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Shopping this weekend

September 27th, 2009 at 12:01 pm

*Nascar side note* DH just dragged me upstairs because for some reason I needed to see Logano's wreck NOW. With the amount of yelling he was doing - I thought for sure someone was dead. The kid is fine, but how am I supposed to want my own husband to be a race car driver? That car flipped quite a few times. They're quite "safe", but still...

We did a little bit of shopping this weekend and they were successful trips.

DH found 2 pairs of shorts: 3.24 and 4.24 - good for working at the shop.
We bought 2 bags of Purina One Sensitive for 0.49 each. Stacked 3.50 give-a-bowl coupons with 2.00 Target coupons. I have two more sets of coupons for 0.49 bags and one set to get a 0.99 bag. These are for an elderly friend of ours whose cat only eats this food.

I was afraid of running out of soap - the one in the dish was the last one! I prefer Irish Spring and RiteAid had 3-packs for 1.49 through yesterday. I picked up two along with a 4 oz box of Wheat Thins and a Clean & Clear face wash. The Wheat Thins were free and the face wash was a money maker with coupons. I only spent 2.63. Smile

1 Fusion razor: 8.99 - 4.00 q
1 Herbal Essence shampoo: 2.99 - 1.00 q
1 Herbal Essence conditioner: 2.99 - 1.00 q
4 Dentek dental floss: 2.00 each = 8.00
3 Halls Refresh: 1.00 each = 3.00 - 1.00 q
2 Vaseline lotion: 6.99 each = 13.98 - 3.00 q
Total spent: 29.95 + 1.87 tax = 31.82 OOP
I got back 35.00 in register rewards.

I have a few things I'll need to buy in the next couple of weeks, boring personal care items that aren't normally free. Might as well get something for them. I already did a preliminary mapping of the sales and see some things I could use.

I talked with DH a little bit last night about ADHD. Boy, it's great that he seems so willing to openly discuss these things!! I'll take what I can get. I mentioned that I KNOW I'm lucky in some respects - he doesn't toss money around like a lot of folks with ADHD can be prone to doing. He admitted that he does have the temptation sometimes to say "Screw it, I'm buying myself something big". He also admitted to being able to see the "big picture". He wants to move to Indiana and he wants a race car. He really does understand that a big screen tv would slow this down. He said not spending/frugal spending is so ingrained in him now that he doesn't think he could ever go back. YAY!!!!! While he's not thrilled he doesn't have everything he wants - he still appreciates the way things are most of the time. We inadvertently made some right decisions along the way. Not sure how that happened!

Hey, I can't complain: he happily comes along on my coupon trips! He usually wanders aimlessly around the store while I hunt for the items. Then I go find him, hand him what he'll be buying along with the coupons, and off we go. He's not hard to find - he's the one happily singing along to whatever is playing on the music system. Big Grin

Updated finances

September 26th, 2009 at 10:45 am

Er... tried to? The mutt was in a MOOD this morning. We had a lengthy discussion over other available sun spots in the house before I finally dragged her upstairs - to the full sun third floor.

When I finally got my desk back, I got caught up on the financials for the week. I have things running so smoothly that I can just do a quick update when I don't have a lot of time. That was last week when my inlaws were in town. This week I wanted to dive into things a little deeper now that DH's car is paid off.

Next up? Student Loan 1 and Citi BT!! Six months?? We'll see. I paid off DH's car in six months, but this is a little bit more to pay off. Well, I updated my sidebar and then scheduled another $125 to Student Loan 1. I still need to take a look at my other bank account and see how much "extra" is there. Smile

There is a down side to having DH's car paid off: he now thinks he can move on to his dream of driving a race car. *SIGH* Is it just me, or is it really more complicated than "buying a race car"? He KNOWS this too!! He volunteers on a pit crew for a Super Late Model car at a local track! To make matters worse: his parents will happily hand over $1000 for him to do this if we'll move back to Indiana. C'mon - who wants to scream with me?!?

Here's a little background: an untreated ADHD mind can destroy your life financially if you're not careful. He's diagnosed, textbook, and currently untreated. His mind isn't currently capable of seeing the impact his decisions can have in the long run. He wants a race car and he wants it NOW. I'm still trying to figure out how to get us working on the same page. He just sadly says our priorities are different.

Here are MY priorities, not quite finalized:
1. Pay off Student Loan 1
2. Pay off Citi BT
3. Build emergency fund - dollar amount TBD
4. Build "baby" fund

Then, I'm really not sure. You can absolutely count on #4 disappearing if we can't work out our differences on the race car issue. No way will I ever be able to explain the costs associated with medical bills, nevermind anything else.

Don't get me wrong: I WANT him to be able to race cars. I just don't see HOW we'll ever be able to afford it.

Well, those are the demons I'm battling today. And here I thought my biggest problem after the car payoff would be to talk him out of a big screen LCD TV...

Paid off DH's car today!

September 24th, 2009 at 05:05 pm

So Lux is cleaning house?? Guilty. I'm one of the ones being beckoned back. I am here nearly every day reading and commenting, there's just a block when it comes to writing. I see I started an entry July 10th. I wanted to upload a pic and pics weren't working. Never came back to do that.

- How did Lux know?? Just this morning I transferred the money from savings, clicked a few buttons, and as of tomorrow - DH's car is paid off! This is at least three months earlier than anticipated - WITHOUT money from the sale of his old car. The savings account had been named "The XXXXX car payment fund". I transferred the money and renamed it "Yup, I stole it all..." DH hasn't noticed yet... hee hee...

- Paying off the car taught me a bit about the current state of our finances. I'm in REALLY good shape to tackle the next item: Student Loan 1. I need to update my sidebar - WAY out of date. It's nice though - I can see we've made some progress since I last updated it.

- My brother is HOME. Not overseas, not in the army, but HOME. For GOOD. He's actually the reason we never got any money for DH's old car. We had two people lined up to come see it the next day - one was a guaranteed sale. My brother sent me a text saying he needed a car. That was the end of that. We handed over the keys on a paid off, inspected, registered, insured vehicle and told him to figure his life out. Eh, he still hasn't. Inspection is up at the end of September. I told him at the time that I'd need the money by the end of the year to pay off DH's car. I'm glad I didn't immediately need that money and this is something we'll get worked out eventually. I'm just nervous since technically DH owns the car even though we haven't seen it for a couple months and the inspection is about up.

- My mother and I haven't spoken in two weeks due to a couple BAD (in my opinion) financial decisions she made. I'll save that for another entry. This is affecting my current mental state.

- I got a raise! Wow, that's great these days. It's about $20 net each week. Not too bad at all. It's effective 08/31/09, so I'll have to process 3 weeks of retro pay for myself. Yeah, tough being the payroll department.

- I am reading "More Attention, Less Deficit: Success Strategies For Adults with ADHD" by Ari Tuckman. I really like it... but hate it. It says in the intro that it's your book, do what you want, yell at it if you want. I'm more inclined to start beating myself over the head with it. DH is so textbook ADHD and the more I understand about it, the better. He is diagnosed, but currently untreated. I feel he can only pursue treatment if we fully understand what sort of treatment would benefit him. Me reading and understanding is the only way things will get better. It's just a SLOW process. I AM learning a lot though.

- My YTD coupon savings must be over $2500 by now! I'm about a week behind on updating that info in the spreadsheet. I think this has a lot to do with helping us get the car paid off. We hardly buy anything anymore.

- Work has been VERY stressful for me lately. I think this is compounded by the problems with my mother and the problems in my own mind I am trying to sort out. I'm only one person and I'm tired of having to solve the world's problems. Yeah, it probably doesn't help that my boss suspects he has ADHD, but has never pursued this. *sigh* I know from experience that my mind does, but does not, mesh well with the ADHD mind. I'm WORKING ON THAT!

- Since I'm trying so hard to change myself, I'm actually taking more time for myself these days. Well, trying to. No matter what - the household stuff still needs to be done somehow. I'm just trying not to kill myself over it and trying to relax sometimes too.

- I do NOT miss TV!!! I am absolutely loving music again. I'm listening to a station on last.fm right now and this song is good. By Ian McCulloch of Echo and The Bunnymen. I'm learning "new to me" stuff that I missed from years ago. Love it!!! I'll still watch a tv show here and there, but not much. I don't have it on as background noise anymore. DH was even nice enough to notice it has been bothering me and he went upstairs to watch tv tonight. That was a HUGE move for him! Smile

That's about all I can come up with for now. Just taking it easy this evening. MUCH needed these days!!

Car Title + other tidbits

December 7th, 2008 at 01:24 pm

- DH's car title arrived yesterday! First time in the 10 years I've known him that he hasn't owed on a car. Woo hoo! 10 months early! Yes, he knows. He asked me just yesterday when I expected to pay off his car. I couldn't weasel my way out of that one lol...

- Next goal wont be decided until the end of January. I need to recover from recent purchases plus the car payoff. DH has been told to stop requesting money until then. Unfortunately, yes he is ready to move on to his next vehicle. There's a reason why he has never had a paid off car until now. More on that at a later date.

- Stressing about recent purchases while I wait for my Microsoft bailout. Yes, I was one of the "lucky" ones who got in on the Black Friday 40% Microsoft HP cashback deal. In the end, I am confident this will work out quite nicely in my favor, but it's a bit nervewracking to have that kind of money hanging on the line. Laptop should arrive Monday or Tuesday!

- My mother just doesn't know how she will survive til Friday's pay day. Shoulda thought of that while she spent spent spent the money! Not getting much sympathy from me these days cuz I know where the money is going. Not always necessary. She goes back to work half days tomorrow so we'll see how that goes. It'll be good for her to get out of the house, but sadly she gets paid more when she's out sick. Not sure how that works! There is word of hours being cut for all employees at the store in January. Not good. She will have to look for a new job, no choice whatsoever.

- Have to add in a Freecycle rant! Someone in my local group requested items for her parents whose apartment was robbed last night. These people even had half a gallon of milk stolen - can you imagine?? So what was she requesting? Flat screen tv, PS2, vcr/dvd/hd, laptop. Oh yes, she says they had many more things stolen but these were the ones they use most often. OH COME ON!!!!!!!! I don't have a flat screen tv. The PS2, vcr, dvd were all gifts and are quite old and used. I AM happy to have them though. And yes I'm getting a laptop, but this is a purchase I've planned for a LONG time. Just was waiting for the right deal. Yes, I suppose you can beg for whatever handout you'd like on freecycle - but REALLY???? I would have gladly helped out with any necessities they needed!! /rant.

- Freecycle is not all bad. Our sister "cafe" site has resulted in DH helping a woman put her VHS memories on DVD for her husband for Christmas. She was quoted a ridiculous amount of money to do this at a store. DH has the equipment to do it, so she's providing the DVDs and will pay him a small (yet to be determined) fee for his services. He's not looking to make a ton of money, but to help someone out. Yay!!

- Need to take my toy donations to the collection center this week.

- Work is about to get CRAZY for me!

Heard about my first bailout

October 10th, 2008 at 04:41 pm

Yup, someone I know is getting bailed out! These people spend and spend and spend.... Forgive me if I'm not really clear on the details. I get this information third-hand. They are the stereotypical spenders - just have to buy everything! They almost lost a house a few years ago, but instead they ended up in a much larger and newer house. Of course they are in danger of losing this house as well. I was just told that this house is in an elderly relative's name. The relative just got a letter from the bank stating that the late payments will be rolled over into the loan. The bank is also refinancing the loan 1% lower which will save them $200 per month.

Wait. I work hard, pay all my bills, and don't have extravagances in my life. Where's MY bailout?

Comcast not the brightest...

September 6th, 2008 at 11:24 am

First of all, how in the world does everyone else call their cable/internet provider and get them to match a lower rate from a competitor? I am currently paying $42.95 just for the internet portion of my cable bill. This is just ridiculous! I read everywhere how "easy" it is to just call Comcast and get them to the lower rate. Nope, didn't even want to budge on that one for me even when I hinted I would have to look into this competitor offer. The only thing they were willing to do was drop me to the lower tier of service for $23.95 per month. Well, what choice did I have? I really don't think I will notice a change in my service. The only thing I am slightly worried about is my VOIP phone service. We really don't use the home phone for the most part anyways. *edited to add* I just checked my VOIP providers website and they have found "A 256Kbps connection (inbound and outbound) has shown to be the minimal connection needed for a quality call." No problems there.

The reason I say they are not the brightest at Comcast is because the rep was being so quick to push the change through, that she didn't even let me finish asking if this would interupt my service at all. Well, guess it does since the call dropped!!! Ha ha ha... that's how VOIP works! Had to get a chuckle out of their stupidity there. Well, they'll hit me with a $1.99 fee to make this change, but if I don't like the change they wont charge me to switch back. It's an improvement, but not quite what I wanted. Well it took me WEEKS to get up the nerve to make this call, so I'll take my limited success. Don't plan on mentioning this to DH - see if he notices!

In other news:

- Updated my sidebar to reflect the first two car payment goals DONE! This has DH's car paid off through December. (Not quick enough since we want this piece of junk GONE. Has a flat tire as of this morning.)

- My car was hit last week and the insurance adjuster thinks it will cost $325 to fix! HA! I want to pocket that money. The dent is about an inch across and we'll either leave it or try to pop it out ourselves. Bad luck with this car so far - I was stopped at a light when the car behind me waved a kid on a bike on through. Car coming up on my right pops the kid right into the side of my car. Sorry, I don't know how badly the kid was hurt. Worse case maybe a broken arm - if even that.

- Just went over my projected tax return for next year and it looks like we'll owe the feds at least $550. Bleah. Tried projecting an increase in my 401k contributions and we'd owe more??? Just not sure what to do here. A decrease in S125 health premium costs plus an increase in pay are hurting us tax wise. Yes, I know things could be worse!

DH suggests declaring taxes unconstitutional and turning our condo into a fortress. No thanks, don't want to be anywhere near the Browns. (Elaine Hatch Brown was my dentist years ago!! Is that why I need so much dental work?)

- Last but not least - my mom's financial aid at the hospital was APPROVED!! They have determined it would be a financial hardship for her to pay for services. Her account will be zeroed out after insurance payments for anything medically necessary between now and the end of February.

Went to the *GASP* mall!

July 25th, 2008 at 05:12 pm

Yeah, well I had to get my rings inspected! I DESPISE the mall!!!! Figured I would treat DH to a pretzel since I had a BOGO coupon. Sheesh, can't believe those things cost $2.49 plus tax. YIKES!
Well, my diamond was loose so they have to send it out for repair. I'm just wearing my mom's gold band (that is part of my "set") and it feels strange. The repair will cost $0 as we bought the service plan many years ago. Smile Not the first time I've had to use it either.

Found a dime and a nickel on our way in - a good find!

Got home to find an envelope stating "We thank you for your time and effort in participating in this important research." There was a check for $25 ! I have NO clue what this was for!

Also got a $20 rebate for DH's contact lenses and $17.52 refunded for overpayment on my car loan I just refinanced. Nice haul today!

I see that I have two pinecone surveys in my inbox - one is a product eval follow up. Gotta go make that easy money now.

Have a great evening everyone!

I'm setting a goal!

July 21st, 2008 at 04:50 pm

So, a goal has been in the works for me for a while now and I finally just sat down and worked out the details. Far from finalized, but I have a basic plan - subject to change of course. Smile

A few weeks ago, I took some money from savings and paid off my 401k loan. This gave me an $18.31 per week "raise". Next up: DH's car!! Payoff as of 07/13/08 is $3905.37 YUCK! Payments are $283.56 per month with an expected payoff date of 10/30/2009. I plan on moving payments up when I have the money to pay them, rather than when they are due. As of right now, I think I can get the car paid off mid-April 2009 - 6 months early! If DH works some overtime between now and then (quite likely), I could knock another month or two off my estimate. I would like it paid off sooner than later, but I think I can live with this plan and it feels good to have a plan! Smile

I have the plan details in my sidebar.

SHHHH!!! Don't tell DH!!!! The less he knows of my plan, the better. Wink

Mom update + 1 item *sold*

July 7th, 2008 at 04:52 pm

Well my mom called me late morning and her surgery went "well" this morning. As well as it could I suppose. Now we just wait for the lab results. Not sure what will be next, although she meets with the drs. tomorrow who will be doing the radiation. This part is scary - I know NOTHING about it!

I am excited as it appears one item I listed on craigs list will be sold tomorrow evening. The guy is meeting my husband after work since they both drive through the same area around the same time of day. This is the Bentley manual for my car I just got rid of. It's in perfect condition and you can't find one for less than $65 + $3.99 shipping on Amazon. I was only asking $40 and that's a steal! I'll be glad to get it out of here and get some money in return.

Hope everyone has a good evening!

Minor decluttering

July 6th, 2008 at 11:23 am

Well all I could stomach this weekend was some very minor decluttering. This place needs a LOT of decluttering, but it just nauseates me. Frown

Today I filled a kitchen trash bag full of clothes I'll never wear again. This came from my dresser. I still need to attack the closet but that is just too intimidating.

Yesterday I tackled the pile of paperwork that hasn't been filed in over a year. Yes, over a YEAR!! It's a wonder I could ever find anything with it all in one big pile. Being so disorganized almost cost me and I couldn't have picked a better day to clean this up!! I found paperwork welcoming me to Citi credit protector for just 89c per $100 balance. I signed up for this to get a free digital picture frame. Never bothered to cancel it because I had a zero balance and no plans to use this card. Well just yesterday I was checking out my balance transfer options and this card had 3.99% for life of the transfer, no transfer fee. I had just requested the balance transfer before I started on the paperwork project. SO GLAD I found that paperwork and called to cancel!!

I did find some interesting loan paperwork that put things in perspective - even for DH! He had taken out a loan to take some classes back in 2001. The loan was for just over $5000, but I didn't realize until now it had a 20% variable interest rate! The loan paperwork said total paid would be almost $20000. HUH???
Well in July 2005 the rate was jumping from 14% to 16% and I had enough. I transferred $6812.35 with a $65.00 fee to a 4.99% for life card. It is now three years later and the balance is $2159.61 with less than $9 per month interest accruing. According to the original loan paperwork, we were set to pay $104 per month until June 2017. That would be over $11000 left to pay as of right now!! Nauseating... That same payment now gets this paid off in less than 2 years. I plan to pay it off sooner though. Smile

I have a couple of items listed for sale on craigslist with no bites so far. Very frustrating as I don't have them overpriced at all. People just aren't spending money on ANYTHING right now - us included, so I understand. Just would like some stuff OUT and $$ IN.

I had started a blog entry listing all my monthly bills and amounts owed on debts, but that became too much for me. Maybe I will start a new one with my current goals. Baby steps, right?

Focusing on the finances so much is keeping my mind off the fact that my mom has to have surgery again tomorrow. I guess they didn't get enough tissue out last time to say she's in the clear. Just what she doesn't need right now - another surgery. At least we got the financial assistance paperwork filled out. On paper it looks like she's in the hole $80 per month!! They just HAVE to give her some assistance.

Stamp out Hunger

May 10th, 2008 at 09:29 am

Today is the annual Stamp out Hunger drive put on by the post office. You are supposed to put non-perishable food out by your mailbox and your letter carrier will pick it up for donation to a local food pantry.

I live in a condo with around 40 condos (it was built in two phases and I'm not sure how many are in the 2nd phase). For the second year in row, we're the only condo to put food out by the mailboxes!! This really bothers me. I know the economy is tough right now and affecting a lot of people, but isn't that enough to drive you to dig through your cupboards and find a can of soup or veggies that you could donate to someone more needy?

I never feel I do enough to help hungry people and that bothers me. I think this would be a charity I would most like to donate to and I should make a bigger effort to do so on a regular basis. I'm a frugal shopper and LOVE the challenge of finding a good deal. It's such a thrill for me. Maybe I should turn this thrill into something really beneficial. I need to find out where my local food bank is though!!

I think I'm fortunate. I have a roof over my head and I can pay my bills and buy food. Yeah, I have credit card debt that I'm slowly plugging away at and savings I'm slowly trying to build. It just kills me to know there are people nearby that really honestly can't even afford food.

Buh-bye overdraft balance!

May 9th, 2008 at 09:33 am

Well, my mom hit a milestone today and the bank took the final $22.00 payment on her overdraft balance. When I took over her finances in November, it didn't seem like this would EVER get paid off. YAY!

We had a little chat yesterday about where her money is going and how she doesn't check in with me anymore after meeting her gentleman friend! I am happy for her about this change in her life as it has been around 20 years since my parents split up. My mom never dated at all! But... now I feel like I have an irresponsible teenager that I'm in charge of! I think I'm realizing that the direct approach is working better with her. Now instead of asking her opinion of things, I tell her how things will be done. I really wanted her to have more control over her money than this, but that just does NOT work.

She got her $600 stimulus payment on April 28th - one of the first to go out! I had her pay the $339.00 she owed to the fuel company and I "took" $200.00 and put it in savings. She still owes me $350.00 and if she can keep her spending down, I can get this paid back to me by the middle of June. I lent it to her the end of February. I'm now sending $100 every two weeks to her savings acct (starting 05/16) and I don't want to touch that. She will need to pay her property taxes soon plus save for heat next year. She NEEDS to learn I am not bailing her out next year!!! It was really tough taking over in the middle of winter heating season. She HAS to plan now. I just don't want her gentleman friend to bail her out ever....

This and that

November 26th, 2007 at 05:16 pm

Hello. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We spent a long weekend in Indiana with my inlaws. Got to meet our new nephew who turned a month old the day we arrived. The trip went ok I guess. Our expenses were probably as good as they could be. Where else can we have free room and board with two dogs and all it costs us is gas money to get there? We did spend a little money out at a bar Friday night, but that's what allowance money is for. Smile
But... whenever we are there we eat out EVERY meal. My stomach is not happy about that. I'm not used to eating out so much and my poor tummy can't handle it! At least we don't have to pay for the meals.
We exchanged Christmas gifts with them since we would all be together. I still don't think they've caught on how little money we spend on them!! We pick up gifts throughout the year when we find things at really cheap prices. Of course my inlaws hadn't even bought our gifts yet! I got mine and DH is still working on figuring out what he wants. I didn't get to choose, but I'm happy with their selection. I got two gifts: a set of vintage pyrex casserole dishes and a brand new Olympus 8.0 megapixel digital camera. Can ya guess which one meant more to me? Really, the camera is great... but picking up those vintage pyrex dishes was just much more thoughtful.
So.... the camera is great BUT I'm still running a dinosaur here with windows 98. 98 is becoming more and more obsolete and of course my new camera needs at least 2000 professional! So I'm in the process of setting up a dual boot system on this computer. Is it going smoothly? No. At least I got the usb working, but I still can't get the sound to work. I am typing this from the 2000 drive, so it's working for the most part. I still have yet to install my camera. Isn't that what I was supposed to be doing right now?? I'm curious to see what the pictures look like once I download them.

In other news: I'm kicking myself for the boneheaded thing I did. I'm also REALLY pissed off with Citibank. They changed the interface on their webpage recently and it's not very user friendly. I missed payments last week on two cards that had balance transfers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When I log into my account, my first card shows all the details. The rest of the cards just showed the current balance, so I thought that meant no payment was due since it didn't say one was due. I realize now that I actually had to click on something to show all the details. I don't understand why they show for one but I can't get them to permanently show for the others. I tried calling to talk to someone but of course their system was down. I sent an email to customer service explaining the problem and I do have it in writing that I will not get any late fees. I'm certain that I WILL get hit with interest charges now though. I'm in the process of transferring the balance elsewhere. I have no choice and I know how this game is played. I just have NEVER EVER EVER (and I can not stress that enough) missed a payment for any reason. I'm so unbelieveably anal about this stuff that I drive everyone I know crazy. I can't go back to paper invoices because I just would not read them. I have a system in place that works very well for me and I do place some blame on Citibank with the changes they made.

On that note, I think I will try and install my new camera now as a distraction. Smile


October 28th, 2007 at 11:29 am

It has been a VERY long time since I have posted a blog here. I think I am finally ready to give this another shot. I've been lurking around for the past couple of months, reading and commenting on other blogs. I've just had a mental block when it comes to writing my own blogs - no clue why!

Well, I guess I'll just jump back in and start with a couple of things that have been going on lately. DH and I both got decent raises a couple of months ago, so we decided to give an allowance a second shot. We had tried that once before and it failed horribly. An allowance was just very necessary at this point in our lives! (I'll touch on that more later)

His raise was 3.5% and mine was 4% PLUS a salary adjustment spread out over the next 4 quarters. This gave me approximately 3% more, for a total of 7% increase Sept. 1st. I'll get that same dollar amount that the ~3% represented again on 12/01, 03/01, and 06/01. I was ecstatic about how much this could go towards paying down debt!!!

Then.... DH annouced that it's his lifelong dream to become a race car driver. Go ahead and laugh, I'm not kidding! Yes, 31 years old and crying about wanting to be a race car driver when we were supposed to be talking about starting a family and buying a house. And what about me and what I want? I want to fund a Roth IRA!

So, this is where the allowance comes in. It's not huge - only $20 a week - but he can spend it on anything he wants to! I have the same allowance and the same rules apply. Well, you can imagine I have over $100 in my account and he has just a few dollars as far as I know. We set up a separate account that HE is reponsible for and I don't meddle in at all. I never expected the effects this would have on ME though. If he wants to spend his money on beer or sports cards - I don't care!!! I used to get stressed out that he was "wasting" his money on this stuff, but it's not my problem anymore. Do you know how much of a weight was taken off of me with this? Smile

My spending has decreased as well. Now I look at something I would have bought without thinking twice and I say "Wait a minute - I don't really want to spend my money on that!" I have a habit of always doing for others and not doing things for ME, but I need to change that a bit. I'll admit, my first $20 got tucked in my mom's purse while she wasn't looking. It's a slow process changing the way I think, but I'm making progress!

I guess that's enough for now - not bad just jumping back in here!

Paid off a debt

July 10th, 2006 at 06:20 pm

So I stepped up payments a bit and paid off the student loan my mom took out for me! My mom defaulted on this loan a few years ago. I took over and rehabbed it back to a positive status. Paying $100 per month would have had this paid off next February. I stepped it up to $200, then $250, then just made one final payment for $500 and change. I just got a shocked email from my mother. She gets email notifications of payments and didn't expect such a large payment. I'm not sure she really knew how much was left to pay on the loan. I explained to her that it made more sense to pay less on one of my 0% balance transfers this month and more on the student loan. The money I would have spent on the student loan next month will now go towards my balance transfer. Doing things this way saves me interest.

It feels good to pay something off!

Allowance update

July 3rd, 2006 at 06:10 pm

Well, after putting ourselves on an "allowance" nearly a month ago, I am happy to say I am seeing some progress. I am thrilled most about DH taking some interest in the finances! He seems to care more about where his money goes and it setting goals for himself. He is also trying to come up with creative ways to bring more money in for his allowance. I have heard him on a couple occasions looking at the spreadsheet and saying "That's all I have left?" This is opening up his eyes quite a bit to how fast he was allowing money to disappear.

As for me: well I didn't realize I spent as much as I do. Good to know as far as I'm concerned. I never have been a big spender, but I'm even more conscious now about spending money on things I don't need. I also feel much more relaxed about DH spending money now, and that's a really good outcome from this as far as I'm concerned. He went out with his coworkers for a couple drinks one night. Well a "couple drinks" plus tip came up to $41.49 plus $10.00 he tossed in for a wedding gift. I don't care!! I feel like some financial pressure has been taken off of me. He is now responsible for staying within certain limits. I'm starting to feel free.

I think it will still take some time before I see a significant savings in spending, but I am thrilled with the progress so far.

Weekly allowance

June 10th, 2006 at 09:53 am

Well, I finally got to the point where I feel we have to try something different with our finances. I had always wanted to set up a a weekly allowance system, but I couldn't figure out how to make it work. I just went through the last 7 weeks of receipts and categorized everything according to the type of purchase. The point was to see how much we had been spending on "wants" over that time. YIKES! I'm guilty too, but nowhere near as bad as DH. This will certainly be a challenge, but it looks like we could cut back on spending quite a bit. The only way to make this work is for each of us to have the same amount of fun money per week. Use it, bank it, whatever. So... starting immediately DH and I will each get $20 per week to spend on whatever we want. For me, this will mean I have $15 per week to play with. I currently have $5 per week direct deposited to another bank account and I think I will claim that money as part of my fun money. (Hey why not? It's earning a nice interest rate! FUN!) I think this will work as I don't normally spend too much on "wants". It's DH who is going to have to majorly cut back. I think this will be good for him though.

This is a start towards us cutting expenses. I want to track my progress through my blog and eventually I want to see this work towards a reduction of debt. Wont know until I try! Smile

Billing loophole

May 13th, 2006 at 09:35 am

Well, I feel like I found a billing loophole on my car/home insurance. Like many insurance plans, you can pay up front and avoid the $3 per month service charge. I am not at the point where I can pay in full, but I was able to get ahead of the payments. The last time they billed me was in March. It currently shows my next payment is due at the end of June. I have been paying a decent size flat amount each month, much more than the amount due. I just made my usual monthly payment, so it seems this will just push my next "due date" to the end of July. By paying this way it appears I am still able to pay monthly and I am avoiding the $3 monthly charge!! AND... the policy will be paid off 3 months early.


April 21st, 2006 at 03:26 am

Well, day five without my car - Thurs, Fri, Tues, Thurs, Fri. I'm going nuts here. I HOPE to have an answer today. The owner of the shop was calling in a favor from a buddy and they were supposed to work on my car at 10 last night! I have no idea what the financial outcome will be here. You know they are putting in HOURS on my car. I know they wont charge me for that though. Not sure what's fair here. Guess I'll see what they say. This sure is a baffling problem with the brakes. One I hope never happens to anyone else. Wish my car could just be cut and dry like everyone elses. Nope, I had to buy the possessed one. I think mechanics hate me.

Car fixed - take two

April 18th, 2006 at 06:50 pm

Well, I guess I'll find out in the morning if I really have brakes now. I probably do. They ended up replacing the master cylinder. No kidding - that really should have been their first guess. Granted they DID fix something on Friday, just not the whole problem. On the bright side, they gave me a break on the labor charges for the inconvenience. So, another $250 and most of the hydraulics in the braking system are replaced. It seems to me the master cylinder should have lasted more than 2 or 3 years. I don't know anyone who has ever had one replaced in a car. Twice for me in this car! They did say it was quite rusted, so that's really got me wondering about the shop that replaced it the first time. I stopped going there quite a while ago.

So...$400 on brakes and without my car for 3 days. I will certainly go ballistic if DH even thinks about buying one more useless thing for his car. He wants an air intake setup - a different one than the one he has! All I want is a mechanic who's not too chicken to fix a coolant leak. Oh, and brakes too! Those are nice.

No brakes!

April 17th, 2006 at 03:55 pm

Got almost to work and put the brake pedal in - right down to the floor! I'm so glad I spent $150 on Friday for them to fix this. I called DH since I didn't have the number to the shop. Good thing - they would have gotten an earful. I'm hoping it was just a fluke and for some reason the new part was faulty. Although after that happened with the starter last summer, I'm not sure I want that to be the case. (Yes, my new starter burned out a day later - 30 miles from home.) It's possible the shop did fix something, just not the right thing!

It's a strange problem and seems to show up after the car has been driven a while - 20-30 miles. At least that's how it was on Wednesday and today. Since that was the case, I knew I'd be ok heading home. The brakes gave out again less than a mile from home. Boy is it fun not knowing if you'll have brakes or not when you put the pedal in. Something I think we take for granted...Thankfully I drive a 5 speed so downshifting and the emergency brake are my friends if need be. Back to the shop it goes tonight, so let's hope this doesn't cost too much more money.

Expensive day!

April 12th, 2006 at 04:33 pm

Wow, it has been an expensive day - and I don't even know how bad yet! I just got back from my first of two crown lenghthening surgeries I have to have. For those of you who don't know what that is: it's dental related, painful, and uncomfortable! I suppose that's all the details anyone might want. The good news is that I DO go to Tufts Dental School so this "only" cost me $350.00. Insurance will pick up half of that and I have my FSA as well. Too bad I didn't account for these two surgeries in my FSA for the year. Oh well, I think I'm only off by $250 or so.

If I wasn't stressed enough about going to the appointment today, my brakes just added to it. I've been telling everyone that I don't have brakes. Not entirely true, but if they don't work 100% of the time, do they really work? They acted up a couple times on the way home last night - put in the pedal and get NOTHING. Do you think they could have acted up when we went out to run errands and DH was driving? No. Things really went downhill on the way to work today, so I got a ride to the T to head into Boston. DH picked me up at the T station after my appointment and we went to get my car. Do you think it could have acted up in the 30 miles he drove it home? Thankfully yes - when he went to turn into the mechanic's yard. Turns out I didn't imagine it after all. Now how to convince the mechanic...

Guess I'll find out tomorrow what the damages are. Brakes are rather important though!

Student loan - good news!

March 17th, 2006 at 03:36 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


March 12th, 2006 at 09:53 am

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.

Debt Concerns

February 26th, 2006 at 12:45 pm

Here are my current debt concerns:

$7500 on a CC - this contains debt that would have been paid off until we were forced to move and decided to buy our condo. Part of it is the remainder of my car loan that I transferred to 0%. I do have the money to pay off this portion, but I don't want to move it from high interest savings if I can float longer. Currently floating at 0% until July.

$1200 on a CC - this contains car repairs and dental work. I have to prepay my dental work, then get reimbursed by insurance and my flexible spending account. I DO go to a dental school and pay 1/3 the cost (for better service in my opinion) of a conventional dentist. Currently floating at 0% until August.

$33000 in consolidated student loans - I am not sure when these will be paid off since I can't login to my account at the moment. These are not my only student loans! I currently pay over $600 per month in student loans ($300 for this one alone). This is my biggest budget killer! We make "decent" money, but I don't know anyone who pays this much each month on student loans.

$4800 student loan @ 10.5% - I currently pay $75.00 per month. This amount will increase each year and has an expected payoff of 9/1/12. I haven't quite figured out how to better deal with this loan yet.

Debts I feel I have under control:

$1335 for a loan my mom took out for my education. $100 per month w/interest currently at 5.1%. This will be paid off by Feb. 2007 - maybe sooner! My mother can't afford to pay this loan, so I'll pay it off.

$5900 for my husband's student loans I transferred to a 4.99% rate. I continue to pay $155 per month and will have this paid off 4 years and at least SEVEN THOUSAND dollars sooner than the original loan. Original loan was 14.25% variable!!

We do have a mortgage that I don't feel is a problem at the moment. We use a cash back credit card for all purchases and pay this in full each month.

My current priorities are the first two credit cards I mentioned, followed by getting rid of my mother's loan. I don't have a plan set in stone for either of these yet!