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FPU and ACTH Results

July 8th, 2018 at 03:47 pm

DH and I found a church website that has put up the Financial Peace University lessons and we have been watching those. We watched the first two on Friday night and the second two on Saturday night. We might get another one or two watched tonight. I wish we had money in the budget to purchase it, but we don't and we don't have time to go to a class together anyway with DH working so much overtime.

DH had to work a few hours yesterday and he's at work right now as well, just for 2 or 3 hours. They are finishing up a package that was wanted for Monday, but the stuff needed for it didn't get to him and the other guy until Friday at the end of the day. He will adjust his schedule this week accordingly, since they are only allowed 15 hours total of OT per week. The work week there ends on Friday so any work this weekend counts on this coming week. That seems weird to me since every where else he's ever worked or I ever worked started their payroll week on a Monday and went through the weekend.

This last paycheck had a few more dollars on it than the one before due to the change in insurance. It was a difference of $14 and some change. So that'll be $56 a month difference from the old insurance to the new one.

DD had a couple of prescriptions filled this week and they were $0. So I guess the company did carry over the fact that she'd hit her deductible and her out of pocket max like they said they would. That's good, because we still don't know what is coming up with medical expenses in her future.

She got her ACTH stim test results in her patient portal on Friday, but we never heard from the doctor. I am assuming he hasn't had time to look at it yet or wanted to consult with the endocrinologist first. From what we can interpret from the test, there is something wrong with both her adrenals and her pituitary.

I'm trying to get her to not jump to conclusions and to wait until we've spoken to the doctor and to not try and diagnose herself. Personally, I think she has Addison's disease and possibly Hashimoto's. Both are auto-immune diseases. We know she has an undiagnosed auto-immune disease due to blood work in the past.

I just hope we get actual answers this time. We have been chasing this thing for years now. I have wondered if the brain damage that happened when she cracked her skull and had the stage 3 concussion 8 years ago damaged the pituitary in some way. That is when all of these symptoms started and they have just become more aggressive as the years have gone by.

Hopefully we will hear from the doctor on Monday. If not, I will give them a call on Tuesday.

I did spend the rest of the grocery budget. I made a quick run to Trader Joe's and spent $52 there and then to Safeway and spent $17 in groceries there and an additional $4 plus tax out of the household envelope for a box of 100 count multi-sized bandages. I can't find where I put my receipts so I can't do a break down. Oh, well. The point is I got everything I needed this week and the budget envelopes are working as intended.

Moving Further Away from Credit Card Usage

July 5th, 2018 at 05:19 pm

DH finally made it over to the credit union to order his debit card. Since we had never done one on that account we had to go in in person to get one. I sent for mine last Friday, but DH kept forgetting to go over and do it.

I finally managed to track it down and Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Ting all accept VISA debit cards as long as they are not one time use cards. So once my debit card arrives I will switch those accounts over to debit. I need to look on my credit card statement for due dates for each service. Well, I know when Netflix is due, but the others. We do have some other things that come out periodically, like Sirius, which runs our up to the minute GPS traffic warnings in the car as well as satellite radio, and Shockwave, and my son's Proactiv which comes every 3 months.

We have so much Proactiv I will probably cancel that, they send far more than you need. If we don't get to those before we cancel the credit card, it'll kick it back to us in an email and we can fix it then. I know Sirius will bill and you can send a check so I don't imagine debit will be impossible.

I also have my monthly eye supplement, which can use a debit card as well, but I might cancel it. I seem to be getting as much benefit from taking double doses of vitamins E and A. I'm going to try going without the supplement this week and if it makes no difference, I will drop it. I started using it before the vitamin regimen and it helped, but I'm not sure if it still is. Now that I have the new glasses, it is a good time to test it.

You know, in the beginning I was very overwhelmed with the idea of stopping all credit card use. I wasn't sure if it was something I wanted to do, let alone something I could even pull off. I really wanted to hold on to my Costco Citi card, because of the cash back. But when I really think about it, we aren't using the card like we were. Our Costco trips are now under a strict budget, so $400 to $500 monthly visits no longer happen. We don't use the gas station anymore because they don't take cash and I don't want to use a debit card where it is very likely there might be a skimmer. I'm not sure we'll earn enough cash back to pay for the membership anymore.

So that makes it all easier to give this card up once everything is switched. And the Master Card will go. The last one to part with is the Alasaka Airlines Visa. DH is having a hard time with that one. He does have a point that having one for travel, where they put holds on a chunk of credit at hotels and car rental places, will be easier with a credit card. But just because we hold with the credit card, doesn't mean we need to pay with the credit card. Though I do think we'd have to make one or two minor charges a year just to keep the card from being cancelled.

I don't know. One step at a time. AMEX is gone. Citi is next. Then we will kill the MC. We were keeping that one, so DD would have something for emergencies, and then I remembered that we can put some money on a pre-paid debate card that she could keep on hand for an emergency at such time as she might need to use it. With her current health issues, she doesn't go anywhere without us, so it's not as big a deal as it once was.

Then we'll see about the air miles card. Having one card we use periodically until we qualify for a mortgage may just be the road we take. It is our oldest card, so carries a lot of our debt history with it. There are some practical reasons for keeping it and we are completely responsible with credit cards, so I don't really think it will be an issue to keep it. But...I don't know. Is there such a thing as too much Dave Ramsey ideology? Why is it so hard to just let go?

More Identity Theft and Cancelling Credit Cards

July 2nd, 2018 at 11:33 pm

DH got a letter from the IRS today saying that someone had used his social security number to gain employment. They don't give out any specific information because apparently their system doesn't keep track of who used it, just that it was used somewhere that didn't jibe with their information on him, i.e. someone from a different state while he's earning in this one. They really ought to track that better.

This is not the first time this has happened. It happened back before we were married in the early 90's. When DH lost his job due to injury and had to file unemployment it was something that popped up on his list of jobs. It got taken off at that time. It was someone working a job in surprise, surprise, California who was an illegal immigrant. It's probably the same situation this time. Irritating.

So I've taken care of my side of things, setting a fraud alert on my accounts and pulling all three of my credit reports and going over them, since all my stuff is linked to his. My stuff is all correct. I don't think this is related to the fraudulent credit card use last month, but we just don't know. DH still has a fraud alert from then, but he needs to check his SSA account and pull his credit reports as well. All of it can be done easily online, thank goodness.

I cancelled our AMEX cards today. I had been planning on it anyway, but this letter spurred me on to get it done. They did not want to let me leave, but were very polite. I just kept saying no that I wanted to cancel and that I didn't want any other perks or cards. Honestly, after the supreme court ruling on what they can do with their business practices, I don't think I could ever use them again anyway.

I know we still have to cancel the Master Card. Baby steps. It is hard letting go of our credit. I know that it is the direction we really want to go in, but I didn't think it would be this hard to give up the ones we don't even use. It is psychological. It did feel good cutting up the AMEX cards, though. DH is the primary card holder on the MC so he will have to take care of that one himself.

Then the question will be do we want to do the Costco Citi card or the Alaskan Air Visa. Since we are only spending cash at stores now, we don't really need the Costco card. But I do want to get my cash rewards from it. And it doesn't look like DH will be going back to work in Alaska again (things look promising at work), so keeping the BoA is probably not necessary, except it is our oldest card and we will be wanting some credit history at least until we buy a new house and something for the auto pays to be on at places that don't accept debit or electronic checking. Plus for hotels and car rentals on future vacations. I know what Dave Ramsey says, but I'm not sure I want to make my life that difficult. They would be rare exceptions for credit card use and actual payment would be with the debit card, just using the credit card to hold things.

I am looking into Identity Theft insurance. We can get the whole family insured for $145 a year. This problem can get much worse and they will deal with it if it does. I know my daughter's info was breached because her high school sold all the information from the kids without permission to a company and then that company was breached, so it would be good to do all of us. I wish we didn't live in a world where this stuff happens, but we do.

Fraudulent Charges and Credit Freezing Question

June 13th, 2018 at 01:45 pm

I think we are starting to see the first bit of fall out from the Equifax breach. Today someone tried to use our Master Card. This was always a card we rarely used, but we have not used in 2 months for sure. And it was for some service called NEVERBOUNCE, that cleans up email list servers or something like that. Not something we would ever sign up for. They tried to charge it three times.

Fortunately BOA was on the ball and temporarily froze the account. I had to fill out the fraud form, which is really easy online. Then they will likely be calling DH to confirm what I did online.

Tonight we are going to cancel the Master Card. Since we will be eliminating all but one card until I can figure out how to do everything through debit cards, auto bank deductions, and paypal, we might as well get started with this one. No more dragging our heels.

I know a couple of you have been through some identity theft issues before. If I freeze my credit through the three reporting agencies will that prevent me from using my card at all, or just prevent anyone from opening up a new credit card account or loan?

We won't be taking out new cards or any kind of loan until we are ready to buy a house again and need a mortgage. That is a few years down the road, so freezing our reports won't affect anything in that regard. Then when we are ready to apply for a mortgage we will unfreeze them.

I Finally Opened the Door and In He Walks

May 15th, 2018 at 11:20 am

I don't usually buy books, but I made a book purchase on Saturday. Yes, my library does have this book, but I was 13th on the waiting list. High demand books mean that people can only keep them out 2 weeks instead of 3, but that was still looking at a possibility of 26 weeks before I could read it, assuming people turned it in on time. Most people don't.

So I handed over my cash, $27.51, to the young man at B&N, who tried to sell me a membership card, but no. I don't buy books often enough to earn back and then benefit from the savings. What book did I buy, you may be asking by now? Well, I finally gave in and decided to read Dave Ramsey. I bought The Total Money Makeover.

I have been avoiding Dave Ramsey for the last 12 years, to be honest. Yes, I did do a debt snowball, but I didn't know about it from reading him. I just figured doing it like that would make me feel like I was making progress faster. Yes, I did build and keep a $1000 emergency fund before doing it, but that was on advice from people here, not based on his method. Although it probably was, since a lot of you have read him. But I wasn't going to.

It wasn't that I thought he was bad or anything. I just didn't want to give up my paid off credit cards. Well, I did give up some of them, but we still have 5. We pay them off in full each month. But...oh, and here's the big but, I've been feeling for a while that we weren't using them responsibly enough, because they are just too easy to use.

But my chiropractor's office plays Dave Ramsey and I kept hearing him on my visits. And then he came up in my suggested videos on youtube. God has been putting things in my path right now that I have been struggling to deal with. Dave is just the last in a line.

First I was struggling with tithing while still in debt to my mother and my internet preacher answered a question on tithing. Then I was concerned that I lacked motivation, but in getting the spending back under control and in doing my five times a week Bible study. Then I was struggling with forgiveness for DH's sister and nieces over the stuff they pulled at Thanksgiving.

Forgiveness was in the next lesson and in such a way that it heals the person who forgives, not the one who holds on to the anger. Doesn't mean I'm willing to have holidays with them, but I might be able to at least see them now. So I asked for help about the budget and in walks Dave Ramsey, so to speak.

So I just finished reading the book last night. It took me 3 days. And I figured out how come I felt that way about credit cards. It's because we just buy what we need with no thought to it. And because I know we will pay it off each month in full, I haven't really been sticking to a budget when it comes to groceries and household expenses or clothing or eating out.

And with these bad habits getting out of hand, things felt tight every month and I didn't feel like I could possibly make payments on the loan to Mom, the only debt we have left. So I sat down and made up a better budget and if we actually stick to it, then yes, I can start paying Mom at least $500 a month.

DH's mother just gave us $1000. We had thought to put it in the Emergency Fund, but I think instead, we will use it to get current. The next two paydays will pay off what we have left on the credit cards before they are due and then we will go down to simply charging the auto pays, which total $407.50. It might be a little lower, but I am allowing $50 for Ting. We don't always go that high, some months we are lower, but we have never been above it, so that is what I put in the budget. But we won't use the credit card for anything else. Nothing but the auto pays. And we will use paypal from our bank account for online purchases, but not until we've had a moratorium on online purchases for six months or so.

I have also budgeted $1000 for groceries/household. I do think I can keep it lower than that, but I haven't been. Since I track my spending, more or less, I know I haven't. We are switching to cash for that. I will start with putting $250 in the groceries envelope. I figure $200 for groceries and $50 for household. Maybe I should break it down into two envelopes, except I usually buy household stuff when I go grocery shopping. We'll see. I know I need to get toilet paper, deodorant, and quart size Ziplocs, which will take up a good share of that $50.

I have transferred all the auto pays to one card, and as soon as the last little bit on the AMEX is paid off, I am going to cut it up and cancel it. I was just using it for Netflix and Hulu. I am also going to cancel my Best Buy card and no longer do any 18 or 12 month same as cash deals. I paid off the last one with part of our tax return. Instead I will be saving up money in a computer fund, though that won't start for a while.

I am not sure I am ready to cut the cord completely with credit cards, but I can't see having more than 3. One is the miles card, which DH will need if he starts working in Alaska again and has to fly all the time. He usually got 2 free flights a year, sometimes 3, so it definitely was worth it. Then there is the one my daughter is a signer on. Then there is the Costco Citi card, but I am not sure if that is going to be worth keeping yet. Without charging all of our groceries and gas, the amount of cash back will dramatically drop, and that was the only reason I got it in the first place.

My head knows that the best thing for us to do is to get rid of all but one card, but I am scared to do it. Mostly because the EF is not where I want it to be. I know you aren't supposed to use credit cards as a back up EF, but you know what 2016 and 2017 were like for us. If we had run out of money at least we would have had those cards to fall back on, which of course, is exactly that attitude I'm not supposed to have.

I knew Dave would let me have it over these ideas and I wasn't wrong. It sure has shown me what I need to work on and try to not rely so much on my security gland ruling what I do.

So next, I go back to an envelope, pay with cash system, except for those auto pays. I am looking into whether or not there are ways to pay them without paying by card. I think you can pay both Netflix and Hulu through paypal, but I'm not 100% sure. I think we can put storage on direct withdrawal, but I don't know about Ting. I haven't been able to find anything about Ting. But one of the reasons I really like doing auto pays on the credit card is so that I only have one due date to worry about, not an additional five. Right now I only have two to worry about and they come out on the same day.

So I will fund this coming payday's grocery/household envelope with $250.00 from the gift money, so all the money in the paycheck can go for the tithe and the Citi card.

I have already handed DH an envelope marked vending for the vending machines at work with $7 in ones that I had in my purse. He is to get $25 a month to use in the vending machines at work (he's been charging them). This gives him a little over $1 a day and the charge is 85 cents, so anything left at the end he can spend or set aside and save it for something he wants. Or he can save it all and quit using the vending machine altogether.

I will also have my own $25 envelope for something I want to do. I have no idea what I want to do with it, but sometimes just saving makes me happy.

I really would like to be able to squeeze out more than $500 a month to pay Mom. It might be $100, it might be $25, who knows? But whatever I can throw at it. She won't like getting weird amounts, but I don't care. It is not up to her how much I pay back at a time. It is up to DH and me.

As soon as we know what is going on in June with the job, I can decide what to do with the Emergency Fund. If I want to bump it down to $1000 and pay Mom with the rest or if we need to keep it there in case of possible job loss. It is scary to keep it at just $1000, but Dave says it keeps you more driven to pay off the debt so you can build the EF up to 3 to 6 months of expenses.

I get it. I get everything Dave says. I think I'm in the stage where I am not yet drinking the Kool-Aid, but I have read the ingredients and directions on the package and started preparing the beverage. He has his baby steps and I have mine. I do want to get there. And I want to get there fast, so time to put our heads down and start pushing that stone uphill.

Well, That Was Dumb

January 5th, 2018 at 04:10 pm

I just discovered I didn't actually make a payment on the 30th. I recorded it in my check register, but I must have gotten distracted before I actually went online and paid it. Fortunately I had made a payment the week before, so there was no late fee, but that does mean we got charged interest for the $1400 balance. Ugh. I hate when that happens. I hate giving a single cent to the Evil Empire.

Okay, we were a bit distracted having to deal with DD's gall bladder attack, but still. I am usually so on the ball with paying the bills. Lesson learned, though. Don't enter it into the register until I've actually made the payment. I wish I'd realized this two days ago.

I was wondering why the balance was so high on that account. I couldn't find the payment there, so I checked my checking account online and couldn't find the payment there, either. I can't believe I did that. I know I haven't been feeling good and have been kind of spacey all week, but still. This is the second time I have done that in 4 months. *sighs*

I did finally catch all my budgets up to date on the spreadsheets. I finished up September, October, November and December, including entering all the medical bills into each month. I haven't added up the numbers yet, but I know as of August we'd already spent over $20K on medical bills for 2017. I'd say it is going to be around $27K from a guesstimate.

Can I just say again, the Affordable Care Act was badly misnamed? Burdonsomely Unaffordable Care Act would be a much better title. Or Bankrupting the Middle Class Care Act. That would be an acceptable title as well. I know it has helped the people that get it for free, but it has hurt just as many people, if not more so by driving up the cost of everything insurance related, making it more expensive for employers to offer plans, and shifting the expense directly to those who don't get any subsidies. And I'm not sure it is going to get any better any time soon, either. They like to talk about health care, but they don't like to do much, no matter what side they are on.

Online Payments--Just Venting

April 15th, 2016 at 10:41 am

You know, the credit card companies want you to pay online. They want paperless billing. They want to not have to deal with humans in person as much as possible. So why do they always insist on doing the upgrades to their online payment systems on Fridays? It's only the day that most Americans have their paychecks deposited and pay their bills.

Either they don't think it through, or they are hoping most people will wait until the last minute to pay it and then get a late fee or a pay by phone fee because they can't actually pay it on time with the system down. My guess is the latter.

My bill isn't due for another week because I never wait until the last minute, but it is annoying as I want to pay it today. So now I have to go down there in person, which fortunately I can do, if I want it done today. I have to pick up something on that side of town today anyway.

What I really don't get is that I was able to pay my BoA VISA just fine from the same portal, but when I tried to pay the BoA Master Card my daughter used at the Con she went to, it is down. I tried to pay it both before and after I paid the VISA, which went through just fine. I suppose it could just be they are working on the MC side of things and not the VISA side of things.

BoA is getting my stink eye for today. I never have this problem with the other credit cards, actually, so maybe it is just them. There is a reason I refer to them as the evil empire.

New Credit Card

April 3rd, 2016 at 07:24 pm

I applied for and was accepted by the AMEX Everyday Blue Cash Card since my AMEX Costco card is expiring soon and they won't exist anymore. It's the first time in years that I have opened a new credit card account I got my husband a card as well as I never did add him to the Costco AMEX card. He could use it at the gas pump regardless, so it didn't seem important.

His VISA miles reward card is just not that good anymore, plus it has a yearly fee, and he was only earning one plane ticket a year for using it. We'll come out ahead using the new AMEX card. He'll still have to use the a VISA card in some places as not everyone accepts AMEX, but not too much.

And I can start putting the groceries on there, too, to be paid off each month, of course. But then I can tell at a glance how much I've spent on groceries without having to add up receipts. It'll just make things a bit easier.

I will have to do the math to see if I get a greater benefit for using the card for gas, or getting the 10 cents off per gallon for using cash.

There is an up front amount for spending so much in the first 3 months, too, which we will easily get just through DH's work travel expenses. It said there was something else for spending on wireless phone. I'm not sure what that one was, but if it is as simple as just charging our monthly Verizon bill on it, then we'd be set, because I planned to do that anyway. I'll read through the paperwork thoroughly when it comes.

I'm not sure if I'm going to get the new Citi card for Costco when it comes out. We pretty much just pay by check there and since I don't buy gas there anymore since I can get it cheaper at Safeway with my grocery points, there isn't really a reason. Although, actually, maybe that would be a good VISA for him to use in place of the miles card since I believe it is the one with 1% cash back when you purchase and 1% cash back when you pay it off. We'll see.

No new news on the contract front, though DH did get his resume to one of the other two companies that are putting in bids. One of the guys there had requested it specifically.

I found out the other company is the one he used to work for way back when we were first married, that is actually based where we live. So he might still know someone from there as well and having a solid work history with that company can only be a benefit if they get the contract. Although it really looks like it will go to his current company or the second company at this point. But as usual, nothing is ever written in stone. Anyway, I'm cautiously less pessimistic at the moment, if one can be such a thing.

Blew Right Past It-- 9th Blogoversary

April 30th, 2015 at 08:29 am

April 9th of 2006 I started this blog in pretty dire straits. I had no savings, massive debt due to medical expenses, a mortgage, and credit card debt, also mostly due to the medical issues.

In the last nine years my husband and I have paid off the mortgage, paid off our van loan, and paid off all of the credit cards. The only money we owe now is the 0% loan we took out from my mother to pay off the hospital. I call that my medical mortgage, because that is what it feels like. We owe her $49,500 and once that is paid off we will have no more debt until we buy a new house. I am hoping to save enough up for that so as to not have a massive mortgage.

We have saved almost $15,000 in an Emergency Fund. When we started we were only banking $10 a week and whatever money I managed to save in the coin jar. After a few years I was able to add monthly $100 payments. When we started, a lot of people thought it was silly to save such small amounts, but they have added up big time. If $10 is all you have to save, then save it. If $1 is all you have to save, still save it. It may seem like nothing now, but take my word for it. In 9 years you could be sitting on several thousand dollars if you keep at it.

We have come a long, long way, and it has been a tough, tough road at times. So many people told us to just declare bankruptcy, but I didn't want to. That isn't how I was raised. Bankruptcy is a last resort, for people in desperate situations. We were always able to meet our bills even if things were quite tight for a long, long time. We probably could have easily qualified, but I didn't want to take that way out. It didn't feel right for us.

So instead we just put our heads down, dug in, and worked hard to get the debt paid off and bring down the evil empire that had held us under its sway for so long. We had a few setbacks along the way with me having to have 2 more surgeries and having to pay for those instead of putting a lot on old debt, but we made it through that. Things are going pretty well. Not enough to really loosen the purse strings as we still have to save for that down payment and pay back Mom. But enough that I feel like we are breathing deep again.

Mortgage Update, Payday Post, and More on How Premera Sucks

September 20th, 2013 at 10:02 pm

After making a larger than usual mortgage payment today, we are now under $9K! Estimated balance is $8937.89. It will likely be $1 or $2 less than that when it actually posts. I used last month's interest to calculate it and I paid it 3 days earlier this month so it will definitely be a bit less. Wasn't due until the 1st. I forgot to reorder checks while I was there making the payment, darn it. Got to remember to do that Monday.

I added $4.85 to the coin jar today.

Today is payday. Not a lot of bills went out today, but large amounts of money did.

$1500.00 BoA VISA
_1075.86 Mortgage payment
__100.00 Cash for the Week
___40.00 Allowances
__202.00 Medical
__100.00 Emergency Fund
-------------
$3017.86 Total Money Out

I am also setting aside $600 of this paycheck to go towards a medical bill that I won't be able to pay in full until next Friday. It is $923.54 and is the result of my medical insurance (worst) company (in the US) Premera "we suck eggs" Blue Cross trying to get out of paying for, oh, just about anything EVER. Not that I'm ticked off or anything.

And we haven't even got the hospital bill for DD's emergency middle of the night visit at the start of the month yet. I don't even want to think about what that will be. I never thought I'd see the day where I'd actually miss Aetna. Mind you, I only miss them a little bit, but still.

Financial Housekeeping and EF Update

September 19th, 2013 at 08:32 am

I balanced the checkbook today. I've been letting it go since I knew there was plenty of money in the account and I felt to cruddy to do math even with the help of a calculator. Still feeling cruddy, but I figured since tomorrow is payday I should get it taken care of. Balanced it to the penny, so go me.

I also sent $1000 off to the BoA Visa. I will be paying an additional $1500 on Friday. We went a little overboard on the spending with the Visa again, mostly on things to get the rabbitry off the ground, and airfare went up in the spring. Nothing that we can't take care of in a short amount of time, but I'm not too thrilled that we backslid. I know it happens. But now that I have gotten the EF to a level I am far more comfortable at, the focus will be again on that card for a few months. Can't let the evil empire get the upper hand again. Not to say I won't still set EF goals, as I will.

There should be about $500 a month more now that DH has hit the limit on the SSI tax being taken out. He won't make enough for them to start taking it out again this year, so we will have that money back until the end of the year.

Today was also the day of the auto deposit of $10 to savings so that went to the Emergency Fund.

$7115.32 Old EF Amount
+__10.00 Amount of Deposit
------------
$7125.32 New EF Amount

$174.68 to go to hit my September goal of $7300.

Payday Post

August 9th, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Today was payday. I sent $500 to BoA and spent $38.70 on 100 pounds of rabbit feed. I switched to a new feed (will mix with the old to prevent tummy troubles, until old is gone) that was $15.99 for a 50 pound bag plus tax instead of $25.26 a bag plus tax. This is a feed that uses no soy, no corn, and no GMO. It's about 80% organic which is the closest thing I can find to organic in anything other than a 5 pound bag. It is also milled in the next county and most of the ingredients come from my state. They mill weekly so it is pretty fresh.

I've found a few houses that I am very interested in. The front runner at the moment is a fixer upper, but not a devastatingly bad one. It just needs new paint inside and out, the deck needs to be sanded and painted, the light fixtures need updating and the carpets could do with replacing. Normally I wouldn't even look at a house like this. But the bones of the house are very good, the price is great (foreclosure), and the pond is amazing, and the acreage made me look twice. It is $260,000 for five acres and over 3500 square feet. It has outbuildings for the animals. It is about 15 minutes from town. So it is on the list for now. If it is still around when we have sold our house, we will have our contractor look at it and give us his opinion. The taxes are $4500 a year, but with a $1100 mortgage payment, they are affordable.

Not much else in the financial arena.

Payday Post and Future Musings

June 22nd, 2013 at 03:11 am

So out of this paycheck I spent:

$225.00 on monthly family chiropractor plan
$650.00 to BoA VISA
$442.00 on groceries
$144.00 on water/sewer old house
----------
1463.00 total spent

Not all of this was from this paycheck actually. I had $400 left from the last one.

I also put $70 into the Emergency Fund bringing me to officially over $5000 at $5061.62. So I've hit my June savings goal. I wonder if I can get it to $5100 by the end of the month? Quite possibly if I don't buy anymore groceries.

Found a penny and put it in the coin jar. Nothing else to report.

Payday Post

June 8th, 2013 at 06:17 pm

I transferred the $44.99 left in checking to the Emergency Fund, which now totals $3902.12.

Payments made:

$1000.00 to Mom
$1000.00 to BoA VISA
__757.82 to Car loan (extra to principal)
___90.00 Physical Therapy
___44.87 Phone Old House
___23.39 Electric Old House
------------
$2916.08

I also took out $100 cash for the week, $30 for the kids' allowances, and spent $145.07 on groceries.

I still need to make a trip to the food co-op and then I should have at least $200 left for the Wisconsin Fund.

I have made it 3 weeks on one tank of gas and still have a third of a tank, so I think I'll make it until next payday before having to fill up. I am glad of it since gas has hit $4 a gallon. Of course, the reason I still have so much gas is that my daughter missed nine days of school with the evil stomach flu (she threw up so hard one day she broke all the blood vessels in her face, giving her skin a freckled appearance) and that the chiropractor took a two week vacation. The only places I drove during that time are to the grocery store and the feed store and physical therapy (one of which I cancelled when I had the evil stomach flu).

I am steadfastly ignoring the laundry and the garden today. I woke up feeling exhausted, so other than taking care of the animals, I have done nothing. The kids had plenty of leftovers to eat so are fending for themselves while I just lay in bed. I thought I was over the evil stomach flu, but I think I may be going in for round 2. Ugh.

Financial Housekeeping and Other Stuff

May 1st, 2013 at 04:08 am

I managed to get caught up on my slacking. The April Budget is now fully updated and closed out. The HSA tracking is fully updated for the month. The checkbook is updated and balanced.

I sent $4500 off to the BoA VISA and will send another $2000 on Friday. That'll leave us with about $1700 to pay off by the end of May and then our vacation will be paid for. I still think it was worth it to go, but man was it ever expensive to pay for seven people. I've already told DH we won't be able to afford to do that again.

I'm just glad there is an extra payday this month because of how the paydays fall. DH's pay is on a four week cycle so every once in a while he gets an extra paycheck in the year. This is that month so I can shift things about a bit and get the rest of that vacation paid off. Then we'll have a clean slate again.

The mortgage is under $13K now. I will pay about $61 in interest on this next payement. I love seeing it so low. I'm pushing to get it under $10K, but that'll take me to November, I think. Unless it sells of course. Assuming the remodellers are ever done. I don't believe them even when they give me an actual date, because they flew right past the last one. *sighs*

DH's bosses decided that they are caught up enough on redlines that he won't have to bring anything home with him and work this hitch. Last hitch was hard though the money was nice. But they said in a couple of months they may need to do that again. I'm of two minds on it. If he has to do OT I'd rather he do it on the slope. Then again, at least it's OT. It just interferes with doing absolutely anything if he has to bring it home.

I have still not been able to shake this sinus thing and I am starting to think I might be allergic to rabbit dander. I am allergic to cat dander and dog dander which is why we don't have pets. I'm hoping not. It could be the dogwood and the rhodies in bloom. I hate allergies. Allergies can go away and leave sunny days in their place.

We Made It

March 16th, 2013 at 10:50 pm

We are safe in California and tomorrow:



I'm a trifle irritated with BoA at the moment. They put a fraud alert on our main VISA card. Disney accidentally processed our ticket purchase twice so we called BoA because it was showing up as pending twice. And with something that costs $2030 we wanted to make sure that the extra charge got off, so DH called them. So on the Disney end it was cleared up within 12 hours, but BoA decided it was going to lock us out of viewing our account online.

Even after I answered every single security question (and there were a lot of them) they still won't let us access that account online. We can, at least, still use the card, but I want to be able to get to it online, because I want to double check it got taken off. Then on Tuesday when the money arrives from ING to my regular CU account I wanted to pay off the tickets. *grumble growls*

They won't talk to me over the phone even though I am a joint account holder, not just an authorized user, because DH is the one that talked to them originally. It is stupid. Oh, I'm sure it is all for our "benefit" but it annoys me nonetheless. We did not ask them for a fraud alert and to lock us out of our internet access, we asked them to clear up a simple problem and instead they made it ten times more complicated.

I'm not sure why I expected them to be able to do it right though. It is the Evil Empire, after all. I swear if Alaska Airlines partnered with any other bank I would drop them in a heartbeat.

Out of Credit Card Debt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February 13th, 2013 at 12:01 pm



It is official. The tax refund hit our account this morning. I just paid off the Chase VISA. We are officially OUT of credit card debt! After 10 years of being in it, and the last 7 of working very, very hard to pay it off, we have fired our last shot at the Evil Empire and we sunk their battleship.

And now it's time to start to upgrade our rickety picket fence (baby EF) into a wall of stone. I added $1000 to the EF, put $1000 into the MacBook Fund. The other $1903 I'm not sure what we are doing with yet, we're waiting until after vacation, so I transferred it to ING with the rest of it, just so it's out of our account and can't be frittered away.

The new EF amount is $2835.35. I am adjusting my goal of $1900 by the end of February to $2900.

And cue music...

I'm walking on sunshine, woo ooo,
I'm walking on sunshine, woo ooo,
I'm walking on sunshine, woo ooo,
And don't it feel good!

Payday Report and EF Update

January 25th, 2013 at 06:57 pm

Aside from the most important thing of paying off the BoA card this morning, I finally had time to sit down and pay out the bills for this week. It's not a lot of stuff, since the majority of the money went to one place. Both BoA and AMEX will now be paid off each month with no balance carried forward. AMEX is for gas and miscellaneous purchases I want to track, like OTC cold meds or meals out. We're down to only spending $100 a month on meals out, which generally amounts to one nice restaurant and one fast food meal a month.

Anyway, here's what it looks like:

$2675.84 BoA VISA payoff
__451.16 AMEX
___15.00 Daughter's allowance (DS will be caught up with what he owes me on 2/1)
__100.00 DH's monthly allowance
__100.00 property tax (holding tank)
__300.00 Dental
___25.00 Medical
----------
$3667.00 total money out

That leaves us $274.87 until Friday. I am actually going to try to only use $74.87 out of it. I got my Costco rebate check coupon thing so that should cover a case of toilet paper, butter, and a case of oranges and there is no other reason to spend money, except for milk, between now and the payday on 2/1.

----------

I deposited the dollars from my coin jar, a roll of pennies, and $20 I had left from last payday to my EF fund, total of $44.50. That means the new total in the Emergency Fund is now $1717.50. That also means I passed my January goal of getting the EF to $1700. My goal for February is to get it to $1900.

----------

I think I will have enough points by tomorrow to cash out at Swagbucks for another Amazon $5 gift card.

----------

The man fixing up our old house was able to work there again all day today. Maybe this thing will get done by March. Pray for rain! He can't do his normal job when it is raining outside. I almost feel like this is a sign pointing to things aligning for us to possibly get that farm house. I don't want to get my hopes up, but even my mother is on board with that house and that is saying something. She's notoriously pessimistic sometimes.

----------

We are left now with our 0% Chase card with $5100 on it. It is the last of the credit card debt. And it will be gone by the end of March. We have put our debt to income ratio in an excellent place for buying a house. All of the pieces are falling into place. Hopefully they will continue to do so and we will keep our heads. It is very important not to go crazy now, but to continue to do things rationally and the right way.

The Evil Empire Retracts it's Claws

January 25th, 2013 at 02:32 pm

After a final attempt to rally its forces with a tempting offer of not one, not two, but three balance transfer checks, the great ship Bank of America VISA Card was sunk with four short photon bursts. It's final resting place is deep in the heart of the $0 balance trench under Garbage Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. RIP, oh, mighty enemy. You have won many battles, but I, lonely soldier that I am, have won the war.

One More Day

January 24th, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Tomorrow is the big day. It's the day we get the Evil Empire of BoA off our backs forever. It's been such a long time coming. We'll be down to the one Chase VISA at 0% interest and if the gub'mint isn't slow on refunding our taxes, we wipe that slate clean in March. I am thrilled, as you can imagine. Tomorrow I'll probably be doing cartwheels. In my head, anyway.

It's been raining or fogging heavily this week so the person who is working on our house in his spare time was out there all day yesterday, since he couldn't work his day job (painting outdoors). The inside of the house is now completely primed and will hopefully be done being painted by the end of this weekend. The carpet has been pulled up and the pad.

Then we just do the doors and the new pad and carpet and that baby goes on the market. The doors are going to cost about $1000. The carpet probably close to $5000 since we can get the contractor's discount through our guy and it also needs a bit of linoleum. My mom is paying for it and we'll pay her back when it sells right off the top. She knows it may be a while and is okay with that. She just doesn't want us charging it.

I was worried how Mom was going to get through this week. The 22nd was the first anniversary of my dad's death, though his mind had been gone for a few years at that point. She did okay though. I think it helped to have us around.

DH is only home for a few days. He goes back to work on Monday. We'd like to try to get out to the farm house and view it, but I'm not sure if we will have the time. Possibly next month we will. The one thing I really want to find out about is how old the wiring in the house is. I imagine they brought it up to code at some point, but how far up is the question.

Even if it is up to code we would probably need an electrician to come and put in new outlets if that was never done. 1920's farm houses were not built with modern electrical usage in mind. Many rooms only had one outlet for plugging in two things. In this day and age there are usually four outlets per room for plugging in 8 devices. I just want to know what we'd be letting ourselves in for.

If the house is still on the market in May it'll have been on for a year. We may be able to make a low ball offer. Even though $265,000 is great for this particular property, if I could get it for $225,000 that would be even better, though it'll probably end up somewhere between the two. If, if, if everything else works out right. We'll see.

Five Days and Counting

January 20th, 2013 at 05:37 pm

I can't believe how close I am to finally paying off the BoA VISA card. At the beginning of January it felt like it was going to take so long just to get to this point, but now it's almost here. It feels so good to be almost out from under it.

DH bought a one way plane ticket $457.40 and one of our autopays went through $105 (for some reason I thought this one was $120, but I guess not). So total BoA balance is now at $2562.40. We will still be able to pay that off on Friday and then we are starting over with this card, using it only for DH's plane tickets, hotel overnight in Anchorage, and travel food. Oh, and anything DH might need from the commissary, like cold medicine or cough drops No more miscellaneous purchases.

After this month DH can go back to buying round trip tickets, instead of one way tickets. That'll make it more convenient for him.

----------

I cashed out for another $5 gift card for Amazon from swagbucks. I think I'll be able to hit five of those this month. I have one that should hit my account in a day or two. I think I am going to save these gift cards for Christmas. My friend who was doing so bad didn't want me to use the Amazon cards for her, so I have a balance right now of $75 in my account.

If I can add $25 a month between now and Christmas I should have a total of $350 in gift cards. We spent about $600 on Christmas this year, so that covers over half of it. We ended up buying a lot of stuff on Amazon, too, so that will work out really well for us.

----------

I didn't end up driving down to the farm yesterday. I've just been too exhausted lately and a drive like that with two bickering kids (they have been nuts this week) was more than I thought I could handle. The money is still set aside though. We will go next Saturday when DH is here to do the driving.

I've Been Thinking--Mortgage vs. Final Card

January 18th, 2013 at 01:46 pm

Do you think it would make more sense to me to try to pay off the mortgage quickly or to pay off the 0% interest credit card? The plan has been to pay off the card, but I ran the numbers and if I used the money I had planned to use for the Chase card and continued to pay minimum payments on it and instead threw that at the mortgage, I could have the mortgage paid off by the end of June.

The Chase card is at 0% through the end of 2013. Acutally I think it is until January 2014. And then with no mortgage to pay as well as all the extra money we were throwing at it, we will be able to have that credit card paid off by the end of the year, while it is still at 0%.

Part of my hesitation is psychological. For so long my goal has been to pay off the credit cards. It's been my number one priority. I am not naive enough to believe our house will sell quickly once it goes on the market in spring. So it seems like it would make things a lot easier if it is paid off when it sells, one less round of paperwork. Plus the mortgage is at 5.5%. So it seems silly to not take care of it first.

No matter which way I do it, they'll both be paid off by the end of the year. How do I get past these psychological barriers? Common sense me, people.

Down Doobie do Down Down

January 18th, 2013 at 01:18 pm

So today is payday and the first thing I did this morning was to pay $2609.14 to the Evil Empire. This brings the BoA VISA card down to $2000 even. All of the autopays for this month have gone through now except one that will be $120, so VISA amount payoff will actually be $2120. That brings total credit card debt down to $7100.

After my final payment of $2000 next week the BoA card will be paid off and will only be used for autopays and DH's plane tickets, hotels, and travel food.

Then the only card we will have left is the Chase VISA, with $5100 left on it and it has a 0% interest rate through the end of 2013.

Money Out this Payday:

$2609.14 BoA VISA payment
__125.00 Half year dues
___44.87 Old House phone for security system
___72.00 Water/Sewer (Old House) to the Holding Tank
___72.56 Internet
___37.68 Garbage
__100.00 Emergency Fund
__135.00 Paying Back the Mac Book Fund
___45.00 Allowances
__300.00 Farm money for meats
__100.00 Miscellaneous (toiletries, OTC medicine)
---------------
$3641.29

The Emergency Fund now sits at $1670. I am $30 short of my January goal, but that should be no problem to meet.

Today's check was 3420.49. I already had money saved for the dues, the garbage, and the water/sewer. I also had some money left from last week.

After paying everything I will have $146.59. $90 of that will go to physical therapy on Friday, so really $56.59 until next payday.

The plan so far for next Friday is $2120 to the BoA to pay it off, $200 to the Vacation Fund, $100 to the property tax fund, $570 to the Mortgage, $100 to the propane fund and $200 to the Mac Book fund.

February 1st will be the start of the new Budget Template and I am setting up a spreadsheet for that to let me know where I'll go from there.

Another Shot off the Starboard Bow

January 11th, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Today is payday, finally, the first one of the new year, and the damage is $123 and some change more in taxes out of this first check. Next week will be a bit higher as it is a seven day paycheck and not just a five day one.

I started my morning by taking a shot at the Evil Empire and paid off another $2000. DH bought his one way plane ticket on Wednesday which had brought the balance on the BoA VISA to $5,983.64. So the new balance on the VISA is $3983.64. I will have 3 autopays coming out before the end of the month, so that will go up a bit, but I am still on track for paying the card off by month's end. Total credit card debt currently sits at $9083.64. This is the first time in a very long time I have been under $10K. Go me.

Then I made the car loan payment. I also paid another medical bill to the podiatrist and made a payment on my crown to the dentist.

$2000.00 to BoA VISA
757.82 Van payment (plus extra to principal)
205.30 Dentist
75.00 Podiatrist
50.00 Two weeks of allowance for the kids
-------------
$3088.22 Total

I still owe $350 to the dentist for my crown and should have that paid off by the end of the month. I am thinking of rescheduling my 2nd crown until after vacation in March. The tooth has not been hurting since getting the other crown put in. I don't think I'm hitting it anymore when I grind my teeth at night. The last one ended up costing $200 more than the estimate because of how much novacaine they had to give me.

I have just under $300 for the next week. I need to buy toilet paper and tissues. Normally I go to Costco for that, but I am just not up for a warehouse store, so I'm heading to Kmart. I've been out of tissues for a week, not great when everyone is sick. Even if Charmin is nice to blow your nose on, tissues are better.

I need to do a grocery shop, too. I have a coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase. This is one of the rare times I will use coupons, since most are for processed junky foods and are useless to me. They are also having a sale on Organic Valley products so I will get milk, heavy cream and half and half (the last 2 for making ice cream) if the sell by dates are decent.

Waiting

January 8th, 2013 at 08:19 am

I feel like I am just waiting for the days to pass until Friday arrives. I thought when we were ahead of the game like we almost are now, waiting anxiously for paydays would be a thing of the past. But no. I'm still waiting for paydays. I'm restless for them to come so I can shell out for the debt repayments this month that will finish off that darn BoA card. I am particularly wanting to see how much the extra social security tax is going to affect paychecks.

And then I will be restless for the income tax refund so that the Chase card and the rest of our credit card debt will be a thing of the past.

I imagine even after that I will be anxious to start socking away money for the emergency fund, the HSA, and college and to pay off the mortgage, so I will still be waiting for each paycheck.

Maybe one day it won't be a waiting game for me, but somehow I doubt it. I think there will always be something that I'm wanting to add to or save up for. Of course once the EF is to 3 months I imagine the waiting will take on less anxiety and be more like a simple ordering of where the money goes.

Once the credit cards are paid off I want to get the EF to $18,300. That is 3 months' expenses. If we can save $2000 a month for that starting in May, we should hit that by the end of the year. After that I'll add to it more slowly, aiming for $30,000.

Meanwhile I hope to start socking away money for college0 (DD will start in the fall of 2015) and bump up payments to the mortgage. That will be under $13K by the end of April. Also, get all the last minute fiddly things finally done and the carpet replaced in the old house so that we can get the dang thing on the market.

I have no idea if our tax refunds after this year are going to remain substantial. That depends on whether or not we max out the HSA again like we have done for the last two years. If we do, any substantial tax refund will likely be thrown at savings for college. If we have a healthy year, likely we won't need to max out the HSA again. I have a feeling we will do it again at least this coming year. I'm pretty sure I'll need another MRI done on my knee and possibly more knee surgery at some point this year the way it has been acting so I need to save up some for the HSA, too.

Not to mention that I'm paying off the rest of my crown ($525) and will be getting another one in February, so at least another $700. That's almost halfway to our deductible right there. Throw in one BP prescription and we'll be at the halfway point by the end of Feb.

So the waiting game continues. 3 more days until payday, 3 more days until I can make the next $2000 payment to BoA and the total dropping to $3,610.74. Ten more days to drop it to $1,610.74. 17 more days to drop it to $0. I am forever counting the numbers.

3 more days with $27 left in the checking account, no bills to pay, and $25 left of my December allowance. Just ticking along, waiting, waiting, waiting for the end of the month to arrive. Waiting for the future to begin. Waiting.

Payments Hit and Homeschool Stuff

January 4th, 2013 at 12:01 pm

The BoA payment I made yesterday posted. DH's hotel for his trip up, travel food, and our gym membership hit today, so the new balance is up a bit from what I said yesterday to $5,610.74.

The mortgage payment posted this morning. I made a payment of $570. Of that $68.51 went to interest and the rest to principal. The new mortgage balance is $14,446.84. My goal for February is to bring that under $14K. I am trying to pay off $500 worth of principal each month right now. I will reassess my mortgage goals after the credit card debt is paid off and I know what is going on with paychecks with the new tax laws.

Homeschool went okay yesterday, it just took forever. Although I understood the math right away (totally new concept to me) it took DS longer to cotton on to it. We are doing rays and angles and line segments, and defining whether the measured angle pairs are complimentary or supplementary or neither. The lesson ended up taking 90 minutes instead of the usual hour.

Then history took a lot longer than usual. Sometimes the curriculum splits stuff up in really stupid ways. Wednesday's history only took a half an hour while yesterday's took 90 minutes. If they divided it up better it would come to an hour a day. One day you are reading 3 pages in the history book and the next day you are reading two chapters.

It wouldn't be so bad, but we started The Secret Garden yesterday. Normally literature lessons consist of one short story or 3 or 4 poems that are read and then questions are answered about plot and character development or in the case of poems, analyzed. But when he needs to do actual books, which happens twice a semester, they divide it into ten lessons, no matter how long the book is. So he ends up reading 30 to 40 pages a day for that which wouldn't take too long, except it is using regional dialect.

Now I personally hate dialect in books. It's a pet peeve of mine. It's overdone and it makes things difficult to read. It's enough to say, hey, these people are from Yorkshire, they talk a little different and maybe give a bit of the flavor of it, but not pound the reader over the head with it. On top of that it also is using old-fashioned language so things like thyself instead of yourself are used. But when you use dialect, it's thysen instead of theyself, or youn'un instead of young one. Then a ton of questions afterwards so literature is ending up taking way, way too long.

Now all that would be fine in high school, but this is 7nth grade. We were already at 5 hours for the day with only those 3 subjects. Add on top of that grammar and usage, vocabulary, composition and either art or science, plus 20 minutes a day for PE and we were at around 8 hours and school is only supposed to take 5 and a half hours per day. We were both cranky by the time we finished.

I ended up reserving the unabridged book on CD. I'm going to allow DS to read along with the CD instead so that he isn't struggling with dialect and old-fashioned language and we can get through it faster. Fortunately the library had it in so I can just go down and pick it up today.

Hopefully today will go better. We haven't started yet as DS didn't sleep last night and I let him sleep in. I think he's coming down with what DD has. *sighs* Me, too, maybe as I didn't sleep all that well either. Well, I was well for a whole week. That's better than nothing.

Evil Empire, You Are Going Down!

January 3rd, 2013 at 01:42 pm

I made my first payment of $2000 to the BoA VISA today. At first I screwed it up and forgot to check the date I'd scheduled it for. This was because it used to put the first day available for payment, but they switched their payment page to the same one they use for MasterCard (which I haven't used in months) and now it automatically schedules it for the day the payment is due, which wasn't until 1/21.

I tried calling them to see what I needed to do to change it, but their phone customer service is completely unhelpful in this situation and offered no option for speaking to a human. Plus it takes forever to get to the point. Ugh.

So after that I thought about just leaving it scheduled as I had planned to make another $2000 payment on the 18th, and could have just let it go through on the 21st instead and then scheduled a different payment for today, but I really didn't want to do that. I like having the money in the account before scheduling a payment.

So I slogged through all the FAQ's and stuff on the bill pay and finally found where you can make a change to a scheduled payment, so I was able to change the date from 1/21 to today. The payment should post tomorrow. That will leave that card with a balance of $5407.11, with 3 more payments of $2000 each going at it this month.

DH will have to charge a plane ticket, a hotel night, and travel food once before it is paid off, but I'll figure out how to absorb that. It'll be about $750, so I'll just need to come up with $158 more dollars unless interest hits at that point, then I'll have to come up with a little more. I still have $140.65 in the MacBook Fund I can borrow from if needed and $400 in the vacation account. If I do wipe out the MB fund I'll need to repay it with some of the income tax return as DD is to start her senior year with that and it is eight months away.

As it stands that brings our total credit card debt down to $10,507.11 for the moment. It feels good to finally be moving forward with this January plan.

Happy 2013 Everyone--My Goals

January 1st, 2013 at 12:39 am

I am really looking forward to this being an easier year than last year. It's got to be.

So I've made a few goals for the year. I don't call them resolutions since I don't believe in them, they are just some things I'd like to get accomplished between now and 2014.

1. Pay off the last of the credit card debt, of course.

2. Rebuild the Emergency Fund.

3. Sell the house.

4. Start putting money in the college fund, at least $7000 by the end of the year. Won't start until #1 is accomplished. I'd like to have $15,000 by the fall of 2015, which should cover a year at our local university or two years at the local community college for DD.

I know #3 is not really up to me, it will either sell or not, but hopefully it will. I do have some other goals, but I will reassess after I pay off the credit card debt and the EF is up to at least $5000.

Oh, and I added $2.45 to the coin jar last night. I had $1.99 in interest hit my ING account and deposited $20. So that $21.99 went to the EF, bringing the new EF total to $1545.79.

End of Year Financial Housekeeping--Debt Paid Off in 2012

December 31st, 2012 at 01:44 am

Well, it's nowhere near the $57,010.88 of principal debt we paid off in 2011, but that had extenuating circumstances. I still think we did a good job with paying off over $21K of principal in 2012.

$18,544.28 Mortgage Amount as of 12/31/11
-14,948.33 Mortgage Amount as of 12/31/12
-----------------
$__3,595.95 Amount Paid Off in 2012

$20,228.79 Amount of Credit Card Debt as of 12/31/11
$12,514.07 Amount of Credit Card Debt as of 12/31/12
-------------------
$-7,714.72 Amount Paid Off in 2012

$87,000 Amount Owed to Mom as of 12/31/11
-77,000 Amount Owed to Mom as of 12/31/12
--------------------
$10,000 Amount Paid Off in 2012

So I paid off a total of $21,310.67 in principal this year. I have no idea what I paid in interest, but it was a lot. I have $104,462.40 left to go. All but $5200 of the credit card debt will be paid off by the end of January. That will leave me with a 0% loan from Mom, a 0% $5200 credit card debt (well, $5100 since I will pay off $100 of that in January), and the mortgage which is currently just under $15K.

As usual I am not including the car loan. I never have included car loans. Probably because if we had to sell it and not have one it wouldn't affect our bottom line. We barely drive as it is. We have 12,000 miles on our car and it is a 2010 and probably 4000 of that was on driving vacations, which again, could be easily cut without affecting our bottom line. I may put it up there after everything else is paid off, but I consider it more or less a fixed expense. It's at 1.9%.

Mom still wants the steady $1000 a month so she has a steady income stream to go with her social security check and can put a little in the bank for emergencies, so she doesn't want us paying it off early. So that is another 6 years and 4 months worth of payments to go. This will be the first year where we shouldn't have to take a month or two off from paying her back, due to high medical bills.

We also paid a little over $12,500 in medical expenses out of pocket, $6500 (the HSA amount) of which we will get back on our tax refund.

By the end of March or April (depending on whether or not taxes will be refunded promptly) I can pay off the last of the CC debt. And then just deal with the mortgage, the car loan, and Mom. So two secured debts and no unsecured debts. Well, I suppose technically the loan from Mom is unsecured, but she's my mother and there is no way on God's green earth that I will not pay her back. So that loan is very secure, so to speak.

So I will be focusing on the mortgage and the EF after CC's are gone. I'd like to get that finished off by the end of 2013 unless we manage to sell it. We should be able to do that with no credit card debt left. Also will be building the college fund.

Credit Card Payoff and Disneyland Planning

December 26th, 2012 at 03:24 pm

I've run the numbers to see exactly how I will pay off the BoA VISA in the month of January. I will be using the money in the freezer fund to help with this, so:

$2000 on January 4th--$1000, from the freezer fund and $1000 from the extra money set aside for January that I don't need now that the AMEX has been paid off.

$2000 out of the January 11th paycheck.

$2000 out of the January 18th paycheck.

$2000 out of the January 25th paycheck.

That will pay it off even with DH charging a new plane ticket, travel food, and motel cost for his overnight stay in Anchorage.

In February I will need to take $1252 along with the money I have saved in the vacation fund, $400, to buy 7 parkhopper tickets for Disneyland/California Adventure for our planned March trip. So while there will be some debt repayment to the last card, the Chase card, it will be closer to $500 for this month, I think.

When we get our taxes back, it should be close to what we got back last year, which was $8,425. Most of this was caused by deducting the entire HSA amount since we spent so much on medical. The same will be true this year. DH's income should be about the same, maybe off by a few hundred dollars.

About $3000 of that money will go towards Disneyland. The condo is free, the airfare was mostly free, and what wasn't was taken care of a few months ago. That probably seems like a lot of money, but I am overbudgeting to be on the safe side. We will be renting a limo to get us to and from the airport. It actually turns out to be cheaper to do that than to divide seven people and their luggage between two cars.

The only cheaper option is to take one of those buses that stops at every single hotel near Disneyland (and yours is always the last one), but those are always so full you never get to sit with your family and with four children, two of which have anxiety issues, that is not an option. The nine passenger van doesn't have enough room for us and our luggage.

Once we have settled into the condo DH and I will leave SIL with the kids and take a taxi to the nearby Von's to do some grocery shopping. We plan on eating breakfast at the condo and most of our dinners, then purchasing lunch in the park. It will cut food costs substantially.

DH and I have determined to buy everyone one sweatshirt, one t-shirt, a Splash Mountain or Grizzly River Run beach towel and one set of mouse ears as souvenirs. Also autograph books and pens for the kids.

We will need to rent two motel rooms for the night in Seattle before we fly and we will also need to pay for airport parking of two cars when we get back. Also one meal at the airport at least.

Plans for what is left of our tax return after Disney money is taken out is to put $1500 in the Emergency Fund and $3500 towards Chase. I will have an additional $500 from March's pay cycle to pay off Chase completely.

And at that point we will start saving and building the EF and paying down the mortgage which will be under $14K at that point. Currently $1000 is going towards principal every 2 months, so I'd like to make that $1000 towards principal every month until it is either paid off or the house sells. I will also be trying to save $1000 each month for college and will ear mark the tax refund after this one to college savings as well.

3 months and the future begins, unfettered by the credit card debt of years. At least as long as Murphy keeps to himself and all goes well.


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