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Archive for August, 2009

Cancelled extended warranties

August 28th, 2009 at 01:47 pm

I had three of them and the total came to $1k so that was a nice chunk of change to get back.

Its kind of funny that the only reason I knew that I could cancel within the first year was due to the last warranty (a hard sell and he knew we didn't want it so he told us to get it, schedule our annual checkup and then cancel, we agreed to avoid the hassle).

The first two were on scratch n dent items and the first item had even had its price lowered by the amount of the warranty. Remember the $700 frig that retails for $3000? Well, now its a $400 frig since the warranty was completely refundable.

If any of the items do die or need repairs in the first 5 years (unlikely at this point) then the 1k can be used to pay for it. In the meantime, that 1k means a much more comfortable cash position while we pay off our debts.

I am so psyched about being able to do this. Normally when I go looking for money in my budget, I don't have nearly so large an amount of untapped resources (because I don't usually waste money on warranties or on anything refundable).

This also means my IRA contributions can be put on max per month starting in September. Which, incidentally is why I went looking for more money. The idea of letting my retirement languish because of my debt is a big no no for me.

My 1k list

August 26th, 2009 at 02:39 pm

This is gonna hurt. But its also probably good for me to see the damage. Thanks Monkeymama and Whitestripe for the idea. (Anyone else noticed that we all tend to "borrow" each others ideas alot? Lol).

Tour of Canada Vacation $1000 (2000)
College Education $25,000 (2000-2005)
Bahama and Florida Vacation $1200 (2001)
55g Fishtank (setup costs) $1000 (2003)
Airfare to Scotland for 4 $2700 (2004)
Wedding reception BBQ $1000 (2004)
Mattress set with pillows $1000 (2006)
Bed frame, Bedstand, & Table $2400 (2006)
125g Fishtank (setup costs) $2000 (2006)
His and Her road bikes $2000 (2007)
5-burner gas stove $1000 (2008)
LG Steamwasher $1100 (2008)
1996 Subaru $1250 (2008)
Dishwasher $1297 (2009)
Handyman for house repairs $2200 (2009)
New Windows $6500 (2009)

It took me awhile to think of this list. I obviously don't categorize based on price. I do categorize based on project or hobby type. In my head, I had to literally go through what we have been doing to find the items.

Updates

August 25th, 2009 at 07:51 pm

Basically sold everything (all fish tank related items) in one large lot to get rid of it. The guy who bought it could barely fit everything into his giant van that had the seats taken out. That is a lot of clutter to get rid of.

It also is nice because even though we didn't ask for much, that little bit of money will keep us from going overbudget. Its very bizarre but even though we didn't go to any festival, expensive restaurant or even grocery shopping, we managed to spend our weekly allowance by the end of the weekend. We did have to spend some money at Home Depot so that may be the issue. The new allowance basically covers food and not much else because we are being cheap at the moment. (This is also why we switched to all cash. If you occasionally lose track of how you are spending your money, the lack of money stops you from spending more. Basically a visual cue that we need to behave).

Oh and we finally managed to paint the kitchen. So I need to pull the tape down, put the covers back on things, put in the base cove and take pictures for everyone. The trim is in pretty bad shape so I doubt we will bother painting it. I suspect we will just replace it further down the road. It looks like the door trim has a minimum of 5 coats of paint on it and gouges out of it as well.

We do have a doggy door coming and also managed to cut the storm door so the puppies are getting used to running in and out through that. This weekend we will put the doggie door in and finally be set on that particular project.

We did manage to have someone collect for free our old bricks for landscaping (they were thrilled, I was thrilled, it was good times all round). At this rate, we might actually have a non trashed backyard in a couple of months.

Purging clutter

August 19th, 2009 at 08:32 pm

I consider clutter anything that hasn't been used in the past year (and the year pass is only for seasonal items, everything else should have been used in the past three months).

Just last night, I organized my kitchen hutch, sorted the shoes in the closets, moved everything that needs to be in storage down into one of the basement rooms and pulled the trash out of the house. All this is great except I have a number of items that I don't want but aren't trash worthy. Very obnoxious. Thought I would bite the bullet and sell things but now I am starting to get impatient and am starting to consider giving them out for free or price them very low. Even then it may take awhile.

An example of what I mean. We are trying to sell our bikes because next spring we plan on buying recumbent trikes. The guy who is supposed to buy them is three weeks out from initial contact and still hasn't set a firm date to come buy them. Really? Gah..And this is a "professional" bike seller.

I did manage to sell my old video game systems but that took a whole Saturday to make $27. I am just looking around at all this stuff and know that I don't want to be wasting this much time on it. Nor do I want to waste it and throw it out. Hopefully someone will bite at the craigslist ads and take it off my hands.

Cooler weather helping me with my budget

August 18th, 2009 at 05:27 pm

I really don't like cooking when its hot. Come fall weather though and see if you can keep me out of the kitchen (past two weeks have been extremely fall like). We lowered our allowance by $100 per week and so far so good because we haven't been eating out as often and don't need as much supplies for working on the house. This allows me to get my IRA contribution back up to $400 and pay off my debt in a timely fashion.

Was going to wait another month but...

August 17th, 2009 at 10:46 pm

I was feeling impatient to see the first credit card fall. So I just paid off the first of the 0% apr cards that will be expiring in the next year. September I will pay off the credit card that has the dishwasher on it (another 0%) as well. After that though I should wait till December to pay off the next card so that I have a nice cushion in case hubby doesn't get transferred as seamlessly to his next position.

The goal is to save up in full (plus a minimum of 1k as a cushion once its paid) the amount to pay off the credit cards so that the money is sitting in cash in case of need but I can already see my impatience will be an issue. Maybe I will do a half payment in November for the 3rd card. Hmm....

My friend makes me look like a saver

August 17th, 2009 at 01:54 pm

She had made some progress on her debt. She is actually paying on all of it including the zombie debt so that is some progress. However her budget is so tight and forgets so many things that I am not sure how she made as much progress as she did. She is currently confusing cashflow with a budget which means she ignores the credit card purchases she is still making (but she won't do that any more, she only did that because of her break up *sigh*) so she really doesn't know how much she is spending.

She once again committed to a long term payment without thinking things through (yoga this time instead of a car) and we are going to have her move in with us for a couple of months so that she can build enough savings to avoid financial ruin if and when she loses her job.

My big concern is that she doesn't connect the dots in her finances. Even with cashflowing, she still wants to spend every last dime she has. I think it will take multiple sitdowns to help her with this. Course, since she will be living in my basement for a few months, I should have the time...

What's really sad, is that I know that I can be an impulsive big spender too but I have never ever pushed it this close and don't understand how she can be comfortable doing so. I suggested a cushion in her checking to avoid overdrafts in the future and she said that wouldn't work because she would spend it...I mean, how am I supposed to respond to that?

My friend is in trouble...

August 14th, 2009 at 02:31 pm

She currently has a full time contract position but we will find out tonight whether she still has it or not. I think this is the 4th or 5th time psycho boss has threatened to fire everybody. She (and everyone else) has to meet with him individually today.

She doesn't have any savings so tonight whether she still has a job or not, I am going to build her a couple of financial plans to see if we can get her back on track. Two steps forward, one step back. At least she isn't at the point of having creditors calling (she's been there unfortunately). But she did pay last month's rent with a credit card so I don't think tonight will paint a rosy picture...

How did I miss that?

August 13th, 2009 at 03:36 pm

My student loan is down to just 13k range. Recently on the forums I posted that it was 18k because I don't look at the balance much (its an autopay). That and I seemed to have forgotten that at its largest it was still less than 19k. I have a feeling that once this gets below 10k, we will pay it off just because it frees up the cash flow by nearly $200 per month.

Course this assumes that I have paid off all the credit cards but I think that is a safe assumption barring any catastrophes. For all my backsliding, I think I finally have a handle on all this and will be in the clear next year. I just don't make any promises when next year given the current unsteadiness of everything.

The only part of my finances that I am currently unhappy with is my IRA contribution. 2% of our income just doesn't cut it in my opinion but its the price we are paying to get everything paid off before they start charging interest and to keep a nice and far larger cushion.

Latest solicitation via phone

August 12th, 2009 at 04:31 pm

Normally I ignore spam but this one was on my voicemail. He basically implied that I had called him for a quote on getting my debt cut down and that he could see from his records that I was only paying minimum payments so he gave me a quote and a phone number to call him back at. Nice scam given the current market. Probably gets quite a few callbacks.

I can't even remember a time when I only paid the minimum on something. I am pathologically incapable of it (running up debt I can do, paying only minimums though would give me a heart attack). Just like I can't believe anyone would have double digit interest on loans or credit cards (but then there are plenty of people here who can't believe anyone would do debt of any kind so its not like I have much room to talk).

Random Musings

August 11th, 2009 at 02:24 pm

Woohoo, one paycheck posted so the lowest the checking account got was 223. The rest of the month is all about saving up the cash and then next month I get to pay one card off and make a dent in another.

Did I mention yet that hubby's job was supposed to end in the end of August but that they moved him to a new job? Looks like they have enough work there to keep him fully employed for 3-4 months. Great news for us because no income gap keeps our debt payoff on track.

Seriously though, from now on, if we don't have the cash, we aren't buying it. I went into house buying with the idea that our debt would probably go up again and then we would pay it off but if we had just taken it slow, it wouldn't have been necessary. No more. All this money I am spending on debt could have been going to savings and retirement. Its just disgusting. No more balances. I just don't want to ride this merry-go-round anymore. 1 year and its all gone. Permanently.

I so need to make up for lost time on my retirement accounts. *Sigh*.

Checking cushion and weekend update

August 10th, 2009 at 03:58 pm

I tend to keep 1k in my checking account, always. So you can imagine my joy at knowing I have one moment with my checking where its only supposed to have $15...Ugg. I know its my cash flowing process that produced this and the bank will never see below a couple hundred but still. I like my cushion. All it takes is one mistake at that level for you to pay big time (just ask my friend who managed to rack up $200 in overdraft fees this week).

At least it goes back up to its normal amount and then some this week. Note to self, paying off debt is good but don't time it so that makes your cushion completely disappear.

On the weekend front, it was a rather cheap weekend despite spending my whole Saturday (afternoon and evening) with friends. We spent all Saturday morning cleaning up the front and back yard and the rest of the weekend relaxing.

I am down to 136 lbs. from a high of 143 and the portion control is resulting in our food bill going down. However, at the rate I am going, I will need to save money for new pants and shorts. Its pretty apparent already that I am going to end up dropping a size if I get to either of my goal weights.

A grocery list to make a vegetarian proud

August 6th, 2009 at 05:21 pm

corn, potatoes, acorn squash, cottage cheese, pineapple, a lime, a lemon, an avocado, cilantro, colby jack cheese, parmesan, spinach, an artichoke, cream cheese, garlic, olive oil, lettuce (variety), a cucumber, snow peas, sprouts, kalamata olives, feta, milk, carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, bread, muenster cheese, parsley, eggs, bananas, grapes, plums, mangos and watermelon.

Wow, hunh. Good thing I shop at a store with lots of cheap produce. Most of those items don't break a dollar. I think this is one of my longer list item wise. The dairy and olive oil are the only real pricey items.

My goal for the next 7 days is to not eat out much. We have gotten a little too used to convenience so I am hoping to break that habit. I would love to shoot for no eating out but I love variety and just don't see that happening.

Lower income means slower debt payoff

August 4th, 2009 at 02:43 pm

No more overtime at DH's work is definitely slowing our income. He's down to making a little less than me now. Course the job is probably ending in August so who knows what the next job will bring. As a result, I am eyeing up our expenses wondering where I could cut from that wouldn't bother us.

I think our last possible cut spot is our discretionary money but we had had a hard time getting that below $300 per week because of all the stuff it covers. Once DH has his next job lined up, I will probably cut our unreliable internet but can't do that until he has another job since the internet is useful for job hunting. I would love to cancel our Directtv but that is under contract until June 2010. When he gets another job lined up, I may see what the cancellation fee is and just pay that and be done with it.

Busy weekend

August 3rd, 2009 at 02:37 pm

We managed to sell my two old video consoles so that one set of items gone. That netted me a used video game that I had wanted and $16 cash so not too shabby.

I also managed to organize all the electronics in the living room. Yeck, a day long project between the cleaning of everything, figuring out placement and tying up of cords. However, my surround sound system is finally all hooked up for the first time since moving into the new place and the electronics look nice and clean.

We are still in the process of selling our bikes. The place that buys them wanted photos emailed so they could quote us but it looks like their email is full so they only have one set of photos.

DH put up the new lights for the hallway and the kitchen that we have had for awhile and they look much nicer.

Oh we also gave our old massive table to a friend and moved our massive 125g into the carport so our library has a lot more room than it used to.

We still have a lot left to do but its nice to feel like we have accomplished quite a bit.