After nearly a 1 year absence, I'm back!
It's been a hell of a year. Since I last posted in May '07, my mother has died, my aunt was diagnosed with MS, my other aunt had a heart attack, my grandmother almost died from pnemonia, my cousins both go to Northern IL where that shooting was (one of them was IN that room only an hour before the shooting! She's fine although she was shook up, of course).
My mother dieing put us further bhind in our debt repayment. Even though I'm a travel agent we had to spend a fortune in airfare going back and forth from Chicago to Phoenix, and it all had to go on the card. It set us back nearly a year in debt repayment. It was worth it, since I was able to see my mother before she died (it was very sudden) and spend time with my father after her passing. I dont regret spending a dime, but at the same time just frustrating to see all our progress wiped out in a matter of weeks.
The only truely GOOD thing that has happened is that I started to work from home mid June of last year. Our gas bill has droped by over half, between me not driving and my husband taking my car instead of the gas guzzler truck to work. It's actually cheaper for him to drive my car than take the train downtown, if you can believe that! And I"m saving money on lunch and clothes too, so that's another help.
Our tax "stimulus" check will be here next month, that will go to pay for our share of my husband's MRI's (bad knees and back, may need further treatment, thank God for health insurance!) so we can't bank it or put it towards debt. But May is an extra pay check month for us so I'm hoping to put it all towards the CC's, that will catch us up from the airfare we had to charge last fall. IF nothing goes wrong and I can put it towards our debt, we'll have our CC's paid off in about 20 months at our current rate.
I've given up on couponing at the grocery store. We basicly cook from scratch and the coupons are mainly for pre-packaged and processed foods, I found that even with the coupon savings, on average we spent the same amount on groceries and we were eating my processed foods rather than fresh. So I've given up on that. Really, at $100 or so a week for two, that's something like $2.40 per person per meal. That's pretty darn cheap, and we eat a lot of organics, too!
I love cooking from scratch. Husband's birthday was yesterday, I made rib-eye steak, grilled shrimp, sauteed mushrooms, and brussel sprouts (husband's fav veggie, go figure!) for $23 for the two of us. Sounds expensive, but think about what that same meal would have cost us if we'd eaten out? At least double (and we had a ton of shrimp, too, a lot more than what you're served at a restaurant). Home made birthday cake too. $1 mix and home made frosting (not sure what the frosting cost, I used baking supplies on hand. More than canned frosting I'm sure but SO much tastier!). No gift for husband,he didn't want anything, so I splurged on his birthday dinner instead.
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After nearly a 1 year absence, I'm back!
Things seem to be going better this week. DH got about $500 in overtime this paycheck, which certainly helps out a bunch! I've gotten serious about using coupons when I shop, in about 3 weeks I've saved about $50 by matching the lowest sale price with a coupon, I hope to do better as my suply of coupons increases. I'm getting my first reimbursemnet from my flex spend account, that will be $280 straight into savings. It's getting warmer outside, that means a lower gas bill. My car insurance droped because I'm having a birthday, and they also payed a dividend of $23, which was a nice surprise. And the best news of all, in just two more months I'll be working from home, which will be hundreds more in our pockets each month!
But then again, it's now May. May is almost worse than Christmas in my family. 4 birthdays, 1 wedding aniversary, and Mother's day, all in three weeks time. Poop! Then June is Father's day, and July we have two more birthdays, and I'm standing up in a friends wedding. Thank God, nothing happens in August!
And don't tell me to budget for gifts! I know that and we did have them budgeted, but the last two months we've had to drain our savings to almost nothing to cover car repairs, every spare dime had to go towards keeping us from having to add to our debt! So now the gifts will have to come straight out of our operating expenses each month. Maybe next year we can save ahead for presents...
But aside from just about everyone I know or am related to having a birthday/aniversary/wedding, things really are looking up. I just hope it stays that way for a while, we need some time to get our savings back to where it was.
I haven't posted in a long time, so I thought I'd update.
We haven't made much headway the last two months, between my car and DH's truck we've spent about $3500 in repairs since February. Nothing extra has gone towards the debt, and our emergency fund is down to about $400 (it was at $3k). And DH can't get any overtime right now, and most likely won't be able to get much until about June, so that's no help either. The good news is that we've been able to pay cash for everything, no new debt has been added. A small victory is better than none, I guess. But, now the cars should be in tip-top shape, so there should be no more car repairs for the rest of the year, just oil changes and new tires for DH's truck in the fall.
I just got fabulous news at work, they are letting my division work from home! That is going to be a huge savings for us. I will no longer have to drive to work ($100 in gas per month) no more work clothes ($600 a year or so), no more lunch at work ($80 a month), more time to cook at home (not sure what that will save in groceries/eating out but it will be something!) AND best of all, DH will be able to take my car to work rather than the gas guzzeler truck and that should save another several hundred dollars in gas costs! He may even take the train to work again, it was hard before because we'd never see eachother because we work oposit shifts and the train times weren't the best, but now that I'm home it won't matter as much. This will also be a huge help when we have kids, little to no day care costs!
In other news, I've applied for another CC with a 0% for 12 months balance transfer, so I should be able to transfer our current debt when our current 0% offer expires in June. I already know I'm approved, I just have to wait until the card shows up in the mail to find out my credit limit, ask for an increase if nessesary, then transfer the balance.
The bathroom project has been on hold since we've had trouble with the cars, no spare cash to buy supplies, so nothing has really been done in quite a while. It's going to be a while before we can start on it again, turns out the back roof is shot and has to be replaced, so we'll do that once DH is done with the spring yard work. He can do the roof himself so it will just be supplies, I'm hoping it will be $1000, maybe even less, it's not a big roof. Oh, the gutters need to be replaced to, but that can't be much. Its so nice having a DH that can do the work, DIY is much cheaper than hiring someone!
Not much new, which is good because nothing has happened that has cost us any money!
Jewel had Campbell's soup on sale this week $1 a can (normally $1.65 a can) so I stocked up (bought 24 cans for a total of $24) since I cook with it a lot and it hardly ever goes on sale. I also bought 10 cans when I did my regular shoping on Sunday. I would have bought it all then but they were out of several varities I needed, so I went back today for the rest. That should hold us until mid-summer, maybe longer. 34 cans at .65 cents a can means I saved $22.10. Not bad.
I also got a pound of deli ham free when I bought a pound. DH eats that stuff like mad so it will be gone before it spoils, and even if he didn't I understand it freezes well. That saved another $8 or so. Bacon was BOGO and there were a few other deals. So we've been able to stock up for a while, next week I'll only need to get fruit and dairy, and maybe one or two odds and ends.
We've gotten more demo done on the bathroom, it should be done in another week. The demo is taking a really long time because we are gutting it down to the studs and flor joists. Also this house was built in '47 and they built stuff to LAST back then, it litterally won't come apart! Once the demo is done, that's when we'll start to have to buy things to put back in it, so I'm actually glad that it's taking so long. DH will be able to get more overtime starting next month so the OT will go towards the new bath materials.
I got $130 in rebate checks all in about 2 weeks time, just went to the bank to deposit them over the weekend. The money will go towards paying off the CC bill from last month, the one that was huge due to repairs to DH's truck. It will depend on how much, if any, OT gets in the next two weeks but at the most we'll have to pull about $1300 out of savings to cover it. So next month our goal is to replenish savings as much as possible. At least we can pay in full and don't have to run a balance!
The cold snap finally broke in the Chicago area. Thank goodness! Even for Chicago, it was a bit much. Of course, they're calling for a snow storm over the weekend...
DH is back from PA, he went home for his Grandmother's funeral. But he came back with a cold, poor guy! He wanted to jump right back into the bath remodel, but now he's just sleeping all day (he works nights) since he doesn't feel well. Hopefull he'll shake it off soon and we can get moving on it.
Money-wise, not much new. Got the Federal tax refund already. It will sit in savings until we need it to pay the credit card with the truck repairs. Easy come, easy go! March is a 5 paycheck month for DH, so that will also help pay for the truck repairs. At least we can pay all in cash and not have to run a balance, the card we use has a 22% interest rate! We use it to earn frequent flyer miles, and I guess reward cards usually have a higher rate (to help pay for the rewards, I assume). So we really don't want to start a balance on that if we can avoid it! It's worth using the card though, the miles we earn paid for both DH's trips home during his grandmother's illness and death, we'd have been out over $1100 in airfare if we didn't have the miles for free tickets!
Just when I think we are turning things around!
I was planing on banking $1500 to $2000 this month, both to replenish our savings account from last month and to begin to save for a down payment to replace my aging '98 Saturn. DH's truck starts making a funny noise on Sunday, so he takes it to the shop. The quote? $1500 to fix it (something to do with the ball bearing joint and a couple other things). It had to be done, the guy at the shop said another 100 miles and the front left wheel would have fallen right off (and DH is very knollegeable about cars/trucks so he knows they weren't blowing smoke up our butts).
I guess the silver lining is that we can pay for the repairs in cash and not have to go into debt, but jeeze! Every time we take two steps forward, we wind up taking two steps back again. I feel like we're banging our heads against a wall.
I'm sorry to report that DH's grandmother died Sunday evening. She's been ill for the past couple months so it wasn't a surprise, in fact that's why DH went home to PA last month, to see her one last time since it wasn't expected that she was going to recover. Sadly the doctors were right. DH flew home today, the services will be on Friday. Thankfully, DH gets paid berevment so the paycheck won't be short like it was last month when he went home. Also, it's a good thing I'm a travel agent. I got his airline ticket for free, had we had to pay for it, it would have been $800 since it was booked last minute. So we'll just be out the car rental. I'm glad we have the resources so he can be with his family at a time like this, I can't imagine being in a possition that you couldn't get time off or be able to afford a plane ticket home, that must be terrible.
Hopefully my next post will be more upbeat! Happy Valentine's Day!
Well, DH got his W2 on Thursday so I filed our taxes over the weekend. $450 back from the Feds and $70 from the state. Should do better next year, we'll be able to deduct the full years real estate taxes. The money will go straight to savings to put back what we had to take out last month.
I'm feeling better about our finances. This month's CC bill (the one we use and pay off each month) should be quite low and DH is getting more overtime, so that should allow me to put back 100% of the money we took out of savings last month, plus maybe a bit extra. I also got a 0% for 12 months balance transfer offer in the mail, so I'll be able to transfer our debt to another 0% card when the time comes. It's just a $75 transfer fee, which is acceptable, but I'll keep an eye out for other offers that are fee-free. It would save us that much interest in just one month (and then some) so I don't mind a $75 fee, though I'll avoid it if I can. That will give us another 12 months interest free, hopefully we'll do better about geting it paid down, but I' not hold out much hope.
We are remodeling our upstairs bath, and have decided not to make it bigger by breaking into the bedroom. DH wasn't too happy about but I just felt that, one, it was too much money and we don't have it right now, and two, that we'd be "overbuilding for the neighborhood", ie we won't get our investment back when we go to sell. Plus it will cut the time it will take to remodel by at least half, which is always a good thing! We'll still be able to put in a bath tub/shower combo and a bigger vanity (the old bath and a shower only and a wall sink) but it's going to be a tiny bathroom, no two ways about it. But it's a small house to begin with, so I think that's okay. Not many homes in our neighborhood even HAVE two full baths to begin with, and only a handfull have a full bath upstairs at all!
One area I am concerned about is my car. It's running okay, but needs work on the suspension. I'm at the point were I don't know how much more money I want to sink into it. I've had it 9 years as of March, so I've definatly gotten my money's worth, but at the same time I loath the thought of another car payment, since there is no way we can pay cash for a newer used car. But if I can get a low payment for 3 years, maybe that wouldn't be so bad. Something to research, anyway!
DH is still doing demo on the bathroom. At least demo is cheap, just the dump fees for the debris. Next month I have to pick out tile and paint. DH says I have to pick the colors since I never like what he picks. That's not true, the only thing he's picked out for the house that I didn't like is the stain color on our fence, it's looks orange! We also have to pick out the shower, tub, faucets, vanity and sink. I hate decorating, I always second guess myself about what will look good, and when you're spending this much money, it's especially nerve racking! And it's not like you can lay the tile, look at it for a week, and decide you don't like it. Once it's down you're stuck with it (litterally, it's stuck to the walls and floor! ).
Still waiting for DH's W2 so I can do the taxes. I have all the other data entered into Turbo Tax so once I get it, I can just plug in the numbers and we'll be ready to file immediatly.
Got our first real winter gas bill, only $134. Not bad, our January bill last year was double that. Between lower natural gas prices and a mild winter, this is going to be a lot better than last year. Part of our home remodel is to add insulation to the walls and roof (right now it's non-existant, they didn't insulate house in the 1940's I guess) so next year should be even better. I hope we can take the tax credit for energy conservation related home improvment items next year, I haven't been able to find out if that was just for 2006 or if it continues in 2007.
The budget has been tight this month, the time DH had to take off to visit his sick grandmother was un-paid, so two of his checks will be way below normal. Coupled with the high credit card bills from last month, we are pretty low on dough! He worked two extra shifts this past weekend, and he'll do one or two more extra ones this weekend, so hopefully we can replenish savings quickly and get back on track.
I've given up on trying to pay off our CC debt anytime soon. DH just will not get on board. The bathroom remodel was supposed to be realatively cheap, now he wants to go all out on it. He wants to do the kitchen next year, and God only knows what he'll want to do after that. Plus there is the stuff that must be done, like replacing the furnace and AC, and re-wiring the house. He wants to take a real (ie expensive) vacation this fall, he wants to replace his truck sooner rather than later, he wants to start trying to have kids this year too. In short, he just wants to live life like we aren't in debt (which, if we weren't in debt, would be fine). The best I can do is to keep us from increaseing our debt (and I've been successful so far), and paying the minimum due on our 0% interest CC and keep doing 0% balance transfers so we are at least not paying interest on our CC's. At the current rate we'd be done in 4 to 5 years, I'm going to try and get it done in three if I can. I had hoped when I first started this blog to be CC debt free by mid-2008 at the latest. That's just not going to happen now. DH just won't stop spending and I just don't have the energy to fight. The best I can do is to attempt to keep his spending down to where we can pay cash for everthing and not go further into debt.
...we've started our upstairs bathroom remodel. DH has gutted the existing bathroom and we are trying to decide if we should make it larger by pushing into our bedroom, or just working with the space we have. Pros and cons to both, of course. Meanwhile, we have to use the downstairs bathroom. What a pain in the butt that is! Nothing like getting up to pee in the middle of the night and having to trudge all the way downstairs and back up again (all the while triping over the dog, because she just HAS to follow me everywhere I go...). It will be worth it in the end, but meanwhile it's not a whole lot of fun.
I've paid off the CC's that DH ran up last month. Took a lot out of our savings to do it, but DH will be working OT to put the money back, and so far he has kept his promiss and hasn't spent any money unless it's been nessesary. So far, so good, I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
I had some gift certs from Christmas burning a hole in my pocket, so I've been shoping a lot recently. I've done really well, though. $56 got me 5 tops and a skirt at JC Penneys, and I got two skirts I've been eyeing at Eddie Bauer for less than half price. The skirts at EB weren't exactly cheap, $35 each (marked down from $80) but EB quality is excellent and their styles are clasic so I'll get years and years of use out of both of them. I still have $50 in gift certs left to use, so I'll be doing more shoping soon.
I've already got my new Turbo Tax software to do our taxes, just waiting on DH's W2 so I can finish them up. We should get a refund, that will either go into savings or to pay off the CC, depending on how well we can refill savings on our own. The one sad part of doing the taxes is that I see how much money we made last year, and then look at the bank balance, and wonder "where did it all go?". Well, I know where it went, of course, but I'm sure you know what I mean! When you look at your annual income, it looks like you should be living high on the hog, but when you look at your pay check, you wonder if you'll have enough to cover all your bills.
New year, same old problems. Well, to be fair, the car was fixed prior to Jan 1, but since I charged it, it's being paid for in '07, so I guess that counts as being a problem in the new year! I had to replace some doohickey on my Saturn, to the tune of $400 plus $80 for a new belt. And I had to get it fixed, I needed the part to pass my IL vehical emisions test. That's an odesey in itself, but that's a blog entry for another day.
Also, DH has been racking up the CC again, all in all our CC bill will be $2700 or so. And none of that is Christmas, either, I paid cash for all the gifts (not that we spent much)! Plus DH said he has $500 on his little CC. So once AGAIN, all our income is going to pay bills, nothing extra for our debt or into savings. And DH didn't work any overtime last week OR this week, so we have no extra coming in there either. The OT was available, he just declined it. Not only that, but he is taking unpaid time of in another two weeks to go home to see his dieing grandmother. I don't begrudge him the trip AT ALL, I totally understand and encouraged him to go, but since he doesn't get paid for time off, that's less income well have this month to pay. At least the trip is cheap, I used airline miles to get the ticket for free and the car rental is only $88 for 4 days.
If you've read previous posts, all of this sounds familure. I keep saying I'll get a second job, and DH keeps saying he'll work more OT and stop spending, no need to get a second job. So I don't look for a job, then he's good for a month and goes right back to his old habits. Screw it. I'm looking for a job this weekend. All my pay will go towards paying down the debt, since we can only seem to live paycheck to paycheck on our SUBSTANTIAL income because DH is an idiot. At this point, I can't control his spending, so all I can do is increase our income. I'm not starting a fight over this. He wants to spend $500 on computer parts, fine. He wants to spend $85 on his train hobby, fine. He refuses to clean out his old bachelor storage unit and save us $100 a month in rent, fine. I can't control his actions, I can only control mine. While we have this debt I can't buy a new car (the Saturn generaly runs fine but it's 8 years old with over 100k miles on it, it can't last forever) and I'm hessitant to get pregnant, because babies are so expensive (from what I'm told, anyway!). I'll be 31 in May and I'm not getting any younger, if we are going to start a family, it needs to be soon. So if he's not going to help, I'll just do it myself!
GRRRRRR!!!! This is so frustrating!
Boy is it nuts out there! I went over my lunch hour, and traffic was crazy. It wasn't the number of cars on the road, it was the insane things they were doing, like running read lights and driving on the wrong side of the road!
Anyway, I managed (by the grace of God!) to make it unscathed to all my various stops. Barnes and Noble for a gift cert for my Mom and my oldest brother (that was for his birthday this Saturday and not Xmas, actually.) I stoped at the toy store for my two nephews, and then went to Lowes for a gift cert for my other brother. I'm giving cash to my father (per his request), and DH wants to send cash to his mother and grandparents. So that just leaves my oldest brother and his wife, my DH, my two co-workers, and a stop at the card store for cards to those whos gift is being mailed. I'll do all of that on Friday, we get out early due to our office Christmas party and I'll be right near the mall.
All in all, we'll spend about 1/3 of my bonus on presents, then I'll send a check to a charity or two, and the rest goes towards our debt.
Well, I don't really get it until tomorrow, but I checked my paycheck statment online and I know what it will be! 4% of my yearly pay! After my 401k contribution and taxes, it's a bit less, of course, but still amounts to more than half my montyly pay. I'm thrilled!
About 1/3 will be used for Christmas presents and the rest will go towards our credit card debt.
I haven't posted in a while, between not having much new to report and with Thanksgiving and all. Tim and I are just trying to get through the month with as few expenses as possible, and so far we've been successful. December should be a good month for us, between a low credit card balance, two extra paychecks and my year end bonus I'm hoping to knock a decent sized chunk off our debt. I'm anxious to know what the bonus will be, the amount will determine a lot of what we want to do, but the company won't say ahead of time. We get them next Friday, I'll just have to wait! Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining in the least, I'm just not very patient!
One cost saving messure we'll employ for next year is that I'm signing up for my companies Flex Spending program. They take money out of my pay check pre-tax and then they take that money to reimburse me on medical expenses. We pay a decent amount out of pocket for DH's medical care, he has a cronic condition that requires prescriptions and lots of doctor's visits, plus dentist visits for both of us and we both wear contacts. I figure we spend at least $2000 a year out of pocket, no sence paying taxes on that amount if we don't have to. The one drawback to the program is that at the end of the year, any money you didn't spend gets forfited, so you have $2000 taken out but you only spend $1800 by Dec. 31, you lose that $200. So, I'm going to have them just take out $1500, I know we'll spend at least that much for sure. I didn't track our medical expenses that closely in '06 so I'm underestimating our costs for '07. I'd rather play it safe. We're using Quicken now so I'll have accurate records for when we sign up again in '08.
We need to dip into emergency savings this month. I was really hoping we wouldn't have to this month, but DH won't get nearly enough overtime. As posted in previous entries, we had a lot of unusual expenses in October, and of course the CC bill is due Dec. 1. We'll have to dip into our emergency savings to cover the bill. Fortunatly, December is an extra pay check month for both DH and I (I get paid three times instead of two, DH gets paid 5 times instead of 4) plus I get my year-end bonus, so we can refill our savings right away and still have money for Christmas and our year end charitable donations. But I had hoped to put almost all the extra income towards our CC debt. Instead I've had to pay the minimum the last two months. It's zero percent interest so all of the payment is going towards the balance, but still I had hoped we'd be further along by now in paying it off.
It's just so agravating! DH and I make great money, and we just cannot seem to get ahead. We have little in the way of unnessesary spending, really just cable tv and the occasional dinner out, and every month something just comes up. I won't call them unexpected expenses, cars break and pets get sick, but why do they have to happen in the same week?. We have the money to pay for it, but then nothing extra can go towards the debt. Our food bill is low, our utilites are low, we have a cheap mortgage ($1400 inculding taxes and insurance) our cell phones are at the bare minimum, we only have one car payment. Not many places to cut back, and if we did it wouldn't make much differance. DH and I decided not to exchange Christmas gifts this year to help with the gift budget, and the gifts we will be giving will not be expensive (not that we blow a lot on gifts anyway). Fortunatly we have no kids and a small family, our list is quite short!
sigh....If we can just get through December without any major expenses, we can get back on track. I just want this debt gone ASAP and it's just anoying me to no end that we've made so little progress.
$800 in repairs on DH's truck
$500 in vet bills for Missy
$200 to help out DH's mom
$179 for dinner out for our 1st wedding aniversary (we didn't exchange gifts, this WAS our gift!)
$200 to buy the proofs from the photographer for our wedding (saves us $$$ in the long run, we can print our own copies)
$55 for the eye doc for me (what insurance wouldn't cover, but I do get a years supply of contacts!)
In our defence of dinner out for our aniversary, everything except helping out MIL happenend AFTER we'd already gone out. Had we known about the vet and truck bills, we would have picked a cheaper restaurant! Now, we had the money for everything, but I was hoping to put it towards paying off our debt! Now November will be the second month in a row that I won't be able to put extra towards our debt repayment. December is an extra paycheck month because their are 5 fridays that month, plus I get my bonus from work (we've been told we WILL get one for sure!) so IF nothing else pops up, even after Christmas gifts and our year-end charitable donations, we'll be able to put a lot towards the debt! But DH's truck still needs four new tires, my car needs two new tires and work on the suspension...oh...I just gave myself a headache! At least Tim can do the work on my suspension, all we have to pay for is parts.
Our dog Missy had to go to the vet for minor surgery yesterday. She had a small growth on her gum that was pushing out one of her teeth, and her teeth also needed to be cleaned. $450 and two pulled teeth later, she's just fine. She was sleepy last night from the medicine, but this morning she was back to her old self.
Another monkey rench in the budget is my DH's co-workers wedding. It's Nov. 4 and it's just far enough away that we need a hotel (especially since we'll both be drinking) plus the cost of the gift. We'll have fun, but it will run about $200 between the gift and the room. Oh, and I need to find something to wear, I might have to buy a dress...all my "dress up" clothes are either too big or too small, or are too formal. At least I'll get future use out of a new dress.
I guess DH better keep working that overtime!
This is what I said when I logged in to my bank's website this morning and saw the amount my DH's paycheck deposit was! But let me start from the begining.
DH often gets overtime. In a good week he get an extra $300. In a really good week, he'll get $500.
This week he got $1000 in overtime and bonus money for being in charge of several shifts!!!!!! That's on top of his normal pay, it came out to more than double what his base paycheck is with no OT included.
I was at work when I saw what the deposit was, so I called DH at home. I asked him "Why is your check was so high, what were you doing, selling crack?" "Yup" he answered! He explained he was put in charge for several of the shifts on top of working extra shifts, and between the two he just made huge $$$$.
If you've ready my previous blog posts, you know that DH ran up the CC last month and that I was going to have to dip into savings to pay for it. He made enough in just this past week that I won't have to do that now, we'll just squeek by! I do feel a little bad, he hates to be in charge on a shift, it really causes him a ton of stress. Still, he wouldn't have needed to if he hadn't run up the bill in the first place.
The bad news is that our dog Missy is going to cost us $300 in vet bills. Poor thing is having problems with her teeth and has to go under to have a few pulled and to have them cleaned up. But, that's been the only "unexpected" expense that has come up this month. I put that in quotes because very few expenses in life are unexpected, if you have a pet they WILL cost you money at some point, the only surprise is when exactly it will happen (hint: usually at the worst possible time). But that will be on next months statement, plenty of time to adjust the budget to cover the cost.
DH is not a numbers guy. Plainly put he just does not care about personal finances. Case in point, I was showing him last months CC statement. He couldn't figure out why we owed them money because LAST month's payment was on THIS statement. To him, it meant we already paid THIS month's statement and we shouldn't owe them anything. I couldn't make him understand that the payment was on there because the statment shows ALL activity to the account, including payments. He just didn't get it! He's not stupid, by any means, but "money stuff" just baffles him.
So, our 1 year wedding aniversary was yesterday, and for the past 12 months I've been hitting him in the head with a 2x4 trying to get him to understand that getting rid of our credit card debt is going to give us many, many more options in life. He keeps asking where all the money goes and I keep telling him, and he just doesn't get it. At least until now.
My last post I said that if he didn't get his spending act together, I was going to take away his card with the really high limit and give him back his old one with the $700 limit. With what he spends on gas for his commute to work, he wouldn't have much left over to blow on "fun stuff". Yesterday he voluntarily gave up the high limmit card. He said he just gets too tempted with stuff we don't need, or don't need right this moment. If he legitimatly needs to spend more than his limit (like for the remodeling we're doing), I'll just go with him to Home Depot or wherever and put it on my card.
He still doesn't get where the money goes (I keep telling him but he doesn't listen, or maybe it's just selective hearing...) but I seem to be making some progress, at least!
And it's not all DH, lately I've been having more trouble too. I do need new work clothes, but I spent more money than stictly nessesary, and I've been bad about eating out lately too. But the marjority of the overspending is coming from his end and with this change, I hope we'll be back on track.
Speaking of eating out, we went out last night for our aniversary (and it will be our last outing this month, and maybe even for next month, too!) and had a very nice time!
I got a nasty surprise on Friday. DH ran up the credit card. He has some short term memory problems (really, he does!) at times and over the month he just didn't realize how much he spent.
We have the money to pay it off in full, but we'll have to dip into savings a little bit to cover it. He was truely sorry when I brought it to his attention, and the fact that he now has to work a ton of overtime to keep the damage to a minimum ought to drive the lesson home. I told him if he does it again I'm taking away the United Chase credit card that has the super high limit and I'm giving back his old one with an $800 limit. That will cover him for gas and the occasional trip to Home Depot for remodeling projects. It will force him to think a bit before spending, while at the same time allowing him to be able to get the stuff he needs (like gas and lumber). I told him I didn't want to do it but we just can afford to keep spending like this. He agreed to that, if he goes nuts again this month he'll use his old card again.
Plus I told him I'm getting a part time job (I was planning to before this happened, it just put a fire under my butt is all). He hates that idea, he says it makes him feel like he can't take care of me (not that I've ever asked to be taken care of, of course. Must be a 'guy' thing). I told him it's just until we get our 0% credit card paid off, or at least down a whole bunch. This should also make him think a bit before buying something we really don't need. Besides, with him working nights, I get kind of bored sitting at home. The new tv season has helped, but still, I just need to get out of the house! May as well get paid for it! So, I'm going to apply at Barnes and Noble in the next day or two. Wish me luck!
I didn't want to make him feel bad about all of this, I really didn't. But he has to realize he doesn't work for his old company anymore making $100,000 a year and can't go out and buy what he wants, when he wants. I think he is finally starting to get that.
I have T-Mobile for my cell phone service. My current plan gave me 600 minutes for $50 a month after taxes. The problem is, I never use my phone! I really only have it for car emergencies and for when I travel (about 2 to 3 times a year). I checked my last statement, I only used 1 minute last month!
So after a bit of research, I decided that T-Mobiles pre-pay plan would work much better for me. But I didn't want to spring for a new phone, I like the one I have, I don't want to re-program and learn a new phone, and I just plain didn't want to spend the money! So, I called T-Mobile and asked if I could switch to the pre-pay plan and keep my phone, or did I have to buy one of the phones that come packaged for the pre-pay. He said I could keep my phone and he could switch me right then, I could even keep my phone number! So, their cheapest card is $15 and is good for 90 days, so at worst, if I don't use the phone, it will cost me $5 a month for something I don't use, which is a $45 a month savings. And for when I do go out of town, or if something changes and I start to use my phone more, I just need to buy more minutes. I also found out that if you buy their $100 card, it's good for a full year and if I buy more minutes before it expires, it extends them for another full year. So, if I buy $100 today, and 11 months from now buy another $15, whatever minutes I have left from the $100 and the new $15 are now good for another year. I may go this route, then I won't have to remember to buy new minutes every three months. Because you know that the time I really need to use my cell is going to be the day AFTER the minutes expire! Murphy's Law at it's finest!
We had a good time in Wisconsin, we didn't win anything at the casino, but we didn't lose all our money, either. We had a nice hotel room and had a great dinner at the steak house there, and we learned to play black jack. In short, we had fun, and that's always a good use of money in my book!
Tim wanted me to turn the furnace on the other day. I told him I'd rather freeze than turn it on in September!
Normally we ease into fall in NE Illinois, but not this year. Everyone is predicting a harsh winter. Lovely.
We have to replace the roof on the back of the house, and I'm not happy about it, it means the home inspector missed it, and now I wonder what else he missed! The front roof is fine, that seemed to have been done properly with good materials. Tim says the back roof was done half-assed and with cheap materials, which is why it needs to be replaced now but the front roof is fine. So that will be around $1000.
I am happy that Tim installed a garbage disposal for me in the kitchen sink! I've been living without one for over a year and I can't tell you how happy I am that I don't have to clean out the drain trap anymore! Yuck, I hated that! We got one of the new super quiet ones from Insinkerator and you can barely hear it, even when it's grinding up stuff. Kind of weird, actually...
Tim and I both have the weekend and part of next week off from work. We were going to go to Vegas but we had to many other expenses so we canceled. But we're going up to one of the indian casino's in Wisconsin near the Dells overnight on Tuesday, so we'll have a little get away and I'll still be able to play the slots. Maybe I'll win enough to pay for the roof....
...at the moment. Same old stuff is going on. I'm super busy at work and Tim is working tons of OT as usual. My parents made it back AZ safe and sound, we'll see them when they come back for Christmas. Tim's working on the fence, hopefully that will be done in another month or so.
Speaking of home improvements, we've made a list of what projects we want to do in what order, if things go close to schedule we'll have it all done in two years or so. There are some big ticket items like new siding, new furnace/AC, new driveway, a kitchen remodel and two bathroom remodels, and a host of middle to small sized projects. It will cost us less than it sounds, because we'll do a lot of the work ourselves. Actually everything except the HVAC stuff and the driveway, really! I'm just glad we have down on paper, it gives us more of a focus, rather than just walking around the house saying "someday we'll get around to fixing that!".
I took Mondy through Wednesday off, just to hang out at home, so I only went to work yesterday and today. Makes for a short week!
Yesterday while driving to work, my little '98 Saturn rolled over to 100,000 miles. I was disapointed when nothing happend, I kind of expected confetti to shoot out of the heat vents and maybe a little song to play. Guess they didn't include that in the '98 model year... Kiding aside, the car still looks and runs great so I have no plans to replace it in the next 2 years. So nice not to have a car payment (although Tim's truck payment is high enough for two cars, but that's a topic for another day...).
On Wednesday I went out with my mom, who is in town with my dad over the summer to escape the heat of Arizona. They go back home next week and I wanted to have a "mother-daughter" day before they leave. We went out for lunch (Mom paid! ) and then went window shoping at the mall. Then we went to the riverboat casino, mom want me to show her how to use some of the more complex slot machines, the electronic ones with the 9 paylines and bonus rounds. Anyway, I won $150! (mom lost $40). I gave it to Tim to help pay for more lumber for the fence.
Speaking of the fence, we finally have the south line done, all that's left is the back of the yard (the west line). But since that has a chain link fence already from the neighbors, Missy is now able to run around without a leash! She's having a high ol' time, chasing the neighbors cats and all the squirels. She won't catch them, and even if she did she just wants to play, not eat them so it's all in good fun.
Tim got lots of overtime last week so this weeks check is nice and big. Good timing too, we had to order our extra prints of the wedding pictures, and we had to buy $400 worth of lumber for the fence all at once because it was being discontinued. Between the two, it kind of wiped us out, so the OT will more than make up for it, especially since he's getting a lot this week so next week's check will be a good one too!
My Quicken experiment is still going well. I can't seem to get it to update my credit card statments though, I'll have to work on getting that figured out. Otherwise it's working quite nicely.
DH got paid today. Out of that his truck payment and insurance must be paid. The rest pays of two of DH's "one time" bills. He has more ways of wasting money sometimes, I could kill him! This comes out of his overtime money, but I wish he'd cut back on some of it (he won't and it's not worth the fight, and it's his OT afterall). One of them is for a "collectors" train set and the other is for some dumb "book of the month" club, and he doesn't even read! He just likes hard cover books (he works in the printing industry, I guess it's just professional curiosity!).
Anyway, after that's all paid, there's nothing until next friday, and next weeks checks pay for the mortgage, gas, and gorceries. Spent before it's even made!
In other news, my new Quicken program is working nicely. It really helps to see our cash flow situation and I can see how upcomming bills will affect our current balance and future deposits. I can see anu shortfalls before they happen and can hold off on certain bills or transfer money between accounts as needed. I've never bounced a check or payment but there have been a few close calls when I forget about an automatic payment or that I mailed a check for a one time purchase or bill. So far, so good. Well see how I still like it a month from now!
Also, I'd like to thank all you readers out there. I just noticed I have over 5,000 views on this blog, which to me is amazing since I don't think it's very interesting! Thanks for reading!
We have a huge, 80 year old sycamore tree in our back yard. Over the winter we noticed a lot of smallish branches and twigs falling from the tree. We weren't sure what to think, we've never owned a tree before! In the spring, there were very few leaves and they all fell off after a few weeks, along with even more small branches and leaves. It re-leaved a month later and looks okay, but we knew something had to be wrong with it.
We called an arborist (tree doctor) and they came out, said our tree had some type of desease (I looked it up on the internet and the symptoms matched, so we knew weren't being jerked around). They recomended that they prune it, give it an injection to cure the disease, and then fertilize it in the fall. Plus they want to inject it again next spring, aparently it's been sick for a few years and they don't think 1 injection will clear it up.
So, they pruned it and did the injection. $250 for the pruning (it did really need it, especially after that huge branch broke off during the wind storm last month) and $450 for the injection. I think the fertelizing will be another $200 or so.
Expensive, but much cheaper than having the tree die and paying $3000 to $4000 to have it removed (or worse, fall over onto our garage or the neighbors house!). Plus, it's an 80 year old tree, we don't WANT to cut it down, even if it had turned out to be cheaper to do so.
Someone remind me again why I wanted to move to a single family home? I didn't have to deal with this stuff when I owned my condo!
I'm such a geek! I'm so excited and can't wait to go home and intall the software so I can start to play with it. It will have to wait for tomorrow though, I'm going out with my friends tonight for a girls night out, the first one in a VERY long time! I'm paying for it out of DH's OT this week.
Put $620 towards paying off the CC today, that's $900 so far this month, if DH gets more OT and doesn't need money for the fence, then I'll be paying even more this month.
Gas was $3.19 at Mobil this morning. At least I only have to fill up once a week.
I've been using the same budget for years now. Not the same numbers (I wish!), but the same format. And it's just not working.
I've got too much stuff as "miscellaneous" or just flat out not listed (like car maintenance, for example). At first it was $5 here, $10 there each month, no big deal. But now there are just too many purchases of all sizes falling through the cracks, and I really need to get a clearer picture of where our money is going. We charge almost everything to a credit card that we pay off monthly, and the latest statment was much, much too large. We had the money to pay it, but I had to dip into savings, which is NOT a good thing. We've got to nip this in the bud, and right now.
So, I'm going to bite the bullet on Friday (payday) and buy Quicken (right now it's all in a plain old Excel file). We use Turbo Tax for taxes and they are compatable, so I figure it's the best bet. I've already sat down and listed every single catagory and sub-catagory that applies to us in my Excel sheet, so it should be quick to get everything transfered over to the new program (by hand, I doubt it will be able to import it, but who knows!). Now it will just be a matter of getting Tim to give me all his receipts, so I can mark stuff in the appropriate place! It should even help at tax time, now that you can choose to deduct either your sales tax or state income tax. We can track our actual sales tax spending and pick the one that gives us the bigger deduction. IL state income tax is only 3%, so given how much we spend, I think sales taxes could wind up being a higher deduction!
I'm a spread sheet geek, so I'm actually looking forward to getting this all set up. I think it will go a long way towards helping us met our financial goals.
We ran out of pop on Monday night, so yesterday I ran to Jewel on my lunch hour to stock up. I noticed they had a mail in rebate for $5 if you bought two 12 packs. Great! Got back to the office and noticed you had to buy the pop by the 31st, and yesterday was the 1st. Drat!
However, while at the store buying pop I noticed Lean Cuisine's were on sale 4 for $10, or about $1 off each. So last night afterwork, I ran out and stocked up on a month's worth of them. I eat them for lunch at work everyday. So, since I bring my diet pop from home (19 to 23 cents a can, depending on how much a case is running) and just have an LC to eat, I'm having a hot lunch for less than $2.75 a day AND losing weight at the same time. Not bad! And as a bonus, one of those coupons printed out at check out for $2.00 off my next purchase of 10 Lean Cuisines. I'm thinking of going back tonight (sale end's today) and buying some more just to use the coupon and get the sale price too, but our stand-up freezer is starting to get full. I'll have to see if I can re-arrange things.
Today, I had to go buy Missy's expensive dog food at PetSmart. Purena is cheaper, but from the research I've done, it's low quality. Keeping Missy healhty and out of the vet's office is cheaper in the long run, plus I want Missy to be happy and healthy just because I love her! Anyway, it's $30 for a huge bag (lasts a good two months though!) but I can do a rebate for a $5 PetSmart gift card. And the rebate can be done online, nice and easy!
After PetSmart, I run to Costco to get the pickles that Tim loves that I can only find there (at least their cheap!) and also pick up a few other things we are low or out of. I love Costco, but my biggest complaint is that they don't have low fat or fat free versions of many items. They have Triscut crackers, but not low fat Triscuts. They have cheddar cheese in every form imaginable, but all are full fat, no reduced fat or 2% cheddar cheese (same with mozzerella). Campbell's cream of mushroom soup is the regular kind, they don't have the reduced fat. I could give you 10 more examples of items that I'd buy from them if they were only the "diet" versions. So, I'm stuck with the sales at Jewel (which sometimes are still a great deal, though).
And I'll be doing more shoping tomorrow, Jewel has a huge BOGO sale starting Thursday and they've got a bunch of stuff that we normally buy, so I'll be stocking up even more.
All of this shoping, and it's all boring stuff like groceries and pet food. Why don't I ever get to buy cool stuff like clothes and shoes? Oh, wait, that's right. I'm a cheap skate!
Thank goodness we bought those window a/c units! Our central a/c doesn't work and we won't be able to afford replace it (and our aging furnace) until next spring. They are calling for temps in the low 100's over the weekend with high humidity, I hate to think what it'd be like if we didn't have them! And so far, it's been about the same to run the two window units as the central air was at my condo, so our electric bills haven't even been that bad.
In other news, Tim got a ton of overtime last week, so his paycheck this week was huge! I'll be able to pay the one CC we still charge to (we use it for gas and the occasional online order) in full the day the new statement is ready, rather than having to wait for the next paycheck. That puts us a full month ahead, which will make bill paying much easier. I'm finding that it's not that we don't have the money to pay bills, we do and then some, but it's more of a "cash flow" issue. If we can get 1 month ahead on all of our bills (which we just about are) then I can just pay them the moment we get them in the mail and not have to worry about "the electric is $X and the cell phone is $Y, but the cell phone is due the 7th and the electric the 16th and we get paid the 14th but we need groceries so what do I pay now and what has to wait until we get paid?"
My parents left on Thursday, so I have my house all to myself again. I like seeing them (especially since Mom does the dishes for me! ) but it is also very nice to be back in my normal routine. And, my SIL should be comming home from the hospital today, she went through the surgery just fine and should be back to normal in a few weeks once she fully heals.
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.
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