Monday, June 26, 2006

 

oops

I realized today that I hadn't posted in 2 weeks, I knew I was behind but not that bad. I hope to get some of my backlogged posts up tonight, I'm also thinking of redesigning the look of the blog. I wish I had a magic blog wand...
 

Has anyone read this book?


I was looking around on Amazon today and this book caught my eye. It looks like its a new agey approach to managing your money and I was curious about it. I'm wondering if anyone has read it and can let me know if its worth reading.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

 

Coffee: save your budget or save your liver?

One of the most popular tips for saving money is to give up your daily latte, we've all heard this one a thousand times. But what if that coffee could save your liver? According to an article in the Seattle Times today, a new study from the AMA says that just one cup of coffee a day could reduce the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis by 20%:
"Coffee may counteract alcohol's poisonous effects on the liver and help prevent cirrhosis, researchers say.

In a study of more than 125,000 people, one cup of coffee per day cut the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis by 20 percent. Four cups per day reduced the risk by 80 percent. The coffee effect held true for women and men of various ethnic backgrounds."

Unfortunately, they don't know what specific ingredient it was in the coffee that did the trick. Nor did they say if the participants were drinking black coffee or double tall caramel lattes. And of course the obvious way to save both money and your liver is to not drink alcohol or coffee, but whats the fun in that?

And here's a Latte factor calculator I found.

Monday, June 12, 2006

 

Planning now for saving next year

I like to plan ahead. That's why even though I won't be credit card debt free until next February, I'm planning what to do with the extra money right now, in fact I'm working on a five year plan at the end of which I'd like to be able to buy some type of house.  I have several things I want to do with the money, max out my IRA contribution yearly,  get an emergency fund all saved up, save for a house, and save for retirement. Thats a lot of saving to do! I will have an extra $1000/month starting in March and then when my car is paid off in November that will go up to $1243.
 
Today I've been trolling the web looking for information on not only how much of an emergency fund I should have, but how much should I be setting aside each month right now.  Based on the comments at this post about savings goals from NCN I've pretty much decided on an emergency fund of 5 months rent, plus 3 months of expenses which came to $6900, but I rounded it up to a nice even 10k. That way my emergency fund is covered in case of emergency. I'm only saving 6% of my take home pay every month, better than 5%  but I would like to get it up to 10%. And I have a confession: I haven't contributed anything to my Roth IRA since last May. I was doing monthly contributions, but I stopped them in order to put that money towards the debt. sigh...
 
Question: emergency fund first or max out IRA? Or does the money in the IRA count as part of the emergency fund? I'm thinking the IRA money should count towards retirement and not the emergency fund.
 
Right now I have 3k in savings, next March when the 5 year plan starts, that should be up to $4560 barring any emergencies between now and then. So if my year one plan is to max out the IRA and emergency fund I will need to save $9440 next year. I should be able to do that in 9.5 months, which means I should have money left to blow in Vegas!!! ahhhh, Vegas! Of course this is all wishful dreaming for now, the scariest part about saving for an emergency fund is that you are contingent on an emergency not happening while you are saving!
 
Whilst I was surfing today, I found this site called Choose to Save. its sponsored by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and is full of calculators, savings tips, and a retirement planning worksheet.
 
 

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

 

Here's why I don't think I'll ever be able to buy a house in Seattle

From an article in USA today the median home price in Seattle is $275k, statewide its $320k:
 
"Though single-family home sales fell about 7% in April, compared with April 2005, there's only a three-month supply of homes in the Seattle market — half the national average. That's largely why prices rose nearly 18% that month, according to the latest data available"
 
 but the USA Today figures are contradicted by what was in the Seattle PI today:
 
"In Seattle, house and condominium prices increased 12.7 percent to a record $415,000, according to a Northwest Multiple Listing Service report Tuesday. The median price of a single-family home in King County rose 15.5 percent, to $427,950. Condos went up 17.9 percent, to $246,500."
 
Just for fun I went to Windermere's website. In Seattle at $275k max price they have 263 houses/condos for sale, for my specific zip code there are only 2. If you up the max price to $325k it jumps up to 467 available city-wide. And if we go all the way up to $425 max price it jumps up to 970 available city-wide.
 
Also according to the PI article, my neighborhood is really popular right now so if we do ever have enough money to buy a house we'll probably have to move to a different neighborhood which I do not want to do. What I'm hoping for in addition to the bubble bursting, is that traffic gets so horribly bad in Seattle that people and business start moving away and Seattle becomes a ghost town. I figure thats when I'll finally be able to afford to buy here. Meanwhile Pahrump is looking really good!
 

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

 

Free IT Course

The University of Washington is offering a free IT course called Fluency with Information Technology. Its an adaption of a 100 level freshman course, but if you are an IT novice like myself, it may be of interest to you. There is a textbook to purchase of course, which is $80 on Amazon but you can get it used in the Amazon marketplace for between $5 -$10. I've signed up for it, I'm feeling a definite lack of education in my life.
 
Here's the link to the course: Fluency with Information Technology
 

Friday, June 02, 2006

 

Templates and Emailed Posts

I have just discovered that Blogger lets you post via email which I am liking immensely because it lets me blog from work when I think of something I want to say. I didn't like posting from work because I was worried about getting in trouble but for some reason my brain thinks that emailing my posts is okay. Go figure. I recommend using a mail service that does not put advertising at the bottom of your email (ahem Yahoo!) because the ads will be in your post as well.   
 
As for templates, I noticed that several of us have been redesigning our blogs this month so I thought I'd post links to some free template sites I found:
 
Firdamatic: You fill out a table and it guides you in creating a customized layout.
 
Thur's Templates: This is where I got my new template which is just a 3 column version of my old template.
 
Gecko and Fly: Some quite nice peaceful looking templates and a Calvin & Hobbes template
 
 
And if you are able to pay, Pixel Forte  created Frugal for Life's template. They have quite the variety in their portfolio!.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

 

June Finally, Budget & CC Updates

Well the end of May positively bit personally and internet connection-ally, but at least it wasn't for PF reasons. Obviously I never did the 12 posts I wanted to do, but May is over, done with, gone and I'm moving on. At least we finished the month under budget.

So here we are in June, we are looking good budget wise, credit-cards are also doing well:

CC #1 with Citi is paid off, I will be using it to buy groceries and gas for the 5% back, but it will be paid off every month with the money allotted for those items.

CC #2 is with Capital One, they sent me a balance transfer offer, 4.99% fixed with no fees which I took advantage of to pay off CC #3. I know there are plenty of 0% offers out there, but I don't want to open another card since I only opened the Citi card 4 months ago.

I've decided to keep track of the credit card debt in the sidebar so look for updates.

Yea for June!!