Business Travel

I am currently on a business trip and have been thinking about the money I save when I travel.I travel 6-7 times per year, usually for 1-3 weeks per trip. While it's hard work being on the road, there are perks. My company reimburses me for my travel costs (i.e. hotel, rental car, meals, etc.). I also use a 1-2% cash back credit card for all trip costs that helps put a few extra dollars directly into my pocket. In addition, my American Airlines Aadvantage and Delta SkyMiles frequent flyer accounts Read more [...]

Cable/Internet Savings

My wife cancelled our old Time Warner cable/internet plan and restarted our service to take advantage of a 2-year promotion they are running for digital cable. She was even able to coordinate it so that there was no interruption in service.We just received our first bill, only $72 compared to the $94/month we were paying previously. This represents an annual savings of $264 for us. With digital cable we get many additional channels including music channels and On Demand. Plus, Time Warner provided Read more [...]

Affordable Movie Rentals

There is nothing like relaxing on the couch with your girl, a cocktail, and a great movie to watch. At $4.95/movie for new releases, movie rental costs add up. We’ve thought about signing up for Netflix, but never liked the idea of having to wait for the next movie to arrive in the mail. Blockbuster Total Access solved that problem by offering low cost online movie rentals, and the ability to pick-up rentals at your local Blockbuster.We chose to go with the $14.99/month plan that allows us to have Read more [...]

Investing Plan

My wife and I have been putting investing on the backburner while we paid off some debt this past year. We feel that we’re in a position now to begin investing again.We currently have $12,242 invested aggressively in my 401(k), broken down as such:25% - JH Lifestyle Aggressive (1.15% expense ratio)25% - Pacific Rim Fund (1.72% expense ratio)25% - Real Est. Securities Fund (1.54% expense ratio)25% - Natural Resources Fund (1.51% expense ratio)We also have $700 in ADVENTRX Pharmaceuticals stock.We’re Read more [...]

Emergency Fund

We keep our emergency fund in a high yield (5.05% APY) Emigrant Direct savings account. We currently have a whopping $1,541 in the account; our goal is $12,000.Most financially savvy people recommend having enough money in your emergency fund to cover 3-6 months of total expenses. I personally do not want to tie up that much money in a savings account. I’d rather pay down debt or invest the money. Our goal of a $12,000 emergency fund represents 2 months of total expenses for us. If we have an emergency Read more [...]

Windfall

Great news! We just found out my wife is going to receive a $1,463 tuition refund. She had to take out a student loan when we got married because our combined income meant she no longer qualified for enough financial aid. As it turns out, the information the university had on file for her cost of living was too low. Thus, she's getting part of the tuition refunded.Between this refund and our tax returns, we’re looking at roughly $3,500 in extra income this month. This money will be used to pay Read more [...]

1st loan on Prosper.com

We’ve just completed our first loan on www.prosper.com. If you’re not familiar with this website, it is known as the e-bay of loans.Basically, you deposit money in your Prosper account (similar to PayPal), browse the Prosper website for a borrower you want to lend to, and bid on the loan. If you win, the money is pulled out of your account and loaned to the borrower (3-year loan). Each month, Prosper then pulls monthly payments (with interest) out of the borrower’s account and transfers it Read more [...]

Credit Reports and Credit Scores

My wife and I order our credit reports and credit scores from time to time to keep tabs on things, and, more importantly, make sure we are not the victims of identity theft.Below is a table (click on spreadsheet) that I began compiling recently of our credit score track record. BTW, I received numerous copies of my credit reports in 2005 because we were preparing to purchase our condo. As you can see, my score dropped considerably around 3/31/05 because I was disputing a collection on my record. Read more [...]

Above Average Income, Above Average Expenses

My wife and I make a combined $109,350 per annum (not including her commission pay). Not more than some, but certainly above average. The tough part though is that we have a very high monthly burn rate - spending close to 90% of our net income each month. I’ve included our monthly budget below (click on spreadsheet).*Note: This budget does not include our investments/savings.We spend over 2 times more per month than some couples we know. Granted, most of our friends rent instead of own and condo Read more [...]

Paying off credit card debt from years past

I had little credit card debit during college and was actually very fugal. My parents get the credit for that, as they taught me early on to appreciate the value of a dollar. After college, however, I moved from the central valley to San Diego and the wheels fell off the cart. I started using credit cards to help make ends meet. The credit cards were addicting, and eventually, I was using them to fund a lifestyle well above what I could afford. I went out with friends nightly, traveled, and got expensive Read more [...]

Our path to financial independence and retiring early.