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Archive for September, 2008

What do you sell on eBay?

September 30th, 2008 at 10:49 am

I see A LOT of you mentioning sales on eBay. I have sold things occasionally that have done well, but it's just been stuff we've had around the house. When I read your blogs, it seems that you do this on a regular basis.

I'm curious what you're selling, where you get it to resell, etc. Does anyone mind sharing this information with me?

I was way off

September 30th, 2008 at 06:16 am

My husband's new payraise finally went into effect with this paycheck and it looks like my projection of our takehome was off by about $200/paycheck! I can't believe this! I just checked our bank account (it's direct deposited) and am bummed. I have no idea how I was so far off, usually I'm pretty good at estimating those types of things. I took taxes, 401k contribution, benefits, etc. into account. I think I may have messed up on the tax withholdings though. We'll see. I'm anxious for my husband to bring the paystub home so I can look it over and find my mistake. Ugh, I guess I have to realize that I may need to go back to the drawing board with our budget. Oh well, it's more money nonetheless, just wish I hadn't gotten my hopes up!

Personal Budget vs. the Economy

September 29th, 2008 at 06:24 pm

I was talking to a friend today and I asked if they were still thinking of selling their home and buying another (upgrading) in light of what's going on in the economy since the "experts" are saying we could see a "deep recession". They are a young couple with two small children and in a 4 bedroom home, just not the best of the best schools and the first will start school in about 1.5 years. Anyway, they said that they were still considering it since their decision "has to do with [their] personal budget, not the economy..."

This doesn't make sense to me. I think the economy, especially of late, has a lot of effect over my personal budget, just look at gas and food prices. We've had to adjust these in the last year to keep up with the prices. It seems like the economy, especially with what's going on right now, would have a lot to say about selling/buying a home right now.

Am I way off or did that comment not make the most sense?

What if my bank fails?

September 26th, 2008 at 01:27 pm

Well, Broken Arrow's entry this morning about Wachovia possibly being at risk for failing got me going this morning to research what'll happen if my bank fails. I bank with Wachovia and since we don't have any savings (not yet anyway, just opened an ING account!), I'm mainly concerned about accessing my account to pay bills. I know that FDIC will cover any money I do have in checking since I definitely don't have more than their limit.

Anyway, from what I've read, my money may be unavailable for several days if something did happen so I am preparing just in case. I have filled my car with gas and we are taking some money out today. We're taking enough to cover our rent (due on the 1st) and to have some cushion. We're fine on food. I am not too worried about anything horrible happening, I think my money will be fine overall, but I feel better knowing I'm prepared and won't be late on any bills. (I don't have any other bills due for about two weeks.)

I just saw on CNBC that Wachovia is in early talks about a deal with Citigroup so who knows, maybe it's good I'm preparing, either way, I feel better now.

Freedom Account is now open

September 24th, 2008 at 04:51 pm

I just set up our Freedom Account with ING today (an ING savings account). I think I will keep our Emergency Fund as another subcategory, for the time being at least. I have set up two automatic payments a month to coincide with our paychecks. It will deposit $153 each time to cover the $262/month for auto, clothing, date night/family activities, vacation and gifts as I mentioned in my last entry as well as $44/month to the EF. I know it's not much to the EF right now, but it'll add up and it's a start.

I will also add a $20 Challenge subcategory and add any leftover money from each payperiod (basically, any unused "cushion" that's built into the budget) as well as any "extra" money we get. Adding the $20 Challenge category completes another goal for 2008! Our $20 challenge is officially started! It feels good to have taken some steps in improving our future.

I made an initial deposit of $446. Our health insurance reimbursed us this amount from our FSA, but we haven't paid it out of pocket to the hospital (for baby #2's birth) yet so moving it to this account will ensure we don't touch it until we need it.

"Debt-Proof Living" Talk with Husband

September 23rd, 2008 at 01:33 pm

Well, my husband and I had another heart-to-heart last night and it went really well. I think we'd both gotten frustrated with each other over finances. I have just finished reading Debt-Proof Living by Mary Hunt that I'd seen mentioned on the blogs several times and told him about some of the things she discusses. I liked her system for dealing with the unexpected expenses throughout the year and we've decided to start our own Freedom Account this next pay period (Sept. 30th). We'll have the following sub-categories to start with:

Auto Maintenance & Repair - $1,000/year
Date Night/Family Activities - $360/year
Gift - $360/year
Clothing - $360/year
Vacation (airline tickets home) - $900/year

This will require a deposit of $262/month which I will automate into an account that is NOT affiliated with my current bank. I do not want to see the balance everytime we log in. I think it will be easier for us if it's out of sight. I have already set up the Excel spreadsheet as the book suggests and am ready to start; it's exciting and feels very empowering to be taking such proactive steps in our financial management.

Oh, my husband also agreed to staying in the apartment for an additional year (to January 2011) in order to achieve our goals of paying off ALL credit card debts and building up a downpayment fund before buying a house. This is a HUGE step for us. I have worried for months about how I'd feel and what we'd do when fall 2009 came and we were still in debt facing the decision to buy a house or not. With our current plan, I project we'll make our last credit card payment in May 2010. Then we can sock away all the money currently going to debt repayment to a downpayment fund June-December 2010.

Any suggestions on creating this second bank account for our Freedom Account? Is it wise to go to a different bank? I'd love to hear any advice from those already doing this; thanks!

Sept. Financial Overview - Another Goal Achieved!

September 20th, 2008 at 03:36 pm

I can't believe it, but it looks like I have hit another goal that I set in August. I had hoped to get the credit card debt to under $26k and after looking at this month's numbers, that goal has been achieved! I usually use the current month's statements (before any payments) for the monthly overview, but decided to factor in last week's extra payments this time. (I was too excited to see how that $1,000 payment would affect things!) Anyway, I was very pleased to see that goal achieved.

I don't have my most recent car loan info in front of me and my student loan #2 info is "temporarily unavailable" online, so I just kept the balances from last month. What does this mean? It means my total debt is, in actuality, even less that what appears below. Oh how nice that is!

Current Debt: September 2008

Student loan #1: $2,372

Student loan #2: $1,575

Bank of America #1: $10,281 (Paid $1,000 towards it last week!)

Bank of America #2: $10,084

0% Bank of America #3: $4,579

Chase #1: $269 (Paid off last week!)

Chase #2: $11 (Paid off this month!)

0% Citi: $2,020

Target: $445 (Paid off last week!)

Overdraft: $2,509 (Paid off last week!)

401K Loan 1: $862 (Pay off 07/31/2009)
401K Loan 2: $4,128 (Pay off 07/16/2011)

Car loan: $15,944


DEBT TOTALS

Credit cards & Overdraft: $25,964 after last week's payments!
Student Loans: $3,947
401K Loans: $4,990
Car Loan: $15,944

THE BIG DEBT TOTAL: $50,828

I hate cars sometimes.

September 19th, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Well, I mentioned in my last entry that we had some car issues to figure out so I was keeping a cushion in our budget this pay period instead of paying down more debt. It's a good thing I did since I just found out it'll be $700! UGH. I had hoped for half that (or less); I hate cars sometimes. Luckily, we'll have it in cash to pay. It just stinks since I'd hoped to have that money to send to a credit card instead.

CC Payments - Yeah! & Goals Update

September 17th, 2008 at 06:54 am

Well, this is how we've used our bonus so far...

1. Paid off our overdraft - $2500 (we can now check off that goal!)
2. Paid off Chase - $269
3. Paid off Target - $242
4. Extra payment to Bank of America 1 - $1000
5. Charitable contribution

Out of our paycheck we made the following payments...

1. Citicard - $40 (minimum + $10)
2. Bank of America #3 - $65 (0%, minimum + $20)

I still have a cushion in the budget of about $500 which I'll put towards credit cards and savings if it's still available at the end of the pay period. We have a few car issues to find out about before I use it for debt payments, I really don't want to overdraft again.

Today is a happy day! Smile

Bonus - Whoo Hoo, Paycheck - Yuck

September 16th, 2008 at 06:11 am

Well, we got the bonus check yesterday and had originally budgeted for $3,000 after taxes (we were trying to be conservative). We found on last Friday that we'd get more than last year so I again figured conservatively that after taxes, we'd see $4,375 or there about. I was completely off and we got a check for $5,300! Yeah! So, although we had unexpected expenses these last couple of months that has caused us to overdraft, we will be able to pay that off as well as pay much of the other debt we'd hoped to pay off with the $3,000 bonus. That's exciting! We've deposited the check and are now just waiting for it to post....

The yucky part was that we were supposed to see my husband's raise in this paycheck, but it didn't come. His manager is looking into why we didn't get it and I'm sure we'll get that back pay, but I am excited to see that so I can make sure that my new tentative budget will be correct.

I still have family in visiting so I will have to wait until this weekend or next week to do our September monthly overview, but it should be a fun one to do since we're paying off some debt.

Goal Update: Have Baby #2 - DONE

September 14th, 2008 at 11:15 am

Well, I can check off this "goal" as of the first week of September. I have taken about a two week hiatus from the internet as guests have been here and I just haven't felt like getting on. Hopefully, I'll do better as things settle down here with our toddler and newborn.

Tomorrow we should see my husband's new raise in the paycheck as well as his bonus check. We found out Friday the gross amount of his bonus and we expect to see more than we'd budgeted for. Unfortunately, we've had more unexpected debt in the last two weeks. I'm trying to look on the bright side though and that is that the bonus should cover it, we just won't see the "extra" in our budget. Oh well....

I'll also look at the bright side in that both baby and I are happy, healthy and doing well.