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Still here! Retirement benchmarks?

October 2nd, 2018 at 04:40 am

Couldn't believe my log on still worked!

My husband and I are 34 and 36 now with two girls. Wow, time flies.

Just wondering what everyone is using as retirement benchmarks. We hit 1.5x annual income in retirement by our average age of 35 but I'm wondering what our benchmark should be by 40?

I KNOW I KNOW, everyone's different, but I'm wondering what rule of thumb some of you have used on here?

Thanks so much!! So glad my account still works!! Smile

groceries for a family of 4?

May 16th, 2016 at 07:27 am

Just wondering what everyone spends on groceries for the week? We have a 5 year old, 1 year old, 1 cat (that we include all of her food, litter, etc.) and then two adults we're paying for. Just noticing recently that we haven't been hitting my $125/week budget for a while now so I'm probably going to up it to at least $150.

Generally we eat out Friday night, Saturday night, and get a takeout meal on Sunday (which aren't included in the above amounts), but other meals are at home. Just thought it'd be interesting to see what everyone else spends.

Private Swim Lessons for my 5 year old

May 13th, 2016 at 04:18 am

My 5 year old loves the water but up until now she's been using floaties or those puddle jumpers in the water and has someone swimming next to her to watch her. I'm thinking it's time to get her some real instruction and based on how tentative she is I'm thinking she'll get a lot more out of private lessons then the group ones they have. Does anyone have any experience with sending their kids for lessons? If I was a better swimmer I would teach her myself but I only know how to stay afloat and keep myself alive in the water and I'm sure she would benefit from learning something more than doggie paddle from her mama!

Supposedly the cost is $35 for half hour of instruction. I'm going to call around and see if anyone will do it for something more reasonable then that.

Credit card balance

May 11th, 2016 at 09:49 am

So here's the deal...in order to get this house we ended up using a credit card. To acquire the house and then put on the new roof our balance soared to 17,350. Prior to buying this house we had no credit cards so it's been a real shock to say the least.

Since January we have paid the credit card down to 13,000 (approx. 500-100 per month plus the help of our tax refund). I'm hoping to have this down to 6,300 in January. The goal is to have it paid off in 2017 so we can look towards paying down the mortgages and doing some fix ups around the house.

it's a marathon and not a sprint..

May 11th, 2016 at 04:15 am

I haven't updated much because there's so much that has gone on and in some ways I felt like a failure because we were better off financially before then we are now.

Baby girl #2 was born April 2015. Things were moving along ok with maternity leave and then part-time work and then when I wasn't even back to work full-time we found a piece of crud house near my parents house in a fantastic school district and we decided to make the jump. We kept our first home and have made it into a rental but now we have the other rental that we co-own with my parents and now the new house's mortgage.

In many ways this house is a step down for us. Smaller, in need of a lot of renovation, etc. BUT it is in a fantastic school district and my mom will be able to help out a lot (instead of being forced to spend on before/after care). Where we were before we were forced to go the private school route plus the before/after care costs..it would've been outrageous to pay for two kids.

So here we are, more in debt between the mortgages and a 0% credit card that we used to secure this new house (and the new roof we were forced into doing to secure homeowners insurance).

But I have a PLAN! My spreadsheet is updated and we are putting 500-1000 per month on the 0% card. At one point it was 17,350 but we have it down to 13k now. Once the girly gets to kindergarten in the fall we will have a bit more money to play around with. We're making strides but it's a slow and steady pace instead of the big leaps we were making previously. Just gotta be patient...

Blogs about Investing in Rental Properties

December 8th, 2015 at 11:49 am

Looks like we did it.

We've lived for years in a very cost effective area. Cheap housing (plus it's a very modest home) was great for us starting out. We had refinanced and there was only 9.5 years left on the mortgage. We were doing great except the school district was TERRIBLE. Many websites listed the rankings as 2 or 3 out of 10. Stabbings and fights were common occurances at the highschool. It was something we weren't willing to expose our girls to so we looked into private school.

Private school for one girl is doable. Not fun, but we could swing it no problem. But then our 2nd daughter came along and I ran the numbers and it just wasn't making sense anymore. So now we moved to a very high cost of living area but the school district is fantastic (it's where I grew up) and my mother is two miles down the road so I won't even have to pay for before/after care. We moved to an even more modest home to try and keep the cost down while now renting out our first home. We also half own a rental property with my parents. So now we've got two rental properties to stay on top of. Just wondering if anyone knows of any blogs that talk about investing in rental properties. I follow AffordAnything but I figured some people on this site might now of a few others that would be interesting to read.

Thanks in advance!! Smile

Checking in after baby :)

July 29th, 2015 at 09:42 am

So we finally picked a name. We kept with the Italian theme and named this little one Lucia. Smile She is a little sweetheart. Happy as can be and sleeping at night so this mama can't complain! 3 months old now..it goes way too fast.

Financially we are doing okay. On track to pay off the 0% card we got for the windows by April. Things will start going better once I'm back full-time but for now I'm starting part-time and trying to tread water until then.

Tax Question: 2 Children - FSA AND Child Care Credit?

November 14th, 2014 at 10:31 am

I have a dependent flexible savings account through work. I'm allowed a total of 5,000. If I am able to cover childcare expenses for 1 child with that 5,000 dollars am I then allowed to put in for the child care credit for the other child when tax time rolls around?

I'm currently pregnant with my 2nd child so I'm trying to hash everything out before baby comes. Thanks in advance! Smile

Over 100K in Retirement!

November 6th, 2014 at 11:25 am

We've probably been over 100,000 for months now but my work doesn't give me their totals until the year is up so I'm going off what they told me last year + my portion of the pension investment, husbands 401k, and deferred comp. Woohoo! It's a pretty exciting milestone. Smile



Perpetual Debt Pay-er Off-er

October 23rd, 2014 at 11:08 am

So I think I've got a problem. The second we get out from under paying off debts I always find a way to get right back in. I told myself it'd be different this time. We paid off the rest of the addition and we were home free. Then we wanted to get the windows done in our house since we still have the original 50's single pane metal ones. Great, no problem, we'll just cash flow it and do a couple at a time. A couple months later and I now have a home depot 0% interest card and a houseful of windows that will be replaced in the next 3 or so weeks. Yipes. Will I ever learn??

We've got enough money to cover new baby expenses but it'll be cutting it close to pay off the windows in full before I'm due. We've got 2 years 0% interest but obviously I'd like it paid off as fast as possible. We'll have to see..

Checking in & diet :(

August 7th, 2014 at 07:31 am

T wants to go to go to Home Depot this weekend and set up an estimate for getting the windows replaced on our first floor. He's telling me it may take them 4 weeks to get the windows made and delivered so we should probably get on that if we want them in by the end of September before it gets cold. Meanwhile I'm wondering when the first payment will be due. We have some cash on hand now but won't have the total amount until the end of September.

I'm hoping he gets his car in tomorrow for repairs. I'm planning on riding my bike tomorrow while he takes my car to work. It's a little nerve racking being on the road with cars but I'm getting more used to it.

In some side news, I really need to start a diet. I feel like I've lost all self control in the food department. Anyone with me? Smile

Electric Bicycle?!

July 28th, 2014 at 06:04 am

Found an electric bike for sale on craigslist for $350. I live a little over 2 miles from my work and in passed years I’ve tried biking to work but I could never stick with it since there is this one massive hill that I need to walk up. I’ve wanted an electric bike (the motor assists you on hills when you use the throttle) for a while now but could never justify it since we were still digging out of debt. Since we now have a 2k buffer (nowhere near a real EF but I’m working on it) and no non-mortgage debt, T said I should get this for myself. He’s thinking he might be able to complete some of the car repairs himself which would save us money on that upcoming expense.

I’m hoping to use the electric bike 3 days a week to commute to work (and pick G up from daycare once I attach my “trailgator” bike attachment). The sitters house is only 1mile past my house (3mi from work) and on that trip I shouldn’t have to use the electric motor at all since all those hills are easy to climb. I’m hoping this will lessen my dependence on a car. I still will obviously need the car for bad weather and on the days she goes to my mom’s house (35mile distance cannot be done on a bike!) but overall I think this is a healthy lifestyle change that might end up saving us some money on gas to boot!

Flexible Savings Account for Childcare?

July 22nd, 2014 at 09:00 am

I've never used an FSA before and I was wondering if anyone out there has? Supposedly my employer will take the money out pretax and I submit a form each time I get a receipt from my daycare provider and I will be reimbursed. I've used an online calculator and it looks like this is better than the childcare tax credit of 600 for the year that I was previously getting. Looks like this works out to an additional 1200 for the year? Sounds great, keep your fingers crossed it's as easy as they're making it out to be!

Debt Free! :)

July 21st, 2014 at 04:40 am

We are debt free (aside from mortgages) as of Friday! My mom hasn't cashed the check yet but she told me she was planning on doing it today.

T estimates all the repairs to the cars we've been putting off to cost about ~1500 total. I'm hoping that's on the high end but I've budgeted for the total amount.

Next up after that is saving for oil for winter and then hopefully getting the replacement windows for the downstairs of our house before the cold sets in (late Sept?). I want to pay for it with cash and I'm hoping I can get the 6 downstairs windows done for less than 2,750 but I need to start calling around for estimates soon.

So happy to start this new part of the journey and be debt free. Only our mortgages (home and rental property) left!

Debt Free in 7 Days! :)

July 11th, 2014 at 04:21 am

Need to get everything wrapped up today since I'm off next week on a family vacation! Next friday is payday and I've already written out the check for my mom to cash so that we are DEBT FREE (aside from mortgages)!

SO exciting. I've been counting this down for the last 2 years! We were briefly debt free two years ago after paying off the student loans, car loans, credit cards, etc. but then I got it in my head that we needed a half bathroom on our main floor. We ended up getting the bathroom/laundry room addition but the amount I had estimated in my head was WAY off. To add approx 100SF addition to our house was 17k (18k including materials we bought). We had some cash on hand but we ended up borrowing from my mom again. In 7 days it is all paid off Smile! I think it was an outrageous price but it has made our house so much more livable. It was much easier to potty train our girly and its nice not having to send guests (some of them elderly family) up the stairs every time they needed to use a restroom. Plus having laundry within steps of the kitchen/family room has been a nice change.

I want things to stick this time. We've got to play catch up on some car issues and other things we've neglected since throwing it all at the debt, but I want to make sure other house repairs are done with CASH and that we build up a tiny emergency fund. This website has been awesome with keeping me accountable. I don't post often but I'm always here checking in and reading up on everyone else's progress which I think helps!

double dip chase freedom?

June 10th, 2014 at 07:21 am

Just wondering if anyone has ever double dipped on the chase freedom (spend 500, get 200 back) credit card. I believe my husband and I were both on the account back 2-3 years ago when we did it. I just filled it out for him today online and I'm wondering if its possible we get the same deal again?? I figured if anyone would know, it would be someone here! Smile