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 Post subject: Re: Holding Fiddlefaddle Accountable!
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:20 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:48 am
Posts: 526
Location: Arkansas
Congrats on possibly getting your hubby on board.

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 Post subject: Re: Holding Fiddlefaddle Accountable!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:26 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:16 pm
Posts: 959
Way to go hubby on the promotion!

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 Post subject: Re: Holding Fiddlefaddle Accountable!
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:58 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:38 am
Posts: 195
Thanks, N2Deep and Fantasma!

Today is my last payday for January. Still making good progress and even surpassed my January goals a little bit.

January Goals -
Regular Car Payment: $425/$225 -- Had $200 extra after finishing e-fund and adding to sinking funds, so added it to the car payment.

Add $1400 to e-fund: $1400/$1400 -- e-Fund total is now $5,500. Still waiting on medical bills to start coming, but feel like I have enough to cover those. Would be nice to get all those behind us soon. |(

Now I get to shift my focus to paying off the car. Yippee! I'm not sure what my goal is for February...maybe to get the balance of the loan down around $9500, which means paying off about $1500. I can't wait to actually own my car. Will make me feel like the mistakes and accidents of 2011 are finally over. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Holding Fiddlefaddle Accountable!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:52 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:38 am
Posts: 195
Work is insanely busy and stressful, so finances are on auto-pilot for a while. Just sent $400 to the car loan, but it takes them a few days to update the balance.

Here's my status before today's payment:
Balance: $10984
Percent Paid: 8%

We didn't do a good job (again!) of estimating our taxes, so we'll be getting back about $2,000, I think. Now that DD is in school, I think things will balance out more since we're paying less for childcare. Anyway, I'm thrilled to get those refunds for the car!

The frugal mindset is descending on our house and everyone seems to like it. DH has gone from "must have new car this year" to "must have used car this year" to "the old car can make it a couple more years so we can save up".


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 Post subject: Re: Holding Fiddlefaddle Accountable!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:32 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:38 am
Posts: 195
Payday...and making progress. The sinking funds are growing and the car loan is shrinking, especially thanks to the state tax refund that arrived last week.

Current Balance: $9,452
Percent Paid: 21%

We're gaining traction!


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 Post subject: Re: Holding Fiddlefaddle Accountable!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:20 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:38 am
Posts: 195
Quick update on the car loan balance:

Current Balance: $7,517
Percent Paid: 37%

Hoping to pass the halfway mark by the end of this month. Looking forward to getting this loan paid so we can move on to other goals!


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 Post subject: Re: Holding Fiddlefaddle Accountable!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:40 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:38 am
Posts: 195
Still really busy at work, which is sort of nice because I don't have time to obsess over finances. :)

My tuition reimbursement request got lost by HR. I tracked that down yesterday and should get $1,300 soon.

Still on track to get the car halfway paid off this month:

Current Balance: $6,745
Percent Paid: 44%


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 Post subject: Re: Holding Fiddlefaddle Accountable!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:59 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:38 am
Posts: 195
Car progress:

Current Balance: $5,131
Percent Paid: 57% :clap:

I turned 35 this week and have the urge to set all kinds of crazy financial goals for the next 5 years. I guess it all boils down to building up a decent emergency fund, replacing the other car and starting a car fund that is constantly growing, and increasing retirement and college funding. I'd love for my biggest dilemma in five years to be figuring out whether to put extra money in retirement funds or toward the mortgage. I feel like we can really improve our financial outlook by the time we turn 40 and it makes me happy. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Holding Fiddlefaddle Accountable!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:40 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:38 am
Posts: 195
Car progress:

Current Balance: $2,905
Percent Paid: 76%

Received a totally unexpected $1000 Easter gift from my aunt to go toward the car. She said she was impressed with my discipline to pay it off and wanted to help out a little. Wow!

Work is so stressful right now. Makes me dream of plump retirement accounts so that I don't have to deal with this forever...


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 Post subject: Re: Holding Fiddlefaddle Accountable!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:34 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:38 am
Posts: 195
Car progress:

Current Balance: $0 :D
Percent Paid: 100% :D

The car loan should be closed by tomorrow or Wednesday! I can't believe it!

The next step is working on a decent emergency fund. I want $20k in there and that seems daunting to me. I have to keep reminding myself that I paid off $11,950 in five months, so I can do this.

Emergency Fund: $474
Percent Saved: 2%

I shuffled money around to finish up my summer babysitting/camp and fall tuition sinking funds, so this amount looks tiny, but there's backup money in case we have an emergency in the next couple of months.

I want my emergency fund, but there are also some things for the house that I have put off buying that I'll probably get along the way. I was intensely focused on the car loan, and I want to keep most of my focus, but also make a little room for some planned purchases.


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 Post subject: Re: Holding Fiddlefaddle Accountable!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:50 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:06 am
Posts: 50
Congratulations! How did you enjoy your first trip in the 100% paid off car?

Given your amazing progress with the car loan, I predict that you will hit 20k in no time. Maybe you could set a few smaller milestones (5, 10, 15?) to celebrate and reward yourself along the way?

I'm in a similar spot with focus - I have been intensely disciplined for the last year and now that I've passed the first goal I don't want to lose the flow BUT I think I need to make room for a few more extras that I can't put off forever (new winter clothes etc). I think (hope?) we'll get better results this way, because we can come back to it with fresh determination rather than starting to feel deprived?


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 Post subject: Re: Holding Fiddlefaddle Accountable!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:26 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:38 am
Posts: 195
Thanks GoodLife! The car ride definitely seemed a little smoother this week. :)

Our reward for the car payoff is a weekend trip in about a month. We'll do the same thing for the emergency fund. When it reaches $10k, we get to have another weekend away.

I think you're right on making room for a few extras to avoid the feeling of deprivation. I want to save, but I don't want to become a slave to my savings. I've been browsing online for the house items I want. Once I get those, my urge to spend should be over for a while.

Emergency fund progress-
Balance: $1,375/$20,000
Percent Complete: 7%


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 Post subject: Re: Holding Fiddlefaddle Accountable!
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 4:59 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:38 am
Posts: 195
Emergency fund progress-
Balance: $1,725/$20,000
Percent Complete: 9%

Lots of expenses this month, so just a little progress on my goal. This summer is looking spendy, so I think progress may be slow until the fall. It's expensive to keep a 5 year old safe and engaged for the summer and even a modest vacation seems pricey! Plus, the surgeon who operated on DD's eye in December still hasn't submitted an insurance claim. I figure surely that will show up this summer.

No grad school classes until fall, so I have some time for "fun" reading. I'd like to learn more about investing, especially learning how to choose the best allocations for our retirement and college funds. Pretty much everything is in target funds right now because just looking at all the information was overwhelming to me in the past. Any suggestions on the best books or online resources to begin my education? Here are some of the books I see recommended over and over:

A Random Walk Down Wall Street
The Random Walk Guide to Investing
The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need
The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing
The Automatic Millioinaire


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 Post subject: Re: Holding Fiddlefaddle Accountable!
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 8:08 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 8:11 am
Posts: 1088
Location: Sunny Florida
I like the morningstar x-ray tool which is very helpful in uncovering what you are already invested in (i.e. mutual funds) and whether and where there is overlap, two or three funds may be heavily invested in the same sector or even the same company.

We've found the Fidelity tools a great place to start research on a particular company or stock. The preset expert strategies are great, my favorite is bottom fishing. You have to be an account holder to use them.

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http://adventures-of-sam.blogspot.com
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 Post subject: Investing Questions
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 2:26 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:38 am
Posts: 195
Thanks, Sam! Looks like there's lots of tools and education on Morningstar that will be helpful as I attempt to educate myself.

I spent some time this weekend reading the Transparent Investing pdf recommended on another thread. It was a good overview, but now I have a couple of questions:

--I don't understand exactly how fees work on funds. When do the fees get charged - when you buy shares of the fund? For example, say I buy $100 of shares in XYZ fund every paycheck. It has a 1% expense ratio. Does that mean I'm charged $1 each time I buy and actually only invest $99? Do you pay fees on gains if the fund value goes up?

--I looked at the choices my 403(b) offers. There are only 12 choices - 1 bond fund, 5 large cap, 4 small/mid cap, and 2 international. There's one Vanguard fund with a .04% expense ratio. The others range from .46% - 1.17%. Is that pretty normal?

--The target fund allocation for the 403(b) splits my money between all 12 funds. Would it be wiser to research all of them and choose a couple in each category?

Thanks for any insight or suggestions!


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