We Can Save Washington Mutual and other Banks by Overpaying our Mortgages

Washington Mutual Home Loans Logo - My Mortgage Company

Washington Mutual Home Loans Logo - My Mortgage Company

I think we, the mortgage holders and general citizens might be able to help in the credit crunch going on right now in the news. I am hearing so much about the Lehman bankruptcy and the AIG de-valuing today. Certain sectors of the economy are in shambles due to over leveraging and greed on the part of the top level executives in these banks and financial institutions and we really don’t know how deep this will go.

As much as I hate their greedy asses for getting us into this mess, (just to get another bonus to buy another yacht) I think you and I may be able to help so things don’t get worse. I think that if everyone that has a Washington Mutual (WAMU) Mortgage (like me) pays extra principle over the minimum ammount every month the cash on hand will rise above expectations and help keep the company running. I am currently paying $150.00 over my minimum now and my brother pays $250.00 over his minimum payment also.

The thing is it benefits you too! If you pay extra on your mortgage now it cuts payments off at the end of the mortgage and that saves you the interest that you would be paying on those payments. So, in my book this is a win-win situation. And don’t give me that line about mortgage interest tax deductions, that is only 25% back in credits on your money. It’s not like you get all of it back from tax deductions. Its still better to not pay the interest all together and save 100%. Duh.

You may be “saving” that money for when “financial armageddon” happens but really… those of us savers have been saving for years and have plenty of “cash on hand” now. We should pony up and get these mortgages paid down. It seems like the responsible and needed thing to do. Plus it gets a better return than a new handbag.

If 1,000 people pay $100.00 extra on their mortgage that is an extra $100,000.00 a month and an extra $1.2 Million a year for WAMU to keep afloat. If 5,000 people pay $150.00 extra on their WAMU mortgage that is $750,000.00 extra cash per month and $9 Million more per year. And 10,000 people paying an extra $200 a month is $24 Million a year. (which should do some good)  This may be small potatoes for a banking snob but it all adds up and is scalable since WAMU must have thousands upon thousands of mortgages out there.

Anyway, take it for what its worth and see if you feel like making a contribution to the capital that banks and mortgage institutions have on hand in this economy.

Now I do need to add a few disclaimers to this idea:

1. If you are having trouble making ends meet, this post or idea is not for you. Keep paying the minimum each month and move on to cash saving strategies pronto.

2. It is no one’s individual responsibility to do this especially if the job market is not good and they say to have a year in cash living costs on hand if you loose your job. Make sure you have that reserve first to protect yourself. 

3. We don’t owe those rich asses anything extra beyond minimum payments, but it might help the general economy and us all in the long run. And if you know one of those greedy financial execs, egg their car or something. Make it personal.

 

Update; um, this didn’t work. WAMU got bought, eaten and taken over by Chase bank. Poo.

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What did you spend your economic stimulus rebate check on?

I have not yet received my rebate check from the US government for economic stimulus purposes. I have read though that people are planning on saving it, paying down debts or using it for necessities like food and gas. All very good things. I think the people who will loose out will be the ones that think it is good for another fancy handbag or 100th pair of red shoes.  I think some Americans are coming to the conclusion that you are not what you own and that a simpler lifestyle has less financial risk in these uncertain times.

I have lived on both sides of the fence, a child of a uber-frugal dad and a spendy mom. I currently feel the urge to get a pair of dark jeans trouser pants even though I have plenty of pants. I feel the urge to pay extra principle on my mortgage every month even though I probably won’t be living there in 20 or 30 years. I feel the need to buy a car that gets 35 mpg or better AND has leather heated seats AND an automatic transmission AND costs less than $20K (used). Why do none exist? I guess I am a paradox that car makers don’t accommodate.

I am not suprised at the high cost of gasoline right now and fully expect it to get higher. (it’s not that they don’t want to increase oil production, it’s that they can’t because there isn’t more to be tapped) That said, it is scary that I spent $120.00 in May on Gas and I only drive on Weekends since I take the train and walk to work. If I was still driving every day to and from work that would be about double at $240.00. A full tank just cost me $65.oo and I have a 16 gallon tank.

What I didn’t see coming is the rising cost of food. Everything is not only going up in price at the grocery store, there is a difference in the regular prices of food depending on where you buy it in Chicagoland. I have started shopping at the super target in far west suburbia where Steve lives rather than pay about 10% more in Oak Park. And that doesn’t even include the difference in sales taxes by county.

I think people’s budgets will be pushed even further to the edge and breaking point in the rest of 2008 and that it will be a lean Christmas because the high cost of basic necessities will make it hard to afford non-necessity gifts. I would say that a good place for the rebate check would be an ING savings account and hopefully it will generate some interest before it becomes a Christmas gift fund.

Late Earth Day Suggestions and Tips to Save Energy

I have been busy beyond belief with work latley and not able to really blog at all. I did want to make this quick exception to blog belatedley about Earth Day since I think this is an important topic that everyone should be taking action on and looking to find out how they can reduce consumption of energy overall.

I am happy to see that Al Gore has made earth day popular again and that it is now cool to do the right thing and save energy and scale back consumption. We are looking at oil at $117.00 a barrel or more now and gas can’t be far from $4.00 or $5.00 per gallon soon.

Some of my favorite ways to save energy (electricity and gas) are to:

1. Turn off my computer at work at night and turn off my home computer when not in use. Guess what? It’s also good that hackers and viruses aren’t allowed to access them when they are off either.
2. Coast while driving. Automatic cars are less fuel efficient because we always have our foot on the gas. Take a cue from the old manual transmissions and just coast sometimes and save some gas.
3. Do dishes when the dishwasher is really full (good for us lazy people too) and then turn off the plate warmer dryer option. Let them air dry instead.
4. The energy saving flourescent bulbs that I call squiggley bulbs are great. Don’t worry about the mercury thing, just be very careful not to breathe around a broken bulb if that happens.
5. Recycle – Duh! Cans, Bottles and plastics are finally now accepted for recycling where I live. I also end up re-using the cute shopping bags you get at stores for carrying things to work or for lunch. And I save up the plastic walgreens, target and jewel grocery bags and turn them in to recycle at Jewel.

These were also some good suggestions I saw online yesterday:

How to save fifty cents a gallon on gas 

50 ways to help save the planet for earth day and every day

MidWest Renewable Energy Association

Green tips for the office from Google  

All in all, there is a lot we can do to save energy and conserve it too. As well as reduce consumption overall.

Happy Earth Day!

Making New Year’s Resolutions Stick

According to the FiveCentNickel money and finance blog and CNN these are the top consumer money resolutions of the year in 2008:

 1. Pay down debt (33%)
2. Save for retirement (23%)
3. Build an emergency fund (11%)
4. Buy real estate (11%)

I think that last one must be some seriously mis-informed people.

I also think building an emergency fund means that people feel the recessing coming. I know I do. It is looming around every corner in every shopping mall in America.

It may also be a telling statement about debt, that the levels are higher than ever before on average and people have that as their biggest issue and therefore rated #1. I have felt for about 6 months now that the consumer economy is wiped out. The people of the US can’t keep supporting the economy, they are maxed out and mortgaged to the hilt. And we don’t need more stuff, cheap or not. They owe more than they are worth and can’t spend more to finance this country’s economic growth anymore. We have to get big business and industry back operating and manufacturing in this country to support the economy with spending and supply jobs in order to get people and the economy back on track.

The list last year in 2007 looked like this:

1. Saving more (32%)
2. Paying down debt (25%)
3. Making more income (15%)
4. Spending less (13%)
5. Investing more (10%)
6. Saving for a large purchase (4%)
7. Don’t know (1%)

Woah, it’s window washing day here in the high rise,  and we’ve got guys on ropes swinging-about on our windows while washing them from the 31st floor outside. Fwamp! It’s a bit weird when you have meetings going on.

My New Years Resolutions for 2008 (goals) Happy New Year!

This year has been a trying one for me. Both for personal and non-personal reasons especially early in the year. Seriously, it’s not good when TopGear is a highlight of your week. There were some good things later in the year though and I appreciate them a lot. Anyway, here are some of my resolutions for 2008. Hopefully 2008 will be a better year than 2007 was overall.

1. Loose 20 lbs. It’s a necessity. It has been creeping on for 3-4 years and it’s time to take it off again. In real terms this means no deserts, walking or running regularly and no snacks from the vending machine or otherwise. I also have to help my cat Zeus loose some weight. He is also a bit overweight for his size and is equally lazy at the moment.

2. Save 5K more in savings again. I did this in 2007 and intend to do it again in 2008. To have some kind of safety net is important and I took the dependable cash flow from work for granted for too long. I am in ok financial shape now but it can always be better. Then eventually it would be nice to have some money invested again but that might not be until 2009.

3. To keep things going along well with Steve. This isn’t as much a goal as a hope.

4. To keep up the HPV  Cervical Pre-Cancer Dysplasia health related follow ups and surgery again when it’s needed later in the year.

5. To take some kind of web or HTML class. I have been saying this for years and there is only so much you can learn through mucking around right? I feel like I need it for work.

6. To be better at time management. This means to get to bed early and get up early first of all, and otherwise just try and be more conscious of the clock. I get into tunnel vision and loose all track of time and space. I am also a huge daydreamer and distracted easily person. Lots to do better here.

7. To learn to cook some things. Not a real specific goal here, but in general cooking at home is intended to be cheaper, healthier (less processed) and a learning experience so I don’t have to rely on takeout and pre-prepared foods all the time.

8. To get back into being more career goal oriented again. I have been happily sitting in the role I am in here for more than a year. I think it’s time to innovate it or change somehow to get to the next level again. This could be a new role or just more changes within this one. I feel antsy again, and that happens about every year or so.

 So that’s it and it’s published publicly so I have to follow through now. Happy New Year to all of you too.

What are some of your 2008 Goals?

What are Vampire Electronics? Do I own any?

Vampire Electronics?

Ok, the topic of saving electricity either for the purpose of saving money or saving the environment or both is getting more popular. I just read in TIME magazine about this new term called Vampire Electronics. They are electronics you have in your home that still suck down electricity and energy while they are not in use. Things that are in this category according to the blurb were coffee makers and cell phone chargers. I would also think that computers in sleep mode (better than being on though) DVD players, external hard drives, radios and your kitchen appliances would fit in this category too since they all have led lights, clocks or some kind of process running in the bakground at all times. Some of these things are necesities (you can’t unplug the fridge when you leave to go to work) but others are not. Unplugging the toaster, coffee maker, cell phone charger and dvd player when not in use can add up to $2-$5 bucks savings in a month by my best guess. If you have many of them (and a lot of electronics in general) you may save a lot more if you just shut down completley and unplug them.

Eco Christmas LED Lights save energy

Just like those squiggley light bulbs we have to use in our lights and lamps we have to change our christmas tree lighting to save electricity too. It’s just not worth the trouble of using energy that creates so much dangerous nuclear waste when we can save it and buy the same products that use less and are better for the environment. I am not a total green person but I did buy a sset of LED christmas lights last year and I liked them a lot. They’re actually brighter than the old kind and use less energy! I didn’t have to use as many strings either. So make it a green christmas in more ways than just the color of the tree. Give the new energy saving lights a try. Because christmas will be here before you know it.