Wednesday, April 29, 2009

FNBO To Scottrade

I been thinking about moving all our FNBO Direct savings to my account at Scottrade and putting it all in stocks. One of my favorite stocks, Ford is up over 85% this year and the price of Apple stock has also gone up over the last few months. The goal would be to spread the $9,000 over 10 different companies to avoid putting all the eggs in one basket. I have a list of favorite stocks and overall they've all been going up this year, at much higher rates than at FNBO.

Is this a good strategy? Would you do this with your money? I'm hoping the risks are worth the rewards. This 9k is mostly insurance money so if I have it in stocks hopefully I will forget about it. I can continue building our regular emergency fund at Bank of America and hopefully bring that to $10,000 by 2010.

Also any broker recommendations? Scottrade seems to be the best. I also have an account with E*Trade but I've heard so many horror stories that I don't think I want to deal with them. I have no experience with ING Sharebuilder but their costs seem low.

Any thoughts?


Sunday, April 19, 2009

About Us

Boy meets girl in May 2001. We were both going to school and crossed paths while working at our local community college. I was a computer technician and she was working in the Financial Aid department. While working part time we went to school together at our local university and got bachelor degrees. My degree was in Technology and her degree was in Elementary Education. At some point we sort of moved in together. We took many vacations and partied 4 out of the 7 nights in the week until 2004 when we got married. By this time our credit card debt was probably close to $4,000 but we didn't care. In 2005 we both got real jobs and as soon as we made more money we added debt like crazy. We took frequent trips to Las Vegas, Mexico and South America. This blog started around 2007 when our credit card debt was around $17,000.

We purchased our first home in 2006 at the age of 25-26. With a new house, new expenses came like furniture, decor and landscaping (more debt). Since we didn't have children we decided to get a dog. The wife talked me in to a female golden retriever puppy and I love her. She’s been a wonderful dog and a loyal companion. We had great friends and house parties every weekend but then our friends started having children.

In 2007 we were ready to start a family but nothing really happened until 2010 when we decided it was probably time to talk to a fertility specialist. Testing was done, nothing was wrong (TG) and the infertility was unexplained. We tried the usual Clomid, IUI’s with no success so we decided to give IVF a try. Believe me when I tell you that miracles do happen, we had a positive pregnancy after the first embryo transfer. We welcomed our beautiful Daughter in March 2012. She was a preemie baby weighing in at 3 pounds and 12 ounces but she was perfect. Tears, laughter and joy followed along with a 2 week stay in the NICU.  I never thought I could love something so much. She has changed my life and I believe I am a much better person because of her.

In August 2013 life surprised us with a natural pregnancy. We didn't think that people who went through infertility could get pregnant naturally but life always has a funny way to prove you wrong. We are expecting another addition to the family in May 2014.

Today we are a family of 4 (soon to be 5) living in the suburbs of Houston Texas. I'm an IT consultant working with a Fortune 500 company and my wife is a Kindergarten teacher with the local district. We are both in our 30’s and we love to travel, spend money and live well. The wife loves fashion and shopping and I like to run, play golf and spend countless hours on eBay. We both love spending time with our daughter and hanging out with our families. The purpose of this blog is to document our life events and how they impact us financially and to keep an eye on our debt.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Credit Card Rewards

I'm still addicted to credit cards, mainly for the rewards! Last month I cashed in a $25 gift card to Wal-Mart from Thank You network. Those points came from using our Citi Professional card last year:

Discover cash back is even better! Our Discover spending spree back in February gave us a lot of cash back. We currently have $38.67, we need to spend $150 or so more to cash in $40.00! Last year we got $60 cash back to our savings account and a $25 gift card to Bed Bath and Beyond, all just for using the card. I feel bad since we haven't paid any finance charges to them in over 2 years.

I wonder if they read this blog, I'm sure Discover would not be too happy.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

We're Debt Free!

We're Debt Free! from credit cards. The balance on our Citi PremierPass card last week was $0! The current balance today is $11.81 (interest) so I went ahead and sent them a final payment:

I took money out of our FNBO savings and paid off the $518 we owed. I also kept some of the money to buy a new HDTV as a treat :) That left $9,000 at FNBO. I should have the Bank of America account at $1000 this month, for a total $10,000 in emergency savings.

Today we are credit card debt free! I can't believe we paid off all our credit cards. We met our goal of not carrying this debt in to our 30's. Looking back I'm still amazed at our progress, if you sort my postings back to March 2008 you can see we had over $12,000 dollars in credit card debt. The only advice I have for people looking to pay off their credit card debt is: If you make it your goal and your top priority, it will happen. There's proof all over this blog that it can be done.

We still have 2 debts other than the house. One is a car payment, the other a student loan. Both have very low interest rates so for now our plan is to continue to fund our savings. I will post more about those debts in the coming weeks.