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Change in asset allocation

October 18th, 2019 at 06:37 pm

I updated our portfolio spreadsheet and our asset allocation has drifted some from 12/31/18. I'm not surprised by that as I know we've been accumulating more cash. And of course market performance affects the numbers too.

12/31/18
69% stock
23.4% bond
7.6% cash

10/16/19
61.16% stock
26.67% bond
12.17% cash

I don't really have anything particular to say about these numbers. I'm fine with where they are. I do want to keep track as I don't really want the stock allocation to drop below 60%. I'm currently splitting at least $3,000/month between our savings account and our taxable Vanguard account so if I need to pump up the stock allocation, I can just direct more toward that instead of savings for a couple of months.

Bought a dishwasher

October 16th, 2019 at 02:13 pm

We headed over to Lowe's today. We've bought several other appliances there. They seem to have a good combination of reasonable prices, nice selection, and helpful staff that isn't overly pushy. Today was no exception. A couple of people asked if we needed help while we were browsing and walked away when we said not yet. Once we had it narrowed down to 2 models, we went over and asked the one woman for help. She was very nice and answered a few questions we had.

Of course, we ended up with the more expensive of the 2 we were looking at but it did have a couple of features that we preferred. It has a recessed handle so we won't be constantly banging into it like we would have been with the other one. And the racks and gliders were clearly of better quality. It was also rated a few decibels lower on sound level.

We just have to wait for the installer to call and schedule installation. Hopefully that will happen within a few days. It will be nice to have a working dishwasher again.

Time for a new dishwasher

October 13th, 2019 at 05:45 pm

Another chapter in "The Joys of Home Ownership". My wife informed me that the dishwasher has been making an awful noise lately and the other day was the worst it's been. We could: a) call out a repair person or b) buy a new one. Yes, I realize there is choice c) try to troubleshoot it ourselves to see if we can fix it. However, I'm opting for choice b.

We got our first dishwasher in 1995. We remember because we bought it when DW was pregnant and started having trouble reaching the sink to do dishes Smile. That one lasted almost 10 years and was replaced in late 2004. So the current one is actually 15 years old which is not so bad as appliances go.

I don't think it's worth paying for a service call plus any repair costs for a 15-year-old dishwasher. Plus, I've been self-managing gradual rusting of the one rack for the past few years, sanding it down and coating the edges. I even cut out a small section of the rack that was too badly damaged to save, so the whole thing is kind of ghetto at this point.

I've been browsing online and we'll probably hit a couple of stores on Wednesday and get a new one. It's not a huge expense as home repairs go and I can't complain about this one lasting as long as it did.

Huge update on my raise!

April 10th, 2019 at 07:35 am

I posted a couple of weeks ago that I unexpectedly got a new contract at work that included a substantial raise. I thought the numbers needed to be adjusted based on my hours. I was finally able to confirm that the numbers I got were actually correct.

I thought my raise would be $15,833.
My actual raise is $40,493!!!
I am shocked and obviously very pleased.

It will be a couple of weeks before I get the first new paycheck to see how my take home changes but it should be around 2K/month. I have to sit down and figure out what we're going to do with the added income but what a nice problem to have.

Got our state tax refund

April 3rd, 2019 at 04:06 pm

We got our state tax refund yesterday. When I subtract what we owed on our Federal return plus what we paid our accountant, we came out about $1,300 ahead which will probably all go to the mortgage. We are on track to pay it off in August but that would speed it up even more.

Forgot the sewer bill - oops

April 3rd, 2019 at 04:02 pm

I was going through some papers just now and found the sewer bill mixed in. I don't even remember getting it. Clearly I must have thought it was junk mail when it arrived as it was with some other junk. It was due 4/1. I normally pay by check since there's no charge for that (other than a stamp) but I went and paid it online. There's a $.99 fee for doing that but a stamp is $.55 anyway so really only an extra $.44 and it's done. I doubt there will be any sort of late fee for 2 days but if there is, it'll be my own fault so I can't complain.

I think I'm getting a raise

March 22nd, 2019 at 07:24 am

I love my job but sometimes they're a little weird, or at least a bit lacking in the communications department.

I got an email yesterday afternoon that they are issuing updated Employment Agreements. They attached my new contract for me to review, sign, and return.

1. I had no idea a new contract was coming.

2. I knew that our per diem pay rate had gone up so I wasn't surprised to see that in the new contract.

3. Our regular pay also went up and they added a "weekend premium" to the compensation. I have no idea what that is or how it was calculated.

4. I'm 99.9% sure that the numbers they sent me are for 40 hours/week but I work 36 hours/week so I need a new version that has my actual numbers.

I've emailed the corporate person who handles the contracts and my immediate supervisor asking for clarification on a few items so I'm waiting to hear back from them.

Bottom line, if I'm reading everything correctly (and it's accurate), even if I adjust to 90% of the numbers they sent me (36 hours vs 40), that would come out to an overall raise of about $15,800. But right now, I have no idea if that's accurate. I'll update when I know the answer.

Odds and ends

March 20th, 2019 at 03:55 pm

I said I'd try to blog more regularly so figured I actually need to post every couple of weeks.

I made our latest mortgage payment which brought our principal under the $10,000 mark. The end is near. I expect to pay it off in August most likely so that's exciting.

I haven't picked up any extra shifts at work the past week or two. I need to take a look at the schedule and pick up something in the coming weeks.

My wife and I are doing an overnight getaway this weekend. We're just going across the river into the city. There's a whiskey bar we've been wanting to try (we are big bourbon and whiskey fans). We didn't really care for their dinner menu so we're eating at a different place in the next block and planning to then go to the bar for drinks and dessert. The only problem with that is that we couldn't reserve a table just for that so we'll have to wait for space at the bar on a Saturday night. Hopefully around 6:30-7:00 it won't be too crazy yet. We're using a free hotel voucher for our stay. Just have to pay for parking.

Haven't done any decluttering lately. I'm hoping spring brings a nice weekend soon when I'm off and can start attacking the garage.

Need to start working on plans for our June trip to Dallas. The hotel was booked months ago but I haven't bought airfare yet. DW has been browsing the tourist sites looking for things to see and do when we're there.

I can't think of anything else of significance from the past couple of weeks so I'll stop there.

Happy Spring!

Results of our taxes

March 4th, 2019 at 04:07 pm

I heard back from our accountant today. As expected, the Trump tax changes impacted us but not as badly as I had feared. For the first time in many years, we owe for our Federal return but only $453. Still, in previous years we've always gotten at least a small refund.

The good news is we're getting $2,458 back from the state which offsets that making our net refund just over $2,000.

Our accountant had warned us months ago that the Trump stuff would be bad so I was happy that it wasn't any worse than that. And I must admit filing was so much easier because I didn't have to compile everything for itemizing deductions since we weren't able to deduct all of that stuff anymore.

I think I'm done with ebay

March 2nd, 2019 at 05:57 pm

I've been selling collectibles since 1986 and selling on ebay since 1997, not long after it started. There was even a brief time in 2000 when I sold collectibles full time when I was between jobs. In recent years, I've gone through spurts where I would list things for a few weeks and then get tired of it all and stop.

Lately, I've just felt more and more like it isn't worth my time. I got a new job 2 years ago and I'm making a whole lot more money than I used to. Not only that, but there are always opportunities for me to pick up extra hours and earn even more. It's that part that has really made me think it's time to pack in the sales thing.

Selling on ebay isn't difficult but it does take time. I have to photograph and list the items and then pack and ship them which sometimes involves a trip to the post office. I sell mostly low priced items, like under $40, so after fees it's not like I'm making a ton. But my job pays really well. I can make more in a 4 hour shift as I would make selling on ebay in a month.

As much as I actually enjoy the sales thing, there are only so many hours in a day and do I really want to spend them doing all that work just to make a few dollars? Years ago, I did it for the money. Now, I just don't need it.

I still have a lot of stuff in stock that was bought to sell. I've donated a bunch of it over the past couple of years. I'm going to start seeing what else I can donate and work on clearing it all out.

Fixing our cable bill (due to my own error)

February 27th, 2019 at 07:06 am

A couple of months ago I took a look at our cable bill, something I had neglected to do for way too long. I noticed we were being billed for 2 convertor boxes at $6.99/mo. each. However, we only have one. I went over to the office and told them and they agreed to take one off the bill.

Fast forward to last week. I was in the basement and came across a convertor box. Sure enough it is the one they insisted we had and have been paying for. I have absolutely no memory of why we have an extra box or why I never returned it. I brought it up and figured I'd drop it off next time I was over that way.

A couple of days ago, I get a letter in the mail from, the cable company. An account review showed that we're paying for one box but their records still indicate we have two so they're going to start charging for it again.

Now that I actually have the extra box, I can fix this once and for all. I'll go over today and return it and make sure our account is updated accordingly so that we can stop paying that $6.99/mo. fee.

Portfolio up 110K YTD

February 23rd, 2019 at 07:00 pm

I spent some time tonight updating our portfolio spreadsheet and adding a few lines to make it easier to track things. I used to have some accounts like my wife's 401k listed as a single item even though that account holds 2 different funds. Now every fund is listed separately which makes updating easier and also makes tracking asset allocation easier.

Anyway, once I was finished doing all of that, the bottom line was that the total as of today is up by just under $110,000 since 12/31/18. Considering how awful December was, it's very nice to see how quickly things recovered. I feel bad for anyone who sold in a panic 2 months ago. Had I done that, I'd be $110,000 poorer right now.

Saw the accountant today; "new" printer

February 20th, 2019 at 05:39 pm

I met with our accountant today to do our taxes. I don't know the outcome yet but everything is submitted except for a couple of forgotten items I sent over tonight. I should know in a week or so how we made out.

A few weeks ago when I went to print something, my printer made an awful grinding noise. It did ultimately print but each time I tried after that, same noise. The printer was over 8 years old so I wasn't terribly upset, and it wasn't an expensive item to begin with.

The only thing I was annoyed about was that I bought a set of ink cartridges for it not long before that. I knew if I bought a new printer, those would go to waste.

So I checked the box for the cartridge for a list of compatible printers and then searched on ebay for the newest of those models. I lucked out and found someone selling the newest one for $15 plus $17 shipping. I was happy to spend $32 to get an upgraded printer and not waste about $60 worth of ink cartridges. It arrived yesterday and I just set it up tonight. It seems to be working just fine so I'm back in business for a pretty modest expenditure.

Mortgage payment, decluttering, and date night

February 18th, 2019 at 01:04 pm

There are 3 savings things that I do manually each month. I send $1,000 to our Ally savings account, $1,000 to our taxable Vanguard account, and $1,000 extra to our mortgage. I don't usually do them all at once but it worked out that way this time. I just did the Ally and Vanguard transfers.

When I went to do the mortgage payment, I discovered a notice that the annual escrow review showed a shortage (doesn't it always?) of $114.89. So I had to pay that. I also had already decided to up the extra going to principal from $1,000 to $1,500. So I did all of that and made that payment. I can't wait until the mortgage is gone in a few months.

If you really want to follow our decluttering process, I'd head over to the forums: https://www.savingadvice.com/forums/forum/financial-chit-chat/general-discussion/700407-2019-decluttering-thread. We just went through all of our sheets and mattress covers and are getting rid of a whole trash bag full that will go to Goodwill. Some worn out stuff is also going in the trash.

I didn't realize it but my wife and I have a "date night" tonight. Our daughter is heading back to her college for a fraternity event and will be gone from about 4:30 until after 11:00. I think we're going to cook dinner together and then rent a movie on one of the online services and relax with a couple of drinks. Not sure what we'll see but maybe A Star is Born.