50th post, woot!
First good thing in the financial sphere:
Something I think I’d forgotten to mention was that I promised myself to get $1000 of our cash cushion into a CD by my birthday. Well, my birthday was Thursday and I got it into an ING CD on Tuesday! Now it’s earning 5.25% APY. It’s a 12 month CD, so when we pull it out we’ll have another $52.50. That’s not much, but if we don’t need it, we’ll reinvest it in a CD and so forth. We’ll probably take the earnings and add it to our mutual fund portfolio or somesuch.
My goal is to have $1000 in a savings account, just in case. $1000 in a CD, where it makes some interest but is easily accessible (w/penalty* depending on when I pull it out, but not that bad) and $1000 in a money market account or fund…I’m still evaluating. Later this week, I’ll talk about some additional savings I plan to do and why I won’t be investing that money “better.” It has to do with a projected decrease in income and getting through that period.
So, we’ll have a total of $3000 to get at for emergencies. All interest earned will be reinvested in one of our better investments (which we don’t yet have but should by Dec.) like a Roth IRA or 401(k).
Second good thing in the financial sphere:
Trent at one of my favorite blogs, The Simple Dollar, was given 5 copies of Inuit’s Quicken Premier 2008 to give away. I was lucky enough to get one of them! I downloaded it today and have started linking it with our checking/savings/CD accounts. Very excited. Still learning the ropes, after which I’ll post a review!
While at the library today, I checked out a copy of Quicken 2007 for dummies. Obviously it won’t be entirely relevant, but it was free and will give me a better idea of what I’m working with.
Third good thing in the financial sphere:
Because I’ve been tracking our finances, I’ve figured out some places where we can cut down. From the beginning, we’ve been living pretty cheaply, but I found one expense today we can reduce. Mr. Micah and I drink a lot of water (and he drinks tea & coffee–made here, not bought) but we also like milk. And even though we only have a few glasses a day, the cost has been going up.
I was wondering how to reduce the cost and remembered a trick that my Canadian relatives use. Their milk comes in a bag. Two bags, actually, because they get one of skim milk and one of powdered milk. They they mix up the powdered with water and pour the skim into that same pitcher. 1 part “real” milk to 1 part rehydrated powdered. Tastes just fine. Mr. Micah drank a lot of powered when he was little and his family poor. I wouldn’t want to put him through that again, but he’s ok with this.
I’ve been reading Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover which I got from the library today. It’s good stuff. A lot of it we knew already, but as he points out, we know that eating less and exercising will help us lose weight but it helps to have some program keeping us going. I think what I’d already come up with was a less-formulated version of his.
Also checked out the Lazy Person’s Guide to Investing after reading an excellent review of it on The Simple Dollar (seems like a Simple Dollar day!). It seems like a good starting point. As I said, I want to start my first non-CD investments by December.
Oh, and a shout-out to our library which has lots of good books. 🙂 And to my Aunt who sent me a craft-store gift card for my birthday. I’m going to use it instead of the craft budget, thus saving more this month!
* note about penalties for this account. Because the CD is for 12 months, there is a fee of 3 months’ interest, regardless of when, prior to maturity, I redeem the account. For an investment of $1,000, that comes out to $13.13. That’s ok with me, for the convenience of having money earning money (more than savings) and still available in an emergency. I certainly hope that I won’t need to touch it or that it’ll be at least three months, in which case I’ll get my full $1000 back with whatever interest it’s earned (beyond the $13.13).