The American Dollar
One industrious American family's focus on a financial goal of freedom. Through worldly personal finance education, here is our story.
Goals | Portfolio | Subscribe | About Us | Contact Us    

  Financial Links on the Web
  CNN Money
  ING Direct
  Mortgage Calculator
  PF Podcasts
  Smart Money

Our Story: Both my wife and I are 27 years old and have gone through financial hell and back. Now we are on track to financial freedom, however we are not financial advisors or professionals, just everyday people. Share our journey from a negative networth and email us if you have questions or comments! :)


Monday, February 27, 2006

Life Insurance for a Young Couple??

Honestly I'm not a Monday person. I feel groggy and don't really WAKE UP til around 3 or 4pm, close to the time I go home. But back to the task at hand :)...The past weekend we looked at getting life insurance. I got several quotes for a new 20yr term policy. Since both my wife and I are 25/ nonsmokers/ healthy and we dont have any family history of illness, it seems that we can get about $400,000 in term life for about $20 per person, give or take a couple dollars. Im considering possibly getting this even though we dont have any children or heavy debt. Im guessing that this quote probably wont change in the next couple years... so why dont I wait til I'm about 29 or 30 when we probably will have a child and then get the insurance locked for a 20 yr term. That way we wont have to re-up til we are 50. Will I be saving anything by getting it 5 years later? My contention is that the rate will be stable whether we are 25 or 30. Really when I think about it, $40 isnt going to hurt our budget, but I find that God forbid, one of us dies, that $400,000 is MORE than enough in a debt free lifestyle.

6 Comments You can link this post

Friday, February 24, 2006

My Yearly Pay Increase

As many of you know I work for a Fortune 100 company, and today they handed out our yearly evaluations for 2005. They try to do it around the end of the 1st quarter so they dont get behind. Fact of the matter is that the average pay increase for my group was between 0% and 6.25%. I got a 6% increase in my pay which I won't really notice, but hey its better than 0%. Since we are not allowed to discuss the increases with our group, for obvious reasons, I think overall our performance last year was stellar and I hope everyone (at least on my group) got what they deserved. 6%... lol.... im just keeping up with inflation, which right now sits at 3.99 for Jan 2006.

2 Comments You can link this post

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Respect for PFblogs!

Kudos! I have huge respect for and ;They are both running tremendous aggregate sites. Im compelled to go to them at least three or four times a day if I get bored at work. From there I can read whatever fancies my personal finance bug. Great job to whomever is running them!

2 Comments You can link this post

The Spouse and Extra Money

Open communication, at least to my knowledge, is what makes a relationship work. Communicating feelings, emotions, pretty much everything drives for a successful marriage. Im not Oprah or Dr. Phil or have any affiliation with marriage counseling, so be aware. I enjoy reading sections about how people have ruined their marriages over things like money or trust. It makes me a stronger person in my marriage because I can see these things miles away and have plenty of time to correct them. We are fairly new to the marriage game (less than a year) but we have dated for over 5 before we got married so we didnt go into this blindfolded. I have seen new things in her every day and I am so grateful to have such a wonderful partner in life.

With money its a little different, she has come around to be more proactive in managing/spending the money. I dont mind because we always have money set aside to splurge. Now with that money being set aside every month for the both of us, what does she buy? New Dooney and Burke handbag valued at $245 that she got on memorial day sale for about $80. Great deal! But I begin to question long term if this really even matters but Im going to bring it to the light anyway. Should I care about how she spends her EXTRA money? If its extra, I really shouldnt care and its not like im spending my money on $100 video games or electronics. I actually dont spend very much. So some months, I let her spend my extra money. Shes very frugal in the sense that she watches our budget so I give her that. I just dont want her to develop a habit of purchasing expensive things like purses, shoes, $100 sweaters, etc. Maybe this is just a rant on living below our means and when I see bills for clothing stores at $150 every month, I dont FEEL like im living below our means. I'm probably just over reacting and this will lead to nothing... many will probably think, yeah its extra money so she should do whatever with it... ok :)

0 Comments You can link this post

Monday, February 20, 2006

Water Cooler #2

Hey Im not here to judge anyone. In fact, I'm pretty impartial when it comes to peoples opinions at work. Its not that I dont care because that would be insensitive and no one likes a person who is mute to everyones fuzzy feelings. But I'll vent my 2 cents here on this. A guy that I sit next to at work, lets call him "Jim" was so excited about his new car. He told me and another coworker that he was relaxing watching tv on his break in his 2006 Cherry Red Nissan -. He was saying how loaded it is and comes with the built in navigation and programmable seats and coffee/ breakfast maker (ok may have exaggerated a bit), but it was "cool". I nodded along while they were discussing the horsepower or whatever. I burst in with "How much was your interest rate?" They both stared at me and Jim started laughing... "who cares, the payments are $400 a month". The other coworker says, "wow thats great, where did you get it from?". "---- Nissan, one of the guys I know gave me a great deal." "How much did you put down?", I chimed. "ummm nothing... which is great because now I can put a new set of rims and get it tinted this weekend"

At this point, I didnt even want to be around the garbling of 20 inches vs. 22 inch rims. In fact.... I didnt care. "I'll see you guys later, I have to finish this paperwork" as I patted their backs and left.

I walked away and heres my reasoning as to WHY he purchased it. 1. they gave him a no down deal, 2. the percentage rate he got was HIGH and Jim probably got the maximum years to pay it (7yr) so he thought $400 a month was nothing, 3. he had a "friend" at the dealership, 4. he wanted to impress his coworkers/family/kids.

Do I have an obligation to educate Jim or should he make his own mistakes? I cant look at him without thinking man youre ridiculous for getting that car, when in fact his semi new 2004 Toyota Camry ran just fine.

6 Comments You can link this post

Friday, February 17, 2006

Weekend Retreat

We put an extra payment towards the mortgage and realized as long as we get the balance down between $58K and $60K this year, we are still on track to paying off the house in the next 3 years. I started a new column in my spreadsheet to track the property taxes on the house because I always seem to not sock enough away and then it hits me, so Im budgeting better in this regard.

I booked us a nice 4 star resort for the weekend with some of our splurge money. I love the rooms that have the jacuzzi in the room. I dropped our dog off this morning at a friends house and gave him a treat for being a good dog. Im going to finish a great water cooler story and post it here on Monday. Stay tuned! :)

2 Comments You can link this post

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Mommy can I call China?

We're hoping that China is her school friend. In the wrong hands, children and cell phones are NOT a good combination. Why do parents allow themselves to be victims of high bills? Maybe they enjoy the $300 look on their childs face when they've run up the bill because of using too many minutes, downloading ringtones, or using text messaging. Honestly, there are so many benefits to having a cell phone in this day and age; safety ranks number one on the list of parents. However the safety of getting a hold of your child has a price. This is especially in the scenerio where the 9 year old wants to look cool, be popular, fit in with the crowd, whatever. Mom and Dad think its a safety issue but junior doesnt know the concept of staying with his minute usage or not abusing the added on features. "You only get 400 minutes a month, so dont go over." The marketers arent helping either and want to market to your child early (kinda like what credit cards do to college students and 18 year olds). This will help the carriers in the long run when with consumer loyalty.

Take a look at the pros and cons at the bottom of this article to see what your needs are. Statistics show that even with family plan add ons for $20, if you want your childs phone shut off due to a myriad of reasons, you will pay the early termination fee ($150 -$200 plus applicable taxes). I would stick with standard prepaid only because the disposable phones costs too much after a certain amount of time.

My wife and I have free phones through our jobs and we dont believe in landlines because we are never home. However this year I did add a phone for my responsible 12 year old sister, who uses the text messaging, AOL and web more than anything. Total phone communication costs at our house: $13

1 Comments You can link this post

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Love is in the air...and it costs money!

Holy cow, I cant imagine why people are paying so much just to have people know that you love them TODAY. My wife explained to me that it should be an everyday experience to tell the person you love that you love them and not some $75 dollar roses or $30 huge balloons. She DOES NOT, i repeat, DOES NOT like to get items sent to her work. Shes the kind of person that doesnt flaunt the fact that hey, my husband got something better than yours did. Dont tell her but I made her a card by hand.... and even though I am a budgeting fool, I caught the Valentine Fever and *embarassed to say* but I splurged on a weekend vacation to a nice 5 star resort. Ok I just got a little giddy because we work so hard and its just hard to find time to really relax. So I got a friend to watch our dog this weekend and my Part time doesnt start til march so I know we are both free. Of course its going to be expensive ($250 + spa package)! Oh well... what can i say, once a year I get bitten by the love bug, its VALENTINES DAY! :)

0 Comments You can link this post

Monday, February 13, 2006

I have a part time job!

Good morning! In search for a part time job I finaly found something that doenst involve bagging groceries or being a parking lot attendent (which isnt a bad job, it just doesnt fit me). So after a while, I got a call back for an 'informational session' for a job and started the initial training. I took the first half of my certification training this weekend. The part time job is only for Saturday and Sunday and its only 6-8 hours each day which is good and the pay isnt too bad, approximately $200 a weekend. I have 2 more sessions before I am actually certified, but then they give you the key to the office and you come in and work and lock up. What I like the most about the job is it involves alot of public speaking in front of a group, kind of like a classroom setting. What I like the most is that its a full 180 degree difference from my full time job, which for the most part is a sit down computer job. In expanding my horizons, Im eager to get done with the training in March.

1 Comments You can link this post

Friday, February 10, 2006

My Job continues

My wife and I have decided to be selfless in this decision and both of us will continue working through the birth of our child. Until then I will still pay down the mortgage and finish up the student loans. I have found this to be an eye opener in a sense that I know my purpose is to live for my kid and my goals have now shifted to the working force. I will continue my education and build wealth in the meantime. I know that I want to be stress free and to live without the worry of money, but the price is work and sacrifice. Water cooler story up next...

0 Comments You can link this post

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Ok I'll admit it; I have become an addict.
A podcast addict.
A huge podcast addict.
I have been listening every non-working waking minute to everything about financials from debt podcast to the great Dave Ramsey. Since I have an hour drive to and from work, I simply download the podcast to my ipod from the night before and take the ipod with my lunch the next morning. Great listening and it reminds me to stay on task with my personal financial goals.

One other item: I received a letter from my health plan through aetna that is trying to collect payments from a back injury in june. They claim that I received a $1500 check in july from my insurance carrier that I was to use towards mu injuries. At the time I was out of work for a month and needed the money to stay above water. Now they say that it was to be sent directly to them. I have been dealing with the provider to get this lowered. I'm optomistic that they are willing to settle for
lower, but this is the first time dealing with this type of situation. I'm also going to post my bad money habits soon. The idea comes from everybody loves your money and myopenwallet.

Freedom is within grasp, take it!

0 Comments You can link this post

Friday, February 03, 2006

Random Budget Thoughts

I have been away for a while because I've been listening to financial podcasts this past week. (man those are addictive!) However I am back on the soap box of life and going on about random financial topics.

If you have been reading the posts the past couple days you know that I have a goal within 5 years to have a child and leave work to be a stay at home dad. Its not like I won't be doing anything either, I would be finishing my degree. I want to be able to have enough saved for a 2-3 years. But how much is enough and should I stop paying down the motgage? I should be up on my game and saving like crazy so that's what I'm doing. Our expenses equal to about 19% of our take home.

New items: I decided to cancel blockbuster online bc it takes too long to receive my movies. I did however use that to up my netfix dvds to 5 dvds out at a time. I'm going to reduce that to 3 next month because I need to do some expense cutting. I have thought over and over about using the 'envelope method' of budgeting and have decided to give it a try for 3 months. If we like it, then we will continue to use this. And of course finally its FRIDAY, but I have to work Saturday to make that income flow~~!

3 Comments You can link this post

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Throwing in the towel for 05 ROTH

This stems off the idea from another PF blogger that is reducing her income down to 1 to have massive savings. When I read this I got excited and wanted to open another seperate account for my income to see if we can live off just one, but soon realized that I had too much wrapped up at the moment and paying down the mortgage is going to take a joint account. One day that will seem like a great idea, but not now.

Currently I'm thinking, I need to have enough socked in an IRA since we only contributed 2000 of the 4000 limit to 2005. Should we finish the 2005 or move on and keep saving as much as we can for 2006. I'm thinking that tax time will allow s to put even more to 2005 Roth, but I'm not banking on it.

0 Comments You can link this post is here!

Emergency Fund
2007 Roth Contributions
$8,000 Total

  • XFN
  • WordPress

special thanks to ajaden webmasters