Sometimes I worry that I will be at loose ends once the credit card debt is gone. I mean we've been in it for almost ten years. And I've been working hard to get out of it since I started blogging in April of 2006. There were ups and downs along the way as we added to and subtracted from the debt, but more or less it's gone steadily down.
And in a few days it will be gone. It's just been such a big part of my life for so long. I've had this goal, this huge, challenging goal that frankly, at times, I thought I was never going to meet. But now I am about to. And it's leaving me with an unsettled feeling, like maybe I won't be firmly focused and driven anymore.
I've got other goals, of course I do. There's college and there's the Emergency Fund and there's the van loan and the mortgage. But somehow I just don't feel as pumped about those things. Take the van loan for example. It's a lot and it's got a pretty low interest rate, but it feels "okay" because when I look out the window it's sitting there. It's tangible. And it doesn't bother me in the same way credit card debt does.
Maybe that's because credit card debt is so intangible. You are paying for the past, sometimes for stuff you don't even remember you charged. Okay, and I have scars on my body that remind of each and every medical procedure I went through, but that's it. The meals out, and hotel fees, and all the things we did to help the family get by while I was recovering, I can't see those as tangible. So I hated having it, this debt that seemed like it gave us no value after the original purchase. The van does give us value still and will for many, many years to come.
Maybe I just need to adjust my focus and make that seem as big a deal as the credit cards did? It's hard though. I mean how do you change that if it's ingrained like this? And with the mortgage, well, I dislike it, and it's so close to being paid off, but when the house sells it will be paid off and then we'll start all over again with a new house and a new mortgage, so how hard, really should I try to work on it.
College is a bit easier. DD is a junior and we need to save $7000 for her first year and $7000 for her second year at the local community college. I can see that as a tangible goal now. And if she follows the plan and joins the peace corp after the first two years before coming back to finish at the local university with a $7000 scholarship, we'll have plenty of time to save up for her third and fourth years and DS's first year at CC.
Investing in their educations seems both tangible and intangible at the same time. I don't want them saddled with debt, but at the same time part of me is wishing college weren't so darn expensive. Part of me is not wanting to decide between funding retirement and starting the kids off on the best financial footing we can. I just hope jobs are more available then, because right now I don't know if they'll even be able to work to help pay for school.
The Emergency Fund is what I really need to worry about the most though. I want it at $18,000 by the time we hit 2015. I want it double that by 2017. And sooner or later, we really need to start putting money into the 401K. DH's work doesn't match at all so part of me has wondered if it is even worth it. I suppose for the pre-tax dollars, but maybe it would be better to just save on our own. I worry about the stock market crashing again just as we get back into it.
The economy worries me. They fiddle with numbers so much to try to say things are better than they are, they print money that isn't backed by anything, and they say it's getting better out there, but all I'm seeing is people that have run out of their unemployment so they are no longer counted as jobless, but they still are. The lines at the food bank stretch longer and longer every week (it's near my daughter's school so I drive by it frequently). Food prices are higher, gas prices are higher, interest rates drop lower and lower on savings. Maybe I just think too darn much.
Maybe in another week I can refocus myself, figure out which things are really the most important. All I know for sure is that I don't want to start frittering our money away.
Viewing the 'House Mortgage' Category
Sometimes I worry that I will be at loose ends once the credit card debt is gone. I mean we've been in it for almost ten years. And I've been working hard to get out of it since I started blogging in April of 2006. There were ups and downs along the way as we added to and subtracted from the debt, but more or less it's gone steadily down.
DH just sent me a thing that said our tax refund should be transferred to our credit union on the 13th. DH sent it in on the 3rd, so ten days. That's fast. And not long to wait, just 3 more days. Of course I already paid the Chase bill on Friday, bringing the balance there down to $5000. I did set up an online account with them, so I could pay it off right away, or since there is no interest being charged on that account until July, I could dump it into ING until the next statement comes or even collect the interest through June.
No, I dont think I have the patience for that. I just want to be done with all of the credit card debt. Can you imagine? After all these years, in less than a week, we will no longer have any credit card debt. I am excited about that. It took 10 years of concentrated effort since the first of seven surgeries. Now we are almost there.
And the rest of the money will be sitting in ING for a while. I won't be getting DD her MacBook until August. And I will decide what to do with the rest of the money when we get back from Disneyland in March in case we go over budget. Then definitely some to the EF, maybe $1000.
And maybe buy 1/4 of a beef from the ranch. We can order in March for August delivery. There's also a local place I'd like to look into that does pasture-raised chickens. I would probably order 20. It's a big upfront cost, but I'll be able to drop my grocery bill to around $200 a month accordingly for milk, produce, baking supplies, and wild caught fish. And I could save the difference for the next beef.
I know that we can fit 1/4 of a beef (about 105 pounds) into our small chest freezer if we empty it, and 20 whole chickens would fit in our beneath the fridge freezer and on the one shelf in the big freezer of Mom's that she lets me use. I still want to buy a larger chest freezer, but not until after we move. Since I used the money for the freezer to pay off debt, I'll need to start saving for it again.
I guess after the last card is paid off I'll start throwing some money at the mortgage. I'd like to get it down to $10K left. I can probably do that before it actually goes on the market. After a lot of work on the house this weekend, it's now looking like May before they'll be done. Honestly, it didn't feel like so much needed to be done or fixed when we lived there. We had to pull out the carpet and the pad. They had stapled the pad to the floor every six inches. It took some doing to get it up. And under the pad was linoleum, stapled along the edges, not adhered down anywhere, and the edges were hidden by moulding. I don't even...
I will never buy that type of house again. Too many shortcuts and too much shoddy workmanship, too much rampant stupidity on the part of the builders as well as the previous owners. Cosmetically it looked fine, but take off the makeup and I'm not sure how it ever passed an inspection.
Hopefully soon it will be someone else's problem.
I think I may have mentioned this already, but my doctor retired after saying he wasn't going to and now I need to find a new one. The main doctors' collective in town put me on a waiting list because apparently they can only schedule through February and they are booked. I'm totally thinking they need to improve their software, or go back to an old-fashioned doctor's appointment book.
But I did find another organization in town that takes our insurance and DH gave me a list of the doctors there that are open for new patients, and ten of them are female, so I am going to spend a lot of time on the phone on Monday (or Tuesday if they are closed for the holiday) and see if I can't get an appointment in the next 30 days instead. I hope so, because my BP meds run out on March 1 and my new cholesterol medicine runs out on February 22, and I can't even get a hold of my old doctor to add refills until I can find a new one. I'm more concerned about the BP med than the other.
If I have to I will go to the walk in clinic, bring my prescription bottle, see a doctor and explain the situation and at least get enough BP meds to last through March.
I am trying not to get impatient waiting for Experian to update its stuff. It has about $16,000 worth of paid off stuff still listed. Usually it's updated mid-month, but for some reason they haven't updated it since December 7. We have a monitoring service because of theft years ago. I am just impatient. I want to see how all this payoff is going to affect our credit score. I hope they update it in February.
I have decided to stop wavering and go ahead with paying off the 0% Chase bill next instead of the mortgage. I have also decided to stop sending extra to the mortgage. The extra $193.16 I've been sending each month will replace some of the wiggle room that the higher social security taxes took away. That was a hard decision to make, but I am feeling pinched right now trying to meet all goals with that money missing from our income. And I don't like feeling pinched as it tends to make me resentful and want to go waste money on something. I may revisit that in a month or two, but for now I will just make the regular payment.
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.
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.
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.
And the mortgage payment posted. We are officially under $15K. $14,948.33 to be exact. Woo Hoo!
Interest was $70.48 and the rest of the $500 went on principal. I am going to try to pay off $500 worth of principal from now on each month, so that will make each payment about $570 to do that. I just really like the idea of paying off $1000 every two months. That leaves about 2.5 years left on the loan, but I hope we will sell it before then. Or I'll just pay more once all the credit card debt is gone.
Next payday I will have $1000 to send to BoA and then the payday after that will have another $1000 to send them. And when the Christmas Bonus comes, that sucker is gone, baby!
I have monitoring on my credit report. It's an expense that is worth it to me because we are heading towards buying a house in the next year. I'm always afraid a medical bill from the past has slipped through the cracks and ended up in collection. It happened once about eight years ago, and once almost three years ago when we moved and it wasn't forwarded to our new address.
Since DH doesn't have any credit that isn't linked with mine, but I have a few things he doesn't have, we figured monitoring mine was the best way to go and then when we are closer to ready to buy a house he will send for his free ones.
Anyway, my score went up from 780 to 787. That bodes well for when we pay off a big chunk if not all of our unsecured debt with the Christmas bonus. Ideally I'd like to see it at or above 800 when we apply for a mortgage so we will be offered the best possible rates. Our credit union is currently offering 2.9%. I have liked having our current mortgage with them. They don't sell their mortgages like many banks do, so I would like to stick with them.
Yesterday DH ran the rest of the money through the HSA account. We've maxed it out. Actually we've paid more like $10,000 out of pocket on medical this year, which is substantially more than we can claim, but nowhere near the over 7.5 percent of income, so we won't need to itemize. Since we can claim the full deduction for the HSA, though, we should get back over $8000 like last year.
I've stashed every single paid medical bill and receipt in a file folder labelled with the year, just like I did last year. I don't remember how long we have to keep them for, seven years or ten years, but we have to back up the deduction if they ever ask. I'm kind of hoping that next year's medical expense isn't so outrageous.
The mortgage payment hit today, with $77.42 going to interest and 303.42 going to principal, with an additional $124.14 going to principal. The new mortgage balance is now at $15,377.85, so after my December payment the mortgage will be under $15K. I know that we will probably sell it before it is paid off, but I still like to see it going down.
We're still waiting to hear whether or not DH will be working an extra week or two between now and the end of the year. It's a little frustrating because he needs to know so he can buy the appropriate tickets on the appropriate dates. And of course the longer you wait, the more expensive plane tickets are, especially around the holidays.
He comes home at midnight tonight. I will be glad to have him back as I am really worn down at the moment. Both kids are sick again and I can't really tell if I am at the end of getting over a cold or at the start of a new one. It could go either way, but I'm hoping it's getting over the last of one.
Yesterday I mailed in my voter's ballot and went and made the Chase payment. I also pulled some green onions from the garden. I can't believe we still haven't had a frost. I need to get moving and get the potatoes dug, but I'm kind of being really lazy about that. Without an impending frost on the horizon it doesn't seem very urgent.
My doctor is retiring at the end of the year, so I need to find a new doctor. And I really don't want to as this guy has been my doctor my whole life. He delivered me and we have a great relationship. I'll have DH get me a list of the doctors on our PPO list that are accepting new patients, and I need to make up a list of the medications I am taking and their dosages. I will probably have Dr. A write me prescriptions for a year's worth of meds to send into my mail order pharmacy so that I don't have to deal with meds right out of the gate with the new doctor.
I also need to make a list of all the medications I can't take due to adverse reactions/allergies, namely penicillin and codeine. And the ones I can't take the generic of but must take the name brand of.
I so do not need this right now, but I knew it was coming. My doc is in his 80's.
I ordered some Christmas presents for DS and was notified that they shipped yesterday. I ordered them last week so it's good to hear they're out the door. I'm trying not to be last minutey this year.
The car payment statement came in the mail yesterday so I will write out the check and send that off. I hate dealing with their website or I'd pay it directly. It is nice to see the amount going down substantially now. The first year of payments was like it barely budged. Now I can see the progress being made.
I've spent some time looking at houses online over the weekend and prices seem to have taken another dramatic drop. I am now seeing houses in the $215K to $245K range that a couple of months ago were in the $279K to $250K range. And ones that were in the $300K to 350K are down as well, about by the same amounts. I see more and more of them are pending sales as well. I'm not sure what that will mean for our prospects when we go to sell. Of course we are not going to be overpricing the house to begin with, which I think may have been going on with some of these other houses.
I just wish they'd get done already with fixing up the house since we can't put it on the market until they are.
I reconciled my checkbook with my account this morning and it came out to the penny! After making two errors in the last six weeks or so, it was nice to have everything match up exactly as it should.
I also updated my spreadsheets. After my appointment today I will be able to record the final medical payment for the month and close off the October spreadsheet. November's I set up last week so it's all ready to go. I left a note on it to remember to provide for haircuts for DD and myself this month. It's been six months for me and I definitely need the ends trimmed properly. I am also thinking about going with bangs. Right now they are past my chin.
The mortgage balance has posted and it is now at $15,801.43. If I pay $100 extra to principal for the next two payments it will be under $15,000. I like the idea of finishing off the year under $15K.
The rumor mill has it that this year's Christmas bonus will be double last year's, which will make it 10% of yearly income. But even if it is only 5% like last year it will be very nice. Since DH is going to be working an extra week or two more than he did last year, even that 5% will be higher than last year's 5%. Between that and our big tax return due to medical, we may be able to pay off the last of the credit card debt. At least I hope so. I just want it gone.
The mortgage posted to the account today and we are officially under $16K left to pay it off. $15,805.41 is the exact total. Over 80% of the payment goes to principal now. Of course we will probably sell it before it is paid off, but I still like watching it roll back past each $1000.
Speaking of things that roll, our car just hit 11,500 miles and we've had it for 16 months. Which averages out to 718.75 per month, but honestly the bulk of it was put on during our summer driving vacation in 2011, driving back and forth to Virginia Mason for tests, the surgery, more tests, follow ups and more follow ups. In an average month I'll probably drive 300 miles. In a non-average month, like when we go to the zoo or the science center it might be closer to 500, but those months are rare. When we lived out in the country we were easily driving 15,000 miles a year. We drive so much less in town.
DH is home safely now. Looks like he might only need to work one extra week around Christmas and not two. His alternate piped up wanting some extra hours, too. So they decided to split it. It'll still be a nice amount of extra money, just not as much as we were expecting. I'm not counting on it for anything anyway. I know better than that.
I slept pretty well last night, but I guess my body is making up for that tonight by keeping me up hacking. And it was so darn hot in the house I opened the window, but I only got to air it out a little before PePe went for a stroll and marked his territory. The skunk comes through at least once a week and always, it seems, when I am too hot and need to open the window, the stinker.
DD went to school today and seems to be feeling much, much better, which gives me hope that in a couple of days I will be, too. DS is not as sick as me yet, but he held off on showing symptoms longer, so he's probably just a few days behind me.
We managed to do math, vocabulary, grammer, usage and mechanics, and literature before I had to stop and die for a while. DH stepped in and did science and history. Hopefully he can do that for the rest of the week while I try to get better.
I cancelled my physical therapy today on account of how I feel, so that saved my $90 for the week. I've rescheduled for Monday, though. Hopefully I won't be contagious by then.
DH called the insurance agent and he said landlord's insurance would cost $953 a year on our place. I was figuring about $100 a month and this is more like $80 a month. That would mean the amount to keep the house as a rental would be $142 a month and not $162 a month. Or $147 if we had to pay it monthly instead of in one lump.
He has also talked to his uncle who is both a realtor and a landlord of several places and he is going to get back to DH on what rentals should be going for in that area (he has an associate who has rentals in the area) and whether or not $1000 a month would be close to that.
We went out to see the place on Monday night and it sure looks different. They still haven't repaired or painted the house though. What has been done is to tear down the shed and take down the fences and get most of the landscaping under control. They have taken off the bad guttering and drain pipes and the roof of the porch. They are pressure-washing today with the hope of painting the outside of the house on Saturday and Sunday. And then the following weekend painting the inside of the house. Things can be very subject to change since they are working on it mostly on weekends with a few evenings, fitting it around their day jobs.
Today DH and FIL are emptying out what is left in the good shed, or at least they are supposed to be doing that. DH made a comment about only making one run today and I am not sure one run will empty it out. Since most of what is in there is big, bulky, but lightweight, it will likely take two runs. I wanted it to be done today, but who knows now if that will actually happen. Hopefully they can just fit it all on. They won't be bringing in the lawn mower or weed eater since those will need to stay. And if we do end up renting we will probably leave those there anyway, for the tennant who would be coming from an apartment to use and does not have any.
I am not going to make up my mind on what we are going to do with trying to sell or just renting until after all the repairs are made and the painting is done and the carpets are cleaned. At that point DH and I will make the decision. Possible renter is expecting us to try to sell it first, but if it doesn't sell wants to move in. And that's with seeing it how it is right now.
It would be nice to have the extra income renting would give us, but it would mean not having a down payment from selling it when we go to buy our next house. Yes, we can save it up, but I'd probably just work on paying off the mortgage first because I don't want to have that debt there when we go to apply for a new mortgage on a new house. Mortgage is currently at $16,432.02, so if we plowed all of the rental income into paying off the mortgage along with our regular payment it would be gone in about a year and a half or so. But we'd still be starting from scratch. *sighs* Well, I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. No use thinking on any decisions until the house is done.
I've been a little bit down on what I see as our lack of progress this year on getting the debt gone. I did a reckoning at the beginning of the year of what we'd paid off last year, so I thought I'd sit down and add up the numbers and see what we've really paid off this year so far. This doesn't include the car loan because I don't have the beginning numbers for the year and can't go look it up because it's no longer owned by the same bank it was at the beginning of the year.
$20228.79 Credit Card Balance at start of year
-14135.56 Balance Now
$_6093.23 Amount Paid Off for Good
$18544.28 Mortgage Owed at start of year
-16432.02 Balance Now
$__2112.26 Amount Paid Off for Good
$87,000 0% Loan from Mom at start of year
-81,000 Balance Now
$__6000 Amount Paid off for Good
So I have actually paid off $14,205.49 so far this year not including the car loan (which I think is around $3000 to $3500 paid off this year). I guess we are making better progress than I thought. Still doesn't stop me from wanting it gone yesterday, but makes me feel a little less like we've accomplished nothing this year. And there are still 4.5 months to go.
Out of yesterday's payday and about $300 from short term bill savings, I paid the following bills:
_400.00 Mortgage for the old house
_301.30 to Chase (no interest for 18 months)
_300.00 To Mom for her utilities
_757.82 Car payment (plus extra to principal)
_685.86 to BoA credit card (will pay more next week)
_176.09 Paid off computer (18 months same as cash)
__44.87 Phone for old house (for security system)
_144.00 Water/sewer for old house
__49.91 yearly propane tank rental
_125.00 Cash for groceries
__25.00 Kid's allowances
I just raised the kids' allowances from $7 and $12 respectively to $10 and $15 per week. They have really stepped up and started doing a lot more of the daily chores and helping with the gardening. I've told them that if they slack off though it's going back down.
I have $42 left of my grocery money for the week. Aside from milk I should not need to buy anything else this coming week. I thought I needed to buy chicken legs or thighs, but I did some digging around in the freezer and found 3 pounds which I cooked up for the next few days lunches. There may be more in the freezer. I do have two whole chickens and some boneless, skinless thighs.
It will be a short grocery week as we are going down to Tacoma on Wednesday, spending the night, going to the Point Defiance Zoo on Thursday, spending that night, and then coming home on Friday after morning rush hour. That wipes out our vacation savings, but we have nothing else planned for the summer.
Our hotel room has a microwave and a fridge and there is a Top Foods (like Haggen) nearby. We will bring a cooler with some food from home and our little egg cooker (which does boiled eggs or poached and our microwave bacon cooker, so we can have bacon and eggs for breakfast that we bring. I am going to roast a chicken on Tuesday and pick all the meat off the bones and we will bring that in the cooler. I will also bring along coleslaw and salad and a bottle of dressing and maybe a couple cans of green beans. And peanut butter, jelly, butter, and bread. We will probably eat out two meals (one at the zoo), but that is in the vacation budget.
Gas prices are going back down here though the range is still pretty ridiculous. It is $3.89 per gallon at Costco and $4.59 a gallon nearer my home. I decided that with a 70 cents (!!!!) per gallon difference it was worth it to go over to Costco today. I went right after I dropped DS off at school. There was still a wait, but it was closer to ten minutes instead of a half an hour. It amazes me how many people let their cars run the entire time they are waiting in line. It was 63 degrees so no one needed their air conditioning or heater on, but over half the cars were running while waiting.
I also went to the credit union. They had misapplied the last prepayment on principle for the mortgage to the regular payment so I had to get that straightened out. It's still showing online as wrong, but I have a printout of it as right so hopefully the online one will catch up in a day or two. I should have caught this a week ago, but at least I still caught it this month.
I got $100 out of savings. I will replace it on Friday. I want to go get some plant starts today, but I didn't want to run my checkbook all the way down to zero. I know I have the account balanced, but I just prefer to keep a little money in there until payday in case I did the math wrong somewhere. I am always paranoid about that. Although if it did for some reason go under, my CU automatically transfers money from savings for a $1 fee. Still, I'd rather save myself the fee.
I also need to go to the library and turn in some books. It's more or less on the way to Joe's so that shouldn't be too difficult. As long as the five minute drop off parking spaces are available I will drop them off. I don't want to pay a quarter just to turn in books. And I can't just park in the handicapped spots which don't require money in the meter and do it anymore, as my permit expired at the end of May. I don't think I will try to get it renewed, either as I am walking almost normally now. Unless I start hurting again, I think I can do without it.
The mortgage payment posted today with $293.54 going to principal and $82.32 going to interest. The new balance of the mortgage is $17,667.67.
The amount of the U-haul rental plus mileage was $97.23 and the gas to fill it back up was $14.27.
I will be so glad when the bathroom remodel is done. I don't know what my mother was thinking scheduling it for the week of spring break when everyone was going to be home. I know it'll be nice when it is done, but right now it is a pain in the butt. No one gets to sleep in because the workmen are here so early. I'm cranky because I can't take naps which is essential when I am ill. I can't stop coughing today unless I suck on cough drops constantly. The minute it runs out I start hacking again. On the bright side one of the workmen brought his little boy with him and he and DS have hit it off so DS has something to do today other than complain about how noisy the workers are.
I'm not sure we are going to make it down to Seattle on Friday. We had planned to go, but DD has an ear infection/sinus infection, and I have whatever it is I have. We were going to go to the Pacific Science Center and then watch Hunger Games on the IMAX. We will at least go to the movie at the local theater if we can't go, but I will have a pocket full of cough drops so I don't ruin the movie for others.
So the most recent mortgage payment finally posted to the account and the remaining total is $17961.21. $292.20 went to principal and $83.66 went to interest, so we are approaching about 80% of the payment to principal and 20% to interest. It's a nice feeling. Although an even nicer feeling would be to be done with the place completely.
Next time DH comes home (he left last night) our primary goal is to get the last few boxes of stuff packed up and out of there and then have a professional service come out and clean it from top to bottom.
After that we need to get one window pane replaced, replace several interior doors, finish the drywall in the bathroom, and get an estimate on painting at least two bedrooms, the bonus room, one bathroom, and the hallway. Originally we were thinking of replacing the carpet because of some wrecked spots, but we realize there is enough carpet in the closets to make repairs with and then we can just redo the flooring in the carpet. Much cheaper in the long run.
We also need to update the security system. It functions, but the box you enter the code into is cracked. It also needs another motion detector in a different room and three windows wired into the system. We'll probably do that in April though because those upgrades will be an additional $500 or so.
My mortgage payment hit, too. $84.99 went to interest. $290.87 went to principal. The remaining balance is $18,253.41. The next payment will put me under $18K.
I keep thinking about how the next time we have a mortgage things are going to change so dramatically. Having bought a house in 1998 when prices were low has meant a small and easily manageable mortgage payment for years. The very idea of having a mortgage of $1500 seems staggering in comparison.
Part of me thinks maybe we should just save longer for a downpayment. Although our current living situation can sometimes be annoying, it is doable for as long as we want to stay here. We could stay an extra year and save even more money for a down payment. Even when we do put our house on the market (hopefully this summer), there is no guarantee it will sell quickly or at all, so an extra year of saving may well be worth it. DH and I are beginning to talk about it. I guess we will see what happens.
Okay, so when I restarted blogging consistently in January last year we owed $67,457.32 in unsecured credit card debt. We now owe $20,228.79.
$67,457.32 Original amount owed
-20,228.79 Amount left on credit card debt
$47,228.53 Amount paid off in 2011
We really busted tail this year to pay off that much debt and before the surgery in July I was sure we could have paid off the whole thing by the end of the year. Well, life happened of course, and medical is expensive. But we made a lot more progress than I actually thought we had.
As for the mortgage, we started the year at $22,326.63, but it now sits at 18,544.28.
$22,326.63 Beginning amount
-18,544.28 Ending amount
$_3,782.35 Amount paid off in 2011
Then finally is the loan from my mother who originally covered over $100,000 in hospital debt for us with a 0% loan. At the beginning of the year we owed her $93,000. We now owe her $87,000.
$93,000 Starting 2011
-87,000 Amount left
$_6,000 Amount paid off
So all told we have paid off $57,010.88 of debt this last year. Sometimes I really feel like we are getting nowhere, but to see it all added up like that, I know we are getting somewhere and the credit card debt, at least, should be paid off by summer.
We'll have around $8000 coming back to us in taxes, mostly because of our HSA, and we will get 5% of whatever DH's grandparents' house sells for, which should be around $7500, but we don't know when that will be. The buyers are negotiating at the moment and if that falls through there is another interested party waiting. All of that money is earmarked for debt payoff.
There is no rush on paying my mother back. She prefers to get $1000 a month and no more when we can manage the payments (we've skipped a few because of all the medical this year, with her blessing). That gives her a stipend to live on besides social security. If she dies before we pay it all back it is forgiven in the will and not owed to the estate.
So we are getting there. Faster than I thought, even.
I've been a little lax on recording this, even though everything has been paid on time. Still, I want a good record of things this year, so this is a bit of a catch up post for bills that have gone out since the 1st.
$__41.25 Old house insurance
___86.30 Car insurance
___37.61 DH Life insurance
___32.70 Me Life insurance
_3600.00 Bank of America (The Evil Empire)
__375.86 Mortgage on old house
___15.98 Electricity old house
___39.37 Alarm system old house
___90.00 Tae kwon do lessons
$2221.07 Spent so far
I still have to do mid-month bills like internet, phone for the old house, car payment, as well as set money aside for dues, laptop fund, garbage, water/sewer, and propane. I also have the Fashion Bug card to pay off. That one will never have interest charged on it and will always be paid in full.
I have $1400 left of the December money. I may have to dip into some of the money I set aside for January, but I am going to try to cut it as close as possible, so I can save that money instead.
An offer was put in on DH's grandparents' house pending inspection. The inspection has been finished and they are now at the talking stages. The house is free and clear. We had thought maybe they'd have to pay the government back some money from when the grandparents were in the nursing home, but I guess between rental from the house and social security, it covered their nursing home bill as they went.
Anyway, the will stipulates that each of the grandchildren will get 5% of the estate. The house is the only thing left of the estate so if it does sell, DH will be looking at about $7000 to $8000 in inheritance. So will his sister, which will help her immeasurably right now.
It's been a long time since they died, but the house has only been on the market since October. There is a second offer on the table if the first one falls through. I like those odds. The house is move-in ready so closing would be as long or as short as the new owners want. A fast closing would be great, but I'm certainly not going to count any chickens before they hatch.
I'm not sure what we'd spend it on. I guess it depends on how much is left on the credit card after we pay the bonus money and the tax return money to it. I would like to put in new carpets and doors out at the house and do a little touch up painting so we can get the dang thing on the market finally.
I still haven't heard whether or not the HOA was dissolved or not. I've been setting the money aside each month for dues. Normally half year dues are due at the end of January. I haven't gotten any bill yet and it usually comes around Christmas time. We'll have to ask the neighbors next time we go out. It's not much, $100 every six months, but if we don't have to pay it, it can go elsewhere.
On Tuesday we are going to run $2500 through the HSA account and then we will pay $5000 to BoA VISA. It will be nice to see that number drop so substantially. I'll also be making a mortgage payment, paying the AMEX, the electric for the old house, and the tae kwon do payment. I've got a couple smaller medical bills to pay as well. I need to balance the checkbook first though and see exactly where we stand right now.
Mortgage details finally posted to the account and the amount left on the mortgage is $18,833.82. So of the last payment $87.64 is interest and $288.22 is principal. I still remember when those numbers were pretty much reversed and it is much nicer to be on this end of things than they other. It is really tempting to throw an extra $100 to principal every month, but it's the lowest interest rate we have (except the car) and it feels silly to put extra money there. Yet at the same time, it's close enough to being paid off to taste it. *sighs*
I had enough in the coin jar to roll dimes and pennies and combined with my ones I'm over the $30 mark so I have enough to make a deposit tomorrow. It's a self-imposed limit, otherwise I have the mentality to run over and deposit far more often, which isn't worth the gas. I need to go that direction tomorrow anyway, so I'm not even making a special trip. I am confident I will have the EF to $3500 by year's end.
I guess the sweaters were a good investment, because I've at least not felt chilled to the bone since I started wearing them. I still don't feel completely warm and I'm keeping my bedroom heater on 72, but I did have it up to a ridiculous 76 before, so it's an improvement. We had a very hard frost last night. It looked like it had snowed, it was so thick. Guess I'm lucky not to have woken up feeling frozen over myself.
I'm sick again which may be why my internal thermostat seems so wonky right now. I think it's just a cold though and not an infection. At least I hope so. I've got too much to do this month to be sick on top of it all.
DS is going to his first dance today after school. He is "meeting a girl" by their lockers and they are going to "hang out" together at the dance. I don't even know what that means. He's only 11 so it can't mean too much, right? They seem to have become best friends this year. I don't know if it's more than that. He's excited though. And according to the girl's mother, so is she. The dance starts right after school so I packed him an extra half a sandwich in his lunch box. With his allergies he may not be able to eat the provided refreshments.
DH is on a plane to San Francisco today. He'll be back around 8:30 p.m., though. It's going to be a long day without him here.
I've got bills to pay today. So far I have dealt with deducting the autopays of life insurance, car insurance, house insurance, storage, and the security system from the checkbook. I've paid the electric and I need to do AMEX and the mortgage on the old house. I believe that is all until the 16th. I'll have to double check my spreadsheet after I pay those two things.
Oh, yesterday we wrote a $35 check for DS's next belt test at tae kwon do which is next Thursday. I also spent $65.32 at the grocery store. They had turkey thighs and necks pretty cheap so I stocked up. Beef prices are so ridiculous and nothing was marked down for quick sale. We're going to be eating a lot of chicken and turkey until the prices decide to get reasonable again. I also bought milk, oranges, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. I also picked up a copy of Clean Eating Magazine and have already found a couple of recipes I want to try this month.
Because I have been sort of avoiding a lot of stuff this month (not the bills, just the rest of the minutiae that goes along with recording things), I am finally getting around to listing what went out the payday before this one. I am trying to get back on the ball again.
$1180.00 to BoA CC
___14.08 Electricity Old House
___44.89 Phone Old House
___39.37 Security System Old House
__500.00 Extra AMEX payment (to catch up)
__385.76 Mortgage Old House
__200.00 Laptop Fund
___55.00 Dance Class
__232.42 Medical Bills
__350.00 Grocery Staples Stock UP
We also spent about $250 on meals out that week and $61 for the stupid PTSA magazine drive for DS's middle school (I bought two kitchen gadgets and Fine Cooking magazine, which I buy anyway). The rest is still in checking.
On Sunday I transferred $1515.40 out of my holding tank at ING. This was money I set aside for the first half of the month bills (I still have a bit in there for a bill that doesn't come due until the 12th as well as my short term bigger bills like dues and property tax).
So anyway that money showed up yesterday and so yesterday and today I paid the following bills:
$375.86 Old house mortgage
$_83.98 Car Insurance
$_41.25 Old house insurance
$300.00 Mom for Utilities
$_37.61 DH Life Insurance
$_32.70 Me Life Insurance
$1515.40 Total bills paid
I have over $600 in checking and I am going to try to only spend half of that over the next two weeks so that I can put an extra $300 on the credit cards. I don't know if it will happen or not, especially since school photos are coming up. That is if there is school. We got the news today that our teachers are striking.
I guess there was a 1.9% cut across the state or something. Our district told our teachers they would eat it so that their pay wouldn't go down. They are still striking. I don't know if it is in solidarity or what. I just really get annoyed about these things. Pay the teachers what they are worth and be done with it, you know? But also, don't hold our schools hostage and make our kids go to school through half the summer at the same time because you mess up start dates with striking.
I'm sure there is more to it than what is being talked about though but the benefits being offered look reasonable to me. They are better than my husband's benefits. And in this day and age when the economy sucks it seems to me people are taking a huge risk to strike, especially when there are about three times as many qualified teachers as there are teaching positions thanks to the fact that we have a teacher's college here. Desperate times call for desperate measures and I know more than a few out of work teachers who would actually scab to put food on the table. I hope it doesn't come to that and that the negotiations go smoothly and school opens on Tuesday without any problems and with both happy students and teachers.
Our mortgage payment finally posted today and we are officially under $20K left to pay it off! Woohoo!
Also the follow up at Virginia Mason went very well, things are healing as they should be, and I need to go back in a month to make sure everything is on the right track. I also still have half a tank of gas left so no fill ups for a while.
I spent $8 on parking today and just under $17 on food. Far less than the $50 I budgeted. DS and I split an order of fish and chips at the hospital, which believe me, was more than enough food for both of us.
Somehow or other I messed up on the math on my EF. I'm not sure how, but I ended up with $54.64 more than I thought I had in my Emergency Fund. Maybe I forgot to record a transfer at some point. Still, better I have more than I thought than less than I thought, but I'll try to watch my math better in future.
Anyway, I added $56.50 to the Safety Net portion of the EF. That was the money from the coin jar, plus the money I did not spend in my wallet that I had leftover from the last pay period. That brings the amount at CU#2 to $363.53. I added $100.46 to the EF at ING, bringing the amount there to $1,495.93.
$1495.93 ING EF
+_363.53 Safety Net EF
$1,859.46 Total EF
I think I will make it my goal to squeeze out enough money somewhere to get the EF to $2000 by the end of the month. I added $2.71 to the coin jar today after grocery shopping, so I'm on my way, bit by bit, step by step.
To my holding tank I added $1000 for medical. I also added $100 there for property tax and $17 for dues.
Bills paid out of this paycheck:
$300.00 utilities to Mom
___9.00 owed son to reimburse for vacation trinket
__36.00 son's 6 week allowance
__65.00 daughter's 6 week allowance
_500.00 mortgage on old house
__39.37 security system on old house
__41.25 old house insurance
__83.98 car insurance
__37.61 life insurance DH
__32.70 life insurance me
__49.91 propane tank rental old house
_330.57 Laptop (18 months same as cash)
I've got a little over $400 left in checking. Really starting to feel like I'm pulling ahead of the whole paycheck to paycheck thing. It is a good feeling. No credit card payments this time, but almost the whole of next week's paycheck will go to that (and the car payment), so it's all good.
Oh, I paid extra on the mortgage. Like $124 extra to principle. This was because I was so close to being under $20,000 I couldn't stand to not pay the extra to make that first digit a 1.
There's never much to do with finances during the two weeks out of six that DH doesn't get a paycheck. It's always the lull before the storm of payments. Or maybe the one after. But he did have another pile of coins that he left on his dresser to add to the coin jar, so $1.55 went in today. I also rolled coins, one roll of quarters, one of dimes, and one of pennies, so that will be ready to deposit to the Emergency Fund (Safety Net portion) whenever I manage to get to that CU.
The safety net is at $307.03. My goal is to slowly get that portion of the EF up to $500 and then eventually $1000, just with coin jar savings. Of course the bulk of the EF is at ING and gets more regular feedings of larger amounts of money, each month. At least $100 and any more I can scrounge up.
When this new round of medical bills comes through and the last credit card is paid off (hopefully within the next six months), I will be happy to jump our EF savings up to $1000 a month until it gets to where it needs to be. I would ultimately like it at one year's worth of income (not expenses, but income). Once the debt of the credit card is gone, one year's income would be enough to live on for 2 years if something were to happen to DH's job. I don't think it will (or if it did, he'd just move companies again like all slope workers eventually do), but I just want to have it. Having several months of uncertainty last year made me feel like this would be the best course.
I think it would take several years to get it to that point, but like I said it is my ultimate goal, not my immediate one. My immediate goal after everything is paid off is to build the EF to $10,000 and start saving for the new house downpayment. We still have to sell the old house, too. And at the rate we are going fixing it up it won't even be on the market until next summer. Not that I am in that much of a rush. Even with what we might get for it, we will still have to save money for about a year to get the downpayment we want to make.
We probably won't get anything near what the bank ($110,000) or the tax assessor ($115,000) says it is worth. But I would honestly be happy getting what we paid for it back in '98, which was $69,500. That would give us enough money to pay the realtor, pay off the mortgage, and have $40,000 to $45,000 for the downpayment. I honestly just want it to be gone. If someone walked up to me today and offered me $50,000 in cash for it as is with no repair demands, I'd probably take it.
Combined with our mortgage, all the bills related to that house roughly come out to $1000 a month that could be used for other things. Storage, water/sewer, power, phone, security system, insurance, HoA dues, time for maintaining the yard...it could all be used for better things. I know technically I would at least have to pay storage anyway until we move, but I still consider it part of the overall expense of not having our stuff in a house.
Sometimes I wish I had a financial fairy godmother who could come down, wave her magic wand, and everything that needed to be done would be done with no effort on my part. But no one ever gave a beggar a free horse ride, so...bit by bit, step by step, pulling up my own bootstraps and getting us where we need to be is my job. And I'll do it. I will get us there. Eventually.
Well, today was payday and I did some major debt repayment as well as taking care of quite a few of the regular bills. The MC's are all paid off again and the VISA is firmly under $20,000. I feel completely back in control again, both with the credit cards and with the no eating out. Day 4 on that challenge is going well.
I went to the grocery store and picked up a few items. One of them was gnocchi. One of the things my son really misses about going out to eat is going to olive garden and getting chicken and gnocchi soup so I got him a package of gnocchi and a box of organic free range chicken broth. We still have a couple of leftover pieces of chicken so tomorrow I will make him some chicken and gnocchi soup. My chicken soup is almost gone so I don't mind making another soup so soon.
Okay, so bills paid are below:
$1457.40 BoA credit cards
__300.00 Mom's utilities
__100.00 Emergency Fund at ING
___16.70 Electric Bill Old House
___37.61 DH Life Insurance
___32.20 Me Life Insurance
___41.00 Old House Insurance
___83.98 Car Insurance
___39.37 Security System Old House
__375.86 Old House Mortgage
Car insurance has gone down with the Sienna by $11.63 a month or $69.78 for a six month term.
Of the cash $90 is to pay for physical therapy on Tuesday and $100 is for fireworks. Not sure what that extra $10 is for but it will likely end up in the coin jar. I have $62 left in checking if I need to buy milk or anything else this week, but since I already went grocery shopping I don't think I'll need anything besides milk. Maybe some hot dog buns if we decide to have a cookout on Monday and I am too lazy to bake some myself.
Bills left this month (other than the first new car payment) are pretty minor. There is just phone for the old house, internet, and garbage for the current house. Everything else is paid. That leaves almost $3000. So the majority of the next paycheck and the one after that will go to pay first week of August bills, to savings for upcoming medical, and to pay for our little trip around the Olympic Peninsula before we go to Virginia Mason for my surgery.
I am trying to make the gas left in the Sienna last until Wednesday when DH gets home. I have about 1/8th of a tank, but only have 3 minor driving excursions between now and when DH comes home. I sort of hate pumping gas with a passion. Well, it's more waiting in the long gas lines at Costco, but close enough. There is half a tank in the Crown Victoria so if I need to use that car one day instead I will.
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