Reminder – Kiplinger’s Jump Start Your Retirement

Posted on Friday 30 January 2009

Nina jumps around
Creative Commons License photo credit: habi

Once again, Kiplinger’s Magazine is offering FREE retirement advice.  Today, you can call or go online (9 am – 6 pm EST) to talk with NAPFA financial planners.  Just call 1-888-919-2345 or go to www.kiplinger.com/yourretirement/jumpstart/.

savvy @ 8:00 AM
Filed under: 401(k) andGeneral Finances andInvesting andIRA andRetirement
The Best Price is FREE!

Posted on Wednesday 28 January 2009

No soliciting
Creative Commons License photo credit: greefus groinks

I was chatting with a coworker on the way to lunch today and mentioned that I wanted Mr. Savvy to hurry up and get our truck running (remember our $600 truck?)  so he could buy me some railroad ties to build a raised vegetable garden.  My coworker then stated that he had some railroad ties, just lying around unused, at one of his rental properties.  And even better, if I wanted them, I could have them.  Yay for fabulous/generous coworkers.  I don’t know know how much railroad ties cost but FREE trumps any price.

Have you been able to save money because of the kindness of a friend?  If so, tell us about it!

savvy @ 6:08 PM
Filed under: Frugality
Budgeting

Posted on Monday 26 January 2009

Dan demonstrates multiple panes in Sweet SocialCalc
Creative Commons License photo credit: curiouslee

This weekend, I finally finished our 2009 budget.  Unlike traditional budgets, I don’t set a hard and fast dollar amount for each category.  Rather, I plan for the important things (tithes, taxes and retirement savings) then see what’s left after that.  That amount is considered discretionary spending (my personal spending, Mr. Savvy’s personal spending, travel expenses and household expenses).  I was surprised to see how much disposable income we have left, especially since it sometimes doesn’t seem like it.

However, when I look back over our 2008 spending, I can see where the bulk of the money went.  Travel expenses (something we LOVE to do) and household expenses.  Last year was our patio project as well as the purchase of some big-ticket furnishings and incidental decor.  I suspect that this year will show similar spending.  We have a week-long vacation coming up soon and are in the process of planning a week-long spring/summer vacation.  We just purchased dining room furniture and will probably buy another big-ticket item this summer (still deciding on which one).

Do you budget?  If so, what method do you use?  If not, why not?

savvy @ 11:37 AM
Filed under: Uncategorized
National Thrift Week

Posted on Monday 19 January 2009

thrifty gas
Creative Commons License photo credit: TheTruthAbout…

It’s National Thrift Week!  (Go to http://www.bringbackthriftweek.org/ for more information.)  What are you doing to be thrifty as of late?  I must confess I haven’t been too thrifty lately unless you count getting a pair of stylin’ red pumps from Nine West for $27.99 and long-sleeve t-shirts from Tarzhay for $6.99 each.

With tax time right around the corner, that has been in the front of my mind.  Are you prepared for this tax season?  Have you collected all your documentation from last year?  Adjusted your withholding for this year?  What’s stopping you?

savvy @ 12:00 PM
Filed under: Frugality andTaxes
Californians Should File Taxes Sooner, Not Later

Posted on Tuesday 13 January 2009

Heading Home
Creative Commons License photo credit: Erik Charlton

Though some taxpayers delight in receiving a large refund check each year, I’ve long preached against giving the government (state or local) an interest-free loan.  I’m in favor of adjusting withholdings so that your refund or tax due is less than $500 or so.

However, this year, Californians who are due a large state refund may be in for an unpleasant surprise.  The state may issue IOUs for state refunds starting on February 1st.  There is a large anticipated budget deficit for this year and the state is running out of cash!

For more information, read the article here.

savvy @ 9:43 AM
Filed under: Taxes
Reminder – Kiplinger’s Jump Start Your Retirement

Posted on Tuesday 13 January 2009

Nina jumps around
Creative Commons License photo credit: habi

Once again, Kiplinger’s Magazine is offering FREE retirement advice.  Today, you can call or go online (9 am – 6 pm EST) to talk with NAPFA financial planners.  Just call 1-888-919-2345 or go to www.kiplinger.com/yourretirement/jumpstart/.

savvy @ 8:00 AM
Filed under: 401(k) andGeneral Finances andInvesting andIRA andRetirement
Kiplinger’s Does It Again

Posted on Friday 9 January 2009

Nina jumps around
Creative Commons License photo credit: habi

Once again, Kiplinger’s Magazine is offering FREE retirement advice.  On January 13th and January 30th, you can call or go online (9 am – 6 pm EST) to talk with NAPFA financial planners.  Just call 1-888-919-2345 or go to www.kiplinger.com/yourretirement/jumpstart/.

savvy @ 8:00 AM
Filed under: 401(k) andGeneral Finances andInvesting andIRA andRetirement andSaving
Start the Year Off Right

Posted on Wednesday 7 January 2009

 

Happy New Year!
Creative Commons License photo credit: sixty69niner

The turning of the calendar to a new year can provide motivation and a fresh start. Leave all your financial garbage behind in 2008. Instead of making resolutions, take action to improve your finances for this year and the years to come.

  • Set up a Christmas account – Congratulations if you did all your Christmas spending with cash (or paid your credit card bill in full). Most people don’t. So avoid disaster by starting to plan now. Tally up how much you spent (or would like to spend) and start putting aside a little with each paycheck. Personally, I like ING (you can sign up to the right if you don’t already have an account with them) because they allow for multiple sub-accounts. Simply, create a new account entitled ‘Christmas fund’ (or similar) and set up automatic withdrawals from your checking account. When December rolls around again, you’ll feel no stress because you’ve already got it covered.  

  • Set up a freedom fund – This is similar to the Christmas fund but for any irregular expenses you incur throughout the year – i.e. car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, property tax. Add up the yearly amount you’ll need to pay and divide by your amount of paychecks. This is how much you should set aside each pay period. When those expenses occur, you can merely transfer the necessary amount from your savings rather than stressing how you’ll come up with the cash to pay the bill.  

  • Automate your retirement savings – Don’t leave your retirement to chance. The IRA limit for 2009 has increased to $5000. This is $416/mo. Go ahead and set up an automatic withdrawal now. Technically you have until April 15, 2010 to fund your 2009 IRA. If money is tight, deposit $333/mo from February 2009 to April 2010.
     

     

  • Automate your retirement savings – Don’t leave your retirement to chance. The IRA limit for 2009 has increased to $5000. This is $416/mo. Go ahead and set up an automatic withdrawal now. Technically you have until April 15, 2010 to fund your 2009 IRA. If money is tight, deposit $333/mo from February 2009 to April 2010.  

  • Adjust your withholdings – If you’re getting a big tax refund every year, you’re giving the government an interest free loan. The IRS withholding calculator (you’ll need your last paystub handy) will tell you how many exemptions you should be claiming. This will increase your cash flow without much effort on your part.  

These are simple steps that can be accomplished in an hour or two but will improve your finances for a lifetime. What steps are you taking to gain better control of your finances this year?

 
 

 

 

savvy @ 8:00 AM
Filed under: General Finances andIRA andRetirement andSaving andTaxes