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Old 11-17-2010, 11:30 AM   #41
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Have you looked at taking up a credit card offer that would give you sufficient points to get those flights for free?

For example, Citibank have an offer that you can get 75k points for I think it is $4k of expenditure in 4 months or something like that. If you and your wife both got those cards it should give you enough points to get to wherever you are going for free. I assume South America is your destination and AA flies there.
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Old 11-17-2010, 11:41 AM   #42
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Thanks very much for the advice, DangerMouse.

We currently have 3 cards and feel that that is probably two too many. Our mentality is mostly of the "pay cash for everything and, if you can't, then do not buy it" variety. Again, this is my South American upbringing at play. Where I come from, people only have one credit card, if they are lucky.

However, we do use a Chase Amazon card precisely for their rewards program and also for security reasons (claims being a lot easier to deal with in case of fraud or theft compared to, for example, a debit card). This particular card is terrific for our particular needs (being movie and music lovers), since it lets you exchange 2500 points for a $25 Amazon gift card. And you can buy pretty much ANYTHING on Amazon, besides DVD's, CD's and books. Additionally, achieving those 2500 points is easier than it looks like, because they give you 2X points for every dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores and pharmacy purchases, 3X points for every dollar spent on Amazon, and 1 point for everything else.

The other cards are currently not being used.

I looked into a good card that would give us some free miles, etc., like you mentioned, but at this point we would never reach the rewards point in the amount of time we have left before we can go on our honeymoon (scheduled for very early next year). Also, I feel that opening yet another line of credit goes against our "keep it simple" philosophy.

Thanks again for the advice!
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Old 11-17-2010, 01:14 PM   #43
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Agreed. But the answer is simple: we have not had a honeymoon yet, and the vacation/honeymoon plan is to travel to my home country, which I haven't visited in 3 years. That number includes $2500 worth of tickets, and the rest is just a worst-case scenario guess. Knowing me, it might end up costing us 3K total. We currently live on one income alone and save the rest. I feel that worse-come-to-worse, if I loose my job we could still continue to pay our bills with my wife's salary while I look for another job, and we also have our emergency fund in place as a last resort.

Besides, what's the point of all of this if I can not even enjoy a honeymoon with my wife in my own country and visit my family at the same time, whom I deeply miss?
Well, you did not post that info, so how was I to know?
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:11 PM   #44
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No harm done!
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Old 12-03-2010, 04:28 PM   #45
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One other side of things is that raising kids is not easy by any means.

I feel that you should truly WANT to have a child not because you feel you're supposed to etc.

You already have more savings than I would guess 85% of people have when they have your first child. That doesn't guarantee you anything though. It's life....sometimes all you can do is take things as they come despite your best efforts to plan.

I like your decision to purchase some silver. I would say that and a target retirement fund and call it a day.

Best of luck!!
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Old 03-02-2011, 02:52 PM   #46
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It's been a few weeks since I last updated this thread, and I am very happy to share what I consider a personal milestone with you fine folks:

We just reached the $100K mark!

This is all in cash in money market savings accounts, and a tiny bit in precious metals (silver bullion, which almost doubled in value since I started buying... it ALMOST compensates for the pathetic return we get on the money market account). Still no debt, house is paid for, cars are paid for, and still working hard towards our early retirement goal.

I am actually happy to report that we reached this number about a year sooner than I anticipated, mostly due to the fact that we've been lucky enough to (mostly) live on one salary while saving the other. We managed to save around $40K last year alone, and my goal is to save about $20K this year (if I don't loose my job, which is still shaky at best, that is...) while we indulge in a much-deserved vacation to my home country.

I feel comfortable with that amount as far as having enough cash in hand in case of an emergency, a mayor purchase (such as a car), and as a "general" retirement cash savings account, and from now on I will start re-directing all our future savings towards investments, using some of the advice I received from you guys.

I simply wanted to reach that $100K number, for some psychologically illogical reason that makes me sleep better at night (yes, I know...), and now I feel confident enough to start facing the uncharted (for me) world of investing and boldly go where I never went before...

Thank you all again for the advice and for allowing me to share the news. As usual, any advice and/or comment is more than welcomed.
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:45 PM   #47
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I feel comfortable with that amount as far as having enough cash in hand in case of an emergency, a mayor purchase (such as a car), and as a "general" retirement cash savings account, and from now on I will start re-directing all our future savings towards investments, using some of the advice I received from you guys.
Methinks this is illegal in some places.
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:58 PM   #48
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My apologies! As you can see, English is not my mother tongue.
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