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Over $100 in undexpected expenses & MyPoints Gift Cards Redeemed

October 3rd, 2012 at 07:00 am

Just thought I'd check in. We have had quite a few unexpected expenses which I am not happy about. 2 $40 speeding tickets from the cameras on the side of the road. (I told hubby to slow down.) $30 extra on the cell bill due to texting, ugh. We need to figure out the free apps for texting. I am sure one will work on my husband's phone. I hate that we have to pay for texting. We already pay $10 for him to have 500 texts. The other expenses are just the last of the moving expenses showing up, like a $20 utility transfer bill, etc. I don't think they should charge me for that, but whatever.

On a happier note, I always redeem my MyPoints for gift cards at this time of year to use for Christmas. I haven't really been using MyPoints as much, so most of these points were leftover from last year I think. I was able to get $20 to Chili's for my brother's Christmas gift and $25 to Olive Garden for my mother-in-law. I currently have $5 in Amazon credit and am only about 50 Swagbucks away from another $5. I expect to get about $10 more in Amazon credit before Christmas which will help.

Oh and we received our full security deposit back + $47 in interest from renting our condo. Yeah! My husband and I each got a little spending money, then the rest went to tithing, fixing the car and to bulk up our emergency fund a bit.

Add another $50.71 found! (But about $100 over on the utilities budget.)

September 19th, 2012 at 09:36 am

I just posted about finding some gift cards that had been forgotten, well, I forgot that my son just got a $25 gift card for his birthday for The Children's Place. Nice!

I also received a check from CafePress yesterday, which added another $25.71 to the total of found money! I average one check a year of about $30 from Cafepress for products I made eight years ago. I keep saying I should do more on them since they are making some money and I do absolutely nothing with them, but I just haven't found the time. It's pretty cool that it makes enough to pay for it's monthly store fee and pay out something to me each year. I can definitely see the perks to having a passive income, maybe someday...

So, lots of fun "found" money recently, but I also just got an email notice that my utility bill is coming and it's BIG. I don't think they have credited my last month's payment, so that will bring it down some, but it'll still be bigger than normal. We moved during this last cycle, so we have two weeks that we are responsible for the utilities are our new place as well as at our rental. I think once everything is hashed out, it will be about $100 more than normal; I will be glad when all of these moving expenses are behind us!

First Post in a Year - Update

April 27th, 2011 at 11:59 am

Wow, so much has changed and happened in the last year. I have completely neglected this blog, but, happily, things are settling down now and we're in a better place. It's funny to read my last post and see how things have changed.

I did start the Census job and on my first day of work (after the initial training), my husband was laid off. This was a complete surprise and I am so grateful that the Lord had blessed us with the Census job! My husband received a severance which when combined with my Census pay, saw us through three months of unemployment and a cross-country move so my husband could begin a new job. In those three months, our family really grew a lot. I learned that my husband was struggling with a drug addiction and he participated in an intensive out-patient rehab program. This was such a blessing and he's still doing great!

The new job was a huge cut in pay, about 40%, but once you took in the fact that we moved from a state that did not have income tax to a state that collects state and local income tax, we saw a reduction of about 60% in our take home pay! We also had moved to a higher cost of living area. We had to rely on overtime (UGH) and I started watching a baby during the week since I'm home with my children anyway. The babysitting provides an extra $800/month.

Last month my husband found a new job, just down the street from his old employment (no need for us to move!) and has been there just over a week now. He loves it and it pays a much better salary. It will still be tight, but if we stay on point with our budget, we should be just fine. What a relief!! We are both so happy.

Overall, things are going better for us financially too. We are still having to talk through things, but we are on the same page so much more and there are NO SURPRISES anymore, which is just so huge. Smile

We talked to a credit counseling agency after we were laid off and started that in the summer of 2010. We were set up on a 5 year plan, but we are about 3 months ahead of schedule right now (if I am calculating correctly), so I think we will actually finish in 4 years. Yeah! We are paying $724 a month, so this will be HUGE once we are done.

I will have to post a financial update later with real numbers, but have thought of this blog and community several times over the past year, thinking I should update it. I have always received such good support here.

I am happy to report that things seem to be on the up and up and we have finally started to slowly edge our way up and out of this hole. I started a savings account this past summer that is connected to my checking account. Every time I use debit or pay a bill online (I never carry cash, so I do use debit a lot), it transfers $1.00 into the account. We have over $500 in that account and although it's the first line of defense as an overdraft for the checking account, we have only had to use it once (a mistake on my part, not because we were out of money!)! This is so exciting to me to have an actual EF. My husband didn't realize I had set it up for the first 6 months or so, but was very happy when I told him about it and he regards it as a fund we will NOT touch unless it's a true emergency.

Anyway, now that we have changed jobs, we are having to deal with figuring out the new insurances, COBRA in the meantime, rolling retirement funds, etc.

Other planning ahead includes a new car (one is about to die!) and we are having a new baby (also a surprise, but a pleasant one!) in August. Quite the update, but a good one for a change...so happy! I look forward to "catching up" with all of your blogs too.

I have a problem with this... (vent)

January 25th, 2010 at 01:06 pm

Here are our debt totals from July 2008, when I started the blog...

Credit cards: $27,583
Student Loans: $4,190
401K Loans: $5,348
Car Loan: $15,944

TOTAL DEBT: $53,065

Here are our debt totals from December 2009...

Credit cards & Overdraft: $35,635
Student Loans: $2,572
401K Loans: $2,363
Car Loan: $11,883

TOTAL DEBT: $52,453

See our credit card totals? Yeah, I have a BIG problem with that. I swear the little $20 here, $40 personal debt payments there have really added up and I am really getting tired of it. I just want to scream when I see that we are over $8k MORE in debt to credit cards/overdraft than we were when I started this blog! I am just so sick of living paycheck to paycheck, on the edge of financial disaster. Disclaimer: I know my husband is sick of all of it too and the stress of the situation (and his guilt) is making him physically sick, so it's hard for me to vent out loud.

Ok, I am going to calm down and try to see the "bright" side. I have started to make a very rough estimate of how much we have paid in his personal debts and we have paid at least $22,685 since May 2008. I guess, no, I KNOW that that's an accomplishment. If we can give the same gusto to our credit card debt, it could be gone in 2 1/2 years. Maybe I'll put our personal debt paid off in the sidebar, so I can see that we have paid off personal debt, even if it is at a disadvantage to our credit card balances. I cannot wait for the day that we see all the monthly balances going down. I really cannot wait. Sorry for the rant and negativity.

Last Chance

November 19th, 2009 at 07:26 am

I told my husband that I am finally ready to go to one of those non-profit credit counseling places. I have had it with trying to do this on our own and getting nowhere. I like to do things by myself, so it's been hard considering this option. I know we have the money to do it, it's just these stupid unexpected debts that keep coming up. I hate them I tell you!

Anyway, I have been battling similar situations for our almost 6 year marriage and I am finally to the point where I don't care if we get out of debt on our own or with the help of a counseling agency, I just want to see progress! I'm hoping that perhaps having a third party involved would help him be more committed and somehow these personal debts will end.

He asked for one more chance to try and do it on our own. I asked how long he'd need for that "one more chance" before we reconsidered this option and he said that it was up to me. So, he has one more chance. I really would like to do it on our own and I do think that the changes coming in February will help us in our goals, but if the counseling could help bring more stability and the peace of mind I'm craving, I'm interested.

Have any of y'all used these services? Do they set it up that you can still tithe (as we do and will not stop) as well as have some money for a cushion? Basically, we pay about $750 a month in minimums right now, but if we kept to our budget we should be able to send $1200 (my goal) a month even after tithing and setting money aside in a Freedom Account.

I'd like to hear your thoughts and personal experiences of how they work out your budget with you. Also, most of our credit cards are at 9-13%, not 20 and 30%, will they still be able to help us in getting those rates down?

Thank you in advance!

$19,430 Vent

September 26th, 2009 at 11:40 am

Yup, my husband is still paying back his debt. He's paid about $350 just this pay period. I just did a rough total and it's at about $19,430 that we have paid back since May 2008. I did not add up what we paid before May '08. This does not count the ATM fees that we acquired (which totaled about $200 in just two months last summer; he's since gotten better at that). This does not count overdraft fees that we have acquired due to him taking money out of the ATM that we did not have (also totaled about $200 during those same two months in the summer of '08). He is gradually getting better at this. This does not count all the "cash back" we have gotten while doing a transaction at a store in order to save a trip to the ATM so he could pay debt back. There was a period he did this instead of going to the ATM in order to save on fees. I'd rather him get a .50 pack of gum and get cash back than pay $3-4 in ATM fees. Yes, that's what was happening! The $19,430 total also does not include cash advances that he has taken to pay his debt, nor does it include the resulting fees and interest we are paying to pay those cash advances back. Again, he's getting better at this as well.

I am just to my limit. I am trying so hard to be understanding and kind. I don't want to make the panic attacks worse and I know he feels bad. However, I am getting really sick and tired of him not following how much money we have in the account, not talking to me about paying something before he pays it (admittedly, he's getting better, but he should talk to me EVERY time, as we have agreed in the past), try to put things off to the next pay period more often, etc.

My name is the only name on the account and I cannot seem to find the backbone to just put my foot down and say "no" if there is any way at all to pay it. I don't want to deal with the panic attacks and arguments that will result from not paying it. Of course, even when he does pay it, he feels so guilty that the rest of the night is usually riddled with panic attacks as well. There is no way to win.

If you couldn't tell, he's off paying a $20 debt now and I am venting. Thank you for letting me vent. I will be back to being optimistic about it all in a few hours. Smile

September 2009 Overview

September 15th, 2009 at 11:40 am

Here are the September 2009 totals.

September 2009

Student Loan 1: $1,658

Student Loan 2: $914

Bank of America 1: $7,862

Bank of America 2: $7,039

Bank of America 3: $4,985

Chase 1: $4,313

Chase 2: $2,695

Citi: $2,236

Target: $2,441

Overdraft: $2,999

401K Loan 1: $2,822.94 (Pay off 07/16/2011)

Car Loan: $12,747


Credit cards & Overdraft: $34,570
Student Loans: $2,572
401K Loans: $2,823
Car Loan: $12,747


Total Freedom Account: $74
Total Emergency Fund: $0
Total Retirement: $55,453

All in all, it's about $200 more debt than in April, but looking closely, our credit card/overdraft debt went up to the tune of about $2700! UGH! I hate thinking about that.

Our retirement has gone up about $5k since April. That's always nice to see.

Also, I blogged earlier about getting $150 for Amazon.com from our insurance and that I was going to use that for a food processor. That's not the case anymore. That's too much of a luxury right now. Instead, we'll use the money to get a new radio for our car as well as a few other things we need. I know I'll feel better in the end. Perhaps once we're out of debt, I can reward myself with the food processor. We'll see. Smile

So, the goals for the fourth quarter of 2009 as the same as all of 2009, but I have lowered my expectations as some of them would not be possible with all the things that have come up (debt, furlough, etc.).

2009 Quarter 4 Goals

1. Get our CC/overdraft debt to under $33K.
2. Start an emergency fund.
3. Be consistent in living our budget - no more overdraft!

$42.44 in Rebates and Mandatory Unpaid Furlough

August 7th, 2009 at 09:49 am

Well, I just got two rebate checks totaling $42.44 in the mail, which should hopefully help see us through this pay period (one more week) without overdrafting. Fingers crossed.

Also, my husband's company just announced a mandatory one week furlough. We get to choose when between Sept-Dec. I'm looking at it as a positive, a challenge. If we can actually stick to our budget, we'll be fine. Also, I know that others are in a much more serious situation, we're blessed to have a job, even if it is requiring a furlough.

Anyway, that's the update for now...

No Raise or Bonus This Year

August 3rd, 2009 at 07:32 am

I just found out that my husband's company will not be giving any raises or bonuses this year. We were wondering if we'd get a bonus. We definitely didn't expect to get the $5k that we've gotten in the past, but had hoped for a little something. We certainly didn't expect to hear that no one will get a raise. Oh well. I guess that just means we need to create our own raise by refiguring our budget.

I know that the last posts I have put up are all rather depressing, but I'm feeling optimistic again with the changes that are starting to take place...namely removing my husband from the checking account and feeling like this might actually work. Perhaps we are actually at the end of all the surprises, just in time for our one year financial anniversary (August 8th). I'll keep y'all updated on the new budget!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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...

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!


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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

A Little Disappointed & Money to CCs

August 29th, 2008 at 07:05 am

Well, my husband's paycheck was direct deposited into our bank account today and it didn't contain his new raise. I'm disappointed; we thought it would start this pay period, but I guess we'll have to wait two more weeks. It would have been nice to have it start today since my mom is coming to visit tomorrow and I'm having baby #2 next week. Actually, perhaps those things will help us save a little bit of money since we won't be going out too much once the baby comes. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

I know I can't really complain, a raise is a raise and I'm grateful. I'm just excited to send more money to pay down our debt. As it is the following is set to go out on the 2nd of Sept.:

Bank of America: $200 (min. $184)
Bank of America: $200 (min. $183, this will get it below $10k balance!)
Chase: $12 (this will pay it off)
Car Payment: $334 (min. only)

Freelance Check Came

August 26th, 2008 at 05:17 pm

We just got an extra $150 check in the mail (from my husband's freelance work). I just deposited it today to cushion our account more this pay period since we've have more surprises this pay period. I hate "surprises".

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