Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Goals Update

Oops! I realized I made a small mistake yesterday when listing my financial goals for the remainder of 2011. It's actually good news because I realized I don't need as much as I originally thought.  I have about $3,500 in savings set aside and $3,200 of that is for the gutters. Yesterday I counted the both the gutters and achieving a $3,500 emergency fund. But I essentially already have one of those two already in place. So here are the updated goals:

Balance of the second mortgage: $1,400
New gutters: $3,200
Vacation: $3,000
IRA Contributions: $4,200
Total needed: $11,800

So it turns out, if we don't get any surprises, I should be able to achieve all these goals by the end of the year!

Monday, April 25, 2011

What's Next?

As I sit and wait for my next few paychecks to come in order to finish paying off the second mortgage, I'm starting to think about what my next wealth goals will be. I mentioned before that we will need about $3,200 to put gutters on our house.  We put the down payment of $1,000 on our credit card and the rest will be billed when the work is complete.  We don't have the installation scheduled yet, so at this point I hope it's after May 6 - when the next cycle of our credit card starts.  We always pay off the credit card in full each month, but it would be nice if we can delay the remaining $2,200 by a month. If we can do that, I think I should actually be able to pay off the whole second mortgage earlier than my current plan of June 1st.

After that, I need to rebuild some of our emergency savings. Right now we have about $3,500 saved, but of course $3,200 of that for the gutters, so our emergency fund is pretty much at nothing. So my first goal after I pay off the gutters and the second mortgage is getting the emergency fund back up to at least $3,500 which is about a month's worth of expenses. 

My next goal after that is tentative. My husband mentioned he'd like to take a vacation in August.  I love to travel so it's hard to say no.  It would not be as big as Japan (we're thinking San Francisco), but it'll still probably cost about $2,500 to $3,000 to go.

After that, I really would love to contribute the maximum to my Roth IRA this year. Last year I only put in $2,400.  You can put in as much as $5,000 a year.  I had been putting in $200 per month, but I just canceled May's withdrawal to free up some more cash for the mortgage payoff.  So as of today, I have contributed $800 for 2011, so I need to put in $4,200 more before the end of the year (technically I have until April 15, 2012, but I'd really like to just get it done with this year).  I have an old 401(k) with about $4,000 in it and my current balance on my Roth IRA is $19,592.  So at the age of 33, I only have $23,592 in my retirement accounts. I know it's better than a lot of Americans, but I still feel like I'm really far behind!

So here is an overview of my goals for the rest of 2011:

Balance of the second mortgage: $1,400
New gutters: $3,200
Rebuild emergency fund: $3,500
Vacation: $3,000
IRA Contributions: $4,200
Total needed: $15,300

I have about 8 months of the year left to make money.  If I make $1,700 per month, I should make $13,600 the rest of the year.  I guess I won't be making all these goals unless I can get my income up.  Stupid gutters, I'd gather take the vacation!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Break Even!!!

I have finally made a big milestone!  Our house is worth more than we owe on it!  The value even increased a bit since the last time I checked.  It's valued at $190,500 and after the big payment I just made this morning goes through, we will only owe $186,867.50 total and just $2,382.40 on the small mortgage!  That number is getting really small and we are so close! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

May 5th goal: Not gonna happen

It looks like life got in a the way of my plans again. A bunch of things happened in the past couple weeks that is going to delay my plans to have the mortgage paid off by May 5th.  The biggest one is my husband insisted we need to get gutters on our house.  Of course he can't get the cheaper ones, so it's going to cost about $3,000!  UGH!  That's going to set my plan back a little bit. Another speed bump is work is slowing down for me, and they are not going to be offering overtime anymore, so I'll only be making about $1,700 a month  instead of $2,000 or more. There are a couple other things I don't want to get into yet mostly because I don't know if they are going to financially affect us and how much.  So assuming the other setbacks are not too bad, I think my new goal will be June 1st.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Money Articles and Blogs

Here are some more articles/blogs about money I thought I'd share:

Death to the Mortgage
They are paying down their whole mortgage. I hope to someday be there too!

St. Patrick’s Day – Make Your Own “Luck of the Irish”
I've been talking about luck a lot on this blog, and here is a great post on how to improve your luck regarding your finances.

Want To Be a Successful Investor? Start By Recalibrating Your Brain
This article talks about risk tolerance. Right now I want to concentrate on paying down the 2nd mortgage, but it's something I'll have to think about soon!

Living Below Your Means Is Like Saving for Retirement Twice
This article is about the importance of living below your means and saving for retirement. The more you save the better.

Should you pay debt before saving?
I've been a little reluctant on taking money out of savings to pay down debt, and this article weighs the pros and cons of paying off debt vs. increasing your savings.

How to save money on food at the grocery store
Save money on groceries so you can use the savings to reach your wealth goals!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Cinco De Mayo Feista?

I had one of "um duh" moments the other day.  I was thinking about needing about $15,000 to pay off the second mortgage.  Then I thought about the approximately $12,500 I have in savings (some of that we got back from our canceled Japan vacation) and the approximately $2,500 more we should be getting back from the canceled vacation within the next couple weeks and then I realized if I really wanted to I could actually pay off the mortgage!  But of course if I did that, I'd be left with NO emergency fund, and also the property taxes are due next month and some of the savings was being saved specifically to pay the taxes. I would also have to take early redemption penalties on some CDs.  However, I make between 1 and 1.25% on the CDs and the mortgage is over 8%.  One of the CDs has about $1,000 in it and it made a grand total of 96 cents last month.  Right now we're paying about $4 a day in interest just for the privilege of having that second mortgage.  So it sounds like a no-brainer, let's just pay it off! But like I said, I’m still waiting for $2,500 to come back from our canceled vacation, I don't feel comfortable going with no emergency cash and I need some money to pay taxes. However, I think I can build up a small emergency fund and make enough money for the taxes in the next month.  I think four more paychecks should be enough, so I think I'm going to shoot for May 5th as the pay off day!  A few months ago I thought I’d be lucky to pay it off in two years, last month I was hoping for the end of 2011, and now it’s less than a month away and I'm very excited!  I just hope I don’t regret running our emergency fund that low.  I don’t think I’ve had less than $5,000 in savings in at least 3 years and it kind of makes me nervous.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hit a milestone today!

I finally have something good to share today! Just checked zillow.com and the house value actually went UP! It's not a huge jump, but it's now at $189,500, so it is up $2,000 since I checked it a couple weeks ago.

In other happy news, I hit a milestone today - the total owed on the two mortgages combined is now less than $200,000! The balance is $199,667.50, so we are just about $10,000 away from break even! I put some of the refunded Japan money towards it, so that was why it made such a big jump since last week.

So hopefully I can continue to pay down that mortgage uninterrupted and the house value continues to raise. Then our overall financial picture will be looking a lot better!