Heating bills and financial lessons

Okay, breathe with me. Last month’s heating bill was ~ $44. This month’s heating bill = ~ $66. My jaw literally dropped and I instantly placed a call to my energy company to schedule a free high-bill re-check. Then, I called my husband and broke the news to him. lol. He claimed he wasn’t surprised, but I was honestly was. In retrospect, and if I’m brutally honest, the high heating bill was my fault. My usage of my small space heater was drastically increased (I’m talking about turning it on daily for ~ 12 hrs each day!). Being the argumentative wife I am, I argued with Matt that it must have been the 3 – 5 times we must have run the heater for the house or leaving lights on. In any case, this is a huge wake-up call for me. I cannot do things like run a space heater for 12 hrs daily and not expect my heating bill to bite me in the ass. *sigh*

In other news, if you have been living under a rock, the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates further and while this is good  news for borrowers, people with money in savings account (i.e. us) are essentially seeing our savings rates slashed too. Right now, ING Direct’s Current Annual Percentage Yield is 2.75%. I’m not complaining though because it is still better than Wachovia’s saving rates. Now I’m on the topic of finances, I just have to say that we have done rather badly in terms of savings. This wasn’t because we went on a huge spending spree. We had strategic investments i.e. payments to make. For one, I finished making payments on my laptop and we also bought a used car from Matt’s friend (which was a steal). Nevertheless, I’m forging ahead and I clearly won’t make my saving amount of ~$5, 000 for the year (although that goal was set while at my previous job).

The Suntrust account is still 75% paid off and I’m disappointed that I didn’t do more to get this figure up. Nevertheless, my financial goals (going into the new year) will be:

  1. Keep making “payments” to our ING Direct savings accounts: Again, it bears repeating that everyone needs an emergency fund. Ideally, this should be 3 – 6 mths worth of money that will allow you to ride out the loss of 1 income source, a health issue, a car wreck, etc. We technically don’t even have an emergency fund yet because once I remove the cost of our current liabilities (just 1 credit card), we’re left with not much. These payments will occur monthly and the deposit will be at least $150 each time.
  2. Pay off Suntrust credit card before April 2009: This is a rather modest goal and definitely eases the pressure. We have enough room to keep making just the minimum payments, but I’ve been reading horror stories about people who saw their lines of credit cut in half & their credit scores plummeting. I definitely want to keep my score (~ 720 in all 3 credit bureaus) looking the way it is. 🙂
  3. Resume payments to Fidelity ROTH IRA: Since the purchase of my laptop and other big ticket items, I put my payments on hold. I haven’t actually begun investing the current funds in my ROTH IRA because it needs to be at $2,500 or above in order not to incur yearly (not sure if they are monthly) fees for making investments in mutual funds. The only way to get around those pesky fees is to commit to making automatic payments of $200 or more in order to invest in mutual funds.
  4. Consolidate my retirement accounts: Actually, this is already done because I’ve got my employer’s matches going into a Fidelity retirement account as well as my contributions. Fidelity’s also the holder of my ROTH IRA. The consolidation largely refers to the previous holder of my retirement account. It should be interesting how this all plays out on my taxes filings.matt
  5. Figure out investment options with Matt’s retirement account: His rate of return is currently -26% while mine is -1.8%. Now, my low rate of return is largely because Fidelity (for some reason) has about half of my stuff in a money market account. I’m sure when all that’s migrated to actual investments, I’ll see my rate  of return get lowers. Now, Matt’s retirement account is managed by Merrill Lynch and while they provide a more hands-on approach, their selection is a little bit limited (not to mention confusing!). I just want to put his funds into an investment “bucket” (so to speak) because they takes the headache out of managing his account. I adjusted his investments to spread the risk so I’m hoping that it will stem the bloodletting. lol.

Enough of the money talk. 🙂 I’m currently jamming to some Alicia Keys. Peace and I’m out!


I just needed a title. I apologize for the infrequency of my posts. Work and life’s stressors have been on my case just a little bit more. Still, I’m standing tall. Or I’d like to think that. Things are a bit annoying with regards to my living situation. This summer, we got hit with astronomical cooling bills because there was a dog in the house that needed temperatures to be around 70°F. Well, we are about to have the same situation only in reverse. He (our landlord) wants the heater to be turned on constantly because of the furniture in the house. Edit: Matt estimates that P wants the house to be at 74°F now which is even warmer than it was during the summer!!! He gave Matt a (IMHO)  half-assed explanation for the heater to to be turned up. My god, we’re not even in the 50’s yet! As you can tell, I’m slightly furious because I am not looking to fritter money away on heating furniture. I’m away from the house for most of the day (working Mon-Fri and even sometimes, the weekends!). We are 4 members in the house, but Matt and I pay half combined. It is not in our interests to have the heater turned up especially when there is the cheaper option of purchasing a tiny heating element for your room! Hell, that’s what Matt and I have been doing already!!! If you don’t know to the answer to our dilemma, I’ll provide the one that Matt and I have been avidly interested in: moving to our very own apartment. Right now, all the advantages for renting a room cannot come close to what it will mean when we get our own apartment. Actually, I can’t even count any more merits for staying any longer. If not for Matt wanting the best living situation for us, I/we’d be outta there. I love our landlord and he’s a good person at heart.  However, this situation has struck me as a little more than inconsiderate. Here’s to a fruitful apartment search and an amicable resolution of this issue. It’s not as bad as it seems, but things bug me a bit more than they do Matt. 🙂

In other news, I’m loving my Palm Treo 750. I have spent as much money as I did buying the phone (the refurbished phone cost $99) on its accessories namely: a Spectec Wi-Fi card ($49.95 from Treocentral.com), a 2GB miniSD Kingston card ($28 from Buy.com), a bluetooth ear piece ($49.95 from Treocentral.com), a carrying case and 3 backup-styluses ($28 from iGoneMobile.com). With that, I’ll be done. Out of all my purchases, I love the Wi-Fi card the most. I have been able to surf the internet on my little bitty phone and essentially bypassing ATT’s network. It’s amazing the things you’ll learn on the internet. Thus far, I’ve installed Google Maps on my phone which is a much beloved phone component now. I can map my contact’s addresses, find out the closest pizza houses wherever I am along with their contact information with varied options as to what to do with this information, I could go on. Needless to say, my productivity may take a hit while I get an overdose of my phone. 🙂 With that, I’ll sign off till my next brain fart.