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Archive for September, 2011

I'm Getting a Raise...

September 29th, 2011 at 08:05 pm

...not really. Well, I am. A 1.5% raise, in fact. But, my contribution to my health insurance plan is increasing, too. Both will go into affect Oct. 1.

My health insurance contribution increase is greater than my raise. I've known that for a while, but I've not calculated the actual monthly net until today.

The difference is $40 per month less in my net paycheck than before the raise and increase in contribution.

What it comes down to is that I'm thankful to not only have a job, but to also have health insurance. Health care is ungodly expensive, and my employer is covering the majority of the cost.

We're going to bite the bullet!

September 26th, 2011 at 05:01 pm

I've blogged on and off about a new roof we need. Well, we've decided to bite the bullet, and get it done sooner rather than later.

We met with the roofer on Friday. He can get to it the first or second week of November. It's a metal roof, so we don't need the heat of summer to make the tar shingles stick better (or at least that't what I've heard you need with tar shingles.)

This mis not the best of moves financially. We will dry our saving almost completely up, with a very small EF. We did decide to peel $1,400 off the estimate by choosing against the standing seam roof, and for a barn-type metal.

My wife has been pushing for a new roof for a year now. I've been trying to hold off - we would have plenty saved if we waited until next March. But, alas, I've come to accept that it would be better to not endure another Michigan freeze-thaw cycle on this 25+ year roof.

So, November 2011 is a comprimise between October 2010 and March 2012. I'll still have two paydays (Sept. 30 and Oct. 31) to put some money away, but I'm afraid the well will be dry once we've paid for the roof.

Lottery Tickets

September 20th, 2011 at 01:18 pm

I've bought a lottery ticket exactly once in my life - just after I turned 18 in 1990 - because I could. I spent a dollar, didn't win, and have never bought a ticket since.

I've come to believe that the state lottery system is simply a regressive tax on people who largely cannot afford to play. And, I also get annoyed at people who stand in front of me at gas stations and convenience stores and laboriously choose their scratch-off selections, or numbers to play that night.

A couple of days ago, I was in line at a store, and an older well-dressed gentleman, probably about 75, dropped $80 on ten and twenty dollar scratch-offs. We walked out of the store at the same time, and he drove off in a newish Cadillac.

Obviously, I don't know if the car is paid for, or any other single thing about his financial standing, but he didn't really fit the profile of a typical lottery ticket purchaser.

Interest Expense

September 12th, 2011 at 02:18 pm

I started getting (more) serious about paying down debt last October. So, I was curious how much I had paid in interest on non-mortgage debt the year prior to getting serious compared to how much I've paid the year since. Here are my approximations. I think they're pretty close.

Nov. 2009 - Oct. 2010: $3,480 spent on interest.
Nov 2010 - Oct. 2011: $2,090 spent on interst. Of course, Oct. is a projection.

I then projected an estimate for the next year, based on current balances and payments. My total projection for the next year is: $1,240 spent on non-mortgage interest.

Each year, according to my estimates, I'll have spent about 60% of the previous year's total.

One thing my previous year's estimate does not include is late fees and bank over-draw charges. So my 2009-2010 estimate is probably even greater than $3,480.

We cleaned our carpets

September 8th, 2011 at 12:26 pm

We cleaned our carpets last night. Our girls are at their aunt's house for a couple days, and we arranged to have my mom watch the boys for a few hours, so we took advantage of the situation.

We've been in the house for two years now, and haven't steam cleaned them since we moved in. We rented the steam cleaner for $39. $10 of that is a deposit that will be returned when we bring the cleaner back. The detergent cost $23, and it was nearly used up, so good thing I bought the big bottle. So, for $52, and some elbow grease, we have bright shiny carpets and upholtery again. Oh, yeah, that big stain in the living room is gone, too!

Some Good (Not Great) News About My House for Sale

September 7th, 2011 at 12:40 pm

I've blogged before about a house we have for sale. It's about 135 miles from where we currently live. It's been for sale for going on 4 years in a very sluggish rural Michigan housing market.

Well, our former neighbors are leaving town. Mr. neighbor works for General Mills, and he has been transferred to their headquarters in Minneapolis. GM will buy their house for its appraised value if it doesn't sell in 45 days.

Our houses have some similarities. Same street, similar sizes, similar ages. In fact, when we moved to town in 2002, they were both on the market, listed at the same price. This house was one of the three we had narrowed down to before we made the offer on our house.

About a month later, our neighbors bought the house they are now moving from. I'm not sure what they ended up paying for it, but I assume a similar amount that we paid.

Anyway in the next 45 days, something will happen. Either a), the house will sell, and we will have a new data point to help us determine a selling price, or b), they will get 2 or 3 appraisals (three if the first two are not within 95% of each other). Mrs. neighbor will share the appraised values with us.

So, this is good news. Great news would be that our house actually sold!

September debt update

September 6th, 2011 at 12:53 pm

(Opps! Accidentally published with no text)

Here's my new month debt update.

Current Debt
Mort 1 - $104,555 $738/mo. 6.25%
Mort 2 - $70,000 $0/mo. 0.00%
CC 1 - $8,239 $170/mo. 8.90%
CC2 - Balance transferred to CC6 @ 3% balance transfer fee.
CC3 - $2,964 $140/mo. 5.25%
CC4 - Paid in Full
CC5 - $2,456 $195/mo. 5.32%
CC6 - $2,060 $60/mo. 0.00% through January 2012
Van Loan - $6,925 $210/mo. 4.02%

That's $923 principal paid this month. We've slowed down debt repayment due to saving for the roof. Payments made this month are only about $125 more than minimum due. Next month, we might pay nothing more than minimum due because we would like to get the roof done this fall, before the snow flies. Not sure the roof can take another freeze/thaw cycle.