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Archive for June, 2007

401k vs. Roth IRA - My Take

June 24th, 2007 at 09:06 am

I have recently been reading many articles pertaining to the advantages of a Roth IRA. [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roth_IRA[url]. I began to weigh the my options as far as where to park my retirement funds.

After contributing my maximum 15% to my 401k the last 2 years. I decided to cut wayyyyyyy back on these contributions and focus on maxing out my Roth IRA for the rest of 2007 ($4,000). My employer doesn't offer a match of any kind, so I'm not losing out on that.

Hopefully by 12/31/07 I will have maxed out my Roth and can then go back to larger 401k contributions in 2008, as I will have the entire year to try to max out my Roth in 2008 ($5,000).

By the way, i opened up my Roth at ING Direct. It was easy and painless. The mutual fund options are limited, so I may be looking to move to Vanguard or Fidelity in the future.

THIS is why I have an emergency fund!

June 20th, 2007 at 09:14 am

Nearly every personal finance advice site has the same advice on a few subjects, and almost all the time having an emergency fund is one of these tips. After all, you never know when something is going to come up and you'll need the money.

Last week someone came in the back slider door at my house in broad daylight (actually my rooomates house; he owns the place and hasn't fixed the broken lock since it was busted a year ago) and stole my laptop, IPOD, and digital camera. Not a good day for me.

So now I am shopping around for a laptop and camera. The IPOD I can do without. But what a bummer.

Selling Stuff on eBay

June 12th, 2007 at 01:48 pm

After reading a few other blogs where the authors sold multiple items on Ebay and made a nice profit I decided to try my hand at the eBay game.

Over the last 10 years I ahve built up a pretty impressive library of books for a 25 year old. I love to read and I love to read on MANY different topics. My enjoyment in this activity left me with well over 100 different books, covering all different topics: textbooks, fiction, sports, history, finance advice, etc. I also have many golf clubs laying around that others would certainly be willing to snatch up.

I decided to list essentially book I own on eBay , as well as 3 or 4 golf clubs, and other items.

Being a newbie in the eBay game, I was a little unsure how much to charge for shipping, etc. Therefore I underestimated the cost on a few items and ended up taking a loss on the shipping portion.

But other than that it's fun and I have turned a nice profit in less than a week. Now, obviously this isn't a true profit in the sense that I sold a book for more than I originally bought, but it still feels good to have the cash in my pocket. I ahve decided that I will take 50% of the total proceeds and put it towards my credit card debt, with the other 50% going into the $25 challenge pot.

What Are Your Luxuries?

June 8th, 2007 at 01:07 pm

Ok since we all sit around our computers and type to eachother about how frugal we all are, certainly we all ahve some luxuries in life that make our lives sane.

For me, I play golf. And not just out on Saturday afternoons with the boys, drinking beer and talking sports. I play competitively, which means I travel all over California, playing in tournaments against other top players. Hotels, tournament entry fees, and my membership at my country club ($275 a month). It's fun and I watch every other penny to justify my spending when I play golf.

What are your luxuries?

Happy Weekend, ya'll!

June 8th, 2007 at 09:58 am

Is there anyhting better than a nice weekend in June? Methinks no.

Saved $25.48 last night at the grocery store by looking for sales. Plus the Giants won!

Straight into the $20 challenge pot.

Is the Bull Market Over?

June 7th, 2007 at 09:16 am

Well it looks like the market is on its way to its 3rd straight triple digit loss.

Is this simply a correction like the one we saw in February or is the market trneding towards a long term downturn?

It seems to me at soem point consumer confidence and consumer spending will ahve to fall due to all the gas and housing worries.

People can't continue to artifially inflate the economy by spending money they don't have right?

If You Had To Choose..................

June 6th, 2007 at 03:55 pm

I will give you a purely "hypothetical" situation (and by hypothetical, I mean my exact situation) and ya'll tell me what you would do.

I have about $2,600 in credit debt that is being charged 0% interest and will continue to do so until January of 2008.

If you had $400 of discretionary income each month to either pay this credit card down or put into a savings account earning 5% what would you do?

MY Challenge Money Guidelines and Progress

June 6th, 2007 at 08:31 am

-$1 for a S.F. Giants Win
-$1 for a No Spending Day
-$1 for a No Credit Card Day
-$1 for a No Alcohol Day
-$1 for a No Junk Food Day
-All Savings from a Coupon Book
-50% of EBAY Profits
-Loose Change (including all $1 bills) at End of Month.
-Savings at Grocery Store for sales.

My goal is $1,000 by 1/1/2008. I am currently at $32.

Seeing as How I Am a "$20 Challenge" Newbie......

June 5th, 2007 at 12:32 pm

What are some of the things people contribute to their challenge?

I currently have 6 "events" that contribute to my challnge:

-S.F. Giants wins ($1)
-No Spending Day ($1)
-No Credit Card Day ($1)
-50% of my EBAY profits
-Coupon Savings at the Grocery Store
-Loose change I have accumulated at the end of month.

I am trying to think of some more. What are everyone else's "events" that contribute to their challenges?

Credit Cards: How Many Is Too Many?

June 5th, 2007 at 12:28 pm

Seeing as how we are in the midst of a "national savings epidemic", I started looking at my savings habits (which are rapidly improving) and my usage of credit cards.

I opened my 1st credit card 7 years ago, at the age of 18. Of course, my parents said that it was only to be used for emergencies. Apparently my college brain decided midnight pizza and beer was an emergency becasue I quickly racked up $5,000 in debt on that card (which i have since paid off). Being a serious golfer, I was able to take advantage of the "Golf Digest Rewards" that were offered with the card. I currently pay 13.99% on this card, but rarely incur an interest charge as I pay it off monthly.

I opened my 2nd card at the end of 2006 when I received a "0% interest for a year!" offer in the mail. I bought myself a new set of golf clubs, as well as financing trips to S.F. to see the girlfriend. On this card I earn points towards various stores and restaurants. I hope to have this paid off by the end of the 0% period in December.

Just this month I opened my 3rd card an American Express Rotarian World Points card, which donates $1 to the local Rotary for every dollar I spend. I also earn 1 "World Point" for every $1 I spend, which goes to Travel Rewards. i have 0% interest until April 2008.

So as it stands now, I have 3 credit cards with a total of $2,800 outstanding debt that is being charged zero interest. The $2,800 represents 11% of my total available credit. I have no plans to open any more credit cards. 3 is enough for me!!

What is everyone's experience with too many credit cards or not enough credit cards?

Building Savings, the Sporting Way

June 1st, 2007 at 09:10 am

I know a poster here (the name escapes me) puts $1 in her $20 Challenge stash everytime the Braves win, and I thought this was a fun way to save and root on your team.

The S.F. Giants have 25 wins right now, so I will start with $25, and add $1 for every win here on out. They are a pretty average team, so by the end of the season in October I should have about $80-$85 dollars.

Once college football season starts I will add $10 for every Notre Dame victory.

Go Giants and Go Irish!!!

What to do with $60,000???

June 1st, 2007 at 08:56 am

Ok, I am opening this up to all of you.........

I have $60,000 sitting in a 12 month CD right now that comes due in August. It is currently earning about 4.90%.

The security of the low-risk CD is nice, however, part of me knows I should have it in something a little riskier.

I am about 2 years away from buying my first house, which this money is for.

I have an idea of what I want to do with it, but I wanted to see what everyone else's opinions were...............

To All My Money Saving Friends....

June 1st, 2007 at 08:52 am

I have been reading all of your blogs for about 6 months now, and thought it time to start my own.

Not only is it fun (and maybe a bit narccistic) to have your own blog, but it certainly helps you keep your financial goals if you put them out there for everyone to see.

I am 25 years old, work as a commercial loan officer at a community bank in Northern California, and have a seriosu girlfriend who lives in San Francisco and works at Google.

I went through college spending money left and right and quuicly racked up about $8,000 in credit card debt. I have cut that down to about $2,500 since graduation and am trying eliminate it all by 2008.

I spend 75% of my time watching my pennies and trying to do my best to save all I can so I can not feel guilty when I travel to San Francisco and go to nice dinners and Giants games.

This is my journey..........Happy Saving, everyone!