, or about 50 percent on my original investment.

I know, you don't really win until you sell. But I paid so little for these stocks, that I feel comfortable hanging on. I am sure they will be back up to $22 or so a share in a year or two...

The stock market seems scary right now, but we do need to stop and think about it as a giant clearance sale for stocks. Now is the time to buy.

Inching back to savings

September 23rd, 2008 at 06:11 am

Finally, we are slowly getting back on track with savings. The padding is reemerging in the checking account and finally I've been able to resume transfers into the savings account and the online brokerage account. We really fell off the bandwagon in July, when my dad died, and after paying for a roof and other unexpected expenses since then, it seemed like we'd never get it together.

Grocery challenge month 1

September 21st, 2008 at 06:42 pm

Well, the grocery challenge wasn't too bad. We finished $11 over budget for the month. Not too bad considering our goal was to cut food expenses by 25 percent AND we had an unexpected week-long power outage that wiped out all the food in our freezer and fridge.

Frugal fun for book geeks

September 20th, 2008 at 10:24 am

Today is the day my hubby and I look forward to all year: the 25 cent book sale at the local fairgrounds. It's very exciting. We love books and we love a bargain!

We bought 53 romance novels for the MIL, and about 39 books for ourselves. Most were for me, as I collect vintage craft books for the ideas. $23 spent. Not bad.

Then, we took the bean to the park, where he had his first ride in a swing. He loved it. Then, as he napped, the honey and I ate out at one of our favorite restaurants. And the bill only came to $11, for more food than we could eat.

It has been a good day and it's only 1 p.m.

I am about to go work out in the yard. I'm digging giant flower beds and landscaping the front yard, which became a neighborhood joke last summer when some sink holes magically appeared in the sod. It's going to look nice one of these days, I promise! The neighbors just shake their heads.

The hubby also made $1,000 in extra money working during Hurricane Gustav, so that money will go into savings to replace some of the $7200 we spent on a roof last month.

It feels good to finally be back on track.

UPromise: Is it worth it?

September 19th, 2008 at 08:39 am

Has anyone had any luck using UPromise? I have about $1.38 in the account and I opened it 2 years ago. hardly seems worth it. I also tried to link it to my bean's 529 plan but my state's plan was not listed as an option, so I am wondering if there is any way, should the balance go up, to get the money out.

Just might win the grocery challenge!

September 18th, 2008 at 09:11 am

Despite losing all of our freezer and fridge food in a 4 day power outage, it looks like we might actually meet the grocery challenge this month.

My goal was to reduce my grocery bill by 25 percent, to $715.47 a month. Which is about $238.53 less a month than we had spent on groceries and eating out each month in the past 4 months.

Yes, I know that's a huge food bill for two people and a 5 month old.

From August 20 to Sept. 20 is the first month of the challenge. So far we have spent $622.19 on food. That leaves us $93.28 left until Saturday.

We just might make it!

The long-term goal is to reduce the bill by 50 percent, to about $500 or less a month.

Thinking about getting a bartending gig

September 17th, 2008 at 10:48 am

I'm thinking of applying for a part-time bartending gig. It'd be two nights a week. Probably the same nights. This would get me out of the house and provide some fun money to put toward the student loan and the tiki fund.

But, it might be rough working two 12-hour days then waking up and taking care of the bean, and it would take some schedule rearranging to make sure I get there on time for my shifts.

The hubby is against the idea. Not sure why. He says we don't NEED the money. I say we can use it.

Not sure what to do yet, but the window of opportunity is closing.

Ike blew out our power- 1000 miles from the coast.

September 17th, 2008 at 07:49 am

Well, we just got power back at our house. The remains of Ike blew through here at 75 miles per hour plus Sunday night, and knocked out power to all of central Ohio. Even I was surprised. Our power just came on this morning.

I'm upset because I had just stocked the freezer with homemade pasta sauce from my garden, shredded fresh garden veggies, a whole lasagna I was planning to make later. Basically, my grocery budget and grocery challenge are blown this month because of this storm.

We had to drive 40 miles south to find an open restaurant yesterday, then we camped out at our sister's, who has power, for dinner. I have been living on bananas and peanut butter with crackers and water since Sunday. I'm over it.

It reminds me that I either need to get a generator OR I need to get a gas stove so I can still cook when the power is out.

How do you save with rewards cards and discount cards?

September 10th, 2008 at 07:44 pm

I am conducting an unofficial survey. How do you use rewards programs to save money?

And if you do use them, do you use more than one at a time to save even more (i.e. use a grocery discount card, and pay with a rewards credit card?)

And, how do you decide what rewards cards, coupons and discount programs to use?