Basement Corner Upgraded!

Aug 27, 2007 @ 03:21 pm by EMS

Our basement corner is home to our “home fitness” area, which had previously included a 9 or 10 year old treadmill.  Between my wife and I, the treadmill had been used on a daily basis for at least the past 1.5 years.  Over the past month, it began to show its age though, and several of the buttons on the touchpad stopped working.  This weekend, we noticed that only 2 buttons worked, which meant that we could run at either 4 MPH or 7 MPH and that’s about it.

We bit the bullet and decided it was time for a new one.  The wife headed to Sears, while I did a bit of research and took the kids to Dicks Sports to see what they offered.  After trying several units out, we decided on a NordicTrack A2250 from Sears for $699.  On the treadmill was a sign saying “Buy this treadmill and get a free exercise bike and exercise mat”.  Well, during checkout, we told the sales clerk about the sign (he apparently didn’t know about the special) and he tried checking us out with both the treadmill and bike.  The sales terminal machine wouldn’t allow him to enter the bike in for free, so he ended up calling the store manager.  The manager also experienced problems, and it  soon became obvious that someone had made a mistake when they printed out the sign.  The free bike was only for purchases over $799, and therefore our treadmill shouldn’t have qualified.  However, Sears honored the deal, so we ended up with both the bike and treadmill for about $750 after taxes.

Additionally, we purchased a small chest freezer to put back in the same area.

While I’m sure that these purchases are going to have a fairly negative affect on my end of month net-worth report, I think they were still wise purchases.  Owning the treadmill is much cheaper than a gym membership and the chest freezer should help us save money on food in the long run.

CD Opened!

Aug 13, 2007 @ 07:50 am by EMS

One of my top priorities this year was to open a $10,000 CD emergency fund.  I’m happy to report that a 12-month CD was opened today at ING Direct, earning 5.35%.  Now that this goal has been reached, I expect that we’ll be buying a few big-ticket items around the house that we’ve been waiting for.  A lot of our rooms still have old “college” furniture in them and it may be time for a reasonable upgrade.

July 2007 Net Worth Report (+1,417)

Aug 01, 2007 @ 08:37 am by EMS

Unfortunately, July was another poor month financially for us. The $1,417 gain (representing a 0.80% increase from June) really surprised me, considering that I thought that I had understated June’s total by a fair amount. The numbers show a relatively large increase in liquid cash, but those gains were nearly wiped out by a bad month in equities. I guess I need to start taking a closer look at our budget and equity holdings and come up with a plan to stop the bleeding. Perhaps I’m being slightly dramatic, but I get nervous when having 2 consecutive sub-par months.

Some highlights from this month:

  • My previously mentioned problems with TIAA-CREF and Quicken have been solved and now I’m able to quickly download my 401k transactions directly into the software. This will prevent future errors (typos) by me and save me about 30 minutes every month.
  • I’m not at my personal computer at the moment, so I can’t verify it, but I’m thinking that my monthly expenditures for July increased over the previous month, simply due to some unforeseen travel and dining costs as a result of our new child’s birth.
  • I’ve decided to pay an extra $25 a month towards our mortgage. I know it’s not a big amount, but my thought is that I can really save some interest if I slowly start increasing our mortgage payments. I’m a bit apprehensive to do this because I realize that I can probably do better than the 5.75% rate my loan has on it, but I think it will help out a good bit mentally if I can start increasing my payments.
  • We’ve nearly reached our goal of saving for a $10,000 emergency fund. Hopefully sometime in the next 2 months, I’ll be taking this cash and putting it into a better yielding CD account and then be able to start adding funds to our Roth IRAs and the kid’s college funds.

July 2007 Net Worth

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