1 Million Dollars

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I joined an affiliate program!

You might notice something different about the blog now.  I have joined my first affiliate program and it is with Cash4books.net!  I learned about Cash4books over five years ago when selling the last of my undergrad books before moving with my then fiance to buffalo.  Prior to that I just sold through amazon or ebay or even sometimes at school, direct to other students because it gave me the most money.  However, when both of us were working insane hours, trying to pack and trying to get rid of things, I used this site.  I got money I otherwise would not have gotten, because honestly I just did not have the time to sell them on my own. 

It was a little less than what I expected to get on my own but not much less.  But life was crazy and I honestly forgot about the website after we moved.  Then a friend asked what sites I used to sell and I went back through my emails to remember and clicked over to make sure it was still the same.  Once I did, I saw they had an affiliate program and the rest is this blog post.  I am very excited to have them on the blog, but I want to assure my readership that I will only have ads that relate to the blog and are good for the readership. You can be assured that anything suggested on this blog is useful to me or I know of others who found it useful.  I will never plug anything that does not benefit you!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Learning to be Frugal Young: The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Future

When my husband and I were dating and applying to graduate schools, he got in and I did not.  And, strangely enough, that was the best thing for us.  We moved to buffalo with a very strict budget because we wanted to buy a house and take advantage of the 2009 tax credit.  We had discovered that our mortgage would be about the same as rent, if we bought a duplex on my husband's salary.  If we both had been working, maybe we would have bought a more expensive house, may not.  Maybe I would have bought our house all on my own, (we were not married then) and DH would have paid off his debt quicker.  But what I do know is that our budget would not have been so strict.  We had $5/week each for fun money and date money of $10/week.  Prior to moving to buffalo I had $20/week of fun money just for myself.  If we had not had so little money to spend, we would have kept the fun money at such a high amount.  But, no we did not.  And that means I am used to only spend only going out to eat once a month, or waiting for a DVD of a movie or even finding deals to catch that movie we want to see in the theaters.

We also spent very little on groceries.  We spent $30/week at the grocery store and $40/month at angel food ministries (which has since closed).  That was it.  It was not fun and the first thing we did when my husband and I did when he got a raise was increase the food budget.  But that means we know how to cut the grocery budget down and that has helped us, when we ran over budget during the first half of the year and now have to cut way down. 

Those two are just small parts of our whole budget and we worked hard to be as frugal in every part.  This meant that when our daughter was born, we could afford daycare while I went to graduate school for my Master's.  It means that now, with my husband doing a post doctoral fellowship and me getting my PhD, paid, we can afford daycare and to save 30% for the future.  We are a long way from saying 50%, which is our goal or financial independence which is my ultimate goal but learning to be frugal is the base in which all of this is possible.  I never stop looking at our budget for leaks or trying to find better deals like geico affiliates or ting, both of which I learned about from http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Grocery plan updates for a month and half!

We spent 107.44 wegmans, $31.53 for the warehouse club, $31.27 for tops and $7 meat store for a total for three weeks 177.24 which averaged out to 57.88 for each week from Sept 13-27th.  This is a savings of $20.76 from our "debt to the grocery gods" given that we went over during the first half of the year.  However, that was not enough.  Our goal was $48/week, with a reach goal of $45/week.  I am not surprised we went over because we needed to purchase both ground beef and chicken during those weeks. Hopefully we can stretch the meat so we don't have to buy more in the near future.  But still our "debt" to the grocery budget was down to $270.24 at that point.  But, life got in the way of posting so that was three weeks ago, so where are we now?

Well we spent $179.55 at wegmans, $7.89 at tops, $7.67 at the warehouse, and only $4 at the meat store because I was out of town last weekend.  This means we spent $199.11 over the three weeks, which is $66.36/week.  We went over our weekly max of $66/week from the grocery annual budget and now are in more "debt" to the grocery gods.  We now owe $271.35.  And the year end is getting closer and closer.  Do you think we might be able to make it?  Obviously we won't be spending anything this weekend.

We have ten weeks to go, and in there is Christmas and Thanksgiving in there.  Maybe we will get lucky, but we are cutting down the wire and we have eaten much of the food in the house that allowed us to cut down earlier this year.  Our normal budget allows for $66, so cutting $27 off would be $38.  We can't get below $50 so I doubt we can get to $38.   But this experiment has taught us how low we can go and how easy it is to go over.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Updated Millionaire Plan October 2014

So, with my husband changing jobs and commuting, things just have changed. And one thing that has changed is how we save for retirement. We have moved from our Roth IRAs to his employer's traditional 403b. We did this for multiple reasons, one is that they were using vanguard and the prices were very low, much lower than we could get and two, because we wanted to stay in our current tax bracket (10% for federal) and there are tax credits you can get if you put use a employer plan, not an IRA.

The main one is EITC, the earned income tax credit. EITC is dependent on your wage (minus FSA, health insurance and 403b contributions) and your adjustable income. Both need to be low to get this, and your traditional IRA does not affect your wage, though it will adjust your adjustable income. So we are now putting in $5233 into his 403b this year but his HR was not on the ball as much as we would have liked so, we had to adjust how that money came out. He received his first paycheck without the money being sent to his 403b, so we hoped online and increased the amount to make up for that, but that means we only put away $751 in September. And, because of the decline of the stock market that means we are at $22,836. Still not at $25,000, my gross income, but oh so close. Three more pay periods (aka a month and half) and we will be there. Well, only if the market cooperates. Let's hope please?

 As the end of the year comes to a close we will be turning to our taxes and optimizing them which may involve more repairs to the house, we have a list we want to do or increasing or decreasing the 403b contributions. We shall see, and I promise to post all of it here for everyone to see.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Financial Carnival for Young Adults

I just found a wonderful carnival and got involved with it.  It seems perfect with this blog.  So on to the carnival for young adults and let me know if you would like to see more of this on the blog.

brofists @ Brofists Gaming writes Destiny attracts 5 million unique viewers on Twitch in first week - Destiny drew in 5 million unique viewers and 20 million total views on Twitch last week, making it the "biggest console game launch of the year" on the streaming service, Activision said in a press release. Viewers watched 240 million minutes of Destiny gameplay during the week.

Maria @ The Money Principle writes A Cause for Concern: Decide on Supporting a Charity - For any community, charity is the difference between the pursuit for equality and the continued suffering of the desperate and less-fortunate.

Alexa @ Defeat Our Debt writes Should You Take a Vacation if You’re in Debt? - Your debt is stressing you out. Work is stressing you out. And you just need a little break from the normal day to day grind.

Alexa @ Single Moms Income writes The Top 7 Single Mom Problems - If you're going through a divorce or nasty break up with the father of your kids, things are about to get rough.

Brad @ Enemy of Debt writes Are You As Financially Savvy As A 7th Grader? - My daughter paid close attention to how our view on money and what is important in life changed over the last few years have changed. I found this out through a conversation we had last weekend.

Larry @ KrantCents writes Buy a New Car or Used Car? - Looking for a Car? Get a new one!

Monica @ Monica On Money writes Life Happens: Are You Ready For It? - Life events like deaths and births make me much more aware that life happens. Sometimes when we least expect it.

Natalie @ Debt and The Girl writes Can You Manage to Live on Six Figures? - How can someone possibly live on six figures? I came across this article the other day about how this author profiled families that somehow managed to survive on $100,000 a year managed to survive.

Cat @ Budget Blonde writes I Like To Buy Stock When Celebrities Get Hacked - So, I'm all excited and sparkly about the new Apple products they announced. Hubs called me an Apple 'fan girl' when they showcased the Apple Watch among other things, and he's right.

Justin @ iPlugin writes Top 3 Budgeting Apps for both Apple and Android Smartphones - If you've read this blog for any amount of time you know that we're very big on making, and keeping, a budget.

Danielle @ TeacHer Finance writes Is Staying Home to Raise the Kids Costing you More than you Think? - Not long ago we wrote a blog about how the number of stay-at-home moms in America is on the rise.

Aaron @ Aaron Hung writes Watch out for these Back to School Spending Mistakes - Much to the chagrin of children everywhere another school year is about to start, and that means that parents across the country are busy stocking up on school supplies.

Justin @ Edward Antrobus writes Need to Exchange Currency? Pay Attention - If traveling to a foreign country is in your near future, one of the biggest costs that you need to avoid is the often expensive exchange rate that you’ll be charged when switching from American dollars to another currency.

Marissa @ Thirty Six Months writes Why You Should Invest In Property Before Age 30 - I know it's not something that we think when we're tackling our student loans out of University or have to think about finding that perfect job that lets us grow and feel accomplished, but hear me out.

Marissa @ Finance Triggers writes Best Way to Collect Superannuation Funds during Retirement - If you work in Australia, then you are likely to have at least one superannuation account set up to help you out financially during your retirement.

Sam @ The New Business Blog writes The Importance of Emotional Intelligence for your Business - In the competitive world of business, you need to make sure you are armed with every possible tool to ensure you can make your company as successful as possible.

Katie @ IRA Basics writes 4 IRA Withdrawals that Actually Make Sense - Withdrawing funds from a traditional IRA before a person turns 59 ½ usually means that they’re going to pay a lot of taxes and penalties.

Lily @ Paying Debt Down writes Some Facts to Consider before Filing for Bankruptcy - For many consumers the thought of having to file bankruptcy can cause quite a bit of anxiety.

Bob @ Dwindling Debt writes Looking for a Store Credit Card? Don’t Look Here -

Andrea @ So Over This writes Having a Pet is Hard Work and Costs Some Serious Money! - My day job has been overly hectic, long hours and underappreciated, but aren't we all?

Hadley @ Epic Finances writes Signs that Samsung may be significantly underperforming - Earlier in the year one of the first major signs that Samsung might significantly underperform near-term expectations came when it warned investors about a huge 24% decline in their operating profits.

Lenny @ Best Money Saving Blog writes Stock Buybacks are Booming! - After faltering for a couple of months, buyback announcements from many major US companies shot up to a three month high recently, putting 2014 on track to be one of the biggest years ever for buybacks.

Amy @ Money Mishaps writes Free Money? Be Careful With That Offer From Your New Bank - Many people are switching banks this summer thanks to lucrative offers being made by more than a dozen of the top 50 banks in the United States.

Jack @ Money Saving Ethics writes Answers to the Most Common Questions about TIPS - The US Department of the Treasury has been offering a specific type of bond that can help protect consumers against inflation for several years now.

Matt @ Budget Snob writes Investing Doesn't Take Genius Intelligence, Just Common Sense - A quote that's attributed to Albert Einstein goes something like this: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

Danielle @ Saving Without a Budget writes Should you Borrow to Pay off your Student Loans? Probably not - Student loan debt here in America passed the $1 trillion mark not long ago and isn't going to let up anytime soon.

Jay @ Daily Fuel Economy Tip writes Buying the Best Used Car for Your Needs - Buying a used car in Canada will give you the independence you need at an economical price.

Oscar @ Money is the Root writes Paying Off Debt Smarter and Faster - There are few things better for your financial health than paying off any debts that you have as quickly as possible.

Daniel @ Make Money Make Cents writes How Online Trading Platforms Work - If you're taking your very first steps as an online trader then you've probably already come across trading platforms, but you may be wondering exactly what they are and how they work.

Mario @ Adventures in Frugal writes Marriott to encourage guests to tip housekeepers by leaving envelopes in rooms - Marriott is starting an initiative to leave a tip envelope to encourage guests to leave its housekeepers a little something extra

Ben @ The Wealth Gospel writes 5 Ways to Prepare for Retirement Other Than Saving - When it comes to preparing for retirement, most experts focus on the amount you need to save. But not all of your problems are going to be solved with just saving more. Here are some other things you should be doing to prepare for retirement.

Natalie Bacon @ Financegirl writes 5 Savings And Debt Ratios For Young Professionals - Do you know the recommended savings and debt ratios for young professionals? And more importantly, how do you match up? #KnowYourNumbers

Gretchen @ retired by 40 writes Frugal Vacation: Is it Possible? - Check out our first foray into vacationing with credit card rewards, and on the cheap!

Lance @ Healthy Wealthy Income writes I'm Sorry, We Can't Date, We Are Financially Incompatible - Money and relationships are a rough road, when do your bring up and talk about finances, and why I dumped some of my dates early on.

Jon @ Increase Credit Limit writes How To Increase Your Credit Limit - Even if you might know that you should increase your credit limit, that information will do you no good unless you know how to get it done. So, here are some tips for how you can increase your credit limit.

Jerry @ Repaid.org writes Facebook Farcing: the Latest Trend in Identity Theft - You've all heard of phishing. Well, there's a new identity theft technique running rampant on Facebook: farcing. Learn what it is and how to protect yourself.

Taylor @ Mo' Finance writes The Average FICO Score in America Hits All-Time High! - After hitting an all-time low in 2009, the average FICO score has hit an all-time high of 692. Could it be a greater sense of financial responsibility since the recession?

Little House @ Little House in the Valley writes You Get What You Pay For, Especially When It Comes to Hotels - When it comes to selecting hotels, I definitely forgo quality and lower my standard.

Erastus @ Wise Dollar writes How to Start Investing on a Limited Budget - It is difficult to start investing on a limited budget, but it is possible. Find ways to do it and make it a priority.I share with you two great ways to start investing on a limited budget.

Erastus @ Sprout Wealth writes Motif Investing Review: A Great Way to Start Investing - Read our Motif Investing review to see how you can get $150 cash for opening an account. Motif Investing is a good option if you're new to the stock market.

Jeremy @ Modest Money writes The Choice Privileges® Visa® Card Review - If you are a frequent traveler who wants to stay on the road while on the cheap, the Choice Privileges® Visa® Card is an excellent choice for you. You’ll want to combine it with the rewards memberships these hotels already have in place, in which you’ll have boatloads of points in no time. This could reduce your travel budget by quite a lot.

Anne @ Money Propeller writes How to Decide on a College Degree - How to decide on a college degree? It can be confusing to navigate, but since you are paying a lot of money for it, you should spend a lot of time thinking about it.

Brad @ How to Save Money writes Avoid Paying Fees - Stop fees eating away at your budget

Natalie Bacon @ Financegirl writes To Pinch Pennies or Increase Income — Which Is Better? - Living frugally versus increasing income - which is better? The experts don't agree. Can you be rich minded and frugal? Decide for yourself...

Miss T. @ Prairie Eco Thrifter writes Seven Things I Learned about Money When I Became a Parent - Here are things I learned about money when I became a parent.

Gretchen @ retired by 40 writes Your FREE Blogger's Pinterest Guide - Learn how to generate massive traffic from Pinterest - even if you think your niche won't allow you to!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Having money, saves money

My husband broke is phone and given he was out of his contract was trying to decide about buying a used one or getting a new one with a contract.  But, I had heard of a great new company that uses sprint's network called ting and asked him to check it out.  If you use a referral code, like we did you can get $25 off your first bill.  Our referral code is https://z46jot2sip7.ting.com/.  My husband used a flip phone for two weeks before deciding he hated the flip phone but liked ting.  He ought a cheap, used smart phone and has been happy for the last 2 weeks and our bill was $14 plus taxes.  However, the phone cost $140.  Right now, I am still on verizon so our bill went from $50 to $44 but it will drop even more when I join ting in January.  By October of the next year we will have save the whole cost of the phones by joining ting.  But, what about those who can't afford the upfront cost of $140?  They end up paying more in the long run.  Over two years we will save $290 over a family plan on verizon.  So, those who have money save while those you don't get poorer.   Seems familiar somehow.

Money Saving Mom had a blog post about paying $30/week on food http://moneysavingmom.com/2012/04/is-it-possible-to-survive-on-a-30-per-week-grocery-budget.html but the only way it work was if she only spent $25 and saving $5 for stockpiling.  My husband and I have a goal of $66/week, but we do the same, stockpile when the price is lowest.  But when you are in a hole, you may not have the extra $5.  So what can you do?  Well, when we started out and did not have any extra, I made extra.  We used mypoints and swagbucks to stretch our spending which then gave us a dollar or two to save.  And really, those dollars add up.

Another spend to save is something I have always done, yet found out recently that many of my friends never do is to pay my car insurance every six months.  It costs my friends an extra dollar a month to pay monthly which adds up to $12/year, which I don't spend.  But my friends sat there saying, I don't have $200 to spare this month so I can't.  And thinking back, the only reason I do, is that my mom paid my first six months and therefore I had the six months to save for it.  And on that line, my insurance is cheaper than my friends because I have higher deductibles.  But I can only have that because I have the money to pay them.  If my friends can't pay a $200 car insurance bill, how can they pay a $1000 deductible?  And how did I get that amount?  Because my mom certain did not hand me $1000 before I moved out.

But she did teach me about calling around every six month to a year and seeing if one could find a better deal.  At 19 I paid $700 every six month for the lowest legally required coverage for one car.  Now I pay $435 for much higher coverage, plus comprehensive and collision, and each time I cut my bill, the difference went into the car fund.  Now I have money set aside for my deductible and save even more money.  But, until I saved up that money, it would have been a risk to have a high deductible.

So, I do think there is truth to the saying, "the rich get richer and the poorer get poorer", but over time, you can set aside money so you can be rich.  Never stop trying.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Updating our millionaire goal!

My husband started a new job since he graduated from graduate school on Aug 29th.  One of the best ideas I have for students is find a job before you graduate.  My current employer (my husband's old employer) delayed paychecks for new employees by over a month and for many students that meant borrowing from parents or using credit cards.  Thankfully, this employer does not seem to do this.  However, with the job change we have a lot of change.

First change is a pretty large raise of $15,664/year, but that raise comes with quite a bit of expenses.  We bought a second used car with a loan (with a $117 monthly payment), my husband will be commuting about an hour each way along a toll road costing us about $6,200/year.  Obviously, with the new car comes a repair fund that we need to fund and car insurance, together costing about $1000.  His new job does come with a $400 savings because we don't have to pay student fees.    However, students who work as part of their education (like work study) or graduate students don't always pay FICA.  Students at my school only paid FICA during the summer so, we need to pay extra FICA costs totally $2690.  This means our total increase is $10894.  And we have not even gotten into taxes!  But I do have a reason for that.  We have decided to put all of the raise into my husband's new pre-tax 403b but that means finding other money for our increases.  Well, we found that money in what we now save in our Roth IRAs.  But is that savings enough?  No, it is not.  We only save $750/month which is $9000/year.  Where can we find the other $1894?

Right now I am not sure, to be honest.  But, I don't want to pay the extra taxes, so I need to find the money somewhere.  For now, it is coming from our rental income which cuts into our taxable savings, but I am looking at other things to cut, which will be a later post. :)
But on to the millionaire plan:

In order for me, The Frugal Student, to become a millionaire, I (and my husband) pledge to do the following (each year):

  1. We will be contributing $1303.66/month to my husband's 403b
  2. I am also contributing 3% to my pension (the max I can).
  3. We also now have access to a daycare FSA allowing us to deposit $5000/year tax and FICA free for the little frugal baby's daycare.
  4. We will be putting all of our daycare spending on FIA VISA which will deposit $140/year in my Roth.
  5. Living frugally. 
  Using CNN-Money’s millionaire calculator with a conservative interest of 6%, I will see a cool $1 Million in approx. 25 years! That is right in line with when I want to retire!  But can I, a young person, retire on 1 Million?  That is the question, isn't it?