Friday, December 29, 2017

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I enjoyed sometime off of work and time with family.  I ate too much and did not get a chance to relax, but I sincerely enjoyed my time off work.  I hope to post soon about my goals for 2018.  Stay tuned!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Financial Planning 2018- Charitable Giving

I have been working on my financial goals for 2018 and I plan on increasing (as I do every year) my charitable contributions.  I generally give to a legal aid charity and my law school.  This year I also donated to the victims of Hurricane Harvey through the American Bar Association.  I also often donate clothes and household items to Goodwill.  

Looking forward to 2018 I think I would like to add the American Cancer Society and St. Jude's to my list.  I also want to donate my time to help others.  Do you have any favorite charities that you like to donate to every year?  Are there any charities that I should stay away from? 

Monday, December 4, 2017

How I bought my house

I bought my house in 2013 for $247,000 on a conventional mortgage for 3.375%.  I put down 5% ($12,350) and ther fore my mortgage was for $234,650.  Today my mortgage balance is $209, 645. 

In 2012 I started saving pretty aggressive for a mortgage.  I had started a new job in 2011 making $70,000 (up from my previous salary of $62,500).  By the end of 2011 I had paid off my car, all credit card debt and a student loan.  For Christmas that year, we received a bonus of approximately $2000. I saved the majority of that bonus for a down payment on a house. By the beginning of 2012, the only debt that I had left was student loans.  I stopped making big extra payments on my student loans and started saving every dime that I could towards a down payment. We received a few small bonuses throughout the year (less than $400) and I saved those towards my down payment.  Also, I was careful not to spend all of my allotted spending categories and all of the extra went towards my down payment fund.  I already had several thousand dollars saved by the time that I started saving for my down payment.  I wish I could provide more detail, but I did not keep records of the exact amount that I had saved. 

In approximately November of 2012, my boss announced that I would receive a raise beginning in 2013.  In December of 2012, we received another $2000 Christmas bonus.  I saved the majority of that bonus towards my down payment fund.  I ended up having approximately $14,000 saved by the end of 2012. 

In January 2013 I received a 10% raise which brought my salary up to $77,000.  I saved all of the extra towards my down payment fund.  In March, I decided to start looking at houses.  I found a house I liked and put an offer that was accepted in April.  By that time I had approximately $19,000 saved for the mortgage.  We closed by the end of May and I was so sad to see my down payment fund dwindle to basically nothing.  I had separate amounts of money saved for moving expenses and a small budget for cleaning and minor improvements.  After I got into the new house, I again aggressively saved to beef up my EF savings.  Of course, that meant the many of the bigger projects did not get taken care of as the majority of my savings went to building my EF Fund.  We received another $2000 bonus for Christmas of 2013 and the majority of that went to savings. 

I basically scrimped and saved to make sure that I could afford a down payment.  I also cleaned up my credit score in 2011 by paying off debts and in 2012 by keeping my accounts current.  If I could do it differently, I probably would have waited to buy the house and saved more money for a down payment to avoid PMI.