Leaving Money On The Table

I have 2 401Ks, one from my most recent full time employer and one from an employer before that I never bothered to roll over. The total of the two is almost 40K. I need to do something with them.

  • I believe that my current contract firm has a 401K but of course there is no match, however the dollars I put in would be pre-tax.
  • I could roll the whole amount over into an IRA but if I am not mistaken, any contributions I would put in there would be after-tax. That’s a bummer. If you know anything different, please clarify.
  • I could leave them both where they are for the time being until I end up an another perm employer that has a matching  plan.

I’m at a loss. What would you do? Any suggestions?

Vintage

When I was young(er) and had disposable income that I didn’t know much to do with, I did what a lot of black educated bougie chicks did in the late 90s and early 2000s did: I bought a Coach purse. This was before Coach went down market and slapped their famous and well-known “C” logo on everything from shoes to belts to bucket hats. *sigh* Those were the days…

I may be bougie but I ain’t stupid..my handbags were never purchased full price, always with a coupon and always from the outlet store. How you like me now?? And since two of my bags were the classic Coach full grain leather, I knew they would last a very long time. And they have. But they aren’t really my style anymore. And I have tons of cute, cheap purses that I carry at various times. So I thought I was done with my bag lust. I thought I was cured..

But I was NOT, YA’LL!!! I am still infected with the “want this purse real bad” disease.

And this, is the object of my desire:

Michael Kors Hamilton tote

I. want. that. bag. BAD.

It’s so weird though, I haven’t wanted a purse in so long. But I follow fashion blogger, Economy of Style, and she has the tan colored one and it is BOSS. It’s just the right size and it has a shoulder strap too. It would carry all of my crap with style and grace. But ya’ll….The price tag: $348. (Pause. Take a breath. Let it out, slowly.)

I haven’t paid that much for a purse..in like..EVER.

So, what I thought maybe I would do is sell my Coach bags to help finance the Michael Kors bag. After all, buying vintage is what is on-trend, right?? My bags are in good shape and with a good wipe down with some leather conditioner will be looking brand new(ish).

So here are my Coach bags for your perusal..how do they look to you? How much should I try to sell them for? Where do I sell them at??

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Brown leather shoulder strap bag.

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Black pebbled leather hobo.

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Black microfiber hobo trimmed in leather.

I’m taking all suggestions in the comment section. After all, what’s old is always new again, right?

Swimming With Sharks

Myron and I enjoy watching Shark Tank on ABC on Friday nights when we are at home. The sharks make dreams come true or crush them under their collective heels. I like the updates on the entrepreneurs too, even the ones who don’t get any money out of their dealings with the sharks.

As for me, I’ve always wanted to own a resume writing and career services business that would help college students market themselves better. I revise folks resumes for fun anyway and am always willing to pass along a lead on a job, so why not?

That got me to thinking, if you had the capital and the product, what type of business would you want to have??  If you have a plan in mind, have you gotten started on making it happen?? Be vague if you need to, but at least share the industry that your dream business is in.

I Have Questions, You Have Answers: Round 6

  • Do you have a budget?
  • Do you STICK to it?
  • Do you use budgeting software or websites of any kind? (I have a mint.com account)
  • Are you truly finding it useful?
  • Do you have student loan debt? (I won’t ask how much, unless you care to share.)
  • Do you ever think you will pay it all back? (Honestly, for me I don’t think so.)
  • Are you saving money regularly? How often?
  • Are you in a retirement plan at your job? What percentage are you saving?
  • Any major financial goals for the new year?
  • Have you pulled your free credit report for the year??  (I did the other day. It’s a mixed bag.)

You know the drill, hit me in the comments.

Green Is For The Money…

…and gold is for the honeys…my apologies to Bishop Don Juan for jacking his steelo for my post title..LOL!! I got this question in my Twitter DMs and thought I’d answer it, then put it to the commenters:

At what point do you think people  who are dating should get into discussing intimate financial details???

The answer to this is subjective of course but for me and Myron, we seriously started talking INTIMATE financial details when we got engaged. I didn’t want us to go into our marriage without financial transparency. We discussed debt, credit issues and salaries in great detail. We also discussing whether we would merge accounts (we use the 3 pot method – joint accounts for all money and personal accounts for play money – which we allocate out). We talked about planning for retirement and about insurance (health, life, etc.).

I think dating people don’t necessarily need to lay out all of their financial business. Dating does not equal married, even if you live together. I’ve lived with a man before and didn’t feel the need to tell him all my financials. All he needed to know is that I could cover my part of the rent and the household bills and if I could then I needed to let him know. If you don’t live with someone, you probably don’t need to share much at all.

However, you can note how a person handles their money; if you are observant enough. Listen to their conversation. Are they always talking about being broke and you know that based on their profession that they probably make a decent living?? When you are at their home, are there pink notices laying around?? Are there calls from bill collectors that they quickly shut down? Are they always just a little short toward the end of the month??  If they are a parent, are they dodging calls about child support from the other parent? Those may be things that you may need to file away in your mental Rolodex.

Now I don’t think that you should totally dump a person because of less that stellar financial habits: I have forgotten to pay the light bill before and been sitting in the dark and I have student loans that I’ll be paying off until I am 98.75 years old. But there is only so much you can discuss while simply dating a person. Your mileage may vary, of course.

The floor is now open, commenters. What say ya’ll??

Adventures in Wifedom: Volume 2

Like most folks in these recessionary times, I am trying to watch all our hard-earned pennies. Since I am the CFO of the family, I make the bills get paid, the lights stay on and we don’t get evicted from the house. I bought my townhouse in 2006 and even then it was over 20 years old. The dwelling itself is in pretty good condition and my ever-increasing maintenance fees keep the property well maintained.

However, the appliances are old and original to the place, even though they work just fine. So as such, I didn’t really put too much thought into replacing them. I figured I’d get around to it at some point. But then I got married.

 The one appliance that has been the bane of my existence, even pre-husband is my air conditioning unit. I have patched it up for the last 5 years, at least once a year, for various ailments because I simply couple not afford to ante up the cash for a new one. Well, it got the last laugh on us on Friday. It gave up the ghost, went quietly into that good night, and died an undignified death.

 I called my A/C guy and his diagnosis was grim: We needed a new outside unit or else  it was going to be hot in therre for the both of us! Ya’ll do recall that I live in Houston, Texas right???

 I got the cold shakes as I wrote (the very large check) to replace the unit and Myron and I have been cold chillin’ ever since Friday evening. I’m thankful for our dual income household right about now. I probably would have needed to lean on my parents for a little additional help if I was single.

 What was the first major financial crisis that you had to tackle with your spouse or S/O or as a single person?

Money Talks

One of the most frustrating things about planning a wedding is trying to cut costs. Weddings are expensive, even on a small scale for the average bride. There is also a lot of judgement and sometimes shame surrounding the topic of money, in particular in dealing with weddings because couples want to have a nice wedding day without wanting to appear to have spent too lavishly or too cheaply.

We also live in an instant gratification society and when you are looking in wedding magazines and on the internet for inspiration, it can be discouraging to see all the beautiful weddings featured and then realize you can’t afford a lot of the items featured, even if you DIY a lot of the details. And if you are aren’t particularly crafty (like me), having to come out-of-pocket for the little details that make your wedding special, can start to add up.

Which is why I think that’s important to talk about wedding budgets to show that you can have a nice time at a decent price, even in a city as large as Houston. Mr. Google says that the average cost of a wedding here is from 17K-28K. WTF??? If I had 28K, I wouldn’t be spending it all on a wedding, that’s for sure.

I had a mental budget of 10K, all inclusive. I deliberately looked for venues where I could do a ceremony and reception at the same place. I deliberately sought out venues where I wouldn’t have to deal with multiple vendors for food, alcohol, chair rentals, linens, etc.

Here are our final numbers, exclusive of wedding rings and our mini-honeymoon.

Category Budget Actual Variance
Venue 5,295 (5,295) 0
Flowers 175 (141) 34
Dress 739 (739) 0
DJ 500 (500) 0
Photos 600 (600) 0
Cake 535 (535) 0
Alcohol 500 (176) 324
Invitations/Photobooks 400 (400) 0
Misc. 475 (636) (161)
Gifts (bridesmaids, hostesses, parents) 300 (78) 222
Totals 9,519 (9,099) 419

We were extremely pleased with how the wedding turned out BUT we were extremely blessed with lots of contributions from family and friends. Myron and I actually only had out of pocket costs of $4464.00. The remainder ($4645.00) was gifts to us from parents, family and friends. For example, my aunt gave me $500.00 toward my dress and one of our groomsmen gifted us our DJ. My sorority sister works at Anheuser-Busch and was able to get us 10 cases of beer for free. One of our twitter friends designed my invites for free and printed address labels for me.  I selected a venue that was already very aestically pleasing and didn’t require a lot of extra decorations. I didn’t do wedding favors. I used artificial flowers. All of those choices saved us a LOT of money.

I think the lessons a couple can learn from us is to research a lot of venues, limit your guest list, and don’t be too proud to accept help if folks offer.  The people that love and support you really will move mountains for you if they can.

I’ll be glad to answer any questions in the comments and hopefully by talking about this subject, someone can be helped and not discouraged from having a wedding if they really want one.