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Updating Funds

May 10th, 2013 at 05:35 pm

I added $36 to the Emergency Fund today. It was what was left in checking when the new paycheck hit. That brings the EF to $3642.32. I'm going to bump my May goal up to $3700.

I also funded some funds today, which I'll put the amounts in my payday post, but I thought I'd post my fund totals.

$1000.00 in the Mac Book Fund
__200.00 in the Laptop Fund
__200.00 in the Christmas Fund
__200.00 in the College Fund
__100.00 in the Appliance Fund
__200.00 in the Hawaii 2018 Fund
__100.00 in the Property Tax Fund
__305.00 in the Propane Fund
___89.00 in the HoA Dues Fund

We've got a long way to go on some of these, especially the College Fund, but we will be putting the Christmas Bonus in, as well as most of the tax refund next year (which is ridiculously big because of our HSA that we always manage to use all of).

The Christmas Fund will be augmented by the Amazon gift cards I get from swagbucks. DH's Laptop is limping along and hopefully will continue to do so until I've got the replacement money in place. DD will be getting her MacBook (or equivalent laptop) in August. She's taking some graphics intensive classes next year as a senior. The Appliance Fund is currently earmarked for a chest freezer. Property tax was just paid last month. Propane Fund is just a holding fund until the bill comes and I pay it.

All in all, things are going along pretty smoothly in the Funds department.

Bits and Pieces

April 30th, 2013 at 06:48 pm

I haven't been very together this week. Queen's death, while expected, still threw me for a loop. I've got my equillibrium back today, so I thought I better get my head out of the clouds and pay some attention to the finances. Although they were basically on auto pilot this week anyway. Nothing much happens during the last week of the month. I took care of property tax ($424.58, half year) and the water bill ($144, two months) on Friday which were the only things due. I also had physical therapy on Friday ($90).

Yesterday I cashed out at Swagbucks for a $5 gift cared to Amazon. I haven't really been paying much attention to SB this month, so only got $10 in GC's. Today they seem to be giving double points for everything so I've got SBTV running in the backrgound. I have just been more busy this month than usual and not wanting to waste so much of my free time on it.

I got 11 cents and a sheet of address labels from some charity I have not donated to in over ten years. I have written them and asked them to stop sending me appeals so they don't waste their money on me, but they don't listen. I have no compunction against using what they send. I donated well to them for five years, but my charitable contributions are focused elsewhere now, locally. Anyway, that is my fifth or sixth dime this month.

I added $12.26 to the coin jar today. I had a lot of ones in my purse.

I stopped by the feed store and bought a 40 pound bag of rabbit pellets. It is $14.99 plus tax, so $16.29 altogether.

I paid the AMEX off ($271.92) for the month. I need to make a large payment to BoA VISA, but I need to balance the checkbook first. With the large amount of overtime money in the bank account, I haven't been balancing daily like normal, so I'm a week behind. I'm nowhere near overspending or anything, just need to know exactly where I am at so I can figure out how big the payment can be.

My electric bill has been moved from the 7nth to the 13th. They have changed how they bill, so last month's was a little higher to compensate for the extra week. Now it's back to normal and I do like that it is away from the first week of the month. I really don't like anything being due then, because that is when all the autopays come out and I don't want to think about having to write out a check. Their website sucks, they use impossible to decipher captchas, and the amount is variable from month to month so I don't autopay or pay that one online.

I have made it through my second day of no eating out and sticking to the meal plan. I've been wasting more money than I want to think about on takeaway and last minute grocery runs for deli food because I have been under the weather and haven't felt like cooking. I aim to get that back under control. I am sure I will stop feeling better eating homecooked food again, too.

I guess that about catches me up. At least I can't think of anything else for now.

It's Been a Few Days

April 14th, 2013 at 08:53 pm

Had a bit of a shopping spree. Only it was at Goodwill so it didn't cost very much. DD got 3 lightweight sweaters, a cute turquoise empire waisted spring shirt, and a 3/4 length lambskin jacket. I got two 8 x 10 tarps, 5 wide mouth pint jars with rings and lids, and DH got a thing to help his laptop fan work more efficiently. Hey, it's a big shopping spree for us! We spent $53.72.

I need the tarps for the rabbit shed to hang on the walls behind the cages to protect the walls against sprayed urine. Yesterday I picked up two rabbit cages at a feed store near the ranch we get our meat at. We were on the way back from our ranch trip and there has been a shipping delay on the cages we ordered and we can't really wait much longer to take the kits from the mother rabbit. I just need to pick up a couple of feeders tomrorow and we can start taking the babies away.

When we are at the feed store they inquired about our rabbits and I left contact info, because they are interested in buying them to sell as pets. Of course I told them we are just getting started, so it wouldn't be for a while. Someone is going to call me.

I just find it interesting that through no effort on my part whatsoever we have people that want to buy our rabbits for pets or for food. I guess they are right when they say word of mouth is often enough. Of course, this first batch is for us, but we should have a new batch of kits in about 4 weeks.

There are some pedigree NZ Whites on offer in the next county so if the cages come in time, I may see if I can get a couple more adult does. Then I can really get into production.

It snowed here yesterday morning. I don't even know. It was just a light dusting, 1/2 inch or so, certainly not a blizzard, but hello, it's the middle of April. This is so not on.

I think I will pay property tax tomorrow. The courthouse is next to the library and I have a book on hold to pick up so might as well combine trips, even though tax isn't due until month's end. Not much point in waiting. I just want it done because the last two years I waited until the last minute and then had to pay it online, along with the online charge for doing so.

I've not been as chatty over here. That's mostly because I've been talking about the farm stuff over on the other blog, trying to mostly keep this one on the financial front. If you want to catch up with that stuff you can visit me there at http://whendidthisbecomeafarm.wordpress.com/

Supposedly the house will be done by the first week of May. I'm still not holding my breath. It would be nice. That's an excellent time to put it on the market. And it'll be move in ready. But they've been pushing the date out and out and out since this began, so who really knows? I just want to be done with it.

I got another $5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks. I haven't been very focused on it this month. My account balance is now $120.

DH's mother gave us a camera so now I don't have to worry about saving up for a camera. Which is nice.

Oh, and I found a dime in the parking lot today. It went to the coin jar.

Bits and Pieces

March 1st, 2013 at 05:03 pm

After my deposit of coin jar money yesterday and my weekly $10 auto deposit to savings, plus today's interest at ING, my Emergency Fund is now at $3021.46. My February goal was $3200, so that was met. My goal for the month of March is to get the Emergency Fund to $3200. I am not being overly aggressive this month because we're going to Disneyland. So that will be the usual $100 transfer to the EF, plus the four weekly $10 auto transfers. That'll leave me with $38.54 to scrape up.

We received our property tax in the mail and it's gone down by almost $200 for the year. That means I only need to be budgeting $71 a month for property tax instead of $100. I am going to put the additional $29 into the college fund each month along with the $100 from the Vacation Fund I am eliminiating and the $50 from the laptop fund and the $50 from the appliance fund. So $229 a month will be going into the CF, plus any Christmas bonus DH gets this year and next year's tax refund. That should cover a year at the community college and text books.

One of the courses DD is taking next year at the high school is worth 5 college credits, so that will be one less class to pay for. She is getting pretty serious about doing the peace corp after 2 years at the community college before coming back and completing college. She'll come back from that with $7000 for school, teaching experience, intensive foreign language training, and the ability to live on a budget in a third world country, all things which should bode well for her future. I would like her to go to one of the Chinese language countries as I think Mandarin would be of most benefit to her future, but it's her decision to make.

We have made the decision to start raising rabbits this year and not next. It is a big decision, but my mother was very excited about the idea of doing it. I thought she'd be down on it, but she wants us to raise them and some meat chickens and take out her large flower garden and plant it in vegetables this year. So, I am really getting just about everything we want for our homesteading ventures.

I think part of why my mother is so on board with all of this is because the way the economy is going she doesn't think she'll be able to afford to buy food, just to grow it. I have told her that we will always make sure she is provided for, that's what you do for family, but she still worries. There is a sharp rise in prices right now and there will probably be an even sharper one in a couple of months, so I don't really blame her.

I paid out $90 for physical therapy today.

Tweaking the Budget

February 28th, 2013 at 04:59 pm

I'm not sure what we would have done this year if we hadn't managed to get the credit cards paid off when we did. We have lost $600 every 4 weeks to the 2% rise in taxes. Previously that money was going to pay down debt. Our plan for this year had been to start contributing to the 401K. Now it's going to pay for a government retirement program that has no chance of even existing when we are old enough to get anything back. I feel like they are taking our retirement away from us twice. One by not allowing us to have the money to provide for our own retirement, and two, by feeding it into a system that will be bankrupt long before we ever see our 60's or 70's. It is frustrating.

Our 401K is not the greatest, it has NO matching at all. But it is a tax shelter. Just one we can't afford to contribute, too.

I am trying to rethink a lot right now. The idea of cashflowing college for the kids is still, maybe, within reach. It would be so much better if there were jobs available. If I knew they could save a couple hundred dollars a month towards college I wouldn't worry so much. Even my niece, who did manage to get a job last summer, only gets about 3 hours a week because retail is practically moving backwards right now.

So anyway, changes I will be making starting after March is to eliminate the vacation fund of $100 a month. This one is going to just have to last us for several years. And that's okay. It's a luxury and vacations were completely financed by us (no vacation benefits). If we hadn't been saving so long for this one and already had most of it taken care of, I'd seriously think about cancelling it.

I will be cutting the laptop fund down to $50 a month and I will be cutting the appliance fund down to $50 a month. Both were previously at $100 each. Once I know what the property tax is going to be this year I can make an adjustment on my property tax fund. It has been approximately $1060 per year for the last several and our tax assessment went down. They should send out the bill soon. Right now I am setting aside $100 a month, but when I know what it actually is, I will cut it accordingly.

Once mid-April arrives I can turn off the furnace at the old house, which will mean no propane costs. Propane has jumped dramatically this year. We keep the furnace on until there is no chance of the pipes freezing. Also once they are done with the repairs to the old house I can have the water/sewer shut off, saving me $72 a month.

The four person cell phone contract we are on expires this summer. With DS being homeschooled there is no reason for him to have a cell phone anymore. He is always with me or his father or his grandmother. The only person he ever texts he can IM as well. Honestly I wish there were an unlimited texting only plan, no phone calls, because that would be the best thing for our needs. DH and I use Skype when he's in Alaska.

I think when we do move I am going to up our laying hens and start selling eggs. Just one of those sign in the front yard things. If I can make enough to pay for feed for them and some broilers that would cut our food costs dramatically. Also starting to seriously research rabbits. I've talked about it off and on, but it's time to get down to the knitty gritty on it.

If eggs pay for feed I can cut our grocery budget by $200 a month. Then maybe we could handle college and retirement.

I keep trying to keep myself focused on the fact that we are out of credit card debt and we are comfortable. It is mostly luxuries I am looking to cut. It is not necessities. But we've only gotten to have luxuries recently so it is hard to have worked so hard to get here and then feel like the benefits we should have been reaping have been snatched away. We feel the loss of that $600 a month. But I imagine there are a lot of people out there that feel that 2% even deeper.

Tax Refund and Old House Stuff

February 10th, 2013 at 03:17 pm

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.

And DH Filed the Taxes

February 3rd, 2013 at 09:02 pm

DH went ahead and e-filed through TurboTax. It cost $30. I thought he was going to wait until tomorrow so he could get the interest from the final CU savings account. He just added $5 to our interest income instead. Which is over what it would have been with less than $500 in it at any given time at .1% interest for the year. Just to be on the safe side.

The final numbers made the return be a bit more than I expected it to be. DH was just guesstimating when he said $8500. The real total is $8903. Now if we're lucky, like Secretary Saving, we'll get it back within five days. And if not, we'll get it in three to five weeks.

I'm hoping it will come soon because I just want the Chase card taken care of and the credit card debt done once and for all. I will try not to drive myself (and you guys) crazy about it, but clearly there are no guarantees that I won't. Wink

Hopefully this will be the last year we'll get such a tremendously large return. Last year and this year were because of medical expenses. I would really rather not have over $10,000 in medical expenses in 2013! Of course I have no idea what the sleep study will cost and if I have sleep apnea I'll have to buy the C-Pap machine which looks like they run between $600 to $1000. That will be completely out of pocket because of our $2500 deductible.

Maybe that will be what I use some of the tax return for. Well, at least we'll have the money to cover it if it comes to that.

Preliminary Run and College Musings

February 3rd, 2013 at 04:28 pm

DH took a preliminary run at our taxes. He is only waiting for the interest from one account. He will call on Monday to get it, but since that account never has more than $500 in it at any one time, it won't be very much. Right now it looks like we will be getting back $8500. That's a couple hundred less than last year, but DH had a bigger income last year because of a higher bonus.

Now before someone says anything about adjusting our withholding so we don't get so much back and have more during the year, we can't. DH already takes the legal number of withholdings. It is not like in the old days when you could claim 47 deductions. The laws are very strict now. And also, $6150 of what we are getting back is due to maxing out and using the full amount of the HSA this year. Without that it would be $2350.

Anyway, so I need to figure out what we will do with that money besides paying off the Chase card. Chase will be at $4900 by the time we get our refund back. So that will leave us with $3600. $1000 of that will go to purchase DD a MacBook, since I wiped out the MacBook fund to pay off debt. So that just leaves $2600.

I think I will let that money sit for a while in case we go over budget while at Disneyland. I don't know if we will or not, but I don't want to have new debt built up on one of the cards. So if we use it, we'll pay it off. Mostly I'd like to put $2000 in the EF. I am aiming towards getting it to $18,000, and then more slowly to $32,000, which will take a few years, especially with college coming up.

DD has agreed to doing her first two years at the local community college and then most likely doing 2 years in the Peace Corp before coming back to do a couple more years at the local university. The community college does offer Japanese. She'll be talking her 3rd year of high school Japanese next year, so college Japanese would help to reinforce that.

I just wish they taught Mandarin. They do offer it at WWU. Actually China is one of the countries that the Peace Corp works in, and the language training is pretty intensive before they send you in. Something like 5 hours a day for three months, if I remember right. But she isn't sure about China. She's thinking more about one of the islands or Africa. I don't want to push her in any one direction, because it's her life and her choice, but learning Mandarin would pretty much guarantee her a well-paying job in certain fields.

I just worry about the future of my kids. I want them to be able to get jobs they can support themselves on in a faltering economy. I can lead them to the proper areas based on their interests, but I can't push them in. It has be something they are interested in, otherwise it is a waste of both time and money.

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I added $10 to the EF, bringing the total to $1725.35. Just $174.65 left to meet my February goal of $1900.

Thinking...

January 10th, 2013 at 04:58 pm

I have been wondering about maybe paying off the Sienna when we sell the house. Right now we have close to $800 a month going to it (we're paying more than the actual monthly payment). The van will be 2 years old on June 6th, so we have a while yet to go to own it free and clear. We've knocked off about 4 months worth of payments by paying extra.

This is only if we get anywhere near our asking price and can still bank a good amount for a new downpayment. With the car paid off it frees up $800 a month to go towards college or the EF or the downpayment. But I don't know. A bigger down payment means a smaller mortgage. Guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I did talk to DD about the fact that if she went to the local community college for two years and then transferred to the local university (they partner so credits from BCC are transferrable to WWU), it would save us about $15,000. She seems amenable to that and it would give us more time to save the money for WWU.

I figure we can save about $12,000 a year for college each year once the credit cards are paid off. The $10,000 that we will save by her going to the community college the first two years can be saved for WWU and should be enough to cover the shortage for years 3 and 4. Assuming that tuition doesn't go up too much, of course. There will also be tax returns and hopefully yearly bonuses that could be saved for college if necessary.

How did college get so expensive? When I went it was about $100 a credit up to 15 credits and then anything between 15 and 18 credits was free and if you took more than 18 credits (not recommended) it cost money again. Mom paid for half, I paid for half.

It helped that I had a scholarship from work that was enough to at least pay for my books. It also helped that taking classes in the summer session was cheaper. But it's been 22 years and tuition has just gotten ridiculous, even with the local discount. We are definitely going to feel it, but we should still be able to manage without loans. I guess I've gotten good at managing these last almost 18 years since I've been married.

If my daughter can manage to find a job, I'll expect her to contribute. Same for my son when he gets there. But that's a big if in today's economy and I don't see that getting any better. This depression is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. I am just hoping we won't see an all out collapse of the American dollar, but the rate at which the government is spending I'm not holding my breath.

They just make me so mad. I mean, the aid to help Sandy victims has been tacked on with so much crap with each elected official getting a little something something for his own state. That sort of thing is business as usual for our elected, but it needs to stop. It should be about helping out the victims, not seeing what you can get for you and yours before you'll okay help.

I wish we could add an ammendment to the Constitution saying that bills had to be specifically for that one thing only and not to help pig farmers in Arkansas or corn growers in Nebraska (just randomly picking here) when it's supposed to go to rebuilding stuff in New York. That's half if not more of the problem with our debt. So much greed. That's the kind of entitlements that need to stop, the ones the officials get away with.

I wish we could make all elected officials live on a wage that was just high enough they couldn't get food stamps and make them have to pay for their own medical insurance and lose their vacation days until they've balanced the budget or at least cut all of the fat our of it. I bet it would happen pretty darn fast if they had to actually feel it.

Sorry, this turned into a bit of a rant. Don't know where it even came from.

Tomorrow is payday and I'll get to see what the higher taxes does to the paycheck. Ah, well, maybe that's where that rant came from. The waiting.

Self-Indulgent Politicians Break the Future

January 2nd, 2013 at 10:53 pm

All of them. I'm not picking sides.

I do not like the hit we are going to be taking with the end of the payroll tax holiday. I'm estimating $500 a month on a normal month. Probably $750 this month due to the extra week of pay. I may come up short paying off the BoA VISA this month. I am still going to try to squeeze it out, because gosh, darn it, I want it gone, but any breathing room the extra week of pay gave us is gone. Your gubmint dollars at work.

I am just very, very glad we have spent the last few years buckling down hard and paying down our debt with a vengeance and that we are used to living on less than half our income. And if it is that bad for us with a good middle class income, I can't even imagine how hard this is going to slam those who are barely scraping by. Well, hello there Great Depression 2. I'm not an alarmist by nature but I don't see us coming out of this for a long time. I worry about what the world will be like when my kids are adults.

I am starting to think about putting the whole buying a new house thing on hold for a few more years. Well, I've been thinking it for the last few months, but this may just be the final nail in the coffin. It's going to take longer to build up an emergency fund with $500 a month missing from DH's paycheck. It's certainly going to make saving for and cash flowing college harder than I thought. And Mom isn't getting any younger. With two mini-strokes to her name already I really worry more about leaving her on her own.

It's even crossed my mind to cancel or postpone Disneyland. I'm not going to, but I think this is going to be the last vacation of consequence for a few years. I'm just really glad that we'll have a full kitchen in the condo.

It's possible DH might pick up another week in February. If he did I could bank that and it would go a long way towards making up the shortfall for the rest of the year.

I am worried about my knee. It has been swollen and painful since Christmas and it's started clicking. I am going to try to get a hold of the doctor tomorrow now that the holidays are over. I am hoping it is just needing to be drained of fluid. I do not want cortizone. I also do not want to end up having knee surgery again and having yet another medical debt to pay off.

Okay, I know I sound negative and down, but I am actually in a surprisingly good mood today despite everything. This has been more of a getting it out of my system rant. DS was pretty easy on me with his first day of homeschooling since the holidays ended. And I am totally understanding the math today, so go me. I thought I was going to struggle the whole year, but I think that this unit at least will be easy.

Credit Card Payoff and Disneyland Planning

December 26th, 2012 at 03:24 pm

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

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

$2000 out of the January 11th paycheck.

$2000 out of the January 18th paycheck.

$2000 out of the January 25th paycheck.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Work Stuff and Back from the Doctor's

December 13th, 2012 at 12:28 pm

DH heard from work this morning and he will be working a 3 and 1 shift when he goes back up, so that will be an extra week's income. 3 and 1's can be hard on the kids, but it sure is good for the finances. Depending on whether or not Congress and the president get their acts together and hammer something out, I'm not sure how much extra take home pay that will be. Somewhere between $3400 and $4000.

I calculated it out and if the tax cuts for the middle class don't get renewed we will be paying an additional $6000 or so a year in taxes or about $500 a month will be missing from our take home pay. That is an awfully big chunk and it will be noticed. Thank goodness we will not be having such large credit card payments to make next year. And thank goodness we actually only live on about 1/3 of DH's pay. We can adjust. I just don't want to have to.

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I went to the doctor this morning. Turns out I have a low level UTI. Since the only ones I have ever had were raging and painful, I didn't expect it to be that, but the test strip turned all sorts of lovely colors. I haven't had a UTI since my surgery in the summer of 2011, so it was not even on my radar. He put me on Cipro and Pyridium (generics of). I haven't gone to get them yet so not sure how much they will cost but shouldn't be too much. Maybe around $10 or so.

He does want to run all the bloodwork after I'm over the infection, especially to test for anemia. Doing it now would skew the results. He does think it is possible since both Social Butterfly and the Ice Queen (my older sisters) are prone to anemia. The good news is my blood pressure is just fine at 117/68. They also both have thyroid issues so we will check that as well.

I also found out the doctor is not actually retiring at the end of the year. He's just going to work Tuesdays and Thursdays and he's bringing in a younger doctor to work M-W-F who will eventually take over the practice at the end of next year. My doc has a real high opinion of him, says he has great bedside manner. I'll have to meet him and judge for myself but at least that's a better place to start than cold-calling new doctors. I also met his new medical assistant. I know I still may likely need to find a new doctor, but it's nice not to have to do it yet.

Easy Come, Easy Go

November 30th, 2012 at 09:45 pm

I find that the closer I am to being out of credit card debt, the easier it is to pay the bills. It feels less and less like money slipping through my fingers and more and more like seeing the summit of the mountain and knowing it's not much further and just a little push will get me there.

I got to contribute $100 to the Emergency Fund this time, something I haven't done in a while. I also deposited the coin jar money to the EF as well, so that was an additional $97.05. The EF now sits at $1205.41. It is good to see it going up again.

I funded my funds, bringing the totals to $85 in the HoA Dues Fund, $200 in the Property Tax Fund, $400 in the Propane Fund, $400 in the Vacation Fund, $400 in the Mac Book Fund, and $200 in the Christmas Fund.

Expenditures for this paycheck were:

$1000.00 AMEX
__100.00 Chase VISA
__300.00 To Mom for her utilities
__100.00 EF
___21.98 Electricity for the Old House
___50.00 to the Holding Tank for garbage (not due 'til Feb)
__39.53 DH Life Insurance
__32.70 My Life Insurance
__59.89 Car Insurance
__45.63 Old House Insurance
__41.16 ADT Security for theOld House
_153.00 Storage
_100.00 Vacation Fund
__17.00 Dues Fund
_100.00 Property Tax Fund
_500.00 Mortgageon Old House ($376.14 plus extra to principal)
_100.00 Propane Fund
_100.00 Mac Book Fund
-------------
$2860.88

I also spent $56.20 to fill up the van. It was 3.39 per gallon. It's a little cheaper at Costco, but I really didn't want to go over there today and as long as it is no more than a 20 cent per gallon difference, I'd actually use more gas going over there and then waiting in the interminably long lines.

And I spent $230.41 on groceries. I stocked up on some things that my cupboards were bare on, mostly canned goods. I also restocked the flour stash and bought some oranges and milk. I am definitely starting to see the higher prices now. Even though I didn't buy any meat since we get it at the farm now, I still wanted to see what the current store prices are, and Holy Toledo are they high. I mean some of them are higher than their grass-fed, organic counterparts. I may need to up the grocery budget once we finish eating the inventory in the freezer. I'm trying to hang on to $600 a month, but half of that is spent at the farm.

I paid out DD's allowance for two weeks, $30. DS does not get an allowance until 12/14 as his was advanced to him so he could buy something on a really good sale. I also took out $200 in cash.

I bought DD a new MP3 player. She was willing to settle for the 4GB one, so it was $40. I used part of the $200 in cash for that. Since it was half what I was expecting it to be, I told her I'd just pay for it if she'd do some extra chores for her grandmother. So she's going to clean all of the bathrooms, mop the kitchen floor, vacuum, and clean out Mom's fridge. She's also going to do all of the laundry this weekend.

DD is going to stay after school one day next week to teach her English teacher how to knit using a loom. They're going to knit some hats for some charity and they need to make 26 between now and the 18th. Knitting goes much faster on a loom. I didn't get the details on what charity, but I think it was local. I find it kind of hilarious that my sixteen-year-old daughter is teaching a sixty-something-year-old woman to knit. It's like, shouldn't that be the other way around?

Speaking of knitting, I really need to get going and finish making DS's scarf so I can start on DD's. It's hard to work on his because he is with me so much since we homeschool him. I am trying to keep it a surprise. His sister has made him a hat in the same yarn.

I almost wiped out a pair of elderly jaywalkers tonight. I guess teenagers are not the only ones to dress all in black and take crazy chances walking after dark. If it hadn't been for the man's white hair and the woman's white shoe souls, I'd not have seen them in time to stop. And they were only 20 feet away from the well illuminated stoplight with it's cross walks.

14 days and counting until the bonus checks will be put in the mail...

Payday Tomorrow

November 29th, 2012 at 08:02 pm

Tomorrow is payday and I have $52.85 in cash left from last payday so that went into the coin jar. I will make a deposit into the emergency fund tomorrow. I'm not sure of all that is in there, but I'm thinking it's around $80. I ended up with $250 leftover in the checking account so that will get sent to AMEX along with the regular payment.

I am anxious for December to start. It's going to be a good money month for us, even without the Christmas bonus. It'll be a huge jump in our forward progress. You know that song from the Lion King that goes, "Oh, I just can't wait to be king?" Well, I've got that running through my head only it's going,

"Oh, I just can't wait to be free!
No one saying pay this.
No one saying pay that.
No more paying interest.
No more crazy bank debt.
My money's gonna work for me.
Oh, I just can't wait to be free!"

LOL, I can't help but be excited. It's been such a long, long, long road. This medical debt has been a weight so heavy on our shoulders for so long. Longer than I've been blogging actually. About nine years now, I think. Let's see, the first operation was in...the summer of 2003, so yeah, 9.5 years.

And I mean, we still will, of course, have the mortgage (which will be under $15,000 after tomorrow's payment) and the note on the mini-van, so yes, there actually is still interest being paid, but it's so much lower than the credit card debt. And it's secured debt which seems so much better than unsecured debt.

I'm not sure which way I am leaning after the credit card debt is gone. Part of me really wants to get the house paid off and own it in full. But since it'll be on the market sometime between now and summer, and hopefully it will sell, I don't know if it's really that worthwhile to pay it off. It probably makes more sense to work on paying down the car loan. I don't know. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

----------

We received a new tax assessment from the treasury. They've revalued the house at a lower amount, which means property taxes will go down, but also may effect how much we can get for the house when we sell.

----------

Today was one of those days where I was pretty sure that homeschooling was going to be the death of me. You know, it goes like a breeze when DS is feeling good, but when he's not he turns into a whine machine. Plus he's starting to get that tone in his voice, the one of an annoyed teenager. 12 and a half was about when that started happening with my daughter so I've been expecting it, but I am also trying to nip it in the bud.

----------

I have to get gas tomorrow. I was so hoping I'd make it to payday without filling up again and I did. The van claims I can drive 22 more miles before it is out of gas, but there is usually still a half a tank left at 0. Not that I am going to run it that low.

----------

I gave in and got takeaway today. Pineapple chicken, teryaki beef, noodles, rice, Mongolian beef and beef and broccoli. It was unplanned and probably not worth it. It was stress buying pure and simple. After dealing with the whine machine all day I just didn't want to cook and didn't have the energy to fight with myself over it. It was really good and it takes care of lunches tomorrow. $45.60 was the damage.

----------

I am on day...5, I think of being caffeine free. Hopefully I'll be able to stay off it this time. I am still really tired, but I think it's getting better. As for the health issues, the flu or whatever is going away. I am still a bit stuffy and still have a fever, but there was no dizziness today. And all of the other symptoms are gone, so crossing my luck that I'll hopefully finish this off without catching a new cold. I really would like to stay well for a while.

Credit Score Went Up

November 10th, 2012 at 01:33 pm

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.


Payday Report

November 4th, 2012 at 01:46 pm

I am so happy it is November. No more $500 payments to the doctor for DS's treatment. We will have one more $300 payment for glasses this month and then we'll be done with big medical for a while, I hope. Although we still need to save some as come January we will have the $2500 deductible again. Hopefully this coming year it will not be met so quickly. I will have to have two molars fixed, but I am hoping to use part of DH's Christmas bonus to do that.

I did send the extra $230 to AMEX along with my regular payment. Here's how it all broke down this week.

$730.00 AMEX
_100.00 Chase (no interest)
_300.00 for Mom's utilities
__92.97 to the Freezer Fund
___7.03 to the Emergency Fund
__32.97 Electric at the Old House
__25.00 to the Holding Tank for Garbage
__72.00 to the Holding Tank for Water/Sewer old house
__39.53 DH Life Insurance
__32.70 Me Life Insurance
__59.89 Car Insurance
__45.63 House Insurance for old house
__41.16 Security system for old house
_153.00 Storage
__17.00 HoA Dues for old house
_100.00 Property Tax for old house (Holding Tank)
_500.00 to Mortgage for old house
_100.00 to Holding Tank for propane (old house)
_100.00 to MacBook Fund
__28.20 Dental (DH)
__15.69 Medical (DD)
_100.00 DH's monthly allowance
__15.00 DD's weekly allowance
__10.00 DS's weekly allowance
_267.32 on groceries (did a major staples stock up, plus OTC meds)
----------------
$3075.09

I will also be making the car payment out of this payday, just waiting for the bill to get here. I took $100 in cash out for miscellaneous needs. And I will be depositing $46 from the coin jar on Monday, which puts my Freezer Fund at $1000 even. And the MacBook Fund is now at $300. I had $7.03 left after fully funding the Freezer Fund so that went to the Emergency Fund, which now sits at $1008.36.

Interest to EF

November 1st, 2012 at 12:26 pm

ING posted my interest today so I added that to the Emergency Fund. It seems so weird to be adding money to the EF again, but nice.

$1000.00
+___1.33
---------
$1001.33 New EF Amount

I also added .24 to the coin jar and replenished the 50 cents for parking that I used yesterday. I try to always keep 2 quarters in my wallet. I consider parking money to be a use tax since that is really what it is.

Tomorrow I will be sending the $230 left in checking to the credit card along with the usual payday payment. Take that, Evil Empire.

Not Much to Report Today

October 31st, 2012 at 10:02 pm

I went down to the courthouse today and paid the property tax. I was off by $6.44, but I had plenty in checking to cover that. I'm glad I checked it beforehand and didn't just write it out for the amount I thought it was, which was actually last year's half year amount. I guess I didn't update that on one of the spreadsheets.

I also went to the library while I was down there. It is across from the courthouse. I had two books on hold, Why Gender Matters and The Artist's Way. I need to hurry and get through the book I'm reading now. I wasn't expecting the holds to come in so soon since I was a ways down the list.

I paid 50 cents for parking and $1 on library fines. Oops.

----------

We ended the day with as many birds as we started the day with, always a good thing. No duck egg today, either. I think Lady is still freaked out. Five chicken eggs though. I'm going to have to make a meatloaf and a quiche to use up some eggs.

----------

I think I am finally almost over my cold/infection/flu/general case of the yucks. I still am a little stuffy but that might be allergies. Still a little draggy, but that's probably just general tiredness. I hope.

----------

I am really looking forward to payday Friday. We finally get to start making forward progress again now that the medical is paid off. I am so sick of debt. I just want to be done.

I Hate Racoons

October 29th, 2012 at 01:02 pm

I utterly hate them. They are savage, evil animals in a deceptively cute package. Early this morning a raccon killed two of our female ducks. Did it bother to fully consume either of them? No. It ate half of one and killed the other without eating it. I understand nature, but you know, take what you need, don't kill more than necessary. I swear those racoons are having a good time with it.

So Noisy and Len Tao are gone, laid to rest, leaving us with only Patches and Lady Henry Inigo Montoya. We won't be letting them out until at least 9 a.m. from now on. At least by then we can be sure the predators are gone. At least the chickens are fine. Times like this, I wish we had a dog.

----------

Last night I transferred the money from ING to pay the property taxes on Wednesday. Since I set aside $100 a month and property tax is $518.17, I had some surplus money in that category, so I took $1.61 to even out my Emergency Fund, which now sits at $1000 exactly, and then the rest of it I dumped into the Freezer Fund. Along with another $10 I shifted, the Freezer Fund now sits at $851.03.

That's basically it, I'm just saving up for the sales tax now. My usual $100 per month will be added next month, plus whatever coin jar scrapings there are and it will be done. I think an even $1000 is a good place to stop. So nice to see a goal within sight. Once I hit it, I'll resume adding money to my emergency fund to build it back up.

I'm not exactly sure when we will purchase the freezer. I guess it will depend on how fast our house sells. If I know we are going to move away from here shortly after it sells, it feels kind of senseless to have it here and then have to move it again. Seems like it would be easier to just have it delivered to our new place when we buy it than to have to move it later and risk the damages that always seem to happen during moving. Well, it won't hurt the money to sit there collecting interest until we know what we are doing.

----------

This morning when I took DD to school the rain was pretty fierce. The street was flooded about six inches, because leaves were clogging the drain. Our basement is flooding too, but we turned on the sump pump early so it's not too bad. We're actually having a clear patch right now with more rain due tonight. But a little sun is better than no sun. And a little rain is better than what they are getting over on the East coast.

No Spend Day

October 27th, 2012 at 08:19 pm

It seems like I seldom have one of these anymore, but since I was too out of it to drive again today and the weather didn't cooperate with walking, I didn't go to the store and buy flour. I really must manage it tomorrow because it's hard to make a menu plan for next week without one of my main ingredients. Well, I do have whole wheat flour but I use it in 3:1 ratio (white being the 3) because it doesn't rise well if I use just whole wheat.

I'm just glad I have plenty of eggs, because they are figuring prominently in breakfast and lunch without flour to make bread. Speaking of eggs, the last two holdouts (the black Australorps) of the new chickens started laying yesterday. It's so funny seeing pullet eggs because they are so small, but they size up pretty quickly. So with those two laying we got 8 eggs today (2 duck, 6 chicken).

We have not had a frost yet. We were to get close on Thursday, but it didn't drop past 36, so my gamble to leave the tomatoes on the vine has paid off. The lowest temp in the forecast in the next 10 days is an overnight of 43 F, and that is November 5th. So I'm going to continue to gamble and try to let those tomatoes ripen. It's supposed to rain all but one of those days, so the tomatoes may not make it due to that, but I am still hoping to extend the garden season as long as possible.

The level of food in the freezers is definitely going down. I can see it visibly now. I am trying to use up the items in them over buying new because I want to defrost everything. If I am very careful with my spending over the next 6 days, I will have $300 leftover from the last pay cycle. I am going to throw it at the credit card.

I have to pay property tax on the 31st. The money is sitting in the account just waiting. This is the second time I've budgeted for it, saving $100 a month. It is nice not having to scramble at the last minute.

I have over 3/4 of a tank of gas so I am good there. Other than buying the flour and some milk and orange juice, I shouldn't have to spend any money this week before payday.

Funding My Funds

October 12th, 2012 at 05:37 pm

Today I deposited $69.33 from my coin jar to my Freezer Fund as well as $100 from today's paycheck. This brings the Freezer Fund up to $750.81. The freezer I want is $900 plus tax so I still have a ways to go, but it's nice to be 3/4 of the way there.

My Vacation Fund now sits at $200, my Property Tax fund at $600, Christmas Fund at $100 (very late starting this), and MacBook Fund at $200.

Property taxes are due at the end of the month and will be $518 and some change, so there's plenty in there for that. Things seem to be going along right on track and I hope they continue to do so. It makes things so much smoother when they do.

Forgot to Mention

October 6th, 2012 at 10:09 pm

I cleaned out my purse and put all of the money that was left from the last payday into the coin jar. It was $25.63, plus one Canadian penny which went into my Canadian coin jar. I'll try to make a deposit into the CU on Monday. I have over $50 so it's time. I need to go to Trader Joe's anyway, so I can combine trips. This money is headed for the freezer fund.

Tomorrow I need to sit down and pay the bills from yesterday's paycheck. I have already written out the $1000 check to finish paying off DS's forward head posture treatment. It will be nice not to have that hanging over us anymore. I will pay that in person on Monday.

I talked to DH tonight and he has hit the $110,000 mark for the year, so that means that this was the last paycheck they will take Social Security tax out of for the rest of the year. That means an extra $700 take home pay per month until January. I will be so glad for the day when 2/3 of our take home pay isn't going to pay for new medical debt and old medical debt. Life is going to get very easy when that happens because we will be used to living on 1/3 of our income and can start to save like crazy.

Financial Housekeeping--HSA and Medical

August 8th, 2012 at 03:41 pm

Today I added up all of our out of pocket medical expenses for the year so far and we've hit $7,371.89. I know we have at least $2500 more in out of pocket medical expenses to go this year, $1500 on treatment for DS alone, and another $1125 that will go to another doctor.

We all need to have our eyes checked and get new lenses before the year is up and DD wants to try contacts this year. We still owe $300 on DH's dental work which we will finish paying off in September.

I still need to get oral surgery to fix my two oldest molars, but am waiting until after DH's dental work is paid off. I would like to do it right before Christmas break so that I wouldn't have to worry about homeschooling DS while zoned on painkillers. But I may not be able to wait that long if they start to hurt too much more.

Either way our HSA is maxed out and we'll be able to deduct the full amount allowed on our income taxes this year. I just need to have DH run the money through.

Payday

June 1st, 2012 at 01:17 pm

Today is payday, the small one, but they didn't take medical out and I had $1200 left over from last week, so I got to send a whole $800 extra to the BoA Visa. This isn't the regular monthly payment, it's all to principal, yay!

Payments made today:

$800.00 BoA VISA
__84.72 Car Insurance
__41.25 Old House Insurance
__37.61 Life Insurance DH
__32.70 Life Insurance Me
_154.00 Storage
__41.16 ADT Security on Old House
_100.00 Freezer Fund
_100.00 Mac Book Fund
+455.86 Mortgage (plus $80 extra)
----------
1847.30 Amount paid out today

Oh, we have to go pay car tabs, too, which is around $90. I don't remember for sure, but will edit this after we pay it. And I'll have to write a check next week for hot lunch money for DS. That will be for $9 for the rest of the school year. And I have to contribute allowances, $19 today and $19 next Friday.

That leaves me with $400 for the next two weeks, but no bills to pay before the 15th, which is our next payday. Plus I have $1000 in savings that is earmarked for old house stuff, but could be dipped into in a pinch and replaced on the 15th. And I also have the $300 from last week that is set aside to buy organic, pasture-raised, sustainable meat tomorrow. So mostly these next two weeks I'll just be buying milk and produce and some bulk spices.

It feels good to have everything squared away and to not have to think about finances really for the next 2 weeks. I mean I will think about them, obviously, when you blog this much about money, you do think about them. But not in a "what should I be doing now?" way.

Oh, and the Mac Book Fund and Freezer Fund are both new items on the budget. The freezer we are saving up for will be around $600. We need to buy that before we can buy half a beef, which I will start saving up for as soon as the freezer is paid for.

The Mac Book fund is for my daughter. She has waited patiently while everyone has gotten new computers in the last few years while she limps along on an old PC and she is next on the list. She wants a Mac Book for video editing and for college, so even though it will likely take me a year to save up for it, I thought I'd start now. She's just finishing her sophomore year of high school, so she probably won't get it until towards the end of junior year, but she's just happy to be getting one eventually. She's easy like that.

ETA: Tabs were $85.74.

Financial Housekeeping and Old House Stuff

May 31st, 2012 at 08:00 pm

Today I sat down with the last four books of checks and entered everything into my spreadsheets. I have been remarkably lax at doing this lately. Though I balance in the checkbooks themselves, I like to have a copy on the computer, too. I finished updating the information on the April Budget Spreadsheet and entered in everything on the May Budget Spreadsheet, then I set up the June Budget Spreadsheet. I still need to transfer everything medical off the budget spreadsheets to the HSA spreadsheet, but that should be relatively simple since it's now detailed on each month's spreadsheet. I really need to stay on top of that better.

I sent some money to ING, including things that are either paid for bimonthly or half yearly:

$100.00 to the Emergency Fund
_100.00 to the Vacation Fund
__72.00 to the Holding tank for Water/Sewer
_100.00 to the Holding tank for Property Tax
+_17.00 to the Holding Tank for HoA Dues
-----------
$389.00 total to ING

This is all out of last Friday's paycheck. Then I wrote down all of the bills that are due between now and the 15th, which will be our next payday after the one tomorrow. The one tomorrow is the small two day paycheck. How small it is depends on whether or not they take out June's medical. Usually they take that month's medical out of the first check earned that much, but for some reason, every once in a while they take it out of the first one paid of the month. So it could be anywhere from $800 to $1325.

I have $1200 left from last payday and the bills due between now and the 15th total $1006. I'll keep back about $300 for groceries and miscellaneous expenses. Whatever else it left over goes to the BoA VISA. It will at least be $500, but I am hoping this is the amount without medical, because then I could send a lot more to the VISA.

I know I said I would never do business with Chase again, but they keep sending DH these really good offers. This last one is a no-fee balance transfer and a 0% interest rate until August of 2013. It sure would be nice to get the interest off the BoA card and just be using it for the autopays and DH's travel expenses that we pay off every month. We would only use the Chase card for the balance transfer and then pay it off fast with no interest incurred.

When I thought we'd have it paid off by the end of this month and we would have had to pay a transfer fee, it wasn't going to be that big a deal, but now that we will likely have the balance until the end of the summer, it's worth it for three months without interest. And then we can cancel the card when it's paid off. I guess I'm okay with using Chase so long as they are not using me. And I can deal with their crappy customer service (or hopefully never have to) if it means no interest.

We had a cleaning service out to the house today. They will need a couple more days out there, but that will have to wait until the next time DH is home. I don't want to be making that drive twice in one day to unlock the house and turn off the alarm and then go back and reset it in the evening. But we will get it scheduled for the Thursday after DH gets back. Then we will need to get the carpet shampooed.

After that I'm not sure. We might be ready to sell it As is/Where is, as in "you take it as it comes and you fix anything that is wrong with it because we are done." Doesn't matter what they find on the inspection, doesn't matter if it needs to be painted or a new gutter put on or whatever. As is/where is, and it will be priced accordingly. I just want it gone, enough to pay off the mortgage, which will be just under $17K when I make the payment tomorrow, and have some money to go to a good downpayment.

We bought it for $65,000 in 1998 and it's assessed at around $110,000 and I'd honestly be happy at this point to get what we paid for it. Sure I'd like more, but you get what you get in this market. Once it's sold, it will free up each month:

$375.86 mortgage
__72.00 water/sewer
__41.25 house insurance
__20.00 power
_100.00 propane
+_44.89 phone for the security system
-----------
$654.00

and then when we move out of Mom's and into our own place we will have:

$154.00 from storage
$300.00 for the utilities we pay for here
--------
$454.00

$654.00
+454.00
---------
$1108.00

So $1108 freed up just by getting rid of that house and moving out of this one. I think that's worth a loss if we have to take one. And once the credit card is paid off there will be another $2000 a month free and clear. So $3108 will be available for house payments and running a household. And since we are looking at 1500 to 1600 square foot houses in the $219,000 to $250,000 range our house payment should only be around $1200 a month. More than enough to run a house and put some money in the EF. I really can't wait for that day to come. I am sick of throwing money away.

Oh, and our debt to income ratio is now under 45% so we will qualify for the really good mortgage loans when the time comes. Actually once that mortgage is gone and the credit card is gone we will be around 25% and that will put us in great standing.

Time is Flying This Year

May 1st, 2012 at 01:23 pm

I can't believe it is May already. This year is just whizzing by. Yesterday was very busy. I had an appointment in the morning, $90. DD had a dentist appointment, which will be billed to insurance and be fully covered because it is the first of the year.

We paid the property taxes yesterday for the half year on the old house, $524.75. DH took the two new toilets out to the old house. His father will help him install them on Wednesday. While out there he dropped off the water bill and saved a stamp, $144.

The money from ING showed up yesterday but we didn't have time to go over and make a payment at BoA. I am hoping we will today, but if not then that will get paid tomorrow.

We finally took the kids to The Hunger Games movie last night. We went to the 6:30 showing so we could get out and be home at a decent hour since it was a school night. I would have preferred to go to the 4:00 one, but DS doesn't even get out of school until 3:45. I was really well pleased with the movie. I felt it stayed true to the book on almost everything and only missed one tiny little scene not being included, the district 11 sending the bread scene. It should have been there as it was such a pivotal moment, but oh, well. You can't have everything in a screen adaptation, but this was pretty close.

Still it cost us $40 for the four of us to go. This is why we seldom see movies in the theater. $9.50 per student and $10.50 per adult. Even matinee prices would not have been that good. It's not like they are half price anymore. They are just a buck or two off per ticket to go at a less convenient time. I think it was worth it this time, but I miss the days of $5 movies. Heck, I miss the days of $1 movies.

Inheritance Amount

March 2nd, 2012 at 07:15 pm

Well, we won't be able to cash it until Monday, as we didn't make it out to MIL's house tonight, but MIL told us the amount and it is $7,456.58. I had remembered realtor fees but forgot to calculate in lawyer's fees when I estimated between $7500 to $8500, so it's right around where I thought it would be, just the low end.

We'll go out for a visit tomorrow and pick it up while we are out there. I am excited to finally know how much we will lower our debt by. Once we pay it that credit card will have $14,077.83 left on it. And when we get out tax return back we will be sending $8000 and have $6077.83 left. So much major progress to be made this month. I am excited.

Bit of a Rant

February 28th, 2012 at 10:30 pm

I'm getting irritated at the IRS. Yeah, who isn't? But seriously, it's only supposed to take 3 days from the time they process your electronic tax return for them to say when to expect it to arrive in your bank account and it has been exactly one week since they said it was processed, and yet the website keeps saying that information is not available. Really bugging the heck out of me.

It's the planner in me. I don't like not being able to plan when I can send that money in to pay down debt. I know any date they give me probably isn't guaranteed, but I'd sure like to know when to start looking. The whole purpose of e-filing is it is supposed to be faster and more reliable than the mail, yadda, yadda, yadda. But it still feels like it's moving at a snail's pace. I already resent the fact that we had to pay for it since it wasn't a 1040EZ, they could be a little quicker on their feet.

It shouldn't be hard for them to process it. We didn't itemize. We only did the standard deductions so it shouldn't flag it for any reason. Just get it in there or fix the website or whatever, because you are really doing nothing to encourage faith in the government, here.

DH Finished the Taxes

February 21st, 2012 at 10:57 pm

We will be getting back $8,425. $8000 goes straight the BoA and the $425 is going to pay for DD's driver's ed class. He says they will be processed on 2/23. He didn't get a when to expect it date, though. How long does it usually take when you e-file?

Odds and Ends

February 21st, 2012 at 07:26 pm

I added $3.33 to the coin jar.

I paid $700 to the credit card debt.

I still haven't made it to Costco to cash my cash back check from the Costco AMEX card. Seriously inconvenient that you cannot cash it at a bank. I think they want you to spend the cash there, but I'm not going to.

I've done some more research and I think we'll aim for the summer of 2013 for sending DD to the total immersion Korean language camp. I know if we sent her this year and next we could get 2 years worth of language credits for high school, but it would mean paying less on debt repayment right now, and I just don't want to do that. I figure we can send her the summer of 2014 as well and she can get college credit that year, as it is also offered.

My mother has offered to take DD around and introduce her to some of the neighbors in the area that have young children and need babysitting. I think it's about time she started earning money beyond her allowance. She is really good with kids. If she can get some good sitting jobs this summer she might earn some serious money. I know I did. The local fast food places around here just are not hiring kids anymore. There are too many older, far more dependable workers filling those positions.

I need to call DH and see if he filed the taxes last night. He was supposed to, but he procrastinates things. I want to find out what the final number was. His last estimate was somewhere between $8100 and $8400. Most of that is from the HSA we maxed out and used all of last year.

The grandparents' house was supposed to close on the 20th, but I don't know if they did, being as yesterday was a holiday. DH was going to call his mother and find out. I need to find out if he did. It would be nice to know when that money can be expected. Between the tax return and the inheritance it should be somewhere between $15,500 and $16,000 and that will make a serious dent in what's left of our credit card debt. We might then be able to get a 0% card to transfer the remainder to while we pay off what's left over the next few months.


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