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Oh, worms

Car thing last week was interesting. At least I learned how to change my own tire and stuff. Maybe I should look into getting a better jack than the compact thing that comes in the car. And though I should get a second new tire, I haven't done it yet. Gonna try to wait until next payday. I've been limiting how much I've been driving lately, and sometimes it does feel weird to have one good tire and three "meh" ones.

Oh, tires. Times like this I wish I'd save part of my money each month. But paying down debts should take priority...

I tried putting together a list of things I want for the house, like new appliances or furniture. Don't they say keeping lists like this makes it easier to reach your goals somehow? I guess I underestimated how difficult it'd be to leave behind so much furniture at the old house (though it's not like I had tons to begin with). I guess I figured I'd just buy new stuff when I got to the new place, but that didn't happen.

Ah well, at least I have pretty much everything I need. Talking to my folks, it sounds like my mother wants to retire next year, so they're looking at cutting back on their expenses. They're finally dropping their landline phone! I wonder how they'll be doing because they seem to have barely enough to get by as things are now... I was planning to take them out to dinner this week but the tire thing got in the way.

I guess my problem is, when I get to a good month where I don't have a ton of extra expenses like business trips or exploded tires, I suddenly think, "Oh boy, I have extra cash! I can get that thing I've been putting off buying now!" when really I need to live as if I still had those expenses and just try to crawl out ahead a little.

But maybe there are some expenses I can cut, too. I NEED Internet for work and general sanity, but maybe I can get by on lower speeds. When I replace my dying phone for one in better condition, maybe I can re-evaluate my plan then, too. Guess there's a lot to consider...

I still have enough to get new things sometimes. Having lots of fun with Dead Rising 2: Off the Record! It's kind of glitchy, but the story mode was entertaining and the new sandbox mode is REALLY great. It felt like how the infinity mode in the first game really should've been done. Also still really looking forward to Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 next month! It's so close now!



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 27th, 2011 04:35 am (UTC)
Maybe this will help: we have a spreadsheet that has all of the monthly bills, monthly income and savings on it. It also lists debt and how much it costs to service the debt per month as well as per year. Having all of that information on hand as a whole really helps when considering what can be cut back and what is okay as-is. I like knowing what percent of a reduction I can make by totally cutting something (like XBL for example) as opposed to downgrading my Internet.

There are also free services like Mint.com that will chart your expenses from your bank account and tell you what percentage was spent on electric/housing/bananas. It's pretty cool! The only glitch is when you transfer money between accounts it'll show it as earned/lost income sometimes and mess up totals.
Oct. 27th, 2011 04:45 am (UTC)
Yeah, I tried crunching some numbers today. It seems like I'm at the point where the savings are so minimal compared to what I'd be losing. Their pricing tiers are pretty dastardly! It's like, just getting the base service is like $40 but then doubling the base speed is only $5 more. So it's rough since I think I've already picked the "sweet spot"...

I guess I'll figure something out!
Oct. 27th, 2011 05:07 pm (UTC)
Agreed, sometimes the savings vs. quality of life difference is not worth it. We were looking at the cost of a mortgage vs renting because that's our biggest expense currently. Even without putting 20% down on a house, we would pay less per month on a mortgage than our base rent. But there's also property taxes to consider as well? If we do go down the home ownership road soon, I'd really like to ask you some questions if that is okay!
Oct. 27th, 2011 05:11 pm (UTC)
Sure thing!

As for property taxes, that's typically taken care of by the mortgage company. Part of each monthly payment gets sent to an escrow account in order to pay for property taxes when they pop up.
Oct. 27th, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, good to know! So monthly payments to the mortgage company consist of principal, interest and property taxes? So in essence you'd pay $1000 principal, $100 interest and $50 for property tax having a total of $1150/month? If property taxes increase, you'd pay a higher total to the mortgage company?
Oct. 27th, 2011 05:51 pm (UTC)
That's the basic idea, yeah, but the ratios are more like... $200 principal, $500 interest, $450 escrow, $50 fees (not sure exactly what this is; probably goes straight into the mortgage company's pocket). With something this big, most of it goes towards interest, of course.

But you can always send in more than your monthly payment which SHOULD go towards principal curtailment (you have to check because I heard some mortgage companies are evil and won't actually apply overpayments to the principal unless you tell them in writing). I've heard things like... Sending in the equivalent of one extra payment a year in the first couple years can shave years off a 30-year mortgage. I don't do that much but I usually try to round up my payment to the nearest hundred to at least help put a dent in it.

As for property taxes increasing, yeah, I guess that would mean a slightly higher payment to the mortgage company. The thing is, I'm not sure if the monthly "escrow" portion of your payment is exactly (property taxes / 12). It might be a little bit more to give you some wiggle room in case property taxes fluctuate. Can't recall if the escrow account makes any other payments besides annual property taxes...
Oct. 28th, 2011 05:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, okay! I honestly had no idea about the ratios. I figured principle before interest since that's how my student and car loans worked, but that's good to know! What is the escrow for and is it a mandatory component of a mortgage?

If this is a problem, I can go look it up and try to read about mortgages. I still will do that but it's good to hear your thoughts and knowledge too.
Oct. 28th, 2011 06:07 pm (UTC)
Escrow is just the account you pay into each month, and that's where they draw the funds from to pay your property taxes when they're due. I can't remember if there's anything else it's used to pay for... I feel like I may be forgetting something else it covers, but I'm not sure.

I'm not sure if it's possible to opt out of that, and just pay the property taxes yourself. I've never looked into that. But maybe? When I signed up for homeowner's insurance, one of the questions they asked me was if my property taxes were paid through my mortgage company in this way, and I THINK they said they wouldn't cover me if they weren't... It was definitely something they asked about but I forget exactly how it affected the insurance.

About the ratios, that's how things look for my mortgage, which was a 30-year. It's also possible to get other terms like... I think a 15-year mortgage? Obviously the monthly payments would be higher but you'd also be paying less interest in the long term.
Oct. 31st, 2011 05:13 am (UTC)
Whew, been without much free time to myself these past couple of days. Sorry for a slow response!

Thanks for all of your information. There's a ton to consider with home ownership, it seems! But it also doesn't seem too bad.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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