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What a weird week it's been.

July 26th, 2006 at 02:08 pm

To start, my parents are staying with me for a few days. They live in AZ and come back to IL for 6 weeks in the summer to escape the heat and visit my brother and I. They usually stay with my brother's family, but my SIL's parents are in town this week, so there's "no room at the inn". So while her parents are here, mine stay with me. I love my parents and at the end of the day I don't mind having them stay with us, but it totally messes with my routine, you know?

At work, we are down one person in my division, she left our company for a better opprotunity. So we are short handed going into our busy season. On top of that, my boss has a meeting, yet to be scheduled, about if our division will remain open and if so, in what capacity. I doubt anything will come of it, the numbers don't suport shutting us down or cutting us back further, but one never knows. So nice having THAT hanging over our heads.

And to top it off, I get a call from my mom this morning that right after I went to work, my brother called. My SIL is in the hospital with a ruptured cyst on her overie (sp?) and is in surgery. No word yet on her condition. So, my parents are with my nephews while my brother is at the hospital with SIL. Ugh! Poor SIL, she hates hosptials, barely tolerated them when she gave birth as it is. I'm thinking of sending flowers, but now I'm thinking maybe hiring a cleaning service to come clean her house while she's recovering. I'll have to look into that.

Ugh, what a mess!

July 20th, 2006 at 01:53 pm

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, we've been busy. Monday we had a bad thunderstorm, wind gusts of up to 120 MPH. Trees and tree branches were down all over the neighborhood, including a huge branch of our own tree in the back. Thank God, it didn't it anything on the way down, it's just a big ol' mess is all. I saw several trees that landed on parked cars, and several roads were closed due to downed trees blocking the street.

Also, the power went out after a tree hit the sub station for our grid, it went out at about 11 PM on Monday night. We were out of power for 18 hours. Fortunatly Tim has some kind of gadget that you can hook up to your car's battery and you can plug in regular household appliances and run it off your battery while the car is running (to keep the battery charged). We hooked up the fridge so we didn't lose any food! We had enough "juice" left over to run the tv and one fan. So, we had entertainment and could stay cool. Not too bad, really.

Meanwhile we had to sleep on the couch because it got so hot upstairs. We got about 4 hours sleep on Monday night. I couldn't go to work because our garage is detached and has no service door. There was no way to get into the garage unless you've got power for the garage door opener. So, my car being in the garage, I couldn't go to work (gee, that's a shame! Wink ). Tim couldn't drive me because he had an early AM doctor's apointment on Tuesday and he couldn't be in two places at once. The power was out until 5 PM on Tuesday.

Nothing really new in the world of finances. With the credit cards consolidated, I've just gotten a few stray bills for the last of the interest, in fact I just paid $25 today to Capitol One. $185 went to Tim's CC so that's paid off in full. The Chase card Tim uses when he gets gasoline, so we'll still be paying that every month, but it's being paid in full so no interest there. At least we get points on the Chase card, we can redeem them for airline tickets.

Another payday, another credit card payment

July 14th, 2006 at 11:24 am

Yippee! Another $500 payment to the credit card made today! And with the 0% interest on the card, every dime goes to the balance. Sweet! Smile Our budget is based on our net take home pay before Tim's overtime (which he always gets) and we've budgeted $900 a month for credit card payments. I'll pay the other $400 in two weeks when we both get paid again. And as we have extra money from overtime, I'll send that it too. Gotta love online bill pay, what did we do before that? Oh yeah, paid once a month by check... Wink

Another section is up on our never-ending-fence project, only 3 more to go before he can start on the west property line. I really, really hope we can have this done by Labor Day. I want to get started on the upstairs bathroom ASAP.

Kinda scarey seeing it all added up like that...

July 11th, 2006 at 08:09 am

Well, the balance transfers from our other credit cards have posted to our card that has the 0% for 12 months. Now that all our eggs are in one basket, so to speak, it's all totaled up and in black and white. It's a number much larger than I like, but if we are dillagent in our repayment, we should have it paid off in 18 months at most, with luck 12 to 14 months at the earliest. And it's nice to go from 5 credit card payments a month to a single payment, so bill paying just got that much easier. I finally feel we are really on our way, even though we've been paying down our CC debt since Nov. '05.

Now that it's stoped raining (well, it's raining today but it's the first in over a week) Tim has finally been able to get some work done on the fence, he's gotten 3 more sections up. He has 4 more to do on the south side, then he has 7 on the west property line and we're done! I'm hoping it will be all done by the end of August, maybe even sooner. He still has to put the posts in on the south line, which is the most time consuming part. Once that's done we gut the upstairs bath. After that, we start saving like mad to replace our heating/cooling system, we are shooting to have it done in April or May, after we shut the furnace off for the winter but before we'll need the A/C for summer. THEN, finally, I can start to save to replace my faithful old '98 Saturn! Smile

We got the payment straightend out

July 10th, 2006 at 07:35 am

After spending most of the day playing phone tag with my bank (who were great, by the way) I go home from work with a slight headache. I log into DH's credit card account online just to see if anything has changed. Sure enough, our $500 payment is there! It was listed as being added July 6, but was posted July 2, so go figure that one out. At least it's fixed, and since it wasn't due until the 5th, it's not even considered late. All's well that end's well, I guess.

It was a short weekend after last weeks 4 day long mini-vacation. This week will be the first full week I've worked in ages, it's going to seem to take for ever!

But I was only off by 2 numbers...

July 7th, 2006 at 02:11 pm

It's amazing what damage a typo can do.

I pay most of our bills through my bank's online bill pay feature. When entering in one of the credit card account numbers (while setting up the account to be paid) I inverted the last two numbers, instead of 06 I put 60.

Needless to say, they didn't credit the $500 payment to the credit card account.

Okay fine, my fault. DH calls the CC company to explain what happened and ask what to do. The India call center rep at first didn't understand what "online bill payments" were, DH spent 20 minutes explaining. After we established that the payment had the wrong account number on it, the rep said "sorry, tough luck your our the money" DH said, uh no we aren't, you have our money, we just need to get it credited to our account. The rep then said "Well look into it and send you a letter with our findings and what, if anything, we'll do about it." Yeah right!

So, I call my bank and tell them the problem. They are much more helpful (I love my local non-conglomerate bank!) and they get in touch with the thrid party company that actually processes the payments for my bank and sends them to the various places that need to be paid. That company will work with my bank and the credit card company to track down where the money went and either get it credited to our account, or reverse the payment and get us our money back so we can re-send it (with the right account number this time!).

Meanwhile we just have to make the minimum payment to keep the account current.

But oh, what a headache this is! The good news is that my balance transfers to consolodate the debt on our other credit cards to a single account went through, so all our CC debt is now in one place at 0% interest for 12 months. (The CC I described above with the payment problem is my DH's card and gets paid off every month, so that's why it wasn't transfered with the others). Now we can concentrate on getting that paid down ASAP. I'm hoping that once the 12 months is up I can transfer it again to another 0% offer.

Home ownership isn't all it's cracked up to be...

July 5th, 2006 at 11:41 am

One long weekend, three things with the house went wrong. All plumbing related too, must have angered the water gods...

First, the upstairs toilet cracked. Yes, cracked I say! No, DH and I are not fat (just a bit flabby). Turns out the floor isn't level. So, $25 for new toliet base. As for the floor, we're going to gut that bathroom anyway come fall, we'll fix it then (we've leveled the toilet for the time being).

Then, I notice everything under the kitchen sink is wet. Yup, the drain pipe has a small leak. DH isn't happy. It's not the expense, heck we've got left over pipe from another project so it won't cost anything. But fixing it takes time away from working on the never-ending fence project.

Then, after DH went to work, I noticed the slop sink in the basement is also leaking. Fortunitaly it just goes out the floor drain, but still. I haven't told DH yet. He'll either start to laugh or get mad, I'm not sure which...

Otherwise, though, it was a great holiday weekend. My office was closed on the 3rd and 4th, so I had a 4 day weekened. My best friends mother turned 60, so she flew into town for a surprise party. We met up to go shoping and have diner on Saturday (I bought a pair of cargo capris to replace the ones I riped last week, $20 marked down from $50, not bad!), then Sunday was the surprise party. Monday I went to my friends house for a barbeque, after DH and I went to see Superman (our first movie outing in about 9 months). Great movie by the way! Tuesday was just a day to relax and work around the house. We'll, we relaxed, our dog Missy spent the day a nervous reck from the fire crackers going off all day and night!

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.

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