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Archive for August, 2020

I may have found a "new" car

August 29th, 2020 at 11:35 pm

I've been car shopping and found one today that I will probably buy if all is well when I see it in person.

I decided this time around I was going with either Carmax or Carvana. I wanted to do as much of it as possible online and have a fixed price and not have to deal with a sleazy commission-based salesperson. I'm paying cash so no need to deal with the finance department either. I had saved a search for what I wanted on both sites and have checked back daily for new inventory. One came up yesterday that was very nice but also more expensive than I wanted. Then today, a couple of new ones popped up and I jumped on one of them.

It's currently in North Carolina so I'm having it shipped to NJ ($99 fee). They'll let me know when it arrives and is ready for me to come check it out. No obligation to buy, and if I do buy, they have a 7-day return policy.

Anyway, it's a 2018 Toyota Camry XSE with just under 13,000 miles. Red exterior, black interior.

Now I just wait for it to get here and then go check it out.

A little portfolio rebalancing

August 23rd, 2020 at 04:58 pm

I realized a while back that our cash allocation had grown rather large - larger than I really want it to be.

I finally sat down and did something about it today. I had a bunch of cash in both my traditional IRA and my Roth, so two places with no tax implications to moving money around.

I put in a buy order for something in the traditional IRA. Then I put in an order to move money into the settlement account in my Roth. I know I could do the buy orders I want right away but I always get nervous by the "there are insufficient funds in your settlement account for this transaction" warning that pops up. So I'll wait a day or two until the money is actually there and then place the buy orders.

The end result will be our cash allocation dropping and our stock allocation rising by about 2.7% which will put us back right about where I want our asset allocation to be.

YTD spending update. Wow!

August 19th, 2020 at 06:07 pm

I was going to wait until the end of the month to look at this but I happened to check today. We're almost 2/3 of the way through 2020. It's remarkable how much of an impact COVID has had on our spending.

In 2019, our average monthly spending came to $6,657 or $79,884 for the entire year.

So far in 2020, our average monthly spending is only about $5,190. Extrapolated out for 12 months that will be just $62,280, almost $18,000 less than last year.

I haven't sat down and really dug into the numbers but just on the surface, the biggest chunk of the savings has got to be from the lack of travel. Number two would be the lack of dining out.

We have started dining out again since NJ opened for outdoor dining at the end of June but we're still doing way less than previously. It's been too darn hot to eat out most of the time. As the weather starts to get a little more moderate, we'll probably go out more so our spending will pick up a bit, but we'll still be way off last year's numbers. And travel isn't resuming anytime soon, certainly not in 2020.

I know the sharp drop is temporary but it's still nice to have that extra cash to stuff into savings.

Hurricane aftermath

August 5th, 2020 at 11:49 pm

Hurricane Isaias came through our area yesterday morning. Heavy rain and high winds. Other than a little water in the basement, we thought we had made out okay. And then around 12:30pm, after the rain had stopped and the sky was actually clearing, the power went out. It's now 7:40pm the next day, so 31 hours later, and the power is still out.

We were able to spend last night at home. Fortunately, it wasn't terribly hot so even without AC, it only got up to about 75 in the house.

Still no power this morning but DD and I both had to work so off we went. DW stayed home except for running out to get some breakfast since there wasn't really anything she could have at home.

When I got home, I picked up some lunch, and we were debating what to do. It was hot today so the temp in the house was up to about 85. We knew we wouldn't be able to stay in the house if the power didn't come back.

Once DD came home, we decided pretty soon after to book a hotel room and head out. There was no sign that the power would be back anytime soon and it was pretty oppressive in the house. DD is also in the middle of a big project that she needs internet access for.

So we're all settled in at the hotel. Lights, AC, Wifi, all the amenities we need. We ordered takeout for dinner. The hotel is right down the street from my office so I'll be at work in 5 minutes in the morning. And it's about the same distance from DD's work as from home so she's fine, too. I booked for 2 nights but can always extend it if necessary. Hopefully by Friday the power will be restored.