August Disappointment

Aug 27, 2009 @ 12:41 pm by EMS

After looking over our finances for the end of the month, it appears as though we’re going to be short of saving up the $3,000 needed for the pending water hookup. We’ll miss it by about $600. It’s not a particularly big deal though, as we still have no idea as to when the money is due to the water authority, and I imagine they will give us at least sixty days notice.

I can’t point to a particular reason that we’re going to miss the goal other than being overambitious.  While we did incur some extra expenses this month due to an unplanned hotel stay and a fan break in our air conditioner/heater, those factors weren’t quite enough to make up the difference.

I’m still optimistic that we’ll be able to pay off the loan for our second car by the end of the year.  I’ll be working an extra teaching gig to bring in some extra cash, so once we get this $3,000 out of the way, we’ll be on the way to becoming free of all debt other than the mortgage.

Penelec Voluntary Pre-Payment Plan

Aug 17, 2009 @ 11:14 am by EMS

In early July, I signed up for Penelec’s Voluntary Pre-Payment Plan.  As a Pennsylvania resident, we’ve been put “on-notice” that our electric bills are going to increase dramatically in the next two years because the government’s regulation (which froze prices for a set period of time) is ending soon.  This plan offered by Penelec allows consumers to pay some extra money every month now, while rates are still low, and have that money gain 7.5% interest to be used when the rates do increase.

Unfortunately, information on this plan is hard to come by (at least for me) on the Penelec website.  Essentially, they let you sign up for the service, but don’t give you an option or tell you how much money is going to be put into this savings fund monthly.

Yesterday we received our first bill while in the program, and they put $9.58 into this prepaid account.  I’m not sure how they came up with that number, as my actual electric bill for the month was $99.39.  The best I can figure is that they are going to take roughly 10% of the electric bill each month and put it into this account.  In all honesty, I’d wish it would be at least twice that amount, as I don’t think this prepaid account is going to amount to a whole lot more than one month’s electric bill if they keep it at this rate.

I’ll post more info if I see the formula changing in the future.

Update (if only I had read the actual link that I had posted….):

Each month, customers who sign up for the plan pre-pay an
amount equal to about 9.6 percent of their electric bill
for 2009.  In 2010, that amount will increase by an
additional 9.6 percent - totaling approximately 20 percent.
Pre-payments will earn 7.5 percent interest and be used to
reduce customers' electric bills in 2011 and 2012.

July 2009 Net Worth Report (+$10,542) – New Gain Record!

Aug 04, 2009 @ 10:27 am by EMS

July ended up being an amazing month.  We kept our expenses WAY down by not making any major purchases and scrimping where we could.  The best July market in 12 years helped out with about a $7,000 increase in our retirement and brokerage accounts.  Our decision to utilize our debit card rather than our credit card(s) has resulted in about a $1,400 decrease in credit card debt.

Our financial makeover plan is proceeding as planned.  We’ve saved up a bit more than half of what we will need to pay for the upcoming water connection, and I suspect that we’ll meet the goal of having that money ready to go by the end of August.  Once that step is reached, we’ll start paying down our remaining car loan with the intention of having that off of the books by the end of the year.

So, all in all, good progress is being made at the start of our plan.  I must say that having a plan in writing has made a big difference as to our spending outlook.  Whereas before I wouldn’t think twice about paying $2.50+ for a Starbucks coffee or other extravagance, now I’m putting more effort into thinking about where else that money could go to so that we have a better financial foundation to build off of.

August should be at about the same spending and income levels as July was.  In September, I’ll begin a part-time teaching job that should boost my income a bit over the remainder of the year.

July 2009 Net Worth



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