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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!

Andrea

I'm So Behind!

January 12th, 2008 at 09:08 pm

I haven't been keeping up with my blog here since school started on Monday. I am so behind. I've updated my totals a bit on the side.

My $20 challenge increased this week by $9.37. It's not much, but every little bit helps.

I've used our credit card a little bit. The ink cartridge in our printer ran out and I had to get a new one. But because of the extra paycheck at the end of the month I'm paying extra on it so when I use the credit card, I add the amount to the extra I'm paying on the 31st.

I'm thinking I may have an issue with financial aid for school because they haven't posted my transcripts yet (well one they should have and the other they'll have in a few days). If they don't post them before the 18th, then my financial aid will be on hold and I'll have to pay my tuition until they refund it to me. Thankfully it is only for this term since it's the first at this school, but still it is such a pain to have to deal with. I'm glad I have my HELOC as a buffer to pay for it even if it's only until they post the transcripts, then I pay it directly back. I'd hate to lose my classes.

As for school, the boys are doing good. DS2 was always doing good. DS1 was having some problems adjusting to more work than the previous year, but he seems to be doing better now. It won't help with his grades this report card, but will set him straight for the next two. Sometimes the teachers and I remind ourselves that he is younger than his other classmates.

I've ended up adding another certificate. I know I must be a glutton for punishment! But really it's no big deal because I was already taking the courses for my major. It's like a freebie! So now I'm a Criminal Justice major, Psychology minor, certificate in Behavioral Forensics, and the newly added certificate in Victim Advocacy. Plus I realized that I added an extra class to my course plans by accident. I already had a required course for the first certificate planned out and didn't realize it also applied to my minor, where I picked a totally different course to satisfy that area. So one less class is good though it doesn't mean I get to graduate earlier. I still won't graduate until after the Fall term 2010. It just means that one term I only have to take three classes instead of four.

So that is what is going on. I may only be able to update here weekly now that school has started again. I'm off to read the posts I've missed.

Added more to challenge

January 6th, 2008 at 09:03 pm

I was able to add $2.36 more to my $20 Challenge.

Daily Spending and Saving--01/05/08

January 5th, 2008 at 04:24 pm

Spent:

Groceries (includes household items like dishwasher detergent, etc. and is for at least two weeks): $225.13 worth of groceries for $193.67.

I also came in under my $200 budget so I've added the difference to my $20 challenge.

CVS (DH's medication refill): $5.74

Saved/$20 Challenge: $6.59

New $20 Challenge Total: $33.09

Daily Spending and Saving--01/03-04/08

January 4th, 2008 at 07:29 pm

OK...two days worth here!

01/03/08
Spent:
DH's breakfast: $1.71
DH's lunch: $5.13
Truck loan: $232.76
My endo doctor (remaining bill after insurance): $92.88

Added to $20 Challenge: $1.52
$20 Challenge Total: $21.52

01/04/08
Lunch for me and the boys: $12.50
Target (needed supplies for college/household and DS2's birthday present): $56.78
DH's lunch: $5.92
DH's gas: $56.00
DBCC (official transcript order): $2.00

Added to $20 Challenge: $2.80
$20 Challenge Total: $24.32

In addition to this I deposited the refund check previously mentioned in amount of $22.34. I also took care of some financial tasks for my sons. Deposited checks for both of them and opened a new 60-month CD for DS2. They now both have two of them.

Daily Spending and Saving--01/02/08

January 3rd, 2008 at 08:36 am

I forgot to do my spending/saving thing.

1/1/08--No spend day

1/2/08--DH spent--$65.49 ($55.01 of it was for gas)


Daily Spending and Saving--12/31/07

December 31st, 2007 at 04:10 pm

Spending: $35.26 (DH's work lunch and splurge on evening pizza)
Saving: $1.74


Daily Spending and Saving--12/30/07

December 30th, 2007 at 10:55 am

I went to the grocery store to pick up some things we were short on. We were really short on a lot of things!

Spent: $50.12

Saved (round up fund): $0.88

Daily Spending and Saving--12/29/07

December 29th, 2007 at 08:37 pm

Today was a no spend day. So nothing spent or saved.

I did find out that the customary $2 increase in my VA benefits have gone through. So I made the correction to my automatic transfer into the online savings account (#2).

Daily Spending and Saving--12/28/07

December 28th, 2007 at 02:31 pm

DH only spent money on lunch today.

Spending: $5.13

Savings (round up): $0.87


Creative Bill Paying

December 28th, 2007 at 08:22 am

I feel really good when I've successfully figured out some creative way to pay the bills in a tight situation without missing any payment dates or foregoing extra payments.

January is a big payment and paycheck month for us. It is one of two months during the year where DH gets paid three times. It is also the month our auto insurance is due.

The problem is that the bills are not coinciding with the three paychecks so that this month really doesn't help until the last day of January when he gets the third paycheck. By then all the bills have already become due.

So my plan is:

1) skip the 1st transfer of $460 that gets put into savings #1 for mortgage. (the payment for January is already there and this is for February's payment)

2) add 1st transfer of $460 to last $460 transfer so total transferred is $920 (1/31/2008).

3) only pay minimum of $96 on credit card at due date (1/7/08).

4) pay $737.30 (6 months--2 vehicles) auto insurance with Heloc funds at due date (1-19-07).

5) pay $125.59 additional funds to credit card on last payday of month (1/31/08).

6) pay additional $737.30 for total of $1037.30 on Heloc at February due date (2/15/08).

In between all this is also the truck loan, cell phones, medical bill, and Heloc payment due from the first paycheck; satellite, electric, internet/phone, water/sewer/garbage due from the second paycheck. The last paycheck will cover #2 and #5 from above plus truck loan, cc payment, cell phones from February. The last check also leaves us a surplus, which starts us out snowballing what's available for the rest of the year. I've done some figuring and it's rather nice. Smile


Daily Spending and Saving--12/27/07

December 27th, 2007 at 03:00 pm

Today was a kind of high spending day.

DH spending:
breakfast and lunch: $7.74
gasoline: $55.00
cigarettes: $3.70 (I am so trying to get him to quit, but it is hard for him)

DH saving: $1.56

my spending:
Will forms (state specific) for me and DH w/living will: $35.00

my saving: $1.00

Total spending today: $101.44
Total saving (round up fund): $2.56

Daily Spending and Saving--12/26/07

December 26th, 2007 at 03:53 pm

Today I didn't spend anything. I just spent the day relaxing and sometimes sleeping, sometimes playing referee with the boys.

DH spent his normal daily expenses today plus he got me a little get well soon gift (a bear that says get well soon and some little beaded stretch bracelet...awww how sweet!).

So today was a no gas day so that keeps expenses down a bit.

Spent: $12.69 (includes gift, morning OJ, and lunch)
Saved: $1.31 (into round up fund)

Daily Spending and Saving--12/24/07

December 24th, 2007 at 10:52 am

Today I went to Publix to buy the remainder of the food needed for tomorrow. Including us there will be 8 adults and 2 children. We're doing appetizers, subs, side salads, et cetera. So today I got the produce, deli meats, and cheese along with a few items I forgot during the last trip.

Spent: $87.08
Saved (Round up fund): $0.92

Saved in advertised store savings: $3.57 (I don't usually do anything with this, but when I do my regular grocery shopping I like to see how much I would have paid if I didn't shop smart.)

Saving Money

December 24th, 2007 at 06:47 am

So how do I find ways to save money? There are several actually.

1) I got an online high interest savings account with FNBO (savings #2). They originally had a promotion with a 6% interest rate. They have since reduced it to 5.05%, but still that is very good! I am very happy with them. I am now using this account to rebuild up our emergency fund. My original savings account (savings #1) is only used to pay the automatic mortgage payments.

2) I have been rounding up all my purchases to the next dollar. I use Quicken to keep track of my spending and with it you can set up new accounts. I've set up one called "Round up from Checking", which is where I transfer this round up money every purchase. At the end of each month I transfer what is in it to my online savings account.

3) I receive a disability check every month from the VA for my military injuries. This is tax-free money so that gets transferred now into my new online savings account every month also. It isn't much (darn red tape Frown ), but it adds up each month. I had it going into my savings #1, but I don't like when I get lazy and fall back on it as part of my mortgage payment...so out it goes every month to earn some interest!

4) I joined MyPoints, Lightspeed Panel, Opinions Outpost, et cetera. I have received a couple of small checks from the last one already. I don't have as much time as I'd like to make more. With the first two I am able to get gift cards. I usually get ones for gas or fast food places and give them to DH to offset some of his daily work/commuting costs (he travels 57 miles one way to work each day). It's not much but every little bit helps.

I cannot think of any more right now. I'm pretty sure there are more, but you know they get to be habit and then I take them for granted. I'll update if I think of any.

UPDATE: I remembered another thing I am starting to do to save/earn money.

5) I am starting a pile for yard sale stuff. I have a huge amount of stuff in my garage for a yard sale I plan on having in the spring. I also have put aside some items that I feel I can make more on through eBay. Unfortunately, I don't feel very comfortable selling on there. I've sold books and movies on Half.com (an eBay subsidiary), but larger and/or more fragile items I have a problem with. I may bring them to the eBay store and let them handle the sales and shipping after the holidays.