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  1. #1 Money Management Insights 
    I thought this topic deserved a thread of it's own. Here's the post that gave me the idea:

    Quote Originally Posted by NJCardFan View Post

    TOTD: For some reason my wife and I struggle with money. I make a decent living and by all accounts, we shouldn't be. My wife makes a paycheck but it's about 30% of what mine is mostly because we made the decision that she work from home in anticipation of adopting a child. We get our bills paid but there's not much left over at the end of the month. We are starting to cut down non-essentials. For example, my 2 year cell phone contract is up this month and we're thinking about pay as you go as opposed to a out and contract because right now we pay $125 a month and don't use our phones nearly as much. Also, my wife is becoming quite the coupon shopper. She'll go shopping just by the coupons she has and has brought home 5 bags of groceries while paying only around $20 so that is a help. Anyhoo, any tips on how to stretch our money?
    Everybody goes about this a little differently but we can all learn something each other.

    Reading NJCardFan's post a couple of things come to mind. It's helpful (and maybe painful) to sit down with your spouse and all your bills to see exactly where you are at. Don't guestimate how much you spend on gum or gas or whatever - figure it out exactly. If you have consumer debt, see what you can cut from your budget to pay off the smallest bill.

    If you don't have debt other than your house and car, pay off the car and prepay on the house.

    Mr. Snaps and I issue ourselves a weekly allowance. This walking around money that pays for movies, the occasional lunch, hobby-supplies, beer, paperbacks, or whatever. It's amazing how easily you can pass on impulse buying when you are in the habit of using a finite supply of cash for entertainment purposes.
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  2. #2  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    I thought this topic deserved a thread of it's own. Here's the post that gave me the idea:



    Everybody goes about this a little differently but we can all learn something each other.

    Reading NJCardFan's post a couple of things come to mind. It's helpful (and maybe painful) to sit down with your spouse and all your bills to see exactly where you are at. Don't guestimate how much you spend on gum or gas or whatever - figure it out exactly. If you have consumer debt, see what you can cut from your budget to pay off the smallest bill.

    If you don't have debt other than your house and car, pay off the car and prepay on the house.

    Mr. Snaps and I issue ourselves a weekly allowance. This walking around money that pays for movies, the occasional lunch, hobby-supplies, beer, paperbacks, or whatever. It's amazing how easily you can pass on impulse buying when you are in the habit of using a finite supply of cash for entertainment purposes.
    Ha! That's what I just posted in the other thread. I don't discipline myself this way, but when I have I've been amazed at how much less I spend because it's real.

    I probably should put myself on a weekly allowance because I am very wasteful with money.
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  3. #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by Phillygirl View Post
    Ha! That's what I just posted in the other thread. I don't discipline myself this way, but when I have I've been amazed at how much less I spend because it's real.

    I probably should put myself on a weekly allowance because I am very wasteful with money.
    Try it for a month and see how it works for you. ;)
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  4. #4  
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    I was struck by the $125/month cell phone plan. We pay half that and I don't think THAT much is worth it.
    "Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
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  5. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post

    If you don't have debt other than your house and car, pay off the car and prepay on the house.[/B]
    This is an issue we are grappling with. The only debt left is the mortgage (I don't count Home Depot since that is smoothing of maintenance costs on the house ... which are legion) and we could retire that in about 4 years.

    The question we have is it better to save that amount instead of paying off the house over that time and make the decision to sell or pay off later?
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  6. #6  
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    I suggest Mint.com. It will allow you to set up a budget and allows for balance inquiries from everything from mortgage, car payments, credit cards etc. It will compile all results and show you graphically where you are financially every day of the week.
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  7. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arroyo_Doble View Post
    This is an issue we are grappling with. The only debt left is the mortgage (I don't count Home Depot since that is smoothing of maintenance costs on the house ... which are legion) and we could retire that in about 4 years.

    The question we have is it better to save that amount instead of paying off the house over that time and make the decision to sell or pay off later?
    What is your interest rate like? I'm adding more to the principal every month, but our rate is only 4.5% so I'm not as fired up about it as I probably should be. The one thing I know for sure is that I am not taking a mortgage into retirement. The house will be paid off and we'll use the proceeds of the sale to buy our next house for cash.
    "Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
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  8. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by linda22003 View Post
    What is your interest rate like? I'm adding more to the principal every month, but our rate is only 4.5% so I'm not as fired up about it as I probably should be. The one thing I know for sure is that I am not taking a mortgage into retirement. The house will be paid off and we'll use the proceeds of the sale to buy our next house for cash.
    It is 5.75%. We have always paid more on the principal (because banks are fucking shysters) and I agree about the retirement thing. I believe if you have your home paid off, you are way ahead of the game. But other considerations come into play at that point. Do I really want to do all the maintenance when I am 65 or would it be better just to get a condo downtown and watch the city hum?
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    The lifestyle issue is one that only you can decide; the right answer is different for everyone. Having lived in the DC area for so many years, we'll be able to afford anything we want almost anywhere else.
    "Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
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  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by Arroyo_Doble View Post
    This is an issue we are grappling with. The only debt left is the mortgage (I don't count Home Depot since that is smoothing of maintenance costs on the house ... which are legion) and we could retire that in about 4 years.

    The question we have is it better to save that amount instead of paying off the house over that time and make the decision to sell or pay off later?
    I'd pay it off early. There's a real psychological benefit to getting rid of the mortgage; it's weirdly energizing in other financial decisions. Beyond that, if something unexpected happens to your finances, not having the mortgage hanging over you makes your situation a lot more flexible.
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