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Archive for April, 2007

Finishing up April $20 Challenge

April 30th, 2007 at 01:56 pm



Finishing Up April $20 Challenge by adding $1.82 in change from my wallet.

$20 CHALLENGE
$27.04 balance
+01.82
______
$28.86 April '07 total

2007 Challenge $141.83
Cumulative Total $267.94

$11.00 to Challenge

April 28th, 2007 at 11:41 pm



Photo credit: Lalunublanca


Took $11.00 on a bank run this a.m. towards the $20 Challenge.

16.04 balance
11.00 from allowance
_____
27.04 MTD

2007 Challenge $140.01
Cumulative Total $266.12

Adding to the Challenge

April 26th, 2007 at 08:09 pm



Adding $5.67 to the $20 Challenge.

$10.37 balance
+05.67
______
$16.04 MTD

2007 Challenge $129.01 YTD
Cumulative Total $255.12

Cleaning the Coin Coaster

April 13th, 2007 at 02:05 pm

Cleaning The Coin Coaster





From CashHappySon is $1.35 in change to go to the $20 Challenge!

$20 Challenge
$09.02 balance
+01.35 coaster cleanup
______
$10.37 April MTD

2007 Cumulative Total $123.34
Challenge Cumulative Total $249.45

Yesterday I went out to lunch w/my Mom & StepDad and spent money for lunch, but truly with the here's my half, here's my portion of the tip, etc, that went on w/o asking for separate tickets up front and I'm not really sure how much I ended up spending - somewhere in the $15.00 dollar ballpark for FrugalSon and my portions. Ugh. I'd rather know exactly!

CashHappySon got his muffler/exhaust pipes fixed the other day for a whopping $25.00 repair bill! I was totally shocked as I had steeled us all for a $200-$225 bill! Thank You Jesus!!!! The kid had just about emptied his car repair fund and was getting ready to have to dip into his emergency fund.

By The Skin of Our Teeth

April 13th, 2007 at 08:28 am

By The Skin of Our Teeth




I made my final 2006 contribution to my IRA fully funding it.

So, that means that THE Hubster put his full $5000 in this year and I put in my $4000! That's the first time we've been able to fully fund both of them! I'm thrilled I tell ya, thrilled!!!

I would certainly like to get all of 2007's put in during the calendar year this year as carrying over what got put where when in what year can get a bit confusing! I like having ours at Fidelity as they keep a nice little running total for you.

For the kiddos: Both were able to put back $1200 into their IRAs this year with hopes/plans/budget forecasts to increase it this coming year. CashHappySon makes enough money he could seriously up his contributions this year, but FrugalSon doesn't make as much and we are already squeezing his little salary as far as we can! Perhaps another part-time job is in order.

Over and Done!

April 10th, 2007 at 09:24 pm

Over and Done



No, I'm not slow, but THE Hubster some times (often actually) runs on 'low slow' speed. Anyway the taxes were done for free today by the AARP folks and a small refund from both Fed and State will be soon winging it's way into our account. Intend to then swing it into one of our Roth accounts.

Over and Done! Glad to get that taste out of our mouth!

Happy Easter Everyone!

April 8th, 2007 at 01:24 pm

Happy Easter Everyone!


We are off to church this a.m. - The Hubster, FrugalSon and I. CashHappySon has just started his first shift as a volunteer fire fighter! So exciting for him, so worrisome for Mom. His muffler drooped on him last night so I had to drive him over just now...cried all the way home praying the Lord will keep the little bugger safe!

I should say we are off to Sunday School this morning as they are having an Easter cantata and we all have low tolerance for that and will be leaving after class and heading home.

No ham this year - we're having tacos for lunch! Ha! My calendar had a misprint and showed the 15th as Easter so I did my grocery shopping last week thinking I had another week to catch ham on sale and I'm just flat refusing to step back in the grocery store and temptalate (is that a word???) myself to buy something else along with and blow the budget, so we're making do with what we have! Hanging tuff!

Anyway, Happy Easter everyone. Here's a link to a Christian website - telling the Good News.


http://www.swordofthelord.com/areyousure.htm


Hoppy Day!!





Missing Pension Update

April 7th, 2007 at 07:04 pm

MISSING PENSION UPDATE



“Ordinary riches can be stolen,
real riches cannot.
In your soul are infinitely precious
things that cannot be taken from you.” ~~Oscar Wilde




For the back history on this check here:
http://luxliving.savingadvice.com/2006/11/08/skimming-rebala...

Yesterday as THE Hubster was off for Good Friday we made three phone calls on his Missing In Action Pension fund (which means everyone including his current employer the buyout company after bankruptcy) claims no knowledge of where the money went. Several million dollars of all these 300+ employee's retirement monies just disappeared into the night. Yeah Right!!!

Call one: To the man who helped transition employees at the time of the former company's bankruptcy. He gave us numbers for calls two & three.

He also told us that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp is filing for Trusteeship of these monies! YEAH!! And we got a case number although when we plug it into PBGC's website it won't let us log on. However, that is most likely because they have yet to win trusteeship over the monies.

The lady who has been working the files has been transferred for the third time it seems from one 'inner' insurance company to the next, and is employed w/a company that is a 'third party' designate to handle the payouts only they have things blacked out so that nothing can happen till they get 'okay' from higher ups.

Only problem that I see is that they aren't following the Sarbanes(sp?)-Oxley laws about notifying folks about where our monies are. She was call two and was very polite and nice and had already been working on the problem earlier in the afternoon, so we aren't totally on the bottom of the to-do list! GOOD!!! She also already had info on THE Hubster so we are in the piles of files!!

I did ask her what we are to do about signing beneficiary forms in the meantime till they get their mess straightened out. I never did get a clear answer from her.

We were told that she 'goes with the files' when they transition from one insurance company to another = So, when SNOOPY dances the monies over to another company and then again to a third one, she's still with the information and it still is under their lil' doghouse umbrella. I'm not naming names here or anything but they are sitting on a pile of money and wont' let go!

Call number three was late yesterday afternoon and to PBGC

http://www.pbgc.gov/

to see what's what there and we got no answer but were able to leave a voice-mail w/our call back info. We have the name of the gentleman there who is handling the case! I think if PBGC gets ahold of it all will be well. We did print out the PBGC beneficiary form and will be mailing it out post haste.

People could well pass away before they (Snoopster) get their act together and of course THE Hubster can't remember who he designated as beneficiary back in 1967 when this dealy-who got started!!

What we did discern is that in all liklihood if Snoopy handles it, that it will come to us in the form of an annuity and there won't be an option for a cash settlement that we could take and invest elsewhere.

However we are making progress (maybe all those emails to various legislative bodies worked???) and I thank everyone for the discussions here at SavingAdvice.com for jogging my memory about long-term prospects for retirement income yesterday while Hubster was here to make the tag-team (both of us on the line) phone calls! It had been a while since I had checked on it!

Keep praying!! Slowly the fog is beginning to clear.

Wiki for PBGC:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pension_Benefit_Guaranty_Corpor...

I've been calling and writing around for about three years now - so you would think that someone COULD have written us by now and told us what was going on, wouldn't you??? Nothing. Not one scrap of paper or phone call saying 'We've got your money and are clearing up discrepancies and someone will be getting back with you by ____ date.' Makes you wonder if they ever intended to, doesn't it? Does me!

Color My World

April 7th, 2007 at 02:51 pm






Color My World


How does this new color scheme look?



Problems/Questions:

How do I get to change the border color on the pictures??? Blue is not working w/this scheme. I can see where it might not work with other folk's pallettes as well.


AND

How do I increase the font size on the comments section? ...being as us older geezettes have a hard time seeing the print that small. I understand it needs to be some smaller but I can barely see it. Did I do something to it accidentally?
I think so, as everyone else's comments are larger! OOOPS!! Help!!

AND

How did Nate get that guys picture up in the header on April Fools day??

AND

Can we do anything with all the extra space over on the right and if so how to?


Isn't this fun????? Woooo!!! I like! Thanks Nate & Jeffrey!!! Ya'll are the greatest.


All comments and criticisms sought!! But of course you know I like the cyber-hugs the bestest!!!

**AND YES, I do NEEEEEEEEEED one of these T-birds lifesize!!


Testing Testing Testing

April 7th, 2007 at 01:11 pm

Testing Testing Testing

Test Trying Something On the New Layout



Seeking continuity!

Sneaky Shop No Spenders

April 5th, 2007 at 09:44 pm



Sneaky Shop No Spenders





Yesterday and today both No Spenders!

In fact I believe all I have spent money on this week is for groceries, a necessary! I did sneak three dish-towels @$1.00 each into the grocery cart that will be going towards part of my Mom's Mother's Day Gift. So far I have a nice little stash of stuff put back for it.

Are you guys that kind of gifter? My Mom gives gifts that are an ecclectic mixture of many small items and it's what I tend to do as well. I wonder why I don't just do one big spend on one item? For her, I think she prefers to have lots of variety so that's why I gift her that way.

You??

These Days Are Over!!

April 5th, 2007 at 07:52 pm





These Days Are Over!!


Great News!! THE Hubster got a 3% raise - the first in four long years!

Wooo-lee-woooooo-leee-wooooo-hoooooo!!!

Hot Diggity!!

Now maybe we can have some ham with our beans??

I'm grateful!!

However, I'm not unaware that it seems that perhaps the world sees a 3% increase as a normal thing?? Why would I say that? Because when I work with the financial planning calculators for retirement planning they most all have as a standard input 3% increases yearly until retirement! Is the rest of the world getting these once a year??

The man has got to learn to toot his own horn more often - He saves his company more than his whole yearly wages just about every single day by catching errors before they reach production (meaning tens and tens of thousands daily. - yes, he's ISTJ AND a Virgo!) You'd think they could be a tad bit more generous. I know - it's his job, but I'm thinking he does it so well and so consistently that no one realizes he's actually doing it!!

TOOT Baby TooT!!

Anyway, it's not enough to do anything major with but a blessing none-the-less!

Raise effective next paycheck. Nope, I'm not forgetting he did get a bonus at Christmas time, but it was under a thousand smackers.

First PineCone Check To The Bank

April 5th, 2007 at 06:21 pm






First PineCone Check To The Bank


Took my first big paycheck from PineCone to the bank! I.N.C.O.M.E. -- YEAH!

Taking it to the...

$20 CHALLENGE
$04.02 balance
+05.00 1st PineCone Check
______
$09.02 April MTD

2006 Challenge $ 126.11
2007 Challenge +$121.99
-------------------------------
Cumulative Total $248.10

My thanks to everyone here at SavingAdvice.com for turning me on to this lil' slice of nature!!


Hubster's Roth Buy-Ins

April 4th, 2007 at 06:35 pm


Hubster's Roth Buy-Ins




We pushed the buy button this morning for:
FNMIX



Buy order $2550 @ offer price $14.94=170.68 shares

and
FSHBX


Buy order $2500 @ offer price $8.87=281.84 shares

Posting here to help me keep track! Kept back a portion in cash as we explore other opps!


X-Ray Your Portfolio

April 3rd, 2007 at 04:53 pm



X-Ray Your Portfolio



I've been having a lot of fun playing with this lately. Very nice! I believe Ameritrade also has it up within their website, but think it's proprietary to Morningstar. Very helpful! AND, well worth your time to input your holdings to see where you're at in the wide, wide world!!

I input my Roth, Hubster's Roth, his 401-K and his Rollover IRA, plus our other holdings to get a complete picture in one place, even though a couple of these accounts are held at other places. Nice to be able to see a total picture while the machine does the math percentages!



Quikette Blurbeennie: Moved $3750 into Hubster's Roth IRA this a.m. and that completes his 2006 contributions! YEAH!! Inside Roth sits $1260 in cash uninvested, so he currently has $5000 to purchase into some additional funds.

"They" say Asset Allocation is one of the most important parts of investing and choosing the RIGHT vs. the wrong investments can make a whopping $$$$BIG$$$$ difference in how you live in retirement, so I've been doing quite a bit of research. You only pray that you make the right choices, eh?

I *THINK* we'll be choosing two out of these three funds for this portion of his Roth. I'm giving him these as possible suggestions for him.

We will eventually be converting quite a bit out of his Rollover IRA into the Roth during the next few years and probably putting it in the target fund

http://personal.fidelity.com/products/funds/mfl_frame.shtml?...
FFVFX.

We don't have to do that now, but we could as our income is currently rather low and it's a good time tax-wise to be converting. The other two options he has up for consideration is:
FAGIX and
FNMIX. Both bond funds.

Due to proximity to his retirement we need to rebalance our overall portfolio with more bonds so that's why we are looking here. I'm not real excited on getting too bond laden, but he wants this 5000 SAFE. Remember, we have a May-December marriage. I'm looking longer term, he's thinking shorter - so we are trying to meet somewhere in the middle.

He already owns PIMCO Total Return-A (PTTAX)in his 401-K and FBNDX in the Rollover IRA, but somehow we need more bonds to meet his target asset allocation. Besides which he is a very conservative investor. I am more of an aggressive risk grrrrl.

So likely we will go w/the two bond funds now and maybe when we get another 2500.00 together get into the FFVFX. Not sure. I'm going to leave it up to him to decide.

I like FAGIX, just having bought it inside my Roth, BUT, I'm not real keen on us both being in it right now...would kind of like to spread our eggs into some different baskets for a time to see where we're headed. The other fund we will be looking at is
FSHBX as a different choice than FAGIX for him. But doggies, FAGIX looks so much more exciting!!

Perhaps he'll have time tonight and we can cuz n' discuz before I get too antsy and push the buy button w/o him!

********
Of other interest: Here's another nickel on my keyboard???? Taking it to the $20 Challenge.

$20 CHALLENGE
$03.97 balance
+00.05 nickel showed up
______
$04.02 April MTD

2007 Challenge 116.99
Cumulative Total 243.10

Ughhhhh!!! Grocery Dissatisfaction

April 2nd, 2007 at 10:29 pm



Ughhhhh!!! Grocery Dissatisfaction



I just spent $ 82.65 at the grocery store and still feel like there is nothing much here to eat. Several things in the store were noticably higher.

The canned chili I buy that we use on our hot dogs, normally 75-79 cents, now $1.15. Tortilla chips normally 99cents a bag, now $1.19.

Come on people, raise the price if you must, but why not oooch it up a little at a time rather than just gomming on a 20-36 cent hike all at once???

Corn at least ought to be getting cheaper with everyone planting it for ethanol purposes, surely it can't all be used for fuel production as there aren't that many plants yet! GAAA!!!

Baking in the oven is an easy doooo-waaa recipe:

Sausage & Potato Casserole

Uhhh....pardon my exactness! heeheee!!

Slice up a bunch of potatoes, add in some chopped onion, garlic, a can or two of cream of mushroom soup, a dash of milk, a half a stick of margarine cubed, stir. Add on top a chub of raw sausage chunked around (we like Owen's Italian but any ol'sage sausage'll do), sprinkle w/cheddar cheese, season salt & garlic salt and bake at 350 for an hour to an hour and 15-30 minutes.

-------

I make a huge restaruant size pan of this and there is never any leftover, and there are just four of us here eating it. Granted 3 are hungry adult sized males, but geeee - they scarf it down. Makes it a winner in my book.

Oh yeah, FrugalSon & I went to the antique booth and I can tell you the results of March's sales were none too fabulous. Made my rent and then some but nothing to write home about. Frown

We then went out to a small lake nearby and did our exercise/walking/hiking doo and caught of few of those Solar Vitamin D rays ourselves.

Hit the bank on the way home to deposit the check and then to the grocery with the above results. Now I'm Capital P - PoooPed!!

...ohhhh, and who here heard Cramer's confession that may get him in deep?



More Blurbies = Fool's Gold

April 2nd, 2007 at 05:15 pm


More Blurbies = Fool's Gold




To add more to today's Quickie-Blurbettes:

Blurb 5)When I went to put in the $1.02 that was waiting on the keyboard to go into the $20 Challenge Piggy I found that some mysterious fool of the April variety had stacked up $2.95 in front of Piggy! I'm thinking it must of been CashHappySon as he's the only one who knows I log it here before feeding it into the private stash. So we are up for the day!

$20 CHALLENGE
$01.02 balance
+$2.95 Fool's Gold
______
$3.97 April MTD

Blurb 6)Using Craigslist yesterday the Hubster sold one of the many EXTRA computers we have around here. $700 samoleans to go back (loaned) into the Emergency Fund! Tonight we take pictures of computer 2 that needs to be sold and posting it online! Expected proceeds of about $600 also to be paid back to the E-Fund.

Quickie-lite Blurbettes!!

April 2nd, 2007 at 02:54 pm

Quickie-lite Blurbettes!!



blurb 1)Scaled Hubster's 401-K contributions back to only get the matching and the rest that we've been putting there will now go into his Roth IRA. He was convinced when we started that we couldn't even put back 1%!!! Slowly over time I inched us up to 10% but we only need 6% to get all matching funds. He's now convinced that we can save on our income!!


blurb 2)Hubster has agreed to let me take what's needed (about $3700)from savings to round him up to the complete $5000 IRA contributions he can make for 2006! YEAAAAAAAAAA DOGGIES!!! The man is finally coming around. It will have to go into conservative investments for him as he is so near to retirement, but at least we'll have met the yearly contribution...and then we are on to seeing what all we can do for 2007 contributions. The above change in the 401-K contributions will help.

blurb 3)Showing him the monthly statements that his money is now growing instead of just stagnating has been helpful. And for all of you out there who are dealing with spouses who are not yet on board, keep rowing, sooner or later you're bound to hit some smoother waters. The Hubster is finally beginning to realize he has to put his money out to Hard Labor before it can come back to knock on his door!

blurb 4)Adding $1.02 in change to the $20 Challenge to get the April party started.

Up One Dollar

April 2nd, 2007 at 02:24 pm


Up One Dollar




I'm inching my automatic contributions to my separate 'Bank Run' Retirement account up a little bit at a time.

This month we went from 42.00 to 43.00. Not a large increase but this is how I make it less painful. We'll see how this month goes as I started the Ameritrade Suze Orman dealybop and it may tax my little income beyond strain.

You know like those lycra shorts that just because we can get in them doesn't mean we should trot on down to the Walmart store in and scare the local population. KWIM???

I may have to scale this back again, but we'll see. Let's just keep our fingers crossed hoping that seam doesn't rrrriiiipppppppp!!!

No, $1.00 doesn't stretch me too thin, but the extra $50 over to Ameritrade might!

I plan to go this afternoon to the Antique Mall and pick up my March check and see if there is good news there or not. Sales have been off here since the first of the year because of all the bad weather we had and then since I was sick I didn't get to go restock/reorganize but maybe once or twice since the end of the year and I usually go once a week. Hopefully I'm now up to snuff health wise so that I can work it the way it deserves and thusly increasing my income from it.

Anyway, posted income of $3.67 interest income on that little growing account over on the right for March. When this reaches $1000, I'll be popping it off somewhere - likely into a CD, t-bill or to buy a tax lien certificate or some such thing. This is my 'different retirement basket' than my Roth IRA.

Updated mortgage balance today to $22,443.24 w/expected payoff of August 2012.