Thursday, October 27, 2005

I Invested $1000 In I-Bonds

After having a talk (well, I made some sounds at least) with my uncle, we decided to invest $1000 of my current savings into I-Bonds. For those of you who are not familiar with the, you can learn more about I-Bonds here. That means that $1000 of mine will be earning 4.8% for six months and then somewhere over 5.5% (I'll know the exact amount on November 1) for six months. Since my uncle doesn't believe he'll find more than $1000 worth of investments for me in the next year, we decided that this was a better place to keep the money rather than in cash.

This is an exciting moment for me since it's mt first investment of this kind that will pay me interest. I've liked the idea of compound interest since my uncle began explaining it to me and I want to use it to my full advantage since I am beginning to invest so young. I7m hoping for a big increase come November 1 so that my savings will grow even more.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

I'm One Happy Baby!

There's no doubt about it, I'm one happy baby the way things are currently going with my savings!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Money Trumps Smarts For College Graduation

This is some distressing news that I came across (so much that I was fussy the entire afternoon). When it comes to graduating from college, the amount of money you have plays a big part regardless of how smart you are. This from a recent press release from the College Board:

Education Pays 2005 also documents persistent gaps in graduation rates. Even among students with very high levels of academic achievement, those from families with low socioeconomic status are significantly less likely to enroll in college than their peers from more privileged backgrounds. Moreover, there are large gaps in college completion rates across socioeconomic groups.

"Socioeconomic status and college success cannot be separated from the serious problem of unequal academic opportunity within our schools," Caperton said. "In addition to increasing the affordability of higher education, we need to make sure that students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to prepare for college. As well, all families should be made aware of the financial aid process and the long-term benefits, both financial and personal, of investing in a college education."

What exactly does all this mean? It means that money is a bigger factor in graduation that how smart you are. From another article:

Sandy Baum, a College Board analyst, said the data show that college completion increasingly is "not about academic preparation, it's about money..."

Within the lowest socioeconomic quartile, 75 percent of high-scoring eighth-graders eventually enrolled in college, but only 29 percent earned college degrees by eight years after high school graduation.

Ninety-nine percent of high-scoring eighth graders within the highest socioeconomic quartile attended college, with 74 percent earning degrees.

This is yet another reason to plan early and save for college costs. In a society where everyone is supposed to have the same advantage no matter where they come from, it shows that having money above how smart you are goes a long way to getting a college degree.

Still shy of 4 months, I'm not sure if there is anything I can do to help with this situation, but I do want to have a good, long discussion (when I learn to talk) about if there is something that I can do to help...

My First Investment Profit!

I just found out that the antique cup set which I invested in sold on auction yesterday for $56.00. After all the fees, I ended up with $51.06 or a $26.06 profit. That was over a 100% return on my $25 investment which I liked very much and I've been gurgling all morning.

My uncle says that he will look for some more investments this coming weekend and I'm excited about that. I would cross my fingers and hope, but my coordination isn't quite that good yet, so I'll just hope.

I love mornings when my savings has increased overnight!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Another College Saving Program To Check Out

I have another program to check out when I find the time (I bet you don't realize how much time it takes being a baby and doing baby stuff!). The program is called LittleGrad and it looks like it is focused only on online purchases. Here's a bit about it I found:

The Little Grad Savings Manager automatically reminds members if a retailer is a Little Grad partner, and cites the percentage rebate offered. Importantly, grandparents, relatives and friends can also join and contribute directly to a child's account via their everyday online shopping. A member page detailing each contribution is accessible via Little Grad's password protected web site. And, with one click of the mouse a member can send a customizable email thank you note to family and friends for every rebate contribution they make. Little Grad users who invite their friends to join will receive additional rebates as long as they both are members.

I will do a better review when I have time to look over the specifics of the site.

Monday, October 17, 2005

New Finance Carnival Up & Goals

As I stated in my goals for this month, one was to write an article for the carnival of Personal Finance each week. The latest carnival is up at My Money Blog and my contribution this week was the post on the Indy 529 College Saving Plan

Revisiting my goals for this month, I still have a few things to do, but I'm getting close to reaching all of them. I'll need to write and submit a couple of more articles for the carnival, but I have that sort of in a rhythm now. I've already surpassed the savings goal I had for this month, so I'm a happy baby in that area. I still need to open a BabyMint account and find one more site trade. I still think that I can meet or exceed all the gaols for this month.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Some Facts On The Price Of College

While the news is always putting forth headlines of huge college expenses, they have to be taken into context. Yes, there are some colleges that cost a small fortune to attend, but these statistics that I found from are a bit more reassuring that college can be affordable:

...nearly 70 percent of students attending four-year schools pay less than $8,000 for tuition and fees per year? After grants are taken into consideration, the net price the average undergraduate pays for a college education is significantly lower than the published tuition and fees.

About 50 percent of students attending four-year colleges pay less than $6,000 for tuition and fees per year.

About three quarters of students attending public four-year colleges pay less than $6,000 for tuition and fees per year.

Only about 5 percent of all students attend colleges where tuition and fees total $24,000 or higher per year.

and just to let my mom and dad know that I've been listening

According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, people with a bachelor's degree earn over 70 percent more on average than those with only a high school diploma? Over a lifetime, the gap in earning potential between a high school diploma and a B.A. (or higher) is more than $1,000,000.

These make saving for college and the prices I'll have to pay seem a little less daunting.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Indy 529 - A Twist On The 529 Savings Plan

As I was doing my research the other day, I came across an interesting twist on the 529 plan. It's called the Independent 529 Savings Plan or Indy 529 (if you want to be trendy like me)

This plan began in September 2003 and is a group of just over 250 private schools that will allow me to purchase tuition credits today and redeem them in 18 years when I go to college at any of the participating colleges. (here is the full list of colleges which happens to include the colleges mom, dad and my uncle went to)

For example if college yearly tuition currently costs $10,000, and I invest $10,000 into the program today, even if the cost of attending the college rises to $20,000 I have already paid for it in full. If I invest $2,000, I've paid for 20% of one year's tuition no matter what it becomes when I actually attend college.

So why would I pick the Indy 529 over a regular 529 plan?

Basically I would be using today's money to pay for college when I'm ready to go. Statistics say that college tuition has been increasing about 6% a year, so if that trend continues, I would be getting a 6% return on the money. Of course, college tuition could increase more or less - it's kind of a gamble on what I think college tuition will be doing and if you believe you can make more by investing the money in another area.

Another bonus is that these schools actually give you a discount. The discount varies from school to school, but a 1% discount per year is typical.

The big risk (aside from college tuition not increasing - something that I don't think is going to happen) is if I decide to go to a different college than those listed in the plan, or decide not to go to college at all. While the money could be transferred to another name, if I wanted the money back for other things, I would only get back the money I put in initially, plus an annualized 2 percent gain or loss depending on how the fund which holds the money has performed.

There are also some financial aid implications. While many are predicting that the Indy 529 plan will be treated like a regular 529 plan and counted as the parent's assets for financial aid in the future, currently it would be considered my asset which could affect the amount of financial aid I could qualify for.

I guess the Indy 529 plan makes sense if I know I want to go to a private school and don't think the stock market will perform at its historical average in the future. Since I haven't even reached the third of a year mark in age, these are questions that I haven't considered with much thought and probably won't do so for quite some time. Even though the Indy 529 is not something for me at the moment, it's a creative alternative that certainly could turn out to be a great college investment for certain individuals.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

What Will My Return On Investment Be?

With the news that I will probably have to start finding other sources to increase my net worth, I decided that we would see how selling my investment would work out. Thus, my first investment is currently being sold. My uncle picked it up for me for $25 at a flea market and I have my fingers crossed (well, not really crossed because my coordination isn't quite at that level yet, but you get what I mean) that it turns out well.

He also said that he would look for more investment items this weekend for me. I'm off to work on my post that I will submit to the carnival of personal finance (one of my Oct. goals) and should have that up by tomorrow. All continues to go along smoothly (knock on wood - if I could - I can't seem to turn myself over quite yet on my own to do it, so I had to ask mom to help me)

Money Source Throws Wrench In Plans

For those of you who have been following my savings, you'll know that a good portion of it has come from ING with the initial sign up bonus and then referrals afterward. My plan was to have accounts opened for each member of the family and then with my uncle's help, max out the referrals. If I had done that with the three of us, the referral money alone would have come to $750 added to my savings.

Well, a wrench was thrown into that plan when ING announced this morning that to receive the $25 bonus when opening an account with them, it will no longer just cost $1, but you must deposit $250 to get it. Since this is a new change in their policy, I don't know how much it will effect the willingness of people to sign up, but I assume that it will be harder to earn my referral bonuses. It's much easier to open an account with $1 than it is to open one with $250. That means I will probably need to begin looking for another source to pad my savings. As you may have imagined. mom had to pass me the pacifier to calm me down from this news...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

My First Antique Investment

I just got word from my uncle that we have made out first antique investment. It's a set of three pewter sake cups that date before WW2 that he purchased for $25. They come in their original box which is always rare I'm told. The question is whether to hold onto them as a long term investment or try to sell them now to generate more cash to reinvest some more. We'll probably sell them quickly to make sure we're well ahead of this month's goals. A baby only a bit over three months old already investing in antique - imagine that!

In other good news I added another 2 ING $10 referrals to my savings over the last few days. That puts me in really good shape for this month.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

My Net Worth Rank

I ran across a post over at Free Money Finance that lists the Net Worth of all the finance writers like myself. The result are that I'm at the bottom of the list (this made me cry and it took a pacifier to calm me down):

1. NYC Money -- $689,728.95
2. My Personal Finance Journey -- $263,886
3. My Open Wallet -- $245,124.76
4. 2million -- $193,077.82
5. MMB's Personal Finance Journal -- $180,198.72
6. Capital Ideas -- $123,542
7. My Money -- $83,262
8. Debt Free -- $65,418
9. Personal Finance for the New Age -- $58,882.15
10. Consumerism Commentary -- $36,892.78
11. The Alpha Guy -- $27,818
12. Financial Baby Steps -- $2,164.67

Then I remembered that I have time on my side. Considering I'm only 3 months old, what if I was to project out a bit. Let's assume the average age of the writers is 35 years old. By taking my current net worth and extending it out to when I'm 35, I would have just over $3,600,000 ($2164.67 x 4 x 12 x 35 = $3,636,645.60) which would put me by far and away highest on the list. Granted, there are a lot of things that will happen between now and the time I'm 35, but looking at the numbers that way made me feel a lot much so that I spit out the pacifier and am still gurgling contently.

Monday, October 10, 2005

This Week's Personal Finance Carnival Is Up

The Carnival of Personal Finance (#17) is live. If you aren't familiar with carnivals, they bring together posts from various authors on a specific subject which gives you an opportunity see what others which you might not have been familiar with are writing.

My contributions this week was Really Creative Financing For College which shows 529 Saving Plans, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts and your parent's IRAs aren't the only way you can pay for college when you're creative. There's a lot of good reading to check out.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Best 529 Plans

One of the most frustrating aspects of trying to figure out about 529 plans is trying to get a good comparison on how they preform and their fees (especially when your still trying to get those first words out). As i was looking for simple guidelines, I stumbled upon Kiplinger's Top 529 College Saving Plans.

Their top choice makes sense to me. Index funds usually perform as well or better than managed funds and have low fees. The question is will any state tax benefits outweigh the extra fees if I decide on a 529 plan. Something I still need to research a bit more.

College Savings Superpage

While looking for more information about what's available, I came across SmartMoney's College Savings Superpage which I will have the adults go through with a fine toothed comb (something that I don't need at the moment - I'm still wondering when my hair will come in) to help resolve the best investment for me.

The page lays out the basics for six types of college investment options:

Taxable Investment Account in Parent's Name
529 Qualified Tuition Plan (QTP): College-savings account
529 Qualified Tuition Plan (QTP): Prepaid tuition plan
Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA)
Custodial Account: UGMA/UTMA
Crummey Trust

and then answers basic questions for each

Does the Account Grow Tax-Free?
Who's Eligible?
How Much Can I Contribute?
How Can I Allocate the Account?
What Can Withdrawals Be Used For?
Can I Change Beneficiaries?
What Are the Financial-Aid Implications?
Who Are the Best Candidates for This Type of Account?

It seems like a great primer for college savings education written is a straight forward manner. I think it will help me a lot in determining where to put my money.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Investing My Money

I am ready to begin investing some of the money I have. As I mentioned before, I decided to take a different approach in these early years. Instead of placing all the money into a 529 Plan or Coverdell Education Saving Account, I have decided to take this money and invest it in antiques. While this is not a typical approach, I have someone who is an expert in this area helping me out so I feel the potential risks are worth the rewards.

My uncle said that he will go on a buying run this weekend and try to pick up some items to begin my investments in this area. I'm excited to see what he will be able to find.

The plan will be to invest any profits into some type of college saving account. I still need to do some more research to find which would be best for me. I will sit down and review 529 Plans, Coverdell as well as non college specific saving options and hopefully come up with a basic plan by the end of this month. It's just a lot of information to take in for someone as young as me.

Where I Keep My Money

This will be a listing I will update on a monthly basis showing where I have my savings:

September 30, 2006


Cash: $259.31
S&P 500: $2600.00
I-Bond: $1041.60
ING Bank Account: $290.85
Antique Collectibles: $5.00
529 Plan: $0
IRA: $0
Upromise Account: $37.50
BabyMint Account: $0

Total: $4234.26 (+$210.80 or +4.98%)

August 31, 2006


Cash: $2623.44
I-Bond: $1035.60
ING Bank Account: $321.92
Antique Collectibles: $5.00
529 Plan: $0
IRA: $0
Upromise Account: $37.50
BabyMint Account: $0

Total: $4023.46 (+$165.76 or +4.12%)

July 31, 2006


Cash: $2463.44
I-Bond: $1031.00
ING Bank Account: $320.76
Antique Collectibles: $5.00
529 Plan: $0
IRA: $0
Upromise Account: $37.50
BabyMint Account: $0

Total: $3857.70 (+$256.40 or +6.65%)

June 30, 2006


Cash: $2212.80
I-Bond: $1026.40
ING Bank Account: $319.60
Antique Collectibles: $5.00
529 Plan: $0
IRA: $0
Upromise Account: $37.50
BabyMint Account: $0

Total: $3601.30 (+$156.33 or +4.34%)

May 31, 2006


Cash: $2062.16
I-Bond: $1021.80
ING Bank Account: $318.51
Antique Collectibles: $5.00
529 Plan: $0
IRA: $0
Upromise Account: $37.50
BabyMint Account: $0

Total: $3444.97 (+$150.22 or +4.36%)

April 30, 2006


Cash: $1917.64
I-Bond: $1017.20
ING Bank Account: $317.41
Antique Collectibles: $5.00
529 Plan: $0
IRA: $0
Upromise Account: $37.50
BabyMint Account: $0

Total: $3294.75 (+$137.33 or +4.17%)

March 31, 2006


Cash: $1785.93
I-Bond: $1012.60
ING Bank Account: $316.39
Antique Collectibles: $5.00
529 Plan: $0
IRA: $0
Upromise Account: $37.50
BabyMint Account: $0

Total: $3157.42 (+$170.97 or +4.48%)

February 28, 2006


Cash: $1649.93
I-Bond: $1008.00
ING Bank Account: $315.39
Antique Collectibles: $5.00
529 Plan: $0
IRA: $0
Upromise Account: $37.50
BabyMint Account: $0

Total: $3015.82 (+$141.60 or +5.66%)

January 31, 2006


Cash: $1569.56
I-Bond: $1000.00
ING Bank Account: $314.49
Antique Collectibles: $5.00
529 Plan: $0
IRA: $0
Upromise Account: $37.50
BabyMint Account: $0

Total: $2844.85 (+$81.70 or +2.79%)

December 31, 2005


Cash: $1513.91
I-Bond: $1000.00
ING Bank Account: $313.50
Antique Collectibles: $5.00
529 Plan: $0
IRA: $0
Upromise Account: $12.44
BabyMint Account: $0

Total: $2844.85 (+$482.57 or +20.43%)

November 30, 2005


Cash: $1001.30
I-Bond: $1000.00
ING Bank Account: $312.50
Antique Collectibles: $50.00
529 Plan: $0
IRA: $0
Upromise Account: $6.00
BabyMint Account: $0

Total: $2362.28 (+$51.29 or +2.21%)

October 31, 2005


Cash: $993.78
I-Bond: $1000.00
ING Bank Account: $271.73
Antique Collectibles: $50.00
529 Plan: $0
IRA: $0
Upromise Account: $3.00
BabyMint Account: $0

Total: $2318.51 (+$218.51 or +10.41%)

September 30, 2005


Cash: $2000.00
ING Bank Account: $100.00
529 Plan: $0
IRA: $0

Total: $2100.00

Friday, October 07, 2005

Blush, Blush, Blush

The kind people over at Board Game Madness think I'm Adorable!. (^_^) Mom and dad think so, too, but they have to because they're my parents.

The writer over at Blog Y ? also complimented me on getting an early start to my college savings.

With all these compliments, all I can do is blush....

Closing In On This Month's Goals

Some quick updates:

I have 3 of the five link trades that I wanted to get this month. The three trades are with My Open Wallet, Million Dollar Goal and No Credit Needed. Now I just need to find two more.

Looking at this moths overall goals, I've already opened a Upromise account and sent some emails out to get people to join. I still have to open a BabyMint account. I did submit a post to the carnival of Personal Finance this week, so I just need to keep up with that and I'm within $30 of my goal for how much I wanted in my account. Not bad for the first 7 days of the month.

With the savings goal in mind, I've received a couple more bonuses the last couple of days raising my savings by $20.00. This has been a good source of income for me and I will be sorry when it isn't available anymore.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Happy 3 Months To Me!

When you're as young as I am, celebrations are counted in months and not years. Today I turned 3 months old, a full quarter of a year old! While it's a time for celebration, it's also a good time to reflect on how I am progressing. I feel confident that I have laid down a good foundation for my savings and they way they are currently growing.

I still need to work on my goals for this month, but I have already accomplished some of them in this first week. All signs point that I can meet or exceed them for this month.

Life is good for this little girl (knock on wood)!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

College Costs Still Rising

I just heard the news that college tuition is still rising, but not quite as quickly as it has in the past couple of years according to a college tuition survey. Here are some of the things it had to say:

Eleven of the schools surveyed increased in-state tuition (including mandatory fees) for first-year, full-time freshmen in 2005-06. That's down from 29 schools last year and 41 in the 2003-04 school year.

This year's 7.1% median increase is smaller than last year's 9.3%, or the previous year's 12.5%. Still, tuition at some schools have increased 70% or more in the past three years; the median increase is 33% since 2002-03.

The largest in-state jump this year was at the University of Colorado, Boulder: nearly 24%, from $4,341 to $5,372.

The smallest increase this year was at the University at Buffalo (SUNY): 1.7%, from $5,966 to $6,068.

What I also noticed (actually told - I still can't read) is that the price range in tuition cost is pretty dramatic. If I were to attend the least expensive school on the list (University of Florida, Gainseville), I already have over a half year's tuition paid for ($3180). Then again, other colleges have tuition over $11,000 a year. I'm sure glad I'm starting to save early.

$20 More Into Savings & Emails

The referral bonuses keep coming in and I added another $20 to my savings. My uncle talked with my mom yesterday about having dad sign up and open an account. This would keep a nice steady stream of money coming in for me.

In addition, we are starting to send out emails to all the relatives to help add any little bit to the Upromise program. Since time is on my side, even if the account only produces $5 a month, that will still mean over a $1000 added to my college fund.

Really Creative Financing For College

My uncle had a good one on one with me about creativity in finding sources for paying for college. While the money being saved now is to be used for my education, he doesn't want me to take the money for granted. He explained that by using a little creativity I might be able to pay for my education in full and have this money for my first house down payment or retirement.

As an example, he explained about a guy in England that started the site a couple of months ago called Million Dollar Homepage to pay for his college education. This is how it started according to him:

It was a muggy summer's night late in August, the time around midnight, and there I was, lying on my bed with a notepad, brainstorming ideas to make money for uni. I think I'm quite a creative person, so I wanted to come up with an idea that was unique and would hopefully capture people's imagination, but with the whole purpose of making money. No point being shy about it! I think we brits can sometimes be too shy about money. Well bugger that, I DO NOT want to be a broke student!

So anyway, after an hour of two of jotting random things on paper, the idea seemingly popped out of nowhere. Almost like my subconscious mind had been ticking over in the background, working it all out. So it just kind of happened. That's about it. I scribbled it down and within about 10 minutes a picture of what needed to be done had emerged.

Well, his creativity ended being a big hit and he has earned over $250,000 for his simple idea and looks likely he will reach his goal of $1,000,000 which will more than pay for his college.

My uncle also told me about a guy that asked everyone to send him a penny to pay for his college education and his story has since turned into an Urban Legend. He managed to raise $28,000 by asking for pennies:

Mike Hayes...came up with a novel idea to solve his tuition and college expenses problem. Figuring that just about anyone could spare a penny, he brazenly asked everyone to do it.

He wrote to Chicago Tribune columnist Bob Greene, asking him to request each of his readers send Hayes a penny. The notion tickled the veteran columnist's fancy enough that he was willing to go along with it. From Bob Greene's column:

No one likes being used, but in this case I'm willing. It sounds like fun.

Mike Hayes, 18, is a freshman science major at the University of Illinois in Champaign. He is looking for a way to finance his college education, and he decided that my column is the answer.

"How many people read your column?" he asked me.

I told him I didn't know.

"Millions, right?" he said. "All over the country, right?"

I said I supposed that was true.

"Well, here's my idea," he said, and proceeded to explain.

I'll break it down simply: Mike Hayes wants every person who is reading this column right this minute to send him a penny.

"Just one penny," Hayes said. "A penny doesn't mean anything to anyone. If everyone who is reading your column looks around the room right now, there will be a penny under the couch cushion, or on the corner of the desk, or on the floor. That's all I'm asking. A penny from each of your readers."

Donations were received from every state in the United States, plus Mexico, Canada, and the Bahamas. Yes, he ended up with the $28,000 he'd set out to get.

My uncle likes to talk a lot about how building a foundation to be prepared is important, but also to be creative and seek new ways of doing things. I'm still a little young to take it all in, but I think he may have something there. I mean, how many kids start their own blog at the ripe old age of a month?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Some New Information To Think About

I came across an article in the Miami Herald that has been bothering me about 529s as I have been researching. That is that they seem like mutual funds with a specific purpose (ie - to save for college), but picking ones that perform well and without fees that eat up the gains is a tough task. Maybe simply placing the money into a S & P 500 index fund (forgoing the tax benefit of it growing debt free) is a smarter move. Some of the points that article made:

Among the all-stock investment options offered by the (state sponsored 529) plans, Hurley said, performance varied by huge margins, with the best-performing plans earning more than 11 percent a year on average over the last three years and the worst registering gains of just 4.4 percent. Over the same time period, the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index returned 12.02 percent a year, according to Ibbotson & Associates, a market research firm based in Chicago.

That tells me that over the last three year that the 529s have been in existence, I would have been better in an index fund since it performed better than the very best of the 529s. In addition:

Some of the plans offer convenience and good investment options, but they're almost always more costly than simply investing in a mutual fund, said Hurley. His research indicates that the average plan charges higher management fees than a similar mutual fund. That difference adds up over time and is worth paying only if you're getting enough in the way of tax breaks to compensate for the additional costs.

So not only does the stock index fund perform better, stock it also has fees much lower than any of the state 529 funds. With this in mind, the 529 plans begin to lose some luster (even with the tax free compounding). Add onto that

...But those tax breaks may be small unless parents invest large sums for college -- the write-off is based only on the earnings from the 529, not the amount invested. Meanwhile there are significant tax penalties for using 529 assets for anything but higher education.

While I keep assuring everyone that I will use this savings for college, it might be nice to have a bit more flexibility. I also need to do more research about the government credits and how a 529 plan would affect them:

Then, too, middle-income taxpayers could be giving up tax credits when they pay for college with 529 assets, said Greenberg. The federal government offers the Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning tax credits for paying for college. But those who finance college with tax-free savings can't use the credits, because the government considers it double dipping. In some cases, the lost credits would be worth more than the tax-free income.

All this goes to show that I need to do some more research before committing to any investment plan. It's good that my uncle will be investing the money in antiques for the time being to give me more time to research this all more thoroughly.

Another $20 To My Savings

With a couple more referrals from ING, I have been able to use over half (13 so far) of the 25 that are offered. I should point out that for most people who sign up for a bank account shouldn't count on getting referral money nearly as easy as it has seemed for me. My uncle runs a website where he gets requests for them on a regular basis which makes it seem much easier than it is. The good point is that it is another free source to build my college savings.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Upromise Account Set Up

I signed up for Upromise to get one of my goals this month out of the way - it was a fairly easy process and took less than 30 minutes total. I did do a search on the Internet before signing up and found a code that gave me a $3 bonus for signing up (that was the highest bonus I could find). I think that I will add up any funds gained through the program at the end of each month and add it to my total since that will be the easiest approach.

Since I still haven't decided on a 529 college savings plan I did not hook my account up to any. It seems like Upromise has a limited number of choices and must hook it up with one of the 529 plans they offer, but I did read that it's possible to get the money send if you request it by snail mail. I'll worry about that a little while down the road.

I also sent out emails to get other family members to join in and help. I still have to ask dad for some more emails I didn't have, but will do that this week too. Hopefully between all the extended family, I can add some extra money into the account (the advantage of being the first grandchild on both sides of the family).

Although I'm not expecting much, every little bit will help and as long as nobody changes their spending habits (which I've told everyone to be careful about), it's free money. I will continue to report on how this program works for me.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

ING Is Becoming My Best Friend

The ING savings account has done wonders for my college saving plans and net worth thus far. I received 2 more referrals which adds an extra $20 to my total. I need to sit down (well, lie on my back...I still don't sit very well) with mom (if you remember from the first post about this account, she was a bit nervous about opening the account due to some past issues with identity theft) and have a good heart to heart with her (if I smile enough, I know she'll have to agree with me)

I'm hoping to convince dad to also open up an ING account with the money earmarked for my savings and then have them open out an account as me as the primary owner (with them as co-account owners). If the referrals continue like this, I think that I'll be able to convince them that it's a smart move.

Carnival of Personal Finance #16

The latest carnival of personal finance is up at the Canadian Capitalist. My entry this week was The More I Save, The Less Financial Aid I'll Get Myth.

As I stated in my goals, submitting a post to each one of these carnivals this month is something I will try to do. They are fun and have a wide variety of posts on personal finance.

October Goals

As I stated (gurgled) in my last post, I wanted to make some goals for October. I have been having quite a few discussions with him and he is big on setting and writing down goals to help motivate you to reach them. After discussing it with my uncle, there are the goals we have set out:

Savings Goals:

Try to increase my current savings by 5% this month With $2144.67 currently in my savings, that means that the goal is to increase my savings by $107.23 to have a grand total of $2251.90 by the beginning of November.

Open a Upromise account

Open a BabyMint account

Blog Goals:

Submit posts to the carnival of Personal Finance each week

Trade links with 5 other financial blogs that I like

I think that all of these goals can be attained and it will keep a good momentum going for my savings. I will report back at the beginning of November and we can see how I did with all of them.

Happy 1 Month Birthday For This Blog

My blog has been up and running for a month now! While that may not seem like a long time for most people, it's been over a third of my entire life. The month has gone by quickly, but I have learned a lot this month and I'm feeling a lot more secure about my financial future.

I don't think that a lot of people have discovered my blog yet, but that is something that my uncle says will just take time. He tells me to be patient and eventually more and more people will discover it, but I'm getting to the age where I tend to squirm a lot and not have a lot of patience.

Since the blog has reached a month old, I think that I need to set some goals for October (besides grabbing my feet which I'm becoming an expert at). I think a short list for both the blog and my finances would be good, so I'll sit down with my uncle and work those out in the next day or two.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

More from ING

ING has been good to me since opening the account. I received another 4 referal bonuses from them which adds $40 to my savings and have earned a total of $90 from the referrals since opening the account. I also recieved $0.04 in interest for the month of Septemebr for my account. That brings my total to $2144.67 which I'm pleased about and I'm looking forward to finding new ways to increase my college savings in the months to come!

Running List Of My Savings

Mom suggested to me (and I gurgled with a smile to approve) that a running list of where my savings has come from and accumulated would be in order for those who find my blog at a later date.

Septemer 2005 - the beginning

2nd - $1000.00 Gift from my uncle ($1000.00)
2nd - $500.00 Gift from grandpa ($1500.00)
2nd - $500.00 Gift from Nana (grandma)($2000.00)
27th - $50.00 Sign-up bonus from ING bank ($2050.00)
28th - $30.00 3 referral bonuses from ING bank ($2080.00)
30th - $20.00 2 referral bonuses from ING bank ($2100.00)

October 2005

1st - $4.63 Advertising Income (2104.63)
1st - $40.00 4 referral bonuses from ING bank ($2144.63)
1st - $0.04 Interest earned in September in ING bank account ($2144.67)
2nd - $20.00 2 referral bonuses from ING bank ($2164.67)
3rd - $20.00 2 referral bonuses from ING bank ($2184.67)
4th - $20.00 2 referral bonuses from ING bank ($2204.67)
5th - $10.00 1 referral Bonus from ING bank ($2214.67)
7th - $10.00 1 referral Bonus from ING bank ($2224.67)
9th - $10.00 1 referral Bonus from ING bank ($2234.67)
11th - $10.00 1 referral Bonus from ING bank ($2244.67)
12th - $10.00 1 referral Bonus from ING bank ($2254.67)
15th - $10.00 1 referral Bonus from ING bank ($2264.67)
20th - $26.06 Profit From Antique Investment ($2290.73)
22nd - $10.00 1 referral Bonus from ING bank ($2300.73)
31st - $3.00 Upromise Account ($2303.73)
31st - $14.09 October Advertising ($2317.82)
31st - $0.69 ING Interest - October ($2318.51)

November 2005

20th - $10.00 1 referral Bonus from ING bank ($2328.51)
21st - $10.00 1 referral Bonus from ING bank ($2338.51)
23rd - $10.00 1 referral Bonus from ING bank ($2348.51)
24th - $10.00 1 referral Bonus from ING bank ($2358.51)
30th - $3.00 Upromise Account ($2361.51)
30th - $7.52 November Advertising ($2369.03)
30th - $0.77 ING Interest - November ($2369.80)

December 2005

11th - $84.97 Profit from selling 5 antique cups from investments ($2454.77)
14th - $68.38 Profit from selling 4 antique cups from investments ($2523.15)
25th - $100.00 Xmas Gift from uncle ($2623.15)
25th - $200.00 Xmas Gift from nana ($2823.15)
31st - $6.44 Upromise Account ($2829.59)
31st - $14.26 December Advertising ($2843.85)
31st - $1.00 ING Interest - December ($2844.85)

January 2006

6th - $46.27 six month advertising link payment ($2891.12)
31st - $25.06 Upromise Account ($2916.18)
31st - $9.38 January Advertising ($2925.56)
31st - $0.99 ING Interest - January ($2926.55)

February 2006

16th - $29.85 three month advertising link payment ($2956.40)
28th - $50.52 February Advertising ($3006.92)
28th - $0.90 ING Interest - February ($3007.82)
28th - $8.00 US Treasury I-Bond Interest ($3015.82)

March 2006

26th - $9.32 Advertising link ($3025.14)
31st - $126.68 March Advertising ($3151.82)
31st - $1.00 ING Interest ($3152.82)
31st - $4.60 US Treasury I-Bond Interest ($3157.42)

April 2006

30th - $131.71 April Advertising ($3289.13)
30th - $1.02 ING Interest ($3290.15)
30th - $4.60 US Treasury I-Bond Interest ($3294.75)

May 2006

31st - $144.52 May Advertising ($3439.27)
31st - $1.10 ING Interest ($3440.37)
31st - $4.60 US Treasury I-Bond Interest ($3444.97)

June 2006

30th - $150.64 June Advertising ($3595.61)
30th - $1.09 ING Interest ($3596.70)
30th - $4.60 US Treasury I-Bond Interest ($3601.30)

July 2006

7th - $100 Birthday Present From Uncle ($3701.30)
31st - $150.64 July Advertising ($3851.94)
31st - $1.16 ING Interest ($3853.10)
31st - $4.60 US Treasury I-Bond Interest ($3857.70)

August 2006

1st - $9.36 Advertising ($3867.06)
31st - $150.64 August Advertising ($4017.70)
31st - $1.16 ING Interest ($4018.86)
31st - $4.60 US Treasury I-Bond Interest ($4023.46)

September 2006

1st - 9.36 Advertising ($4032.82)
30th - $194.41 August Advertising ($4227.23)
30th - $1.03 ING Interest ($4228.26)
30th - $6.00 US Treasury I-Bond Interest ($4234.26)

October 2006

1st - 9.36 Advertising ($4243.62)

September Advertising

September advertising brought in $4.63 to my total which just thrills me (I even babbled a bit when told!). While that may seem like a small amount to some people, you have to remember that I have time on my side. Being extremely conservative, let's look at the possibilities.

Assuming that I make $4.63 a month until I go to college, the advertising on this site will place just a tad over $1,000 into my college fund ($4.63 x 12 months x 18 year = $1000.08) not counting any compound interest earned. That's nothing to sneeze about. Of course, I hope my blog becomes wildly popular and that I can average more than that over the long run (although I suspect I will have months when I make less than that.

Now since this is earned income for me, I may decide to place it in a Roth IRA instead of my college savings. Do the math for this and I come up with over $3,500 ($4.63 x 12 months x 63 years = $3,611.40) for my retirement savings excluding any compound interest (which would be tax free in the Roth IRA) earned.

When you start to look at it like this, $4.63 is a much bigger deal than nothing at all and it goes to show that starting to save little amounts early can make a significant difference.