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Archive for June, 2009

Prepaid phones

June 29th, 2009 at 05:01 pm

Finally switched over to the new prepaid phones. Unlike Ceejay, I won't be updating every month on this because DH's 1000 minutes will last a year (they don't expire for a year) and mine will probably last 3-4 months so yearly will work best for averaging out the cost. In about 8-9 months we will have recouped the early cancellation fee and from that point on it will be saving us about $360 per year.

Retirement savings update

June 26th, 2009 at 03:29 pm

Bet you all thought I forgot about this while I was doing all that spending but I haven't. Up until recently, we were contributing about 10% of our income. During the 2 job changes (hubby's and mine), I dropped it down to a trickle and of course DH wasn't contributing to the 401(k) anymore since he wasn't at that job. This month, I upped the amount going into my Roth again so we are now up to a mere 6%. Once the debt is gone, all the debt payments will go to savings, both short and long term.

Thwarted

June 25th, 2009 at 05:57 pm

So I was good and talked myself out of upgrading to a new TV with the $400 gift card hubby got (mainly because they changed it to visa instead of just Target/Walmart). We were going to use it to buy the stones for our landscaping instead. Went to the first store, they are out. No problem, we go to the next store. That one is out. Start getting nervous, ask if they have more on order, nope.

Gah. Are you kidding me? They of course have nothing like it. Great, now we get to try to pick a replacement and they have nothing at Home Depot like it. Managed to find something at Lowe's that we can use instead but this stuff is smaller so we would be better ordering it by the pallet for transportation purposes. So no spiral path this year because we don't want to spend all that money at once. Looks like we will just spiral in the mulch/plants and leave the grass where the path will go when we are ready. The stone we already have will be used to do a path in the back since that needs to be replaced anyways. *Sigh*

So I figure this weekend will be spent getting the house in shape for the visit from the inlaws. Now I am not sure how to use the gift certificate/visa card. Obviously will be easier to use it up on big expenses instead of little ones but besides stepping stones, we really don't have any expenses large enough to make it worthwhile. When we eat out its usually about $13 at the high end so whittling away at the food budget would make tracking a pain (I switched to all cash so I didn't have to try to track things to the penny).

I really don't feel like wasting the money just because I can. Groceries aren't really an option because at the current rate, that might take six months to use up. We don't need any clothes, we don't have that many books, cds or video games left to buy and most anything we want would eventually eat up more than the gift certificate amount in the short or long term (such as the TV or the Kindle which I am not sold on yet anyways).

I think my biggest problem is figuring out how to spend it in a responsible way. Wasting money is easy, spending it appropriately in that size chunk, not so much.

Networth almost back to pre-house levels

June 24th, 2009 at 03:05 pm

On one hand, it feels like treading water. On the other hand, I bought a fixer upper with no appliances in it and have been working on it for over 6 months and have managed to draw even with a couple of months before buying the house. Given how much we have spent on this house getting it fixed up, I think I should actually be proud of myself. The kitchen needs the painting finished (we are at the one coat of primer stage) and we are currently landscaping the front yard. Everything else is basically done.

For those of you keeping track, we have all told spent about 30k in cash and 20k in credit card deals fixing up the house, getting appliances, bringing things up to code and working on the yard. Also that involved a lot of tools for working on things ourselves. Not exactly a cheap hobby and my goals for the next five years promise to only add to that number (fortunately though not as much as the first 6 months). There is nothing quite like trying to pay off debt while spending lots on new improvements.

The rest of this year though is about paying down the debt and finishing the front yard. (Next year the goals are debt free and new recumbent trikes, maybe even a small hot tub next fall if we are really good and yes in that order). We have a $400 visa gift card from hubby's work that is going to buy us a load of stepping stones and another shovel tonight so that this weekend we can get an early start on our yard.

I haven't forgotten that I owe everyone here some kitchen pictures, I just still haven't finished painting. Maybe I will do that this weekend (inlaws are coming next week so I have the motivation for it).

Anyways, my debt numbers should start looking good here since we are currently able to pay at least 2000 per month towards the debt. We will just keep plugging along.

Negativity

June 19th, 2009 at 04:12 pm

I am a natural cynic but somewhere along the line I decided life was nicer when I thought the best of people so long as thinking the best of them didn't hurt me. As a result, I tend to be a fairly upbeat person.

Occasionally though I will encounter people in forums or real life that simply feel the need to think the worst of everyone and everything. Frankly, every time I encounter someone like that, I find it depressing. Unfortunately, I think it can also make me negative if I don't take a step back and realize that its happening.

So if I have been negative, I apologize. I think I am going to give up on the forums here for awhile because I really don't have anything constructive to say.

I'm a spender that is saving for retirement and trying to get out of debt and stay out of debt. I think the forums have really become more focused on the people who are natural savers to whom self deprivation comes naturally. Hopefully the blogs will stay focused on people's attempts to save money and pay off debt.

Everything still up in the air

June 11th, 2009 at 02:37 pm

I was going to start hammering out the credit card payoffs starting this month but it looks like I will go easy on that. My husband informed me that there are rumors that the branch he is at will shut down in a couple of months. I am still going to start paying them down but I won't run things tight while his work situation is iffy.

I have been back at my job for about 2 weeks now and things are going great. Very happy and glad to be employed again. Looking forward to that first paycheck.

Have finally decided to go with T-Mobile's prepaid plan. I can buy 1000 minutes and they don't expire for a whole year, plus any refills add 15% of the minutes as well. That puts the husband's phone cost at about $8 per month and mine at about $30. We currently pay $71 now...

We did up our cash allowance to $250 per week. That way it can cover house repairs or other miscellaneous items as needed. This means we are on the 12 month plan to debt payoff instead of the 9 month plan (so long as husband stays employed) but also means we are more likely to stay within the budget. As natural spenders, all the deprivation gets to us after awhile so we are going to stop the sprint and go for the marathon. Think it will work better.


Health Insurance and payment change

June 1st, 2009 at 10:00 pm

So thanks to the new firm starting up, I will be able to get my husband back on health insurance. The cost will wipe out most of his raise but not all. It should also allow us to remain in a lower tax bracket because of all the pretax deductions (HSA family plan).

I have also decided to switch to using only debit and cash. Its not that I can't handle the credit cards, its that they are much harder to keep track of the spending on and I am tired of having to track spending in multiple locations. Its simply not worth the rewards to do lots of small items on them. Especially since I can see all pending debits instantly but credit card purchases can take up to a week to show.