The American Dollar
One industrious American family's focus on a financial goal of freedom. Through worldly personal finance education, here is our story.
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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! :)


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The "Job" is getting easier

I consider being at home now my full time job. Its interesting that I've been doing it for about a full month without my wife, however its had ups and downs like any job. I dont want to say my wife isnt here either, because when she gets off work about 5pm, shes home helping out and getting plenty of baby time. During the daytime, I find myself more and more in a routine and just scheduling one thing after the other and repeating it if it works the next day. ie. we have adapted that she gets her 30 minutes of baby einstein where her eyes wander on the baby bach dvd. That is all the tv time she gets at 3 months, but she is calm, happy and it sometimes doubles as her poopy time. With each day that the "routine" is in place, the day goes by much faster and I end up having more "me" time to get things cleaned and prepped for her next feeding, etc. (I tried doing chores with her and putting her in the bjorn but I move so much faster when shes in her high chair or bouncy seat). However things working like clockwork RARELY happen and that little wrench in the cog machine will slow me down or just totally throw the whole routine out, so the philosophy is to just roll with it and keep going... :) So thats what is consuming my days right now.

I wanted to mention a couple things in the finances. First we decided to pull the trigger and get the SUV. I know we have been talking about it in the past few posts about how we have to deal with the space issue of getting in and out of a compact car with a baby. Well the other week, we got it used and with the same miles as our compact car. I'll write another post about haggling at the dealership and the true sales pressure there. I did stand my ground and came out much better than expected. The wife was very happy too.

Ok obviously our bottom line and savings took a hit because of the car/suv trade and the gas obviously is almost double in the SUV. However we are still trying to maintain the budget for May and keep our heads above water, which may be a photo finish on this one. I may need to dip into the emergency fund just a bit to cover groceries and gas til the end, so yeah... I guess thats what its there for and don't worry, its priority ONE when I get back to work is to replenish if I take any out.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Our 2 Year Anniversary!

Yeah, we made it! Today my wife and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary! I don't care what anyone says, being married to the perfect person really is the best feeling in the world. Its also nice to know that your soul mate is close by you and you can see them every day! So what did we do? Well she spent the day at work while I was at home with our little one, who by the way will turn 3 months tomorrow! She has changed so much in just a month too, I cant wait to see what progresses on the next one. Today my sisters came and helped out by watching the baby while I got some HEAVY needed yardwork done. It looked like an amazon rainforest in the backyard, so I took the advice of my wife and got it done. Needless to say, she cooked me dinner tonight and we had a pleasant evening with baby. Briefly let me touch on the fact that after 2 years of marriage, it seems like ages ago when we first met in college. Boy, were we shy and niave back then. I ran up my credit card while dating her :) and she even co-signed a vehicle for me!! I still tell her that was so dumb of both of us, but we laugh at it now. We have gone through alot, her and I. I know with the baby these past few months we have a hard time just to find time to talk anymore, but I know we will come out much stronger.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

SUV or Minivan time?

We have 2 compact cars, a newer toyota corolla and a mazda. We paid off the mazda a few years ago, and the Toyota about a year ago. After getting 2 booster seats for each car and trying it out for the past 3 months, it seems that getting our child in and out would be easier if we had a bigger car. Is this justified to go out and trade in our paid for vehicles? I mean we could use some of our savings to pay for the difference outside of equity. This part of my brain thinks that yeah it would be easier on my back and my wife's back dragging her stuff in and out plus provide more space and its safer. We are still driving our early 20s right out of college type car... basic transportation. It would help us out alot with a bigger car for longer trips too. The other part of my brain is the who cares, it provides basic get around transport and is safe enough for 1 child. Maybe we can find something of equal value and do like a cross over exchange. Can most dealerships accomodate this kind of transfer? Overall it may be time for an upgrade and since I have the time to look around, why not shop?

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

We are at the point in our lives...

I want to go over where we are at in our lives overall. Many of you have surpassed this mark financially, others are almost there, but I wanted to give a brief life summary of where I we are. Presently: Married, 26 years old, 2 full time workers (soon to be 1), 1 child with 529 account, monthly 'needs' allocation at ~1100-1200 (so we are way under our budget). We own our home and have approx $72K left to pay on it. Max amount in retirement. We have over $200k in networth. Good, not great. (Not to sound overambitious, however I am so grateful to be where we are, but I know we have to work harder to get where I would like us to be)

In a recent post of 'what to do with our home' I'm scared that if we stay here that we dont get an opportunity for a more appreciating home. Ie. 200k at 8% gains and 400k at 8% gains, which one will be ahead? Obviously the 400, but we have lived to be debt free and underbudget these past months and have enjoyed what money CANT buy. Should we go into debt if we know we can pay a higher mortgage and because we are infact "young"? Moneymonk states that it would be good for us to stay where we are. Its so hard being in a spot where you can plan ahead for bigger purchases. End diatribe.

Secondly I want to talk about bettering our situation career wise. I'm putting in place some goals at work as well, perhaps a 4-5 year plan. I have been lucky enough to be introduced to fellow employees making more than $125k annually easy, however they are not in my department or related field. I have the patience and time to go back to school or go through whichever necessary programs needed to get to that point. A few years ago, I couldnt dream of having the job that I have now and now I have it yet dreaming of higher goals. Sheesh, will I ever be satisfied? :) Money isnt everything, i guess.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

I'm officially exhausted!

I wish I was exhausted over working too hard at the job, but nope...Today was the first day with just Daddy and daughter day. Maybe I should have slept more last night because I'm exausted. To those family, friends or just others, that dont have kids that talk about how you should play with your child 24/7 and how much you will appreciate them and spend every waking moment making sure theyre comfortable.... just dont know. I think probably its because shes also an infant... I really want her to get to the toddler stage where the great things happen. Right now I know she takes in info, but she is like a little lump :) not really doing much, but she has come along way since birth.

Ok we also went to Target which compounded the tiredness. I think I may have just overextended myself. Tomorrow is going to be such a lazy day. I'm also going to bed alot earlier for the 4am feeding. Right now, I can't even think about money. I didn't think that was possible. Current checking account for month of May, $847.21

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A little baby fun...

Does anyone else watch 'Wonder Pets'? I highly recommend it. Im watching it as I write this morning. I love the catchy tunes and I find myself singing it to my daughter... She also enjoys her Baby Einstein DVD, especially the baby mozart, because its not too complicated like baby einstein neighborhood animals which seem more advanced. she just likes listening to the music and the sounds and colors. We both try to keep her busy throughout the day when shes not eating, sleeping, or pooping. Yesterday her grandmother took her to get pictures! It made me want to get parent pictures with her. We will plan on that next week. The wife is going back to work tomorrow. Today she had jury duty but it was cancelled so she is staying home! Yeah another paid day and she doesnt have to take leave to be home. Great!

Moneywise, we earned approx. $70 in interest last month. Woohoo! I just transferred the money to our bank account. Thats good for at least a weeks worth of groceries. Im optomistic that with $1000 in the bank for groceries, gas, and other basic living expenses for the month, we are over budgeted and will come out ahead. Time to make some breakfast/lunch...

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Emergency Fund
2007 Roth Contributions
$8,000 Total

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