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Archive for December, 2006

Baby Step #1 - Completed

December 27th, 2006 at 07:15 pm

I have started reading Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover this past week and I think I am going to give it a try.

Step #1 involved making a budget and saving $1000 in a small emergency fund.

I had already started working on a budget the past few months. This morning I did a little tweaking to it to make sure every dollar is accounted for (this is what he recommends). I have a little wiggle room in some of the categories so if something unplanned for comes up I should still be OK.

I also already have about $2000 in a savings account. I plan on taking $1000 of that and put it into a new savings account so it will be seperate from the rest of my money. I have already setup an account for irreguar bills (registration, insurance...). I am thinking of setting up a third for Christmas/Birthdays... how many savings account does a person need? Maybe I will just use my exising account at my credit union for this.

The next chapter I am going to read is about snowballing debt - which I pretty much know the concept of anyway. When doing my budget I realized I will be able to put more towards debt than I originally thought I would. So maybe this won't take as long as I had thought.

Also today I went online and paid my credit cards for the few christmas presents I purchased online. I wanted to start 2007 with nothing on my CCs and keep it that way.

I also took the leap and paid off my school loan - just over $600. I recieved a little extra money for christmas through presents and my xmas bonus so I just decided to go for it.

I am on my way!

Lower gas bills ahead...

December 15th, 2006 at 10:14 pm

Today we had more insulation installed in our home. We had an energy audit a few weeks ago and was told we were way low of the minimum standard.

I am actually pretty excited about this - I can't wait to see our heat bill go down.

Decisions, Decisions...

December 14th, 2006 at 10:39 pm

I recieved my year end bonus today. The company I work for just hands out small bonuses - not the thousands of dollars I read of others getting. I am still very grateful for what I get.

Anyway - the net of my check is $440. Now, what to do with that money.

1. I could use the entire amount to help pay off my school loan. I owe just over $600 so this would be the bulk of that loan. (2007 goal #4)

2. Put this money in my account to increase the 'buffer' in my checking account. This puts me within $200 of my goal minimum balance. (2007 goal #1)

3. Use $200 to pay off the purchases on my credit card from online christmas shopping. Rest can either go to the medical bill I owe or towards my school loan.

4. Open a new savings account for Christmas/birthdays 2007 (part of 2007 goal #3).

Hmmm... what to do... what to do...

Good intentions...

December 14th, 2006 at 07:13 pm

I failed at having 4 no-spend days in a row this week.

Tuesday (day #1 of my no-spend goal) I was able to not spend any money.

Wednesday I was talked into going out for lunch with some co-workers. lunch is my social time, so I have a problem saying no. On the up side I just ordered a bowl of soup so it cost me under $5.

Today I had a dr appt (which I forgot about earlier this week). I had a $20 co pay there. Then I decided to pick up my gift cert since I was already out and about - $20. Then I went to JoAnns and picked up a few tins for christmas goodies - $8. Finally I put gas in my car $20. I am hoping this tank lasts me until we leave on christmas eve.

I hope the only other thing I will need to buy this next week is groceries - as long as I plan well, I shouldn't go over budget.

Homemade Christmas Gifts

December 12th, 2006 at 09:01 pm

I started the fleece blanket I am going to make for my neice today during my lunch hour. I spent about $18 on fleese a month or so ago (I probably could have gotten it cheaper if I would have waited for a coupon). Our gift exchange is between $20-$25 so I feel pretty good about being under (hey, my labor has to be worth something, right?).

I made a little calendar magnet for my youngest daughter's daycare provider. I think I will also give her some goodies I plan on making this week. I am still toying with the idea of also giving her a gift certificate - just not as much as last year - maybe $20.

So far today has been a no-spend day. Working on my blanket over the lunch hour helped to not be tempted to leave the office - So I saved by bringing my lunch, not driving anywhere, and not being tempted by any other impulse shopping.

This week's goal - 4 no spend days

December 11th, 2006 at 09:30 pm

I have pretty much blown my budget this past week. Our kiddos were at grandma's on Saturday and my hubby insisted we finish Christmas shopping.

The good news is we are totally finished except for 1 gift certificate for our daycare provider (I am not sure why we need to gift somone that already takes a good chunk of our money, but whatever...). Also good is that our kitchen is pretty well stocked so I do not need a big shopping trip this week - I will just pick up a few odds and ends tonight afterwork.

I have also picked up most of my christmas baking ingredients so I can start on those without any added expense.

My goal is once I pick up my groceries is to not spend any money until the end of the week - Tuesday through Friday. I think I should be able to do it unless I need to put gas in my car.

wish me luck!

2007 Financial Goals

December 6th, 2006 at 07:42 pm

I have been inpired reading others financial goals for the new year so I have been thinking of my own.

1. Checking account balance - Build enough coushin so the balance never goes below $1500. The last few months the low point has been between $400-$800 before payday.

2. Keep using the cash system to pay for household purchases, gas and other small stuff.
Any extra bills at the end of the payperiod will go into into an 'emergency' cash pocket in case I go over the next few weeks.
Any extra change goes into the change bucket - Cash in periodically throughout the year.

3. Each paycheck deposit $50 for non-monthly bills and $50 for holidaybirthdays. Research setting up one of those online savings with the higher rates.

4. Payoff my school loan by the end of the 1st quarter (current balance over $600).

5. Find ways to lower other monthly bills.
**New insulation is getting installed mid-december of this year
**I have already replaced several light bulbs with the lower energy ones. Replace rest of the bulbs in the house.
**Car insurance - drop full coverage on DHs car - 1998 Monte Carlo. Insurance is due in March - get quotes from other companies also.

That is all I can think of now. I am sure I will add to it later!

Cheap Fitness

December 6th, 2006 at 03:58 am

I sucked up the cold weather this evening and took a walk outside this evening after the girls went to bed. It wasn't as bad as I thought - the temp was actually around 40 - much better than the 20s the past few days. By doing this I saved a punch off my gym punch card ($1) and also the gas to go accros town and back.

I hate the cold weather and that it gets dark so early - this fall I worked out over 75 days straight - mostly because it was easy to do it outside.

Medical costs

December 5th, 2006 at 06:20 pm

Somedays it makes me wonder why I have insurance...

I have Asthma... I have it since I was a chid... nothing new to me. A few years ago before I had my first child I was using the mail order prescription program for my asthma drugs - they would send me 'enough' for 3 months - every three months. Well - I am not sure where they were getting the amount needed from, but I ended up with a stockpile of inhalers. Good for me - I didn't need to go to the dr to to get prescriptions refilled for a while.

Well three years later my stockpile is getting low and I realize that most of the enhalers I have been taking expired 2 years ago. So I make an appt - I know going in what drugs are needed - it should be a short visit.

Since I haven't been there for years they wanted to run all the stupid allergy tests on me. After a 3 hr appt - the verdict was - nothing changed (no kidding...). So he gives me my prescription and I move on.

I got my mail last night and my insurance is not going to cover 100% of the costs of the test (I think we have some fine print in our insurance costs for in-office proceedures...). So I think I am going to be getting a $200 (at least) bill from the clinic. This is in addition to the $100 I already owe for our kids well-child checkups and my portion of my eye dr visit (Ins pays 70%). My flex money is already used up so this will be out of my own pocket...

Just when I am getting my money organized to finally make progress this pops up. I was nearly in tears last night (also had PMS issues).

$1 left in my wallet

December 4th, 2006 at 09:00 pm

I have been using cash to pay for household items the last few weeks. It has really been working for me. I take out $150 (or $300 per pay period) from the ATM each week - when it is gone, it is gone.

I decided with my last paycheck I would cut that back to $250 a pay period to get a little more cusion in my checking account. On payday I took out $150 because I knew I needed a big grocery shopping trip. That was friday - 3 days later and after
*$40 in prescriptions (I am switching to mail order after this month to save $$)
*Gas for the car

I now have $1 left. Granted if I need money - I can get the remainder of my $250 allowance out and just make that stretch out a week and half.

Where, oh where does all my money go?

December 4th, 2006 at 06:12 pm

Total monthly income: $2800

College savings/529 plan: $50 ($25 each girl)

Monthly Bills
Daycare: $1000 (YIKES)
Gas (budget billing) $95
Elect/Water (budget billing) $139
Phone: $24 - No extras
Garbage: $18

Debt payments
My school loan: $61
DH School loan: $200
Ford Credit: $330

DH pays the mortgage (we have seperate accounts).
Total of bills, savings and debt payments: $1917.
This leaves me with $890 a month for household/other items.

Other nonrecurring bills:
Auto Registration $210/year
Auto Insurance $400/6 months

Emergency Fund: $2000 (savings account)

I also have two bills that will be paid off at the next statement.
CC - used for online christmas shopping: $200
Medical - my portion of the girl's well child visit $100