1 Million Dollars

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?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Grocery update: I am almost there!

My weekly goal has been $48/week average with a stretch goal of $45/week.  Over the last three weeks we averaged $52.77/week.  It is a savings of $39.69 from our normal weekly spending but not where I need to be. We are still short $291 for the year.  And, on top of that, the only reason we are so low is that ground beef prices went up to $2.99/lb and we chose not to buy them this time around.  Sadly, we will have to do our chicken and some ground beef stock up next weekend. 

So let's break it down:
I spent $57 at BJ's over the last three weeks.  This needs to be cut down dramatically.  Thankfully I only spent $80 at wegmans and $11 at tops and I kept my weekly meat market spending below $4 each week which kept the overall price down. I did not end up stopping by trader joe's for anything in the last three weeks.  So what is my plan for the next three weeks?  Well I do expect to spend higher at wegmans and lower at BJ's so maybe they will even out?  Otherwise, my goal over the next few weeks is to find recipes that stretch our meat and therefore be able to buy less. 

Thankfully, we are so close to our $48/week goal that we don't have to depress it again so our goal for the next round is still $48/week with a stretch goal of $45. 
So I am going to reach out to my readership, does anyone have simple recipes that stretch meat or are vegetarian?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Updated Millionaire Plan September 2014

We have beaten our $21,000 minigoal!  We are now sitting pretty at $22,599.  I feel like I should add a dollar to make it even, lol.  So now on to the next mini-goal!  That goal will be my annual gross income of $25,000.  It is funny, at the beginning of this year I hoped to be able to hit $25,000 by December but did not really think I could, but now, I feel it is so close, I could taste it!  So, what changed? 

Well, of course the market was nice to us but also, our FIA AMEX card rolled in some extra cash.  Then, when we changed daycares I added the savings to my retirement contributions.  Then, because I could not use my AMEX at this new daycare, I got a Visa from FIA which gave 1.5% back and we used that for daycare and tuition payments.  Between the two cards we got $300 this year in "free" retirement contributions.  That is over .5% of our entire wage income.  Given that people are suppose to save between 10-15% of their income, getting .5% for free is great!  That is a benefit of a credit card, helping you save unlike the commonly stated benefit of allowing you to pay bills over time.  That is not a benefit, you pay for that.

So, what happens after we reach $25,000?  Our next goal will be $40,000, a full year of expenses, without COBRA/health insurance.  How is everyone else doing on their goals?  Check out the others on J Money's millionaire club to get some more ideas: http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2008/04/my-millionaire-to-do-list/

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Grocery goal still not met, but I am getting better!

I'm improving, I'm improving!

I am not hitting my grocery goals of $49/week, but I am under my normal weekly budget of $66 so at least I am not making it worse?  Over the last three weeks I averaged 53.61, this was better than the previous three weeks (those weeks averaged $55.33).  This means I have cut the $400 overage by $69.18 to $331 over the last month and half.  Still not good enough, but slowly we are getting there.  I might even have a three week period of spending less than $45/week by the end of the year. However, if I don't I need to now aim for $48/week, not $49.

We were able to cut our spending at the meat market to $4 but we were out of town for one of the weekends.  I do expect it to go back up to $6 for the next three weeks.  However we spent $23 at grocery stores while we were out of town, to avoid eating out all the time.  Given that we won't be out of town for the next three weeks, I'll count this as a win.

We did very badly at Wegmans and spent $109.81 and I had wanted to only spend $92 max.  I am not sure what I can do to cut this down farther, but I am going to try.
I did cut BJ's warehouse to $5 in this three month period, but for the next I have a couple stock ups so I expect to spend about $20.  I also doubt we will be going to the asian grocery store in the next three weeks, like we did this round ($10) because the items we bought should last more than a month and half.   We only spent $8 at trader joe's but because we will be home, I assume that will doubt for the next round.  I spent $9 at Tops and expect to spend a little more because just for this week the deals look good, so let's say $30 for the next round. 

Based on all the other spending, if I was to aim for $48 average, I'd only get $72 to spend at wegmans this weekend.  However, if I only looked the budgeted weekly amount of $66, I'd get $132.  I'll be making my list (and checking it twice) and we will see how low I can go!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Carnival of Financial Planning, my FIRST Carnival Hosting!


BUDGETING AND ECONOMICS

Ben Luthi @ The Wealth Gospel writes You Might Be a Personal Finance Blogger If... - Let’s face it. We the personal finance bloggers of the Internets are a completely different breed of human beings. We spend basically all of our waking moments thinking about money and scheming new angles to take on this or that. We range from the commonsensical (that’s totally a word! yay!) to the ridiculous. Here are some fun examples of it

Michelle @ Making Sense of Cents writes How To Get A Cruise For FREE! - Cruises do not need to be expensive. There are many different ways to score a cheap or even sometimes a free vacation.

John @ firststep finance writes How To Choose The Best Auto Insurance – Part 1 - Car insurance is at the top of the totem pole for anyone who owns a vehicle. You may find yourself completely overwhelmed when you are searching for insurance. Read on to find some useful tips on how to sort through all the information so that you can get the right amount of coverage for the best price. If you drive fewer miles per year, your insurance rates will decrease. The majority of car insurance companies offer a discount for drivers who log less miles. When purchasing auto insurance fo

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.

Brad @ Enemy of Debt writes Don't be sloppy with your money: make sure to get what is due to you - I lived with debt for quite a few years before we reached a crisis point and dealt with it once and for all.

Monica @ Monica On Money writes The Top 10 Tips for Finding Extra Work to Pay off Debt - If you want to pay off debt, finding extra work is a great way to go about it.

Cat @ Budget Blonde writes Become a Paid Freelance Blogger Coaching Program - Have you ever wanted to be a writer online? Like, a real, legitimate people-pay-you for your words type of writer?

Danielle @ TeacHer Finance writes Top 5 Ways to Save $100.00 this week, and every week - These days $100 might not seem like a lot of money but, if you are able to save $100 a week, at the end of the year you would have $5200 that you could put towards paying down debt, putting towards an emergency fund or towards your 401(k) or IRA.

Justin @ Edward Antrobus writes The Habits of the Rich, Part 2 - Unless you're part of the 1% of people that are born into wealth, there's simply no way to become wealthy by accident.

Marissa @ Finance Triggers writes What is the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) initiative? - The Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) is a global initiative that aims to create a global reference data system that can identify each individual legal entity or structure that is party to a financial transaction, whatever its jurisdiction.

Katie @ IRA Basics writes When and How to Start IRA Withdrawals - Hopefully, when you went to open an IRA, you did so with the intention of using it for long term retirement needs.

Bob @ Dwindling Debt writes Getting ready to Grill? Here are some Tips to help you Save Money - Another Fourth of July has passed us by, heralding the start of the summer season and the grilling season as well.

Hadley @ Epic Finances writes Three Sectors to Invest in Now - Experts say that here in the United States a manufacturing renaissance is beginning to take off.

Amy @ Money Mishaps writes Windows or A/C? Annual Summer Debate - A gallon of gas is just about four dollars anywhere you go in the United States, meaning that families will be shelling out more money this summer when they hit the road for summer vacation.

Matt @ Budget Snob writes How to Meet Your Retirement Goals - Retirement is an all too elusive goal for many people today.

Jay @ Daily Fuel Economy Tip writes Do your Tires really affect your gas Mileage? - Did you know however that the size of your tires, their weight and the type of tread that they have all impact fuel efficiency as well?

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.

Gretchen @ Retired by 40! writes Why Should Everyone Elope? - Our elopement was born out of circumstances, but I believe that eloping is beneficial for everyone. Find out why!


CAREER AND INCOME

Erastus @ Sprout Wealth writes Dividend Paying Stocks: One Way to Make Money in the Stock Market - Dividend paying stocks provide a great way to make income from your investing. I share some things to look out for when looking to earn money through them.


INVESTING AND SAVING

Here is a brief explanation: A stock is an investment in the equity of a company. When you purchase a stock, you become @ The Money Template writes How to Understand Stocks and Use Them to Make Money - http://themoneytemplate.com/how-to-understand-stocks/

John @ firststep finance writes How To Choose The Best Auto Insurance – Part 2 - Try removing coverage items from your policy. If you have a car that is not of high monetary value, you may just want to cover your car with liability insurance. Remove this coverage from your insurance and you could save a large amount every month. Also consider getting rid of liability coverage and comprehensive coverage. Investigate monthly insurance rates before deciding which car to purchase. Keep in mind that the safer your car is, the lower your insurance rates will be. Sporty cars, howe


RETIREMENT AND TAXATION

Michael Kitces @ Nerd's Eye View writes Shiller CAPE Market Valuation: Terrible For Market Timing, But Valuable For Long-Term Retirement Planning - The Shiller CAPE has never been a great indicator of market timing, yet it is valuable for long-term retirement planning. This post explains the short-term and long-term predictive values of CAPE as well as the value of CAEP (Cyclically-Adjusted Earnings to Price ratio) before providing a conclusion as to the relevance of the Shiller CAPE for financial planning decisions. Hint: the Shiller CAPE can help provide insight as to whether or not a prospective retiree will be facing a “headwind” or

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Updated Millionaire Plan August 2014

This month we increased our retirement savings from $625 per month to $722/ month by decreasing our costs.  We changed daycares on July 21st and our daughter is now a toddler, both of which saved us some money.  We also, if you remember, called and asked for a discount on our internet (saving $5).  I also reviewed the budget and noticed that I was spending less in school costs so moved that savings ($18) to our retirement savings.  We also had $67 sent from our credit card rewards into my Roth IRA.  Yet, all that only ended up raising our savings $215 because the market dropped.  We have $20971 in retirement.  So close to $21000, but not there.  I really just wanted to call up Fidelity and add in the $29.  :)
Honestly, though, a little drop in not an issue for a young investor because all that means is that you are able to buy more shares, cheaper.  Since our daughter will be in the cheaper daycare all month, our retirement savings amount is going to be higher in August ($793) so I am sure we will break the $21000 mark.  What I am not sure about, is if we will break $25,000 this year.  I am very hopeful that we will by December but I am not sure.  Hopefully the market will be nice to me in the end.