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Archive for February, 2006

Earning my worth *warning* boring

February 28th, 2006 at 06:47 pm

Using "Overcoming Underearning" the book, this is just an entry for me to keep straight what it is I want and where I'm at. Easier for me to find again than entering in a paper journal

To start:
What DO I want?

*I want to stop using debt - even though it gets paid off monthly except the house, I spend more than I should and then juggle to make sure it's paid and don't incur finance charges. My mother always did the same thing and I want to break the habit - CASH ONLY and don't touch savings!!

*I want to make sure I always get paid what I'm worth, for most of my skills, they're within a range of $20-50+ per hour.

*I want to find out where I am mentally to achieve where I want to be financially

*I want to update my resume and CV so that I'm ready when opportunity strikes!

*I want to run my own business because I'd be good at it and following someone else's vision is boring

If I had six months to live, what would I be doing?

*I'd be spending as much time as possible visiting family, then I'd travel to the one or two countries or states on my "must see" list, I'd be making sure my will/durable power of attorney for healthcare/living will were in order, and I'd be taking the time to enjoy my last days

Where would I be living/Who would you be with?
*At home, with my loved ones, or traveling with loved ones

What would you change? What would you add? What would you eliminate?
*I'd want to make sure I left my children an inheritance - something to help them through university or buy a house, I'd be more forthright in expressing my appreciation to folks, I wouldn't hesitate about spending $3 on a malt (they're my favorite treat), and I'd try to be kinder to those I encounter in this life.

Affirmations to wealth taken from aforementioned book by Barbara Stanny:
-I am confident in my ability to make money
-I always live below my means
-I love money and appreciate what it does for me
-I am very optimistic about my financial future
-I experience very little fear or uncertainty around money
-I am determined to get paid what I am worth
-I am passionate about my work
-I have very supportive, nurturing relationships (including spouse)
-I like wealthy people
-I have little or no credit card debt
-I intentionally get myself in situations beyond my ability and then rise to them
-I am resilient and able to bounce back when I fail
-I am filled with gratitude for the success I've achieved
-I work very hard, but I know I don't have to do everything myself. I know how to delegate and set limits
-I am tenacious in achieving my goals

We're eating home more now and I have a year to plan my re-entry into working for money. These explorations allow me to stay on track. Smile


Travel Expenses and Silly Musings

February 28th, 2006 at 06:43 am

I leave in about 9 days for Spain and trying to figure out how I'm going to be frugal while there. Found a shared apartment for 350 Euros for the month, but doesn't include washer/dryer. So laundry will be an expense. Also, I don't want to eat out and I have kitchen access, so I'll try to do a daily shopping excursion for fresh fruits, fresh breads and cheeses. Meat leaves me feeling sick these days, but it does help to lower expenses!
We had a voucher for 50 Euros from the last time we flew NWA which helped with the ticket price... and I'm not going to bring anything back except postcards - I just can't afford it if we're starting to live on our savings in April. Besides, no one really Needs anything anyway.
I'm taking the next year off for our little one that is on the way and as I've written before, to sell our house and get us moved 4 states away.
I donated a huge box of books to our library the other day and I'll bring another big pile of children's books today. It feels soooooo goooooddd to give people things that they can use.
My mom is coming to see us for 2 weeks and said she'll help get the house ready - wow! I'm very glad! DH works a lot and DS needs direction, so my mom will be a huge help since I'm not supposed to paint and lift heavy things. What a random entry today - I think there is just a lot going on and it's hard to keep track of everything - maybe it's time for a list!
Worked with two contractors for quotes on fixing a few things around the house and I think I'll divide the job between the two. Now I just need to find someone to let them into the house since DH will be working, DS in school and I'll be away at school.
I've been reading about Huna lately and like this concept of not thinking anything bad or negative and how it helps your total outlook on life. I've been trying to keep track of negative thoughts and there really are a lot of them sometimes! Thoughts that include "can'ts" or "not possibles" or just thinking bad about someone before I've ever met them - judging in other words. Like women who wear a lot of diamonds have always been on my "judgement" list because so many diamonds are blood diamonds and I can't see how anyone would ever want to wear them unless they came from Canada or were fakes. Someone once told me that when we encounter someone we don't like, it's that they remind us of parts of our person that we have chosen to not include in our life. So when I see someone overspending and automatically create dislike for them, it's because I don't like it in myself when I spend money on things considered "non-essential." Interesting, I think.

Jorge

Taxes, Cost Basis, and a Raise

February 27th, 2006 at 12:04 pm

Worked on taxes more this morning and all I have to say is that I am a wuss and TurboTax is my friend. I could have handled a simple 1040EZ, but when I start adding in interest and dividend income and figuring stock sales, etc., I'm out of my league. I'm learning a lot and I hope I do everything right! I've been using an accountant for years because I owned rental property and never could trust myself with depreciations, etc., etc. Now that the rental property is gone, TurboTax is my step into the "real world" of doing my own taxes.
I need to find the cost basis and acquisition dates on three stock sales last year and then we'll be almost set to submit our return. Boy will that be a good feeling!
When we're living overseas, I'm not sure how we'll end up doing taxes. Does anyone know? Does an American citizen not living in the U.S. need to file taxes (not being military, that is)? We'll be in the EU and I'm hoping there are some conventions in place so that we won't be double taxed on our income.
My raise came through and it's an awesome 5%. The major bummer is that I'm almost done with work so that I can batten down the hatches and get our house sold and our stuff packed up for the BIG MOVE. It really was a very nice raise on my pocketbook. *sigh*

Will the clutter Ever END: Still making money on my junk

February 19th, 2006 at 07:51 pm

Tore through the basement over the weekend finding boxes that can't be used for moving (too big, too broken, too dirty) and took them for recycling. Snagged all of the copper piping that has been sitting in a box since who knows how when and recycled that, too. $1/lb. in our area.
Books that were listed on half.com for $1 and have been there for a month, I've taken off my listings and will donate to the library and friends. No money made, but goodwill from the universe created. Wink
I never knew a house could get so dirty. I have been out of commission for about 3 months for pregnancy-related sickness/fatigue and decided it was high time to DUST! What a mess. I went through all of the windowsills, most of the woodwork in the house and wiped down almost every flat surface that dared to get in my path! I was a maniac. The mirrors were polished, even the kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Mopped the basement and cleaned the shower downstairs. My house is feeling loved and sparkly and I'm just glad it's finally getting done.
The weekend also included a few home improvement projects, so I set myself down to learn how to grout. There were areas in our bathroom floor tile that had been taken up that needed to be re-affixed and grouted, so off to the home improvement store I went. After affixing the loose tiles, I had to wait until they dried before using a sponge to spread in the new grout. To be honest, I was quite terrified of this project, because I didn't want to screw it up, but it actually looks quite nice.
The garage still needs some sprucing up/organizing/de-cluttering, but I think I'll wait until the weather gets a bit warmer.
I look around at all that we have and I just can't believe how lucky we've been in our lives. I am so very grateful and I couldn't have done it without the angels in my life.
I'm still pursuing some educational possibilities to increase my income long-term and will start carrying this quote with me that I picked up from "Secrets of Six-Figure Women":

"Every blade of grass has an angel that bends over it and whispers: Grow! Grow!" - Talmud

Till the next time,
Jorge

Wealthy Women and Six Figure Earners

February 16th, 2006 at 09:49 am

I am an underearner. In the book, "Secrets of Six Figure Women" there is a big section on underearners and I fit into most of the categories. The two big ones were that I've always felt like the money wasn't supposed to matter if the cause was worthy and I am constantly giving away my skills to help someone or some entity out. Do I want to spend the rest of my life like this? Not a chance. Do I see myself at a six figure salary? Yes. When? Not sure. Do I want to achieve financial freedom? You bet. The number isn't a million, since I can live on much less than that and travel, too, but the number is definitely up there. 1/2 million and a paid for residence is close.
Now that I think back on it, I wasn't always an underearner, I didn't always devalue my own skills... I remember writing dollar signs on my pancakes with the syrup as a child because I just knew that I would be one to make money. And then... well, society and all those learning lessons on how to be a lady got the best of me and I suddenly found myself in the "it's not polite to talk about money or ask for more" mentality. How did this happen?? I've always felt bad when I haven't charged for something I knew others were getting paid plenty to do, so why didn't I ever speak up? The book is a great one because it made me remember that I am worth more. More, and infinitely more. I don't need to settle for a $15/hr. job because I am worth more than that. Why didn't it hit me sooner?
Granted, I am making more than that at the moment, due to a promotion, but this book is a reminder to never settle for less than I know I'm worth.
My husband and I were talking the other night and I told him that he can support us for the next 10 years while we have a couple of kids and get settled some place, and that I'll support us the next 10. Consulting probably. I am happy. And I'm worth every penny I've ever made, and I'll start charging for those things I should have been charging for a long time ago. My next book? "Millionaire Women Next Door."

Ciao.

Jorge

Investing your $$

February 13th, 2006 at 07:55 am

Previously, I had written about how we were selling the house this spring/summer and how I was confused as to what I should do with the money.
I had figured:
$4,000 into a Roth
some money into ING CD's...

and I had no idea what to do with the rest.

I found my answer this weekend in the book, "Prince Charming Isn't Coming."
First of all, I found out what I didn't want to do with my money - I didn't want my money languishing in something that would cause inflation to take over. I didn't want to use the money for everyday expenses and I didn't want to lose my money.
Well, even at 4.something%, with taxes taken out and inflation, over the long haul, I would not make money in an ING CD. And that is, what I found out, what I want. I want to make some money and grow a nest egg. Not just let it be "safe" in an FDIC insured account, even though the idea is extremely appealing, it just Doesn't work that way! My favorite chapter in the book is called, "Risk Is Not a SYnonum for Loss" and it was a chapter that really helped me to see that what I needed to do was bite the bullet and invest in the stock market. Yes, yes, I already invest in the stock market through an IRA and my retirement at work, but outside of retirement accounts, I have not invested.
So, here's my plan.
This is money for the long-term. I want it set aside for at least 7 years and probably much, much longer.
$4,000 will go into an IRA as planned, $3,000 will stay in ING as an emergency fund, the remainder will be placed into stocks or no-load stock mutual funds (wherever I can find good quality and not big fees)and next year, I'll take another $4,000 and place it into an IRA. The rest will stay outside of the retirement vehicles. This is so very scary for me. Of course, I will not buy everything all at once, since it is much, much better to dollar cost average. For example, whatever my amount, say it is $12,000, I'll divide that amount by 12 months and end up investing $1,000 each month into my chosen stocks. This recipe then calls for a "sit, wait and see" attitude since I will have done my homework and invested in stocks I think have good long-term potential. No selling at low points, no panicking, just buy and hold. Huh. Can I do it? Can I take the time to research Morningstar and Baron's and find something worthwhile? I'll have to. I think this is the only way to make sure my money doesn't stagnate.
My retirement money is in a handful of index funds, and I'm happy with that. Maybe I can do something similar with the other money.
None of this will take place until the house is sold, however, so I'd better get crackin' de-cluttering and clean, clean, clean! Not that we're a messy family, but things do tend to get away from a person. Some of the screens need to be repaired and our windows need to be washed inside and out. There is some trim that needs to be put up that requires hiring a carpenter and I need to replace a swath of carpet. Ah, yes, and we need to seal the basement concrete areas with something that will look nice. Maybe a grey will do. Since I'm pregnant, I can't do any of the painting, so that may have to get hired out. I'm budgeting about $2,000 for home fix-its in order to get a higher price for the house.
Hope it works!

Keeping the money you have and a birthday

February 5th, 2006 at 05:30 pm

When we sell our house, even at the low end, I'll have a nice bit of money in the bank. Now I just need to figure out what to do with it! I figure I'll put $4,000 into a Roth IRA. I have a traditional (a fluke thanks to the efforts of Edward Jones - they labeled it "Roth" but really set it up as a traditional many years ago) with TIAA-CREF (switched companies after that snafu, and my retirement account through work is in Fidelity. So, what would you do? Keep 3-6 months in ING CD's or something?? If that, then what? Place the remaining few thousand in a stock fund or something? I just don't know. Like baselle has said, once you have the money, then ya need to think about how you're going to protect it.
DH's birthday is tomorrow and I took him out to a nice restaurant on Saturday. He'll have a few things to open, but nothing crazy - dinner was expensive (worth it, though!). Smile

2005: A Recap on My Finances

February 2nd, 2006 at 11:10 am

My credit card statement holding year end totals arrived in my inbox yesterday. This prompted me to take a look at how my money situation has changed in the past year.
This is what I found out:

In 2005...
- I did not spend any money on credit card finance charges (a first since my first year in college)

- A combination of stock increases, savings, and debt reduction increased my net worth by 14% (this has since gone up more with the student loan payoff)

- There is $1,000 in an emergency fund (unheard of in my life)

- My worries about money began at "often - at least 10 times a day" and have decreased to "every now and then - once a week or so"

- I started spending allocated money for self-improvement and not feeling bad about it

I hope 2006 has as much or more to offer.

Budget for February

February 1st, 2006 at 04:04 pm

Went shopping today and spent my $50 for the week that I allocate to personal spending. Also cleaned out the piggy jar and instead of depositing it into ING like I was Supposed to, I spent it on a few things for the house. I guess I'm feeling rich with the money from my sale arriving soon and having no more student loan debt. Ah well. Cercis inspired me to go buy a box of henna, so that was how I spent the remainder of the morning. I always buy a box color called, "Sunset Glo" and like the red highlights/shine it gives my hair. Spent $3.49 on the box, though, which sounds expensive compared to Cercis brand!
Purchased some shampoo, body gel and conditioner from the organic food store. We have a nice one in town that offers cosmetic products along with groceries. They even have dog and cat food!
Anyhow, everything is biodegradable, no sodium laureth sulfate, etc., no animal by products and not tested on animals. My kind of stuff. And then, I prostituted myself to the gods of fashion and bought some Matrix sculpting mud. I've tried products that are from the cheap chains and they either give me an '80's look, or they clump, flake, or generally reduce my hair to ruin.
So, back to that budget stuff.
With the 40 must-haves/30 wants/20 savings plan, I haven't really felt the need to track spending, but I'm quitting my job the end of February and need to know where we're at without my salary.

$20 for emergency cell phone
$45 for DS's music lessons
$15 DS's allowance
$200 for my spending money
$150 to savings

And I suppose that almost does it for what I spend my money on outside of what I put into our household account. Our household budget reads more like this:

$80 for gas
$80 for electric/water/sewer
$600 mortgage
$100 "second mortgage"
$25 phone
$45/3 months for waste disposal
$400 groceries including dog food and paper items even though I don't buy a lot of them at the grocery store
$25 for landline
$50 account for car repairs
$75 account for house repairs

We're making good money right now, and our must-have's are at 40% with our combined salaries, so it won't be much of a hit, but I think I'm going to miss earning my own money.
I'm taking a month to go learn how to teach English to speakers of other languages and am really looking forward to the training and subsequent life changes. All is going well so far this year!