Wilting plants, plumping wallets

12 08 2010

It is hot as hell right now.  Over 100 every day this week and will be again tomorrow.  This is one of the moments when I just want to whine how miserable I am.  But I have AC. Sure, it can’t keep up, but it could be worse. So I won’t whine.

In fact, I’m grateful because hubby is home today to help with the girls. I have not been sleeping in the heat and could not face being at home with them all day again.  It’s too hot for us to get out.  Apparently, it isn’t *that* hot since hubby is out at Starbucks with them while I get to watch home decorating shows.  Woohoo!  Lucky me.

I have been reading oodles on money the past couple of weeks. I’ve reached a point where I don’t need the basic money management books. They all say the same thing: Spend deliberately (with either a spending plan or budget); pay down debt; start saving for retirement; plan for emergencies…you know the drill.  So now I’m digging into how we should plan for retirement.  Because of our debt load, we temporarily suspended 401k contributions, but soon we’ll be ready to start again.  Hubby’s company will match 75% of our contribution (up to 10%), so at just a 10% contribution for us, we’ll be up to 17.5%.  Plus, the company’s “pension” is actually a 5% contribution on top of that.  Sure, I know that Dave says contribute 15% yourself and whatever the company matches is gravy, but we’re not there yet. We still have hubby’s car note and my student loans.

College savings! Yes, we can actually consider starting that in 2011!  In Missouri, a couple married filing jointly can deduct up to 16,000/year in contributions to a 529.  We will not be making that much of a contribution, but that is a very generous tax deduction. Bigger than many of the states I’ve researched.  Plus, we only need $25 to start each account, whereas some require thousands.  We’ve got to get started on KB’s savings at least since she’s the eldest.  I know we won’t be able to cover everything through savings, but maybe we’ll be debt free (including mortgage) by the time she starts, so we can just cashflow the difference.

Other financial wins this week:

Started a SmartyPig account to save for the new baby’s car seat, just 25 bucks to start and 20 bucks added every pay period.  We’ll be ready once the baby grows out of the infant carrier.

Added a line item for $20/pay period to go toward our rental maintenance fund.  We’re prepared for a medium sized emergency at the GA house, but I’d like to cashflow basic repairs so we don’t have to dip into savings for everything.  If this number proves too low, I’ll adjust it.

Lowered our grocery budget $10/week.  We’re getting our produce delivered through Fresh Connect this week and going to Aldi-for the first time-for dry goods.  We’ll see how that goes.

We cashflowed hubby’s course tuition.  Yay! That was almost $800 we could pay in cash without blinking!  It’ll be reimbursed once the course is over.

And we’ve even managed to squeeze out some fun money for hubby.  I’m calling it whiner money.  I am not getting any for now.  Until I feel the urge to whine, that is.

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