On Let’s Throw Some Money at Our Problems: July 2014 Check-in

Goal: 20% down payment on a house. June 2014: 1,400-ish July 2014: 2,448 July was an expensive month, but I definitely saw the advantage of savings. I had to put new tires on my car, so I used my short-term cash fund (5% of my gross pay) to pay for the tires. Then I had an unexpected trip, so I tapped my fund from my side gig to pay for that (the side gig pays for splurges - planned trips come from the 5%, but unplanned trips are splurges!). It was nice to be able to handle these unexpected expenses without changing my budget, tapping the emergency fund, or lowering my savings rate for the month - in previous years, I would have done one or all of those things to get through a tight spot. I really don't understand how people ever afford to make a down payment on a house. In fact, I was getting downright discouraged about how much it would take to make a 20% down payment on the houses that I had seen. But a friend told me about a neighborhood that she thought I'd like. I checked the prices, and a down payment there or in nearby neighborhoods would be totally affordable! Phew. I'd keep savings regardless, but now it feels like I'm saving with some real purpose.

Posted on July 31, 2014 at 3:59 pm 0

On How David Shapiro, Creator of Pitchfork Reviews Reviews, Does Money

@Christy The traditional professions are law, clergy, and medicine - they are the "learned" (with 2 syllables!) professions. Reliance on that old definition is not uncommon. I don't think he was slighting someone in other fields.

Posted on July 23, 2014 at 3:30 pm 0

On Only Suckers Don't Buy Generic

@eeyore Definitely for the Tampax - store brands are awful, awful, awful.

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 1:04 pm 0

On Only Suckers Don't Buy Generic

National brands: Clorox, toilet paper (whichever of the national brands is on sale), and Duke's mayo. Everything else is store brand and probably comes from Aldi.

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 12:45 pm 0

On What Aren't We Spending Money On?

I identify and agree with most of these - no cable, never owned a new car, still haven't bought a house or married. But the investing is not true of me at all. I have been investing in my 401K since I got my first job, and even before that, I had a small inheritance invested (by my father). I think it was my father who gave me such an appreciation for what the stock market could do if used wisely. I now continue to invest with an IRA and a taxable investment account. And seriously, it's the best - I received ~$500 in dividends last month on my Vanguard account alone!

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 12:19 pm 0

On Family Plan Shame

@OllyOlly I still have the unlimited data too. AT&T will have to pry it from my cold, dead hands.

Posted on July 21, 2014 at 9:09 pm 0

On Family Plan Shame

I'm on a family plan with my mother. She wanted an iPhone, which she couldn't get on the plan with her husband, so I added her to my plan. She pays me back every month (plus sometimes a little tip - thanks mom!).

Posted on July 21, 2014 at 4:15 pm 0

On Fear-Based Spending

I had one of those hammer-knife car safety things because I have had nightmares about having to rescue my family from a sinking car. But then the safety tool was confiscated when I was going through security at a courthouse (because of the tiny blade - so much danger), and I haven't replaced it.

Posted on July 16, 2014 at 4:27 pm 0

On How Much Is Your Iced Coffee?

I don't drink iced coffee, except for the occasional treat. But I think my costs are about the same - $13-15 for a bag of coffee that lasts about two weeks. Cream from Aldi is $2, and lasts about the same amount of time. I use my Chemex for days that I can make slow coffee, and those filters are more expensive - around $0.15-0.20. On days that I am in a rush, I use a french press. (So I've got probably $50 worth of equipment, but I'm not including that). All told, ~$1.40 for a cup of coffee?

Posted on July 16, 2014 at 9:51 am 0

On Let’s Throw Some Money at Our Problems: June 2014 Check-in

I am debt-free and have a fully funded emergency fund, so my goals have changed from money target to budget targets. My goal had been to invest 25% of my gross income (and save another 7% in cash). I was doing great until I decided to make another money goal - down payment on a house! Wahoo. Or something. I'm redirecting some of what I was investing into a money market account, so my total savings is the same (32% of gross). I'm still investing for retirement (~15%), and the rest goes into the money market or ING savings. Goal: $50,000 Current: $1,400 (Also, I have about $12,00 invested - I don't want to sell any of this right now, for tax reasons, but I may eventually and push this to the down payment amount).

Posted on July 1, 2014 at 10:23 am 0