MMS Friends

My Trek Towards Financial Freedom

I am a 25 year old New Yorker and member of Generation Debt who is working towards financial freedom.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Morningstar Article: 101 Ways to Cut Expenses

I just checked out a new article, called "101 Ways to Cut Expenses" on Morningstar.com's website. Of course it has many of the usual suggestions such as:

Number 30: Pay cash when possible--psychologically it’s harder to spend cash than using credit cards, and you’ll save on interest charges. Yeah, we all know it's a good idea to do this, but it's hard to actually put it into practice. When I do, I find that I definetly spend less.

Number 3: Use the public library to check out movies or books for free. I am a big believer in borrowing from the library. Now, if I could only remember to

And a few of the more drastic ones:
Number 76: Get a roommate and share expenses. Brilliant idea, but make sure you get the right person. I just moved in with a roommate, and it is really helping with my bills.

Number 63: Don’t get divorced. Hmmm. . .

And suggestions that could have been better:
Number 30: Check your credit history. Go to FreeCreditReport.com and make sure everything is accurate. Good credit may mean lower interest charges. It's a good place to add that everyone now gets one free credit report every year.

Number 74: Look up phone numbers in the phone book instead of paying for directory assistance. Actually, you can just dial 800-FREE-411 (800-373-3411), it's much easier and no need to lug the phone book around.

Numbers 25: If you own a house, shift your higher-rate credit card debt to a lower-rate line of credit. Deduct the interest on your tax return. And, Number 26: If you own a house, use a home-equity loan to pay off auto loans. The interest is tax-deductible.
Three reasons this seems like bad advice to me: (1) Without all of the proper discipline, it would probably make it very easy to run up all of the credit cards all over again. (2) If one had a financial disaster, all of their debt is now wrapped into their house, and missing a few payments could land you in foreclosure. If I had to, I'd miss a car payment or a credit card payment before I'd miss a mortgage payment that was higher because I consolidated all of my other bills into it. (3) Home Equity Lines of Credit are usually adjustable rates, not fixed rates like a car loan.

Anyway, check the rest of the 101 Ways to Cut Expenses yourself. Next, I'll update everyone on my 2005 Financial Goals and how they turned out.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sadi Who?

I think I have ADHD. I was all excited about my blog earlier this year, but since purchasing my investment property in June, and working on a huge project at work . . . I disappeared. I owe all of my loyal readers an apology. There is so much to update, that I’m not even sure where to begin.

Highlights:
I purchased an income producing triplex in Philadelphia in June. Closing was okay, but I ended up having to sue my title company to return the overage amount from my cashiers check. They returned it without me having to show up in small claims court. Problem solved.

I got a huge raise at work this June bringing my total base salary from $47,000 to $52,000. My employer appreciated my hard work, in the previous year, and rewarded me for it. It couldn’t be better. Well, it could be better, but I'm certainly not complaining.

Lowlights:
I turned 25 and the Social Security Administration sent me a letter telling me that I would get about $1100 (in today’s dollars) if I retired at age 67. Yeah, if it’s even around then! I reminded myself I need to step it up and make sure that my savings will cover me when it’s time.

I now have some credit card bills, they’re mostly due to my tuition at school, and a small amount from my offline business. Since I usually pay off my credit card bills every month, this is not a good thing. I don’t even want to talk numbers. I know, I know. I’m working on getting those paid.

I am probably not going to be able to max out my Roth IRA until next year, after my credit card bill gets paid.

As I am taking three graduate courses this semester, I am not going to be updating this as often as I hope. But more than I did this summer.

That I promise.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

High Interest Savings: My (Usual) B&M Bank Joins the Mix

When logging onto my HSBC checking account today, I was delighted to find out that they’re now jumping into the mix and now offering a new online-only savings account paying 3% interest, with no monthly fees and no minimums. When I had an in-office savings account there several years ago, they paid a paltry 0.45% APY. Since I am already considering switching from ING, I might open an account there. Or, one of the other high-interest savings accounts now available.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

At Last, My Philadelphia Investment Property

Despite all of the talk about a housing bubble, I have decided to purchase an investment property, a triplex in the Philadelphia-area. (If you haven't already read my story up 'til now of the real estate search, click here.) I chose Philly because it's more affordable than New York, where I live, or California, where I am from. I may move to Philadelphia at a later date, but for now I intend on managing it from New York, only 2 hours away.

I need to come up with 5% down, and a few of the closing costs by the scheduled settlement date, June 13. It's going to take all of my emergency money and then some. As tempting as it may be, I am not going to withdraw any money from my 401(k) account or my Roth IRA. I plan on coming up with the rest of money in the following ways:
  • I've been working all of the available overtime at my job, and for the last two weeks, I've averaged 20 extra hours a week.
  • With the exception of last month's Puma shoes, I also have been on an extreme financial cutback, not charging any thing on my credit card and paying in cash for my purchases.
  • My first June paycheck will be solely devoted to my plan. I may take all of my money from my brokerage account, and I'll take a draw from my business account, instead of spending that money on my business.
  • I also have a freelance project in early June; that will add another $550 to my cash on hand.

Since I will have exhausted all of my money with the purchase, I need to act fast to replenish my emergency fund so that I don't have to rely on my credit cards. I'm really excited and hopefully everything will work out smoothly. I'll keep you posted.