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Archive for March, 2006

Money back IN

March 29th, 2006 at 01:52 am

Wow, for once I finally feel like money went the other way! We returned several items to stores tonight, and got our money back. I had spent $26 on a suit I decided not to wear. It was a great deal, but just did not look right on me. Back it went! DH spent $30 on Madden 2006, but hadn't had time to open it yet. Good thing since I found out today a friend's son was looking to sell his. Worked out a deal where DH trades a $15 itunes card (he got for free) for the game! The itunes card will mean more to the kid than the game did. Back went the game! We also returned some other unused items for a total of $11. Walked out of the store after spending just $10. I got some body wash and DH got some shoe inserts - both on clearance. Got a couple other things as well. Only $1 was spent on a "want".

I've noticed we're watching more lately on what are wants and what are needs. DH did have something on ebay that he "had to have". The total came to $8.49, but I found a paypal coupon online that brought it down to $5.04. Not bad!! We do need to work quite a bit harder on controlling the spending around here. DH is just barely showing just a little interest in where the money goes. If I mention money, he instantly goes deaf. I can't force him to get interested, but it seems he might be coming around on his own.

Mom's budget

March 26th, 2006 at 03:23 pm

Ok, I'm finally going to step in and put my mother on a budget - and teach her to use it too! She's been trying on her own, but she's not looking at things right and it's not working for her. I went to visit her last weekend and started asking her all sorts of financial questions. I was HORRIFIED to find that 1) she is paying 20% interest on her car loan for the next 15 months and 2) she hasn't paid her property taxes since 2001 ! As of her February statement, she had a balance of $548.00 @ 12% and $1561.16 @ 18%. *SIGH* I had no idea this was going on and I know my brother must not have known about it either. Before he left home, he was making decent money and could have paid this off. My mother's way of thinking about bills is: if you ignore it, it will go away, right?

Well I'm still working on some numbers. I know what her definite bills are each month: rent, car insurance, electric, phone/internet, prescriptions, bank overdraft payments (balance of $387.00). Other household expenses include groceries, gas, church donations. I left out the car and property taxes because I'm working on a plan for a low interest rate to get these paid off. Ideally, I'd like to see this paid off in 2 years. Once I have a clearer picture of what's going on, that may have to stretch out to 2 1/2 years - at the most! I'm very happy about this plan, and I think she will be too.

She seems to be on board with this plan. Everything I have asked her to do so far she has done. She decided that she didn't need to make automatic payroll deductions for savings bonds. I showed her the cost comparison with her prescriptions - she can save just under 1/3 per month if she does the mail order pharmacy. I had her call Verizon and switch from the 29.95 to the 14.95 per month dsl plan. If my suspicions are correct, she wont even notice a speed difference.

Making progress!!

Student loan - good news!

March 17th, 2006 at 11:36 am

I got a letter in the mail the other day from Citibank saying my loan will be tranferred to them from CFS/Suntech. I am thrilled!!! You have no idea what a headache CFS/Suntech has been to work with. This is my very large student loan consolidation - approximately $30000.

Well I got an email this morning from Citibank saying my statement was ready. My payment and interest rate are now LOWER! I orginally had an 8.25% rate that dropped at some point to 7.25% for on time payments. With Citibank, I will get an extra .25% deduction for having the payments debited from my checking account. This is how I already was set up to begin with. My payments will be $22 lower each month. Now I just need to make arrangements to put that difference back on the loan - and pay it off sooner! Smile

Down on luck

March 12th, 2006 at 06:10 pm

One of the things that depresses me the most is when people around me are so down on their luck. I am lucky that I have everything I NEED, quite a few WANTS, and a little extra to work on the debt I have. My mother called me friday to tell me she had a migraine. She got paid (every two weeks), paid the rent and electric, and had nothing left to live on for the next two weeks. She needs food! I HATE THAT! She works so hard and just does NOT have enough to get by with. She has rent, car payment, utilities, medication. She doesn't even make enough to cover these expenses. She is in the process of applying for prescription coverage assitance with the various pharmaceutical companies. That will help. Eventually my brother will be able to send her more money. He sent her $600 a couple months ago. That brought her current and got a little extra with the gas company. My brother just deployed to Afghanistan less than a week ago. Once money starts to build up in his bank accounts, he wont have any expenses and can send her money. I did immediately put a check in the mail Friday. I guess she didn't get it yet since she didn't say anything about it. It will probably arrive tomorrow. I didn't tell her it was on the way.

Then last night on the way to the grocery store, DH tells me how a neighbor asked him if we had any spare canned cat food or tuna. She needed food for her cat and couldn't afford to buy any. She's a single mom laid off from her job just this week. She also just found out she needs the brakes replaced on her car - rotors are shot. My spoiled brat doesn't eat canned food, but DH told her to go knock and see if I had some tuna. He doesn't know if she knocked or not, I was upstairs and couldn't hear the door. He didn't put two and two together and realize we were AT the store! I bought 12 cans of food for $3 and he put it on her front step. It's not there this morning, so I hope she found it.

This is just how I was raised - to help others when they need it. I certainly can't sit in my warm home, watching tv, browsing the internet, eating my food - when my mother can't afford food and a friend has hit hard times.

VOIP

March 12th, 2006 at 05:53 pm

Well, I think we're finally going to jump on the VOIP bandwagon! I like what SunRocket has to offer. $199 for the full year, unlimted calling, plus many more features that I don't currently have. My biggest concern is that I am not sure if they can port my current number over. Verizon allows you to port a number that's on a dsl line, but SunRocket implies on their website that they can't do this. I did send them an email to ask for clarification, so we'll see what they say. DH and I talked about this and decided that keeping the number will NOT hold us back from making the switch. We will just have to let go and move on. It's only a number. This switch would save us over $20 a month on phone costs. Combine that with the $10 a month I can save by combining our cell plans into a family plan (same number of minutes, less money). That's great!!

I just wish VOIP was available at my mother's house. I put myself on the availablity list to get notified if service arrives there.

My brother's taxes

March 4th, 2006 at 07:23 pm

Thank goodness my brother had the common sense to save his final pay stub! He ships off to Afghanistan tomorrow and I've been bugging him for his final W2 I'm missing. He called them and they did have my address on file, but for some reason decided to send it to his old address in AZ. He called there - not there. I have all of his stuff here so I went through it. There was only one pay stub in his suitcase - the one that matters.

This should be a challenge. He worked for one month in NH. He worked a couple months in AZ. Then he joined the army, but he put down my address (in MA) as his address. The army took out MA state taxes, but he has never lived or worked in this state. I'm not sure how he should file. At least now I have all the info to get started. I'll work out the details later.

His address has since been changed to mom's house in NH. No state taxes there.