Switching Bank Accounts

Dec 18, 2006 @ 11:19 am by EMS

With the upcoming holiday break, I’ll finally have some time to finalize something I’ve been working on for two months – switching over my bank account.  My current bank has done some pretty stupid things lately.  They’ve increased ATM and other fees twice in the past two years, have extremely long lines at the teller on the rare occasion when I go to the teller, and refuse to offer paperless statements.  I’ve heard good things about the Pennsylvania State Educator’s Credit Union and have decided to give that a try.  After finding out that my wife is an eligible participant because she graduated from one of PA’s state university’s, I signed right up.

So now I have an account there, but there are still a ton of things that need done:

  • Change both of our direct deposits to go to the new account.
  • Update our automatic withdrawals for a bunch of monthly payments – house, car, life insurance, car insurance, etc…
  • Link the new account with my ING Direct and Emmigrant Direct accounts, as well as our online investment accounts.
  • Find the local ATMs.
  • Setup for paperless statements and reenter all of my online payment accounts.

This will be the first time I’ve ever not had a local bank branch to work with, so I’m going to keep my current account at the local bank at least initially.  I’ll keep it funded with the near minimum to avoid service changes, but I think once I change both of the direct deposits, they will start hitting me with a new charge.

Once everything finishes up, I’ll have the following advantages:

  • A savings account with a much higher interest rate (5.05% vs. the pittance I get now).
  • A very large network of surcharge free ATM machines.
  • Paperless statements + automatic update within my money management software (Quicken).

I think the only disadvantage I’ll face is that I’ll have increased difficulty when depositing cash, but that is rarely an issue in my household.

Big Christmas Savings

Dec 06, 2006 @ 09:29 am by EMS

For Christmas this year, I wanted to get my kids a train that would circle the Christmas tree like I had when I was little.  I did all types of research about the different scales, models, etc…  At that point, I went to the local hobby shop and did a little price research and suffered a bit of sticker shock.  It seemed like the cheapest I was going to make this happen was for about $200.  I went home and scoured eBay, but I was a bit concerned going that route because I don’t really know enough about trains to ensure that what I was buying would work together, etc…

Given that we have already spent more this holiday season than we did last year, I was about ready to shelf the idea until next year.

But then I went to visit my parents and told them about how much trains cost.  To my surprise, my Dad said “You know, I’m pretty sure your old train set is still sitting somewhere deep in the garage”.  A few days later, I get a call from him telling me that he found my old train set with almost all of the pieces!  I went back up to their place and picked it up to see if I could make it work.

I brought it home and found that I had a pretty good set, the only thing that I needed to do was add some pieces of track, so went back to the hobby store, and bought about $20 worth of track. I put everything together, and after a few hiccups, found that my 20+ year old engine still worked quite well!

So, not only do I have the sentimental bonus of watching my 3-year old play with the very same train set I played with when I was his age, I managed to save over $150 on the deal.  I even hit up eBay again and bought a few extra rail cars for $25 to celebrate!

I guess the moral of the story is to always check with your family before buying an item they might have saved from your childhood, it sure worked for us this time.

November 2006 Net Worth Report (+$4,416)

Dec 01, 2006 @ 01:32 pm by EMS

Well, the numbers are in for November. Our gain, while smaller than last months, was still a respectable $4,416. Like last month, November featured above average consumer spending because of the upcoming holidays. Again, we had a positive month in the market, but not nearly as good as last month’s gains.

The good news is that the Christmas and birthday shopping is mostly done, so December through February should show decreased amounts of spending. The fact that my wife will be pulling in more income because she’s adding another day to her work schedule will be another positive move towards our net worth.

I mentioned in last month’s report that my job may be in some jeopardy because of the November elections. The good news is that the needed official won reelection (and did so quite handily). But the bad news is that during events like that I’m reminded just how fragile my position is at times and that I need to keep my eye out all the time for new opportunities.

November 2006 Net Worth



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