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.
Viewing the 'Bringing Down the Evil Empire' Category
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.
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.
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.
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
__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.
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.
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.
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.
I transferred the $44.99 left in checking to the Emergency Fund, which now totals $3902.12.
$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
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.
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 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.
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!
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
___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)
$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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
__100.00 Emergency Fund
__135.00 Paying Back the Mac Book Fund
__300.00 Farm money for meats
__100.00 Miscellaneous (toiletries, OTC medicine)
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.
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)
50.00 Two weeks of allowance for the kids
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As is our custom, my immediate family (me, DH, DD, DS and my Mom) opened our Christmas presents today around noon. It was nice and laid back, everyone got what they wanted and there were no surprises. I had a nice roast in the crockpot going for dinner and accompanied it with French fries and tater tots for the kids and some green beans. Simple, easy, and a peaceful dinner was had by all. Tomorrow we will be going out to spend the day with MIL, FIL, SIL, and 2 nieces. It will probably not be as peaceful, but the food will be more traditional.
I've been thinking about the short-term future, about 3 months down the line. By then we should have our BoA card paid off which will just leave the Chase card. That is our 0% interest card for 18 months. We have been paying $100 a month on it while throwing everything else at AMEX and BoA. It will have $5000 left on it come March.
Our tax refund will be quite substantial again this year. Part of this is due to the fact that we will be able to claim the maxed out HSA for medical once more. The other reason why we tend to get back so much has to do with how DH works. Even though he only works 15 12 hour days straight out of every 28, each pay period is taxed as if he was getting that same paycheck every week. There is some payroll law responsible for this and there is nothing we can do about it. We've tried. It's been this way for the last sixteen years.
Anyway, so the tax refund is going to be more than enough to pay off the $5000 on the Chase card. I am just wondering if it would be wiser to do that or to dump the money into the Emergency Fund and then continue to pay off the Chase card at a rate of $1000 a month, which we will have available since the other cards will be zeroed out.
I don't really like the idea of keeping that debt until August, yet at the same time it's at 0% until 2014 and the savings account is at .75% interest. Running with a low Emergency Fund has always bothered me. DH is on contract for another 3 years in an industry that is, despite the economic depression, booming, so job security is high. I know we will be able to build the EF pretty quickly once all the debt is gone.
Still, debt is debt and I hate it. We've been under it so long. I guess I have a couple more months before I have to make a decision.
I have finished up my course of antibiotics for the UTI and it feels like it is gone. I have been back to eating protein and vegetables at each meal with the one fruit at one meal for 3 days and I started the high cholesterol drug today. I've lost 7 pounds. I am also pushing the water. I am generally feeling better than I have since my tooth forced me to stop eating right last August, though I am still tired. The newly crowned tooth is still sensitive to cold, but it doesn't hurt to chew at all now.
Tomorrow may be a draining day for me and difficult to handle regarding food, but I am planning no fruit tomorrow and instead 1/2 cup of potatoes and gravy and 1/2 cup of stuffing with my turkey and green beans. The potatoes will be real, the gravy will be homemade, and the stuffing will be made by me, so I know exactly what is in everything. I don't care for pie so that will not be a temptation.
If there are cookies or fudge I will just need to keep firmly in mind how close I am to having diabetes and that this is not an option for me right now. Fortunately I am not a big sweets eater anyway, starch has always been my downfall. Although I do like my ice cream, but that's going to have to be a once a week treat with a balanced meal from here on out.
Happy Christmas to everyone!
I received another $5 gift card to Amazon from Swagbucks today. I should be getting another one in a day or so. Right now my gift card balance is at $60 and I've earned $70 worth for the year. Not bad when I've only been doing this for a few months. I might get another one before the year is up if I really push the SBTV for the next couple days whenever I am online. Assuming it works properly.
I forgot that we would be getting reimbursed from MIL for the gifts we bought for her to give to our kids and us. She can't get out of the house like she used to and internet shopping isn't really her thing. Anyway, she gave us a check for $313. That was on top of the $100 she gave to DH, so hopefully the credit union will be open on Monday. I know that one of our CU's is open until noon on Monday, but it's not the one we do the major banking at, it's the one we do the easily accessible portion of our EF at (the Safety Net).
If our main CU is open then I will deposit that money and be sending another payment to the credit card. So far this month I have sent $2500 to the BoA Visa. We will send the $313 to the BoA Visa and if DH is ammenable the $100 as well. Then I think we will have enough at the end of the month to send an additional $1000. I'm still debating about using the $1000 in the freezer fund to send to it. I can replenish that $1000 when our income tax return comes.
It is hard for me to spend saved money, but we really don't need the new freezer yet. And we do need to get out of debt. I set aside $2500 for first of month bills, but with AMEX now paid off the monthly $500 for that can go to the credit card as well. Any of the money I set aside for early January that doesn't go to bills or groceries will go to that Visa as well. If I do all of that then we should be able to have that card paid off by the end of January. I want it gone.
I don't think I'll need to do much in the way of grocery shopping between now and our next paycheck on January 11, other than picking up some milk, fish, and a few vegetables. Although if I have the chance to pick up some canned pineapple, oranges, and toilet paper from Costco, I'd like to swing that. I wouldn't go there until the 27th or 28th. No way am I going out on Boxing Day. It's almost as bad as going out on Black Friday. Dangerous. We have plenty of meat in the freezer so I shouldn't need to buy any protein.
I am anxious to push through to the next month. I also want to see what the higher income tax is really going to do to us. I'm thinking we'll lose about $200 a month out of our net take home pay. It would be nice if they renewed that lower tax rate, but I'm certainly not holding my breath that the..."gentlemen" in DC are going to get anything done. Except allowing the Fed to print more money backed by nothing but air.
Honestly, all that stuff going on in DC is making it more important to us than ever to pay off our consumer debt. It'll make their fingers in our wallets a little easier to cope with. Plus I've had a weird sort of paranoia about having debt on credit cards for the last year. Like there was something about the middle of 2014 that was going to happen that would make it very bad for us to be holding a lot of credit card debt. It's just a feeling in my gut and I'm pretty sure it's an irrational one, but it's there and it's driving me to finish getting this gone.
As much as I wanted the BoA card to be gone, I just could not stomach draining all of my funds to do so. DH and I decided to go ahead and pay off the AMEX so I did that last night. I'm just waiting for it to show up on the accounts now. We feel pretty good about the decision and it's one less payment to make. Usually we use the AMEX as our gas card, but I think I'm going to keep it unused until the BoA is paid off and just pay cash for gas. It feels good to have one card gone.
I think I will still probably use the $1000 in the freezer fund on something else, though. I've been thinking about that for a while now. I have come to the conclusion that I really don't want to get the chest freezer while we are still living here. I want to get it after we've moved into our next home. It is so easy for a freezer to get banged around during a move or for something to go wrong with it. I'd rather only have it go from the store to it's final destination. Plus if we were to get it now, it would have to go into the unheated garage and that violates the warranty.
I don't want to touch the other funds though. I'm just paranoid something is going to happen and I'll need to drain my funds for something else. Like another unexpected medical or dental bill. The way my tooth is hurting even with the temporary crown, I think I'm defintely looking at a root canal. Ugh. So I want to have the money for that if I can't pull it out of the budget somehow.
I really wish the tooth would stop hurting. It was so bad last night I ended up breaking into my bottle of oxycodone that was left over from my surgery in the summer of 2011. First time I didn't feel any pain there in a very long time. I will mention how much it has been hurting when I go back to the dentist tomorrow and maybe he will prescribe something less potent but strong enough to stop the pain.
DH's bonus came in the mail today and it was definitely not 10% of income like the rumor going around said it would be. It wasn't even as much as last year's 5% of income, which was what I was really expecting. Apparently a lot of people didn't even get them at all. Still DH got a decent bonus of $3603.95. So now I have to decide what to do with it.
Originally I was figuring it would be enough to wipe out the BoA card. It's not. It is enough to wipe out the AMEX, though, which has $3615.14. I can easily cover that $12 bucks over.
My other option is to just put it on the BoA anyway, which will cut it down a fair bit. I was looking at all of my funds and if I emptied the freezer fund ($1000), the propane fund ($240.35), the vacation fund ($400), the property tax fund ($200), and the Mac Book fund ($400), took $523.80 from the EF (and dropped it back down to $1000), took $1000 from this coming Friday's payday and took $176.77 from what I still have in checking, I could wipe out the BoA. I'd be able to refund my funds by April.
Then I could pay off the AMEX next month with the extra paycheck from the extra week DH is working in January. Paying off the BoA VISA first would be a psychological victory, because I hate having debt with the evil empire, although I suppose all credit companies fall under the evil empire moniker, but I am wary of draining my different funds. Paying off the AMEX first without draining my funds seems like a better option. Both cards have the same interest rate. If I don't drain my funds, I should still have both cards paid off by the end of February regardless, or March at the latest.
My head is saying just pay off the AMEX then slam everything else to the BoA Visa for the next two months without draining the funds. My heart is saying it wants that BoA Visa to be gone. Gah. What a first world country problem to have.
Oh, screw it. I'm paying off the AMEX. Then it is done and can go back to being a gas card only.
It is a weird feeling to have an empty bill box and to have paid all of the bills to the end of the year already. I know it's been like this for the last couple of months, but I'm still not used to it. I really like it though. Instead of being paycheck to paycheck we are half a month ahead and that is wonderful. I can't wait for that to be a month ahead. And then 2 months and then 3 months, etc., as we build the Emergency Fund back up.
So the last of the bills and some miscellaneous shopping were paid out of today's payday. The breakdown is as follows:
$90.00 Physical Therapy
$41.75 Various cold medicines to replenish stock
$44.87 Phone line Old House (for security system to work)
159.65 Propane bill Old House (was already in savings)
144.00 Water/sewer (was already in savings)
I put $2500 into short term savings. That will cover all bills between January 1 and January 11th.
I will have two more physical therapy appointments this year so I have that money set aside.
I took out $215 in cash, but $15 went to DD for her allowance. DS doesn't get an allowance again until January (he got an advance). So that $200 should last us until the end of the year for toiletries and meals out. I have $1300 left of this paycheck, but we still need to buy presents for a couple people. Whatever is left will be sent to the credit card.
Next week's paycheck will be the 2 day paycheck and that isn't earmarked for anything yet. I will need to pay the $505 for my crown whenever they send me the bill so I'll probably set that aside out of it.
I deposited my coin jar money to the Emergency Fund and have hit my goal of $1500 in there by the end of December.
1457.42 Beginning EF
+_66.38 Coin Jar Money deposited
1523.80 Ending EF
Christmas bonuses should be mailed out today and they usually get here pretty fast since there are so many flights a day between Anchorage and Seattle and then between Seattle and here. It might even be here as soon as tomorrow (last year it came the day after the Christmas party, which is today), but I'm figuring probably Monday or Tuesday.
I am trying not to be anxious about it. It's just that we are so close. Even if it is 5% of income like last year instead of the rumored 10% of income it will still wipe out the BoA card with a little leftover for the AMEX and then the AMEX will be wiped out by the extra paycheck in January. Our tax return would then wipe out the 0% Chase card with plenty leftover since we'll be getting quite a lot back due to maxing the HSA and spending it all this year on medical. And if it's the 10% then boy howdy it's all gone before the year is up.
I just want it done and gone. It's been so many years. I want that weight lifted off my shoulders forever.
Just call me Procrastination Girl. Unable to leap tall paperwork with a single bound. I guess insomnia is good for something. This is the first night I've had it since the new meds. Ugh. Anyway, bills paid out of last Friday's payday were:
$1500.00 to BoA Visa
$1000.00 to Mom
___90.00 Physical Therapy
___31.44 Prescriptions (mine)
__225.00 Chiropractor Monthly Family Plan
____6.09 Prescription (DH)
I also spent $196.43 on groceries. We aren't going down to the ranch this month because we were so sick the last month I was mostly making things like soup and spaghetti, all things that would go down as well as back up easily, so we didn't eat much of our meat from November. There is enough to get us through until January 14th so the $300 we usually spend on sustainable chicken, beef, and pork I am using to stock up on some staples. Flour, sugar, corn meal (organic, non-GMO) canned green beans, canned corn, wild caught canned tuna and salmon and a few jars of peanut butter. I also bought some pears since they were down to .79 a pound since this is their season and we are a big pear state (not like apples or berries, but still pretty high up there) and I am out of home grown ones.
DH wanted bananas (so not in the 100 mile foodshed), but they were cheap so I let him get some. I grabbed a couple of oranges, too, since I won't make it to Costco probably until this weekend and we were out. There is not much we need besides gas, but I will get a couple cases of oranges and a case of toilet paper while we are over that way. Oranges aren't one of the fruits I worry about getting organic. With their thick peel it is difficult for pests to get at them, hence low pesticide use. I wish I could grow my own citrus, but that is not likely in a maritime climate without a heated green house or sun porch.
I didn't buy any veg. We still have around 15 broccoli plants and 2 kohlrabi I haven't harvested yet. I love brassicas. They take the cold so well. I also still have a cabbage in the fridge and plenty of potatoes from those we harvested. The carrot supply was getting low but they didn't have any organic ones and I will not eat a non-organic carrot since carrots soak up anything that was used on that ground even if it was used decades before. In some places that were heavily damaged with pesticides they plant carrots on purpose to clean the soil. Takes a few years. Those ones do not go to market, but because of that habit of the carrot it's going to soak up any conventionally used "safe" herbicides and pesticides. So definitely a must be organic food for me.
When I was putting away food I noted that I need to revive the celery. Hopefully I'll remember to do that tomorrow.
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