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Home > Archive: November, 2008

Archive for November, 2008

Almost Flipped Out Today & Frugal Thanksgiving Dinner

November 19th, 2008 at 11:58 am

Well, we've had more "surprises" to the tune of $390 so far this pay period. I went to check our balance online to make sure we'd have enough to cover bills (I figured we'd be within a few dollars once everything went through). I saw our balance was $265.43, but our available balance was only $65.07! I started to flip out because we had pending medical bills at $135 and $24. It took me a minute to realize that our available balance was only $65.07, because the bank was already taking the pending medical bills into account. Whew. I had started to cry and kind of flip out before I realized that though.

So, after those pending things go through, I'll have $65.07, but still have a $54 student loan payment. I expect to only have $9 for the rest of the pay period which won't cover gas SO, I transferred the last of the money from our Freedom Account to cover expenses. This kind of makes me sick to the stomach, but I guess this is the sort of thing it's there for. The fact that we're on the brink of disaster is what makes me sick to my stomach; this is one of my worst fears.

The bright side? I have been hording any cash I find around the house ($7 in my winter coat that I forgot about from last winter!) and have enough to cover any additional food we'll need. It'll be tight though.

Since we don't have family in the area, we'll make Thanksgiving really low key and inexpensive. I'll make the stuffing, sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie that are our Thanksgiving staples. I'll buy some turkey slices from the deli and that'll be that. I have most of the things needed for the stuffing and casserole so this is good. We'll probably do the same for Christmas dinner.

Oh, I also had someone contact me about something I used to sell online (website still up, but says "out of stock") to see if I had any in stock. I do still have some inventory, told her what I had and that I'd discount it. She's ordered several things and so that's another $20 coming our way. What a blessing that is.

I just need to keep focused on the blessings and that these "surprises" will have to end at some point.

Frugal Christmas

November 16th, 2008 at 07:12 pm

My husband and I have decided not to buy gifts for each other for Christmas. We will give each child three gifts with one being more of a "big gift". We want to get a digital camera for our toddler. He LOVES taking pictures and we figure it'll be about $50 for that. I was given some toys that I know he'll love from a friend (gently used by her children) and we plan to use those at his other two gifts. He's two so he'll never know the difference and we know he'll love them. I'm not sure what we'll get for our newborn. Probably a small toy or something.

We got significantly discounted Restaurant.com gift certificates for our parents in August (I blogged about it). We plan to add a custom made notepad to each of their gifts. I took pictures of my son's "artwork" and made 4.25x5.5" notepads with his art in the bottom corner. I have printed them and cut them down, now I just need to make it into a notepad. (I like to give something that my toddler's helped with, last year we gave birdseed cookies with photos of him helping us make them.)

Anyway, I have one sibling (and her family) to buy for. We have a rotation so we only buy for one family a year. I have found good clothes for her baby (she needs clothes) on 80-90% off at Kohl's. I still need something for her husband another something for her.

I just sent my brother (he's not part of the rotation yet, will be in a couple of years) a shirt from my CafePress store. I got 20% off as a shopowner if I ordered this weekend. I had enough money in commissions made to pay for it and shipping; yippee! That's like a free gift right there. I know he'll like it too; he's mentioned getting one several times.

I ordered some magazines from an online discount magazine website for three long distance friends. $3.55 each, a steal if you ask me. (I also blogged about this.)

I have one bro-in-law and one niece to buy for and should be done getting the gifts.

I do have a few people that I want to give something small to and plan to bake something closer to Christmas. I will plan on packaging it cute and adding a thought/poem/etc and that should work fine.

I feel pretty good about how's it's all come together. We WILL end up traveling about 5 hours to visit with a cousin (and sister who's driving to cousin's house also) just after the new year so need to plan on gas for that. Other than that, we aren't traveling and are not close enough to visit family. I'm not sure what I'll do for a meal, but we'll either keep it incredibly low key or have a potluck with other friends.

Anyway, this is more rambling than anything, but overall, I feel good about where we are and what's been spent this Christmas. Once things are shipped, it will be a relief. I hate that added expense; that's one reason I like magazines so much! No shipping!

FINALLY Some Happy News

November 13th, 2008 at 08:20 pm

Well, I got some good news today and figured I should share since I my last two entries have not been that upbeat.

When we moved halfway across the country a year ago we decided to sell our townhouse and rent an apartment for at least two years. We signed a 14 month lease last November in hopes that when we renewed our lease or bought a house, January would bring better prices due to being during the slow time. Well, we just got our renewal offer letter today and our rent is GOING DOWN by $50/month! How exciting; I NEVER expected that!!

They had accidentally put us in the computer as a 12 month lease so I got a renewal offer letter two months ago too (until I showed them my lease and they fixed it) and they were offering a 12 month lease for $875 then, so I guess our plan worked! We will now be paying $800/month starting in January, so we just saved ourselves $900 in rent next year! Yippee! And that includes our basic cable, can't beat that.

Honestly, I don't know if it was our "good planning" or the tanking economy I have to thank for this little surprise, but I'll take it either way. The new budget I just wrote out last night will now have to be redone (I'd figured $875 for rent.), but I will do it happily.

I hope y'all get some fun, unexpected news soon too!

November Debt Overview

November 12th, 2008 at 09:27 pm

Well, I said I was going to wait until December to do the next overview, but I thought it best to pull my head out of the sand now. We get our next paycheck on Friday (FINALLY fixed the HR snafu and should see the correct amount, fingers crossed) and want to know where we're starting from. I just finished another heart to heart with my husband and have puffy eyes, but am feeling better and ready to start fresh and tackle things again.

I should say that I pretty much snapped from the pressure this afternoon and stopped our 401k contributions after all, as well as our Freedom Account contributions, just until we have our overdraft paid off. I just need to feel secure in knowing that at least those things are in order. It really stinks, but I feel better (sort of) for the time being.

Anyway, here's the overview...

November 2008

Student Loan #1: $2,312

Student Load #2: $1,425

Bank of America #1: $8,824

Bank of America #2: $7,841

0% Bank of America #3: $4,449

Chase #1: $237

Chase #2: $2,924 ($2,600 at 4% for life of balance)

0% Citi: $1,940

Target: $81

Overdraft: $2,780

401k Loan #1: $710 (Pay off 07/31/2009)
401k Loan #2: $3,918 (Pay off 07/16/2011)

Car Loan: $15,944


Credit cards & Overdraft: $29,076
Student Loans: $3,737
401K Loans: $4,628
Car Loan: $15,944 (not updated since 8/08)


Total Savings: $67
Total Retirement: $43,554 (down about $4k)

So, I'm unchecking the "Get our CC debt to under $26k" and "Pay off overdraft" goals in the sidebar and will probably have to move them to '09. Well, I've faced the music and am ready to start again. That's what you do when you fall down, right? You just get up and keep trying. Thanks for all the support here; it truly helps!

When it Rains, It Pours

November 9th, 2008 at 07:29 pm

Well, I've been silent and absent for awhile. Nothing good to report, only more unexpected debt and overdrafting. It's all very depressing and discouraging. I just want to wait until all the debt has manifested itself so I can make a plan that will stick and will not be undone the next day. I'm tired of spending my energy coming up with plans, just to see them undone.

I guess some good news is, I resisted the urge to change our 401k contributions. We currently contribute 6% and receive a 50% match (6% is the max they'll match) and was tempted to change that in order to see more money per paycheck. I even had the website open to the page I needed, but stopped myself. I know that's not the answer. The answer is staying within budget.

More good news...We will finally start seeing my husband's full raise in his paycheck (it was supposed to start on Sept. 30th) after working through things with HR. Apparently all the paperwork had not been turned in and processed. Anyway, we got a check for the backpay ($444) on Thursday, unfortunately, it'll all go towards paying back overdraft (and still not be enough).

I know I need to run the new monthly numbers, but Oct. and Nov. are too depressing. I think I'll wait until December when I can look forward to a new year and hopefully a fresh start. Then I can look at the numbers and put this year behind me.

Sorry to sound so down. I'm just feeling beat and just so sick and tired of this ridiculous situation that we're in.