May 1, 2012

So far, here's where we are.

It has been a long time since I posted here. I thought I was done with personal finance blogging, but you know I live it everyday.

Since moving to Portland, we've pretty much tried to live frugally though not always successful. We bought an old Honda Accord 99 from J's co-worker for $1,500 and we did so in cash! Yeah! It was great to have done such a huge purchase in cash. We lived without a car for 6 months just how we planned it when we were still in NZ. We took buses to work and to take our kid to pre-school. It was cheap but not always convenient. When we needed a car, we rented from Zipcar.

We have paid all of our NZ credit card debt (another yeah!) and, sadly, made the decision to cash out our Kiwisaver. J had done his and mine is in process as of writing. It was our last major connection with NZ and we were a bit sad to have done it. We have no consumer debt here, but I had to apply for a credit card because I found it a challenge to "establish a credit rating" here without some form of borrowing. It was odd and annoying at the same time.

So the only thing we owe is J's student loan. It is now below the $34k mark but it's still a drag to have it. We pay 10% more of the minimum per month. That's the most we could do right now especially with paying almost $800/month for L's pre-school. While I can't wait to pay less for his schooling when he turns Kindergarten (or First Grade?) to save money and pay debt, there's that odd feeling about my baby growing too fast.

My parents also purchased a rental property that they named to me and my 2 siblings. I don't count my share of that towards my net worth for no reason. They plan to improve that property, we're preparing for our share on that, which could easily cost us around $20k. So far, we've only saved $2,800 towards that fund. We're hoping to be able to save that much until end of next year without dipping into our NZ money of around $13k NZ. We will put that money to a term deposit to earn a bit.

Overall, our life has improved financially. So many tough decisions had to be made to get to where we are. It seemed that we were going nowhere with our debt pay down while we were in NZ. Getting paid more here facilitated our progress. We have at least $8k saved for emergency on top of the refurbishment fund, have established a $50/month saving towards L's college fund, $50/month to my Roth, $25/month to our long-term travel fund, and saving every extra penny to our emergency fund.

In so many ways, I've been disconnected from NZ life for so long now. I even forgot my bank login details and have not done a thing to be able to access it again. It has also been a bit challenging not to give in to dining out or buying takeaways when we're so busy. There's so many food places to explore here in America and shopping can be so enjoyable if money were unlimited! Every time I get the urge to buy, I think about the effort it took to purge stuff before we left NZ. That was such a job! I don't ever wanna do that again!

Til next. xo.

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