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My New Office

9 Aug

Lloyd and I had several shopping wins this weekend!  I got everything I was looking for:

  • netbook
  • desk
  • comfy desk chair

We spent all day traipsing around the city until we found the perfect office set-up.

Everything was pretty much full price except for the chair which we got a total score on!  They had one already put together that someone had returned because one of the screws didn’t flush with another piece correctly….or something like that.  The chair was still mechanically fine and came with a manufacturer’s warranty, so I figured I’d take it.  They offered it to me for $40 less than full price!  Me likey.

Here are some shots of my new “office”, complete with an inspiring beach scene wall-hanging that I brought out of retirement.  I love my new little space!

P8090562P8090564And of course, my new netbook nugget.  A shiny, white Samsung N210:

P8090568

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Future Mrs. Lloyd

31 May

Lloyd and I got engaged on Saturday night!  Post with all the deets to follow!

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Thanks, But I’d Rather Not Be House Poor

21 Jan

I am not a home owner.  I shouldn’t be a home owner.  I don’t have enough cash in my savings account to be a home owner.

However, everyday I am pestered by people who just love to tell me that I need to buy a house.  They say I am crazy for not buying a house because of these things:

  • $8,000 Tax Credit
  • Buyer’s market
  • Good investment
  • Renting = wasting money

While all of these things may be true, home ownership is not a right – it’s a responsibility and a privilege.

In my article at Money Under 30 this week, I mentioned that buying a house simply to obtain a tax credit is just ludicrous.  Do you know how many tax credits exist?  Many.  There are tax credits for adopting a child, having a child, going back to school, being elderly or disabled, among other things. 

Does that mean I should adopt a child or get all jazzed up about turning 65 so that I can claim a tax credit?  Er, no.  Nor should I jump for joy over a measly $8,000 tax credit which would in turn force me to buy a house before I’m ready;  Thereby, most likely putting me in thousands of dollars of consumer debt.  No thanks.

I think there are certain things you need to accomplish before you are ready to own a home.  Among them are:

  1. 6-12 months of Emergency Fund (I have about 10 months)
  2. At least 20% of the down payment in cash for your house (preferably more)
  3. Several thousand dollars ($15,000 for Lloyd and I) for new home miscellaneous expenditures
  4. Maturity
  5. Stable Full Time Job
  6. Married or buying a house on your own (never buy a house with someone other than your spouse)

From that list, I only have 2 (maybe 3, the jury’s still out on number 4) of those things accomplished.  Survey says:  Carrie is not ready to buy a home.

I would venture to say that premature home ownership is one of the biggest causes of consumer debt problems.

So, there you have it – I am not ready to buy a house;  it’s also pretty likely that those people who are telling me to buy a house really were never ready in the first place.  So, you enjoy your credit card debt and I’ll enjoy my savings and my landlord.

You can bet that I’ll buy a house someday.  Oh yes, I cannot wait for that day!  Trust me though – it won’t be a day sooner than I am financially and mentally ready.

What do you think?  Do you think people buy houses before they’re ready?  For the renters out there – do people pester you to buy, buy, BUY?

You Know You’re In A Nerdy Personal Finance Relationship When…

10 Nov

…you geek out over checking your credit scores together for the first time.

About a week ago, I saw an article in the NY Times about certain financial things you should do as a couple before getting too serious…and checking your credit report together was one of them.

I can’t believe we’ve never done this together!  So, sometime this weekend, we plan to sit down and have our first “credit report date”.  *sigh* After 3 years, there are still so many firsts to experience. 😉

Do you ever have any geeky personal finance moments with your significant other?

Finances On Cruise Control

7 Oct

Many of my posts have been more short stories than updates on my finances lately.  Allow me to apologize.  Though, I have a really good reason!

I’m not in debt.  I paid off my last debt (my car) in December 2008.

I spend significantly less than I make every month.

My 401K is rising consistently.  I’m right on track to max out this year.  Is it hard? Yeah!  That’s a huge chunk of change every MONTH that I’m not getting (albeit my taxes are much lower).  Do I want to go blow all that on clothes and dining out every month?  Yes!   But I don’t.  Gotta keep your eyes on the prize…

Another nifty thing I do is caculate my federal & state taxes down to within a couple dollars for the year so my tax returns (or payments) are very small.  I try to keep the amount I will owe or pay to less than $30.  Yes, I’m one of those people that does not believe you shouldn’t give free loans to the government (which is what you’re doing when your tax returns are outrageous).

There you  have it!  I’m not struggling too much with anything.  I’m just at a very peaceful, calm state with my finances.

It feels great. 🙂

Do You Pamper?

23 Jun

Last week, I spent a girl’s day with my Mom.  We shopped, ate, drank, gossiped, and pampered ourselves.

Now, in my opinion, pampering one’s self mostly consists of a ice-cold cocktail on a warm summer day.

But, during the extravaganza, my mom and I spent $40 on….a pedicure.

Good Lord, when did those things become so damn expensive?!

To be fair, my mom actually paid for my pedicure (hey, I bought lunch, okay?)…but still – forty bucks?  The personal finance side of my mind cringed.  Yikes.

During the pedi, I actually said out loud “I can’t remember the last time I pampered myself like this.”  And it’s true – I really don’t partake in too many unnecessary luxuries.  I’ve gotten 2 pedicures (counting this one), 2 manicures, and 1 massage in my life.

In my opinion, they’re not really worth it…I can just as easily buy a $4 bottle of toenail polish at Wal-mart and then guilt trip Lloyd into rubbing my back for free (kidding…).

So, I wonder, am I alone?  Do you pamper?  I’m curious…

Do You Have HGTV Envy?

22 Jun

I’m sitting on my couch in my 2-bedroom apartment in Midwestern Missouri and finding myself so envious of these young, rich couples traipsing around the island of St. John looking for the perfect vacation home.

I just realized that I feel this way a lot when I watch HGTV (which by the way, is like crack – I need help).  I want to landscape the yard that I don’t have.  I want to renovate the Income Property below me that is actually an apartment that I don’t own.  I want to find my vacation home in St. John!

However, I’m only 25 and I haven’t achieved all of my goals of home ownership and financial freedom yet.  I plan so much for the future that I sometimes forget to live in the moment.

Guess what, young, rich couple?!  I don’t have to do maintenance on my apartment!  Good luck with that in St. John!

Take that, HGTV!