Sunday, July 20, 2014

Need Some Advice

I'm trying to figure out what type of savings account to open for my soon-to-be-born child. I know that a relative is going to give us a check when baby is born, and I keep hemming and hawing about what to do with it. I'd like an account that we can add to here and there (paying off student loans and saving for a house takes precedence over baby's account so no monthly deposits) know, birthday money, eventually allowance, etc.

I know 529 plans are a great college savings option, but I'm not sure I want to commit all of our funds to college. I MIGHT want to use it for that, but what if my kid gets a scholarship? What if he/she wants to use it for a first car or a house down payment? And (the teacher in me cringes at this thought) what if my kid doesn't go to college? I don't like the limits on a 529 plan.

I like the idea of setting up a savings account, so that later on my child can practice/learn good saving habits and put money in the bank for either long-term savings or for an item that he/she wants to save for in the short-term. Capital One 360 has a kids account, where they can create various accounts with names, so they can save towards various goals. This seems like a good option...but the interest is only .75%, so this account wouldn't make much money at all. And if I do end up using it for college, I'll probably regret not putting it in a 529 where the money could actually grow at a decent rate.

So those of you with kids, what do you use to save for them? Even if you don't have kids, based on what I'm thinking, what would you suggest?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Raise the Roof!

I just found out that the Union and the School Board reached an agreement for our contract, and it's a good one!

We are getting a 4% raise retroactive to last school year (meaning we will get a lump sum check sometime before Christmas), and a 4% raise for this coming year. So a total of an 8% salary increase! They are also upping the amount they put into our benefits in January.

This could not come at a better time for us! I'll be adding the baby to my insurance, so that's a new expense. I will also be taking a full 12 weeks of maternity leave, so the retro-active check will be helpful to cover the time that I won't be paid for. And obviously, kids bring up all sorts of expenses so making more money in general is a good thing!

We haven't had a raise since 2007, so I figured it would be a bigger raise than usual. I'm so pleased at how negotiations turned out, and can't wait to see that new total reflected on our check at the end of August. And, I'm super relived negotiations, while tense, worked out and no strike was needed.

Hurray for good news!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

One Down!!

Two weeks ago we hit a big financial milestone that I never shared: we paid off the first of my husband's student loans!!

We hit the jackpot when I got paid for summer school and he got his first paycheck from his internship at the radio station. I was able to beef up our savings account by about $1,300, and put a little more than that towards his loans. We paid off his first loan and put over $1,000 towards the second one. YES!

My goal is to get the second loan paid off by the end of this year, leaving us with three to go. I'm doing the Dave Ramsey method of paying them off smallest to largest, so after the second one, our progress may slow a little. Also, I hear kids cost money. But, I feel really good about adding to our savings and make progress on our debt.

Tomorrow is my husband's payday, and I should have a bit more summer school money coming in any day now, so we should be able to make another loan payment and save a bit more. Holla!