1 Million Dollars

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I joined an affiliate program!

You might notice something different about the blog now.  I have joined my first affiliate program and it is with Cash4books.net!  I learned about Cash4books over five years ago when selling the last of my undergrad books before moving with my then fiance to buffalo.  Prior to that I just sold through amazon or ebay or even sometimes at school, direct to other students because it gave me the most money.  However, when both of us were working insane hours, trying to pack and trying to get rid of things, I used this site.  I got money I otherwise would not have gotten, because honestly I just did not have the time to sell them on my own. 

It was a little less than what I expected to get on my own but not much less.  But life was crazy and I honestly forgot about the website after we moved.  Then a friend asked what sites I used to sell and I went back through my emails to remember and clicked over to make sure it was still the same.  Once I did, I saw they had an affiliate program and the rest is this blog post.  I am very excited to have them on the blog, but I want to assure my readership that I will only have ads that relate to the blog and are good for the readership. You can be assured that anything suggested on this blog is useful to me or I know of others who found it useful.  I will never plug anything that does not benefit you!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Learning to be Frugal Young: The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Future

When my husband and I were dating and applying to graduate schools, he got in and I did not.  And, strangely enough, that was the best thing for us.  We moved to buffalo with a very strict budget because we wanted to buy a house and take advantage of the 2009 tax credit.  We had discovered that our mortgage would be about the same as rent, if we bought a duplex on my husband's salary.  If we both had been working, maybe we would have bought a more expensive house, may not.  Maybe I would have bought our house all on my own, (we were not married then) and DH would have paid off his debt quicker.  But what I do know is that our budget would not have been so strict.  We had $5/week each for fun money and date money of $10/week.  Prior to moving to buffalo I had $20/week of fun money just for myself.  If we had not had so little money to spend, we would have kept the fun money at such a high amount.  But, because of our lack of money, we did not.  And that means I am used to only going out to eat once a month, or waiting for a DVD of a movie or even finding deals to catch that movie we want to see in the theaters.

We also spent very little on groceries.  We spent $30/week at the grocery store and $40/month at angel food ministries (which has since closed).  That was it.  It was not fun and the first thing we did when my husband got a raise was increase the food budget.  But that means we know how to cut the grocery budget down and that has helped us, when we ran over budget during the first half of the year and now have to cut way down. 

Those two are just small parts of our whole budget and we worked hard to be as frugal in every part.  This meant that when our daughter was born, we could afford daycare while I went to graduate school for my Master's.  It means that now, with my husband doing a post doctoral fellowship and me getting my PhD, paid, we can afford daycare and to save 30% for the future.  We are a long way from saying 50%, which is our goal or financial independence which is my ultimate goal but learning to be frugal is the base in which all of this is possible.  I never stop looking at our budget for leaks or trying to find better deals like geico affiliates or ting, both of which I learned about from http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Grocery plan updates for a month and half!

We spent 107.44 wegmans, $31.53 for the warehouse club, $31.27 for tops and $7 meat store for a total for three weeks 177.24 which averaged out to 57.88 for each week from Sept 13-27th.  This is a savings of $20.76 from our "debt to the grocery gods" given that we went over during the first half of the year.  However, that was not enough.  Our goal was $48/week, with a reach goal of $45/week.  I am not surprised we went over because we needed to purchase both ground beef and chicken during those weeks. Hopefully we can stretch the meat so we don't have to buy more in the near future.  But still our "debt" to the grocery budget was down to $270.24 at that point.  But, life got in the way of posting so that was three weeks ago, so where are we now?

Well we spent $179.55 at wegmans, $7.89 at tops, $7.67 at the warehouse, and only $4 at the meat store because I was out of town last weekend.  This means we spent $199.11 over the three weeks, which is $66.36/week.  We went over our weekly max of $66/week from the grocery annual budget and now are in more "debt" to the grocery gods.  We now owe $271.35.  And the year end is getting closer and closer.  Do you think we might be able to make it?  Obviously we won't be spending anything this weekend.

We have ten weeks to go, and in there is Christmas and Thanksgiving in there.  Maybe we will get lucky, but we are cutting down the wire and we have eaten much of the food in the house that allowed us to cut down earlier this year.  Our normal budget allows for $66, so cutting $27 off would be $38.  We can't get below $50 so I doubt we can get to $38.   But this experiment has taught us how low we can go and how easy it is to go over.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Updated Millionaire Plan October 2014

So, with my husband changing jobs and commuting, things just have changed. And one thing that has changed is how we save for retirement. We have moved from our Roth IRAs to his employer's traditional 403b. We did this for multiple reasons, one is that they were using vanguard and the prices were very low, much lower than we could get and two, because we wanted to stay in our current tax bracket (10% for federal) and there are tax credits you can get if you put use a employer plan, not an IRA.

The main one is EITC, the earned income tax credit. EITC is dependent on your wage (minus FSA, health insurance and 403b contributions) and your adjustable income. Both need to be low to get this, and your traditional IRA does not affect your wage, though it will adjust your adjustable income. So we are now putting in $5233 into his 403b this year but his HR was not on the ball as much as we would have liked so, we had to adjust how that money came out. He received his first paycheck without the money being sent to his 403b, so we hoped online and increased the amount to make up for that, but that means we only put away $751 in September. And, because of the decline of the stock market that means we are at $22,836. Still not at $25,000, my gross income, but oh so close. Three more pay periods (aka a month and half) and we will be there. Well, only if the market cooperates. Let's hope please?

 As the end of the year comes to a close we will be turning to our taxes and optimizing them which may involve more repairs to the house, we have a list we want to do or increasing or decreasing the 403b contributions. We shall see, and I promise to post all of it here for everyone to see.