By January 31, 2006

Who Wants to Save Money, Anyway?

You hear it from everyone. Save your money. Put your money away for retirement. Invest! I normally hear these things from those fortunate enough to have already set up their financial nest eggs and/or have the financial means to put aside 30% or more of their paycheck into savings.

So, I’ve been trying to behave. I contribute the max of my 401(k). When I exercised my stock options this year, I put 30% of the proceeds in an ING Direct savings account. I’ve reduced my debt sources. Aside from my motorcycle loan and house-related loans (including our windows), I have almost completely recovered from being underemployed for a year in Oregon.

I thought I was doing well for myself until this month. Funny how things come at you all at once.

First off, the stupid monkeys at my employer didn’t withhold Maryland local taxes, so I owe Montgomery county a nice $541 instead of getting a refund like I did last year. My responsibility to check? Maybe, but why the fuck do those people have a job in the first place?

Even with the house deduction, I owe the fed about $1800 due to my stock options. That’s actually less than I thought, and less than I’d saved from my stock purchase. So between the fed and MD, I have my taxes covered this year. Unfortunately, I could have used some of that money to pay for our fence, which started to lean last Sunday. It turns out that the fence company just put the posts in the dirt, instead of in concrete. 12 years of rain and water drainage rotted five of our back posts, of which one post has completely rotted through. He’s the one responsible for our fence, and the other posts now have lots of pressure on them. I can’t wait to wake up one morning to find the entire back fence line lying on the ground.

We’re having the old fence ripped out and a new fence put in starting February the 10th. That’s the to the tune of about $3800.

And to top it all off, as Lady Jaye was talking with the fencing company, she noticed that one of the planks on our deck was warped, and has broken free of the rest of the deck. The good news is that I’ll be able to vent a little frustration on it when I nail that bastard back down.

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3 Comments on "Who Wants to Save Money, Anyway?"

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  1. jaine_parr says:

    They didn’t warn you about this in house buying school, did they? The general rule of thumb is to put 1% of the purchase price of the house away each year for upkeep expenses. With the rapidly escalating prices on houses, this is not a valid rule of thumb anymore. Use 1% of the estimated sale value of the property. Let it accrue in the years you don’t need it, because things like roof replacement will take more.

  2. cymwyd says:

    I hear you. Homeownership is a never ending series of decisions on where to spend the money next. The Captain and I decided we’d do some serious home improvement projects this year – ones we’ve been talking about for at least 2-3 years. We figure if we keep the total debt (including mortgage) down to the total cash we could put our hands on, we’re probably OK. The expectation being that we will never really NEED to pay off the mortgage plus all other debts in cash, all at once, but that we could.

    I know this probably sounds like an unachievable goal, barring your long-lost rich Uncle dying and leaving you a fortune or hitting the Powerball 😉 but remember we graduated college with zero debt AND we have a 20 yr headstart on our partnership!

  3. drfaulken says:

    While not a bad idea in principle, socking away 1% a year would still be less than the necessary amount just to replace the fence. Not to mention the screen door that snapped a metal hinge during a recent windstorm, or any of the other general goofiness that we all know goes along with home ownership.

    Percentage-wise, this isn’t nearly a big a hit as when I had to repair the in-ground oil tank at my first home. The oil tank began to leak into the soil. The tank had to be pumped out and filled with sand. I lost all the oil in the tank, had to pay for a new (above ground) tank, to the tune of $5000. I was in college at the time and making $6.50 an hour working at Eddie Bauer. I think after taxes that was over a 1/3 of my yearly income down the drain.