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We have a house in Wisconsin!

June 8th, 2009 at 01:04 am

Well, that's what is reported on DH's Equifax credit report, anyway! Can you believe it? Thank gosh there's no fraud - seems like a simple mistake. I think the mortgage is what's bringing DH's Equifax score way down. I am sure the Debt to Income ratio is bad.

So, I need to get a letter typed up and in the mail to get that cleared up. I'd like to see it gone and removed from the report asap so I can see what his true credit score is.

Oh... Guess what we got DH for Father's Day (a bit early, I know)...?!

A new laptop! He's been eyeing one for a long while (he's never had one, just desktops). It will come in handy for work, he's a manager who's out in the field a lot. Some people questioned this purchase - wondering why we didn't throw that $600 at debt. It was something I saved for, planned for, and added to the budget. We have worked so hard, and don't spend much money any more, if any. He deserves it! Smile

Know how he thanked me? He leaned in close and whispered the following in my ear, "There is no way you could have bought this for me, if you hadn't taken control and gotten us out of debt the way you have. Thank you!"

**GRIN**

Credit Score Chart

June 8th, 2009 at 12:49 am

Not sure why I didn't think of this sooner... Being the Excel geek that I am. Smile

We switched away from My FICO to BofA's Privacy Assist, and since they don't do fancy graphs, I went ahead and created my own (not too fancy, but still).





With all of the recent changes, I am dying to know what our August reports bring!

Strange

June 6th, 2009 at 08:33 am

Today was payday, and let me tell you how weird and strange it was to only have one credit debt payment due.

Very strange.
Very weird.

BUT I LOVED IT!

It's amazing. I do not need to make the minimums on our last three cards because they will all be paid off before their due date this month.

I save all of my old budgets, and just for fun I wanted to post a budget from June 2008... THIS IS JUST ONE PAYCHECK (out of 4 for the month)... Look at all of those things:



And here is our new and improved budget for June of THIS year.



What a difference.

I can taste it!

May 29th, 2009 at 08:55 pm

We are getting so close...

I rcvd a snowflake on the 27th... and it paid off AmGen (2400) and Kay (1100)!!! That's a saving of $380 a month know in our budget (not to mention the interest).

In June, we have our last three cards being paid off!

In July, we will be done with Dell!!

After Dell, it's Medical Bills from our credit reports! That will take Aug, Sept, and Oct!

We should be able to start socking away money in November for a down payment on a house.

Our lease is up in Sept, I don't really want to stay; I know we can find somewhere cheaper... but we don't really want to move in Sept, and then again next Summer. So we may just sign a 9 month lease, and get gazelle in our house buying journey.

I pulled our scores... they went from a median score of 483 and 488 (his and hers) to 548 and 516 in just 3 months.

Things are just looking good... Smile

Yay for my 401k!

May 9th, 2009 at 06:34 am

Wow. Since January... my 401K has DOUBLED. Nice to see it moving in an upward motion! I had taken a loan out last year some time, and I only owe $190 left on it. That will be another $30 in my check once it's paid off. Nice!

Yeah! Another one closed.

April 27th, 2009 at 06:39 pm

I am so very excited - I've updated my side bar to indicate another credit card has been closed. When I called just now, he asked why I wanted to close it.

I told him that I had too many cards, plus hated the annual fee (which is charged monthly). He laughed and said he would close it. I didn't think it was funny, but oh well. I am just glad it's gone!!

Something Positive

April 24th, 2009 at 05:54 am

Logged in to view DHs paycheck tonight (he gets paid tomorrow).

He got a raise... comes to $60 extra per paycheck. That's NICE! Also, he got a little over $1000 added to his 401K for Profit Sharing...

This makes me happy!!

P.S. One more hour until I kill another credit card!!

I hate waiting...

April 21st, 2009 at 05:20 pm

I may need to do something serious about this. Right now, our Snowball $$ is in my husband's second paycheck. That day takes FOREVER to arrive. There's only so much account checking, envelope stamping, and snowball salivating I can do. I am so excited to be able to pay off ANOTHER credit card this month!! Well, not just THIS month, but THIS Friday! We are getting there... and that's so very exciting.

My daughter turned 10 this past weekend, my mom had a lovely ladies luncheon for her, and we are taking her horseback riding on Saturday. Should be fun!

I started my new job, but still retain about 50% of the responsibilities from my old job. Frown Just until September - but I tell you... they don't pay me enough! ha!

I start my Masters on April 30. And to be honest with you... I am looking forward to my company's tuition reimbursement program. $5200. Since my classes are only 6 weeks long, I can request a lump sum... I love lump sum money! Big Grin

We are scheduled for a few snowflakes this year... so I am looking forwarding to paying off most of our debt by December. In January we will focus on the Van (and get it paid off 3+ years early) and then Student Loans.

I am praying we will be in a house by the end of next year! We've worked so hard!

In doing the new budget - I've rounded up a lot. I will be getting a reimbursement of $250 a month for childcare (I only pay $460). I will be budgeting the higher amount of course, and then use the $250 each month as a snowflake and pay off the next debt.

I am now working from home, so I have had to add a second phone line - this will also be reimbursed. So... by working from home, I am saving money on some internet (we can expense $150 a month for Blackberry, internet and phone line). I will also be saving money on not eating out or buying extra snacks for my work. It's quite nice working from home! Big Grin

In regards to our credit monitoring... at FICO. It keeps saying there are no alerts and no changes... Not sure how that's possible. We've closed 5 credit cards... shouldn't those trigger something? Hmmm. Off to investigate that!

Have a great day! It's going to be a HOT one here!



Trailer, Cleats, and Woody

March 30th, 2009 at 07:50 pm

We had a great weekend! We bought our little boy a bicycle trailer... it attaches to DH's bike. So, we went on our first official bike ride. The older kids had a blast, and so did Nic.

DH and I are super sore though. Maybe we went to far on our first time out?! Big Grin

The trailer cost us $86 but I think it will get its use... and then we can always sell it on Craigslist (or something).

I did go shopping with a girlfriend on Saturday. We went to Old Navy and I picked up 4 tank tops and 2 summer dresses. I haven't bought clothes in forever. It was fun to shop and fun to stay on budget.

My daughter starts Softball tomorrow night. We had to purchase some cleats ($17.99) and some socks and shorts. We are going this afternoon to purchase a used glove for her. I hope she enjoys this! It will be so good for her to get out and meet other girls (and get some exercise in).

My DH found a scorpion in our garage on Friday. The kids are calling him "Woody." They have him in a glass jar. He gives me the creeps. I think he will be disposed of tonight (if I have anything to say about it). I will have to have maintenance come spray in there (if that even does any good).

Anyway - I feel like it's going to be a terrific week!

Hope all is well with all of you! Smile

2 More & Pleased as Punch

March 27th, 2009 at 05:28 pm

We paid off two more credit cards this morning. One for $538 and the other for $697 - What? It was only $571 when I pulled it up last week!! Yep - they charged me an annual fee. I called to close one of the cards today (same company, but I am keeping one open due to the length of time I have had it). Besides trying to sell me Term Life ins, they were pretty great. They noted my payment, I asked for the annual fee to be reversed - and they did it!

I am shocked! But pleased of course.

dumb dumb dumb

March 17th, 2009 at 11:46 pm

I made a stupid mistake. I paid a bill online using bill pay... we have two accounts, but only one is set up for bill pay. The money was in the other account - I forgot to transfer it over.

My bank paid the item. The same night, 5 Redbox (DVD rentals) cleared for $1.08 each. There was money in that account for those... but of course, they pay the largest item first... You know... they are doing me a favor! :/ I was just charged $35 for each of those $1.08s. I feel sick to my stomach. Sick Sick Sick.

- - - - - - - - - -

I am waiting for my tax refund... The IRS page isn't even locating it. It was filed on the 6th... I know it can take up to three weeks - but I would really like it NOW! lol...

- - - - - - - - - -

Darn, I still feel dumb. This just goes to show we need to make payday A LOT more simple around here. I need LESS bills!

Sickies, Pre-School, and $$$

March 16th, 2009 at 07:53 pm

So, we all have been really sick for the past week. My poor two-year old is suffering from an Upper Respiratory Infection, and a newly discovered Ear Infection (his first one - ever!).
So, that's money out the window (it pays to be healthy, I tell you!). I think between cleaning out the Vicks aisle at Wal-Mart and all of our prescriptions, these sickies cost us $157. Yikes!

Much to my surprise, my DH went and picked up the paperwork for the new Day Care I mentioned in my last post. I think Nic is ready for a more formal school-like setting; I think it will help his speech tremendously. Yes, it will be more than I am currently paying, but still a decent price in the grand scheme of things. I called the director just now to see how much it will cost me come Monday. I have a $100 registration fee and then I get a $400 coupon ($40 off for ten weeks). So, that's $88 a week (just $8 more than I am paying now). Effective April 1, I will receive $256 a month in credit from my employer. So, after my coupon runs out, and once I get my credit from BofA, I will only be paying about $64 a week in care - That's a savings!! Smile And the best thing, Nic will be in a great pre-school/day care.

Well, one other thing... I did spend $9 on a mini-backpack for him. I want him to realize the move is a Big Deal! Smile

Payday, Shopping, and a good price on Breasts!

March 15th, 2009 at 12:32 am

I started this month with a new Excel spreasheet that is too cool for words. Each tab represents my 4 different financial institutions... and within each tab, there are all of my specific envelopes. It took a while to set up, but this way I can use my debit card, instead of cash I hate carrying around that much cash. The envelope still "exists", just electronically. We got paid yesterday, so I split all of the money into the different banks, and then into the envelopes.


I just did my grocery shopping (on budget!) and Costco. I cannot believe I am going to type this... I was $50 UNDER budget at Costco. WOW! And I got a ton of great snacks for the kids (string cheese, gogurts,and stuff - all healthy-ish).

I think it helped not to by the boneless - skinless chicken breast at Costoc; rather I bought it at Fry's (Kroger). It was only $1.67 a pound for fresh, not frozen!. I bought three packages with 6 huge breasts (giggle!) in each - for the same price I would have paid for a total of 12 frozen. Score!

I've got our meals planned for the week, a STOCKED freezer and pantry... the weekend is shaping up! We have a lot going on next week... so I wanted to be as organized as possible.

My littlest DS is going to be starting a new DayCare next Monday - more expensive, but well worth-it. So we are going to go by him a back-pack and get ready for his "school" adventure!

Obama Money?

March 13th, 2009 at 04:21 pm

OK... you know the extra $13 or so a week that is supposed to be in our paychecks? Well, it showed up in my husbands... He is salary and always gets the same amount. This time it was almost $30 more.

Well, I also got paid today, and my paycheck is EXACTLY the same.

Is my company stealing my $26? =) hehe..

Your thoughts?

$0.04

March 3rd, 2009 at 11:21 pm

That's how much my auto ins. went up per month! Thankfully, I budget $76 (it's really only $75.25).

YAY!!

I was so afraid the rates would go up after the first renewal. We have such a great rate... I didn't want to pay more!

Oh, and in April - I get to pay the whole 6 months! No more month to month for us! Now, that's exciting!

A Savings of over $1500

March 3rd, 2009 at 02:03 pm

So... I am pretty excited. I found out yesterday that because I am an alumni of the school I will be attending for my Masters degree (to become a teacher), and because I am starting class in April - they are waiving my book/resource fees for two years!! The program is only 20 months long... that is a huge savings!!

I cannot wait to begin classes!!

Changes

March 1st, 2009 at 08:45 pm

So... in true Spring Cleaning fashion we moved rooms around last night. We now have a dedicated office again. I was sick of having our office in our bedroom. It was packed to the gills with computers, paper, and stuff. Not anymore. =) Thanks hubby for moving everything!

Today, we had to get Isabel some clothes. All her jeans that I bought her at the beginning of the year were no longer working... they got holes in bad places, and just plain didn't fit anymore. So, the kids and I walked (DH had the Van today) to Savers, a discount, used clothes store - kind of like a Goodwill of sorts) (I've never shopped there before - but I am trying). I budgeted $70, and I spent $70.10. Wahoo! On all three kids! Not bad. And they were fine with it. I promised the kids lunch @ Wendy's which was right next door to Savers, but I only took $80 with me - so we had to get lunch for 4 for only $10. We did it!

The whole walk, shopping, and lunch took 2 hours. The walk to Savers is 20 minutes. When we started it was 88 degrees outside (thanks to my nifty stroller temp gauge) and when we were walking back it was 93 degrees. The weather is perfect and warm. The smells of the trees and plants and flowers was delicious. Not sure how many of you have ever smelled the desert in the Spring, early Summer. It's very fragrant.

I am not going to lie, when we first started out - we were a bunch of complainers. Well, all except for Nic - he was in the abovementioned nifty stroller. My shins were killing me. We all need to get healthy so badly. Well, at least that was our third walk since Monday. We just need to keep it up.

This evening, I will be planning our menu and going grocery shopping. I should have done it yesterday, but the Spring Cleaning bug bit me.

Feb Spending Log

March 1st, 2009 at 12:13 am

I think I am going to revamp this for March... start as I aim to continue! Smile

I think we did an awesome job with our Allowance... (the kids didn't get theirs due to behavior, so it went in their Savings Account) and our overall debt reduction.

FICO Scores Ran

February 28th, 2009 at 11:10 pm

I felt like we needed a good base point, so I ran our FICO scores. These do not include our 3 credit cards we just paid off... so it will be interesting to see how that changes things.

Just a note, before we lost our car, they were in the 500s (515 - 520 range). And now after the car (which does show up on our credit report), they barely dropped in my opinion. I thought they would have been a lot lower.

I am not proud, but as I told my husband, we can only go UP from here. We have been doing everything right since November, I am proud of that.

So here they are:

JJ:


DH:


Oh, and our total debt:

Paid ANOTHER One

February 28th, 2009 at 03:47 am

Orchard 4 (because there are four, total) is GONE! Smile Smile

Paid it today ($488), and had DH close it!!

Wahoo. Only 6 little cards left.

Payday!!

February 27th, 2009 at 03:29 pm

I love it. Payday's make me so happy.
I recently posted that I would be paying off the $60 for Capital One on March 13... well, I completely forgot about our payday's today! So, it will be closed today!!

- - - - - - - - -

This is sad.... Traffic was horrible and freeways were closed this morning. Some stupid-head (censored)threw a woman out of the car on the freeway, she was then trying to crawl her way to the side of the road, but was hit several times by oncoming traffic. She did not survive. =( What is wrong with people?

- - - - - - - - - -

Our weekends are packed the next several weeks! We will have to be VERY careful with spending... But we can do it!!

- - - - - - - - - -

I start training for my new position on April 13. Very excited about that. It's nice to know I can keep working on my Baby Steps!!


Well, off to go buy my team some Bagels (yes, I will be filing an expense report).

Uh-oh. Senior Manager + Conf Call = Not Good

February 25th, 2009 at 12:20 am

But, it WAS good news!!

We've been mapped to Bank of America! They found a position in our same campus, for a bit more pay, M-F. I will no longer be a manager, but I am okay with that. I want to focus on school anyway for the next 20 months.

The position is with the Mortgage department, and it's NOT sales.

I can continue to pay all my bills off!!! Wahoo!!

Brrrrr.

February 21st, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Snowball alert!

$626.94 tuition reimbursement check in the mail today!!

Paid off 1st Premier (total paid = 268.26) - Cut up and oh-so-CLOSED!

Paid down my Capital One (total paid = 358.68). Balance owed on Cap 1 is $60. I will pay and close that card on March 13!!

Wahoo! Smile

I have no idea if we are getting a tax refund or not, but I hope so!! I would love to attack a few more bills!

YAY!

I am out $2200.00 and I want to cry.

February 19th, 2009 at 08:30 pm

The $2K I spent in cash to fix my truck was stolen from me. He (a horrible shop owner) kept telling us we needed more money, that we have unexpected expenses, more fees, more parts. I did a search on the BBB last night, and he has 17 complaints in the last 24 months for doing this to 17 other people. My husband accidently reviewed the wrong business... and normally he is so thorough... He is so mad at himself. I don't blame him though.

I was finally able to get my truck this morning, but it does not have the new engine, he wouldn't give it to me. And he would not give me my money back. It was a huge, nasty fight. He put in Paid Invoice number on the copy of the estimate my husband first signed, "showing" we paid for the engine and rcved it. It's a blatant forgery. He has done this to so many people. I am so sad. We had to pay $100 to get it towed out of there... now I have a truck with the old engine in the bed, in peices sitting at my mother-in-laws. I guess our carpooling days AREN'T over.

That $2K was the most money we ever had saved. And now it's gone.

I am going to pay off the loan that holds the lein in March, and then I think we will sell the truck for its parts (it's a 98 F-150, not worth much). The body is in perfect shape, hopefully we will get something for it. And then we have to save to buy a used car.

On top of all that, I ran into a fence post, when trying to help put the truck back in its spot at my MILs. Hard. And it hurts! I think I am getting a black eye. =(

Not a good day for me.

Dear Rendered Toast,

February 16th, 2009 at 05:18 pm

I can picture your avatar now!
Thank you for the advice (Click Here)! I always welcome ideas!

I have already gotten rid of one vehicle, and no longer have that $455 payment. I am not yet ready to give up the van, we will drive it until it is dead, and never finance another vehicle again. And as of right now, we owe less than what it is worth (not a whole lot, but still!). We will spend 2010 paying off the van, and it will be paid off 4 years early. We are very excited about that.

I just sunk 2k into our 98 F-150... the engine died. Otherwise it’s in excellent condition. We used cash. I have never been able to do that before! Smile

In regard to Verizon, Internet, Allowance, and Satellite...

The allowance amount is not very much compared to what we would spend if we didn't have it budgeted. $50 is for my husband, $50 for me, $20 for my teenage son, and $15 for my ten year old daughter. If they don't behave or complete their chores as assigned, they never see the money - it goes straight into their ING account. I've seen the damage we can do; I think the allowance amount is small compared to others I have seen. And as of right now, we both have those fifties in our wallets -- still not spent.

The other items you listed are all things I would love to cut back on (or out completely)... however, I do need Internet for school and work. I will check to see if I can save some money by omitting the never used Caller ID, Call Waiting, and VM. That could save me abt $10, I think.

For Verizon and Satellite - we have contracts. To get rid of Verizon, it would cost us $200 a line ($1000) to cancel the contract. We have a line for my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to share. They watch my son during the day, and they don't have a phone (they can't afford even a basic one from the local phone company) - I am their only source of income at the moment. I take the $10 it costs me per month and reduce it from daycare costs, so it works out in the end.

I have to check with DishNetwork to see what we have left on our Contract for HD. My husband works with them, and we get a $40 credit each month, so as soon as we can, I will be knocking down our programming to the bare minimum, so if there will be an amount owed, it might be for a Pay Per View movie or something.

I am proud to say, our snowball is currently $860 a month. January was an "off" month for us, but we are back in the game... We will be debt free (except the van and school loans) by the time I am laid off in September.

Notice from Capital One.

February 16th, 2009 at 04:54 pm

They are raising my interest rate.

And here, I thought it couldn't get any higher.

After 1st Premier and BofA this month, both of our Capital One's are next on the list.

We are having a budget meeting to discuss what to pay off next month. We will have our tax refund (amount unknown), tuition reimbursement ($632), our snowball ($850), and three normal payments to our American General loan by mid-March. That would wipe out that debt. The reason I consider it first is because the monthly payment is $256 a month... that's more than my little 9 credit cards' monthly payments combined.

So... we should have our budget meeting soon.

Praying for a nice refund!

You Have to Spend Money to Make Money

February 11th, 2009 at 11:31 pm

As I have mentioned in the past, I having my given my notice at work. Sad, but true.

A few weeks ago, I was watching a recorded (DVR'd) shows, and once it was done, the show that was currently airing happened to be the morning news. They were in the middle of an interview with a young woman who became a teacher through a internship/fellowship process. I was intrigued. I've always wanted to obtain my teaching certificate.

I went online, and after a few days of research the program, I applied. The application and question were lengthy. Well, when I got home from work yesterday, there was an email from the director of this program. I have been invited to interview for an Elementary teaching position at a high need school in Phoenix. I am very excited.

My Basic Skills tests are on March 28, and my interview (6 hours, different tasks) is on March 29.

I have a lot to study! It's been forever since I was in Elementary school! lol... I am going to have my kids help me! Along with the traditional interview, I also will have to teach a lesson plan I create, and write an essay.

Now... the spending money part. The basic skills test through the state is $105. And the fingerprint clearance card is $69. :/ Thankfully, I am getting my work bonus this week.

If I am selected to do this, they will forgive some of by undergrad student loans. In addition, I will be attending a Masters of Arts in Education (MAEd) program through Arizona State to obtain my license to teach in any school, and no longer as an "intern".

There is a 5 week (paid) training course this summer, and then I would be in my own classroom in August.

While I am practicing positive thinking, if for some reason I do not make the program, I will still go on to obtain my MAEd. Either way, it's what I want to do.

Did I mention I was excited?

- + - + - + - + - + - +

Payday is JUST around the corner. I cannot wait to get the first of the month's bills done and paid.

We are still waiting on our truck to get out of the shop. It's funny, I thought I'd miss that $2k a lot more. Out of sight, out of mind - I guess.

January - Spending Log

February 9th, 2009 at 01:42 pm

Not pretty, but it is what it is.



click to make larger

Budget Meeting

February 9th, 2009 at 12:46 pm

DH and I are on the same paycheck cycle right now. On Friday, we each get a paycheck and I get my annual bonus (kind of nice considering I have been issued a pink slip of sorts). Paycheck one is estimated, it could be more, but never less. Paycheck 2 is right on.


Here is what came of our Feb Pay 1 and 2 Budget meeting:




I know what our problem is...

February 9th, 2009 at 11:42 am

The bank and its Portfolio feature clearly tell me.

$545 last month in eating out.

O.M.G. We did so good in November and December. January was just a bad month. I can't afford anymore of those.

February is a no eating out month. Meals are being planned as I type.

+ + + + + + + + + + +

So, my little one is sick again. Another fever and throwing up. We were up at 1am and then again at 3. At 3, he decided he was hungry and was crying hysterically for a cracker. He hadn't eaten dinner, so I gave him some Ritz crackers and apple juice. And at 4:00 am, he threw it all up on my bed. Frown Needless to say, daddy is staying home with him today, and at 4:30 am I already have a load of bed stuff being washed.

I wish I could stay with him (for selfish reasons, too) but I have already missed so much work lately. It's time for daddy to call out.

+ + + + + + + + + +

My end date with my company is still scheduled for Sept 18, and my it's right around the corner. It's gotten so bad at work, I doubt they will keep my team past April. I have been looking at jobs with less pay now; I need something. I am getting turned down left and right for being over-qualified, which is so unfair.

In the midst of all this, I have decided to pursue my dream. It's something I have wanted to do for a long time, but the pay was always less than what I was making. I've decided, in light of everything these days, I don't care. I decided to enroll in school again to become a teacher. I start my Masters of Art in Education - Elementary Education in April! I am so very excited. The program only takes 20 months, and when I am done, I will be certified by the state to teach. However, the last 16 weeks, I will have to student teach, which means I will have to quit my full-time job (if I even have one then). So, we will have to start thinking about that pretty soon; we will need to create a plan.


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