Tuesday, November 25, 2008

November Round Up and December Outlook

I will be working this weekend and I guess I am not going to have any time to post until Dec 1st. I decided to do it now rather than wait till I get to the next month.

November Round Up
It’s the end of another month which brings me one more step closer to my debt free month. November was a good month except for the fact that I had to put 300 dollars away for HOA fees instead of paying towards my Credit Card. My Wamu CC should be paid off by Dec-15th and then I will have to deal with only one Credit Card which is also a big kill. It has 9200 balance on it. I will be paying off 2000 dollars a month until I bring the balance to zero.

Coming to the monthly progress report. This is how I have faired in November. This month has gone by sooner than expected.


Nov-Beginning Balance - $2845
Nov-Ending Balance - $1200

Nov Beginning Balance - $9932
Nov Ending Balance - $9219

Nov- Beginning Balance - $ 24330
Nov Ending Balance - $ 23820


As planned I have been working out 4 days in a week until date and I will keep up the pace until the end of this month. I have added 2 more Pilates’ classes on to my existing list. We have our Volley Ball play-offs coming up and I believe I am prepared for it now. Enough of loosing 10 straight games-phew.

I have stuck to my budget and commitments. I decided not to buy any piece of clothing until I knock off all my debts and this month has also been added to my success log(However, my evil twin is luringme towards the black dress I saw at Black and White Store, umh $125, should I or shouldn't I).

December Outlook
Oh, the end of the year, what an exciting 30 days these will be. I have always liked December; it makes me feel like I am going to be a whole different person even though except for making new resolutions there isn’t much change. Well, of course if I keep up with the resolutions there will be changes. On that note, I think it will be a good idea for me to start deliberating on the new resolutions or projects that I would like to take up in 2009. I will definitely try to fit in some voluntary work in there. I will be part of projects that I wanted to by starting out small.


  1. Loose 8 pounds. I am 148 right now , would like to bring it down to 140 lbs.
  2. No spending days on Tuesday and Thursday
  3. No rice eating days – Monday and Friday
  4. Start a good book, Yet to decide the pick
  5. Try to go bike riding once in two weeks

Wish me luck people

Monday, November 24, 2008

No Spending Days

Though I can account for every last penny that goes out of my checking account, I would want to see how much I will end up saving by sticking to a NO-SPENDING day. By this I mean, no morning breakfast tacos, no going out for lunches and no nothing, absolutely –Nada. After careful deliberation I have decided on the two days I won’t be spending any money and those days would be Monday and Friday. Friday, is a long shot because my husband will be back home and we might end up going for a movie or something. So I will restrict Friday’s to my work day. Following this plan should save me 50 dollar’s a month. I will keep tracking my progress on the monthly budget evaluation that I do.

Looks like I will end up working through the holidays except for the Thanks Giving Day. It will keep me from shopping though its not as much fun.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What happened to all that love?

I woke up this morning and suddenly remembered the initial days when my husband and I are started going out. It was a beautiful feeling of being in love. I used to look forward to the day at night and keep my cell phone right beside me so that I would not miss a call from him. I used to come out of class and immediately check my phone for any missed calls. Every day felt like a walk in a beautiful park. I had a smile on my face for no reason. I could sit through a boring class with his thoughts on my mind. I sit here and wonder as I write what happened to all that love. Did it fade away or am I caught up in some bad dream that I have looped my life around it. I want to feel like that again, I want to look forward to him coming home every Friday. I want to be like that old me again. I have so much love to give yet I hesitate. I dreamt of this beautiful relationship that we would cherish together, something like my Mom and Dad have. I have never seen two people being so much in love and being so expressive about it. My Dad constantly appreciates my Mom and my Mom showers her unconditional love upon him , its like I feel whole when I am amidst them. I want to be like that and I working towards being like that but I cannot control my thoughts, thoughts of me possibly having a better life if I was single, but I want to be with my husband , the problem is I have strings attached. I see him as a woman hater and I look for signs to prove me wrong. May be I am missing the fact that my actions lead to his opinions about women. I am aware of it sometimes I work towards it and sometimes I fumble, does fumbling once takes me back to square one again. Isn’t there room for empathy?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Recession Sucks

I was talking to my husband today and it looks like his project is going to end in a month. That brings us back to square one that is looking for another job. He has been trying to find something locally so that we could be together and avoid all the traveling and the expenses that go with it but it has become quite a challenge to find something where I work. Looking at the bright side of the situation, I think this will be a perfect opportunity for both of us to learn how to live on a single income like many other people do. While I was working towards my Masters Degree I was able to live on 731 dollars, my monthly stipend as a graduate assistant. It’s amazing how our expenses increase with our income. My rent right now is more than the stipend I used to get 3 years ago. I would have to accommodate another monthly payment from my salary if my husband does not a find a job by January. I wanted to buy a nice dress for my Piano recital that’s coming up next month, but I guess I won’t buy anything right now.

Well, I am not going to think too much about the situation, I will face it when I get there.

I hope this does not push my debt free month (Mar-09) further.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Can we afford to buy a house right now?

I have been researching a lot lately about the precautions my husband and I need to take as first time home buyers. Though we are not seriously looking to buy a house, I wanted to break down the numbers and see how my expense sheet will look if I were to buy and home and then decide if I would still want to buy a house based on that. This is how I approached it.

Determining how much house we can afford.

I wanted to keep our income estimate extremely conservative while coming up with this number. Most PF blogs or sites advice to spend around 28% of a households “pre-tax” income while determining the amount of mortgage payments they can afford. I have decided to use a different approach. Instead of the pre-tax income I am going to use the after tax yearly income to determine how much in monthly payments we can afford. Also, I am going to use only my income for this estimate (the lower of the two incomes) reason being if one of us were to loose a job we can still afford the payments without digging into our savings-if we have any by that time J .

My after-tax yearly income = $51,767 (Rounded to the nearest dollar)

According to financial pundits:

I can afford a house that is 3 times my yearly income = $206000(rounded off to the nearest dollar)

If I were to use my after-tax yearly income the number would be = $155,300. I like the 206000 number better because I would like to buy a house in a good community with easy access to highways and good school districts and I believe I can find something for that price in Houston. In fact the price I am looking at is between $175,000 – $200,000. So I am within the ball park.

Say if I were to buy a home for $195,000 including closing costs, my hypothetical expense sheet post home buying will look like this assuming a 6.5% interest rate on a 20 year loan and 2.5% property taxes and zero down payment.

Monthly Mortgage: 1941 (Used http://www.mortgagecalculator.org/)

Electricity : 250

Utilities : 100

Maintenance : 150

Taxes (Pro.Mntly) : 410

Grand Total : $2,851

Monthly take home pay: $4,313

Mortgage payment to Income Ratio: 66.10%

This is way more than the 28% that they suggest probably because they used pre-tax income to come up with that percentage.

Using the balanced budget formula, I can spend 50% of my income on needs but if I were to buy a home I will be spending 66.10% without including the food expenses. So I would have a to either wait until I get a good amount of raise, or save enough for the down payment that will reduce my monthly mortgage expenses. I guess I will go for the latter instead of waiting for a raise.

For now, Home buying is out of question.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Buckle Up America!

It’s another manic Monday with 1.2 million job losses reported till date. DHL is cutting 9500 jobs on top of the 5400 job cuts it has announced earlier this year and closing all its US domestic operations. Circuit City has filed for bankruptcy which makes job cuts apparent and AIG gets another forty billion dollar bail out. The time has come to fasten our seat belts for the bumpy ride ahead since the worst is yet to come. Most companies are being proactive in preparing themselves for the rough ride and are taking a close look at their operations and trimming the expenses where ever they can. Though loosing a job is something that we cannot control what we can control is how we perform at our jobs. It’s no time to slack off now. Now is the time to show what a great asset you are to the company.

It’s equally important to maintain fiscal discipline and delay any instant gratifications or what have you. My husband wants to plan for a Thanksgiving get away to Vegas which would cost us at least 1000 dollars in spite of booking the flights and hotel with all the points that he has accumulated till date. I do understand how important these trips are to bring us close to each other but I am not sure if I want to take it now. My debt free month March-2009 is just 4 months away and I do not want to do anything that might delay this. But if going to Vegas is imminent, I will possibly look for new ways to save more money. November is going to be expensive for us. We need 1500 dollars to pay towards the taxes and HOA dues for the 3 acre lot that we own.

Right now I am focused at doing my job right and keeping my job rather making myself another add on to the job-less statistic.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

October goals round up and November outlook

October has been a fairly good month financially, though I did not meet my personal goals. I paid for my credit cards as planned and in fact increased my contributions towards savings by 150%. Previously I was contributing 100 dollars a month but now I increased it to 275 dollars. I cannot wait for Mar-09 and be debt free. I realized that making breakfast at home isn’t working out well and what I learnt is that it’s actually more expensive to make my own breakfast than spending 1.94 at the cafeteria and top of that, this daily activity is something that I look forward to everyday. I get to work and go downstairs and get my BF taco and get some coffee from the break room sit down and browse through the morning news. It’s all worth it and I think it’s important that I am not too hard on myself that might actually lead to more spending.

I am going to buy a domain name to host my site so that it will be easier to log all my journals. It’s quite hard to upload excel sheets on to the blog spot. Well, you should find me there in couple of days and I promise to keep my journey interesting.

Ok, coming to November, I am not going to plan anything BIG and then try hard to keep up with it instead I am going to go with the flow. Just take one day at a time and do whatever I feel like doing at that moment. Gives me more flexibility that way. Before I leave it there, I think I do want to commit myself to one goal, which is to go to Barnes and Nobles and get back to the habit of reading. Reading is the only activity that keeps us from spending and at the same time helps us learn something new. I picked B&N as my reading corner because; I can read the books for free and the choice is endless, well almost and I can sit down have a cup of coffee if I really feel like having one as Starbucks serves coffee over there.

That’s it, November is the Thanks Giving month, I just want to thank GOD for giving me the ability and means to stick to my plans and helping me get through this tough financial times.