Archive for January, 2010


January 28, 2010

Well, I’ve been postponing the inevitable for a few months now.  The old, cheap shoes that I wear 7 days a week is in bad shape.  Shoe replacement is down in my priority, but these old shoes are finished.

So, here’s the question that I have for the frugal person who lives below his/her means:   Should I replace my worn-out shoes with another pair or cheap shoes or more expensive shoes and why?  I’m wondering if affordable shoes can be comfortable?  Please help!


$6 REWARD FOR MY FAVORITE ANSWER  (Increased to $6 on 01/29/2010)

If I get any answers, I will give a $5 $6 reward to my favorite answer.  If I find that multiple answers that I like, I will do a drawing.   I will send the reward as a money order or cashier’s check.  I will not send a personal check.  The winner winner will be notified by email.  It’s not much, but it’s all I can afford for an important and frugal shoe decision. 🙂

(Don’t include your email in your response below.  I will be able to email you.)


I have decided to try more expensive shoes.  I found a pair of Rockport (I have a friend who swears by them) for $70 yesterday.  I will report my experience here in the future.

THE WINNER: I wrote down the names of the authors whose replies I liked and drew a name.  I cut out papers with names, shuffled them without looking and pulled a name.  The feedback I received here helped me make a decision.  This is the first time that I don’t buy the cheapest shoes possible!

And the winner of the $6 was… Elysia.  I will be emailing Elysia now.






January 27, 2010

I’ve signed up for a free 30-day Score Watch trial with today.  I will cancel the free trial in 3 weeks.

My current FICO score is 785 as of today, Jan. 27, 2010.  That is better than 80% of U.S. consumers.


How I got my FICO score:  I only trust, which I was led to after reading posts and articles.  They are THE source.  I’ve signed up for the their free 30-day trial.  I will go back there just before a month from today to cancel my membership.  That was very easy!

POST UPDATE (FEB. 02, 2010):

I went back to MyFico today and, after drilling down into different places, it showed me that the following is hurting my FICO score:

My most recent late payment happened 3 years ago.

Then it had this comment:   “Most FICO High Achievers, about 93%, have no missed payments at all.  But of those who do have a mised payment, it happened nearly 4 years ago, on average.

What? I do not recall ever making a late payment.  I got my free credit report from Equifax and I have printed a letter to dispute that item.

All the information I needed was within rich at  I still have a couple of weeks before closing my account before the free 30-day trial expires. 🙂  From there, it had link to the site where I was able to get my free credit reports, a right we all have, from the 3 major credit bureaus.

You never know what’s lurking behind your credit history until you check!!!!


January 22, 2010

After losing enough sleep over personal/family finance issues, I am glad to report that I have made some decisions.  I have prioritized my goals, which include short-term emergency money, long-term emergency fund and paying off my mortgage as soon as possible.


Emergency Funds:

1) Short-term: $2,000.  (Maxed).  This includes unexpected emergencies, such as having to replace a tire that I didn’t know was going to cause my truck to fail safety.  I keep this savings account within reach, use it for unexpected, small emergencies, and pay it back as soon as possible.

2) Long-term:

After finding many different opinions on how long a long-term emergency fund should be able to last, I have decided that 2 years is the best answer.

* Current Balance: $9,111

* Amount needed:  I am not sure, I am going to start with a goal of $50,000 excluding mortgage.

* Two-year mortgage payment:   As of today (2010/01/22), my next mortgage payment is due in 14 months.  I will stop with the early payments once I reach 24 months.


1) Furniture:  (We owe about $1,800 at 0% interest at the moment. )

2) HELOC: $9,800

3) Mortgage: $155,587.18   (Yes, a mortgage is a debt!  A good debt is one you don’t have!)

Car Replacement: Talk about a neglected item in most people’s financial planning.

* Balance: $1,500

Target date for replacing  car:  4.5 years from now.

My Mortgage

January 22, 2010


Here’s what I’ve done today:

  1. Transferred $211 from my account to my long-term savings account.
  2. Sent an extra full payment to my mortgage company.


Making some payments ahead of schedule (my goal is two years) is part of my long-term emergency plan.   Only paying down the principal on your house can be dangerous if you lose your job.


Current mortgage balance = $154,776.44.

First baby step for today:  More than double the principal on my mortgage

Double the principal:  It’s February, month 2.  I followed my plan and sent a single mortgage payment to my mortgage company but with double the principal.   It will work out to be a little more than double:

  • Payment due date:  03/01/2011   (I am building a large buffer for protection.)
  • Regular payment:  $1,640.64  (that’s principal, interest and escrow).
  • Extra amount towards principal: $940.00.  The principal is about $815, but I will know the exact amount applied to principal when the transaction is complete.
  • Breakdown:  Principal = $814.12.  Interest = $644.90.  Escrow = $181.62.  Extra towards the principal = $940.00.
  • Total payment today: $2,580.64

Next mortgage payment due date is in 13 months on April 20001.  As I read bad financial news today, I realize that paying my mortgage way ahead of schedule is a huge peace of mind.

Another baby step for today:  Long-term emergency

I made a deposit of $192.50 (50% of my wife’s paycheck) into our long-term emergency (trading) account today.  I’m investing it in oil this time.

I have almost $10,000 of my long-term emergency fund in CDs because I want the liquidity benefit.  The rest will be invested in commodities because I can afford the volatility in the commodity market with that money.  I am not planning on investing in company stocks with my long-term emergency fund.  Commodities is as far I am willing to go risk wise with that money.


Current mortgage balance = $153,022.32.

Step for today:  Sent my mortgage payment which is due next year on 2011/04/01. That is how I am building a big buffer to protect me in case of a job loss.

Next step:  In two weeks, I will be sending the next payment which will be due on 2011/05/01.

Thought:  I am staying on track by not spending, not eating out and no car payment.


Current mortgage balance = $152,200.89

Step for today:  Sent my mortgage payment which is due next year on 2011/05/01. That is how I am building a big buffer to ensure that my mortgage is covered if I experience a loss of income for any reason.

Next step:  From now on, I will be sending a single payment per month but  include two principal payments.

Continued Mission:  I am staying on track by not over spending, not eating out and no car payment.

Where should I invest my long-term emergency fund?

January 21, 2010

The so-called high yield savings accounts today pace behind inflation.  A savings account at my bank pays less than 1% in interest.  My current long-term emergency fund, which is slowly but surely growing, is $9,111.  It’s all in invested in pathetic CDs at my credit union, growing a few cents here and there.  I remain undecided.  Just keeping up with inflation is a major challenge.  Any suggestion would be appreciated!

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7)

January 21, 2010


I am here to keep tracking of how I am progressing with our family finance.  There are many important decisions that affect our financial future, and I am here mostly for my own sake, to document how my decisions will affect my family’s financial health.

I am a middle class worker, holding a full time job in a cubicle all day.  I am a slave to the corporate world like millions of other people.  I am an honest, hard-working, law-abiding citizen who believes in personal responsibility.  I have had many financial mistakes, which is why I am 45 and still have a sizable mortgage and not much to show for.  Like millions of others, I am behind schedule for retirement.

My wife and I have made changes.  We now live below our means and we are showing some big progress.  We had $8,000 in credit card debt.  We paid it off a few years ago and have never again used a credit card. 

My biggest burden is my mortgage.    MORTGAGE IS A DEBT, AND THERE IS NO GOOD DEBT.  MORTGAGE IS SLAVERY.  How much more could you invest in your future if you didn’t have a mortgage at all?  I am tired of being a slave to a finance/mortgage company.