April 2005 Financial Status Update

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Before any of my newer readers get excited, let me say that all of my credit card debt is in the form of a 0% balance transfer. Please see all three of my posts (1,2,3) on this and the best 0% offers that I have found. No crazy interest payments here.

Ok, so this month was a good month. Our net worth increased $2,946, and our non-retirement funds went up $2,796. I say it was a good month because the stock market had a bad month, the S&P 500 was down 3.1% for the month of March, we took a mini-vacation, and we still came out strong. Which is good because I am going on vacation for a week in April and will be probably be dropping close to a grand on it.

I paid off one of the aforementioned 0% balances this month, which is why you see the big debt reduction and slight loss of assets this month. We are now $63,000 away from our mid-term goal of $100,000, with 27 months to go. That’s $2,333 per month, and we are on track.

We don’t have a monthly budget. I can not tell for instance, if we spend more or less on food this month vs. last month. I would like to start figuring that stuff out – if I could just find the Money 2005 software CD that I bought, I would install it and start trying to use it. This will most likely be my monthly goal for this month (using it, not just finding it. Although at this pace…).

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  1. you can use a straight Excel spreadsheet for monthly budgeting (like I do in spite of owning a Quicken 2005 for the business)

  2. Curious, you have lots of cash savings. What kind of account do you stick this in? Regular bank savings? Thanks.

  3. I posted an Excel spreadsheet recently that lets you start just tracking your monthly spending. Over time, I will add in the budget aspects to this spreadsheet for everyone to use. Although if you wanted something more detailed, I could email one to you.

    Stop by my site, I give financial, parenting, marriage, and home/health advice. I also have an adoption project on Fridays if you know anyone interested in adopting older sibling groups.

  4. I’ve never been happy with the budgeting features in either Quicken or MS Money. In fact, I haven’t ut much effort into budgeting because of that.

  5. Thanks for the comments – I think I may need the joy of tinkering with a new toy/software to help me with my budgeting… I’m sure I’ll get frustrated quickly, and fall back onto Excel. Ah well.

    Stacy – I park my cash mainly in Emigrant Direct and Presidential Bank Checking, although some of it is in savings bonds, CDs, and in various places earning bonuses, etc. Please see this old post too.

    I’m currently looking for alternatives within my 2.5 year timeframe for using it. I’m always open to suggestions!

  6. Ok, I’m stupid, so please bear with me.

    If the credit cards you use are paid off immediately in order to avoid any credit charges, why not just pay cash for things in the first place? What advantages does using the credit card give?

  7. Hi Joshua –

    I’m personally using the “free” borrowed money and placing it in a interest-bearing account and keeping the interest for myself. For example, if you put $20,000 in a account earning 3% APY, you are getting $600 for free that year. For more details, please see this previous post. Other people use the money to pay off higher interest loans, buy stuff, etc.

  8. Amazing! This has never occured to me.

    Actually, this seems a little bit scary to me (only because fears stems from ignorance), but I am going to study into it further. It might be a great way to alleviate some of the sting from taxes… 😉

    I have another stupid question – does borrowing money in this manner (paying it back before interest is incurred), help build up a “credit rating”? Or do you only get a ‘score’ for paying on interest?

    The reason I ask – I have never borrowed money for anything, not even a car or house. Therefore, I have no credit rating. And although I still abhor the idea of borrowing money to buy ‘stuff’ (too many people I know have been badly burnt doing this), perhaps I could build up a credit rating without actually buying stuff. That way, when purchasing a house comes into the picture some time in the near future, I’ll actually have something to show… just a thought.

    I bow to your Buddha-nature. 😉


  9. Stacy, did you mention you post a Excel Spreadsheet for budgeting. I am sorry I couldnt find any, do you have a pointer to it.

    I have been doing my budgeting in Excel, but lately I have found it necessary to move to Money for a better report/graphs/comparisons tool.

    Has anybody has any luck importing excel budgets in Money ? It seems like a tedious job, plus Money doesnt allow you to enter the previous months/years. I dont want my 3 yr discplined effort go waste 🙂

    Thanks for you time guys !


  10. This is an interesting site. What puzzles me, though, is why someone as bright and detail-oriented as you clearly are isn’t making a whole lot more money.

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