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Archive for February, 2008

Hyper-miling

February 24th, 2008 at 06:19 pm

Gasoline prices just keep going up and up! I know NJ has some of the lowest prices in the nation and that is why it is so scary to me that I just paid $2.89/gallon...what must some of you be paying?! The future is not too bright as far as crude oil price futures go, so I have been trying to find ways to get better MPG with my car.

I found this website - http://www.cleanmpg.com a few weeks ago and it has truly inspired me. I have a 2008 Honda Fit with automatic transmission so some of the tips they suggest do not pertain (a lot of the advice is for manual transmission vehicles), but I have been driving much more slowly - 5 to 10mph under the limit depending on if there are other drivers behind me instead of my usual 5-10mph over the limit. It has only added 5-10 minutes to my usual drive to and from work so no problem there as I still get there 15-20 minutes before the start of the day. I have also been coasting to stops (something I have always done but now I am coasting for longer distances), and putting my car in neutral at long red lights. I am not even sure putting the car in neutral helps my MPG that much but it is something I saw mentioned that is doable with my auto tranny so I am trying that for now.

I plan on increasing my tire pressure this week. Honda recommends 32psi, and the maximum sidewall on my tires says 51psi, so I plan on going up to 40psi. I have been keeping track of my fuel economy through www.fueleconomy.gov/mpg/MPG.do which allows you to track all your fuel purchases and calculates your MPG for each tank of gas. With just the few alterations I have made in my driving in the last 3 weeks I have increased my mileage from 30mpg to 32mpg and even got 35mpg on the highway last week. I am hoping to get 34-35mpg on a regular basis once I increase the tire pressure.

I have taken this on almost as a new hobby and try to challenge myself to do better each day. I am actually enjoying driving slower and paying close attention to the RPM gauge which is surprising since I tend to have a real lead foot! Smile

Tax Refund Arrived - EF is Fully Funded!!!

February 16th, 2008 at 10:34 am

WooHoo! I checked my ING checking and the IRS deposited our federal refund yesterday as promised. Big Grin

I now have $5,000 in our EF!!!!!!

There is some leftover from the refund which I have put aside in a separate ING savings. I'll wait until we get our state refund and then decide where to allocate the rest of the money. I am just thrilled to have a fully funded EF for right now. Smile

Legal or not, I caved

February 13th, 2008 at 10:11 am

I talked directly to the insurance company today, and they explained that they do not allow monthly payments without auto debit because it is too easy for the coverage to lapse. I do understand that logic, but still think it would have been fine for me personally. I decided to pay quarterly so that I will not have to sign the auto-withdrawal form. It is more than I had budgeted this month, but I should be able to make it up in March's budget. Thanks to YNAB I know where all my money is all of the time. Smile

Is this legal???

February 12th, 2008 at 04:54 pm

I am very annoyed right now. I applied for Disability Insurance with 2 companies through an online servie called "Quote Retriever". I have not been impressed with the service at all, but have muddled through in the hopes that once a policy is in force I will be able to deal directly with the company I choose instead of them.

So, I chose the policy I wanted of the two I applied to, and they requested 2 additional documents and a check for the first month's premium. No problem. I signed and faxed the forms right away (practically had to sign over my first born, but whatever), and the lady at Quote Retriever wanted me to fill out and fax her an "Automatic Bank Withdrawal Form" with my bank account and routing number that gives the insurance company permission to auto debit my checking account each month. Well, I have worked in banking and I know that once you sign one of these forms you might as well forget having any control whatsoever over your money because the company can take as much as they want whenever they want...cause you signed that it was okay. I explained that I did not allow this and that I would set up an auto payment through my online bank myself. I did just that through my ING Electric Orange account. The check was mailed last week and received yesterday.

Today I get an email from the QR lady again telling me that the company will not put my policy in force unless I either sign the Auto Withdrawal form and allow them to take money from my account each month or pay them in full for the year. Does anyone know if this is legal? I mean, if I skip out on a payment they can just drop my coverage like any other insurance. I don't get this at all...and I am fightin' mad!

Filed Taxes & Another Rebate Received

February 6th, 2008 at 10:19 am

I lost my patience waiting for the college to send me the amount I paid in tuition/fees in 2007 - Actually they sent it and it was BLANK! I called and they said they can send me something else showing the amounts, but I just can't wait another day. I went online and multiplied the number of credits I took by the amount they charge per credit and used that for the taxes. It ended up having absolutely no effect on the taxes since even without it we were getting everything back plus the EIC since we were so "poor" this year. I should be posting a full EF in just a few weeks!!! Big Grin

I still have not made a decision about the rest of the refund money. We shall see.

I am adding $7.99 to the EF today for the last Free-bate from my contact lens solution which I received yesterday. I am over 1/3 of the way to my $5,000 goal now. Smile

New EF Balance: $1,701.67

Taxes & Refund Money Dilemma

February 1st, 2008 at 08:27 pm

I have all of our W-2s and 1099s ready to go, but am waiting on a statement from my school (tells how much I paid last year in tuition/fees so I can get a credit), and the statements from SallieMae for both of our student loans (tells how much we paid in interest on our loans and lowers our AGI).

We will definitely be getting a refund this year so I'd love to get moving and get the taxes filed. I started putting the information we do have into TaxSlayer (free federal and state filing for us this year), and found out that I also have to wait until after February 8th for a certain form that the IRS has not yet released for 2007 (I think it is the form to report the school tuition/fees actually). Frown

I am anxious to receive the money so I can put my plans into action. Between refunds from federal and state taxes, we should have enough to reach $6,000 in the EF and have some leftover.

The leftover amount will probably be about $800. Here is where I have been second-guessing myself. I intended to put the money over and above the EF towards the $8,800 credit card that is at 0% until Feb 2009, but now I am wondering if I should put it toward a trip to DisneyWorld for the 3 of us.

My daughter has never been and she will be 10 years old this year. I am feeling sad that we have not been able to take her and, while I know she is still a little girl, she is getting older. We have alot of plans (pay off debt, buy a house, save for her Bat Mitzvah, etc), and if we don't do it this year I am afraid we will not be able to do it for another 4-5 years or more...and then she really will miss the magic of seeing Disney through the eyes of a child. :'(

I guess I will talk it over with my husband and see what he thinks, but his eyes tend to glaze over whenever I try to crunch the numbers with him.

ING interest added for January

February 1st, 2008 at 07:37 pm

I just added the interest paid from our ING accounts to our EF. Between all the accounts we made $10.31 in interest. Smile

New EF Balance: $1,668.68

Edited to add: I also realized while looking at my YNAB program that I have an extra $25 to put into the EF. This is from an insurance premium that I had budgeted for in January but the policy did not go into effect until February. The other part of the money I used to spread a little love to some other budget items. Smile

New EF Total: $1,693.68