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Sorry I've been gone so long

February 15th, 2008 at 07:27 pm

It looks like my last post was in the beginning of January. I've finally worked out a good school schedule and am now starting to work ahead. Of course, I only have 10 more weeks to go this term and then I'll have to start it all over again.

I guess a lot has happened financially since the last time I wrote. My net worth has increased by about $2000, my debts have decreased by $235 and some change, my $20 challenge has increased by $253.93, and I've increased my emergency fund savings.

But the real changes are going to start happening by the end of the month. We are getting $3242 in a tax refund (that was too much so we changed our withholding AGAIN as soon as I did our taxes. the 2006 refund was over $3900 withholding 4, 2007 was $3242 withholding 6, so now we are at the maximum allowed for us withholding 9). So that tax refund is being used to put an additional $1000 into our emergency fund account and $2242 towards paying down our credit card.

In addition to that (though I'm not really counting on it because DH has only been there since August...just hoping), DH may or may not receive a raise and bonus starting Feb. 29th (we'll know the day before). That will also be used to pay down the credit card, if we get anything. Otherwise, I'll just be making my normal $200 payment next month (regular payment + extra). Once the credit card is paid off, then I'm going to find an additional $33 and make two payments each month to the truck loan instead of one (the $200 payments from the credit card + $33 to make up the payment amount of $232.76 + $0.24 for transfered round up funds).

Also, in April our mortgage payment goes down due to a decrease in our escrow payments. So that total goes from $920.01 to $885.21 per month. I'm not sure how or when our payment will change again with the new property tax change here in Florida. It raises the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000. It is supposed to go back to January 1, 2008, but the mortgage company only re-assesses the escrow account once a year so I'm sure I won't see another decrease until April 2009 because of it.

Let's see what else? I'm buying new tires for my car in cash tomorrow! Yay!

So I think all in all that's it for now. I'm sorry that I haven't been around much lately, but I have to take care of family and school first before I can go on too many other websites. Oh and so far I have all A's in my three classes. We'll see where I end up in 10 weeks. In 3 weeks I'll be able to see what classes will be available for the summer and fall terms and 3 weeks from there I can register for them. I'll be taking 2 classes over the summer and 4 during the fall term.

OK...I'm going to go take a look at what others have been writing lately. I've missed so much and it might be a while before I can get back again. Take care everyone!


My non-resolution year

December 27th, 2007 at 09:23 am

I really dislike New Year's Resolutions. The goals are always too broad and mostly unattainable. They make you feel like you have to do it or else. And they sound too concrete and unchangeable.

Goals should be more specific. They should be broken up into little parts to make them attainable. They should be reviewed and tweaked throughout the year based on those "little things" that pop up in your life and totally ruin or improve your progress.

So I'm not working on my resolutions. Instead I'm taking the opportunity to work on improving and updating my on-going goals for a better life.

Do I want to be debt free? Of course I do! But I'm not going to do it this year. I'm also not going to fully fund my emergency fund. I don't want to make my goals too tough that I just give up, but I also don't want to make them too easy either. I want them to be reasonable.

So my on-going goal updates for 2008 are (and will be changed as needed to be able to meet and hopefully sometimes exceed my goals):

1) I would like to reduce my credit card balance at least in half. Last year I would have said I'd pay it all off, but I knew we were getting a large tax refund and DH was getting a pretty good bonus. For 2007 we tried to reduce how much was taken out of DH's checks so we are expecting a much lower refund (hopefully not much at all if we calculated right, but DH did change jobs and that may have messed it up a bit). Also we are not sure how much DH will get for a bonus this February since he just started in August. If the tax refund and DH's bonus are higher than I expect then I'll adjust the goal accordingly.

2) I would like to increase our online EF (savings #2) by another $1620. Again I hope for more and it probably will be with interest added in, but all I need is one emergency and that goal would be shot! I will adjust through the year if I see we can do more.

3) My last goal is also part of my 2008 Financial To-Do's list in my sidebar. I want to work on a menu plan and grocery list, which should at least help in the area of high grocery bills. We seem to spend between $250-$520 each month, but it varies usually staying around the $300-$400 range. I think a lot of it gets wasted and I can bring that amount down. I also think making a better menu/grocery plan will help cut down on dining out, though we don't really do that as much as we used to. So I'm going to try to work on some sort of plan for at least dinners to start with since that is when we are all home together and tend to have our "big meal".

Those are my on-going goals. I have other goals that are not financial that I've been working on as well. I've tweaked them here and there as needed, too. I think it's great to have goals and something to work on, but people put too much emphasis on only making broad ones at the beginning of each year, which end up only lasting for a couple of months.