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Trying this again...

August 16th, 2013 at 02:00 pm

...feeling the need to get my thoughts out of my head, so they are going here.

Credit card is almost maxed out and trying to get it paid off. Never in my life have I been in debt like this except for a mortgage and a now paid off car loan. It sucks.

Found out today that a portion of the hubs' PTO was cashed out and we received an extra $2,850 in his paycheck today. As much as I'd like to go away and relax, this money is going straight to the MasterCard. Evil piece of crap that it is.

Update to car repair

November 16th, 2010 at 06:49 pm

Well it turns out I didn't need brakes on my car after all. Frustrating that I had to pay for labor for them to discover this but I don't blame them since the dealership told me I needed brakes and I took my car to another repair shop to do the work since they were $110 cheaper than the dealership.

I spent $228, $143 of which was for them to diagnose the check engine light that has been going off.

All in all, I have about another years worth of brakes and spent less than I had planned so I guess that is good news. Plus they vacuumed my car. Very nice surprise as it needed it badly - thanks to dirty soccer cleats.

So the balance of our tax refund that was to pay for repairs today will go to the MasterCard payoff.


Ugh and catching up

November 4th, 2010 at 10:41 am

October was pretty crappy in terms of spending and tracking our money. I kept procrastinating about entering stuff into Quicken and therefore, out of sight out of mind.

The good news is that we got our taxes done, bad news is that we had to pay on the federal portion. I am awaiting a few hundred dollars refund from the state and I think it will go to savings. I really want to build up our emergency fund as I'm worried that with money being so tight something will happen and we will have to rely on our credit card to pay for it.

Good news is that I'm now up to speed with Quicken and my budget spreadsheet. I don't like having to enter things twice but for now it works and is worth the extra effort.

I've been tweaking my budget spreadsheet and think I've got it to where I need it to be (formulas, how info is displayed etc). I'm hoping that by the beginning of the year I will have worked out all the kinks and can start a new workbook for 2011. I'm doing a biweekly budget and assigning bills to each pay period and I'm liking how its been working so far.

Good news is that I paid off two credit cards. Our flat screen tv is paid off (we did the zero interest thing) and a small amount from JCPenney. I'm now snowballing those payments to our MasterCard.

I've gone mostly to all cash (debit card) except for my weak spot of dining out. This continues to be our biggest budget buster. Lack of planning on my part is mostly to blame. MUST DO BETTER.

The focus now is on paying off the MasterCard. I need to project payments so I can estimate how soon I can pay it off. I did make a fairly large payment last night with the cash reserves in our checking. I never transferred the reserves out of our account as I was too afraid I may have missed something major in my budget and actually need the cash, so I've decided to make smaller payments with this money until the reserves are gone and I'm confident I didn't overlook something.

I've been thinking about some financial goals for 2011 and hope to nail them down soon. One of these goals will be to record my thoughts here on a more regular basis because doing that keeps my financial goals at the forefront.

Weekend finance plans

September 17th, 2010 at 01:10 pm

Iíve been working on a budget spreadsheet in Excel that I found on a personal finance blog. Actually it was a snapshot this womanís budget and I liked the format of it so much that I copied it. Itís arranged in a way that makes sense to me and hopefully itíll work, unlike the many budgets Iíve tried in the past. For the rest of the year, Iíve assigned our bills to paychecks, allocated money for our various savings categories and some discretionary spending (such as groceries, gas and household expenses) and there is hardly anything left. Iím not liking what I am seeing.

I think that after we are paid today and Monday, I will transfer to savings the remaining cash in our checking account that was there prior to us being paid. That money will go towards our property taxes and then regular savings transfers every pay period will give us the money we need in December when the first payment is due.

Iím afraid to transfer this money though because then I wonít have a cushion in our checking account. I need to review the numbers repeatedly this weekend to make sure I havenít missed anything.

If Iíve calculated and anticipated our expenses correctly, we should have a pretty decent surplus in October and November, thanks to those months being our extra paycheck months. Since I budget our savings off of 24 paychecks, our normal savings transfer will not happen for these two paychecks, leaving us with a surplus that will be applied to our MasterCard. I think I can pay almost 50% of the card balance with this money.

On tap for today and this weekend:
* Cancel gym membership - annual savings of $696
* Call around for new internet/cable providers
* Get homeownerís insurance estimate from Costco/Ameriprise
* More tweaking/reviewing of the budget. Husband is paid today (Friday) and I am paid on Monday so I want to transfer the surplus after my paycheck is deposited.
* Hopefully this will be a weekend of no spending except for groceries and gas.

A financial surprise for us!

August 25th, 2008 at 09:21 am

Imagine my surprise when I opened my husbandís paycheck last Friday and it was more than double the normal amount! I asked my husband about it and it turns out that he was paid for his PTO (paid time off). Once their PTO reaches a certain level, his employer pays it out to bring it back down to a certain hours level. Well this money couldnít have come at a more opportune time. While I would have liked to save all of it, I used some of it to get caught up with our overspending from last month. We charge almost everything on our MasterCard and ALWAYS pay it off every month, sometimes to the detriment of not saving for other things. Well now that we have this money, I can use some of it to pay our MasterCard bill and then what is left at the end of the month will get transferred to savings. I have already saved our normal amounts, but this transfer will be over and above what we normally save.

I have resumed making internal transfers in Quicken every time we charge something on the credit card. I transfer money from our checking account to a dummy credit card payment account so that when the bill comes due I know that I have the money available to pay the card off and not have to sacrifice our savings transfers. Doin this also allows me to see how much cash we have so that we are spending within our means and not over it.

Some of the checks I wrote last week for school related expenses were sent back home as there was a miscommunication and we really didnít have to pay them. I will need to pay the expenses eventually but for the time being not now.

Our dinner last Friday was picked up by my mom (yay!) but we did get a pizza Saturday night and got Mexican last night to the tune of about $21. We ran a 5k yesterday and then went to the Giants baseball game and everyone was tired by the time we got home. I didnít do so hot last week with cooking and am over budget in our dining out category but the good news is that we have spent MUCH less on dinners out than we spent in prior months. I look at that as progress.

Dinners are planned this week and I have already shopped for them. I am under budget for groceries this month but coming close to meeting the number. I am really going to try to not exceed it this month.

I Bit the Bullet

February 13th, 2007 at 03:32 pm

and applied and got a mileage CC today. I asked how many times I could make pymts online and was told as many as I wanted. I confirmed that I wanted to make weekly pymts and was told that was acceptable.

So, I hope to start racking up the miles to use for a future vacation. Hopefully taking the kids to Hawaii in a few years.

I'm a little nervous about charging everything to it but fully intend to pay off balances weekly. I cannot handle the stress of CC debt.

My plan is that everytime I use the card I will enter the transaction in Quicken and my spending plan spreadsheet. Doing it this way will reduce my available cash for the week, thereby keeping me in check from overspending.