Question of the day

What change can you make right now that will improve your life next week? Next month? Next year?

Actually had to mull this one over a bit. Don’t laugh, but I think it would be get the office and basement completely cleaned and organized. If those two were done I could pretty well go about my day to day activities unhindered by having to stop and look for stuff and be far more creative for our business.

On the subject of change

A very wise man told me when I started using the internet all those years ago to NEVER forget that there is a real live human being on the other end and to be sure I didn’t say or do anything that I wouldn’t do if I were face to face with them.

I’ve tried, not always succeeded since emails lose context – however, I’ve tried – and never put anything in writing that you don’t want to come right back at you!

I need to figure out how to pay for a car

I have five kids, and one is graduating high school this year, and another a year later. One have two vehicles, one is a mini-van that has 215,000 miles on it, the other is a full size van that has 86,000 miles on it. Both are paid for. But the mini-van is showing its age.While I can handle doing maintenance, the costs are soon going to outweigh the benefits of keeping it, and I need to replace it, or at least get another on hand for when it gives out.

We try to put all the miles on the mini van, and save the full size van for family outings and vacations to keep the miles low on it, and reduce out fuel bill a bit. So my daughter uses the mini-van for school and work, and since I work third shift I use it for work as well since it is opposite hours.

She is working to save up for a car, and we are not sure what strategy we want to use to purchase one. I am counseling her that a loan can cost more money than it is worth. So I am thinking that she can save up and pay cash for a cheap car, then save up to pay cash for a nicer car later on. The challenge for her will be college costs. We are working on financing strategies for college from scholarship awards, to less expensive colleges, or even going to school on line.

But the challenge is going to be for me to get a car to replace the mini-van. I don’t have the cash saved up to pay cash for one, and I really don’t want to stop, or reduce my snowball to get a car. I am wondering what some others have done to pay for a more reliable, less mileage car for everyday use. We don’t want luxury, but we don’t want a piece of crap that needs a lot of maintenance and is worn out either. I was thinking about maybe a higher mileage (but under 150,000 miles) Honda accord or Civic. I think the target price is in the $5,000-$10,000 range. So I am open to suggestions on how to do this. Maybe I will have to take a set back on my debt paydown?

I will tell you what we have done

We did a 30 fixed when we moved to our town about 14 years ago but ALWAYS paid extra, about 10% of the whole payment (principle, interest, escrow) got added every month. We treated that increased amount as our house payment. We refi-ed a couple of years in because interest rates had dropped so much and got a 15 year fixed for about the same amount as the original 30 year fixed. We continued paying extra, same format, as before.

When we bought our current home in Sept. of 2011 we went with a 15 year fixed. We pay extra on this in the same manner.

All this paying extra was already in place long before we started DR. We are in a different place than you. Find out what is available. Check rates other places. When we bought in ‘11 our “home” bank where we had had a mortgage for 11 years could not TOUCH what we got at another bank where we have part of our FFEF. It pays to check around.

I used TaxAct online last year and I’m going with it again this year

It’s as good as TurboTax and the basic version is free (this includes the ability to file electronically). The premium version is $13. I paid for it this year because it will pull last year’s data into this year’s filing. I don’t know anything about filing state income taxes because we don’t have that in Texas.

Last year I used the two side-by-side and they came up with the same answers, but I found TaxAct to be slightly less tedious to use.
TurboTax online is free, but to file electronically with it costs money, so once I was convinced that TaxAct had done its job, I used it to do the filing and kissed TurboTax goodbye.

My one complaint is that it will import electronic W2’s from just one source, and that’s not what our employers use. So I had to type it all in (it’s not that much typing but I like to eliminate human error where I can).