Picking up Nickels

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Time to lock in current CD rates (again)?

I'm closing in on the one year anniversary of my 15-month World Savings CD purchase and have been getting a bit skittish about replacing that rung on my CD ladder since a FOMC fed funds interest rate cut over the next month could take a bite out of future CD interest rates.

Even though my World Savings CD is due to mature in December, I decided to open a 5 year E-Loan CD @5.55% APY today, since I've had a good experience with my previous E-Loan CD purchase and they are currently offering one of the best rates for a 5 year CD.

No one really knows if and when the Federal Reserve will cut rates, but I'm trying to learn from the harsh lesson of 2004 when my cash was earning a paltry 2% in a money market account...


Monday, August 13, 2007

August 2007 Financial Asset Roundup

Here are my current financial assets as of the market close on August 10th, 2007:

Asset July 2007 August 2007 Change
Checking 258 470 212
Money Market 40,071 52,545 12,474
Savings Bonds 4,558 4,575 17
Treasury Bills 0 9,000 9,000
CDs 58,361 58,600 239
Brokerage 105,880 105,222 -658
401k 105,365 100,019 -5,346
Roth IRA 34,315 33,063 -1,252
SEP IRA 175,906 172,515 -3,391
529 Savings 35,701 34,868 -833
Credit Card 0% Balance Transfers 0 -19,075 -19,075
Total Assets $560,415 $551,802 -$8,613 (1.5%)

Thanks to the mortgage meltdown, the S&P 500 index has continued its downward trend to the tune of about 4% since my July 2007 update. My bottom line took a considerable hit, although that number was softened a bit by an additional 2007 SEP IRA contribution:

(chart courtesy of msn.com)

I did make a couple of moves over the past month though. First, I took advantage of a 0% balance transfer offer on my spare Bank of America WorldPoints Mastercard. I will be borrowing $19,000 at 0% until February 2008, and will have that cash sitting in a high yield money market account until then (while making minimum payments). I also put $9,000 into a 28 day T-Bill earning a 5.5% tax-equivalent yield. However, if the rumors of a
FOMC emergency rate cut come true, then 5% yields on cash may soon disappear.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Free Ladies Schick Quattro & Gillette Venus Razors at CVS Pharmacy

CVS Pharmacy has in-store deals for free Schick Quattro Razor for women and Gillette Venus Breeze razors this week through August 18th.

CVS has the Schick Quattro Razor for Women on sale for $2 this week. This price combined with the $2 off any Schick Quattro Razor for Women razor or refill coupon from the 8/12 SmartSource coupon booklet will make this razor free.

The Gillette Venus Breeze ladies razor is on sale for $8.99 this week, although getting it for free requires a coupon sent out to members of the Proctor & Gamble Vocalpoint program. CVS is also offering a $5
Extra Bucks bonus (available immediately after purchase), bringing the cost down to $3.99. This price combined with the $4 off the purchase of one Gillette Venus Breeze Razor (exp 9/28/07) coupon from the July 2007 Vocalpoint coupon mailing will make this razor free.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Happy Blogiversary to me!

Wow, it's been an entire year since I've started this blog. I'd like to take a moment to review how my financial assets have grown since August 2006:

Asset August 2006 August 2007 Change
Checking 160 195 35
Money Market 54,283 52,545 -1,738
Savings Bonds 16,761 4,575 -12,186
Treasury Bills 26,000 9,000 -17,000
CDs 0 58,600 58,600
Brokerage 80,922 105,368 24,446
401k 84,872 100,251 15,379
Roth IRA 24,606 33,152 8,546
SEP IRA 125,549 172,815 47,266
529 Savings 26,810 34,934 8,124
Credit Card 0% Balance Transfers 0 -19,075 -19,075
Total Assets $439,963 $552,360 +$112,397 (25.5%)

Thanks to a good year for my S Corporation, disciplined saving and spending habits and a strong stock market (the S&P 500 index is up almost 15% over the past year), I have managed a significant gain to my bottom line:

(chart courtesy of msn.com)

Although my posting frequency has gone down quite a bit since May, working on this blog has really made me take a closer look at maximizing my finances. In addition to starting this blog one year ago, I've also expanded my horizons by doing things like starting to invest in T-Bills, building a 5 year high yield CD ladder, and by playing the credit card arbitrage game by making money on 0% credit card balance transfers. I have no idea what's in store for the year ahead, but can only hope they it is as successful as the past twelve months have been: business has been good and I am fortunate to be happy, healthier (due to a 25 lb weight loss), and wealthier