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End of February Update

March 1st, 2013 at 08:56 am

Finally gave in and upped the value of the house. Its still $50k lower than Zillow's estimate but I think that is as accurate as I care to get. My previous value was starting to look ridiculous given the home sales in the area. Glad I don't have to buy a house in this area for those prices though.

Total networth is $127k now. Excluding the house value increase, we upped our networth by 11.49% year to date. Hardly surprising considering the massive increases to our retirement accounts. Should be quiet for awhile as we rebuild our savings for paying off the first credit card.

I do not expect as much progress in March. We have a vacation, a new (well, restarting an old) hobby and spring fever to contend with in that month so I suspect our biggest accomplishment will be minimizing the increase in spending.

Finished 1st Goal of 2013

February 22nd, 2013 at 06:30 am

I just sent the final amount to my Roth IRA for 2012 so I have officially maxed by Roth. Sadly, its my first year doing so but should not be the last.

Next up on the agenda is paying off the credit cards. That really must wait till June so that won't be completed for awhile.

We are on track for DH 401k but I won't mark that off until its completed so that will be there till the end of the year.

I have no clue yet when we will finish the student loan, its too far out for an accurate read though I should be able to update in June.

My 401k - Me vs. the Professionals

February 13th, 2013 at 06:58 pm

So my 401k likes to try to upsell me to the managed investments program versus my current do it myself. They ship me glossy, pretty brochures showing me what my current strategy produces in retirement income versus what their plan would provide me. They really should get a live person on the review board.

The last time they sent me a comparison, I was only contributing 10%. As a result, my plan only beat their plan by about $3k in retirement income per year (after all, I don't have to subtract their fees from my do it myself plan). This time, I am contributing 20%. They expect my current plan to make almost twice theirs in retirement income (my husband wants to frame that page).

You see, the managed program will never pull more than 10% of a person's income. Hard for them to compete with my larger contribution. So while they have a couple of questions at the bottom of the graph to ask those few whose current plan beats their plan if they are risking more short term loss (probably, but at my age, I should be) and whether I am willing to change my allocation on my own as I near retirement (why yes, I am), all they are really illustrating is that I am doing fine on my own and would do much worse with them.

Two new projects

January 29th, 2013 at 06:20 am

Project number one is that DH asked me how much we had made through the years. Was surprised to discover we could go back to 2003 with only having to recreate 2 years of income. Mind you, this is only adjusted gross that we were able to track but its only recently that there has been a significant difference between gross and adjusted. It was interesting to see that tracked next to the net worth increases. As I remembered, 2008 was a high point before a significant dip in income which lasted the next three years. Nothing too shocking, just a reconfirmation that its how much we spend more than earn that dictates our net worth increases.

Project number two was importing all our information into mint. I wasn't very impressed with it at first because some of the imports took work to get mint to find the right website and their budgeting and goal making is on a monthly basis whereas some of our bills are more periodic as are our goals. But it did have two areas that won me over. Actual income over time data (useful when the swings in your income are huge) and having all the investments in one spot. I will still keep my old fashioned excel spreadsheet but the mint website has some fun tools that I think will compliment what I am already doing.

On an amusing note, my DH is becoming highly invested in my long term goals for the household. I had decided I wanted to make sure he understood my goals and plans so that he could have input and own the process despite not being the one who takes care of the financial picture (he always been on board with saving, but he tends to vague whereas I work on specifics). With him working with other peoples financial data all day, he has no real interest in messing with ours.

So I did a number of projections using data we had already generated in order to show him what was doable. Obviously, lots can and will happen between now and retirement but a lot of this is occurring despite any setbacks. Main thing will be reminding him its okay to live in the meantime as well. He loves going full bore on challenges so sometimes moderation is difficult for him. I figure this year probably will be full bore simply because so many debts are close to their ending point and the more we stash now, the less we have to stash later.

Upping the 401(k)

January 24th, 2013 at 06:55 am

I just raised my contribution rate from 10% to 20%. Its the only way to double the amount in our retirement accounts because we did so well stashing money in them in December. What a problem to have...

It doesn't interfere with any of our other goals so everything is still on track or even ahead of schedule.

The January statement for my paid in full card closed and we did extremely well. We had cut our spending in January by over $2k and plan to keep it low in February as well. We did have to buy DH some clothes since he waits until everything has holes before telling me he needs some but even that was pretty cheap so we still didn't go much above $700 (original goal was under $1k, secondary goal was $600).

December is going to be huge for us. Because of all the payoffs this year, our monthly expenses will have dropped by $800. Which is good, because while I think we will start funding our EF this year, I have a hard time imagining it completed by the end of December, just because we are tackling a lot this year. So reduced expenses means less to save and more income available for saving. That said, I still see everything as targets in motion, probably because the idea of no salary interruption in a year seems foreign. We shall see.

Side benefits to being lazy

January 18th, 2013 at 06:34 am

Since we have stopped eating out as much, we now have to go home and cook after work. But, we are lazy. So one of our staple meals has become a french baguette (take and bake loaves are wonderful)and cut up veggies. The baguette has either brie smeared on on it or we dip it in oil and balsamic vinegar and the veggies are whatever is in the house dipped in ranch. Our meal prep is the time to heat the oven plus the 10 min bake time for the bread so about 15 minutes. We eat this 2-3 times per week. We have been doing this for months now. Another thing we do is cut up veggies as a side dish to a main entree (we just cooked up hamburgers last night and had cut up raw veggies because I was too lazy to make a side dish).

The other day, DH and I looked around and realized we had been under constant exposure from our coworkers to a variety of illnesses and neither of us has caught anything. At this point, both of us should have caught something. In fact, December is my usual bad month because that is when the constant exposure usually wears me down. Given that work has been unusually stressful this year, you would think I would have been sick a couple of times. The only thing that has changed for the better is the constant healthy eating.

Because veggies are easy to prep and last forever, our grocery bill has dropped as a consequence as well (despite buying brie). So healthier and saving money. Go figure.

Progress report on our austerity month

January 16th, 2013 at 06:45 am

We are more than half way through our "austerity" month and have already decided to do it for February as well. We have cut back on spending so much that I bet my paid in full card thinks I replaced them with somebody else.

My original goal was under $1000 on the card but we are now shooting for under $600 since the $1000 is guaranteed. We also expanded the original austerity to include cutting the cash allowance in half for the last 2 weeks of the month.

Part of the reason we are doing this is because work got crazy for awhile and made me realize I really wanted to have a large cash savings now and also partly because we have a couple of goals in sight that we want to complete at the earliest possible second.

Part of the reason we have been so uber successful at it is that we appear to have broken our out to eat habit. Our first thought for supper now is to go home and make something, not list all the restaurants we could grab food at. We still eat out and actually the meals tend to be more expensive since we have been only eating out at relatively healthy options but the frequency has dropped significantly.

I figure come March, the spending will go back up because of nice weather and garden prep but 2 months of practicing austerity should help us develop a habit of keeping the spending low.

Networth increases as a percentage

January 4th, 2013 at 06:21 am

I had been seeing people post their networth percentage increase for 2012 and decided since I have the numbers to go back and see the change for the past 5 years. Below is the list.

2008 48.15%
2009 75%
2010 1471.43%
2011 30.32%
2012 63.78%

Honestly, I was a little shocked at the outcome. 2008-2009 was paying off debt, 2010 included an updated appraisal after lots of fixing up of the house (we refinanced an FHA loan 15 year to a conventional 15 year and dropped mortgage insurance and the interest rate as a result)but the real shockers for me were 2011 & 2012.

2011 is the year that I felt I was treading water, we made no progress except on things that were on autopilot due to limited income. My main challenge that year was keeping our heads above water. A 30% increase is pretty dramatic for a period where I just tried to keep us from falling further in the hole.

As a result 2012 was more spendy than normal. We had deferred some expenses and deferred our play money in 2011 so we cleaned that up in 2012. Nonetheless, we still increased our networth by about my income this year.

Out of curiousity I projected out 2013 and the minimum percentage increase is about 68%, well more than my expected salary and a lot closer to all of what my husband expects to make. That one was heart stopping for both of us. While we have always had a rule about being able to live on one person's income (preferably the smaller salary), this sort of drove home the fact that we do manage to do that.

Update on the Eating Out Less Goal and a January Goal

December 28th, 2012 at 06:55 am

We have been fairly successful in cutting back on the eating out. I have actually told my husband to skip my lunch money allowance a couple of times and am about to tell him just to put it on hiatus until I get low on money. We also eat at home most week nights so the weekends are our biggest eating out times.

On a related note, January is the month that I like to see how low our spending can go. We are usually burned out on people and its tends to be fairly cold and nasty so its a good month to challenge our spending to get below $1000 on our paid in full credit card. Time to be homebodies and hibernate for a little while.

Hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and Happy New Year!

Met my networth goal

November 30th, 2012 at 06:30 am

We have broken 100k networth. Its amazing what a difference a year can make. When we first started this year, neither of us were making our current salaries and, while we were making progress, it didn't feel like it. Since I won't be meeting my credit card goal of less than 10k because I have decided to save up and pay off the balance in full on each card instead, that completes all of my 2012 goals.

I didn't have many because we had been holding steady for about 2 years due to previous layoffs. However, because of all the planning we have done, 2013 is when some of our bigger long term goals should be accomplished.

2013 Goals
All credit card debt paid off
Student loan paid off (you have no idea how excited I am about this one)
Max DH 401(k)
Max 2 Roth IRAs (1 each)
Double the amount of money in our retirement accounts
Fund 6 month EF

I contribute to my 401(k) but I don't get matching and maxing it out will have to wait until 2014 so that I can accmplish some of my other goals (though I will be upping my contribution next year at some point). This will leave us with the car loan at 1.7% apr and the mortgage with 4.375% apr. I also need a new roof and furnace in the next two years or so but that is more than I can accomplish in one year's time and I still haven't decided which one of those I will do in 2013.

All of the 2013 goals are doable as long as we have no more layoffs (something neither of us are counting on even though we are both doing well at the moment). This will probably be the last year where we can double our retirement accounts through contributions and I suspect our 2014 goal will be 100k in retirement accounts if things go according to plan or even mostly (ha!).

Upped the first 401(k)

November 28th, 2012 at 07:04 am

After considering where we were headed tax wise this year, I decided to have DH up his 401(k) contribution to 30%. I suspect that with bonuses and overtime that will max out his 401(k) contributions next year (we might even have to dial it back next year to avoid being too high). He's ecstatic since he loves to watch that number go up.

I have decided that since the credit cards are at 0% apr, I will save the cash to pay them off and just pay them off completely all at once. It will make it easier to plan with his income jumping around. We are already over a third of the way there for one of the cards and depending on overtime and bonuses, could have the rest in two months or less.

DH's June bonus will wipe out any remaining credit card debt (even if we pay nothing more) so that is why the priorities are shifting to saving cash and saving for retirement. When I worked a temp job, we always had 3 months expenses in cash and I would like to get to the point where we have 6 months which we have never had before. Once I have seen a month of his income with the higher 401(k) amount, I should be able to develop a goal time for that.

Constantly moving targets

November 14th, 2012 at 06:50 am

"Plans are useless but planning is indispensable" Dwight D. Eisenhower got it right when he said that. Somedays I try to imagine what it must be like to be able to use Plan A instead of Plan Q.

My houseguest moved out in November instead of January which is extremely nice but altered the financial plans since we were helping with the moving expenses and the initial one time expenses. Good thing we were running in austerity mode because it means we are still on track, just not as ahead of the game as we thought we would be.

We have been told of 2 very large bonuses for DH coming up next year so we now know that we will need to plan for those sums of money. I have been brainstorming but figure I won't know whether to put them to savings or debt payoff until we reach that point.

We are still on track to reach 100k networth by the end of the year and credit card debt under 10k as well. Until December comes though, I doubt I will have more exact numbers.

DH is back to unlimited overtime so what he brings home will be used to get the cards down even more than the original goal.

The Thanksgiving extra expense was able to be absorbed completely in the normal cash allowance for food despite being a little less well behaved with the eating out thanks to moving so we were happy about that.

Given how well DH is doing in the new position, I have already told him that the next raise due to job position (he is already testing for the next level up) means he needs to start maxing out his 401(k). Once the credit cards are gone, both of us will be doing that anyways. I still think we can pay them off by March but thanks to the upcoming bonus, we can guarantee payoff by June. If we both get Christmas bonuses, then the March payoff date will become feasible.

I fully expect with the ways things have been going to have a new and different plan by next week, lol.

Continuing Progress and Significant Slowdown in Spending

November 2nd, 2012 at 06:49 am

I ate out 5 times in the past week and our paid in full card is definitely showing a significant slowdown in the spending. We are basically taking a spending hiatus and seeing how little we can spend this month.

Our major expenditures this month will be my little brother's birthday dinner and Thanksgiving dinner. I am actually hoping that, with the drop in out to eat spending, our cash allowance will completely or mostly cover the increased grocery bill for Thanksgiving (the stocking runs have already begun).

The card spending slowdow has been dramatic. We only have $45 on the card that isn't part of the automatic spending (gas and bills are automatics) when our goal is under $200 per week. I think so far we are meeting that goal, lol. From September to October, we dropped $800 in spending. I am almost afraid to see how extreme a drop we will have for November. I suspect it will be over $1000 if we continue at this pace.

I think knowing that the credit cards payoff is so close after so many years is putting us in austerity mode. We are just ready to see them disappear completely. Despite the momentary hiatus on overtime, we are still on schedule to get the credit cards below 10K by the end of this year. Right now we are looking at a potential March payoff date for both cards.

Progress on not eating out as often

October 23rd, 2012 at 07:04 am

I ate 4 meals from restaurants last week. Considering that included the weekend and during a cold (Pho is wonderful when your sick), I am actually quite impressed. During the heat of this summer, we ate out every supper (think salads and veggies but still) and weekends have always been the bane of the food budget (min 4 times per weekend).

We will always have a minimum of 2 per week just because of scheduling but I am surprised that we essentially went from 15 times per week to 4 in one to two weeks time (last week was the first complete week since we decided to cut back).

What is really surprising is that I think I was burned out on eating out. I haven't missed eating out this time which is surprising because usually I am the one wanting to eat out.

The amount of money that can go to paying off debt from cutting down the eating out is going to be tremendous. It already slowed the spending on the credit card we use to pay everthing (its paid in full).

Remaining Debts

October 16th, 2012 at 06:57 am

The Debts (as of early November)

Amount Item Interest Expected Payoff

$11554 credit cards (0%)(variable but 2013)
$11499 car loan (1.1%) (March 2015)
$7994 student loan (5.15%)(April 2015)
$115745 mortgage (April 2025)

I thought about posting a budget but its not really necessary. We earn more than we spend and that is true by quite a bit. We were spending fools this summer because of the long overdue items we had been holding off on and we still made progress (and that was prior to my husband's job upgrade). Our choosing to cut back on eating out just allows us to put even more towards the credit card payoffs.

We also have the additional promise of bonuses for my husband in the future. We figure these will go straight to debt or savings depending on which is the priority at the time.

While the credit cards are our lowest interest rate, we want them gone for convenience sake so this last balance transfer round is our final one (which is why everything is based on November, we just played the transfer game this month). Our main goal is to see how quickly we can pay these off. Currently shooting for July but may move that up if our extra income is much larger than expected (no, we still don't know the full amount of his pay increase by virtue of the bonuses and his overtime).

The car loan and the student loan vanish at a similar point in 2015 which is why we are thinking of letting those two run their course and build savings in the meantime (not to mention both are designed to make it difficult to make extra payments).

I think I would be happier having a full emergency fund which is something I haven't been able to justify while the credit cards are around. That said, I suspect that when my cash equals the remaining balance on either of those two items, I will just make one final payment and be done with it.

Also, after the credit cards are gone, I will have both of us ratchet up to 15% in the 401(k). I have a roth I contribute to as well though the amount is only 2.6% of my income.

So current goals

1. Payoff credit cards
2. Up 401(k) contributions to 15%

Its steps 3 and 4 I am not sure about. Should I up my roth, build my savings, payoff the student loan (car loan is kind of pointless other than to say its gone) or some combination of the above. I have plenty of time to decide so its not like I have to make up my mind immediately but I am not used to being so wishy washy on my goals. I think part of the problem is that I really won't know the full extent of our extra income until spring so I won't know how many goals I can work on simultaneously until then.

For now though, those two goals should be good. If I blow through the first one faster than expected, then I will probably have enough extra income to work on multiple goals which would change them anyway. :P

What would you do as your next steps?

Need to set new goals

October 15th, 2012 at 07:03 am

I have been lurking for awhile but not posting since I haven't had much to say lately. For awhile I wasn't making huge amounts of progress due to the change of jobs and drastic cut in incomes but since then both my husband and I have recovered financially to a point where we are both better paid than we were before the whole layoff fiascos.

We are about to break the 6 figure networth mark (probably in January) and I am currently debating setting more specific goals for myself.

At the moment, our newest goal is to minimize eating out. We still have some credit card debt (11k) left from the bad old days when we were spenders and had significant drops in income so eating in will allow us to speed up paying this off. Basically, the less we spend, the more extra 1k payments we can put toward the debt. It will definitely take less than a year to pay them off but I am shooting for early summer payoff if I can.

I was thinking that once the credit cards are eliminated, I can focus more on building emergency reserves. We have a small one growing in the background right now but know that I will need a roof and furnace in the future plus I want 6 months expenses in the bank at some point.

Then there is also the retirement savings. We contribute over 10% at the moment but will up this after the credit cards are gone. Maybe up that to 15% and the rest of the extra can be to the emergency reserves.

Still thinking. Later when I have more time, I will post the debts and budget so people can see where we are at and weigh in.

Took some time off but I am back

February 18th, 2011 at 07:40 am

Everything was a little hectic while I was "unemployed" mainly because I did keep working just not full time. Which meant a lot of last minute calls to come to some job site, lol. I am a full time temp about to be made permanent now at my current job site so things are finally going back to a normal routine.

I was a little surprised to see that we still gained networth during my unemployment phase because my number one goal during that whole period was to keep large amounts of cash on hand in case things went south.

I will post more later on when I have more time but its nice to see some of the old posters are still around. Smile

Checking In

May 20th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

I am still amongst the living, I just haven't been on this forum much.

I have been working temp jobs and have one job offer coming in the next couple of weeks. I finally had enough unpaid time to file for unemployment last week so like last year, I won't be filing for more than a few weeks. Financially we are holding steady (we would have been improving but time off is the perfect time to work on home improvement projects).

We finally finished the landscaping design in the front yard and now just have to add plants (and move some come fall since some of them got much bigger than expected). Still need to paint the front steeple of the house. We have had too much rain to do it on the weekends and I am not getting up on a ladder without someone else around. The kitchen still needs to be finished (I am procrastinating on that).

Overall, I have been enjoying the time off. Now off to catch up on the forums.


March 26th, 2010 at 10:53 am

Ahh the joys. While DH got hired full time, I managed to get laid off for the second time this year. They gave me severance so I can't file for unemployment for a couple of weeks (not that I am complaining) so I am taking these couple of weeks to figure out my next step.

I know I don't want to stay permanently home since I like the security of two incomes (especially since this past year has seen us leapfrogging each other in constant employment). I am not sure if I want to do part time or full time and I am pretty sure I need to apply to positions that are outside my current expertise since my current one is too much of a niche.

I figure I will get a bunch of our home improvement projects done while trying to make up my mind and have already set into motion the new budget. Our debt repayment is still on track as a result. The next two years should result not only in paying off all the credit card debt but the student loans as well. We don't even need to alter our savings plan since I just cut our spending back to compensate for the loss of income.

Now off to get some of those projects done. Smile


March 18th, 2010 at 07:26 am

So no layoff, DH will be starting the new job in two weeks. Definitely takes some stress off the budget. April I will be doing an extra 2k payment to the big credit card in addition to my usual payoff amounts. With the new job, our original timeline for paying off the credit card debt in October still stands.

After that we start attacking my student loan.

March Update

March 16th, 2010 at 07:08 am

Its not like me to go that long without blogging but things have been pretty peaceful here. DH has had mandatory OT which is a boost to the savings.

We have individual insurance for DH coming so whether he gets hired on or not, we will have health insurance for him.

We have already broke the 1k mark on his new 401(k) and rolled his old 401(k) into a trad ira so I am feeling good about my decision to fund the new 401(k). Everything is set up to roll smoothly over when he's done working for the temp agency.

Other than that, we are either waiting for a lay off for him or him to get hired on and it could go either way.

Refinance finished and preparing a new budget

February 24th, 2010 at 07:15 am

We closed on our refinance so I have updated the totals to reflect the new amount. I still haven't decided on my new networth goals since I blew past the break even point thanks to the equity in the house. Especially since DH just told me that his work situation is restructuring come this April so I am preparing for the potential layoff.

So credit card payments are only going to be 1k instead of every last extra dime we have. Its still progress but if he stays unemployed the whole time it will take us an additional 8 months to pay the credit cards off. At least we can still pay them down.


February 11th, 2010 at 09:47 am

We finally know what repairs are needed for the refinance final approval (they don't like a light fixture in the basement due to exposed wires, easy fix). We will do that this weekend and be done with it.

I am waiting for the refinance to be finalized before I transfer one of my credit card balances so that it doesn't mess with our ratios (they are ignoring my husband's income for the refinance so that makes debt ratios much tighter). I basically have two balance transfers to do before all the debt will be paid off but since I am doing a slow but steady pace, I suspect we might finish off the credit cards sooner than expected.

DH is still a full time temp but has been ordered by a current and former manager to apply for a certain full time position so we shall see how that goes.

Overall, its pretty peaceful here. Our savings are building, our debt is going down and I am starting to feel like we are catching up to where I would like us to be.

Hmm how do you forget that? and new numbers

January 28th, 2010 at 06:17 am

I have had an HSA for a number of years but it seems I never connected that to my networth. While you can't spend an HSA on just anything, its the pot of money I use for all my medical expenses and its a decent sized pot. So from now on I will be adding that in as well since it is money I have access to and use on a fairly regular basis.

I went back and edited through November showing the account so the jump didn't occur at the same time as when I upped the house value.

New Numbers

Okay, I finally have enough pretax items to base things off of gross income. So here is the new budget.

Gross Income 6208
401(k) 475
HSA 83 (167 per month employer)
Taxes 1412
Utilities 103
Entertainment 115 (tv/internet/netflix)
Gas 150
Irr. Bills 100 (phone/car ins.,etc)
PITI 1140
IRA 200
Student Loan 194
Credit card 1000
Allowance 800 (tends to get adjusted)

You will notice this leaves a leftover amount which I alternate between building my savings, paying off credit cards or covering a new lovely car expense or other bill for things breaking.

Once the credit card(s) is gone the excess will go straight into Roths, then into savings for projects.

This puts Needs at 53%, Savings at 32% and Wants at 15% so pretty close to my ideal budget.

Appraisal came in!

January 26th, 2010 at 12:29 pm

There is something very validating about having a supposedly objective person look at everything you have done and tell you what a fantastic job you have done. I have updated my networth to reflect my current home value (minus the repairs needed in his report).

There is something shocking about seeing my networth jump like that. Nonetheless, the only thing it really does is validate all the money we have spent on repairs. I will update the mortgage value as soon as the new mortgage goes into play.

The other nice thing is this means that our FHA loan is flipping to a conventional because our equity is high enough. No more mortgage insurance premiums and a 1.5% drop in the interest rate. We are of course sticking with a 15 year and I promise not to grumble too much about being set back a whole year on the loan (especially to people who prefer 30 years).

The appraiser also confirmed what I had long suspected, our initial sales price had been under market value at the time we bought. Our neighborhood just doesn't have a lot of foreclosure activity (not even at the height of the market scare) and so no one wanted to deal with our property due to short sale when they could spend a little more and not have to wade through the additional time constraints. No wonder the seller's agent bought us a water heater to close the deal.

All in all, it will be nice having a slightly lower payment ($100+). I am afraid hubby is disappointed though. He hoped it would be 186 (it was 180) so that we could add my student loans to the balance. It would have lowered the interest rate and freed up the cashflow in the $200+ range. I was more worried it wouldn't come in high enough to flip to conventional since comparables are sometimes hard to find in such a small and unique area.

First 401(k) contribution

January 22nd, 2010 at 06:54 am

It didn't hurt as much as I was expecting but then they haven't cracked down at DH's work on overtime yet so that spared us a little. Nonetheless, its good to know that our savings rate is going back up to a somewhat decent level (7.8%). At the end of the year we will load up the Roths so it will jump to a healthy level at that time (depending on the constantly jumping income somewhere around 22% to retirement savings).

This year's goals are simple. Pay off the debt and max out retirement savings to best of our ability.

This will get a little bit easier if we do manage to refinance. The mortgage payment difference isn't huge but it would definitely gives us more to work with. Needless to say, I am waiting with bated breath to hear the appraisal number. They have to tell us before next Wednesday...

All in all, not much going on.

The New Plan

January 13th, 2010 at 06:50 am

As much as I wanted to pay off the one card by March, we need more breathing room. We can not be operating without a savings cushion while DH is employed by a temp agency (not that working full time for another company would be any better in his field, but I digress).

The new plan will require 36% (so less than before) of our income to go towards the debt repayment but leaves us both with a cushion and some money to spend (4.4% of the budget and includes all groceries). Our payoff will be in October (*sigh*) but the chances of needing to resort to the credit cards because something else happens (we just had 4k worth of something happen) goes down tremendously.

Strangely, the evaporated balance transfer offers have come back so I won't have to pay a high interest rate for the privilege of time (this is a mixed blessing since I know I would never pay over 10% apr for any type of loan but 1.99 and lower doesn't encourage speedy payoff).

Part of the additional setback is the access to the 401(k). We are putting 15% into it pretax and that is a big chunk out of the budget. On the other hand, the habit of saving has already begun to pay dividends for us. Our retirement accounts have been steadily climbing and our net worth with it. I wish we had begun these accounts back when we first moved out here. The delay in waiting for our debt to be paid off was a poor choice since it takes awhile to reform bad habits. And thanks to that 401(k), tax time will avoid being a big hit to the wallet.

Overall, I am more than a little disappointed by this delay but I am trying to be realistic with my budget.

Ouch, that hurts

January 11th, 2010 at 10:35 am

A rebuilt transmission will be necessary for the car. That will deplete the rest of our savings so I am going to have to get creative to rebuild the savings fund.

We still haven't had a setback that we haven't been able to pay in full but this last one is cutting it close. I may need to slow down the repayment schedule to allow our cushion some healing time.

Time also to nix the allowance increase. The new paint will just have to wait till March. In fact, time to cut back more. If I can just get through March, everything opens up after that but its going to be tight until then.

Random musings

January 11th, 2010 at 07:14 am

This weekend was fairly productive. We priced out some items and picked paint colors for the house so probably next weekend we will restart the house projects. The cork floor I want for my kitchen will only cost a little over $400 so we are going to start saving out for that. Retrimming the doors will cost $30 for each doorway side which means the trims with 6 coats of paint (that were never sanded) can go bye bye.

I also found out that we could possibly refinance the mortgage which would lower the interest rate and drop the mortgage insurance. Should be interesting to see what number they attach to the house. I know its worth more than the original sales price but how much more has never been established (which is why I use sales price in our networth calculations).

Its now or never with the refi though. And yes never is okay too. Mortgage insurance drops off in 3 years so it just wouldn't make financial sense to refinance closer to the drop off date because 6% isn't a very high interest and our loan is too small for interest rates alone to make up closing costs.

The car is at a different shop today. Decided that since the last two times, the shop had given us back a car with more problems than we sent it to them with, we would try someone new. It means we will probably pay more than we should to fix the previous guys mistakes but that is better than trusting them with our car again.

The new shop already sounds better. Instead of dismissing our change in transmission sound, they told us that the other shop probably used too heavy a weight of transmission fluid when they changed it. If they can hear that noise, they should have no problem hearing the clunking in the middle of the car (other shop told us they couldn't find that noise and then changed the transmission fluid and claimed that cured it, un hunh).
*Sigh* This is why I didn't own a car for a number of years. They are a lot of work.

On a slightly depressing note, my friend with the much newer car has had to send her car in for repairs even more than us (we have been mostly doing maintenance, hers is new things breaking) despite us getting a bad job the past two times. I'll pass on the new car thank you.

Budget Change

January 7th, 2010 at 06:59 am

Its a little early to come out of hibernation, but that's just the type of girl I am. I am ready to get back to work on the house projects (little ones, one at a time, I promise) so our allowance will need to go up to accommodate the things we will need to pick up like paint, trim and tools.

We have a lot of things that are mostly finished so I think our projects will mostly be about completing what we have started.

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