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Giving This a Whirl

September 14th, 2006 at 07:40 am

Well, I joined this site because I need to get our finances back on track. I need the reality check of a community who is careful with their money, and savings & budget-oriented.

It is easy in our society to become very complacent. Looking at everyone with their fancy toys and debt up to their eyeballs, not a penny to their names. It is easy to feel like you are doing damn good in comparison to those around you.

Then you come to a site like this, see the super savers, and feel REALLY behind. But it is a good reality check. Just because we are doing better than average joe blow, really means squat.

My husband stopped working 4 years ago to stay home with our newborn son (now 3). He was actually laid off when I got pregnant so hence the 4 years. We now haver a new baby as well. WE had saved so much at that point - WAY ahead of the game at 25. We figured we would just try to get by on 1 income and then in a few years he would go back to work and we would save his entire paycheck again.

We were on a strict budget, but over time with raises we started enjoying certain luxuries. We didn't worry about saving for the long-term.

I just kind of woke up recently and started to worry that my hubby may not return to work soon, not ever. We were complacent about saving because we figure saving 100% of his income before and after was plenty. But being out of the workforce a few years, tax concerns, the nuances of working with kids, all that makes me wonder if it is worth him to go back to work anytime in the near future. & by the time it is time, will he be able to find a worthwhile job, having been out of the workforce so long?? Will my paycheck cover all of our needs by then? Maybe. So we are starting our savings strategy again with the assumption he will never work again. Not a FT 40-hour week anyway.

Anyway, I wish someone had smacked us and made us think about this a little more 4 years ago. LOL. We thought we had it all figured out, but maybe not so much. Looking back at the last 4 years, we could have invested better, we could have put $100/month away to start and built up from there. We could be so much further ahead.

Well, as far as our stats, we are both just about 30. We own a 500k house with a 200k mortgage. We have no other debt & close to 50k in retirement savings. We have 5k in other savings. That is where we lack and are trying to move forward. I would like to save up a good 30k as an emergency fund. It feels like it will take forever, but I will try.

Oh I lied, we bought a minivan and took a 5k personal loan. I owe 4k still and would like to pay it off by May. So we do have a little debt for the first time in our lives. It sucks - LOL. We could pay it off but interest is only 2-3% & I do not want to drain our savings right now, so we wait a few more months. This is what hangs over my head for now.

After years of buying extremely used cars ($1k here, $5k there), it is nice to have 2 relatively nice, new cars ($8k & $14k), but man it is a big chunk of change. The benfit I hope is to not need to replace them for a long while and repairs so far have been NIL. I thought we were redy to shell out a little more for the cars, but maybe not. Time will tell!! We bought hubby's car (the 8k one) quite a few years ago and from not working it has little miles and little wear and tear. It is worth it's weight in gold. I am just not so sure on the minivan as we paid far more than we have ever paid for a car. It stressed me out frankly. I have no idea how people do the new car trade-in every few years. ?????? I am sure it will work out, and I am glad it will be paid off very soon. That is for sure.

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