Financial Planning

RazrIn keeping with our goal of saving for a house this year, James and I got new cell phones yesterday. Okay, so maybe we shouldn’t have, but you must believe that this was an offer we absolutely could not pass up.

You see, our contract was up at the end of last month, and since these cell phone companies totally dick you over if you don’t sign a new contract, as evidenced by the bill I just got in the mail today, we went in to see what kind of contracts and deals on phones they had to offer. We walked out with two shiny new Motorola Razr phones, a BlueTooth wireless headset, and a fifty-dollar rebate for signing away a mere $115. Tell me that you wouldn’t have done the same thing. Hell, without the headset, we would’ve only been down $55–after the rebate, that’s two new phones for five smackers. And they are very sexy phones. Indeed. We spent several hours yesterday afternoon playing with all the features.

Last night, I sat down and read through a book called The Automatic Millionaire. Today, I raised my contribution to my 401(k) account, and tried to automate my two other retirement accounts, which failed. I have automated the process of putting 5% of our combined salaries into savings, and we are on a pretty good track to paying off all our credit card debt. Who ever knew that the little number that shows the total of checking, savings, and credit card balances could ever be a black one? It’s a pretty good feeling. Good enough to celebrate with sexy new cell phones.

I was looking online today at a website that helps low- and middle- income individuals and families afford to own a home. This gives me great hope. If there are people out there with worse credit and less savings than we have who are buying homes (maybe even in Virginia?), then there just might be some hope for us. Especially if my job becomes full time, or if a fellowship happens to be in my future (not holding my breath but your crossed fingers and prayers couldn’t hurt), or if someone in our family ends up in the Foreign Service or if not that, working for a government agency that can at the very least allow us no more worries over one of the student loan debts. These are big ifs, I know, but I’m thinking that at least one of these things might be in store for us before too much more time passes. It’s exciting, and scary, and really not all that difficult to plan and save for. Of course, I still have no idea what kind of mortgage or how much we could be approved for, and how much house we could actually afford with all the monthlies and the taxes and everything, but overall, I’m optimistic.

In school news, it is now spring break. That means I should be working ahead in my class projects and continuing the hardcore studying for my MFA exam. What did I do today? I spent altogether too much time trying to figure out a way to download my information from Fidelity into Quicken. Why is it that a prestigious financial institution such as this one cannot be up-to-date enough to be compatible with a version of Quicken software later than 2004? That was two years ago, people, let’s get cracking! Sara wants to see all her money numbers in one handy summary sheet!

Anyway, I’m off to do a little reading, maybe. Husband is in the other room being disciplined enough to be working on his studies, so I might as well follow suit. See how much easier things are for me when I can follow the leader? If I have to lead myself, well, forget it.


One thought on “Financial Planning

  1. Lee says:

    How is quicken working out for you? I thought of buying it for a while, and then sort of forgot about it. We are doing the ‘how much house can we afford’ dance, too, so I feel your pain. Hopefully we’ll both be homeowners by the next olympics?

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