Net Worth Update: May 2015

Welcome to our May net worth update or as I like to call it the bleeding cash update. This is the first time in many months that our net worth has dipped. As many of you know there is good reason, it’s called a regular income. I’m in search of one. Other than that a regular month so to peak some big decision looming with the 401K and pension now that I’m no longer associated with my employer. On to bigger and better things I keep saying.

Here are our May numbers:

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Net Worth Details

Cash (-4,391.00): Ouch! Hate to part with you, but so glad we have you to fall back on.

401K (+2,110.00): Investment increase here. Decision time for me, I’m looking into my rollover option for my former 401k.

Pension (+223.00): Interest income added this month. Now that I’m no longer with the company I’m seeing it I can roll this to another account and be in better control of this money going forward.

529s (+762.00): Bonds for each child transferred over this money and still waiting on our Upromise deposit.

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Autos (-1,124.00): A little dip. Still nice to have two paid for reliable autos in the driveway.

Home ($0.00): Still an estimate, we have no plans on moving anytime soon.

Mortgages ($0.00): No change here, but just do to timing, still slow and steady on the mortgage. Still underwater, but we are getting closer to closing that gap. Our mortgage payment remains our biggest monthly expense.

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How was your May? Where would you roll an old 401K investment to?

How to Survive Graduation Season Without Breaking the Bank

Graduation season is quickly approaching, which means it’s time to bring on the celebrations. While it may seem like an overwhelming time, it can also be a very exciting time for the graduates in your life. Whether you are celebrating an elementary school graduation, middle school graduation, high school graduation or college graduation, there are many gifts you can get for the special graduate without having to break the bank. Here are some useful tips that can help you enjoy a successful graduation season while being friendly to your wallet:

Know Your Budget

Parents: it’s so important to have a budget in mind before the graduation season starts so you don’t splurge on unnecessary purchases. Make a list of everything you need to buy beforehand, such as clothing for your graduate, gifts, party items, travel costs like plane tickets and hotel accommodations, etc. This will definitely help you be as prepared as possible.

Embrace Your Inner DIY

Purchasing graduation gifts early will not only help you stress less but will also help you save money and avoid expedited shipping costs rather than buying last minute gifts. Typical gifts for recent grads include money and clothing, but try to opt for graduation gifts that are friendlier to your wallet and also meaningful. Here are some thoughtful DIY graduation gift ideas to make a lasting impression:

1. Make a collage or photo album of your child’s time in school with pictures of their friends, family and any notable experiences. This is something they can cherish as a keepsake for years to come.
2. Create a customized gift basket with the grad’s favorite things. This can include their favorite snacks, photos, and other little knick-knacks.
3. If your grad is heading off to college, give them a “dorm essentials” basket with items that’ll come in handy during their first year. They will definitely appreciate it!
4. Order a customized throw or blanket with their graduation picture or school logo.
5. Write your grad a heartfelt letter and frame it so they can always remember their special day.

Travel Cheap

If you are traveling to a graduation out-of-state, do some research on cheap travel sites to help you save money on flights. Companies such as Priceline will allow you to provide your price range and will give you options within your budget. Book your flights as early as possible to avoid last-minute booking fees.

Save on Clothing

You’d be surprised at how many ways there are to save money on graduation attire. Rather than spending a bunch of money on something your grad will only wear once, look into websites that allow you to rent clothing for one special occasion. You can rent clothing from a company like Rent The Runway.

Borrow What You Can

You can always rely on fellow friends and family members to borrow graduation must-haves. Whether you need extra party accessories, graduation clothing, or just some support, count on them to have your back.

Throw a Party Without Putting a Dent in Your Wallet

There are many ways you can throw your grad a party without breaking the bank. Oftentimes, parents will throw a joint party for their grads to help save some money. Look into rental services for items such as tables, tablecloths, silverware, etc. that offer reasonable prices for the day. Need graduation decorations to liven up the party? Check out stores, like Party City, that offer unbeatable deals for graduation decorations.

There are so many ways you can save money for this upcoming graduation season. Once you have the essentials, you’ll be set to enjoy one of the most important times of your child’s life. Congrats to your grad!

Week End Round Up #83

Happy Friday! Welcome to our week end round up #83. Where the heck did May go? With Monday being a Holiday it seemed like this week just flew by and now June is upon us. Lot’s of focus for me this week on the resume, network and job search. All is going well, slow but well. Big hockey game on the schedule tonight for New York Ranger fans, so I’ll be watching. No other major plan for us this weekend.

Enjoy your weekend everyone! What’s your weekend plans?

week end

Financial Stuff I was Pinged about this week:

Here’s a quick review of some financial stuff that came across my desk this week, which was interesting enough to share.

Lendedu is a student loan arrogater, which I spoke about last week. Well this week they have a giveaway to promote. Check out their site for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

SwitchAds is an Ad company which maximizes the value of each and every visitor by auctioning your advertising space to the highest bidder. Advertisers compete with your existing advertising in real time, if the price you set is met your existing ad is replace. Seems like a good way of earning a big more cash for your adverting space on your site.

Spoutable is another Ad company that offers a unique experience. They detect when a visitor is going to exit your site and make relevant recommendations for where to go next. What I like here it their Ads are not taking you away from the content you initially came to view, only upon exit do they appear, when you plan on going away anyway. This is one I’ll be checking out.

Favorite reads from the week:

Budgeting from Nothing @ The Broke and Beautiful Life

Living an Exceptional Life @ Budget and the Beach

It’s a Question of “Why” @ Club Thrifty

My Networking Challenge @ House of Tre

My favorite blogs::

Richmond Savers
Prudence DebtFree
Frugalwoods
The Frugal Farmer
Even Steve Money
Enemy Of Debt
The Broke and Beautiful Life
Club Thrifty
Squirrelers

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Have a great weekend!

Build a Better Financial Safety Net

I was recently asked the question if I could go back to my 20s, what would I do differently to build a better financial safety net and grow my net worth faster? Flashback to 1990, this was the year I turned twenty. Thinking back I guess I could have better used my money then spending it on dial-up internet access with AOL, or my first cell phone the Motorola 5200, or trying to perfect my grunge look with all that flannel. Here are the things I wish I did differently.

Financial Safety Net

Educate Myself

My parents taught me the basics when it came to personal finance. The helped me open a bank account, showed me how to balance a check book, but beyond that there wasn’t much guidance. I don’t ever recall covering anything on the subject in High School or College. I do remember the credit card applications and the free gifts being offered in the student center each week. If I had the chance to do it over I would certainly educated myself a bit more on the topic of personal finance. Having the education would give me a great foundation for years to come as my income began to increase.

Save More Money

I don’t ever recall savings really being a part of my overall plan. From my first part-time jobs on to my full-time jobs post college. I’m not sure why. I wish someone would have introduced me to compound interest in 1990. I ran the quick numbers using a net worth calculator and if I starting saving $100 a month since I was 20 I’d have an additional $100k saved, if I put away $500 I’d have almost $500k saved. It helps today to have apps at your finger tips to keep track of your overall spending and wealth to keep you better organized. Although I don’t have the opportunity to do it again, this is one of those lessons my three children are sure learning about.

Spend Less than I Made

This ties into the saving more money, I never had any money to save because I was always spending all of it. In my twenties I’m sure I wasn’t thinking about retirement yet. I was concerned about what the plans were for Friday night, which typically meant eating and drinking out somewhere and spending a good bit of cash. Rethinking it I would still go out, but make sure my savings goals were met first.

Use Credit Cards as a Tool not a Crutch

Credit cards were always used to cover cash shortages and once used it was all about managing the minimum payment. As long as the minimum payment could be paid the card would continued to be used. Credit line would be increased and more spending would occur. I never saw this as a problem, until one card turn into 5 and after years of abuse a $100k worth of debt crippled us. I know better now, credit cards should be paid in full every month and if used properly can gain you rewards, saving you additional money on a number of things. It’s a simple rule and if you can’t follow it, you shouldn’t own a credit card.

There no gaining back the 20 years I’ve lost, but I don’t get hung up in the past I continue to more forward each and every day. I look forward to better educating my three children and seeing them have better financial success early in life than I ever did.

If you could go back to your 20s, what would you do differently to build a better financial safety net and grow your net worth faster?