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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.


Priorities

September 28th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

So I posted yesterday about our unexpected financial gift from my inlaws and how I wasn't sure what to do with it.

I recently wrote down our upcoming irregular expenses for the next few months that have not been budgeted for and priortized them.

Income taxes was number 1, property taxes was number 2 and brakes for my car was number 3. There are more but not worth mentioning for this post.

Since we are getting a state tax refund but probably won't have it in time that the federal taxes are due I will "borrow" this money from the gift money and pay it back once we receive the state refund.

After that the money will go towards replacing the brakes on my car and any money left over will go to either our emergency fund or to the MasterCard.

Glad to have that worked out.

Baby steps

September 23rd, 2010 at 10:27 am

Tuesday was a no spend day so yay for that.

Also on Tuesday I called Costco/Ameriprise to get a homeownerís insurance quote in hopes of consolidating our auto and homeowners insurance. Unfortunately they werenít able to provide a quote because we have a wood shake roof. Boo! And unfortunately we donít have $10,000 for a new roof so for now I will have to have separate auto and homeownerís policies.

Wednesday was ďa spend very little and get a lot of stuff dayĒ. I bought almost $22 worth of stuff at CVS and between coupons and Extra Care Bucks I paid about $6 out of pocket. I started CVSing this month and am finally getting the hang of it.

Iíd like to get to having more ďno spendĒ days then ďspend daysĒ each week.

Iíve been trying to form the habit of entering receipts into Quicken as we spend money and not waiting until my weekly appointment with myself to do that on Saturday nights. I also have been entering them into my Excel budget spreadsheet. Itís a little redundant but since Quickenís budgeting feature is so crappy I have to do this in order to stay on top of cash flow.

Still havenít transferred the cash out of checking yet although Iím getting more comfortable with doing it since Iím almost 100% sure that Iíve accounted for all expenses and have entered all receipts into Quicken.

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.

Expenses and then some

September 16th, 2010 at 10:16 am

So I've been compiling a list of anticipated expenses that we will have in the next few months:

Property Taxes
First payment is due in early December. I normally save incrementally for this with each paycheck but when the savings transfers aren't made, that's kind of not a good thing. I have some money saved but the balance is not what it should be.

Income Taxes
We filed an extension this year because I waited too long to find an accountant to file for us. As it stands now we are owing on the federal portion and getting a state refund but not enough to offset the federal. We are working on trying to get the federal lower.

Brakes on my car
$410 to have them done at the dealership. Iím going to call around and get quotes from mechanics elsewhere.

Christmas
Again, I normally save incrementally for this but the transfers to savings werenít always made.

Baseball
My son is going to try out for the baseball team at school. I have no idea what this will cost us if he makes it. I need to call the school and ask.

Vegas
We planned a trip to Vegas with friends. Airfare was free due to our Mastercard rewards. Hotel was pretty inexpensive. I just need to set aside cash for meals and a show. In hindsight I wish we hadnít agreed to go but nothing I can do about it now.

Braces
My son already has braces and my daughter has retainers. We were just told that she will need braces too Frown I plan on asking at their next appointment how much they will cost so we can update my husband's flexible spending account during open enrollment in November.

Glasses for me:
I got a new prescription and need new lenses only. I think I might try ordering through an online site like Glassesusa.com. I can get new frames and lenses for much less than I would pay for lenses alone at Lens Crafters.

So a lot of expenses, outside of our regular ones, and not a whole lot of extra cash leaves me wondering how we will pay for all of this.

October happens to be an extra paycheck month. I think I might use some of that money for our property taxes.