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Archive for June, 2008

Time to evaluate my budget again.

June 24th, 2008 at 10:36 am

This next month I am going to need to watch my food costs. Because my friend has not had a lot of money lately due to unemployment (a situation recently remedied), both our out to eat budget and food budget has gone high.

So, next month, I am going to see how high it needs to be for us to be comfortable because I am not sure if its just paying for the friend or if total food costs have gone up. I am pretty sure that part of it is food costs so I think I will need to adjust the budget accordingly.

I would like to cut all of our spending drastically again to see what we really need and what was just us not paying attention while keeping our friend afloat through the hard times.

Which begs the question, I seem to revamp our budget every couple of months thanks to various asundry items coming up but it doesn't seem like everyone else needs to do it as often so how often are you adjusting your budget?

How did she miss that?

June 20th, 2008 at 07:08 am

So my friend checked her free credit report yesterday and discovered that one of the cards that her debt settlement company (this company is gone now of course, they caused her lots of issues)was supposed to take care of 2 years ago was never paid off. Not only that but in that time it has jumped from $5700 to $9600.

So much for her being able to contribute to an IRA. I will have to change that contribution into a debt payoff fund. They will no doubt want a lump sum.

The best part was having her tell me that since they stopped contacting her or her mother (yes mom cosigned and who do you think daughter dearest learned her bad money management from) that they thought it was paid off. What was a little ridiculous about this is that she thought they took $530 for $5k! Uggg..

But at least she is catching it now so we can get everything taken care of and this is the last of the old monster debts when she went nuts.

Cooking a Feast

June 16th, 2008 at 11:49 am

We were cooking fools this weekend. Our first meal included Saffron Rice, Tabbouleh (think parsley salad), Pita Chips (we had to make the pitas first since we didn't have any made up in the freezer), and Baba Ganoush (eggplant based dip).

Our second meal included homemade thousand island dressing, a corned beef roast and the rye bread for the sandwiches was store bought (we don't use enough to justify buying the flour).

Turned out excellent despite the fact that the Saffron Rice was a first time try and so was the thousand island dressing.

The funny thing is we only cooked on Sunday. Saturday we were pretty lazy and only managed to go grocery shopping.

The good news is that we will have the first meal for a couple of lunches and have the second meal for supper tonight so won't have to worry about food today. Now I just have to plan tomorrow's supper in advance so I am not tempted to eat out...

My friend got a multi-year contract!!!

June 10th, 2008 at 08:23 pm

I admit, I am very excited. This means that this month is the last month that we need to help her out. Woohoo! No more worries on that score.

Obviously with a new job I will make her a new budget so that she can afford the things she needs to buy and start stashing money in a retirement account. An emergency fund and paying off her few remaining credit cards will be number one.

So now there shouldn't be anymore reasons not to be able to get a house this upcoming February. We were getting nervous that the downturn around here was going to make it impossible for her but things are finally looking up.

Opened an ING Savings Account

June 4th, 2008 at 03:27 pm

Since we are getting ready to start squirreling away money for our downpayment fund, my DH and I have opened an ING savings. I know a lot of you like them and they pay a decent rate so we did an initial deposit of $50 to get it going.

Now we just have to wait patiently for the verification deposits so we can start putting money into it. We have twice per month that we can put money into it so it should be fun to watch it go up.

Right now, we are going to shoot for 20k before going house shopping which should be good for the price range we are looking at. Obviously though we will shoot for as much as possible.

Newest Plan - You probably won't like it.

June 3rd, 2008 at 03:45 pm

Here is the background info. I have two remaining credit card debts, one at 0% apr, and one at 1.87% apr as of this month. They will remain that way til Feb 2009. My lease on my current place is up in February. I guarantee our rent will go up, if we rent for less than a year, it will go up by at least $300 per month (don't ask about month to month, the fee alone is 400 plus an increase in the rental rate itself and we will not sign a lease for one more year.)We want to buy something small and equivalent to our current rent or not much higher.

With the market changing dramatically, we will be in a better position if we have the ability to put 20% down and have closing costs covered. Our current plan of pay everything off then saving the money will make things tight and most likely won't allow 20% down. If instead we just pay the min payments on the last two cards, we will definitely have the cash on hand we need.

By keeping the debt we are keeping our options open. The increased debt will not affect our ratios because we want far less than they would willingly loan us.

So we are going to save like mad and start househunting in the fall. If we do go with a loan product that doesn't require all our cash or we get some assistance from the seller, we will use the remaining cash to pay on the credit cards. If not, we can pay the remaining debt with 3 months of our closing.

What you can't see from my ticker since I joined here after I paid the first part off is that we have actually paid off over 32,000 in debt over the past 2 years.

As much as I want the debt gone, I want a home far more, especially at those interest rates. There is only one other way of doing this that might be more financially reasonable and that is signing another year long lease (at a different place) and that is just not something we are willing to do.

That said, the plan could always change again as circumstances change but unless I am missing something, this is the best plan in the long run.

Okay, so lay into me. What do you think is wrong with my current plan and why? I am at least willing to listen.

Making Progress

June 2nd, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Couple of updates. My friend managed to get a part time retail job at night and on weekends which should help her keep her feet under her while she does graphic design contracts and builds the experience she needs to further her career.

She also looked at me this weekend as we were finishing up our chores and said (with a little shock in her voice) that she was starting to automatically categorize her spending into her budget without even trying. I take that as a good sign that the budget I made for her is working.

I didn't really accomplish much of anything this weekend like I planned but it was nice to relax. I did manage to finally order my saffron in bulk online so that I don't have to pay the outrageous cost of it at the grocery stores. Now just have to wait for it to show up this week so we can make Moroccan Lamb Stew, so yummy.