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Archive for June, 2006

Counting down to pay day

June 28th, 2006 at 11:44 am

Well, the last of the months bills have been paid, so that means we have no money (other than cash on hand) until Friday. No big deal, there is nothing we need to buy, but it always makes me nervous when the checking acount reads $8.09. It shouldn't, we've got plenty in savings for an emergency, and we can always break out the plastic if it's a REAL BIG emergency. But something about that low dollar amount makes me edgy. But, I think we can hold out until Friday! Smile

Anyway, I'v finally opted out of receiving all those pre-screened credit card offers in the mail. It's not so much that I care about getting junk mail or need to keep the inquireies off my credit report, it's just that I'm afraid someone will steal our mail from the mail box one day and steal my identity. If I want or need a credit card or home equity loan (not that'd I'd every GET a HEL, second mortgages are not my idea of a good time) I know where to find them, I don't need 5 offers a day sitting in my mailbox. I've chosen the the lifetime opt out, so I'll never have to worry about it again.

Happy Dance!

June 27th, 2006 at 06:47 am

Yee haa! The credit card that I signed up for that has a 0% for 12 month on balance transfers (with no fee!) finally approved my request for a credit limmit increase. This means I can transfer my balances from my other cards to this one card. It will simplify my bill paying (1 CC payment instead of 4) and of course, I'll be able to pay them off faster since I won't be paying interest for 12 months. My secret dream is to get it paid of totally in that 12 month period, but that would mean CC payments of $1500 a month, and I don't know if we can swing that (in fact I doubt we can with the home improvement projects we've got lined up). But a girl can dream. Smile

It's only Monday and we're broke...

June 26th, 2006 at 11:47 am

Well, not really broke, we have money for the nessesities until Friday. But no extra spending until then. We spent the last of Tim's OT money over the weekend on more supplies for the fence. The good news is that (once it stops raining) he'll be able to build the south fence in just a week or so. Then we'll just have the west side to do and we'll be done! Can't wait for that, Missy really wants to get out into the yard and chase those squirles. After that, we can finish the upstairs bath remodel we started (and then stoped because we couldn't make up our minds on what we wanted...).

Going to a party tonight. A friend of mine's younger sister graduated high school last month and they are having her party. They are also combining it with her niece's party for being baptised. The presents I got were cheap. For the baby, I'm giving one of the Pecious Moments figurines from my own personal collection (I need more room in the curio cabinent anyway) so that cost nothing. For the high schooler, I got her what every broke soon-to-be-college-student needs, a $20 Targe gift certificate! (really, who COULDN'T use a Target gift cert? Wink ) Anyway, the part is at the local Marriott (they always have parties there, must be why my friends parents are always broke!) so I'm guaranteed a nice meal.

Oh, and I'm so excited. Our latest natural gas bill was $7 total. Not sure how we managed that, but I ain't complaining. Due to summer being low demand, they don't bill over the summer so our next gas bill won't come until the end of August! Smile After a winter of $150+ bills, it's nice to get a break!

thank heaven for coffee...

June 20th, 2006 at 06:42 am

I didn't sleep well last night. Couldn't get to sleep until after 2 AM. Not sure why. Coffee never tasted so good. I buy it from my company's cafeteria every morning, it better than what I can make myself at home, and anyway I only usually drink one cup. It's $1 a day and one of the few things I'll never cut from my budget. It's my morning treat!

Today I'm setting up some of my bills to auto-pay out of my bank accounts. This is a big step for us because before, we couldn't ever be sure how much money would be in our checking account on any given day, and I was affraid auto-payments would either bounce or cause other payments to bounce. But we are ahead enough now that we'll always have money in the checking account to cover just about any bill. So I can set up autopayment for most things. The only stuff I won't set up that way are things that varry in amount each month, like electric or gas. I want to be able to review the bill before I give them their money, incase of mistakes or questions. Just another small step along the road to financial peace! Smile

Is it Friday yet?

June 19th, 2006 at 11:49 am

Yup, it's Monday and I'm already looking forward to this coming weekend! At least it's a short week for me, I have one more vacation day to use before the end of my current service year at work and I have to use it by July 1 or lose it, they won't let us roll over vacation days (they WANT us to use our vacation time every year, a well rested employee is a productive employee, afterall...). So anyway, that's why I have Friday off. Hopefully, Tim will work a double that day so he won't be home. It's not that I don't want to have him home, it's just that I really want to clean out the bedroom closet and I can't if he's in there sleeping (he works nights, so sleeps during the day). I never manage to do it in the evenings or on the weekends for some reason. So I plan on doing that in the morning, and then going and getting my hair cut (it needs it) and spending all my gift certificats that I got for my birthday a few weeks ago. I've got a couple differant ones and I can't remember the last time I spent the day shoping for things I want, not just things I need. I'll let you all know how it goes!

It's quiet here at work today, we should be getting busy soon, a big convention that we book a lot of travel for just opened up (meaning we can accept reservations now). It won't be as busy as in years past, we used to have 2 big meetings in the fall, but this year the smaller of the two isn't happening, and next year it will be moved to the spring. Actually that's a good thing, our work will be more spread out, so instead of being crazy busy from June to October and dead the rest of the year, it should be steady from January through October (we are always slow the last quarter of the year due to the holidays, no one travels for business much past mid-November until the end of the year).

What is it about weekends that just sucks the money right out of you? Is that it's the time off allows you time to run errands? That must be it! Everything we bought we needed, the biggest thing was a room air conditioner for our family room (our central A/C is broken and needs to be replaced but we won't have the money until next year), that was $129. The rest of the money we spent was for the fence Tim is building in the back. Technically the fence isn't a need, we could just keep walking the dog on a leash, but it's a pain in the winter, and she really needs room to run around freely. Missy can't be trusted off a leash. Heck even with the fence we still have to keep an eye on her, she's an accomplished escape artist (never own a dog that is smarter than most people...)But Tim's doing all the work himself so we are saving money that way, at least. Also it will raise the value of our home (not to cover the investment 100%, but still it will help us sell it when the time comes).

Dinner will be cheap tonight, we're haveing homemade grilled shrimp salad. And I mean 100% homemade, I make my own salad dressing. It's very easy, and cheaper and healthier than the stuff in the bottles at the store. I bought the frozen shrimp BOGOF so that was a deal, the packaged lettuce was on sale and I've got the salad dressing fixin's on hand.

Just put $750 in savings!

June 16th, 2006 at 07:21 am

I'm so happy! Smile

Today was payday for both Tim and me, so I was logged into my banks website to take a look a the numbers. Last night at home I tracked our bill payments for this month and realized we only have three more bills to pay for June. I subtracted that amount from what we have this week and what we'll get in pay the next two weeks and realized that we are waaaay ahead for the month. So I was able to transfer $750 from our bill paying checking account to our savings account! I should be able to put even more in savings in the next few weeks once the we get our remaining paychecks for the month.

This is just fantastic! As I meantioned in my entry yesterday, June is an "extra paycheck" month for us due to June having 5 Fridays. In the past we spent that "extra" money before we even earned it. This time, we are going to save the bulk of it (we are having just a little fun with it, no harm in that! Wink ). What a change from just last fall when I really started getting serious about getting our finances in order!

So this new deposit brings our baby emergency fund up to about $3400. I know Dave Ramsey say's it should only be $1000 while you are paying down debt, but we have two cars and an old house, I feel better with more money in the bank because we could have multiple problems at the same time, any one of which can be more than $1000. I figure when we get to the point where we are only a few months away from paying off our credit cards, I can also take from savings and up our CC payments at that point, to pay them off a month or two ahead of our schedule.

Ever have one of those days?

June 15th, 2006 at 11:57 am

I've had the worst day at work today. I knew I should have stayed in bed! Frown I made an error that cost my department some money. My boss said not to sweat it (she's a great boss) we all make mistakes. But I just hate to cost our department money. Usually the mistakes I and my co-workers make can be fixed at no or very little cost, but that wasn't the case today. We fixed it and the travelers were able to get a flight, so on that end it worked out okay, but it cost us money to get it done. When I get home I'm having a drink! And that's saying something because I don't normally drink...

On a brighter note, I paid $1000 to the credit card that has the highest balance and interest rate today! That's $300 more than what we budget for, Tim's overtime is a real big help. Also, he was going to work OT tonight but he decided to stay home, so I get to see him all night tonight (he works overnight). Overtime money is nice, but I do like to see my husband now and then too! Smile

Another help is that June is an "extra paycheck" month for us. We both get paid on Friday, Tim is every week and I get paid every other week. June has 5 Friday's so Tim gets 5 checks and I get 3, that's two more paychecks than we get most months. This happens 2 times a year for me and 4 times a year for Tim. We budget based on 6 paychecks (4 for Tim and 2 for me) every month, because that is what we get most months. So the extra checks are like "found" money that we don't budget for. I love that extra money! Smile I feel like it's just really rolling in this month. Wish it did that every month... Wink

Tomorrow is Friday, I can't wait for this week to be over. Hopefuly it will be quiet at the office the rest of today and all day tomorrow, I couldn't handle another crisis.

Just another Wednesday

June 14th, 2006 at 01:24 pm

Week's half over, isn't that great! Smile

Tim's day off is tonight, so he'll be grilling dinner (I love not having to cook!). Chicken, corn on the cob, baked potatos, salad with homemade salad dressing (cheaper, healthier, and better tasting that store bought, easy too!) and homemade cookies for desert(I baked over the weekend). I love to cook, so I'm trying to cook more at home than eat out so much, but it's tough sometimes because I'm so tired after work. I want to limit us eating out to once a week, but it doesn't always turn out that way.

Tim got overtime last week so we're trying to figure out what to use it for when he gets paid on Friday. We still have OT pay left over from last weeks check too. I want to pay extra towards the CC's and put some into savings as well, but I need to find out how much more Tim needs to spend on the fence this week. He's buying materials as he needs them (lumber is the same price regardless of when it's bought, for the most part, so no use in stocking up) so I want to make sure he has enough for what he needs. I want this fence DONE so I'm doing nothing to stand in his way. Oh, and we need to buy a weed wacker, we don't have one and some of the weeds and tall grass are getting out of hand where the mower can't cut them.

Speaking of Tim's OT pay, it's actually kind of hard for me to track. We have 3 bank accounts, 1 savings, and 2 checking. Checking #1 is for my debit card, I put enough cash in there for my gas, food shoping, Target, and my weekly allowance ($20 a week). Checking #2 is for all the household bills. My paycheck is split between #1 and #2, but Tim's whole pay check is sent by direct deposit to #2 so I have to keep mental track of what is overtime (and thus can be spent however we want) and what is our regular pay (which is budgeted down to the last penny and ear-marked for bills). I guess I could transfer the OT money to savings, but then I'd have to transfer it back out again when we are ready to spend it, that seems like a lot of work. And it's hard for Tim to change his direct deposit set up (not imposible, just a pain in the neck). Maybe I can set something up in my spreadsheet to help keep track, I'll have to play around with it.

Thanks, everyone, for the warm welcome you gave me after my 1st blog entry yesterday. I hope I keep it interesting enough for you all to keep coming back.

1st post!

June 13th, 2006 at 02:23 pm

This is my first blog entry! Very cool! I've always wanted to keep a day to day diary but never have bothered before.

I've posted this in my bio, but just to get the ball rolling, let me introduce myself.

I work as a corporate travel agent and just got married to a great guy last October. We own our own home, a 60 year old house in need of some work, most of which we're doing ourselves. We have about $19,000 in credit card debt and my husbands truck to pay off. After that we want to save up at least 3 months of expenses for an emergency fund. We hope to have kids in the next two years or so, and we want to have our finances in order (or close to it).

I'm just turned 30 a few weeks ago, my husband is 34, and our dog Missy is 8. Tim, my husband, works nights and I work days. Oddly this works for us and we see each other more than you'd think.

Being newly married, we've just gotten to the point where all our finances are combined, and I'm handling all the money stuff. I've had a budget of my own for years, before I met Tim even, but now I feel that I truely have the resourses to start doing things with our money. My budget isn't very detailed, but I have all the monthly stuff down on paper and know exactly where our money is going.

My goal isn't to be the cheapest person on the planet, or even very frugal, though I'll try to save money where I can. I just want to manage the money we have better, so we can get our debts (epecially the credit cards) paid of ASAP.

I'm in the process of trying to get the credit limit on one of my CC's raised so I can do a 0% balance tranfer and get all the other CC's consolidated onto one account and at 0% interest. This alone should help tons. If I can't get the credit limit increase, then I'll just pay the minimum on all the cards except the one with the highest interest and put all the extra money towards that one until it's paid off, then snowball the rest. Either way I hope to have it all paid off in about 18 months. Without adding in Tim's overtime, I can pay about $1000 a month towards our CC debt, and I hope to increase this amount when possible.

The hard part is that we are also trying to fix up our home at the same time, so much of our extra money (ie Tim's overtime) is going towards home improvement projects. Right now we are putting in a fence for the dog (and for our own enjoyment, who are we kidding!) that Tim is making by hand (it's a 6 foot wooden privacy fence) It looks great but is taking a long time to complete and is rather expensive. At least it will add to our home's value so I guess it's not a total loss. Can't wait until I can let the dog out and not have to be out with her! Also, our A/C went kaput and the repair guy says we need a new A/C and a new furnace. We knew they were 30 years old when we bought the house so it was no big surprise but I'd hoped they'd last a year or two before having to be replaced. It's $6,000 so it's going to have to wait until next year, fortunatly the furnace still works and should get us through next winter, it's just really old and not efficiant and the repair guys says it WILL break sooner rather than later. I guess the silver lining is that with the A/C unusable, we won't run up any high electric bills this summer. I hope it doesn't get too hot...


Well, this is enough for a first post. I'll post again tomorrow.