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Decisions, decisions...

August 21st, 2011 at 11:04 am

We haven't put money into our 401Ks in abt a year... and for some reason I decided to go with a nominal percentage last month - if felt good to get ball rolling again. And then I started wondering if that was the smartest thing to do...

Was it worth it - putting that money in, especially when the stock market is like it is?!

I am seriously considering stopping the contributions - and instead having the money transferred into our IRAs.

Any thoughts?!

Amazing

August 7th, 2011 at 01:11 pm

I understand how interest works; I do.
But I think it still sucks to see my balance on my almost one year old mortgage.

We closed on our house in September of last year. Our first payment was November 2010.

In the past 10 months, our balance has only gone down by about $2,500.00. That is CRAZY since we've paid over $14,000.

I'd love to start throwing money at it - even dollars a month. But I have only $13K left on our van, so I may start throwing money at IT and then once that's paid off the entire car payment amount can go to the house payment.

All in good time, I know.
I'm just anxious to feel like I did when we paid off all of our debt the first time. I am ready to get these monkeys of our back!

I have a plan.

April 19th, 2011 at 02:23 pm

So as not to try and write five months worth of posts in one single post, I am going to keep things short and sweet.

1) I love being a homeowner.

2) Although, I am getting kind of tired of trips to Lowes and Home Depot.

3) We've been okay on the budget front.

4) We are planning a 60 Day No Unnecessary Spending Blitz (so that we can gear up for a 60 Day Savings Blitz)

5) My love for all things Old Navy and Target has turned into a love for Hobby Lobby and Ross (home decor stuff - MUST STOP THIS!)

6) My son turned 15 in October, gets his permit at the end of this month and COLLEGE IS SO CLOSE!! This is really waking me up - more than anything! We need to be able to afford all the fun and educational things coming up!!

7) We have a beautiful budget - with money going into savings and money leftover at the end of the month. We need to stick to it!! =)

Now What?!

November 1st, 2010 at 01:37 pm

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. =)

It's been a while...

September 5th, 2010 at 12:16 am

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.
It's surreal.

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.

Called Bank of America Today

May 15th, 2010 at 01:24 pm

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...

Scary!

Settling in...

April 4th, 2010 at 08:36 am

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!!!

And then there were two...

February 14th, 2010 at 09:39 am

Yes, TWO!
I know my left side-bar is now blank, but it once housed all of our debt.

We had 14 CCs.
We had 21 Collection Accounts (all but 3 were medical).
We had a personal loan.

All totaling about 20K.

We are down to two accounts left.

I wrote checks this morning for
$200
$218
$232
$439
$449

I have two medical collection accounts left for next month:
$753
$1039

And then that's it. I am proud to say that any medical bill (or any unexpected bill, for that matter) that came up during the past 14 months has been paid on time. We have not had any lates, any new collections, nothing. In fact, I am putting braces on my kids and am paying CASH for them! Smile

After next month, I (okay, we) only have two large debts left until we are COMPLETELY debt free; my van (21K) and my student loans (a lot, but deferred for at least another year).

In the past year, we bought a new (to us) truck for 3500 cash. We went on vacation to San Diego last summer (cash) and have a trip planned to Mexico (on the cheap) this summer (cash), we've given great presents, and even donated to charity.

What's next?!?! My snowball (currently $1800 a month) will go STRAIGHT into our ING Savings Account that is designated as our HOUSE DOWN PAYMENT FUND... After 15 years of marriage, 3 kids and two dogs, we may finally realize our dream of owning our own home and staying put for a while! This is THE year!

I am, without a doubt, excited this morning! Life is good!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Don't you hate...

January 31st, 2010 at 07:21 am

when you lose a very important tax document?!

My state decided to do a quick audit for 2004...the year I exercised my rights on some stock options. They claimed I didn’t pay state taxes, and that I now owe them $590.00.

We move a lot, I am not the best filer, who the heck knows where the documents are from 2004?!

I went through some boxes (not the best shredderer either) and found the Year End Summary from Smith Barney that clearly SHOWS I paid the state taxes, more than what they claim I need to pay. So, I called Smith Barney and asked them to send me a 1099. They sent me a letter, not an actual 1099. I cannot find that letter anywhere.

So, I made a copy of the Year End statement (which is clear as day) and penned my response. I am going to call Smith Barney again tomorrow, but in the meantime, I will send off what I do have (copies of course).

They sent me the audit letter back in December, my response is due Feb 8, - nothing like waiting until the last minute, eh?

Gosh, I got to get better at this.......

Day 3... 30 Day Challenge and stuff

January 3rd, 2010 at 01:25 pm

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! Smile

Quick List of 2010 Goals

December 31st, 2009 at 12:28 pm

I may tweak these over the next few days; I figured that's allowed. Smile

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! Smile

Happy New Year!

Getting Ready for...

December 21st, 2009 at 02:36 pm

2010.

Working on a new budget/spending log.

Have to rebuild my sidebar.

Have to stay motivated.

Lots to do in the next 11 monhts!!

Happy Holidays!!

A Paying Machine!

November 17th, 2009 at 02:59 pm

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.

Credit Reports...

November 17th, 2009 at 09:59 am

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...

Hide and Seek

November 13th, 2009 at 10:27 am

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! Smile

Yeah!

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!! Smile 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... Smile I am saving!