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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!

$50.36 Found! + $120 more

September 16th, 2012 at 06:04 pm

I just cleaned out my purse and had no idea I had so much money hiding in there! I had three gift cards I had forgotten about, one I was just given and tons of change. I can't believe I had forgotten about that Gap gift card!

Target gift card - $10
Gap gift card - $25
Joann's Fabric gift card - 51 cents
Starbucks gift card - $5
loose change - $9.85

I added the loose change to a glass jar we started to save money for finishing our basement. The rest will probably be saved to offset Christmas shopping.

I decided to check the few other gift cards I knew I still had and found...

Toys R Us - $10
Office Max - $10
Ruth's Chris Steakhouse - $100

I kind of hoard gift cards until they can be used when I'll really appreciate it instead of just speading it willy-nilly. Yeah! I love finding money. Smile

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.

Finally a Real Emergency Fund!

April 6th, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Well, we have not hit our $1,000 goal yet, but we are at just over $700, which feels really good. I cannot tell you the last time we have had this much money without it being earmarked for anything, but peace of mind. I love it! I will be working for the census by the end of the month, so I hope that we will by celebrating our first financial goal by the beginning of May (or whenever that first paycheck comes). It's a start.

We are doing a LITTLE better with sticking to our budget. I have gone to dealing with all cash and that really does make a difference. I have all of our cash in various envelopes for our Freedom Account as well. It's all contained in one three-ring binder and I love how organized it is. It helps me to physically separate all of the cash, instead of just on paper. It's helped opened my husband's eyes even more too, when he goes over budget and has to pull money out (and sign it out on the balance sheet) of our date night fund or clothing fund, etc. Things are slowing down in that department too, so I am feeling hopeful.

I just realized that the first quarter of the year is over; it went so fast! So, I will just rename all of the same goals as our second quarter goals and I fully expect to reach them. Yeah!

Spring is here, a time of renewal and new beginnings...boy am I ready for one.

Update & Census Test

February 27th, 2010 at 11:01 am

I am feeling optimistic today. We are at the start of a payperiod and we have everything set out to be taken car of. My husband's boss finally got all the information together to turn into HR to show that we need to be paid backpay (about $900) and be brought to our correct salary. We plan on using this money to fund the $1k emergency fund. I don't even have to remind my husband of this, he's completely on board. Yeah!

Also, I took the test today to be a census worker and scored 28/28. Yeah! I was told that if there is work in my area, there is a good chance I'll be called with that score. This seems like the perfect set up for a stay-at-home mom with young kids - temporary part time and flexible schedule with good pay. $17.50 an hour! It could be any range of work offered (depending on demand), up to 10 weeks of 20-40 hours, which adds up. At the minimum, if offered a job, I would go to about 40 hours of paid training ($700) and then not get much actual work. Also, if I don't like it or it isn't working as I'd like, I can quit at any time. Fingers crossed that this works out! One of their fliers mention making $3500 in 10 weeks; if that were to work out, that's almost 10% of what we owe on credit cards/overdraft! How awesome that would be! So, yeah, I'm feeling optimistic.

Lastly, I am trying out the once-a-month freezer cooking and will evaluate for myself how that affects my food budget and stress each night at home. So far, with sales and couponing, I don't think I'll spend much more than my budget for the payperiod to hopefully have quite a few meals for the month. I think I'll probably end up ahead. We'll see.

Taxes Almost Done - We Owe $7 (and Husband's Company Owes Us $775!)

February 1st, 2010 at 11:01 am

Yeah! My simple calculations using the IRS withholding calculator last October, it was estimated that we should get a $173 refund. I'm not sure what I put in wrong, but I'm ok if we only owe $7. It's not completely done and filed yet, because I have estimated my student loan interest paid on one of my loans. I have not been able to access the 1098-E for it yet. This is such a relief; much better than last year! I think I may still look over the discrepancy and see if I can see why it was so off.

Also, while doing the taxes I noticed a discrepancy between my husband's salary and his paycheck (gross pay). It's funny, because it's the same issue we had right after his pay raise! In October 2008, my husband got a raise, but his check was about $28 less than we should have been getting per paycheck. We finally got a check in December for backpay of $89 and a promise to get it fixed. Well, with the new year(2009), I think I adjusted our tax withholdings or messed with our 401k or something that I never noticed that they never did fix that payroll problem! SO, my husband is going to talk to HR tomorrow about it. (He forgot the paystubs today.) Anyway, I figure they owe us about $775 in back pay! Yeah! That'll go a long way in funding our $1,000 starter EF fund!

Reducing More fo the Budget Part 3 - Gym and Car Insurance

September 15th, 2009 at 09:15 am

I have really enjoyed going to the gym, but since going down to one car and our finances being in the hole. I am quitting the gym. It's sad for me, but I know it's the best choice. It'll save us $32/month and I can figure out how to do things at home. At least I have gotten back to my pre-baby weight which I'm comfortable with. I was holding on to too many pounds after the baby, but the gym helped that. Smile

I have upped our car insurance deductible, which will save us about $17/month.

In total, I have shaved $113 off of our monthly budget. Yeah!

I am going to work on monthly totals and post them in the sidebar. It'll be rather grim, but I will be optimistic. As I said in my last post, some of the surprises are slowing down. Fingers crossed it'll keep going that way!

Our Health Insurance gave us $150 for Amazon.com

September 10th, 2009 at 09:27 am

My husband's coworker just told us the other day that if we logged in to our online health insurance account (which is how we manage our account anyway), there is a tab for "Health and Wellness". There are ways for us to earn "Health Dollars" by doing things like filling our a health assessment, online coaching and wellness coaching. We each did a health assessment that took about 10 minutes each and were awarded 75 health dollars each. We then exchanged that for two $75 gift cards to Amazon.com. We chose from a list of hundreds of merchants including Kohl's, Babies R Us, Target and others.

We had no idea that this incentive program was offered! It says we can do another health assessment in six months. I don't know if we'll earn more health dollars, but I think it'll be worth checking.

We are using our $150 towards a food processor I have been wanting for months. I am so excited because it will be FREE after I use this $150 and other Amazon gift cards I have earned through Swagbucks.

After I get my food processor, I will be selling my breadmaker and probably blender. This cash will be used to buy my son's booster seat. Yeah!

We have already started the online health coaching which is worth $25 each. I need to figure out how to start the online wellness coaching worth another $75 each. Anything else we "earn" will be used for Christmas for our kids and we'll probably get cards for Target which will help with household expenses.

I am so excited! Yeah!

Reducing More of the Budget - Cell Phones

August 26th, 2009 at 02:25 pm

Since we don't have a home phone, cell phones are not an option. We had a 1400 nationwide family plan for my husband and myself through Verizon. All of our family is long distance and about 1/2 are also on Verizon. We do fairly well on our minutes, but occasionally go over and have to pay a good chunk for each minute we go over. I'm so excited that I have finally finished setting up our 10 numbers! If you don't know about it, it's 10 numbers (any network or even landlines) that you can add to your account that you can call with unlimited minutes, anytime. It's awesome. You can change the numbers anytime you want. I looked at the numbers we called the most, weeded out the Verizon wireless numbers (already get unlimited to those numbers) and added the top ten. I'm very excited, because this should prevent any more overages.

Also, while there I found out that we were eligible to save money on our monthly plan because of my husband's employer! Awesome! All I had to do was take in my husband's employee badge and now we'll be saving 19% each month! That's so awesome!

So, I am saving almost $30/month without anything changing with our service! I'm so excited. I just wish I knew about it sooner. Instead of wallowing in that though, I'll just be glad I know about it now. Yeah! That's $60 (if you count the cable changes from my last post) shaved off our budget without too much sacrifice.

$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...

$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!

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!

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.

$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!

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!

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.

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!

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!

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!

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!

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.

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".

Just upped our 401k contribution

August 21st, 2008 at 07:24 am

I just changed our 401k contribution to 6% of my husband's salary (that's the max. his company will match) so that it will go into effect on this next paycheck. We expect this paycheck to be the first to show his raise and want this to already be in place, that way we'll still see an increase in our take home, but we won't see it all, which is probably good.

I just got my CafePress.com check in the mail, $40.15. That will be deposited tomorrow and will help cover the things I have gotten for my toddler son. I just visited the back-to-school sales last night to get crayons, shapes/colors bingo, alphabet bingo, markers, paint, etc. The rest will add a little more cushion to this pay period.

August 2008 Financial Overview

August 19th, 2008 at 12:08 pm

Here's our current status for August; not the best. We had a few unexpected expenses that threw off our budget and left us with about $1500 more debt. Luckily yesterday we got our homeowner's insurance refund check in the mail and I have sent a third payment to Target this month ($165) and an extra $100 payment to overdraft.

I'm also bummed to see that my husband's 401k lost approximately $257 this month. I know this is one area that I need to learn more about; I sure don't like to see it going down!

Current Debt: August 2008

Student Loan #1
% V, Outstanding: $2,435

Student Loan #2
4.3% V, Outstanding: $1,575

Bank of America
10.24% V, Outstanding: $10,390

Bank of America
9.90% V, Outstanding: $10,211

Bank of America
0% to 03/2009, Outstanding: $4,635

15.43% V, Outstanding: $261

10.99%, Outstanding: $10

0% to 07/2009, Outstanding: $2,060

22%, Outstanding: $445

18.00% V, Outstanding: $1,365

Loan 1, Outstanding: $937 (Pay off 07/31/2009)
Loan 2, Outstanding: $4,233 (Pay off 07/16/2011)

Car Loan
9.90%, Outstanding: $15,944

Credit cards & Overdraft: $29,377
Student Loans: $4,010
401K Loans: $5,170
Car Loan: $15,944


Total Savings: $0
Total Retirement: $46,750

Raise! New Budget!

August 18th, 2008 at 04:38 pm

Well, we finally got word of the raise and it'll add a good $10k to my husband's salary. This is going to make a BIG difference in our debt repayment plan. I'm so excited! We talked today about funding his 401k up to the match (6%), putting $100/month in savings and then putting the rest of the raise completely to debt. We also talked about not changing our lifestyle expectations with the raise so we're on the same page. This is so exciting and such a relief. They'll officially announce his promotion to the department on Wednesday. His yearly bonus is due to come on Sept. 15th and we find out tomorrow if it'll be based on his old or new salary. (Keeping our fingers crossed that it'll be based on the new salary!)

So...here's a breakdown of the new anticipated budget. I expect to see $2550 each pay period (bi-monthly) after taxes and other deductions. I think it'll start on August 31st.


$5100 take home

$850 rent
$40 water
$80 charitable offering
$300 food
$334 car payment
$300 gas
$100 fun money (the money we don't have to be held accountable for, $50 each)
$40 haircuts (we'll rotate in getting this, I need to learn to cut my husband's hair and save a bundle!)
$150 car insurance
$70 student loan #1 payment
$54 student loan #2 payment
$55 cable/internet
$120 cell phones (no home phone)
$200 electric
$515 tithing (charitable offering)
$100 cushion/misc.
$100 savings
$1692 DEBT REPAYMENT ($538 in minimums)

I don't have any special accounts or withholdings to pay for special things when they come up (such as car registration, etc.) but expect to use the cushion or take it from the extra debt money when they come due.

Debt Yo-Yo

August 14th, 2008 at 03:21 pm

It feels like whenever we get ahead a little bit on our debtload, we accumulate more. Thankfully, it is not usually quite as much as what was paid off, but it's still so frustrating! We have my husband's bonus coming up in September and I had hoped to have no overdraft or any new debts that would claim the bonus so it could all go to credit cards, but in August alone we have accumulated about $1500 in new debt. Although we expect the bonus to be quite a bit more than this, it's still incredibly frustrating.

Looking at what we owed in Dec. 2007 (in terms of credit cards only) we were at $33,472. In May 2008, we were at $28,757. Now in August we are at about $29,622! It just seems we always take two steps forward and one step back; I just wish we could keep going forward.

I guess I have to look at the bright side and see that we DO owe less than we did in December and just not think of all the money that we've paid, but has been canceled out due to new debt.

On a good note, we have had some good news on unexpected money coming our way. My husband has done some freelance work and has a check in the mail (not sure how much). I have a check coming from CafePress (about $40) AND we have a homeowner's insurance policy refund check ($492) coming in the mail. Here's to hoping no more debt will creep in so we can put all of this and the bonus to our current load. Oh, best news of all is my husband is getting a promotion...they will probably be negotiating the new salary tomorrow, wish us luck!