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You put it best when you said it might take a little use of the $800 a month to start the "freedom fund." but it should become a regular part of the budget. That's exactly what we're planning to do. In fact, we already had 3 ING accounts between the three of us. I wasn't sure what to name that particular account, but "freedom fund" works better than anything else I thought of!

Yeah, I heard the term a number of years after I started doing it but the term fits. I currently use multiple ING accounts as it simplifies the accounting. I don't have to bother keeping track of how many dollars were earmarked for specific spending. The only limit is that since these are savings accounts by federal law you are limited to IIRC 6 transactions OUT of the accounts. That isn't in general too much of a limitation but be aware of it.

What do you know about drawing off a Traditional IRA or Roth IRA to buy real estate? Aren't you allowed a one time witdrawl of some amount without penalty if it goes towards the purchase of a house? Maybe we should put some more money there in the eventuality of buying a house?

Sorry, I can't help you there. I know vaguely that such an option exists but I haven't done it myself. There are a couple of other boards to try for advice. The Home Buying board (where you will be told how to do and that it is always a good idea and you should do it now by the RE boosters) or the Tax board should be good for answers.

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