Sunday, September 8, 2019

Savings Account

Last year I opened an Ally Savings account because the rates were higher and rising fast.  I had not problems with the account and it was easy to open.  Recently Ally has dropped its rates down to 1.90%.  My old trusty My Savings Direct ("MSD") account has, thus far, remained at 2.4% so I moved all of my savings back over there.  I earn over $25 a month in interest at MSD. 

Marcus was another savings account that I looked at last year and it is offering 2.0% on savings accounts. 

I'm sure that MSD will eventually drop its rates along with all of the other banks. I am keeping my Ally account open as an alternative and I will move money between the 2 accounts depending on which is offering a higher rate.  FYI- I don't plan to go back and forth over a 0.1 of an interest rate.  Only if there are bigger and sustained differences.  I waited until there was a half a percentage difference until I switched back to MSD. 

What online savings accounts to you use? 

Monday, September 2, 2019


In July, I had my annual eye exam.  I got a new prescription for my contact lenses and learned that I qualified for a $75 rebate. I have worn the air optix night and day lenses for over 10 years.  This year there was a $75 rebate from the parent company Alcon.

Unfortunately, it was not an instant rebate taken at the register.  It was one that you had to submit documentation and wait for your rebate.  I figured it would be a painful process, but it was not!  I had to submit my receipt, my upc code from my contact lenses and documentation of the date of my appointment.  I was able to do this all online and received a claim number.  Within a matter of weeks, I received confirmation that my rebate was approved.  I was only given an online visa card   I requested a physical card to be sent through the mail and it arrived less than 2 weeks later. 

I have not decided how to spend my $75 rebate, I may wait to use it for Christmas shopping.  I love getting discounts/free money! 

Have you qualified for any rebates lately?

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Charitable Contribution Update

August is slipping away from me.  I don't know where the entire month went!

Just a quick update on my charitable contributions.  A few years ago, I made a promise to myself to increase my charitable giving.  I knew many people who made less money than me.  Those people never gave a second thought about donating to causes, however, I always did.  I decided I needed to do better. 

This year, my charitable contribution goal is $400.  I increase this number by $100 every year.  So far this year, I have already given $383!!! It's only August!  I should easily make my goal of $400 for the year.  Ten years ago, I would have thought it impossible to give even $50 a year.  I was mired in credit card debt, student loan debt, etc. 

I am very happy that I am fortunate enough to give money to charitable causes.  I hope that my giving continues to increase over the years.  It's my small way of making the world a slightly better place. 

Monday, August 19, 2019

2019 Roth Maxed

I have maxed out my 2019 Roth!! I'm about to head out so this post will be short.  My contributions for the year were as follows:

1/15/19 $1,000
2/18/19 $500
3/15/19 $800
4/15/19 $1,100
5/15/19 $750
6/15/19 $443
7/15/19 $600
8/15/19 $807

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Second Quarter Update

1. Put a minimum of $11,000 to retirement.  ($6,000 to Roth and $5,000 to taxable). I am loving the increase in contributions to the Roth.  It's $6,000 this year, in case you have not heard!  The $11,000 goal is an increase of $500 from last year.

ON TRACK!!! I have contributed $5,193 to retirement this year. Only $5,807 left to go.  While I am a little further behind than I would like I am happy to have contributed as much as I have.  This has been an expensive year!! I plan to max out my Roth next month.  

2. Increase replacement car fund to $12,000.

This is at $11,549!! I am almost at my goal.  I may scale  the amount I contribute after I reach $12,000, but I will keep contributing.  

3. Give a minimum of $400 to charity. This is an increase of $100 from last year.

I have donated $278 so far this year!! Over half way done. 
4. Increase Emergency Fund to $20,000.
I have not contributed anything to my EF fund.  This remains at $17,916.  
5. Pay down mortgage principal so that the PMI can be removed.  I'm so close, only 5 or 6 months to go!

DONE!! My PMI has dropped off.  I was paying $115 a month for PMI.  My monthly mortgage payment has dropped to $1,377.  

6. Read 12 books

I complete 4 books so far this year.  I need to increase this. 
7. Lose 20lbs
I have lost 10lbs!! 

8. Increase social activities
I have made a half hearted attempt to do this.  I need to do better.  
9. Learn coding.
I have done nothing to effectuate this goal. 

10. Learn more about my family history.

I have done nothing to effectuate this goal. 
11. Meditate.
I fell off doing this early in the year. 

 12. Be kinder and more patient.
I have been trying to be kinder.  I need to re-up the patient efforts. 
13. Increase FI/FU fund to $1,200.
I have added to this and I am at $499 so far. 
14. Figure out my purpose in life.  

I have done nothing to effectuate this goal.

Friday, July 19, 2019

PMI is Gone!!

I finally reached 78%LTV (loan to value) on my home.  That means no more private mortgage insurance (PMI) and I cannot be more excited!!! My PMI payments were $115.37 a month.  My first payment on this mortgage was on July 1, 2013 and it took me 6 years to reach 78%.  I plan to use that $115 a month to save for expected home repairs such as a new AC unit (pretty much a necessity in Florida).  I am already paying an extra $448 a month extra in principal each month. 

The crazy part is that I reached 78% early.  I reached 80% LTV at the end of January 2019.  According to my mortgage payment, I was not supposed to reach 80% until September of 2020.  . I've already paid thousands for PMI since 2013. Imagine if I followed the schedule put forth by the mortgage company. 

The process for reaching 78% LTV was simple.  I just paid extra principal payments on my mortgage each month.  At the beginning of February I received a letter from my mortgage company advising me that I had reached 80% LTV and giving me options for how to have the PMI removed.  Once of which was to pay almost $5,000 to reduce the principal to 78%LTV.  I declined to do that and just kept making my extra payments each month.   I paid my mortgage as usual at the end of June and got my regular statement.  A couple of days later I received a revised statement with the PMI payment removed.  I have not yet received any refunds or pro rata refund for my last pmi payment.  It appears that it was cancelled by the mortgage company on 7/2.  The next premium would have been paid around 7/15.  I don't expect any refunds from my escrow account until maybe next year when the escrow analysis is complete.

Happy Friday!!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Crazy Expensive Summer

I am burning through money this year!

This year has already been super expensive.  I paid off my new bedroom furniture and mattress which totaled over $7,000.  This was super expensive, but I don't regret one penny of it.  My back used to hurt every morning when I woke up and now I get up in the morning pain free! My 15 year old mattress (I'm pretty sure I got that mattress in 2003) needed to go. 

In the past 2 month I paid:

 $110 for the dentist
 $338 for the eye doctor (exam and new frames)
 $160 for another dentist appointment
 $254 for car repair services
 $212 for contact lenses

Once I write it all out it is easy to see why I haven't even made half of my retirement contributions for the year. That is over $1,000 in expenses just for June and July.  It is expensive to live and work in this day and age.  I travel all over Florida so I need my car to stay in good repair and I will not sacrifice necessary car maintenance.