Medicated Money

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Little Vacation!

After driving 1,500 miles, the last thought on my mind would be drive another few hundred miles. However, like always, Mrs. Medicated was right in saying that I would definitely look forward to it after the move. Why would she say this? Well, we are planning on driving to the beach for a 3 day mini-vacation. After the stress of our move, the Drive, and the unpacking of the past 3 days, we are ready to just sit back and relax. So thinking ahead, Mrs. Medicated planned this small vacation before the stress of the move really kicked in 3 weeks ago.

Yes, financially speaking, it may not be the smartest decision to go and spend money on a vacation after spending close to 5k to move across the country, but you know what, we need it! After doing this blog since March, I have realized that you can only worry about money so much, after that, it is time wasted. Sometimes you just have to live a little, and if that means spending some money on yourself instead of waiting for a rainy day, so be it! So, I apologize if this goes against the grain on the personal finance advice, but we need some time to just unwind and get ready to start a new job! I promise we’ll kick it into financial ass-kicking gear starting next week!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Expense Of Moving Cross-Country & Getting Back On Track

I estimated that our move would cost us around $2,500. Boy was I wrong! All in all, by changing jobs and moving 1,500 across the country, our bill was around $4,000. Add in the fact that in this month we ended up paying 2 different rents for the majority of the month, we are looking at roughly a $5k bill. For the majority of this bill, we put most of it on credit cards to be able to buy some time in paying for everything; however, we need to pay it this CC bill to avoid interest. We are going to take a serious hit in our net worth and debt repayment due to this move.

As of right now, I am planning on starting my new job September 5th. Mrs. Medicated is still currently looking for a position after having a couple of leads fall through. We are not worry about her situation, though we would like her to find something sooner than later. We still have 2 paychecks each coming from our old employer that we will help for the month of September, as well as receiving our security deposit back from our old rental house. All in all, we are planning to pay off the credit card as soon as possible, place the remaining money from these checks in our debt repayment, and hopefully be back on a dual income by October. From there, it is our goal to try to finish paying off our remaining balance on our debt repayment plan, and then beginning saving for our house down payment.

Our goal is buy a house in the next 12 to 18 months depending on the location, price, and amount saved for the down payment. We are extremely happy with the decision that we have made to move, but as you can see, it has changed our financial progress. We need to just get settled into our new house, new job(s), and then determine how fast we can get the train back on track! Thanks to all of the well-wishers especially D over at Divorce To Financial Freedom for the encouraging words and support!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Home Sweet 'New' Home

“What is more agreeable than one's home?” -Marcus Tullius Cicero

We made it to our new home yesterday and are happy to announce that everything went safe and sound. We have spent the last 2 days unpacking, unpacking, and some more unpacking! I did take a time-out today to get the computer set-up and get back to being online. Definitely need our internet access!

So the big question of the day for us is: How did this move affect us financially? Well, to be honest, the hour is late and the day is almost done, but we will answer this question over the next couple of days as well as get our ‘financial house’ in order as well.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Moving Day!

We finished packing up our stuff and crammed everything in the truck to head out across the county. Hard to believe that moving day is here! We probably will be out of commission for the next week with the move and everything, but we hope to have the blog up and running shortly after we move into our new home. Until then, thanks for reading.

-The Medicated’s

Monday, August 21, 2006

You Got To Roll With It!

With this past Friday being our last day of work, we spent today finalizing everything with our now previous employment. We had meetings with HR, Payroll, Benefits, and underwent exit interviews. We are planning on signing up for COBRA, but this will not occur until September 1st due to our health insurance continues for the rest of the month. We plan to discuss this in another post!

One important item from today’s meeting was to decide what to do with the money we have invested into our pension fund. With our employer, one becomes vested at 5 years of service. Unfortunately, we did not reach the five years; therefore, we have decided to roll the money into an IRA. I contacted our financial institution that we invest our 403(b) into, and because we like their services, we have determined to stay with them. We plan to roll our pension money into an IRA as well as take the money from our 403(b) and roll that in as well.

I must say that I was very impressed with the service our financial institution provided. They spent the better part of an hour going through the online application and answered every question that I had. I am unsure what financial institution options we will have with our new company; however, we are hoping that our current group will be an option.

As of right now, because my new company does not match any contributions for the 1st year, we are currently of thinking of not investing any money in order to fund our housing account that we plan to start after we complete our debt repayment plan. Yet, that topic is for another post!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Pack, Pack, Pack

After a long 2 days of packing, we are about 75% finished with our preparation for the move. Our to-do list was filled with tasks and things that we need to complete before we move, and unfortunately, we were unable to make a dent in it due to the never ending packing of boxes and bins! It truly is amazing how much stuff you have when you start going through it!

However, I just wanted to say thanks to the members over at the Money Blog Network Forums. I thought I would be able to do a little Medicated Money site updating this week after a discussion with members on the Network, but alas, it was not to be.

I really appreciate the advice given and plan to implement it when I have the time! Thanks again to Flexo, Kewee, My Money Forest, Tricia, Pfblueprint, and Financial Reflections!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

More Preparation Before The Move!

In preparation for the big move, I decided to take our car into the shop for its 30k tune-up. We are planning on renting a 24ft truck, towing one car with the rental truck, and driving our second car. All in all, 1,500 miles of open road lay between us and our new home.

It definitely will be an exciting trip, but definitely a long one. We are figuring that we will be able to manage around 50mph with the truck, and our goal is drive 500 miles/day. This means we are looking at most likely 3 days of driving. The car checked out fine, but more outflow of our money to pay for this. $600 all said and done! I keep telling myself that it is better to have the car checked out and ready to go then hit a problem on the road that could possible cost us not only much more money but more importantly, time!

Thanks again to D over at Divorce To Financial Freedom for reminding us to not get too stressed out from this entire ‘move’ thing!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Medicated Money Is Hemorrhaging Money!

"Finance is the art of passing money from hand to hand until it finally disappears." -Robert W. Sarnoff

With our upcoming new employment and move across the country, we are currently hemorrhaging money from all possible gaps. We knew going into the month of August that things were going to get a little tight, but this is ridiculous. I am constantly online checking accounts, sliding money from here to there to still try to maximize interest rates (why try!?!) As of right now, the blood loss is somewhere around $5k with everything. Include our normal monthly expenses; it seems that everyone has their fingers in an almost empty cookie jar.

From paying 2 rents plus security deposits to buying supplies to move, the damage is mounting! The good news is that we are still afloat, but we are taking on water fast! Hopefully, we can dig ourselves out before we completely sink!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Six Degrees Of Medicated Money

I love personal finance blogs. Absolutely, positively, love them. I am constantly on the look out for ‘new’ blogs to me. Currently, I read 72 different blogs through my second love (second, only to Mrs. Medicated) Google Reader. I try to comment on interesting posts and love the community aspect of the personal finance blog world. Many of our readers stop by and read a little because they see us on a bigger, better blog. We love the comments we receive because of this, and the different conversations that arise from these readers. So in a way to pay it forward, I have started the Six Degrees of Medicated Money.

How does it work? Well, I start off at a blog currently on the Medicated Connection list, and go out into cyber-world. Those on the Medicated Connection are very familiar to me, but many blogs on their blog-roll list are not. So I choose a blog from this blog-roll and try to read as much as possible. When I have a good idea of what the blog is about, I choose another blog from THEIR blog-roll and move forward. I repeat these steps until I go through six different blogs! Why do I do this? To be honest, I love reading many different opinions on the same topics. Many of these blogs have many readers and others don’t! I figure we’ll give a little love to all and support the personal finance community by making our readers aware of these sites. So without further ado, here are the initial blogs of Six Degrees of Medicated Money:

1st Degree: A Medicated Connection:
No Credit Needed

2nd Degree:
Crazy Money – A fellow Texas pf blogger, Matt @ Crazy Money posts great information on a personal level. I especially like his plan of a 24-month mortgage.

3rd Degree:
Yet Another Blog About Money – This blog is on the reading list already, and I love Miserly Bastard’s attitude towards personal finance, New York housing, and poker. I’m just scared of meeting him on an online poker game!

4th Degree:
Chipping Away: Busting Debt In Boston – Miserly does not have a blogroll on his site, so I found Chipping Away through a comment on his site! A fairly new blogger (like us) who is determine to say good-bye to his debt! Looks like he is well on his way!

5th Degree:
2Million – Another blog on our list for reading! The man is on a mission; a mission to reach a net worth of 2 Million plus the value of his home. Looks like he is well on his way!

6th Degree:
Our Money – Another blog on the list and fellow Texan blogger. Brian at Our Money is a man of few words, but a well-develop financial plan. With his wife, he is on an unbelievable track to hit all of their financial goals!

Well, there you have it. The first Six Degrees of Medicated Money. All of these blogs are excellent reads and I would highly recommend you stop by and check them out. If you are interested in being added to the Medicated Connection, let us know! We are always looking for a little cross-linking between friends!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Workin' For A Livin'!

“Somedays won't end ever and somedays pass on by, I'll be working here forever, at least until I die. Dammed if you do, dammed if you don't. I'm supposed to get a raise week, you know damn well, I won't.” –Huey Lewis & The News

Well, it was our goal to try and write a post-a-day. The problem with this goal, just not enough time in the day. This past week was one of those weeks where every time you look at the clock at work, it was past 5 and you realize you have another 3-4 hrs left to go.

With this being said, it brought up an interesting question between Mrs. Medicated and I as we ate dinner last night at 8pm. When you are work in a salary position, and you put in more time than expected, does that bother you?

I calculated that this past week I worked roughly 70 hours. However, my pay is based off a 40hr/week. So that additional 30hrs I am working for the hospital, is never financial accounted for. Granted, I knew going into this career that I would be doing this, and I think this is why it does not bother me! Yet, I have colleagues that will complain until the cows come home how much time they are working and how they should be compensated for it. With my position, I do not have a boss that is breathing down my neck. I do not have to sit at a desk and do paperwork for hours on end. My job consists of me seeing and talking to people that are in need of answers. Many of our patients are scared, unsure, and looking to me for the answers. Granted, there are difficult days when I cannot provide the answers to there questions or give them assurance that everything will be okay. But at the end of day, I walk out knowing that I made a difference in their lives, and no financial value can be placed on that. So, working 70hrs/week does not really bother me. But I am different; I don’t think I could say the same if I was an accountant or electrician. So, where do you fall in this discussion?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Employers, Employees, & 401(k) Participation

The need to get more workers involved in their retirement plan at work is a difficult task for most employers. From a personal standpoint, we fell into this category for 3 years. Less than one year ago for us, we were serious debating whether or not to put money into our 403(b). The reason for not contributing was that we seriously thought we could not live with reducing our take-home pay. The scary thing is it looks like we were not alone. Like many individuals, procrastination and the inability to live below your means was a stronger force than the fear of retiring without a financial plan. Luckily for us, we learned early from our mistakes and have completely changed our financial future.

It now looks like many employers who are worried about their employees are trying to change those employees financial future as well! This is an excellent article that discusses this fact.

Employers getting creative with 401(k) participation

With the extinction of traditional pensions, many employers know that the only retirement salvation for employees will be their 401(k). Due to this, many employers are making contributions mandatory. I agree with this plan of making contribution mandatory. I also believe that workers should be educated about the importance of these plans and what it will eventually mean to their financial future. If employers do not educate their employees, many workers will be lost in the financial confusion.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Medicated Milestone - $50K In Investments

We are very excited to announce that we have reached the $50k milestone in our investment accounts. We hit this mark yesterday with the addition of our monthly contribution to our 403(b) accounts.

We know that this is just the start of milestones for us in this category, and in relation to the big picture, $50k is not that much. Yet, we are excited about it!

We truly believe that in personal finance you need to set goals and celebrate milestones to help stay focus and discipline. As in many things in life, it is 10% action and 90% reaction to be successful!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

A New Card & A Little Rant

We just received our new 0% Balance Transfer CC today in the mail. As you may remember, Bank of America decided to screw us over. So with that, I just want to send a quick thank you to Bank of America for screwing up our Debt Repayment Plan, and making us spend our time fixing a problem that arose from their terrible customer service.

Good thing they have a logo of ‘Higher Standards!' I would hate to see what they consider 'Lower Standards' after their bait and switch scams and poor customer service.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Texas Holiday Weekend!

Starting today and continuing through the weekend, shoppers in Texas are free from paying taxes on certain clothing and footwear. For those of you who do not know, the current sales tax is 6.25% plus local jurisdiction tax in Texas. For most, this means an average of 8% sales tax. August 4th, 5th, and 6th are considered a holiday in Texas due to the tax break on most clothing and footwear under $100.

Mrs. Medicated is excited to hit the stores early Saturday morning. The best part of this is that most stores offer early-bird sales as well, as it is definitely a reason to get out early and take advantage of the deal.

We have set a budget of $250 on our expenditures. Hopefully, we can get some very good deals and really stretch the dollars!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

One "Caution: This Thing Makes Wide Turns" Sticker, Please!

Well, today we booked the rental truck for our move home. Add another $1,000 to the continuing growing moving expense tab.

We have decided to move ourselves due to an atrocious personal experience with a moving company plus the many horror stories from others with their dealing with movers. In the end, we figured that we would pay less moving ourselves with the help of friends and family then going with professional movers, or at least break even.

We have decided to rent a 24ft truck, equipment to tow a car, and then drive the 2nd car. We are planning on this trip taking us approximately 3 days. So with the cost of the truck and trailer plus the expense of gas, food, and accommodations, we are hoping to stay under $2,000. That would make the total cost of moving close to $2,500. Not too bad for moving across this the county!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Expenses For July 2006

For the month of July, we did much better in keeping close to our budget compared to the month before. We missed our targeted amount by roughly $100, or 2.7%.

Not bad considering the fact that we this was our best month in monthly expenses. That’s the good new; now the bad news. In preparing for our upcoming move at the end of the month, we needed to begin purchasing flights home, flights for our family to help us, and the added cost of paying the security deposit for our new town house. All in all, this category, which was not budgeted for, cost us roughly $1,300.

As explained in our last post, we used money from our emergency fund to cover this expense. We are going to tentatively plan to use this budget for August, but it would not surprise us if some categories are just blown out of the water due to the expense of those both here at our old apartment and our new one, plus the added expenses of the move!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Net Worth - July 2006

It is that time again where the personal finance community toes the line, stands up straight, and publishes their net worth. And in keeping with ‘status quo,’ we get to toe that line and put out our financial worth in this post.

Here is our financial chart:

And in keeping with our routine, here are a couple of comments on this past month’s performance:

  • The negative change in the Work Retirement – Husband account is due to a recent inquiry which resulted in a wrong amount being calculated. The value now is the correct amount.
  • Car Loan #2 is our next victim on the Debt Repayment plan, and we have paid this debt down to $1,800. We are planning on suspending the Debt Repayment Plan for the month of August due to our upcoming move, but we hope to have this paid off in the month of September.
  • The emergency fund is lower, but you can read more about that here.
  • Finally, we were able to increase our net worth by 8.53% for the month of July. Since the creation of this blog, we have increased our net worth by 37.62%.