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Archive for November, 2008

First Things First. Finally I Get It.

November 20th, 2008 at 03:43 pm

DH and I had a long talk last night (and this morning). We looked at a debt management program (CCCS-ish) again, and it just doesn't look like it will be worth it. We have the income, however, it was the crazy catch-up we have to do, that was scaring me. So, we came up with a budget we both agreed on - it's starts Dec 1. We will use his next two pay checks to ensure we are current on everything. And then.... we will put everything we have towards our very first baby step. Once we have that, I will implement my special savings plan (for all the fun on the left). For now, our EF is most important.



So, I had an interview with Bank of America today... It was my second, and if I did well enough, I will have another round. I need this job. It's been leaked that we won't be needed come February, so there goes my safe feeling (we were originally told 9/09).

I feel like I have to put some more away, just in case. Obviously.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner - Wednesday

November 19th, 2008 at 03:47 pm

Yeah. We stuck to our meal plan this week! I am so proud.

Here's our next week's (starting Friday).

New Savings Goals for 2009 (I think you'll be pleased)

November 17th, 2008 at 02:05 pm

at least more pleased than you were before.

I just worked on the budget again, and with DH's new raise, less car ins, and a few tweaks here and there - we have an additional $600 a month. Nice, huh?

So, I am putting $600 towards debt, $400 to Dell and Kay ($200 each - yes still debt, but higher monthly minimums) and $300 for Savings.

I've decided to take Merch's (and others for sure) idea of putting more towards the EF. And then I decided to make my goals more short term (quarterly).

Here is what I came up with:

Quarter One (January, February, March)
EmerFund (SunWest) $250/month
Orange House $5
Kid 1 $5
Kid 2 $5
Kid 3 $5
Disney $5
Hawaii $5
Roth - Me $5
Roth - DH $5
HSBC $5
Keep the Change $5

Goal in EF for Q1 = $750

Quarter Two (April, May, June)
EmerFund (SunWest) $200/month
Orange House $10
Kid 1 $10
Kid 2 $10
Kid 3 $10
Disney $10
Hawaii $10
Roth - Me $10
Roth - DH $10
HSBC $10
Keep the Change $10

Goal in EF for Q2 = $600

Quarter Three (July, August, September)
EmerFund (SunWest) $200/month
Orange House $10
Kid 1 $10
Kid 2 $10
Kid 3 $10
Disney $10
Hawaii $10
Roth - Me $10
Roth - DH $10
HSBC $10
Keep the Change $10

Goal in EF for Q3 = $600

Quarter Four (October, November, December)
EmerFund (SunWest) $150/month
Orange House $30
Kid 1 $10
Kid 2 $10
Kid 3 $10
Disney $10
Hawaii $10
Roth - Me $15
Roth - DH $15
HSBC $25
Keep the Change $15

Goal in EF for Q4 = $450

I can go with this, or I can go with that.

November 16th, 2008 at 02:11 pm

So, I was reading on Debt Reduction 101's blog about her Debt Management program... and I checked them out. They said that 2 companies do not belong to the program, so with the other remaining cards, I would have to pay $229 a month and I should be able to pay it off within 5 years (about $10K total).

$185 towards debt
$ 39 admin fee
$ 5 dues of some sort
-----------------------
$229


That still leaves cards to pay on our own. If I add up what my monthly minimums are - and add a little extra ($5-$10 per month) - that equals to $392 a month (all towards debt, no fees). I have about $550 budgeted each month for debt repayment... so I think I am going to go at it on my own for a bit, and see what I can do. The goal is to not murder my credit score, but still come up with a feasible way to pay down the cards within the next 5 years (or sooner, if we can). If I find I am still in over my head in January - then I will reconsider. I did love how I could do everything online, though!

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DH was promoted recently, and I finally got a hold of his new salary. He is making just $4K less than me now, but since health ins. comes out of my pocket - we will be bringing home the same amount. YEAH!! And it's SALARY - no more guessing from paycheck to paycheck. This should make things easier, right?

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The Phoenix Suns won on Friday night!! =) And true to our word, we grilled cheeseburgers and ate warm, salty, french fries by the fistful. It was a great night.

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Our dogs are not adjusting well to our recent move. They are used to having a big back yard. Chloe (dog) is becoming very testy with Nico (kid) - I cannot leave them alone. Well, we took them out last night, then brought them in to the bathroom (it's tiled, and huge!) and left them while we went for a longer walk. We were gone about an hour and when we got back, Chloe ate the door jamb trim (is that what's it's called?) ATE IT. Shredded it. In pieces. Gone. Well, about 24 inches of it. As much as I love them, it's been very tough the past two years. They just don't seem happy. We are considering finding new homes for them. My oldest son, Xan, is not happy... but I think he's starting to see what we mean. So, tough decision there to make.

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Well, it's Sunday - the day I dread the most. I have three kids to get ready for Monday morning. And now, even more fun, I have to plan our route tomorrow since we are down to one vehicle. Our tuck is parked at my MILs and will be fixed over the next month or so. Until then, we will be carpooling!


Game On!

November 14th, 2008 at 05:16 pm

Feeling chatty tonight, sorry! =)

So... DH and I were going to go to our favorite wing joint/sports bar tonight. I said "Let's take the two oldest kids, they would enjoy it." DH agreed. Then I remembered that a soda costs $2 each there. Basic math, JJ. $2 x 4 = $8. Umm. Nope. So... DH got hamburger meat at Costco, and we are going to grill some cheeseburgers, make up some french fries, and share a 2 ltr of Dr. Pepper. It's Friday night, and basketball season is in full swing.



Purse Party - Woot Woot!

November 14th, 2008 at 03:55 pm

Work is SSSLLLOOOWWWW so I decided to;
1) Balance my checkbook - I have never done that before. I always use Online Banking, but that's not working out too well. =D
2) Clean out my purse - Here's what I found:

3 Pens
20 Receipts
3 Checkbooks
4 Lip Glosses (oh so very similar in color)
4 Pens
CVS Card
Wallet (Hot Mess!)
Small Notebook
Crouton (hmmm. if only I had a ranch packet)
Small Clothespin (from a BabyShower)
Expired Coupon (.75 cents of next order)
Bullet (My son found it at the firing range)
A Hot Pink! Sticky Pad
5 dollar bills
$8.00 in quarters
$2.90 in dimes
$0.85 in nickels
$0.48 in pennies

All quick like - that's $17.23 I FOUND in my purse. How cool is that?

Now, rest assured - all of those things did NOT go back into my purse!! lol...

Ignore this Post

November 14th, 2008 at 02:31 pm

Just doing some housekeeping...
and rearranging the blog... =)

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

November 14th, 2008 at 01:34 pm

I normally like to get our meal plan done before Friday, since we usually shop on Friday's. I am slacking.

I am at work... and I just got an email from my husband (for the sake of simplicity, we will call him DH - as in dear husband). DH asked me to email him back a list of the groceries we would need for next week, and he would take Nico (our almost two year old) shopping before I got home.

After I picked myself up off of the floor, I quickly created a simple meal plan...



I made sure he knew to buy what was on sale, for each item (I don't necessarily care about name brand right now), and to stay within our budget.

I will let you know how he does!

Squeal of Tires...

November 13th, 2008 at 12:10 am

....car alarm going off....knock on my door at 1am.

My car is gone. They came and picked it up. =(

We had no choice - but damn that hurts ones pride. I have never had anything like that happen before. They refused to work with us or help in anyway (which sucks because in today's economy, I am sure there are a ton of people behind).

We still have our Odyssey and our Ford F-150 (which is 10 years old and needs some engine work) - so we will survive.

I will never, ever, ever let this happen again.

Follow Up to Savings

November 12th, 2008 at 12:13 pm

For those of you who have commented on my previous post... Thank you. As I mentioned in a reply, those accounts have been open for a long while, and are on auto-pilot. The amount going to them is very little.

In the end, if I need money, I move it. I like having the separate accounts, because it motivates me.

In regards to Disney and Hawaii... I had them posted previously (a few months back) and I forgot to add this time around...



As you can see from a snapshot of my ING account - they have dates on them. If we are still in trouble at the end of 2010- we won't go to Disneyland. Simple as that!

lol... I promise... Having those subaccounts is merely a mind trick. I need it to keep me motivated.

I truly appreciate your thoughts and ideas. THANK YOU! Smile

That Dirty, Four-Letter Word

November 12th, 2008 at 09:08 am

First and foremost... Savings Plan!
I spent several hours coming up with a monthly goal - to put away $200 a month into our various savings accounts. That may not seem like a lot to some, but I have d.e.b.t. (blech!). So, a good portion of our income has to go to that as well.



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


I know I said before, that I would keep this blog focused on savings, but I feel like I should give some additional background information.

In July of this year, we fell behind. A lot. I haven't been able to pay our one car, and some of our credit cards. I recently had a friend go through bankruptcy (with a much larger debt pile than us) - and it seemed easy, and fast and "cool". I called and got an appointment. The husband and I felt a little relieved... we could start over, we could BUY groceries. The "salesman" sold us. We signed on the dotted line, offered up 4 post-dated checks for the payment plan, all this even though we were told that they didn't know what to do with us. Our income was high, but we were over the allotted amount (in terms of monthly bills) by $500. So, it wasn't a pretty picture, but they couldn't tell us if we could file Chapter 13 or 7, or either at all. Regardless, we agreed to a $990 (discounted from $1200) Pre-Bankruptcy review.

The first of my payment plan checks cleared on October 15. And then I got to thinking. This is SERIOUS stuff. Never again will I be able to check mark "No" on the "Have you ever filed bankruptcy" question. I am in the banking industry - this could cause issues when applying for jobs. When would we be able to finally buy a house? What are we DOING?

We have about 10K in Credit Card debt (up $10K from 2 years ago when we had zero), and another 5-6K in medical bills (son was born premature - lots of medical bills!)

I called the lawyers on Monday, and told them we wanted to cancel. They asked what my plans were (seeing as I was 70 days late on our cards and 90 on our car). I told them we would do what we needed to - it just didn't involve BK. I don't feel we have tried to remedy the situation at all - that we jumped straight to BK. In my defense, I felt hopeless...I have been given notice at work (we were acquired by a big bank) - thankfully, I have until 9/2009 to find a new job - but it was still very fresh at the time, and I was ready to give up.

So, with the Pre-BK review cancelled (and after a cancellation fee of $250 - even though they had yet to do ANYTHING) I called Consumer Credit Counseling [CCCS]. They can help, and they won't kill my credit too much (or anymore that I already have).

And then I got a call from one of my credit card companies. They offered to allow me to make two $25 payments a month until I was caught up. Then two more of my cards called... I only had to pay the minimums that were behind - $30 on one, $42 on the other. They would worry about the over limit charges later. Suddenly, things didn't look so scary. These numbers were smaller than the DUE NOW amounts that screamed at me each month.

My husband and I decided to put our big people underoos on - and do what we could to fix our mess. (I cancelled the meeting with CCCS)

Some positives that have happened - he got promoted ($$$), we moved closer to our family and work, we pay less in daycare (thanks to his sister watching the little one).

We have decided to let go of our 4 year old car. It was a bad deal to begin with - our final payment is going to be around 3-4K due to the way the contract was written and our late payments(we got it when we didn't have awesome car credit). The payments are $455 a month - and we still owe $13K. I don't know if it's the RIGHT thing to do, but it's what we have decided to do. I cannot come up with the $1700 due, and they will not budge on offering to defer the payments or extend the contract.

So- that's where we are. I will be making small payments on each of the cards on Friday. I just had to pay $172 to the dentist for my daughter (3 baby teeth had to be pulled). That's tough...

It's going to be hard, but in the end - we will have accomplished something on our own. It may take a while to get caught up completely, and back on track with our credit - but I am in it to win it. I think we will be sitting pretty in 5 years. That's our 5 year plan. To be sitting pretty! =) And as the title of my blog states - NO PAIN, NO GAIN!

In the meantime... we will build our EF, sell what we can, save where we can, use coupons, and just plain do without.

Gearing up for January

November 11th, 2008 at 01:12 pm

I have decided to spend the next 1.5 months gearing up for January - by making goals.

I have decided that annual goals are great, but I want to start off with monthly goals. Baby steps.

Some of the goals I am considering are:

> NSDs
> No New Debt
> No Running Credit Report
> Savings Contribution
> Coupons

As I mentioned before, we are in the middle of a huge cleanup of a mess that was made (of the debt kind, of course). I am hoping, if we throw everything at that mess over the next few weeks, we can start off in January on track. We will still have debt repayment, but we won't be so far behind.

Do you have any ideas for mini-goals to help save money, spend less, and stay on track financially? Share them with me!

Famous First Post

November 7th, 2008 at 01:09 pm

I've been around before. I've read all of your blogs, followed some of your advice, posted some comments. But then July happened. And August. I became a stranger to my blog, to savings, and to our BIG PLAN. I was a Debt Dummy on a Mission... I am not so much a dummy any more - I have learned a lot. I just need to get the job done!

We've recently moved - the house we were renting was forclosed on. THAT was a surprise. Talk about added expenses. We are behind - a lot. BUT!! I won't let that stop us from getting back on the horse.

We are going to deal with our financial issues and at the same time, become frugal [scrimp and save]. That's what I am going to use this blog for... to keep me motivated to live with less, and save much more.