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Archive for March, 2012

I Really Can't Do Math

March 31st, 2012 at 12:57 pm

What I was figuring would be $9 of interest after I paid off the MC turned out to be $32.04. Obviously I was very tired. But I've paid it today regardless, so it's fully paid off now.

The payment I made last night of $1490 isn't showing up as pending, but I did that really late at night so it should show as pending by tomorrow. It also isn't shown as being taken out of the checking account yet, so I'm sure it's just slow because of the weekend.

I have paid all the bills from now until the 20th of April, except the car payment and DH's life insurance. There is techinically enough in the checking account to pay that, but it would leave us with $50 for the week. Since it is spring break, and Mom thought that would be the best time to remodel our bathroom, we are having to be out of the house quite a bit this coming week. The workers are very loud and smelly (dust, mold, cigarette smell clinging to their clothes) so they are stirring up allergy issues. So we will wait until next payday to pay the car payment. It's not due until the 19th. Most of the money for it will still come from this payday, though.

As for DH's life insurance, it comes out on autopay in a day or two, but they change the rate every six months, it goes up a dollar and a bit or something. DH doesn't know what he did with the paper that came with the new amount, so I am waiting until it is deducted before I record the exact amount in the checkbook.

We will be renewing our Pacific Science Center Membership this week as we are going there one day this week. We also will be going again when the King Tut exhibit is there. We may also go down one day and do the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum. Depends on how things go.

Yesterday was early release for the kids from school and so we went out to the house and finished packing. The only thing left to pack is the tools, the drywall installation stuff, and the cleaning supplies. On Wednesday DH and FIL will go out there and put up that final wall on the back of the shower.

Then we need to rent a small U-haul to move the last boxes and the stuff in the shed, like the table saw and the broken dresser beyond repair that needs to go to the dump, but can't fit in the van.

DH still needs to set up an appointment with ADT to come out and replace the alarm box that is cracked and set up an estimate on replacing the broken window pane. I need to vacuum but I can't do that until the boxes are out and then we need to hire someone to clean it. My mother insists she wants to do that, but I really don't think she will. I know I don't. I want to hire a service that cleans houses or apartments after renters leave so that it is really clean, not something like Merry Maids that leaves the illusion of clean, but doesn't really deep clean anything. Then we need to get someone in to do the rugs as well. All that before we can put the dumb thing on the market. This is what we get for procrastinating so long, but then again, my health wasn't up to it before now.

I Did It

March 30th, 2012 at 07:21 pm

I wrote the check out today to pay off the Master Card. They haven't showed the payment online yet, even though they are supposed to by five if you pay it in person at the bank by 2 p.m. and we paid it at 11:30. It'll show tomorrow, though. I see that they've already added the interest in for those few days that weren't calculated yet. So the payment has hit the system. It's just not showing. Once it shows tomorrow I will then send in a quick electronic payment for the interest. It's about $9 or so. I didn't do the math.

One of the things that DH's father has done for him and his sister since he was a kid was have $10 automatically transferred to DH's savings account every week from FIL's paycheck. Well, almost 3 years ago, we told FIL we really didn't think he needed to be doing that. DH had gotten a very large raise and we were doing okay without and we thought they needed it more than we did.

Well, we told FIL we wanted to close the account but FIL said he thought it would be a good place for him to keep depositing to, but that he could use that money to go on vacation with after it had been saved up. It would be a place he couldn't get to it without DH physically going and getting it, so he wouldn't be tempted to spend it. Well, they got that big inheritance in February (the one where we got a much smaller portion) from DH's grandma, so they decided they didn't need the money in the account that they'd been saving. So today we got to have that money. It was $1490. I took that $1490 and made a payment to the BoA VISA today.

That brings the BoA VISA to $6160.90. Then on April 20th we will be able to put an additional $1500 on it, which brings it down to $4660.90. And we are transferring money out of the EF at ING to pay an additional $3500 on it, which will bring it down to $1160.90. Of course there will be interest in there, and there will also be a plane ticket charged, plus all the autopays, which will be approximately $1200, so that will put us at $2360.90. The $800 payment I have been making to the Master Card I will be able to make the following week, which will bring it down to $1560.90 by the end of April. Which means I'll have it paid off on May 19th! Less than 2 full months away and BoA will no longer own my soul. (Eh, except for the car payment). I really am excited about that, even if it does mean having the EF at only $1000 for a couple months.

Do you guys remember when I started how insurmountable this all seemed? It's been almost six years of hard and steady work, but we're doing it. It really can be done. Pretty soon I will be able to say NO MORE CREDIT CARD DEBT!

Ran the Numbers

March 30th, 2012 at 01:21 am

I ran the numbers tonight, and if I were to take out all but $1000 of the emergency fund we could come pretty close to having the BoA VISA paid off by the end of April. This would be on top of paying off the BoA Master Card tomorrow.

I think that we should do it. A part of me is very wary of having only $1000 in the EF. But...we'd have all the BoA cards paid off in full by the end of May then. Unless I scrimp really, really hard and then I might be able to do it by the first of May.

Then by the end of May we'd be able to save $2000 a month and I'd have the EF back again by the end of June. I like having an EF, but it almost seems silly at this point when it is only earning .8% and my credit card is at 11.4% Paying it all off means having our debt to income ratio fall beneath 45%, which is a magic number for some loans. Right now it's at 49%. Plus we'll also have made 2 payments on our car payment which will lower it even more.

If I do this it means come July we start saving for a house, and when we have enough, to get the really good loans, and we might get into a house before we know it.

Tomorrow we go out to the old house to pack up the very last of the stuff and do some cleaning. Then we can set up a time with the rug lady so she can spend the day steam cleaning the rugs. We might need to rent a small truck to get the last of the stuff moved, and things like the table saw. We'll leave the lawnmower there until the house sells so we can keep the lawn mowed.

I really want to put this thing on the market. DH and his father are going to put up the last wall in the bathroom that needed replacing on Wednesday and that's the last really big thing to do. We will sell it as is/where is. If you only sell as is there is room to negotiate for the buyer. If you sell as is/where is, it means that the sellers are not willing to put one more dime into it and you take it or leave it the way it is. We like as is/where is, because we won't get slapped with the buyers wanting us to put on a new roof or paint it or fix anything. We really mean we don't want to do anything more than we do.

I don't even care that much about how much it sells for so long as I end up with $20,000 over the remaining cost of the mortgage and any realtor fees. The last tax assessment valued it at $92,000 and I think our creditu union values it at $112,000, but we will put it on the market for $75,000 knowing that they can then get a bigger mortgage to do the repairs with if needed. And we'll even negotiate price. What we won't negotiate is us fixing things. We don't wanna.

Good Credit Card Offers?

March 29th, 2012 at 12:00 pm

It seems like all I'm seeing these days in the mail is offers for spending so much and getting so much cash back. What I don't seem to be seeing is the offer I really want, 0% interest for a year or six months. After tomorrow, we'll be down to between $6000 and $7000 in credit card debt at 11.4% interest. It's our BoA airmiles card so it also has a yearly fee of $75. Not too bad, considering how much DH flies, and he can get 3 to 4 free round trip coach tickets per year and several first class upgrades. But it will be the card with the balance on it.

What I really want is to just use that card for airfare, hotel, and other travel related expenses for his job, which will then be paid off in full each month so interest won't matter, and a new card with no interest that we can transfer the balance onto and pay off over the next six months. So are there any good card offers out there for the 0%? I really don't want Chase, as we have a history with them being (as my children say) jack donkeys, but any other bank (except BoA as they won't let you balance transfer between cards) would be fine.

Our last FICO score check had us at 780 and I imagine since we paid off $15,000 since we last checked it has gone up since then, so we would probably qualify for whatever is out there.

I'd appreciate anyone steering us in the right direction.

Today's Spending

March 28th, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I added .74 to the coin jar today.

I spent .50 on parking meters.

I spent $37.50 today, $30 for three types of the Boar's Head deli meats that we will divide up and freeze for DS's lunches for the next month and $7.50 for a bagel sandwich, small chips, and pickle spear for DS's lunch today as we were completely out of everything that he isn't allergic to and I was really, really behind on everything this morning and I had to pick DH up at the airport.

I went to the dentist at 11:30 to have some chips repaired and my portion was $68, so paid that, too.

I Guess Someone's Ears Were Burning

March 27th, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Well, I guess my rant paid off, because DH just called me to tell me that they called him 5 minutes ago and he has been fully excused (not even rescheduled) from jury duty! So no EF crippling time off from work, no debt repayment stall out, no worrying about the financial side of things, thank goodness! That takes about half the stress out of my system. Now if they would just contact me about mine, so I can know and plan, I would lose another 40%, and just be left with the normal 10% or so that is part and parcel with being a parent.

But the best part is I will have that Master Card paid off by the end of March! I can make the payment on Friday. Well, there will probably be some interest calculated, but it'll be piddly and I can pay that off as soon as it hits. And then it's just a matter of destroying the VISA, smushing it down into nothing and being free of the dang noose of credit card debt once and for all. It is so close I can taste it.

It feels good to have my hope back again. I am generally an optimistic person, but debt has so burdened me for so long that sometimes I get very gloomy about it when things go wrong.

Now we can go ahead and schedule ADT to come out to the old house and put in a new control box. The old one works, but it is badly cracked which will not look good for resale. I'd also like to put four more windows on the system. And maybe the window people can come out and give us an estimate as well (one pane of glass on a double-paned window needs to be replaced as it is broken). We won't be able to fix it until the end of April/beginning of May, though, but we can at least schedule it for when DH will be home.

The insurance company is requesting a new certificate of security now as well, to keep our homeowner's insurance so low, so this is a good time to try to get it done. If it's not one thing, it's another. But at least I'm facing it again with a better attitude.

Bits and Pieces--Lots of Venting

March 27th, 2012 at 10:52 am

So we still don't know whether DH has been excused from jury duty or not. Which is ridiculous considering he is supposed to report on the 4th. He asked to be excused due to financial hardship, which it will be as we are still pretty much living paycheck to paycheck while we try to dig out of debt. It's really bugging me how unorganized they are. If he has been excused all will be well and he can go back to Alaska on schedule. If he has not been, he will miss a week of work, have to change his flights and pay a fee to do so, possibly have to pay the difference if flights cost more the day he needs to fly, etc. If he hasn't been we are going to have to make some tough financial decisions.

I just found out that the Bank of America VISA due date is going to be the 21st and we get paid on the 20th, so I can go ahead and do the payment to pay off the Master Card. But now I'm not sure if I should until I know whether or not he is going to have to serve jury duty, because that extra $2000 will come in handy if he loses a week of pay. I was so looking forward to having that credit card be completely gone this month.

The other option is to pay it anyway, and then take the hit to the emergency fund. But I don't want to do that. I feel like a baby about it. My mind keeps going, "It's not Faaaaaiiiirrrrr!" and stomping its foot. We worked so hard to get that emergency fund to where it is at and to just see it wiped out is so frustrating.

I wish they would just hurry up and send a letter or make the phone call letting me know whether he has been excused or not. Living in limbo is my least favorite thing to do, and the court system has made me do it more than they should ever make anyone do it.

I still haven't heard about my own summons, either. Supposedly I am to report on April 30th, which is what they told me when I was excused for six months because of my surgery last time. But every other time I've been rescheduled, when the new summons comes, it's never for the date they tell me for, it is for different dates, generally two to three weeks later. So I can't plan anything for the month of May or June because I don't know what they are going to end up doing. They really need to be on the ball and give proper notice so that people can arrange their lives, not leave us hanging for so long. It's ridiculous and highly unprofessional. My tax dollars at work, thank you, gubbmint.

I'm trying not to be frustrated, but it's like they are putting themselves in our way of finally getting out of debt. Like they will be single-handedly responsible for destroying any further major forward progress we could make right now. And I know when I go in to serve I am going to have the worst attitude in the world about it because of all this rigamarole. Plus, you know, be slightly spaced out, because I am still on painkillers and muscle relaxants for my hip, back and knee. So I will be not the most attentive person. Just what you want in a juror.

It also looks like some of my problems that I had the last surgery for are coming back, so I will have to be thinking about a second surgery there to make a final repair. The doctor warned me that might happen, but there has to be about a year between surgeries for complete healing, before doing the second surgery. *sighs* Which will be July. But I haven't called yet to try to schedule anything because one, I want to be out of credit card debt first, and two, I don't know what my life is going to be like until I find out about this stupid jury duty thing! And also, three, I don't have time to be bedridden again for several weeks recovering. *big sigh*

In the small arena of making a little step forward, I added $8.11 to the coin jar. Although I'm starting to wonder, what's the point of scraping so hard to build an emergency fund if something like all this can just wipe it right out? Which is counterproductive, because it's better to wipe out the emergency fund, than to wipe out the finances altogether, right? Just so incredibly discouraged.



Didn't Eat Out This Weekend

March 25th, 2012 at 07:33 pm

I had even planned to do Chinese on Saturday, but I really didn't want to leave the house, even so I didn't have to cook. I made pizza instead. I put herbs in the dough this time instead of in the sauce, and toppings were ground beef, pepperoni, and onions. I used mozzarella for the main cheese, and then a sprinkling of cheddar for a flavor boost. It was really good.

Then for dinner on Saturday I made boneless, skinless chicken thighs on the electric grill. I put barbecue sauce on mine. We had fried potatoes and green beans to go with.

Today for lunch we had chili (me and DS) and soup (DD) with grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, then for dinner we had potroast, green beans, and corn. I remembered to put the potroast in the crockpot at the correct time for a change so we actually ate at 5 instead of at 7. I prefer to eat at 5 (or at least 6) since DD likes to go to bed at 7 as she gets up really early in the morning for high school.

It was really nice to have home-cooked meals again. While the kids were so sick (and me) we were getting an awful lot of take out. It was expensive, but also bloating, and just not as good or healthy to eat.

I bought a couple of gallon size Rubbermaid pitchers today to keep my filtered water in the fridge in. The regular water containers I haven't been able to find in a while and these will work well until I find them, and then I can use the pitchers for other things. They are the right size to fit with my Mr. Coffee ice tea maker, the old pitcher having gotten placed into storage who knows where when we moved. They will also work for lemonade or storing soup. I like using it for big pots of soup because then you just pour it into the bowls as needed and no need to dirty up the big ladel all the time.

I am trying to figure out what to make for dinner tomorrow. It needs to be relatively easy come dinner time. I am thinking about maybe assembling a lasagna earlier in the day so I can put it in the oven right before I go to pick up the youngest from school and then it will be ready at a good time.

We lost one of the chicks. It happens. Usually one or two don't survive. Mom went and got three new ones, one like the one who died and 2 white Leghorns. (Leghorns are excellent layers. One of our grown ones is a Leghorn and she is very dependable.) Hopefully they'll get along and all survive.

And...Newborns!

March 23rd, 2012 at 05:43 pm

Added to the flock today, chicks and ducks. Aren't they precious? I hope some of the ducks are female.



More Good Survey News and a Refund

March 23rd, 2012 at 04:46 pm

I qualified for the product testing thing, as the item arrived in the mail today. I'm glad. I can't remember if that was $8 or $10. I'm thinking it was $10. I took another 25 point screener for a possible 400 (or $4) survey. This is the type that I generally do qualify for so hopefully I will get it, too. I am rolling along quite nicely with this company. I don't think I would do so well with them if I didn't have children in the right age categories. But luckily I do.

Oh, I got my Allstate good driver's refund today. Or rather, I opened the envelope that has been sitting on my nightstand for a week! It was a check for $20.30 so that will go into the Safety Net portion of the EF, which means I just might hit that goal of $4500 by the end of March and be caught up to where I wanted to be!