It's been a whirlwind month and a half.
We are pretty much settled in to the new house.
Spending has been crazy, savings non-existent.
I am feeling quite anxious to get back on track.
We went from paying off debt to enjoying life while saving for the house, to spending NOTHING while the house deal was going on, to having to spend everything on the house and moving and necessary furniture, to not having any more cash - yet things still need to get done that require money.
We are starting to realize what our monthly bills will look like now that we are homeowners...I am not too afraid... but all of my budgets are on my personal computer which has yet to be hooked up. I feel a little lost without that information and my spreadsheets. I feel like I am not in control, or being held accountable.
The husband and I are going to spend the next 2 months making things work, then we are going to start FRESH come January 1.
We just made our FIRST mortgage payment... only 359 left to go.
My son started High School this year... so College is coming up quickly...[[scary!]].
So much to do and plan for - I am ready to tackle it all and to start enjoying this new chapter of our lives. =)
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It's been a whirlwind month and a half.
I think my last post said we started the pre-qual process for getting a mortgage. Our first ever.
Well, that didn't work out.
At the time anyway.
We got our renewal notice on the apartment in July, and that rate was going up $300 a month.
So we started looking at houses to rent again - anywhere from $1400-$2500 a month. Crazy.
So, I decided to apply for a home loan.
The ride was similar to that of a roller coaster - lots of letters of explanation, some rapid rescores from where stuff needed to be updated on the credit reports (had to get my scores up a bit, so close but not quite there - the rescore worked!)... a lot of stressing... even more stressing. We had a our downpayment, which was a blessing. So nothing to worry about there.
We closed on our house Friday morning.
We bought a spec home - brand spankin' new! It was pretty much done, but we got to pic out the appliances and do the landscaping (HOA will reimburse).
It's been sweat and tears... but we did it!
We get the keys on Thursday... and we still have a month to go before our lease is up - so we have the paint and supplies ready! We cannot wait to go in and make that 3700sq house, our home!!
Looking back on this blog,it seems like we've been working toward this for forever... It's all we have ever wanted.
We are starting the application process to get pre-qualified for a home loan. Gulp.
Everything is paid off, there are 0 balances on all credit cards. There is money in the saving's accounts...
I've not posted since Feb... life and work have been busy.
We've spent a bit of money last month.
Our oldest is getting braces next week, so I paid the down payment ($500) for that. I paid off a few medical bills that came in...and bought tickets to a Diamondbacks baseball game for this Friday for my daughter's birthday party....after all was said and done - I was able to add $200 to our down payment fund!!
I got a letter regarding a FANTASTIC snowball ($7k)...
and a few smaller ones should be coming in soon.
Still waiting to hear about taxes... I am sure we will get some money back, but prolly very little.
At this point - we are trying to scale back on spending, and just throwing money into our savings (along with the snowballs).
We won't be taking a vacation this year; instead, we are throwing the older two kids a "graduation" party (Pool Party/BBQ) at the end of May. One's graduating from elementary school, and the other middle school.
We are going to start house hunting in June! We are looking to build, so that's another 5 months. I am hoping we will be in a house by November or December!
Our credit scores are now in the mid 600s (they were 480 when we started in November 08). I think they will go up again as soon as the last of the medical collection show paid. waiting on that. And then we let things age for a bit...
So, all is good - It feels great to finally be in control!!!
I am spending today cleaning out the office. I work from home... and I also share the office with the husband, and the kids when they need it.
It was getting bad in here. I've had a lot of down time in December, including almost three weeks of vacation. Tomorrow, I have to get back into working - so that means I need to clean off the desks, shred, shred, shred, and get organized.
I've had to empty my shredder 3 times already... there was a lot of stuff. Mostly financial - thankfully, I've gone to almost all online statements.
I've found 16 items to get rid of -- most of them being books. I usually try to sell them at a used book store, but some of these were already declined. So, I am thinking of dropping them off at my grandma's retirement community. I have many more where they come from... What can I say? I love to read!
The kids and the husband are out cleaning up the garage - moving stuff around and decluttering also.
Nice way to spend a Sunday!
I may tweak these over the next few days; I figured that's allowed.
1) Add $1200 to the EmerFund by December 2010
2) Pay off last of medical collections by April
3) Offer settlement of 50% to SST
4) Add $1500 to HouseFund each month starting in April
5) Restart 401Ks in November (for both of us)
6) Log ALL spending
7) No using Credit Cards - at all!
8) Purchase first home by November 30
9) Do NOT apply for new credit / No new debt
10) Stick to zero based budget
I feel I need to make some of these goals more SMART... as I mentioned, I may make some deadlines... but just getting them down in writing (er, typing?) makes them real enough for me to get to work on them.
Of course, there's the always "eat more healthfully," "exercise more," and "spend a ton of quality time with my family"... those go without saying!
Happy New Year!
Working on a new budget/spending log.
Have to rebuild my sidebar.
Have to stay motivated.
Lots to do in the next 11 monhts!!
Man, look @ my sidebar go... I have knocked out a BUNCH of medical collection accounts. All the ones remaining are with one company... I am trying to decide how best to attack those. I am starting by having the Credit Reporting agencies validating them... and will go from there.
I've been playing with our Credit Reports for the last 3-4 days. For one, we are trying to remove that house/mortgage in WI that I mentioned in an earlier post, from my DH's file.
They removed the loan.
They then added the guys name to my DH's file.
They then removed the address, but put it back on.
I have faxed them at least 4 times...all the info they requested... today I finally sent paper copies and sent them via Certified Mail. Hopefully that will work.
I wonder how his score will change once the mortgage no longer reports...
I've also done clean-up on the reports, such as removing variations of our names and SSNs that are not ours... My goal is to get our score up by June so MAYBE we can start looking at new home builders...
keeping my fingers crossed...
I swear - it's so difficult to pay collection accounts. Having to track down some of these older companies is killer. It's like a game of Hide and Seek.
I managed to get two more accounts paid this week (updated sidebar). I have a good sized snowball at the end of the month that will help to eliminate a few more!
Added another $100 to my Emergency Fund... Added another $150 to our Short Term account, and also moved some money to my oldest son's ING Savings account - he added 10% of his birthday money!
We have my niece's birthday tomorrow - I have $50 set aside for that... and finally, to bring us to a zero-based-budget, I have $110 for groceries for the week.
I do have about $200 extra in my checking account - no idea where that came from. I will wait a few more days, maybe on Tuesday, and check to see if I forgot to send something out, or if we just did real good at not spending so much this past week!
Oh... I also started a new stash cash fund... It's in a Christmas Tin... and it started with a few $1's before Halloween... but every time I got to the grocery store, I get $5 cash back - and now there is a little over $100 in there!! Its purpose is not yet defined, but I am hoping I can keep adding to it so that when we buy our house next November, we will have some extra cash for stuff if we need it. I like it because I feel as if I cannot take money from it... just like my ING accounts...
The plan is working... I am saving!
So... I paid a medical collection bill that's been around for a while, but has NEVER been on my credit report. I paid the sucker... and now it was added to my report with a Zero Balance. WHAT?!?!
Is that right?
Edited to add:
Pulled out the collection letter, and it was a newer letter, one I got in October that said Pay Not and we won't Report. So I paid... I called the Credit Bureau and they said that if the account is in collections, they can report at any time, even after it's paid.
So I called the collection agency and he said "weird. we will get that taken of." I got his name and date & time of the call... I will check back later!
Hopefully it's gonna be taken off in no time!
Well, a new-to-us truck! It's a 2003 Ford Ranger...5 speed. Only one owner, CarFax was clean and guarenteed...My husband spied on it for days before we decided to test drive it.
Let me tell you, paying for a decent used vechicle in CASH is fantastic!! $3900. And I no longer have to take my husband to and from work! Huge stress relief.
Our ins. only went up $21 a month - not bad.
I am looking forward to the next 12 months of SAVING for our house!! It's gonna be here before we know it.
Mouth Closed Shut (from now on, anyways)...
Look, we make good money... We paid our credit cards off... We are paying our collections off... We have money left over @ the end of the money.... We don't spend all crazy like... Except for when it comes to eating out.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
I know better. I do. I know what needs to be done... (meal planning, shopping, stop being lazy & make lunches for the kids and hubby)...
I knew it was getting a little out of hand; we've been eating Subway at least once a week...usually when it's a school night for me.
I can't sleep... so I decided to pull the info from our joint bank account.
This does not include meals/eating out paid for by DH's debit card or cash.
Just our joint.
And just since August 1.
Not even three full months.
Baskin Robbins -10.75
Baskin Robbins -9.56
Baskin Robbins -11.86
Carl's Jr -15
Carl's Jr -12.88
Cracker Barrel -53.32
Dairy Queen -1.83
Dairy Queen -15.33
Eurest Dining -4.04
Jack in the Box -11.82
Joe's BBQ -43.56
Joe's Crab -84.06
Las Taquitos -34.48
Las Taquitos -10.94
Las Taquitos -19.36
Little Caesars -15.02
Panda Express -6.86
Panda Express -8.16
Peter Piper -25.61
Peter Piper -17.84
Peter Piper -55.12
Red Devil -50.48
Red Devil -17.66
Scholars CafĂ© -6.34
Scholars CafĂ© -3.73
Scholars CafĂ© -2
Well, I finally had a chance to update our scores... There has been some improvement... not a whole lot. But, our paid and closed cards are not all reflected yet - I guess it might take some time yet. No worries, we have about 11 months before we will try to get pre-approved for a home loan. Plus, I finally printed and mailed off the credit agency dispute letters (remember that house in Wisconsin?)... So, in 90 days when we re-run them again - we should see some more improvement!!
P.S. The scores have been updated on my sidebar.
So, I was checking the house phone's messaging system and there was a call for the hubby from a collection company.
I called them back... You know, with us trying to buy a house in 2010, we cannot ignore any calls or letters requesting money. To be on the safe side.
So, she explained that it was for an old cell phone bill, when she said the name... the first thing out of my mouth was "There is a statue of limitations." She said, "Yes there is - but only for suing. We don't want to sue you, we just want the money."
It's from 2000. It was $250. It is now $825.36. I've never seen it on my credit report, they can't sue... Not sure how to handle this one. I think first send back a letter requesting proof I owe it and proof that they own the debt. We've paid a lot of collection accounts over the past 9 years, this one could have been paid. I was shocked to even hear them say the name.
3 visits each, $500 dollars later, and we are done!
My daughter had to have 2 baby teeth pulled and a spacer put in. She also had one filling and several teeth sealed.
My son had 3 fillings and 3 teeth sealed.
Next... braces for him. That will cost us a pretty penny, but our ortho will take $100 a month until paid in full (no finance charges!).
I guess now it's MY turn (gulp - pain & money).
"No, honey... I love that you work for a satellite company and we get free television entertainment. That is great, but..."
I took the kids (and myself) to the dentist last week. Not good. Those kids need to get better at flossing!! My daughter had to have two baby teeth pulled and 3 adult teeth sealed (to prevent future cavities). My son needs a filling, some sealing done, and (dun-dun-dun-duhhnnnn!!) BRACES! I knew it was just about time, he is 13 after all.
We won't even talk about the fact that I need all 4 of my wisdom teeth pulled (yeoh!).
Being the kind and considerate mom I am, I allowed the kids to get their dental work done first (while we have the money). See, selfless.
So... we are leaving for vacation (San Diego) on Monday - very excited about that. We already paid the hotel room a while back, so now we just need to pay cash for food, gas, and whatever we decide to do while we are there. I have $850 saved (here's hoping we don't come close).
I paid more towards debt this month, but July will be the pay off on the last three cards (instead of June, like I previously thought).
I have been trying to get more organized in the spending department, so I got Quicken - it's not working like I thought it would. For some reason I have a hard time getting my banking information to automatically download. I think we will start fresh in August, and really try to keep track of everything (July will be too spendy). Besides, August is the beginning of the last of the bills to pay off. We are getting so close, it's nice. It certainly feels great to be paying cash for everything, including our vacation.
We've tried doing some fun things with the kids this summer; besides the pool and library, we've gone to the movies a few times (always a matinee and BYOCandy). We went and saw Transformers last week - LOVED IT!
I am abt to finish up my 2nd class (Masters program)... it's going well. I look forward to the $1470 in tuition reiumbursement! lol...
Work has been crazy; a ton of new projects coming my way. But, it all deals with recognition programs for our associates, so it's fun work!
I will post pics of Nic and Shamu when we get back!!
Until then... Hasta luego!
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!
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!"
Not sure why I didn't think of this sooner... Being the Excel geek that I am.
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!
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!
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!!
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!!
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?!
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!
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.
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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...
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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!
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..
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!!
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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?
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Our weekends are packed the next several weeks! We will have to be VERY careful with spending... But we can do it!!
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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).
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:
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.
....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.
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