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Advice Please

September 5th, 2017 at 03:36 am

So I am asking for a bit of advice.

I have a young Soldier. I'm wanting to help her with a budget and getting her started in education. She needs to start setting up her life for the future.

I am already advising her to start savings by automatically depositing it into her account. But she's a hands on kind of person. She doesn't have a laptop. (I'm knowledgeable on retirement and savings.)

So I'm wondering on how some of you have done it if you're hands-on. What did you do for your hand-on notebook?

I've been on YouTube and been looking at some stuff.

But what is it that you've done?


June 28th, 2013 at 03:55 am

So I just looked into my account (I only do that in the late evenings since I know I have money to cover expenses) and realized that today I have officially received my state refund (which I applied for in April)...


So since I've received a fair amount of funds I'm going to actually boost my savings. So instead of saving monthly for the ones I've prioritize I will actually fund them and free up money for other things.

For some odd reason this feels like a fresh start but I'm enjoying it.

Auto Refinancing...

June 19th, 2013 at 02:12 am

Today I did something to that I've been wanting to do for at LEAST 6 months.

I went to my bank to see if I could refinance my vehicle...

My loan info:

current balance: $8,461.02
interest rate: 11.5%
months financed for: 63

My goals:

1. lower rate
2. lower payment
3. get parents removed as co-signers

So I went with both my parents because:

1. I can't drive since I've just had surgery
2. I may have to have them co-sign on my loan again if I can refinance.

So in we walked and I met up with one of the bankers. He asked me if I knew my credit score an I stated about 660-ish (I know that it's come up a lot in the past 10 months).

So he stated off-hand that if that's what the credit report pulled then I'm looking at a 9.5% interest rate. Well that's a LOT better than what I had so I went ahead with it.

He pulls my report and it says 675!

So he starts writing up the paperwork as I'm watching the computer screen.

He says my interest rate is 7.1%! WHOOHOO goal 1 accomplished!

He says my payment is down to $202.91! WHOOHOO goal 2 accomplished!

Then I sign all the paperwork and he says that's it... I asked "My parents don't need to co-sign?" "Nope", he says.


So these are the great points I accomplished with the refinance:

I refinanced for 48 months. I had 50 months left on my original loan so no matter what I'll be paying off this loan 2 months earlier than planned.

I've already paid approximately $1,100 in interest so far but with the refinancing I will pay approximately $1,200 in interest over the life of the new loan.

I had gap insurance before which I decline to get this time around. I didn't know that when I did this, I get a pro-rated amount back which they'll deposit automatically in my savings account for me.

So all in all I'll be saving approximately $2,100 over the life of this loan compared to the original loan! And the only thing I did was just refinance...

So this time next year I'll be back in there again when my credit is even better and I can get an even lower rate then as well.

I'm so ecstatic! Even my parents are happy! Although they weren't worried about co-signing it because they know that I pay my bills, but is was just one less thing that I wanted them off of. Hopefully this means that I'll never have to have them co-sign on anything else again!



June 14th, 2013 at 11:13 pm

So I did it, I bought a motorcycle!

I paid for it fully up front so the only thing I'll have to pay is maintenance and insurance. Of course I need to pay for the initial registration/titling but that's to be expected.

I currently have it in storage. FOR FREE. A friend of mine is storing it in his garage for me as long as I let him use it for the motorcycle safety course that, as military, we are REQUIRED to take.

I don't need to purchase a helmet since the person I purchase the bike from included that. I do need to purchase safety gear which would only be a motorcycle jacket, which can cost me as little as $60 but as much as $300 but I technically have everything else. As long as it has armor and keeps me cool in the summer and warm in the winter, I'll go for the $60. (as long as it's NOT pink...)

I did find out that the motorcycle safety course is free for me so I'm even golden there.

The bike gets about 50 miles to the gallon and it only costs $12 to fill up the tank. So I can actually visit my brother for less than $24 a trip! $24 would only fill up about half my tank in the SUV...

I also do need to purchase a motorcycle permit which will later turn into a motorcycle endorsement on my license. But again that was expected.

My residential state doesn't have vehicle state inspections so that's not an expense that I have either.

I do need new tires but I knew that when I looked at the bike.

Also my auto insurance had gone down earlier about $30/month. With the motorcycle it went back up $30/month. So that is a wash.

But overall I'm happy! I'll save money overall on gas going to and from work and sometimes it will save me some cash on trips to certain places also!

Workout Jar Challenge

April 26th, 2013 at 11:55 pm

I have a new challenge for myself. Every day that I workout I put a dollar in the jar.

My only dilemma is to either put the money in savings or use the money to do something special for myself such as a massage or some other type of treat like that.

I believe that I will do that instead of savings. It's not often that I get massages and I haven't had one in soooo long right now. I may go for one this Saturday but that's because I haven't had one in almost two years and my knee desperately needs to be massaged. My physical therapist recommended it.

This is something that I'm looking forward to but it won't start til next month.

I'm also starting a weight jar. I'll have a jar filled with pebbles or something that will be the same amount of how many pounds I want to get rid of. With each pound gone I will transfer it to another jar that will be for the pounds that I HAVE gotten rid of.

I need a visual representation for what I want in order to have a goal to work towards. If I can't see it then it doesn't exist.

But I like these ideas (I did get them from somewhere else just can't really remember where).

Interest Rates

April 5th, 2013 at 06:44 pm

I have several accounts where the interest rates are on the high side. So I contacted one of the student loans and they stated all I need to do is submit paperwork that I'm active duty and they'll lower the interest rate. Even though the actually have a copy of my orders stating that I was in Afghanistan they actually need another set. Go figure...

I am unable to get the car loan lowered but hopefully that'll change later on.

I haven't contacted the Emblem card people yet but they are next on my list.

The one that I was most surprised about was the timeshare people. All I have to do is submit paperwork then I can get the account interest rate lowered. THANK GOODNESS!

I am currently looking for a copy of my original orders (I'm unable to bring it up on my computer...) and then I will be faxing like a speed demon today!

I'm just ecstatic that the interest rate will be lowered from 17% to at LEAST 6% interest rate on the timeshare. That will help out immensely. Then I can actually go about really getting down that debt.

I'll do the credit card company as soon as possible so that they too can be lowered. I'm going to end up keeping that one and getting rid of the Capital One card because of the annual fee.

Well off to find my orders and to the office for faxing! YAY ME!!! =D

A Funny Thing Happened to Me...

April 1st, 2013 at 03:33 pm

Well a funny thing happened to me yesterday....

I had to get a new hard drive last month because mine was dying. So in it went.

I had to also re-install my genealogy software. Genealogy is more a passion than a hobby.

But when I first purchased this software 2 years ago, it came with a 6-month free subscription to Ancestry.com which I used. And this is why I purchased it anyways. Now I would need to purchase it for an annual amount of $155 or semi-annual of $77 which is what I was going to do anyways.

Well when I re-installed it yesterday it asked me to register. Which I dutifully did. Right when I registered it stated that I have received the 6-month free membership.

HUH?! But! UM! UGH! I can't tell it that I have already done this so NOW I get another subscription for free.... So I just saved myself $77 without even trying. LOL

OH well, this allows me to save up for when the subscription renews. =P

The Motorcycle vs the Car

March 2nd, 2013 at 09:25 am

I've been thinking lately to purchase a motorcycle. A cruiser. NOT A NEW ONE. A used vehicle that I will pay for outright.

The reasoning is mainly gas. Although I'll pay for it in insurance and property taxes, I believe that it'll pay for itself in the long run due to utilization of gas. I currently have a 2004 Kia Sorento which uses about 20mpg/hwy and 18mpg/city.

If I get a motorcycle then it'll be about 50mpg/hwy and 45mpg/city.

If gas costs about $4.00/gallon then would it benefit me to have a motorcycle for "in city usage" and use the SUV for traveling?

The motorcycle has a 4-5/gallon tank and the SUV has a 20/gallon tank. It would take $16-20 to fill up the motorcycle while getting 180-225 miles a tank (city) and the SUV would cost $80 to fill up while getting 360 miles a tank (city).

It takes me 16 miles to drive to work so that's 32 miles daily. Using the motorcycle I would still be on that first gallon where as the SUV would already be ending the second gallon.

I will not be paying more than $2,0000 for this vehicle because I want it used and I'm not wanting to spend a lot of money on it.

But I'm still thinking that maybe it'll save me money in the long run if I have the second vehicle.

What do you think?

Expected Expenses

February 11th, 2013 at 04:02 pm

When I get back I know pretty much what my expenses are going to be but I'm not sure if they'll change...:

Ex's Student Loan 1: $110
Insurance: about $150
Netflix: 8.55
Time share: 132.80
Car Loan: 213.55
Cell w/insurance: 82.49
Food/Gas: 400
Coupon Inserts: 55
Rent: 809 (this includes water/trash/sewer/electricity/high speed internet/furniture) - upon renewal lease will decrease to $779 (technically this is more than the original place that I looked at ($705) but that didn't include water/electricity)

(I do have a credit card but I will pay that off when I get back with my savings)

The other student loans are on deferrment/forebearance:

Sallie Mae: 190.01 - forebearance til Nov 2013
Direct Loans: deferred til Sep 2013
ACS: 75.96 - deferred til July 2013

I'm not worried about the Direct or ACS loans because as long as I'm in school I can defer them. But that stupid Sallie Mae loan is what I really hate.

My net will be about $2,305.77 (according to calculations)
Bills: -$1962.82
Which equals $342.95 left until Aug which will then be $372.95 left. Then in Nov because I'll have to start paying the Sallie Mae again. Then that'll leave only $182.94.

I'll contribute the leftover as such at first:

Roth IRA: $25
DebtL 230 (and whatever else comes my way)
Wallet: 50 (fun money to do with whatever I want with)
Savings: 50

in Aug it'll change to:

Roth IRA: $25
Debt: $250
Wallet: $50
Savings: $50

in Nov it'll change to:

Roth IRA: $25
Debt: $60
Wallet: $50
Savings: $50

Now the thing is this. I can pay something down about $2,400 before Nov but I won't be paying anything off with it. So I've decided to actually start my debt repayment by paying off the Sallie Mae loan. That way I can continuously pay $250/mo to it. I know that it only has 6% interest and my car loan has 11.5% interest.

So it would seem to make sense to pay off the higher interest loan first but after Nov I would only be able to contribute $60/mo to it. But I think it makes more sense to keeping paying on the Sallie Mae and that way it'll only take me about three (3) years to pay it off

Your opinions and suggestions are appreciated if you have any.

I Want to Do an IronMan!

January 10th, 2013 at 02:34 am

I like to do something that physically challenges me. I did 3 half-marathons in 2011 in 6 weeks. I've also done a sprint triathlon and a few other smaller races.

What I want to do is a 70.3 IronMan this year (http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/ironman-70.3/augusta/course.aspx#axzz2HRhDOfQB) but I just realized that I no longer have a bike. UGH!! (I gave my bike away a while back before I joined the military) So now I have to purchase a bike. I was trying to figure out if I should get a triathlon bike, a road bike, or a cyclocross.

For a quality bike (meaning I will only purchase one of these kinds for a LONG time) it's still expensive. Respectively the cheapest prices are $2,730, $2039, and $809.

Now albeit the cyclocross bike is the cheapest but unless I am actually doing a cyclocross race then there is really no point in getting it. The setup on that particular bike is a lot different even if it does have some of the things I would look for it also has elements that I DON'T need as well. It would be a waste of money to purchase a bike that only has half of what I need.

So that leaves two options: triathlon or road bike. Which of course I realize that they are the most expensive of the two... I've compared them both and I am trying to find a cheaper retailer to purchase them from. I also need to keep in mind that when I purchase this bike, that I'll be keeping this for a VERY long time.

I've even considered riding this bike to work (it's about 9 miles one way). This way I can really get my monies worth out of it. My ultimate plan is to do a full IronMan.

I also realize that I will be participating in these races for a long time because I want to go to the Kona IronMan.

I did look up the bikes on other sites so that I can find the lowest costing bike. I've found them as low as $2,000 and $900. I'm glad that I was able to find them for a lot less than the original price.

I won't be able to do the IronMan triathlon this year as planned but I'm looking to do it in 2014. I need to save up for this bike. If only I had a coupon!! ARGH!!!

So the race is going to cost $300 and the bike about $900 - 2,000. Hopefully I can save quickly and I want to continue my racing.

Military Pay Increase?!

January 3rd, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Well another day another dollar. But in my case it's an extra $175.03 per month gross.

I've been looking at the military pay raise charts. I knew about the 1.7% pay raise to the basic pay but found out less than a week ago about the raises that would affect Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) and Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).

This is great! This means that I can possibly either put more towards debt, savings or whatnot! I'm not sure how much this equals to after taxes but this is way better than any employer that I've worked for.

I have received two raises in the past year and I haven't even been promoted yet! (currently an E-3). Now I have to really look at things and figure out how to work it into my budget.

In the past my very small raises went into my pocket and seemed to have never existed. Now I want to respond appropriately. This will take some time for me to decide. What I really want to do is start contributing to my retirement. I already know that I want to put it in a Roth IRA although I'm not sure if I want it to be a TSP Roth IRA or one held with a bank.

There are also other things that I want to do such as participate in the 70.3 Half IronMan in 2014 (I need to purchase a bicycle for this because I no longer have one), go to the 2016 Olympics, do the Kona IronMan in 2015 or 2016 and purchase or build a home.

I could start my savings plans now for all of that as well as the things that are on my 2013 goals list (I'm thinking of adding these to my 2013 lists so that they can start getting funded). Or start contributing to my retirement earlier instead of waiting til I get home or both...

I will more than likely wait til I get back home to actually contribute to my IRA.

What Do You Think?

December 15th, 2012 at 09:30 am

I have made a tentative budget of $200/mo for groceries. This not only includes food but also hygiene products, cleaning supplies and whatnot. I didn't think that I would be able to do this but I've reminded myself that I've done this before on less with coupons.

I've been thinking about something though. What if at the end of the month that I've spent less than $200 for all my groceries. Should I:

1. Roll over the difference for the next month
2. Use the difference to pay towards debt
3. One month rollover, then the next month put towards debt.
4. After 3 months rollover to savings.

I'm leaning towards number "3".

What do you suggest?


November 24th, 2012 at 03:26 pm

Well just to let you know, I'm a couponer. I'm not an extreme couponer. I can't go to a store, get $100 worth of stuff and only pay $1. Not yet at least! What I have done is pay $71 for $147 worth of groceries and I've paid $53 for $109 worth of groceries. Couponing isn't easy!! But I do believe that it's worth it!

You have to organize your coupons so that they work for you. But before I left for Afghanistan I donated all my coupons to the military.

Did you know that military personnel can use coupons up to six months AFTER they've expired!!

I sent them to a woman who then gathered up all the coupons sent to her and mailed them to a representative. There is one in each area/region.

But right now I don't have any coupons. So I need to restock but I don't want to start from scratch. So I've been thinking of having Sunday newspapers sent to my brother's house (he has my stuff anyways). But only for the three month subscription, that way I can stock up a bit and be able to shop for groceries right when I get home!

It only costs about $37 for the (13 week) subscription which is saving money from actually buying it every Sunday.

This is what really helps me budget for groceries every month. Don't get me wrong, not everything needs a coupon for me to buy. But I will try to wait for a sale if I can, but since I literally have to restock my kitchen I'll need to purchase almost everything!! UGH!!!

Funny thing is that when I get home, the newspaper in my area costs substantially less than the one in my brothers' area. But he gets more coupons. Oh well...

Saving for the Fund Things in Life

November 19th, 2012 at 08:31 am

So I'm wanting to save up for home toys. I know that I will constantly be saving up for things throughout my life. Currently there are two things that I know that I would like to save up for:

$500 - $1600 - flat screen smart tv (50" at least because I plan on having this tv for at least 4-6 years) I'd prefer plasma but will get LED if I find what I'm lookin for in one.

$335 with tax - PS3 with some accessories (I've been wanting this game system for several years)

There are things that when I get back home I will purchase like a new battery and tires for my SUV. That should run me at LEAST $500. Since I already knew about this when I left I have the money for it already.

I realize that I will always have a "Fun Fund" to save for things. Even if I don't have anything to save for at the moment that will be for fun I know that sooner or later their will be something that I want. And no it won't be bought as spur of the moment if I already have the funds for it because I'm a researcher and I search for what I want and then I search for the lowest price.

I really haven't settled on a tv yet. I'd REALLY like to have a 3D Smart tv without glasses but i will settle for just a smart tv. i have netflix and hooking that up to my tv is a must because i will not pay extra for cable.

Extra Income

November 16th, 2012 at 02:00 pm

Well I'm trying to come up with ideas now so that I can have extra income later. I'm more than willing to sell some of my items. I'm not sure how I'll sell them yet.

My ultimate goal is buy a tv. After talking with some people the best idea is to buy the tv that i actually want NOW instead of upgrading from time to time. I'll save more money that way.

That's why I'm doing little things here to have enough cash to pay for half of it. That's my goal. Whatever money I earn here will be the 50% that I'll need to pay for the tv. So if I earn $500 then I can get a $1000 tv max. Unfortunately the ones that I've been looking at are about $800-$1500. But that only means that I'll either have enough to pay for it cash
(I can actually do that right now) or pay half of it upfront.

BTW, I do NOT have a television. AT. ALL. I want a 3D Smart LCD TV with WIFI. I'm not sure how big. I'm thinkin 50" though. That way whenever I upgrade where I live (such as moving to a house) I won't feel the need to get a bigger tv. Also I'm a gamer (no I don't have any systems right now) so when I save the money to buy a system I won't feel the need to get a bigger tv.

All and all I just want to buy a tv once and be DONE with it for a few years at LEAST.

I need to get both my tablets fixed (yes, I have two. one stopped working while overseas so i bought another.) So I'm going to get both fixed (one just has a cracked screen) and sell the smaller one. I only used it for three days before it stopped working.

That'll help some with of my savings for things that I want. My new "thing" is to save money for whatever item that I want.

So first thing is a sweet tv. Approximately $1500. I'll count up my monies saved here in about a week or two so that I can have a middle point. If I save more than I need then I'll just put that towards the next thing.

I do need to have a christmas fund. I'd like to have enough to give my two older daughters, my son-in-law, my granddaughter and my new grandchild that'll be here in May 2013-ish. Also I'd like to get my parents and my youngest brother and my sister-in-law presents also. I just want to get my grandchild a present for christmas this year. So I'll be shopping online for her and my kids. I plan on buying them something soon so that it'll get there before the middle of december.

Getting Started

November 14th, 2012 at 04:42 am

Currently I'm deployed in Afghanistan and I'm working on reducing my debt. I currently have approximately $8,000 in medical collections. I've already paid off some medical collections already but I saved the biggest one for last. I know that they'll settle for less than the amount that's owed altogether.

Since my pay has been messed up for a year I will be receiving a sweet little backpay amount. Exactly when I'll receive this, I don't know. But when I do my plan is to pay off the medical account and be done with it.

I haven't looked at my credit report since last year since I've been in the military. Why you ask? Because we don't have access in basic training and there was limited access to the internet when i was in AIT (job training). I then went to my unit and within a month I was deployed (a lot of prep goes on while getting ready to deploy). So I'm working on looking at my reports while I'm here.

But last time I looked at my report, there were only medical collections that reflected negatively. Hopefully I can get the last of it paid off while I'm deployed and by the time I get back home my points will have increased and my report will pretty much look a LOT better.

So far since I've been deployed and since I started on debt reduction over a year ago, I've payed off:

4 medical collections
3 out of 5 credit cards (I closed two of them because they had annual fees)

What I have left is:

1 medical collections
2 credit cards
1 private student loan
approximately $25,000 in student loans and counting (hopefully I have less then 2 years until I get my BS)
1 car loan (HAD to buy a used car because my car literally wouldn't run)
Alimony for ex (I actually have it stipulated in the separation papers that I can "pay it off" early).

I have been saving monies as well as paying things off. I currently have approximately $3,000 in savings and by the end of the deployment I'll have another $2,000 added to it at the least.

I took the opportunity to add monies to a Security Deposit Plan (SDP) which you can only do when you're deployed. It compounds 10% interest with a maximum amount of $10,000 that can be contributed to it. I add $250 each month so I know that I'll have $2,000 in it and whatever interest that it would have earned by then.

I know that I'll have to pay taxes on the interest earned but I'm hoping that I can roll that monies over into a CD or something like that so I won't have to pay taxes on it.

I really don't have any money saved for retirement although I have monies here and there even though I'm older. But my plan is to have those monies when it's time but to also have a little side business goin on so that I have my assets working for me (passive income).

By the end of this year I should either have one more credit card paid off or almost paid off by the end of the year. My last credit card won't be paid off by the time I get back home but I'll have it close to halfway paid off so that'll make my minimum payment lower and therefore I'll be able to put more towards the interest.

By the time I get back home I'll have a better credit score. Which is my ultimate goal so that I can refinance my auto loan (it's currently 11.5%) for a lower interest and eventually get my parents off my loan as co-signers.

My ultimate goal is to be mostly debt free in another 6 years because I want to purchase a house.