Friday, February 17, 2006

Save 15% or more on your car insurance - Get married!

I submitted the change to my car insurance company this week to reflect the change that Hobie and I will be married next week. I got $80 credited to my account for the remaining four months of the premium!

So yes, even though we've been living together for a year and a half, come 11 am next Saturday we will suddenly become much more responsible drivers. Who'd've guessed?

Just another reason why married people build more wealth than singles.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

What's in Your Wallet?

I'm a sheep. I wanted to jump on the meme-wagon and share with everyone what I carry in my wallet. Thanks to Cap for starting all the fun.

I carry a canvas Jansport bifold wallet that I bought in college at the college bookstore sidewalk sale. It's held together pretty well for the last six or seven years, and I can just throw it in the wash when it gets smelly.

Like Clutter2Cash I'm not a "purse-carrying" kind of gal, except in the literal, non-euphemistic kind of way. I just throw everything I need for work into my laptop backpack, and on weekends I'm wearing jeans so my wallet fits nicely into my right butt pocket. Because I carry it back there I try to keep it as slim as possible. As I have no cash at the moment, it's working out quite well. It gets difficult to keep it slim when I'm winning at poker. :)

The contents:
Colorado Driver License
US Bank check card
Citi Dividend Platinum Select Mastercard
Swipey keycard thingy for work
Health insurance card
Social Security card*
Family doctor's business card
Noodles & Co. punch card

* I know, I know. I shouldn't be carrying this with me. Hopefully I can find a place to put this at home. It's a wonder I'm still on my original copy.

Some things you may think are missing:
Auto insurance card - that stays in the car, because when else am I going to need it?
Costco club card - this should be in the car, because we can't go to Costco without the car, but right now it's on the kitchen counter
Supermarket loyalty cards - Unfortunately, there are no Publixes in Colorado, so I was forced to get these when I moved here. King Soopers' is on my keychain, and Safeway lets us key in our phone number.
Gift cards - These are in a special gift card box at home. We only take them out when we plan a shopping trip. Hobie and I are not spontaneous shoppers.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Gonna be debt-free

Sometime last fall (I think it was in November) I took an old gift card, a coupon, and myself to a Borders bookstore to find a good personal finance book. I started reading pf blogs last summer, and began tracking my net worth in August, and now I wanted a tome of knowledge that would answer some of those hard questions, like "How do I balance paying off debt with saving for a down payment on a home and saving for retirement?"

I sat in that bookstore for over an hour skimming many books. So many of them were written as if the reader already had a home and a mortgage. But there was one... the book that I knew was perfect as soon as I read that little paragraph in Chapter 8. This was the only book to tell me when I was supposed to save for a downpayment if I'm already carrying a lot of debt.

You see, it's part of Baby Step 3. In fact, Dave Ramsey calls it step 3(b). That's right, according to The Total Money Makeover, I'm not supposed to buy a house until all my debt is gone! Outta here! Otherwise, I'm "inviting Murphy into the spare bedroom."

I really liked what Dave had to say. I still believed some of the debt myths he debunked, and I loved the society he imagines when all of us become debt-free. His emphasis on focused intensity jibed with me; it all just made sense.

So right after the wedding (actually before since I'll be using my entire tax refund to help pay off my first debt), Hobie and I will jump into the debt snowball, using our wedding gifts as our baby emergency fund.

By conservative estimates, our debt-free date will be in June 2009. We'll be rid of my debts by February 2008 (six months before my 30th birthday, my original goal), and his student loan bill (his only debt, now at about $19k) will be the last thing to go.

I have no problem renting while waiting out the process. In fact, we're looking into moving to a cheaper place so maybe we can get the snowball going a little faster. Plus, we've already cancelled our land line (we both have cells) and our cable.

I know it will be worth it in the long run to get rid of this debt now while we are still young.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I'm back

It's been a few months since I've posted here, but that doesn't mean I've given up on my financial goals. I've just been busy, and I'm not good at writing regularly.

The biggest news is that the wedding is this month! February 25, just 3 weeks and 3 days away. I'm very ready for it, and I'm looking forward to it being over so Hobie and I can return to the simple life.

The other big news is my net worth hit $5000 in January! That's more than 100% increase over December. I did do a pretty good job of saving and not spending, but over a quarter of that was my employer's deposit into my HSA, and another big chunk of the increase was due to more up-to-the-minute accounting now that I'm using Quicken. Still, that's huge, and it's a huge first step in my goal to raise my net worth by $10,000 in 2006 (total $12,500).

Speaking of goals, my other goals for 2006 are:
  • Pay off the loan to my dad.
  • Pay off the Discover Card.
  • Read one non-fiction book each month, and at least as many fiction and other books.
  • Merge finances with Hobie.
So for those who are keeping track, I increased my net worth in the first month of 2006 by 109%, which exceeded my monthly goal by 225%!