Saturday, September 22, 2012
We set a date for next June, and we have got contracts down for our ceremony location, reception location (which is also the caterer), cake, photographer, photo booth, and musicians. The wedding is being held in Fiance's hometown which is not far from my own, so we did reserve some hotel rooms but not a ton since not that many people will need one. And we are meeting with a florist next week. All in all I feel like I have checked off all the important boxes on the checklist.
So why do I feel like there MUST be a million things that I haven't done and need to do? To be honest, I am now really unsure what it is that women who are planning their wedding are DOING, since so many of them seem to regard it as a part time job that they must work at for a whole year before the wedding. I mean, we aren't having a huge blowout, but we're inviting a lot more than just immediate family, and we're having a bridal party and all that. But so far, this just hasn't taken as much time as I thought it would and so of course I think I am missing something.
Part of it may be that there are a great many details I just don't care that much about. For example, the dress - I like dresses, I own a lot of them, but I am unwilling to pay four figures for this thing and I am unwilling to try on 298347597 of them just because that seems to be what people do. I'm going to try on a few, see if I like them - if I don't, I try on a few more, and pick the one I like the best, and if I do, I buy it on the spot. This is how I approach cars, and I have spent a lot more money on those than on dresses!
But I feel pretty good about the progress I have made on getting things done. In my mind, even if all we do from this point forward is send out invitations, we've got places reserved, there'll be food, photos, and music, and places for people to stay. I figure I have covered my bases well enough.
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Thursday, September 20, 2012
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012
I am a world champion level list maker, so the last few weeks, we've been going down the list and making decisions. I know that traditionally brides agonize over what kind of flowers to get for months, but we decided on blue delphinium, blue irises, and white alstromeria and that is DONE. BOOM. Fiance even has a cousin who is a florist so we're going to see if she can just order us the flowers for the reception in bulk and we'll put the centerpieces together ourselves.
Last weekend we did the save the dates - I guess magnets are all the rage now, so we got magnets, and now we have to get going on collecting addresses. That is the really painful and annoying part - between the two of us, we're in Facebook or email contact with the majority of our list, but you still need to send out invites. So I will be emailing and Facebooking people to ask for their real addresses, and hoping they are all the same by the time we send out the real invitations. I'm just happy to have it crossed off my list.
Next up? Probably getting a dress, visiting our locations to get some pictures for decorating planning, doing trial hair, and reserving tuxes. Hopefully we can get a lot done in a single weekend - we're planning to go up for a couple of business days so we can meet up with a bunch of vendors in our "destination wedding" city, as my mother likes to put it. (It's in a dying former factory town that is losing population like there's a contest it wants to win.)
The Knot has a helpful if depressing list of all the things you need to do, so we're in the 9-to-12 months away block. I'm trying to take the approach that you're supposed to use on term papers: get started now and lay groundwork and the rest will be easier as you just fill in the blanks. Let's see if that actually works and keeps me from tearing my hair out (and then having to pay for expensive hair extensions.)
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012
So I have decided that when I pay off all my credit card debt, I can buy a new car.
(Not new-new, of course, as I am neither wealthy, nor stupid, nor wealthy enough to be stupid. My sights are set on a car a couple years old, probably a retired Enterprise rental car 'cause they come with a lot of options.)
Of course, this plan didn't seem quite so brilliant on review, since I'm celebrating getting out of debt by getting into more debt. But on the whole, I'll actually have a lot more disposable income after my debt is paid off, and my current car is sliding down the drain pretty quickly. I'm hoping it actually lives until my debt gets paid off!
This is actually a pretty motivating idea for me. I've literally never owned a car that cost more than $4,000, because I've never had much on hand and never cared much about it. But it's really getting old fixing the problems that older, poorly maintained cars create - no one I know has ever had to replace the speedometer, the circuit board that runs your turn signals, or the temperature control panel in the dashboard. None of these were things I could have foreseen, and all of the cars I've purchased were checked out by mechanics before I purchased them, but you just don't see these kinds of problems in normal cars. It's getting old having to fix something every time I take it in for an oil change. So it's very motivating to think about owning a car that won't have random crap breaking all the time.
Right now I have my eye on the Pontiac G6.. here's hoping there's still some good 2009's and 2010's (I think that's when they stopped making them) when I pay off my debt!
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012
However, sometimes junk mail can be useful. Fiance got a card in the mail from some mortgage company, as he often does as the proud holder of an FHA mortgage, but this one said something about an "FHA streamline refinance". I had not heard of this rare item before, so I Googled, and it turns out that this is a real thing. An FHA streamline refinance basically allows you to do a quick refinance without having to get the house appraised or even provide new proof of income. And some dude from Quicken Loans told me that we could probably get a 4.5% or even 4.25% refinance without paying closing costs - since our current rate is 6.25%, that is pretty darn sweet. That'd lower our mortgage payment by about $150 a month. Not bad at all.
And on top of THAT, I did some shopping for home insurance and found a company that'll insure us for about $400 a year less than our current insurance (which is even nicer, because our current insurance is both going up $300 a year and also dropping coverage on our 100 year old slate roof, since so many of our neighbors evidently have been cashing in on their hail coverage recently.) So between the two, that's about $200 a month right off the top without costing us any money or significant hassle. I'm quite pleased with myself.
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Friday, May 11, 2012
Luckily, since my credit is no longer the pile of poo that it used to be, I have an Amex (a green card, of course, but an Amex nonetheless) onto which I put the purchases, and then a paid-off Discover card that I could transfer them onto at 0% for a year. So between that and my other 0% card that I transferred some of the Discover balance onto, I'll be out of those in a year if I can pay $500 a month towards it.
But lately it seems as if I have no money to spend - and since I have been terrible about updating my personal Quickbooks (since I always have the business's file open instead) I haven't really been looking at how much money I have after paying bills each paycheck. Turns out: sometimes it is $8. Between paying all the utilities, the debt payments, paying Fiance my part of the mortgage, and putting aside $150 a month for the wedding, I end up with pretty much nothing left. This isn't a regular occurrence and is mostly due to the fact that the majority of my bills' due dates are in the beginning of the month, so I usually avoid it by shifting utility payments around on my bill-paying calendar, but sometimes it just can't be avoided. That's when I really feel like I have to step it up on doing extra work because that's literally the only money I have to spend unless I want to dip into savings. So obviously not a lot of extra money after THAT to put into savings. Most of the money that's been going into my savings account has been directly transferred from Paypal, usually from mystery shopping money, but none of my actual paycheck is going into my emergency savings.
So even though I have all these 0% deals, I can't help but think that my actual life would be easier if I put that $500 a month towards one of my fixed-payment cards - cause then I'd eliminate a fairly large payment and not be on the "did a check come today?" hamster wheel.
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Sunday, March 18, 2012
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Sunday, February 26, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Generally, the life insurance over 50 coverage plan is an insurance policy that is intended to benefit the senior citizens. It is specially planned to provide financial security to those individuals who have reached their retiring years, but are not to have been freed off their financial obligations. Aging comes with a number of health issues, thus considerably increasing your risk level. As a result of this situation, senior members are incapable of qualifying for life insurance coverage; that is where the senior insurance policy comes into play. For this type of insurance coverage, senior individuals up to 85 years of age are eligible to apply for the coverage.
While other financial security measures like pension plans, contingency funds and personal savings are good, it is prudent to seek a financial plan that offers cash returns. With the life insurance over 50 policy coverage, the insured is at liberty to leave the disbursement to selected beneficiaries in case of any misfortune. The policy holder can also choose to allocate the compensation to cover the funeral expenses in the event of death or cover any debts or pending bills. The senior insurance policy is therefore crucial for providing financial relief for people in their fifty’s and over.
It is known for a fact that life coverage for younger individuals’ costs cheaper since the risk factors that affect the premium costs are lower. However, it is possible to get senior life coverage at affordable prices if you perform a thorough comparison shopping. Here are some of the tips that will assist you get affordable insurance coverage;
• Make sure that you meet the entire basic qualification requirements for a senior insurance coverage policy. The main minimum qualification is being between the ages of 50 to about 85 depending on the terms of the insurance company.
• Ensure that you verify the exact date the insurance policy commences. If you are not certain about the dates, it is always advisable to contact the insurance agent to clear the issue. Policies bought online usually commence immediately you are done filling in the registration formalities and made a down payment. On the other hand, policies purchased via conventional methods like in person or via phone, the usually confirms the exact date the policy will commence.
• Take notice of the duration of your coverage, generally senior insurance policies provide coverage as long as the premium payment is current. If at all your premium payments lapse, you are not entitled to any reimbursement from the insurance company. The prudent cause of action to ensure that you are always covered is to opt for a premium cap, meaning that you are required to premium just until your coverage amount is met.
• Choose a policy option that allows you to pay premiums on the basis of the actual extent of the coverage provided. This is not only affordable but also allows you to pay for your life coverage comfortably since this plan offers manageable monthly premium rates.
Saturday, February 04, 2012
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
This is a guest post written by Sam Peters, who frequently blogs about topics relating to money and personal finance.
Those of you following my battle against debt have probably realized that a substantial portion of that debt – around $13,000 worth at the end of last year – is tied up in student loan obligations. Student loans reflect a different sort of debt when it comes to prevention or mitigation. Consider it this way: someone with thousands of dollars of debt sitting on their Visa likely made some imprudent spending decisions in the past. But a person trying to pay off their Discover graduate student loans, for example, was probably fully aware of their impending burden when they took out the loans in the first place. They knew they were going to be in debt, they saw the writing on the wall, but they decided that it was worth it to get an education.
Considering the importance of a college degree these days, I believe that there is certainly nothing wrong with that approach. I have student loan debt, to be sure, but education I received has contributed to a job that helps me pay off that debt. In the long run I come out even, if not (hopefully) on top.
So I don’t regret deciding to take out loans and financing a college education. But what I do regret is that I didn’t take concerted steps to reduce the cost, the number of loans I needed to take out, and consequently the debt with which I graduated. If I could go back in time, I would tell my pre-college self to try harder to bring down my college costs. Specifically, these are the tips I would recommend:
Boost Financial Aid
Increasing the amount of financial aid you receive is naturally often a losing battle. Still, there are countless tricks that I may no effort to try back in the day. These tricks include investing assets in retirement accounts, taking yourself as a dependent, and including family liabilities if you have siblings in school at the same time.
Follow A Loan Forgiveness Program
Many schools, scholarships, and financial aid programs provide stipulations whereby a graduate can earn forgive on loan interest if they pursue certain public sector careers for a given amount of time. While such work doesn’t exactly interest me, it would have been nice if I had kept those options open. I could have paid off my debt and moved on to a different job by now.
Save on Textbooks
A surprisingly significant portion of my student loan debt comes not from textbook costs. I’ve always appreciated that textbooks are expensive, but I never realized how quickly that all added up. If I was redoing college, then, I would make a point to shop for textbook deals on half.com, share books with friends, or simply forgo a non-required class that has a heavy reading load.
There are many other tips for reducing your student loan debt, but there are the three main ones I would probably give my pre-college self. Too bad time travel isn’t possible. But fortunately, someday my student debts will be gone and – hopefully – the benefits of my degree will continue to live on.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
The holidays are rarely nice to any of our budgets. I personally dread the holidays only because I feel like I won't be able to pay down as much of my debt as I would like due to gift buying, holiday cooking, and additional travel expenses. Then once New Year's has passed, I find myself scrambling to set a budget to determine how quickly I can get my finances back on track.
However, living on ramen isn't the only way to get yourself back on the right financial foot come the new year. By simply sticking to those New Year's resolutions, you can save yourself a substantial amount of cash both short term and long term. A few of the most money saving new year's resolutions that you should think twice about before giving up on include:
Dropping Weight and Getting in Shape
If you are looking to save yourself a substantial bit of money both short term and long term, losing weight is the way to do it. You will immediately notice a difference in your monthly budget as you will save on eating out in both restaurants and drive-thrus - common places to be avoided by dieting individuals - and you will also save yourself money over the long haul as you will prevent yourself from having to pay higher insurance premiums and high medical bills from health conditions associated with being overweight.
Giving Up Addictions
While you may not consider yourself an addict, if you just “have to have” that cup of coffee each and every morning from your favorite coffee shop, there is a good chance that you are a coffee addict. Whether you are addicted to caffeine, cigarettes, or just frequent that after work happy hour, by giving up these vices, you can save up to $200 a month. All three of the aforementioned also negatively impact your health, especially smoking, and by giving them up now you can avoid high medical bills often associated with the health conditions that arise from abusing any of them.
Living on Less
Choosing to live on less in the New Year obviously has its financial perks, but like losing weight or giving up any vices, living on less is often very difficult because it requires a complete lifestyle change. The reason why most of us get ourselves into high debt is because we overindulge and neglect our budgets for years, and going from living in a nice roomy apartment with a great view of the Chicago skyline to a cramped studio with most of our possessions either sold or tucked away in area Chicago self storage facilities isn't always an easy transition. However, if you stick to living without the excess – including those shopping sprees you feel as though you deserve sometimes – you can quickly reduce your debt.
Getting out of debt isn't always easy, but you don't always have to take extreme measures to make it happen. Sometimes, following a simple tradition can help you get there while also making you feel better about yourself both physically and mentally.