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Husband Off Account

August 1st, 2009 at 04:48 pm

Well, it's been a little while (again). Things are still going along here. We are still paying off old debts and trying not to accrue new ones as we muddle through. It is still a very tough time, but I am happy to report one positive. We removed my husband's name from our checking account this morning. It was his idea as one way to try and give me a little more security. I hope it helps (and I can stick to my guns if more debts are remembered). I hope this is the turning point we need.

(If you don't know what I'm talking about when I say "old debts remembered" just look at my last post or two and it's all explained.)

Still Dealing

July 10th, 2009 at 05:40 am

This is a quick check-in. We are still dealing with surprises and issues. The total since May '08 is over $17,000. (I haven't wanted to add it up recently to figure out exactly...a little too depressing.) I know we have more debt than what's listed in the sidebar now. The positives that I am trying to focus on at this point is that we have started some counseling at our church which seems to be helping our relationship and my husband has started to see someone (covered by our medical insurance) for his panic attacks that he started having in May. It will be SO nice once all of this is over and done...or at least once the surprises stop and we can get back to the normal grind of paying off this debt while living a budget consistently! Ok, I guess that'll suffice as a small update.

Why Can't We Live Our Budget? (RANT)

May 6th, 2009 at 05:28 am

I am so frustrated! I HATE, absolutely HATE, the situation we are in. The surprises keep coming. We have already paid $240 this pay period (since April 30) from our paycheck to surprises and another $70 or so in money we made off of Craigslist. I am so frustrated. Our budget is doable without these surprises.

Now, we only have $39 in our account to last until the 15th so I had to transfer money from our Freedom Account which I just recently started contributing to again. AARGH!! We can never win! When will this all be over?!!

I totaled all the surprises up as best I could since last May and it's about $15,310! Can you believe that?! (And that's not even counting it all! There's quite a bit I know I can't track for certain so haven't counted it.) $15,310 is just $608 short of being exactly HALF of our credit card debt. $15,310 in addition to the money we HAVE paid towards cards this past year would have definitely put us over half done. I just can't believe the situation we're in. It feels like it'll never end. Over $15,000; that's a good down payment on a house...oh, it just hurts. I know it hurts my husband too and it's causing him health issues. It's got to stop at some point! We started paying these surprises over a year ago! How can they keep popping up?! We're NEVER going to be able to reach our goals of paying off overdraft, "consistently living our budget", much less paying off this debt this way.

I just want to cry and throw up my hands, but what good will that do? It makes me sick that I spent $426 on plane tickets to visit home (haven't been home in over a year) to have surprises continue to come up. I feel almost physically sick to my stomach. Anyway...there's really nothing I can do except try to be optimistic and do the best I can with the money that's left. I really really just hate this all.

Sorry for the rant. It's better to write and rant than cry in front of my family.

$10 Kohl's Coupon = 2 FREE Shirts

May 2nd, 2009 at 11:55 am

So, we got a $10 coupon to Kohl's in the mail. My husband took the kids to Kohl's to spend it while I slept & did some spring cleaning. The fine print said it could only be applied to a $10 minimum purchase, so I told him it'd be nice if he could get as close to $10 as possible. Well, he got two shirts for FREE (one for each child). The total was $10 to the penny, so he didn't pay a thing. Happy day!

Company Offering "Voluntary Separation" and Suspending 401k Match

April 28th, 2009 at 06:35 am

My husband's company is now offering a Voluntary Separation package, so we figure if there are not enough people who volunteer, there will be more layoffs. We feel fortunate that we feel pretty secure in his position. They are also suspending the company's 401k match until later notice and reducing the ESOP. Sign of the times, I guess. With all of this news, we are feeling like our yearly bonus will probably suffer quite a bit (that's not until Sept.) and that will affect our debt paydown.

Oh well, we'll just have to focus on being fortunate enough to even have a job and feel somewhat secure in that.

Putting Off the Dentist, Waiting for FSA

April 27th, 2009 at 06:40 pm

My husband and I are each scheduled to see the dentist in May for a total estimated out of pocket expense of about $600. I just realized last night that it should all be eligible to be covered by our FSA. Unfortunately we have used all of it for this year, but since we're on a fiscal year, it will start again July 1. I plan on calling the dentist tomorrow to reshedule our appointments for July. Whew. That's an awesome discovery, because essentially, that gives us $600 more in our budget than planned since we have don't see the FSA money anyway. Also, I don't have to worry about running out of FSA money next year since we won't be having a baby next year, but are keeping our amount the same. Yeah! This all makes me happy and it's so nice to FINALLY have good news!

Yucky Numbers Monthly Update

April 15th, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Well, it could be worse. The overall debt is down only a $1000 from January 2009, but if you look closely, you'll see the credit card/overdraft is actually up $800. Ugh. I don't think this will be the new trend. I think that we're on the verge of major debt repayment if we can make it through some dental bills next month...here's to hoping! On the bright side, our retirement has gone up about $7k since January...yeah!

As for this month's overview....

April 2009

Student Loan 1: $1,991

Student Loan 2: $1,174

Bank of America 1: $8,520

Bank of America 2: $7,578

Bank of America 3: $4,248

Chase 1: $2,482

Chase 2: $2,695

0% Citi: $1,772

Target: $1,591

Overdraft: $2,950

401k Loan 1: $321 (Pay off 07/31/2009)
401k Loan 2: $3,380 (Pay off 07/16/2011)

Car Loan: $13,844

DEBT TOTALS

Credit cards & Overdraft: $31,836
Student Loans: $3,165
401K Loans: $3,701
Car Loan: $13,844


THE BIG DEBT TOTAL: $52,546

Total Savings: $48
Total Retirement: $50,720

Paid Taxes and Being Positive

April 15th, 2009 at 09:10 pm

I just had to pay $752 in taxes. Not too bad since I had estimated that we'd owe $1000. The original plan had been to not have taxes withheld throughout 2008 in order to have the money in our paycheck to pay down debt. When it became painfully obvious in August that that was not happening (too many "surprises" and not enough going to debt), I changed our withholdings so this day of reckoning wouldn't be too painful. I had also planned to then save a little via the Freedom Account each paycheck in order to have $1000 saved to pay the estimated taxes, but again that didn't happen (for the same reason). Anyway, we were "lucky" that our older car died a few weeks ago and we are not willing to revive it. We sold it for $1000 and took it off our insurance (every little bit helps!).

I am so grateful that that car died! Smile We are down to one car, which I don't mind one bit, and plan to stay that way for awhile. We used the $1000 to cover taxes which was a HUGE relief as well as cover the last payment for my crown (dental). We have more dental work next month, but we should be fine if these surprises would just stop. My husband thinks they will soon...my fingers are crossed that he is right. He wants this so badly, as do I, and it's got to stop at some point.

Anyway, again we had a heart to heart and seem to be on better ground in terms of our plans financially and how we view our action plan.

Just thought I'd join the conversation again and give an update.

$30 in Good News, $13,580 in BAD NEWS

March 19th, 2009 at 11:10 am

Well, it's been about a month since I last wrote. I'm still just trying to survive. I think my husband and I are getting on a better level of understanding, but the surprises continue which is just as frustrating (probably more so) for him as it is for me. I got really frustrated the other day and went through our old bank statements to guesstimate how much we have paid in "surprises" since the end of last May. It is roughly $13,500!! Can you believe that?! Man, if he hadn't helped others out, we could have cut our debt almost in half instead of being over $30k in debt. It just sickens me (and him) to think about so I try not to. Unfortunately, we are not out of the woods. We are still very much in survival mode because of all the various things that are coming up unexpectedly that we have to pay for (my root canal, car repairs, taxes - this is a whole other story, etc.). So, hopefully I'll be writing again later with better news.

The bright side? The bright side would be that I did my first market research survey and got paid $30 to look at and taste some food samples. After figuring in tolls and gas to get there, I figured it was more like $20, but that's worth it to me. It was nice to have that time too.

Ok, on to looking more closely at the upcoming expenses this next month...hopefully it'll all work out.

$1.81 in bank account

February 26th, 2009 at 01:03 pm

Boy are we cutting it close this pay period, we get paid in exactly 9 hours and 6 minutes (midnight). We have drained our Freedom Account (AGAIN!) due to some more "surprises" and will hopefully make it through without adding to overdraft. If we make it it will be by the skin of our teeth! Neither of us needs gas and we have food in the house so barring any real emergency, we should make it, but MAN how close!

My husband has been dealing with some health issues lately and finally last night was the one of the first nights in almost 6+ months that he got a decent night's sleep. I know the money is only adding to his stress and it's manifesting itself in his health, but we are feeling optimistic. Really, we can only get better from here right? We're pretty close to a rock bottom, maxed out status.

I'm looking forward to brighter days and seeing the happy side of this; we may have drained our Freedom Account, but we haven't overdrafted this payperiod! It's a start and I'll take it. It's been such a rough road, I need to acknowledge the small victories, however small.

$45 and Feeling Good

February 11th, 2009 at 04:33 pm

Again, it's been awhile. I sound like a broken record sometimes. Things are starting to look up a bit. I started a blog in November and was just approached the other day about advertising. I just sold my first advertising! I'm getting $45 for 3 months, yeah! I'm excited. Every little bit helps.

I'm also feeling good, because my husband and I are in a better place right now. We have our "money meeting" tonight where we'll talk about the upcoming paycheck (Friday) and the bills that will be paid out of it. We'll go over the budget and talk about our goals. We are trying to be more consistent with this and I'm happy, because HE brought it up. Smile

As far as the unexpected debts (aka "surprises") go, we have still had some, but they are definitely slowing down. Also, my husband is doing what he can to try and ask anyone and everyone he can think of that he may have borrowed from if he still owes anything. That'll help, but honestly, the only thing that will bring peace of mind to me is as more and more time passes without another surprise popping up.

Really, the only yucky thing right now is I have to have a root canal. UGH! I have never had one before and luckily it isn't too painful (I'm about halfway through the process.). I'm also grateful we have dental insurance and should only be about $600 out of pocket for the root canal, crown and everything.

I'll end on a good note. Even with all this craziness and more debt (about $2k in credit cards and $900 in medical) since November, if can stick to our budget and repayment plan that I set up for us, we should be out of credit card debt, overdraft debt, medical debt, 401k loans paid back and have some EF in just under two years from now. How awesome would THAT be?! Oh, also, my first forays into couponing at the grocery store has gone well. I'm definitely going to keep it up.

As always, thanks for all the support!

January 2009 Debt Overview

January 19th, 2009 at 09:09 pm

Ok, after all the drama in the last months, these are the latest numbers. Surprisingly only $700 more than when I started blogging last summer. It could be worse...(I'm trying to look at the bright side.)

January 2009

Student Loan #1: $2,116

Student Loan #2: $1,326

Bank of America 1: $8,804

Bank of America 2: $7,824

0% Bank of America 3: $4,321

Chase 1: $2,613

Chase 2: $2,840 ($2,500 at 4% for life of balance)

0% Citi: $1,852

Target: $490

Overdraft: $2,455

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

Car Loan: $14,523


DEBT TOTALS

Credit cards & Overdraft: $31,199
Student Loans: $3,442
401K Loans: $4,628 (Not updated since Dec. 2008)
Car Loan: $14,523


THE BIG DEBT TOTAL: $53,792

Total Savings: $666 ($501 awaiting medical bills to arrive, the rest is the newly reinstated Freedom Account)

Total Retirement: $43,554 (Not updated since Dec. 2008)

I'm Still Here Waiting for Things to Change

January 19th, 2009 at 04:04 pm

I am still alive, but I am still in debt and dealing with those "surprises" I told you about earlier. My husband is currently running an "errand" as I write this post. I am so over this! It is causing problems in our marriage and I am just sick and tired of trying to deal with it all. I got a check (YEAH!) from CafePress with some commissions and was excited that that was only $12 less than what I'd need to buy a new booster seat for my son (on sale this week, otherwise it'd be $15 more) and now I'm hesitant to do that. It's more of a want than a need so I guess that'll be put on the backburner. It's just all so frustrating! I cannot seem to get ahead and I feel like I have done everything I can. I know he's trying and it's not fair for me to get so upset when new things come up since it's all past borrowing that is now rearing it's ugly head, but I do. I just don't know how much more I can take.

I'm changing the 2008 goals in the sidebar to read 2009 since they are all the same and still apply. Any progress we made last year has been undone, other than having baby #2 and getting our life documents (will, advanced directive, etc.) in order. So, here we go, hoping for a new beginning again soon and trying to keep the faith. Oh, I'm also going to try my hand at using coupons while grocery shopping and see if we can't save some money that way to put towards debt.

I still draw strength from y'all even if I'm not actively posting. Thanks for everything!

It's been awhile, because things only got worse.

December 14th, 2008 at 09:26 pm

Well, it's been almost a full month since I last wrote, because things have just continued to go downhill. If you read my last post you know I felt like we were "on the brink of disaster" and now I feel like my toes are hanging over. We have had to take two cash advances in the last two payperiods to cover "surprises" and I just can't handle it anymore. I had a little breakdown tonight, this is just not how things are supposed to be!

It's crazy that I am in this situtation, because I have enjoyed reading personal finance books for about 7 years now and have been committed to being smart with my money. I know others in this community have probably wondered how we could have so many "surprises" and why I can't budget better, but without going into it too much, it's because my husband had borrowed money (a lot of money) that I didn't know about and we are now paying it back. Unfortunately, he didn't keep a record of this borrowing so we pay whenever he remembers a new debt. It's been hard, I want to pay it back, it's important to do that; it's just draining us - financially and emotionally. We've paid $1,000+ in personal debt per payperiod more than once. If it wasn't over a $1k, it was several hundred. This has been going on for months and I'm just beat.

I haven't said anything to any friends or family about this or about our debt in general. I haven't said anything here, because I don't want anyone (even y'all who I don't personally know) to think poorly of my husband. Much of this money that he borrowed was used to help out other people, ironically enough. I know it wasn't the most responsible thing for him to do and it's caused a lot of heartache (which he is well aware), but he does have a good heart. He hasn't borrowed anymore since June and has promised not to. I believe him, now it's just getting past all of these "surprises" and getting consistent with living a budget.

Anyway, it's a bit of a tangent, but wanted to explain, but try not to blame. I love my husband and just hope (and trust) that everything will work out for us sooner rather than later. *sigh* That's my prayer.

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


DEBT TOTALS

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


THE BIG DEBT TOTAL: $53,385

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.

What a relief (re: a medical bill)

October 30th, 2008 at 05:59 am

Well, I finally called on getting a payment plan for the $563.87 doctor's bill that I found out we couldn't cover and can honestly say it was a very pleasant experience. I was very upset to have to do a "budget plan" at all and worried about interest and everything, but it's 0% and they will never charge me to pay over the phone, even if I use a credit card. The woman I spoke with was more than helpful and very kind.

I have never had to do this before and was very surprised; is this a normal interaction for most people dealing with medical bills? I was very relieved once off the phone to have it done and on such a manageable schedule. I had planned to pay if off asap, but since it's 0% for the life of the plan, I may just take my time and put the extra money towards a CC that's charging interest instead of this. Who knew?

I Fell Off the Bandwagon

October 24th, 2008 at 03:17 pm

Well, I mentioned that last month was bad financially and this month is more of the same. I mentioned in a previous post about my husband's speeding ticket, just found out it'll be $297! That "nice" information comes just a few days after finding out that the $563 I thought I still had coming from the FSA has actually already been deposited into our account and spent; UGH! I had taken a little hiatus on watching our account like a hawk when the baby was born and we had family here; this is what happens. Yes, I cried. I then completely rebelled and went to buy new clothes. I have been wanting new jeans to actually fit my post pregnancy body, but have put it off since I know that I will continue to lose weight (it's only been about 2 months). I'm wearing the new jeans now though and I feel much better about myself so I guess that's a good thing. I got the jeans and some shirts at Kohl's, all were on sale (most 80-90% off with an additional 15% off the total), but we still didn't really have the money for them since we're so behind where we want to be. UGH. We haven't overdrafted, but our budget has been shot as has our projected date to get out of debt. Now we just need to stop, reassess, see where we are and create a new plan.

I like to try and include good/fun news whenever I have bad news; it helps me be optimistic. So, the fun news is that we just got word that we'll be going out of the country next year on vacation. (A gift from family.) We'll need to find a way to build passport fees (none of us have one yet) into our budget now, but we wanted to get that done anyway. That'll be exciting!

So...we just keep moving along...

Oh Happy Day & Frugal Magazine Gifts

October 19th, 2008 at 09:55 pm

I was just cleaning out my wallet and found a Visa gift card that I had forgotten I had. I thought there was still some money on it and I was right. I have $9.70 left, yeah! That'll cover two of the magazine subscriptions that I want to give as Christmas gifts. I'm going to order them now.

I like giving magazine subscriptions because they give all year. I am giving these friends the Family Fun Magazine so it's more like a gift for the family. It's a great magazine and very reasonable. I think it's usually about $5/year, but if you go to http://www.magazinepricesearch.com/index.html, you can get it for $3.55/year. They have great prices on other magazines too that change each day. I always check there first. Last year I gave all the nieces & nephews a children's magazine subscription; they all LOVED it (they got mail and they were about animals, Thomas the Train, etc.) and I didn't spend more than $12 or $13 each. I have also renewed my husband's ESPN subscription, which is the only magazine he asks for, for $4.94! ESPN was wanting $26 to renew. I just ordered Parents magazine for $5 about a month ago.

Just a heads up, if you want to do this for Christmas, now would be a good time to order since it usually takes 8-12 weeks for the subscription to start. It takes a little while because you'll be going through a third party. Also, keep your receipts! I have ordered about 7 or 8 subscriptions so far and had one that never came, not sure what happened there. Anyway, enjoy!

Freedom Account is Working

October 18th, 2008 at 04:16 pm

This past month has been awful for us financially and the rest of the year doesn't look that good because of it (will be playing catch up). Anyway, we had started auto deposits to our new Freedom Account on 9/15 and I can already tell that I'm going to LOVE it! I am initiating my first transfer from it back to my checking to cover a hospital bill, oil change, two small gifts and two shirts I bought (on clearance, of course). I can just tell that this really will bring peace of mind in at least some aspects of our financial life.

I did decide to use an ING savings account for our Freedom Account. I didn't want to see the balance information every time I checked our checking account. This was definitely the best decision for us. I think out of sight, out of mind is the best thing right now.

Anyway, we earned 7 cents in interest in September and that will be added to the $20 Challenge since we'll be adding all found money to that.

Y'all are inspiring and helping me make money!

October 13th, 2008 at 01:13 pm

First the good news: a few posts ago I asked what y'all were all selling on eBay as I'd seen several mention this. Most of the comments mentioned just selling things around the house. When we moved about a year ago we downsized and did a TON of purging so I hadn't been thinking we've have much left to sell. However, after deciding to stay in the apartment another 1-2 years, I decided to reevaluate everything in storage with that in mind and have listed several things on Craigslist. Well, I just got my first call (hopefully, the first of several) and on the biggest ticket item! We are set to meet tomorrow at lunch and I should get $50 (for a power washer). Keep your fingers crossed that it'll all work out!

The bad news: My husband got a speeding ticket the other day. We don't know the amount yet, but it really stinks, especially since he was set to have another ticket drop off his record in the next several months that would have reduced our car insurance even further. Aargh!

$680

October 11th, 2008 at 01:46 pm

Well, I haven't written in a few days because I have been avoiding thinking about money; we've been hemorraging money. We've had more "surprises" that I love so much (sarcastic) to the tune of about $680 and that's just this pay period!

Anyway, on the positive side, I returned some things to Target today and left without buying anything else. I was walking down the aisle considering a purchase and thought of y'all's blogs and how some of you have written about avoiding temptation and it gave me strength! Smile I didn't need anything, but I do need to use what money I do have wisely.

Have y'all seen the recent Dr. Phil and Oprah episodes on the current economic crisis and what it means to you? They both went through a list of things to do NOW and they both included getting out of credit card debt and living within your means. Those thoughts also ran through my head and helped give me strength. So, yeah, I exercised constraint and feel good about that.

Simple Pleasures

October 6th, 2008 at 09:58 am

We had gotten the Finding Nemo gummy treats for my toddler as a special treat (he's still adjusting to having a new sibling). I was getting ready to recycle the box when I had the idea to cut out the picture of Nemo to laminate and make into a figure for his felt board. Well, he saw the box on my desk (I had tried to hide it!) and started begging for "Meno!" I cut Nemo out of one side (I still have the other side for the felt board!) and my toddler ran away yelling, "Thank you Mom!"

Isn't it great to get such pleasure out of simple things?

Update to "I was way off" Post

October 1st, 2008 at 03:58 pm

Well, my husband brought home his paystub so I can now figure out why my estimate of what his new take home pay would be is so off (I am off by $200/paycheck!).

It looks like it's a combination of my error and his company's error, but mainly mine. I took federal tax withholding into account (we don't have state income tax), I even estimated high for that, but apparently forgot about social security and medicare, or somehow combined the three and really underestimated them. I'm not quite sure how it all happened, but that's that bulk of the mistake. His company also needs to pay us about $25 more per pay period for them to be paying him the new raise. I'm not sure why their accounting is off, but my husband will go and talk to HR tomorrow and find out what's going on. $25 may not sound like much, but with 24 pay periods a year that comes to almost $600 and I want that $600! Smile

So, it's back to the drawing board as to the budget. Well, not really, I really just have to change how much money will be going to debt repayment (that's about $400 LESS a month than expected) and readjust our estimated payoff date...bummer. That's really discouraging. I could stop the Freedom Account we just started in order to have more money per month to put towards debt, but in the end that defeats the purpose of doing any planning since those unexpected expenses would come out of the debt repayment money anyway. No, I'll keep the Freedom Account and at least we will then have more of an accurate payoff date.

So, anyway, that's the long and short of it. I messed up, but at least it's more money that we had coming in before this promotion! That's the bright side. I'll post the new budget and estimated payoff date soon.

Another CafePress Sale!

October 1st, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Yeah! I just made my third CafePress.com sale today. I make $2.00 commission on each item sold so that's $6.00 this week. That pretty much covers my monthly hosting with them so any other sales this month will be profit. I love it!

UPDATE: It's been 3 hours since I first posted this and I just got another email alert that I made another sale! It's a $4.00 commission this time; yeah!

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!


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