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! :)


Monday, February 18, 2008

Turning 1 is FUN!

Apparently when you turn 1 year old, you get alot of stuff! I mean alot of stuff! My daughter turned one this past weekend and we threw a party and included both my wifes family and my family as well as our friends. Needless to say we went all out with 10 pizzas, 8 soda bottles, streamers, lots of balloons, more decorations, 2 cakes, birthday hat, birthday dress, and of course gifts. She is one spoiled little munchkin.

Today is presidents day so I thought rather than mope around in the gloomy wet yucky weather outside I would come in and grab some double overtime and a half. Being its not too busy today (actually have alot of work to do shhhhh), I have time to write this blog. I really need the extra cash too this month... We have been so lacking in the savings arena its about time to play catch up. Its back to work i go...

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Her 1st birthday coming up soon!

My wife went out today to get some items for our daughters first birthday. Since we believe in the philosophy that your first birthday is a once in a lifetime special occasion, we are going all out with our friends and family on this one. Pretty much everything we purchased had the 1st birthday logo plastered it; everything from plates, napkins, cups, her birthday sippy cup, streamers, tablecloths, balloons, etc. you get the idea. We are going tomorrow to select and order the cake we want and of course any other munchies for our guests. Since we are having our friends and family over, we decided pizza would be a nice neutral selection for an evening meal, not to mention too expensive. The good part about buying all these things for her party is that my grandmother called me this evening to let me know that she wanted to pay for everything. Since this is her first and only great grandchild and also the fact that she wouldnt be able to travel, we were more than happy to accept this gift. Thanks Grandma! The 15th is right around the corner, so much to do, so little time :)

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Living Paycheck to Paycheck Sucks!

I hate it probably more than anything in the world. Its a huge hump in my life that I need to get over and probably the worst part about it is that we are living within our means and even below. For at least the past 5 months (since we bought our second home), everytime I calculate the budget the income equals exactly the out go. Sometimes it gives me a few sheckles extra a month which I blow off because you never know what the increase in gas prices.

The reason why I say this is because we are kinda in an income financial rut right now. I mentioned before we can't really dig any deeper into our expenses and kick back our income into high gear until early March for me and late August for my wife. Although, it is nice to have a break from work and to do really the bare minimum at the office. But psychologically it pains me to see the networth like this. Maybe I'm just being big whiner. (Hey gotta vent somewhere!)

Today has been another grueling day at the office staring blankly at a screen while beautiful sunshine weather is behind me. After work I plan to take a walk with my family to soak up the last remaning sunrays. It will keep my mind off finances at least for today.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Glance under the Magnifying Glass

Being out of touch with our finances for so long, we're getting back to the barebone basics. First finding out where we stand overall. Honestly, we are about the point of living paycheck to paycheck before my actual raise kicks into high gear. My wonderful wife is doing a beautiful job at home with our little one who will be turning 1 soon! Our baby has come a long way since she was first born. Obviously the finances are strained a little bit with another mouth to feed but seeing as shes going to be done with formula (the biggest cost) and going to milk, that will definately help. But not everything is her, her stuff is cheap compared to what we've got.

Here is the breakdown of where our money is going every month-
68% - Primary Mortgage/ Rental Mortgage/ Insurance/ Taxes/ HOA
13% - Groceries/ Household
10% - Electric/ Gas/ Water
8% - Cellphone/ Internet/ TV
1% - Home Security

Needless to say, because I've been strapped having a lower paying job these past few months and her being at home, the percentages may look high in some catagories; primarily the "Home" catagory. This will eventually be lowered once my pay increases and she returns to work later this year. Notice that also we have not allocated anything in the budget for our savings. In months in '05 and '06, almost 60% or more went towards reducing debt and savings. Seeing this as a VITAL part of our financial plan and future, I'm determined to add Savings back into our budgeting routine.

In the upcoming days, I would like to go over in detail each of the aforementioned catagories to see how we are using that money and "trim the fat" from each. Overall, there is a sense of frustration that we haven't really moved anywhere networth wise, however we are still surviving and absolutely determined to get back on the board.**

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Why I'm 27 and still stressed...

Yeah I'll be the first to admit that I'm stressed about my age. A certain coworker always seems to remind me of how the corporate grind stresses him out and how he can't wait to do this or that if and when he has the money. He's 49 and in my opinion he's still very young. This is a bit of a paradox because I don't feel the same about me. I feel there are alot more things that I should have done or should be doing with my life. Moneywise, I should have definately gotten an earlier start.

Take a trip with me for a second.
At 21, I was living with my parents working nights for a local rental car company. I brought home roughly $200 a week, which barely covered my car payment and insurance. I was a lost, financially scared child and seriously considering bankruptcy on $31,000 of debt.
Fast forward to today, 27, married, child, no student or consumer debt, 2 paid for cars, rental property with positive cash and a good chunk of equity, mortgage, and a recent promotion. And yes I'm still stressed... perhaps even more than before. Maybe its because I have more responsibilities, you know what they say mo money, mo problems. Or maybe its the fact that I want more and I'm never satisfied. I'll admit I'm a humble guy with simple values and a small town upbringing but there's always been a sense of urgency with me. A fire if you will that lit under me around age 22. I guess it was to ensure I have enough security to never lead myself or my family down that destructive financial path again.

So yes I'm stressed to the core to 'do it right the first time'. Now granted some of my greatest accomplishments have come from my mistakes, but we are plowing forward. So today I'll get up and face another long work day, work week, and work month and maybe by the time I'm 28, I can relax a little.ยค

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

My 6 Month Hiatus~!

Wow what a interesting ride it has been for the past 6 months not really engaging in the blogging world and letting all our personal finances air out. At the time I left, I thought I needed to focus more on my family and my work. Our baby girl was born last February, so my priorities shifted a bit; and dare I say, even my personal finances took a back seat. She is now a happy bouncing almost 12 month old bundle of joy (and craziness!) ; and after sleepless nights, I can finally get back to a somewhat normal routine (at least with my blog and money :) Parenting has definately changed the game up a bit.

Ok so whats been going on? Well if you check my networth, you will find that staggeringly enough, we have maintained our networth having neither decreased or increased too much. However we did purchase a home in early September that we were eyeballing for quite some time. We turned our first home into a rental and had a tenant move in almost instantly. (More on that later...)

I would say our new home is the single biggest purchase of our LIFE so far and though it was such a lengthy process with the stupid idiotic mortgage company (meaning I had to dot their 'i's and cross their 't's), it was worth it. I'll get into more detail later but real quick and dirty, we got a $383k appraised home for roughly $365k including closing costs, but it was really the home of our dreams. So here we are back to financial basics again seeing what we are going to do and how we are going to get there.
Also wanted to mention I got promoted! Working my way up the corporate ladder isnt easy and at 27, I should be grateful. However with my raise and me making the big buckeroos with a crazy amount of responsibility, the flip side is I have to sacrifice my hours at home and be chained to the corporate wheel. Needless to say, I didnt like working long hours even before I got promoted :P

Finally... at least for today... I have to say, Im glad to be back. I cant wait to free my brain again of all the money/ work/ life/ family bumps along this road and actually have an OUTLET for it!~

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Emergency Fund
2007 Roth Contributions
$8,000 Total

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