Thursday, June 2, 2011

Refinancing Our Home

My husband called to see what deals we could get to refinance our mortgage since he now works for the bank we have our current mortgage with, which we got while I was an employee there.  After talking to the woman we decided to go for it. 

Our current mortgage is a VA loan with an interest rate of 5.75%.  The principal and interest is $707.06 a month.  Plus we have our homeowner's insurance and property taxes escrowed for a total payment of $893.32 a month.

The new loan will also be a VA loan, but since we already have one with the bank we can get a streamline VA loan.  This means no appraisal, no money down, minimal paperwork, etc. The funding fee is waived because I have at least 10% disability from the military.

Our interest rate was locked in at 4.375% fixed (4.369% APR) with a $134.75 credit.  The principal and interest payment will be around $538.24 a month.

We're extending it back to a 30 year loan, but with the lower payments we can pay it off quicker than our current mortgage once all the other debts are paid off.

We will have to pay our escrows all over again because they cannot transfer them from the old mortgage to the new mortgage.  They want to roll it into the loan amount, but I think I want to just pay it out of pocket and have the lower loan amount.  The current escrows will be credited towards the loan to pay it down further. 

The closing will be around September.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Financial Update -- May 2011

A little financial update for everyone since I just got around to moving some money here and there. 

Hubby got paid today (a bit early because of the holiday on Monday) so I decided to get the ball rolling on some transfers. 

Some of the money I already had set aside and the rest was added with this paycheck.

  • Transferred $450.00 to our mortgage savings for 1/2 of the monthly mortgage payment (it's actually more than 1/2 our regular payment, but I like to have the account padded a little in case homeowner's insurance or property taxes go up)
  • Transferred $501.07 to our credit card
  • Transferred $240.82 to my college loan savings (loans not due until end of 2011/beginning of 2012, but starting to make "payments" to get a head start)
  • Transferred $501.08 to our emergency fund
  • Transferred $534.00 to our vacation savings (have to keep up with it if we want to go to Italy next year)
  • Transferred $50.00 into my IRA (automatically deducted every month)

All of our bills are paid until the middle of June.  The emergency fund is almost back to the pre-layoff amount, which we'll finish next month.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Reward Points

I have to say that I really love my credit union's reward points system.  Even more now that they've changed it to show all the points as you acquire them for each card (debit and credit).

We get 1 point for every $1 on the credit card, and 1 point for every $5 on the debit card.  Every month they have featured retailers that give more points per dollar.

Right now we have 25,154 points.  Points can be redeemed for gift cards, products, activities, event tickets, or travel.

To give you an idea of how many points it takes to get things:
  • $25 gift cards are under 3,000 points
  • $50 gift cards are under 6,000 points
  • $100 gift cards are under $12,000 points
  • Apple iPod Touch with 64GB (latest generation) is 42,901 points
  • Wii games for 3,000-6,000 points, etc.
I haven't checked out how far our points will go on travel yet, but it's something to consider when we're ready to travel.  We're thinking about taking a quick flight somewhere before going to Italy so the boys will be able to experience a flight before the long trip.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I can't believe I haven't posted since April 15th!  I had been busy getting through my last college classes, then I got really sick, but I did start posting again at my other blog within the past week.  I should have posted something here, too!

Anyway...just wanted to post the latest gas purchase.  I paid $3.979 this afternoon.  It cost me just over $40 to fill up my tank.

What are you paying for gas?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Old and New 401Ks

We just got my husband's new 401K set up with his new job.  And surprise, surprise!  We found $2,753.34 already in it!  I love finding money!

This is what happened:

He worked for "Company M" many years ago, which was bought out by "Company B", who he now works for, after he left "Company M".  In between these two companies was "Company BC" and "Company O", both of whom laid him off, but that's not really important right now.

Confusing...I know.  Just stick with me here! 

Since he wasn't fully vested in his "Company M" 401K, we lost a large chunk of cash when we rolled it over into an IRA.  But now that he works for "Company B" and it's been less than 7 years since working with "Company M", the amount he forfeited has been reinstated! 

Make sense?

So we set up his "Company B" 401K to have the same 10% contributed every paycheck that we've been comfortable with.  No reason to lower it now even if he is making $1,000 less a year than his last job.  Besides you can make so much more in free savings by contributing to a 401K! 

"Company B" matches 100% of the first 4% of our contribution.  Plus with 401K contributions being a pre-tax deduction, we're really only "losing" half of what we're contributing from our paycheck due to tax savings (known thanks to their handy calculator).  Lots of free money!!!!! 

I still can't understand why people don't contribute at least up to the matched amount each pay period, but that discussion is for another time!

We also requested a rollover check made out to hubby's IRA from his "Company O" 401K.  So that will be closed out and one less 401K to keep track of.

This is what we have to keep track of right now:
  • "Company BC" 401K -- We had this closed out and transferred to his IRA, but I guess they felt guilty for laying him off before Christmas and gave him a little extra.  The amount vested is a bit small so we're leaving it in for now.  "Company B" also does business with the same 401K management company so we'll see if there is a way to combine them later.
  • "Company B" 401K -- His first contribution should hopefully be coming out of his next paycheck.
  • Hubby's IRA -- We use this as a dumping ground for all old 401K accounts.  "Company O" will be the third old 401K we've put funds in there from.
  • "Company B" Pension -- This is my pension from when I worked at "Company B" many, many, many years ago.  Yes, it truly is a small world!
  • My IRA -- Also a dumping ground for old 401K accounts, but I've only put one in there so far and since I don't currently work, I have a small amount automatically contributed every month.
Overall, it's not too bad!  The total assets in our investment accounts is currently at $75,353.76, which is pretty good considering I'm only in my late 30's and my husband is in his late 40's. 

I'll be going back to work at some point and so contributing once again.  Plus hubby will be contributing his 10% + company match.  At some point in time when we retire we'll be left with the two IRA accounts.

How are you saving for retirement?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


We finally got hubby's March 31st paycheck last Thursday!  Phew!  Now I only hope his April 15th paycheck goes through the direct deposit correctly this time.

I've updated the sidebar now that I've actually been able to spend some money to pay off some debt and add to some savings.

I'm saving for our vacation to Italy in 2012 again.  That's $534 per month.  We may be able to get some discounts through my husband's old friend, but I'd rather not count on it.  So I'm saving up as much as possible and if we get lucky enough to get some discounts, then we'll have extra money for later.

I took another look at my payoff plan and I may be able to cut 8-10 months off of my total debt payoff.  I was only saving $190 a month to pay off the heloc, but realized that I may be able to take out $380 a month instead.  That will take care of that debt much quicker!  Crossing fingers that will be the case.  I'd really like to get the heloc cut in half so that we'll be closer to what our home is worth right now.

We'll see how that all goes though.  Right now we've just started getting paychecks again so it may take some time to sort everything out and get the perfect amount set aside for debts that we are comfortable with.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Paycheck Issue

We had a big issue getting our second paycheck from hubby's workplace.  It was the first time for direct deposit and for some reason it didn't go through. 

Now I've been banking with this place for 15 years and never once have we had a problem getting direct deposit set up.  But for some reason this time they've decided I need to have additional numbers in order for it to go through.  UGH!

So we had to put a stop order on the deposit through his employer.  The funds were sent back to them and they've cut us a check that should be here sometime early next week.

Hubby went into the payroll system to add the new digits so hopefully direct deposit will work for our April 15th check!  *crossing fingers*

We'll have to be careful for the next few days not to spend too much since this was supposed to be our first full paycheck.  On the plus side though we won't have to wait that much longer for our next paycheck once we receive this one!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Trip Expenses

It's taking me a bit longer to get back into the swing of things after our trip.  Probably because the boys started spring break a couple of days after we got back.

Our expenses were not too bad considering we were gone for 4 days.  And I got a hotel refund for one of us since I went along.  The school's SAC and PTO paid for my portion of the hotel room!

So we started the trip out with an $81.79 refund!

We ended up spending $64.22 for food for two people, and $35.24 for gas. 

We also brought along our own drinks and a bunch of snack/breakfast foods so we wouldn't have to go out to eat all the time.  Our schedule while there was pretty tight, too, so having the food in our rooms helped a lot!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

4 Day Trip

My oldest son and I are going on a trip for 4 days.  He's competing for his school as an individual at the FPS (Future Problem Solvers) State Competition, and I am evaluating.  I'll be writing a post about our expenses for the trip when we get back!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Project Savings/Payoff

As I mentioned in my last post, I put together a spreadsheet listing our debts, a quickie budget, grocery expenses, and a debt payoff plan.  It is in no way a done deal because I'm working on preliminary income figures. 

Also, I used the minimum payoff amount available so the payoff dates may be better than the spreadsheet indicates.  As a matter of fact, I've already knocked off 1 month from my entire savings/payoff plan! 

We started out owing $177,273.30 (credit card, student loans, heloc, and mortgage) and we need to re-save $1,097.22 of our emergency fund.  We are on track for the emergency fund and should have that completed by the middle of April.  We had some extra money come in that we didn't need so I put it towards the credit card lowering our total owed to about $177,023.70 (it's actually less, but I rounded the credit card up for minor use).

My plan is to re-save the emergency fund first, then move on to the credit card.  That should take us through October 2011.  I'm starting out with $697.48 per month as the extra debt payoff.

My student loans do not become due until November so I'll be saving up the payment through the summer.  By the time they are due, I should be able to pay off the smallest 2 of the 8 student loans.  I'll consolidate the remaining 6 loans and that total should be paid off by July 2013 depending on the monthly payment.  I calculated the payment to be about $240.82 per month, then added in the extra $697.48 for a total monthly payment of $938.30.  The original monthly payment could be more or less and that could change how long it takes to pay it off. 

The next item on my payoff plan is the heloc.  That's where I've reduced the payoff time by one month with a complete payoff by July 2016.  This may depend on some other things we could be doing with our house and mortgage so we'll have to see how that goes to determine how the heloc payoff will really go.  But for now I will continue to pay an additional $190 a month, which reduces the amount by $5,510, then in July 2013 I will add the $938.30 extra I've been using towards the other debts to pay this one down for a total of $1128.30 per month. 

The mortgage is part of the total balance, but is not on the payoff plan as yet.  We have to wait and see how that will work out with our other plan that I'll talk about another day.

The other variables in this plan are my husband's income, any income I may make, the extra money showing in my budget, and other incidentals.  Right now I'm working with what I think we will be getting from my husband's income.  So far we've only received one 1/2 check with the w-4 showing single, zero.  The next check will include a completed w-4, but no deductions other than taxes.  By May we should have a normal check with insurance, 401K deductions, and taxes taken out.  That will be when I can finalize things a bit more.

I may start substituting next school year, which could bring in some extra money to go towards our debt payoff.  Since I don't know how many days I'll be working, or whether the school district will still be accepting new substitutes, I haven't included this into the payoff plan yet.

I also have $704.23 left over after my quickie budget plan.  I've subtracted out bills, savings, groceries, and extra debt payoff.  The rest is what we will use for all the other things we buy, need, want, use, etc.  Any thing left over by the next month will go to pay down the debt even more.  I don't want to say it's our spending money because I bet we usually won't use that much extra in a month.  Only if we have some sort of extra expense.  So I expect most of it will go towards debt.

Any number of things could happen to mess up my plan...or make it better!  Those are my incidentals.  Couldn't say what they'll be yet, but I can guarantee something will show up one way or another!