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Extra $5.00 to HELOC

January 18th, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I found a 1/2 roll of quarters in the bottom of my car's glove compartment! I was like a kid in a candy shop! So I deposited that with the $22.73 check from secondspin and transferred $27.73 to my HELOC! Brings the balance down to $44,232.31. Longggg way to go, but every little bit helps!

I went to the post office to mail a book and a package. $8.xx spent, and it was my only spending today. And I'm THIS close to finishing the credit union application. Hubby got his form notarized, I just need him to sign the application, which he'll do tonight. Everything else is ready to go.

No Ebay action on my listed items. Not surprised, few of the other listings of these same items had any activity. But they're listed for 10 days, so we'll see.

Bob B inspired me to check the daily amount of interest I'm paying. I pay approximately $14.16/day for my mortgage and $3.44/day for my HELOC. The mortgage doesn't bother me so much. I have a great rate (3 7/8%) for a 15-yr fixed, and it'll be paid off in Feb 2018. The HELOC rate is 2.74%. The balance has been out there for years and just needs to go!

Finally, something new to report!

May 13th, 2011 at 11:27 am

After months of nothing new with my finances (not that I'm complaining, mind you), I finally have news to report: I just refinanced my mortgage with Chase.

My current mortgage with Chase has 7.5 years left on a 15-year fixed, at 4.625%. They offered me a no fee refinance to a 10-year fixed at 3.875%! My monthly payment drops from $2005 to $1433. My concern was that I'd be adding 2.5 years on to the term, but there's no prepayment penalty, so I arranged to continue having the $2005 automatically withdrawn from checking each month, which will result in my paying the loan off 2 months sooner than I currently would, and save $4k in interest. Also, because the payments are automatically withdrawn, they give me a 1% bonus each year which they apply toward the principle, which is another $175 or so. Wahoo! I know it's not much, but I'll take it!

Not much on tap this weekend. I got paid today, so I have some bookkeeping to do. Weather is supposed to be crummy, so maybe we'll do some clean-up projects in the house...

Mortgage Shopping

January 18th, 2009 at 04:35 pm

Spent the afternoon trying to check out 10-year fixed rates for refinancing my mortgage.

We currently owe about $180k, on a 15-year fixed at 4 5/8%. That rate is so ridicuously low that I figured I would be hard pressed to beat it. Also, we're scheduled to pay it off in July 2018, which is only about 9.5 years instead of 10.

10-yr fixed rates are not hat easy to find (not as popular as the 15- and 30-year fixed). According to Bankrate, the average in NJ is 4.97%, and the lowest reported rate is 4.25%. I ran those numbers and it would drop my rate from $2005/month to $1906 (4.97%) or $1844/month (4.25%), not including any fees, closing costs, etc.

So it doesn't look like it'll be worth it for me to refinance. I don't want to extend the term unless the savings are significant, because I want this paid off sooner, not later. Also, with hubby now self-employed, I don't know that we'll qualify for the best rates. Either way, it's worth it for me to make the call to a few different banks next week, get exact rates and run the numbers for sure.

Speaking of different banks, I received a post card from PNC bank yesterday. They recently opened up a branch in my town and are offering a $150 sign up bonus if you open a checking account with direct deposit. For anyone who followed my blog a while back, I pursued these types of deals pretty aggressively, with great results. I'm thinking of doing it again. I haven't had a PNC bank account for a few years so I should qualify as a "new" customer that would be eligible. That's a pretty good bonus - I've never seen more than $100 just for opening, and usually they're more like $25 or $50.

Other good news from yesterday: I got a $7.98 check in the mail from Rite Aid for their November rebate program that I completely forgot about. Not a bad surprise!

Today was a no-spend day. We had a great day lounging around the house watching football. Cooked a crock-pot meal that was phenomenal. Great day all around...

Water Water Everywhere

April 17th, 2007 at 04:39 pm

In case you haven't heard, Northern NJ was hit with a big Nor'Easter this weekend. The result of 6.5" of rain on an already saturated ground? 5 inches of water in my basement and a broken hot water heater Frown. Fortunately (or unfortunately for us) we've had 2 other water-related emergencies in the past 6 months (bathroom pipe burst and water softener leaked). So the company we used to clean up those messes bumped us up the list and came over Monday to suck up the water. The heating guy came today to replace the hot water heater. All else in the basement (boiler, washer, dryer, fridge and freezer) appear to have made it out ok. (Thank goodness).

Next step is to call the insurance company. I'm not sure if we have flood insurance or what would be covered. And I'm sure everyone in my area is calling them, too, because the wait times have been crazy. Always an adventure.

Good news is that hubby's bonus came through and it was on the high end of what we thought. Bad news is that a chunck of it will now go to pay the bills associated with this flood. At least we have it. Other good news is that at least our entire house/cars aren't under water like many in our area who needed to be evacuated. Also, hubby's been complaining about how we haven't cleaned out the basement and it was such a mess. Not anymore! Smile

In other news, taxes are done and filed. (I read today that the IRS gave people affected by the storm an extra 2 days to file, but I submitted mine Sunday night so I didn't need the extension)!

With all that behind me, the next big thing is DD's 1st Communion. I need to get her shoes and tights, and arrange for pictures.

I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I think that once the Communion is behind us, things should settle down quite a bit.

And a shoutout to the weight loss challenge: Still down 8 pounds, and just bought 2 new pairs of pants one size less than what I've been wearing, thank you very much. On to the treadmill!

Swamped

October 24th, 2006 at 07:52 pm

Wow, it's been a week since I last posted. Where does the time go? I'm on this site everyday catching up on the blogs, but I haven't had the time to sit down and write one myself!

Things are hectic but fine. October was a good month financially. I got a small bonus at work (unexpected) and MIL gives us some money each September, so we have that in the account as well. It came in handy. We paid off the small remaining balance on our HELOC ($1700+), so now we have about $20k on 0% ccs from the addition we put on the house. The 0% on one card expires in March, and the other next September, so we'll be working to pay those off in time.

We also took some of the extra money and boosted up our emergency fund. We near-depleted it last April when we paid our huge tax bill, so although it still isn't as high as I'd like, I'm at least comfortable with it.

The remaining money is going to sit in the checking account through the end of the year. In addition to the bathroom remodel, we have both kids' birthdays (and parties, presents, etc.), and Christmas. So rather than feel pinched, we'll leave the buffer in there and get through the end of the year...

The bathroom remodel is going slowly. Our contractor took a look at it and said he would do it. We haven't had time to pick out fixtures/tile, and he hasn't sent us the estimate yet. On the one hand, I'm ok with the pace (the slower it goes, the longer before we begin paying!). On the other hand, he said it would take at least a month to do it all, and I'd prefer not to be under construction through the holidays. We'll make due, though.

So that's about it...hubby's been travelling, the kids are busy with school and activities, and I'm busy at work.

(Forgot to mention, I had a RAOK done to me today. I left my monthly train ticket on the train today. Luckily I had my name and # on the back of the ticket, so the woman who found it called me. She gave it to the conductor, and he was going to put it in the lost & found at the station for me. So I'm hoping to get it back tomorrow. I have a single ticket to get me in tomorrow, but if I have to replace it through the end of the month it'll cost me about $60!)

I love Liberty Mutual

October 5th, 2006 at 05:00 pm

I should be a paid spokesperson for this company for all the times I talk about how great they are! I called the 1-800 number at 3:15 today to tell them about my water damage. They had an agent call me back within 15 minutes. He said he'd have a company they use to assess the water damage get in touch with me. They called within 1/2 hour, then the co-owners of the company were at my house at 5:00. They looked at the damage, and said they would have a crew at my house tomorrow morning at 9:30 to begin drying everything up and seeing if the rug can be saved. (I'm sure it can't - it's at least 15 years old and pretty ratty!).

Then our contractor called us back. We told him what happened, and that we're thinking about remodeling part of the bathroom (not a wholesale overhaul, but putting down tile instead of carpet, and a new shower). He said if the insurance company asks for an estimate, call him and he'll give us one, and once we get the check and are ready to remodel, he'll be happy to do it. Music to our ears...we thought this would be too small a job for him. I guess the fact that he's done work for us in the past helps.

So although my bathroom is out of commission for at least the next 5 days while they dry it out (thankfully we have others to use), and the carpet is still soaked, things are looking up a bit.

On to other news...Thank you Amy for $15 of free Shoprite coupons!!! ($5/$40 for the next three weeks) Those savings will be going right into my challenge account, thank you very much.

More great news...I think my gas bill will actually go DOWN when they review it. I'm on budget billing, and their last estimated reading was higher than my actual usage. I'm hoping the bill will drop $10-15 per month.

My other great savings opportunity is health insurance through open enrollment, but that's such a great story, it deserves a separate post!

Ouch!

July 25th, 2006 at 07:44 pm

For those of you who are sick of reading my posts on property taxes, I'm hoping this will be the last one for a while. I got the official stubs from the town today, and my taxes did, in fact, increase from about $8,100 to $10,160/year after the revaluation. I calculated $10,200 based on a sample calculation that the town sent out a while back, so it didn't completely knock me off my feet. What surprised me was that this new rate is for 2006 taxes, and I've already paid February and May 06 taxes at the old rate, so I actually need to shell out $2900 for the next two quarters, before dropping back to $2500+ next year.

So in addition to coming up with the extra money, I need to put aside about $1000/month to cover the new property taxes and house insurance, both of which I pay directly instead of through my mortgage. Ouch.

Onto better things, I made some progress preparing for my trip, including cancelling the mail and paper, and having my sister water the plants. I froze 3 lbs of peaches, 1 cup of raspberries and 2 cups of blueberries, so I'm looking forward to making a great fruit pie when I get home. I also need to take care of a pound or so of cherries, but that will have to wait til tomorrow.

I'm hoping this vacation will be thoroughly relaxing...I can use a few days of nothing!

Feels like a Friday...

February 2nd, 2006 at 10:55 am

I wish it was - I'm really beat today!

I confirmed yesterday that BOA would not let us transfer the HELOC balance onto their 0% credit card, so I didn't apply. I called Chase and tried to get them to waive the $75 balance transfer fee, but they wouldn't budge. Luckily, we received a Citibank 0% credit card offer in the mail yesterday with no balance transfer fee. So I applied today. We're preapproved, so I don't doubt we'll get it, I'm just waiting to see what the credit line will be. The response comes via snail mail, so I'm sure it will take a week or so, then it takes 3-4 weeks to make the transfer.

Went to the used bookstore at lunch. Didn't do great. Four books for a total of $10.69-$4.32(cost) for a net of $6.37. Ah, well, I guess that's why I said an average of $10/week. Some weeks are better, some are worse.

I feel like I'm pretty up-to-date on the daily challenges so far. I'll feel great when the 0% credit card is in place with the balance transferred, and I think my auto insurance is in as good shape as possible. (The one outstanding item for me is to take the defensive driving course with hubby. His company usually offers it at a substantial discount vs. AAA, so we'll wait awhile to see if they offer it. Otherwise, we'll go to AAA).

So far, so good...

Daily Challenges

February 1st, 2006 at 09:42 am

I really like Jeffrey's daily challenges. The most recent one was to check into increasing auto insurance deductibles, which was on my list of stuff to do in 2006 anyway. With the prodding of the daily challenge, I went ahead and called.

To change both cars from $500-$1000 would save me $212/year. However, the rep told me to check with the lenders, because they may require no higher than $500 deductibles. One did and one didn't (yes, I have two car loans Frown), so I went ahead and made the change on the one, for an annual savings of $150/year. When I pay off the other, I'll change it as well. My plan is to set aside $500 (difference between current deductible and $1000) so it will be there in case we ever get in an accident.

I also called BOA regarding the 0% credit card they offered. After getting through the entire application, the rep informed me that you can't do a balance transfer from another BOA credit card. I asked her if the same held true from a BOA home equity loc, and she said she wasn't sure. So I cancelled the application, and will go to a branch and find out from someone there, face to face. If not, I have a 0% offer from Chase. The plus side is that the Chase offer is for 15 months, BOA is for 12. The downside is that there's no balance transfer fee from BOA, whereas Chase's is $75. Either way, it's still better than paying the interest to the HELOC each month. (And with the offer from BOA in hand, maybe I can get Chase to reduce or eliminate the fee).

Other financial news: While I was paying off my fine at the library yesterday, I noticed they had a few more books for sale. I only had time to write down a few, but found two that ebook will by for $2.54 ea. (Cost to me $.50 each). So I'll stop by there today on the way to pick up DS from school, and I'll write down the rest while I'm at it. I also should be able to go to the used bookstore by work tomorrow.

That's it for now...

Zero Percent Credit Card

January 31st, 2006 at 07:08 pm

I'm pretty excited. Over the last few days I've received 3 offers for various 0% credit cards. I spoke with hubby about transferring the balance on our home equity line to one of these cards. The balance is currently $23,319, and our rate is 6.74% (and the Fed just raised rates!). Even with the tax deduction, it still works out to about 5%, so switching to a 0% card would be great. We pay in the neighborhood of about $135/month on the interest...I'd love to get rid of that while we pay it off.

Other than that I had a quiet day. I returned overdue library books to the tune of $4.20 (painful!). There was also a bookfair at DD's school, so we bought a few books there. Dinner was in the crockpot at 10 this morning (I love that).

That's it for now...

Finally crossed some things off my list!

May 12th, 2005 at 09:58 am

As promised, I increased hubby's 401(k) contribution this morning. Yippee!! He is now maxing out his contributions, which will not only help us save for retirement (I'm sure as heck not counting on Social Security!) but it reduces our taxes, too, because the money comes out pre-tax. Never thought we'd get to this point!

Followed up with Washington Mutual. They processed my request to get rid of the escrow account for my mortgage and sent me a check for $1,721.19 (balance in the account). I'm going to use the $721.19 to open up the checking account at Chase (and get that $75 bonus), and I'm going to put the other $1000 toward my heloc. Then, each month, I'll transfer money to the Chase account to cover the taxes and insurance so that when the bill comes due, I'll have the money to pay. And, I'll be able to put an additional $53.65 toward the heloc each month, seen as I don't have to fund the escrow account anymore! Wahoo!

I also called and left a message for the woman at the Board of Elections. Curious to see what this is all about - I hope she calls me back. Made two appointments and RSVP'd to a party. So all the easy things are done! Back to the rest of the list:

1) Go shopping for birthday presents - definitely today (I better - parties are tomorrow and Saturday!);
2) Laundry - Definitely some of it today. My 3 loads from two days ago is now more like 6 loads, plus my daughter's T-Ball outfit is in there, and I need it by 6:00 tonight!!
3) Plant peas and spinach - definitely today. The dirt's already turned over. I just need to drop in the seeds, cover, and water. Can you believe I'm procrastinating about something as simple as this?

The rest of the stuff will need to be done over the next few days:
1) Open the account at Chase
2) Box up clothes for my friend
3) Plant flowers
4) List books on half.com (will I ever get around to this?)

Have a great day!!

Happy day...

April 20th, 2005 at 10:11 am

I can't tell you how happy I am that tax day is behind me. The taxes were hanging over my head for months, and it feels so great to have them out of the house. (The timing of hubby's bonus helped, too). So I've been feeling good for the last few days!

I'm anxiously waiting for the month to end, because I'm expecting to have enough leftover to put a big chunk of change toward my heloc. The balance is around $35k, and the rate, which is prime-1/2, was great when the prime rate was 3%, but not so great now that it's 5.75!!. Even though it's deductible, it's getting up there. My goal is to have it paid off by next June. If I'm seeing things right, I should be able to put about $4,000 toward it this month (between the rest of the bonus and leftovers in the checking account), and I'm getting back about $2000 from my NY State taxes, that will go toward it as soon as I get it. I'll do a big celebration when it gets under $30k! I don't mind that we took out the loan, because we used it to make a major improvement on the house, but like most people, I don't like being in debt and I really want it gone. I also have the car loan (currently ~$17k) that needs to get paid off, too. But that's a fixed loan at 4.24%, which is pretty good, so I'm trying to tackle the heloc first.

I've pretty much run through the rest of the categories of my budget (commuting, subscriptions, haircuts). I haven't been creative enough to think of any great ways to reduce these, so I think I'm going to sit tight for the month of May/June, let the changes I've recently made take hold, and re-evaluate where I am at that point.

Have a great day!!!

Starting the Weekend Early...

April 8th, 2005 at 09:56 am

I'm out the door from work at 2:00 today. Great way to start the weekend!

I have an update on my house insurance. Remember I convinced hubby that we should start paying the property taxes and insurance directly, because the mortgage company was taking out an extra $50+/month for escrow. I decided to hold off until after 5/1, when our property taxes are due, to ensure that nothing gets screwed up. But the paperwork is ready to go!

In the meantime, I decided to compare house insurance rates. We went with State Farm at the time we bought the house (10 years ago) because we had an in-ground oil tank, and they were the only insurance co. that would cover it. My auto insurance was always with Liberty Mutual (who I love). Anyway, we switched from oil to gas about 6 years ago (and had the tank filled), but never bothered comparing rates because the money was taken out through the mortgage and it just didn't dawn on me. So now that I'm about to pay the insurance directly I gave Liberty Mutual a call. What an eye opener!!

Right now, we pay State Farm a total of $1720/year ($879 for homeowners, through the mortgage, $690 for a $1m umbrella policy, and $151 for personal articles that need to be scheduled separately).

When I called Liberty Mutual, they quoted me $741 for the homeowners and $281!!! for the umbrella (I forgot to get the personal articles quote). Even if you assume that the personal articles quote is the same (though I'm sure it'll be less), that's only a total of $1173, or a savings of $547/year!!! (32%). Every year!!!

So after I'm done kicking myself for not making this switch sooner, I'm going to run the numbers by hubby this weekend and make the switch on Monday.

This weekend should be a bit hectic, but fun. My dd starts T-Ball tomorrow, we promised the kids we would go see the Robots movie at the local theater, then on Sunday we need to visit the friends whose party we blew off last week because the kids were so sick. We'll be spending a bit of cash, as we need to go tonight to buy the baseball mitt, and the movie and pizza will add up.

Next line item on the budget is "clothes and dry cleaning". Clothes are a no-brainer for me. We don't spend a lot of money on this, we buy stuff at the end of the season, and rely on my MIL to get outfits for the kids for different occasions. Also, although it's harder now that the kids are older and they don't grow out of clothes as quickly, we take hand-me-downs when we can. The challenge for me is dry cleaning. We average about $50/month, and could probably cut it in half if we were a little more careful about how we treat our clothes. For example, hanging them up right away instead of dropping them on the floor in a wrinkled mess Smile! I want to shoot for $25 next month.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Spring's around the corner!!

April 4th, 2005 at 02:01 pm

Can't wait for later in the week - temps in the 60's!!!

Had a blah couple of days. The kids are still sick, and between a $30 copay at the doctor and $70+ in prescriptions, I was a bit bummed. But I already turned in the receipts to hubby's FSA and they turn around the cash pretty quickly.

I'm still riding high from my auto insurance score. But I have to focus on some other things. I did the paperwork to get rid of my mortgage escrow but I won't send it in til later in the month, because my property taxes are due May 1 and I don't want anything screwed up. I also need to take a really good look at our homeowners insurance, because I haven't reviewed it at all in 10 years, and our needs may have changed a bit.

Next line item on the budget is groceries/eating out. Man, there are a ton of places I could cut here! First off, I need to leave the kids home because they add a good $10 to my bill each week. Second, I need to plan around what's on sale, because I never do. There are so many more, I'll have to wait until the next entry to think of the rest.

But I am struggling with one thing: Is it better to be organized (big sticking point for me) and go shopping on the same day/time each week and just buy what you need? Or is it better to only go shopping when you need stuff. I really don't know! I'd love to get in the routine of leaving the kids with hubby, doing my shopping and being done with it, but I also know on the weeks I never made it to the store (because I really didn't need anything and was too lazy) I spent practically nothing. I need to watch that I don't run out last minute for stuff, because that's a budget-buster too. What to do? What to do?

Have a great day!

Happy Easter!!!

March 27th, 2005 at 04:54 am

I'm off to church in a few minutes, but of course had to start my day on this website! It's unbelievable how I've come to rely on this site - I'm logged on at least 2-3 times each day. Anyway, today will definitely be a no-spend day, except for the church envelope which is budgeted.

The next line item on my budget is my mortgage. We have a $240k mortgage at 4 5/8 fixed, that will be paid off in 12.5 years. We already add an extra $100 toward principle each month. Thanks to the great advice at this site, I've convinced hubby that we should pay the property tax and insurance directly, as the mortgage company takes more than $50/month extra for "escrow". Plus, we have our house insurance and car insurance from two different companies, and never bothered to combine them because the house insurance was always paid through my mortgage and I thought it would be too big a deal. I'm going to call on Monday to get a quote from our auto insurance co. The other good news is that our mortgage company doesn't charge us a fee for paying directly. Yay. I'm going to take care of all of this next week and hopefully start seeing the benefit of this in a month or two.