Friday, May 25, 2012
I love going out to eat but it can great very expensive, especially if you like higher end restaurants, which I do. But sometimes there will just be a great deal that turns an expensive night out, into a relatively cheap one. The Melting Pot in Cheektowaga is having discounted cheese and chocolate for two if you sit at the bar on tuesday nights. By doing so you will save about $7 compared to the normal price. Ok deal, not a great one. But here comes living social to make it even better. $15 for $30 worth of food. https://www.livingsocial.com/deals/326354?ref=conf-jp&rpi=62811398 That saves you another $15. It goes from being a $50 meal for two at minimum to a $27 meal for two. Way better deal in my mind.
It is finally warming up here in Buffalo and it has been great to open up the house and get out and about. We thought about having a picnic last weekend but got so crazy busy, we had to push it off. Why is it, that once things have warmed up, we have so much to do around the house? However, we will be having out picnic this weekend as a fun yet cheap treat. There are so many fun, cheap things to do during the summer that I cannot imagine wasting money this summer. But the sad thing is, when we moved here almost three years ago we have no ideas what cheap, fun things there were to do in this area. By keeping our eyes and ears open we have found so many things, like the Allan Town Art Festival and great hiking around the North Campus of UB. But there is an easier, and shorter way to find some of these events. Use the web! For example, I used swagbucks to search buffalo events and found out that one farmers market has already started. Maybe I will go wander over to Alden Village and see what produce is avaiable. http://www.aldenny.org/market.asp Also, I found that Buffalo State has a planetarium with events open to the public. Right now they are showing "Wonders of the Springtime Sky" and for students it is only $4 per person, unless you are a Buffalo State student, and it is free. http://www.fergusonplanetarium.net/PublicShows/PublicShows_WondersOfSpring.html What fun cheap stuff are you doing over the summer?
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
A nice rule of thumb when deciding your asset allocation is to take your age and either subtract it from 100 or 120 to get the percentage of stocks you should be holding. The remaining should be in bonds. However, you are also suppose to be building an emergency fund, possibly buying a home, or a car and those take savings. Do you count that savings in your asset allocation? Well you should but if you did you would not be able to buy a house, car or maybe even have the emergency fund you need. So what should you do? I have a goal for my asset allocation but to me, that is not the end all be all. Keep in mind Warren Buffet used to get made fun of because he held on to more cash that was considered appropriate so he would have the money for deals. Buffet is one of the riches men in the world and one of the few that made it big via the stock market. Right now my biggest asset is my home and conventional wisdom says to buy more stocks and bonds to balance it out but I am looking for another good deal in real estate. If I find it, I am buying, allocation be damned. This is not to say that asset allocation does not matter. I try to keep my stocks and bonds balanced depending on my age but I am not going to pass up a deal or not save for an emergency because of it. I do look at what kind of stocks I have and try not to have too much of the more risk stock, like small caps or emerging markets but I do not worry about it too much. I look at my allocation once to twice a year, that is it. Worrying about it is silly. At this point all I do is shove everything in my target date fund, ever since I rolled my 401k over to an IRA. Once I have over $25,000 then I will diversify on my own but even then the only difference will be a large international exposure and a little less bonds. I am willing to take a lot of risk as long as I have an emergency fund therefore until I am in my 50s my bond exposure in my IRA will be low. I do plan to put three months of saving in I bonds as a secondary EF after my three months of cash but that is a far away goal. I still have to pay off the student debt first. Does anyone keep a strict asset allocation or does everyone agree that it is a goal not an absolute?
Thursday, May 10, 2012
This last month has not been good for the stock market. Even though I added $400 this month, we have only gained $103 for a grand total of $12408. However, I have made some changes this month. I was unaware that the government extended the social security tax cut through the end of the year. That will save me at least $100, probably more. I have increased my automatic investments to $417 and as I work I will increase it. A hundred dollars over a year may not be a lot but when it comes to finance even a penny can count. I am still working towards my mini-goal of $25,000 and expect to get there within three years.