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Archive for January, 2010

Potential rental property...

January 29th, 2010 at 06:41 am

We looked at 5 different places last night with our realtor. We are very interested in a small townhouse (one side of a duplex). Built in 2006, it comes with all newer appliances plus a nice washer and dryer in the unit. The best thing is that there are already tenants in the place (a husband and wife) which means that we would have immediate occupancy. Calculating the current rent payment they pay vs. our costs in carrying the place would net us $250 each month. Since it's a newer building, I don't foresee a lot of maintenance expenses anytime soon which is also a plus. What do you think?? Oh, and it's only listed for $78k -- I would offer around $68k and see where we end up (I'd say somewhere around $72k hopefully).





Looking at properties tonight...

January 28th, 2010 at 10:49 am

Our realtor is going to show us 5 houses tonight. We are looking for a "cheap" place that we can rent out. I doubt we will actually bite the bullet and buy one but it sure is fun to look and dream. I am so anxious to try investing in hard real estate -- whether through rental properties or buy/fix/flip scenarios. In this current economy, I'm thinking the rental scene would pan out better and once the economy returns to 'normal', I will entertain doing a flip. I told myself that once I got schooling behind me, I would have much more time to devote to being a real estate mogul. Smile Hee hee. We'll see what happens...

Picture of our dog

January 20th, 2010 at 08:08 pm

I love seeing pictures on here so thought I would share one of our pooch. He's a silky terrier and is 9 years old. We just got him about 6 months ago (his owner was just giving him away) and he's been a great addition to the family. We have 4 cats as well but those photos will have to come later. Smile

$40 purse -- woo hoo!

January 20th, 2010 at 01:36 pm

I finally got around to taking back a purse that my sis got me for Christmas. It just was too little for me and not really my style so I thought I would exchange it for something else. Imagine my surprise when the lady said I was getting $40+ back on a gift card! Whoa. I really don't think my sis spent that much on the purse (it's a small Liz Claiborne). I was expecting more like $15 at the most. Wowsers. Smile

My mother; social security benefits, and taxes = UGH ->warning long vent!

January 16th, 2010 at 08:36 pm

Geez. My mother is driving me crazy.

Long story short is that my dad is going to start drawing down his social security benefits. He turned 65 last Spring but decided to wait til 2010 to draw. They go to the local SS office yesterday and my mom instructs the guy helping them to withhold 10% from my dad's checks in order to help save on their owed taxes at the end of the year (they make a TON of money via interest income).

My mother goes to work and talks to her co-workers about this. They tell her that she's crazy to tell the SS folks to withhold anything because all the SS income is non-taxable.

She calls me fussing at me! I wasn't even there with her nor did she ask me to research the issue beforehand or anything. She's even mad at me that the office is closed on Monday for MLK day. She wants me to email the guy to tell him to stop the 10% and thinks I can do this without having his email address (she's quite computer illiterate and doesn't understand the Internet, etc). I tell her that I will look into it and will call the office first thing on Tuesday.

I go off to have dinner with DH's side of the family. DH's sister's father-in-law was there - he's a retired CPA - so I asked him about the situation. He tells me that if half of my dad's distributions plus all his other income is greater than $32,000 for the year, then yes, the distributions are subject to taxes. I even verified this info on the IRS website when I got home just to make sure I heard what I thought I heard from him.

I tell my mother the news and she asks me why the federal government is taxing the distributions... like I know why the IRS and the federal government do what they do! Geez. She proceeds to tell me that I need to talk to her work friends so that they can explain it to her as I'm not doing a good job of it... I flat out say "NO". Why the heck do I need to explain anything to these people? My mother keeps telling me that I must be wrong because all her "friends" say that no taxes are supposed to taken against social security income.

Hello???!!! Let me put this in perspective. Nothing against factory workers, but my mom works in a small factory where hardly anyone makes even $20k a year. My mom and dad have always been savers so even though they may have "low on the totem pole" jobs, they have TONS of money in the bank - I'm talking around $40,000 in unearned interest income alone. Therefore, their situation is quite a bit different than their co-workers. I completely believe that her friends at work are speaking the truth as they know it because I doubt that they have family members drawing social security who have, with other income combined, to make the $32,000 threshold for married couples.

It drives me crazy that she would rather trust her co-workers who barely have high school diplomas instead of trusting her own daughter who graduated college with a finance degree and just got my MBA AND even a trusted CPA family friend (who used to do her taxes years ago before he retired by the way).

She kept telling about her friends' advice and lada lada lada... I was so frustrated that I finally just told her to get her friends to do her taxes for her as apparently I have no clue what I am doing (I usually do my parent's taxes). Well, that got her panties in a wad --- she's fuming mad at me now and ended our phone conversation telling me that she will take care of everything from now on and won't bother me anymore on anything (you know, trying to put on the big guilt).

I'm just done with it. If she won't listen to me, then why should I even bother? Am I wrong?

Got an increase at work!

January 14th, 2010 at 11:28 am

Woo hoo. As I've posted before, I just got my MBA in December. At our last board meeting this past Monday, I casually asked our personnel director if it would be alright to ask for a salary increase come July 1 (the start of our new budget year). I didn't think I should ask for one right now... anyway, he said, yes, that it would be better to wait til July 1 so that we could build it in the new budget.

Well, he comes to me this morning and said that he and our big boss had discussed my situation and wanted to go ahead and give me a raise effective Jan 1. It's an extra $2500 a year. I'll take it!

I honestly didn't think I would get anything since our budget situation is getting quite dire but am very grateful and thankful that they thought I deserved one. I'm going to do a happy dance now. Smile

2009 utility costs

January 8th, 2010 at 08:29 am

I kept a tally on our household utility costs for 2009:

Electric = 1,587
Cable TV/Internet = 824
Cell phone (3 basic lines, no texting or other frills) = 974
Water (on a well system) = 320
Propane (for heat only) = 975

Total for 2009 = 4,680

We are a family of 4 in a newer 2600 sq ft home. I don't have anything to compare this total to as I haven't gone back to see how much we paid out in past years... but thought I would ask if anybody out there knows if this looks reasonable or is it way out of line? I do realize that costs would vary upon where you live, etc...

12 years of salary history...

January 6th, 2010 at 01:12 pm

I like to keep up with our gross pay on a yearly basis and have been doing so since 1997 when I hit the workforce...



The declines in 99 and 01 represented when I went out on unpaid leave to have our children. Also, in 2006 there was a decline because I dropped a part-time job since we were moving to a new part of the state.

119% improvement in 12 years... not so bad. Smile


2010 Financial Goals

January 6th, 2010 at 01:01 pm

First here is how we looked at the end of 2009:

2009 YEAR END balances:
Mortgage = $269,000 @ 5.25%
CC = $23,000 @ 0% thru June 2010
Total Debt = $292,000

And as reference, here's how we looked at the end of 2008:

2008 YEAR END balances:
Mortgage = $274,000 @ 5.25%
Car loan = $15,300 @ 5.75%
CC = $18,000 @ 0% thru Nov 09
Total Debt = $307,300

We improved our debt standing from 2008 to 2009 by $15,300 because we paid off a signifcant part of our car loan and transferred the remainder to the 0% account.

For 2010, our goal is to cut down the 0% debt down to zero -- quite feasible if we look at it as being less than a $2,000 payment each month.

Here's to a great 2010!

What an end to 2009!

January 4th, 2010 at 06:53 am

As they say, everything comes in three's:

1) 20 inches of snow falls the weekend before Christmas then...

2) our 4-year old refrigerator compressor goes out for whatever reason then...

3) a massive ice storm comes through on Christmas day knocking down trees all over causing lost power for days...

Ho hum. It will cost us $500 to replace the compressor. It will cost us hours, if not days, to clean up the debris from the ice storm. Ho hum.

Great start to 2010, huh?