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Woot New Checking!

August 25th, 2010 at 11:46 am

So we are switching to ING for our checking. I want to actually earn interest on my checking, and this will make transferring e-fund money from my savings so much easier. Now for my to do list:

[ ] Increase credit limit
[ ] Setup credit card bill pay for cell phone
[ ] Setup direct deposit for my paycheck
[ ] Setup direct deposit for DH's paycheck
[ ] Remove ebills for 3 CC's at old bank
[ ] Add ebills for 3 CC's at new bank
[ ] Change auto payments on lease
[ ] Check last year of statements for auto payments & withdrawals
[ ] Create another to do list!

Federal Financial Literacy Resources

April 7th, 2010 at 12:29 pm

This is partially for my own research use and partially to share with all of you. As I said in an earlier entry I am becoming interested in financial literacy education. I was just reading the Obama Administration's "A Blueprint for Reform" which outlines their proposed changes to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (the current version is called No Child Left Behind, but it's been around since LBJ). The Blueprint outline that in addition to Literacy and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) it supports a "Well-Rounded Education" which includes "arts, foreign languages, history and civics, financial literacy, environmental education, and other subjects". This got me to explore what other governmental bodies have information about financial literacy.

Federal Offices
US Treasury Office of Financial Education

Financial Literacy Education Commission

Federal Citizens Information Council - Product information

President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy

General Reports
National Strategy for Financial Literacy 2006

2009 National Financial Capability Study

General Education
National Council for Economics Education

Federal Reserve Teacher Search Tool - Elementary to College, NCEE & Jump$tart standards

National Financial Education Network Database - Database of personal finance educational materials

Adult Education
Free My Money Toolkit

Federal Reserve Personal Finance Education

National Credit Union Administration Financial Education

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

Secondary Education
FTC Game for 5-8 Grade - Teaches about scams, advertising, information security, and business economics

Atlanta Fed 8th Grade Curriculum

National Financial Capability Challenge - High School students can complete a quiz and top students receive rewards

Elementary & Preschool Education
US Mint's History In your Pocket (HIP) Games - Some of these games focus explicitly on identifying money, others include secondary information about money that is nonessential to the game

Money Math Lessons for Life A series of lessons to meet Grade 4 & 8 national standards for financial literacy

Social Security Fables - Text of various fables which teach financial literacy

Home or Car?

March 17th, 2010 at 02:40 pm

So one year ago this April, I leased a car after mine died. My old car, my first car, died when the transmission started leaking fluid. Considering that was the newest part on the car, I decided it was time to retire the old girl. We decided to lease a car with that idea that in 3 years I might want more of a "family" car as we looked at having a child. At this point, I'm not really sure what that means.

Anyway, after placing the $15,000 away in a CD, I've been wondering if I shouldn't start putting money away for a car. After the problems we both had with older used cars, I will probably buy a certified pre-owned car from a dealership. Neither H nor I know enough about cars to really vet a privately owned car, and I really hate car repairs. So this means I would need to put away another $15,000 for the car.

My debate is basically, with an end goal of buying a home wherever we want to move, I want to make sure I can afford a bare minimum home. When we approached a couple realtors in our area a month ago, they laughed at our budget (that had more to do with a cost benefit analysis than what we could afford). I don't want that to happen when I graduate.

The question is basically, which will hurt me more? A lower downpayment but no car payment OR a higher down payment and a car payment.

Why is this a choice now? Because if we are putting the money toward a house, in 6 months I will put the money in another CD.

H's Housing Conception

March 15th, 2010 at 08:19 am

So a couple weeks ago I was talking to my Husband about when we buy a home trying to pay it off quickly. He was completely confused. He thought that the entire reason you own a home is so that you can borrow the appreciation...well I was floored. I was in such shock that I ended up spluttering about how that was a bad idea before I could finally point out that paying off a house means no housing payment.

I realized where this idea comes from though, our parents. His parents and mine have used their homes to finance business ventures, their children's college educations, and home repairs. They treat their homes like they already own it entirely as soon as they moved in.

This whole thing has me thinking about inheritance and my goal for my future children. I explained to H yesterday that I treat children as a luxury good. This stance means that I must first plan for my needs, such as retirement and housing, before I have a child. I do not want to burden my children with my debts. My greatest hope is to leave my children a payed off home, a leftover IRA, and maybe something more upon my death, not debt. Sadly I fear our parents have not followed the same philosophy. My parents say that they hope one day to leave us their beach house, but that will be impossible considering they just refinanced at the age of 60 so they could afford the payments.

Uncertainties in the Future

March 10th, 2010 at 10:06 am

So I have stated before that I have a set of goals that I currently cannot even think about saving for. My current financial plan only carries us until the end of my graduation. This means I have a little over 3 years of finances planned. After that everything is a big gray cloud. Why?

- What job will I have? As I've decided that I do not want to be a professor, there are many job opportunities out there. I don't know what I will do after school.

- How much will my job pay?

- Where will we live? How much will housing and cost of living be?

- What will our childcare be like for our future children?

- How will the economy change by the time I graduate?

- WHEN WILL I GRADUATE? I don't even know this yet as I haven't even started my dissertation plan.

Sigh, I hate uncertainty.

The Fluctuating Electricity Bill

March 5th, 2010 at 04:11 pm

So a few months ago our electricity bill jumped up by several dollars. I attributed this to getting a Roomba and a Dyson for our wedding and the start of serious cleaning. Well it seems that in addition to this, the electricity company also accidently overcharged us on our basic rate. We just got $3.59 off this month's bill due to a difference of $0.007 difference per day (or maybe more in previous months). Anyway its nice to have an electricity bill under $20 again.

Scared of a Transfer??

March 1st, 2010 at 09:07 pm

So I finally setup a transfer from our checking to our savings account that I've been putting off for months. When I started the PhD program and we settled into "adult life" (snicker) I decided that I would never have less than one months expenses in our checking account. Liberally this is about $4000. For our wedding, we received a ton of cash and after returning half of the gifts we had even more money. This lead to a ballooning of our checking account. Since then we have been even more frugal with our money in anticipation of the many large savings goals we have set for the next several years.

For some reason through all of this, I could not bring myself to transfer the money out of our 0% interest checking account into our savings. I could not get over that it was such a large transfer, that we will need the money in August for H's tuition, and who knows what else.

On Sunday I took the plunge and set a transfer order to move the rest of the balance into our savings account. I am ready to have only $4000 in our checking again. This will keep us honest about how much we are saving each month and will keep us earning interest. It took me 4 months, but that mental block was overcome.

Goals for March

February 26th, 2010 at 07:27 am

[ ] Get me onto H's Rx insurance ($15 per month savings)
[ ] Try out a digital envelope system (we have no cc problems so we charge everything and pay the balance)
[ ] Get district to pay extra paycheck for H's extracurricular work
[ ] Make sure address is changed for Costco (coupon book)
[ ] Move extra money in no interest checking to savings
[ ] First paycheck going into retirement!!

Hello World

February 21st, 2010 at 10:32 am

Just a first hello world! I am a graduate student who is newly married to an early career teacher. We have been good savers so far with a 6 month Emergency Savings account and $10,000 in our Downpayment Fund. We currently live in Southern California so this is nowhere near enough money for a house. We hope to buy one when I graduate.

I will be writing here some ideas I have about saving and our experiences with trying to meet some lofty savings goals.