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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!


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.

Spending Day

January 6th, 2008 at 09:00 pm

Today was a bit of a spending day. Frown

First we went miniature golfing. I don't allow birthday parties until they turn 8 or so and my youngest just turned 6 a few days ago. Before birthday parties we usually do fun stuff as a family and DS2 chose miniature golfing. So there went $38.13, but at least it was for a family thing.

Then we actually did pretty good. We went to Olive Garden. You're probably thinking we spent a whole lot, but really we only spent $13.28 with tip. We used two $25 gift cards we got for Christmas so our bill totaled only $5.28, then we added the tip based on the whole bill of $55.28. Plus because I filled up on the salad, breadsticks, and appetizer, I have lunch for tomorrow!

We stopped by Lowe's to look for a couple of needed items and only found two for a total of $7.43. So not finding everything we needed we drove across the street to Home Depot and got the last item (a new garbage can...ours has holes in the bottom of it and the handle broke off) for $27.80.

We spent a lot, but we had fun, got things we needed, and had a nice meal on the cheap thanks to gift cards. All in all not a bad day. Now we are ready to go back to school tomorrow!

Just got my diploma!

January 5th, 2008 at 04:27 pm

I just received my Associate of Arts degree in the mail today! I graduated with honors, too! It's nice to get now because I start my new classes/school for my BS on Monday.

Daily Spending and Saving--01/05/08

January 5th, 2008 at 04:24 pm


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

Found more $20 Challenge money!

January 4th, 2008 at 07:37 pm

I went collecting around the house and came up with another $2.44!

New $20 Challenge Total: $26.76

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

January 4th, 2008 at 07:29 pm

OK...two days worth here!

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

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)

School is about to start!

January 1st, 2008 at 06:31 pm

Firstly, I cannot wait to send my boys back to school! They are driving me crazy!

My school starts the same day they go back (January 7th). I'm finally at UCF! I'm lucky enough to have my classes online. Two of them (both the same teacher) are already showing up and it seems I'll be doing a lot of reading in them!

In the Crime in America class the whole reading and exam schedule is available:

*Read chapters 1-3; first exam is on January 30th
*Read chapters 4-9; second exam is on February 25th
*Read chapters 10-13; third exam is on March 26th
*Read chapters 14-17; fourth exam is on April 22nd

It doesn't seem like much, but I've heard his tests (for both classes) are very detailed so I'll have to read very carefully.

The Criminal Justice System class has only mentioned the first reading assignments and the whole exam schedule:

*First exam is on February 6th covering from book #1 chapters 1-5 and Appendix A and from book #2 chapters 1, 15, 17, 19, 31, 33 (yeah he really started the ball rolling in this class!)
*Second exam is on March 6th
*Third exam is on April 22nd

I'm glad he didn't tell us what chapters were on those other two exams yet. I don't think I want to know!

The other class I am taking is Research Methods in Criminal Justice. I've heard some things about the teacher not being very clear in his directions and some grading discrepancies because of it, but I'm going to reserve judgement until after I start the class.

My 2008 $20 Challenge

January 1st, 2008 at 12:29 pm

OK, I've been convinced to do this, too! Yay! So this is what I've decided will go into my $20 challenge:

1. Any money I round up from my checking account purchases.

2. Refunds received from any source.

3. Rebates.

4. Any Half.com or eBay sales.

5. Money earned from surveys (not including gift cards received in lieu of cash).

6. Extra from end of pay period (would be amount saved over budgeted amount, which means I found a way to save money from either bills, errands, or other expenses).

I'm not going to include my VA benefit because that is a normal amount I receive every month. I already have it directly transferred into my new online emergency fund savings account each month.

I will also not include any money this year that I received last year, but did not cash until this year. For instance I received a refund check from State Farm, which I mentioned in a previous post. If I had been doing the $20 challenge last year, then it would have been added to that.

So how does that sound? Any other ideas I haven't thought about?

To begin my challenge:

$20 Challenge as of January 1, 2008: $20.00

$20 Challenge Questions

January 1st, 2008 at 09:03 am

So I am inspired by the amounts of money people have been able to save by being creative, but I don't think I can participate in the $20 challenge. The reason? All my extra money I have designated to go towards paying down extra debt. However, I really like the idea of adding up the extra you make.

So my question is what do you do with your challenge money when you've collected it? Do you put it in a savings account? Do you use it to pay down debt? Or do you do something else with it?

I would like to participate, but I'll never be really accumulating anything. I'll be immediately paying something down with any extra money.

I guess in a way it really doesn't matter because the extra decrease in my debt will show that I've collected extra money along the way, but I'm still curious as to what you do with the challenge money.

Anyone else have these questions when he/she first started? Thanks in advance for all your help!

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

The Millionaire Next Door

December 31st, 2007 at 07:30 am

I've been re-reading this book to refresh my memory and give myself a little encouragement and push. I have Millionaire Women Next Door, too, and I'll be starting on that next.

So the formula to see if you are a PAW (prodigious accumulator of wealth), AAW (average accumulator of wealth), or UAW (under accumulator of wealth) is this:

Multiply your age times your realized pretax annual household income from all sources except inheritances. Divide by 10. This, less any inherited wealth is what your net worth should be.

They also say that you are a PAW if your net worth is twice the amount of wealth expected. And you are a UAW if your net worth is half or less than the amount of wealth expected.

I used DH's age since he is the one bringing in the money and older by 9 years. Our net worth should be $226,600. Half of that is $113,300 so according to the book we are not quite UAWs, but pretty close. Yet I know we can do better.

I figured that if we paid off everything except for the mortgage we still wouldn't be there, but we would be a lot closer at about a net worth of over $195,000 or so. But it is still very eye-opening and I can see us doing very well in the next 5 years if we keep our debt low and continue living below our means.