Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Update

May was a busy month with one trip to Florida, last day of school, a children's day service at church, and prep for our 3 week road trip.  No wonder I didn't find time for blogging or my favorite series "Frugal Living".  In fact I will have to skip writing a monthly post for Frugal Living because we've hit status quo for the moment.  Instead I'll work on a few travel with family posts, my 2nd favorite topic.

Frugal Living - May Edition (sorry, this is posted dated in December)

Update on our Frugal Living Journey!  

Managing Debt:
A few months ago I wrote about opening a 14 month interest free credit card for the sole purpose of transferring an annoying debt.  I did it again!  This time I transferred $10,500 onto a new Discover card.  The debt was an unsecured personal loan for our fixer upper house which was charging 7.74%. The interest was approximately $160 per month which would have gone down as we paid down the loan so it's hard for me to estimate exactly how much savings was had but frankly I don't care, just knowing it's interest free for the rest of the year is good enough for me!   I plan to have this paid off in one year.

Our debt fluctuates depending on life needs, for example, our vehicles are both over 100K miles and our primary will need to be replaced in the next few years.  That will likely incur a small debt because most of our savings goes into the house, but we are careful to only buy used so it would probably be less than 10K.

We may need to take out another loan to finish our house, it depends on how much my husband can do himself or how urgently we may need to finish it and hire help to do so.

I consider the above to be manageable debt and my goal is to manage it in the cheapest way possible.

I've always found investments to be confusing.  Outside of putting 6% of our monthly income into IRA's I haven't given it much thought.  But after reading two excellent blogs about finances, I'm convinced to figure it out.  The two blogs are:

After reading both for a month I decided to try out two things:
  1. Acorn App - this app goes into your bank account and rounds up to the nearest dollar and puts the rounded up amount into the investment app.  We pay for the majority of our bills through credit cards to gain the rewards so I'm not too worried about this app taking out a big chunk of change.   In the first month, it only moved $21.  The app tells me that if I invest $20 per month from now until retirement, I can earn $$$.  So far it's an easy little app to use but doesn't provide too much information on how it's investing your money.  I found Stash to be more informative as it lets you select things you care about to invest in.  I might try that out in the future.
  2. Vanguard - goal is to save $1,000 this year and invest it.  This will come from any money earned on consignments, ebay sales, etc.