MM’s Money

September 12, 2008

Small Victories!

Filed under: Family Financial Makeover,Lil One,Planning,Saving — mmsmoney @ 12:00 pm
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So based on the FFM (Family Financial Makeover -I’m gonna copyright/trademark that if I can) I went to the credit union and set up three new savings accounts, in addition to the one I already had:

Share Savings 01:  Primary savings – for holding the buffer. Balance: $230 (it was $260, but I transferred $10 to each of the new accounts). It’s still pitiful and sad though!

Share Savings 02: Major Emergency Fund – for building up 6 mos of expenses – which is at this point (including our slash & burn of the budget) roughly $18,000. This would cover us in terms of that major disaster deductible on DH’s business insurance or in the event of my losing my job. Not both – so we’ll have to re-address this goal as money starts piling up. Balance: $10

Share Savings 03: Car Replacement Fund – for the eventual replacement of my vehicle. My 13-year-old rattletrap which I love and cherish and whisper sweet “do not die on me” nothings to every single day. Balance: $10

Share Savings 04: Baby College Fund. With a grand total of $20 in it. Wait! What’s that you say? My numbers don’t add up? You’re right! My branch manager, who knows my name you know!, let me know that for college savings accounts, the credit union puts in their own $10. So free $10 for Lil One! Woot!

Now I know some of you would say, why local Credit Union with its measly 1.5% interest on savings accounts? Why not ING or HSBC or some other bank? Well, I plan on converting each of the values in these accounts to other accounts when they get built-up. A combo of 3, 6, 9, 12 mo. CDs (see below) and for baby-girl, an educational investment instrument of some sort that I haven’t yet researched. So for now, until we’re dough-rolling, I’m happy to have these monies socked away closer to home.

Oh, and I opened another account too – the credit union version of a Certificate of Deposite is a Share Certificate. Normally, the minimum initial deposit is $1000 and earns 4.1% (12 month – I think the 6 month ones earn slightly less). But right now, they are running a promotion to attract members who might not be able to affort the minimum deposit. SO I bought a share certificate that can be augmented with additional funds throughout the term for $10. And it earns 6%!!! Upon thinking about it, I should have put baby’s CF amount in that, but they wouldn’t have matched it. And I can always earmark the Share Cert for Baby Girl when we are wealthy and almost debt free next September. I just can’t exceed the 1000 or the entire thing becomes a normal Share Cert – which is weird. What if it had 990 and earned interest to top 1000? Would the whole thing then lose the special rate? I am so uneducated and Sometimes don’t ask enough questions!

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September 8, 2008

What I Love – Frugal Stuff or Not!

Filed under: DH,Frugality,Lifestyle,Lil One — mmsmoney @ 12:00 am
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  1. I love to cook. So eating out or grab-n-go foods are not appealing. This is a big money saver in our household. DH makes it very clear he’d much rather eat my cooking than spend money on not-as-good restaurant offerings. However, this does add to my stress sometimes – like this past month – when I’ve been so very busy at work that I haven’t been able to plan well and when coming home to jump right into cooking doesn’t really appeal. I grew up cooking for my big family (6 of us) so I’m used to cooking for a crowd. If I make dinner for 3 vs. 2 (adults we’re talking here – Lil One would rather eat cheerios and chicken nuggets than my cooking – I’m trying not to take it personally), then it doesn’t cost all that much more and I have leftovers for lunch. Not eating dinners out saves probably $80/month and leftovers saves $100/month.
  2. I love to read. Now that I’ve decided to stop buying books and use the dang library, I can indulge my reading without breaking the bank. I tracked my B&N/Amazon Books purchases last year and WHEW they were high. I’ve been on the not-buying boat since January and it’s save us … wait for it…$800 so far this year. Yes, the library sometimes doesn’t have the immediate gratification of getting the latest releases first. And yes, I can’t love the book and reread it again and again (without checking it out again) like if I owned it, but really – $1200 a year on books is a lot.
  3. I love coffee. I drink at least 2 mugs (and real ones – 16 oz.) each day – one right when I get up and one for the commute to work. I will not sacrafice my shade-grown fair trade good stuff for some cheaper alternative. One – for the taste. Two – for the principle of the thing – buying organic, fair trade ensures living wages are paid to the farmers and that is something I believe in and will continue to support. Not to mention the negative ecological impacts of clear-cut coffee plantations (FOLGERS!). I try not to hug the trees too much, but in this case I would hug the coffee tree if I could. And really – that extra $2 per week is not gonna pay off $40K anytime soon, so we’ll stick with good coffee.
  4. I love Good Diapers bought with a Good Coupon. Well, actually I don’t love them, I just hate the alternative. Lil One’s rear-end requires the high-end purchase, so if I buy generic she is miserable with the rashes & chaffing. That then requires purchase of expensive baby diaper rash creams and so on. Yes, I’d save $10 per week on the diapers, but a tub of Dr. Smith’s would be $12 every other week, so there’s no real savings there (only $4 per week). And how could we put a price on discomfort for the Lil One? Buying the better diaper is the way to go for our family. That being said, we’re preparing to potty train this fall and these expenses could go away soon, adding $70/month back into our budget.
  5. I love good beer. No, not Miller Geniune Draft vs. Miller Lite. I mean flavorful, handcrafted beer with a significant hop profile. A balance of sweet malt to bitter hops. I mean a beer that follows the 4 ingredient rule of the Germans: Water, Barley, Hops and Yeast. NO rice, no wheat, no additives, no hops extract. So what is a family trying to cut our expenses – slashing and burning – going to do? DH learned how to make our own. Yes, we’re like moonshiners cookin’ up brew in the backyard. I may post another on this topic itself, as it is pretty interesting, but the short story: a 12-pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is regularly $15 (grocery not discount store). And we could drink that within 2 days (no we’re not alcoholics, we just drink beer most days). That’s $3000/year on BEER after sales tax (8.25% in Texas). Or about $1.35 per beer.  So by buying the ingredients (and the equipment, which we got a great deal on) making it ourselves is less than $0.60 per serving – plus the purchase of the ingredients is TAX FREE because they are ingredients, not finished food products. So we don’t sacrafice our sophisticated beer palate AND we save upwards of $1500 per year! DH has perfected a California-style American Ale (Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Clone), a London-style Ale, an excellent porter – dark, balanced and yummy in the winter. These are our standard beers.

So what do you love that you think helps you save money or that you wouldn’t give up even for cost savings?

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