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Debt Free: Paid off $115k

June 15th, 2012 at 03:48 am

Well folks we did it...we will make our final debt payment tomorrow. We started our debt free plan in January 2011 and had just under $115 THOUSAND in debt not including the house. We got on the Dave Ramsey plan and went to work with getting our emergency fund in place and starting our snowball. We managed to make good progress pretty quickly by paying off $20k in 3 months. Then I made a decision to sell my car (which I still miss but don't want the payment) and that further propelled us. We stayed on a really strict budget which is very hard to do with a family of 5. Lots of grumblings and eye rolls, lots of "why can't we??!!" and every other remark you can imagine from young kids. I even felt like I was dragging my husband along at several times having to remind him of our goals. And I even found myself wanting to give up at times but I immediately realized that the alternative sucks worse than what we were going through. I am really done with consumer debt, no more. I have had enough of that to last me a lifetime and I am so glad to have that monkey off my back. I am in the technology industry and it seems like jobs are easily lost these days. While I don't want to be unemployed, I don't quite fear it like I used to. Before it meant disaster bc we had tons of debt and barely any savings. Now it means cutting back and some discomfort sure, but not as scary as before. I won't be sued or harassed by anyone bc there are no bills to pay other than for my basic needs.

We sold our house last month and made a pretty decent profit given the market. That money will go towards making our final debt payments in the morning. We are leasing right now and will be saving up for our emergency fund and a down payment on our next house. We plan to relocate out of this immediate area so we made the decision to sell now, get out of debt, save and maybe even have enough to pay for HALF of our next home....that would be awesome but not something I'm hanging my hat on at this point. We will see what we can do once we get about $30k in place for our EF.

So for now I am basking in our newfound freedom....but it will be back to the drawing board soon with getting a plan in place to save for our EF. I don't plan to be quite the task master and will probably loosen the purse strings a bit but I do want to create a plan so I can estimate how long it will take us vs when we hope to move and buy again, etc. I don't really look forward to this next leg of the journey but I know it has to be done. Question for you guys, WHERE do you put an emergency fund? I've heard it needs to where you can access it but probably not TOO easy to access so you won't be filching money from it, etc. any suggestions? Money markets or some ore type of savings vehicle?

Thanks for the support! I haven't posted much but I do read these blogs regularly and have gained a ton of inspiration and ideas, etc.

Financial Planner

July 1st, 2011 at 04:37 am

I have been kicking the tire around meeting with a financial planner for a while now. I finally decided to make an appointment for my husband and I to meet with one to have a consultation. He told us the initial consultation was free and they determine how much they charge you based on how much money you make. I asked him what I needed to bring and he said to just bring a few figures like debit, mortage, salary, etc. And I assumed he would be interested in my budget too...but that wasnt the case. I haven't been to one before so I wasn't sure what to expect...but I was a little disappointed when I left. So we were told everything that would be part of his package, which sounded good but then I was told the fee was going to be $850....which shocked me. While I didnt expect it to be free or 'cheap' necessarily but I wasn't expecting that much money!! I could see maybe $50 +/- an hour/per session or something along those lines but not a flat fee of that much money!! On top of that, we didn't even really discuss my situation at all -- which I would have thought he could have atleast done some sort of mini-assessment or SOMETHING that would make me think I would be getting a good value on my money. But it wasn't to be - it was a very short session to tell me what I would get and what it would cost and that was it. Soooooo....I'm thinking I will pass and it makes me a little sad. I was looking forward to the experience and insight. Maybe I just need to find someone else and interview a couple of people to find one I like.

any of you have experience with financial planners? and what makes a good one??

Budgeting and Debt

June 23rd, 2011 at 03:46 am

Still plucking along with our budget spreadsheet...we started using a rigorous budget in January of this year and it has made a world of difference in our money management process. I was never really against a budget but I've never been taught to use one or even how to use one so I just assumed I was budgeting by balancing a checkbook and 'seeing' where my money was going. LOL -- that was clearly a massive failure b/c I was only 'seeing' my money fly out the window! Anyway, we are doing good and I am proud of our progress. We've been able to get serious about paying off debt and we've paid off everything except the cars and house. I am hoping to have 2 of the cars gone by next year but this topic keeps me on the fence. I am all for selling my car but my husband is not sold on the idea. He did drive the beater car for a couple of years and was sick of the 'issues' that come with a beater car. We aren't the type of people who need to have 'nice' cars but he would rather pay for them if we can, and not buy new again. Sigh....I'm more interested in getting that debt gone quicker so we continue to go back and forth on this topic.

Anyway, I am the planner and worrier of the family so this is something that throws a wrench in my budgeting plans. The fact of the matter is we could be getting our 6 month EM in place much sooner and begin saving/investing for retirement much sooner as well if the cars were gone now. I am 34 so I feel like I have to have these things firmly in place by the time I'm 35 and that just isn't going to happen until I'm closer to 36. I feel 'behind' and that is what is unsettling. He hasn't said "NO" don't sell your car but he is more concerned with us having to come up with the negative balance to pay off the loan (it is upside down) and find/buy an older car...and then deal with the older car issues that are inveitable. We would still have to get a loan to do that and while that is not ideal, we would be trading a higher car loan for a much smaller loan. I would be willing to do it - the new loan would probably be around $10-$12K (including buying a replacement car) and I could probably pay that off in a couple months.

I'm going to keep 'gently' discussing the topic -- but not nag him about it. He gets annoyed with me for worrying about our finances. He is onboard with doing the right thing with our money but he thinks I'm hyper-sensitive about the situation and impatient....which is true. I do need to relax and be patient...find more peacefulness and tranquility in my life. Stop worrying about 'stuff' and the future and whether or not we will be 'saving & investing' by the time I'm 35 LOL. These are normal things that I should be concerned about but I can't let them dominate my life and thoughts.

So I've already started making 'people edits' in my life and now I'm going to start making 'thought edits' as well. I will spend a small amount of time each day tending to our finances but I will no longer keep it on the brain and harass my husband about it regularly! :-) He loves me -- he knows it!!

And by the way -- I'm a relatively new blogger on this website and I was under the impression it was supposed to be about saving money, reducing debt, paying stuff off, etc., etc. Why are people on here talking about applying for credit cards and buying stuff using their credit cards? That is just strange to me...? Not judging -- to each his own, but it is strange given the context of this website...? agreed?

Money to burn...

June 20th, 2011 at 04:24 am

hahah -- NOT. just kidding, there is no intentional money burning going on at my house, although sometimes it feels like it with my not-so-frugal husband and kids.

Just got back from a long weekend for the middle daughter's softball tournament. This trip required a hotel stay for 3 nights so we racked up some expenses. Fortunately we knew this was coming so we planned and budgeted for the weekend. Between gas, hotel, only 1 eat-out meal a day, we spent right at $500 for 4 people. I was actually hoping we could bring some extra money home but ended up spending the $500 which was ok. We even had a trip to the local urgent care facility on the first night -- DD took a line drive shot the wrist that she had previously broken and we were concerned she had re-broken the wrist. No break - good news. Paid $25 for the copay so there is a possibility we will get another bill in the mail - I am not 100% sure how my insurance covers the urgent care facilities (not the ER). Anyway, I have a pre-paid Health Spending Account so I can get that money back from that account...hopefully it won't be much more than the $25. No meds/shots/treatments involved - just the x-ray. The family savings & finances are on track for now so I'm hoping I don't get any suprises in the mail from this urgent care trip!!

Aside from that, I'm needing to do some personal 'editing' of some people in my life. I've known there are certain people who drive me freakin' bonkers and really trigger my anger. For some reason I've done nothing to rid myself of these people. What have I been waiting for?? These people are thoughtless, egotistical maniacs who will do anything, including hurting others, to get what they think they deserve. And if they don't get it - they belittle and attack those who do get whatever these morons are desparately after. But I don't know who is the bigger moron, me or them. Why the heck have I let this situation get to this point?? If I haven't done what I need to do by my next post, you can all take your turn in kicking me in the backside and then laughing at my face b/c I've been so spineless!! jk - please don't do that. I'm going to do the right thing and resolve this situation peacefully. I have been seriously praying for peace, calmness and tranquility for my life and this is the next natural step for me. I'm just so suprised I haven't done this sooner. Praying can definitely put things into perspective and God certainly answers those prayers too. If you haven't done it, I encourage you to give it a try.

Hope all you FATHERS had a good Father's Day. take care and take it easy :-)

My budget smokes crack...sometimes.

June 6th, 2011 at 02:52 am

Just went through my budget (for the 100th time) b/c as I'm busy doing something during the day, I will think of tweaking this or moving that to improve cash flow & savings, etc.

Well, today I was happily rearranging stuff and I started looking at my 'savings' tab on my spreadsheet that is linked to the budget tab. Turns out I had some of my formulas messed up and I won't be saving as much as I planned for 2011!! So frustrating and disheartening....I had planned to get some major debt paid down with the money I was saving and now that will not be possible until more like early 2012.

With that annoying find today, I started thinking about ways to make some extra money to supplement our income. My husband is already got stuff lined up to bring in some extra money this summer but now I think I will need to find something to do too.

Does anyone have any ideas -- I might be able to pull off another garage sale but I'm not holding my breath on that being ultra productive. We have construction in front of our house right now and the road is torn up -- folks have to "find" the detour to get to my drive way and I'm not sure if it would be a waste of time. Anyway -- any other thoughts from anyone out there in the blogosphere?

Easy on Paper, Harder in Real Life

June 4th, 2011 at 04:18 pm

I do all my budgeting on paper and it appears to look/sound/smell/taste good but in real life it is a lot harder to make it work. I suspect it is b/c I'm not allocating enough money in addition to the fact that we ALWAYS have something pop up for that month. These little suprises have thrown my debt reduction plan off track b/c I'm regularly saving LESS to put towards debt. But I have a new plan now -- a 'take no prisioners' plan that will help me say NO b/c the money will NOT be there.

Original plan - stockpile money. I thought to save up about $3700 a month in my savings account to pay off the car in Sept/Oct timeframe -- in one lump sum. The problem is b/c that money is just 'sitting there' it is easy to pilfer from it. No more my friends -- that money will now go as a 'car payment' and it will be OUT of the JMONEY household system so we can no longer take $50 here, $100 there, etc.

I will only keep the $1,000 emergency fund and that will put things in very real perspective for me. You see, drastic measures are almost always necessary for me to get with the Gosh Darn plan that I put together.

wish me luck :-)

Stopping by for some friendly advice.

May 31st, 2011 at 04:51 am

I've not posted in a while, I've been a busy girl! Things are going ok on the finance side but we've had quite the ordeal on animal side. I'll save that post for another time.

Question for all of you -- each pay period (2 per month) I load all my expenses into an excel file and pretty much budget my entire pay period. I have my standard house expenses - phone, water, electric, house payment...etc. Then I have a savings deduction and lastly I have cash allotments for food, church, gas, lunch money and a misc fund. I do a fairly good job of sticking to the budgeted plan but I do wonder if I'm loseing budget perspective when I start adding in stuff that we need that doesn't really fall into those categories...it is usually stuff like school pictures, vet bills, a dress for this or that, or SOMETHING...something always comes up. Does that mean you are falling off your budget or just budgeting those items into your budget?? I'm not sure if this is a stupid question but I do wonder if I'm doing this right...haven't really done the budget thing before so while I think I'm going OK, I do wonder if 'adding stuff' every month is normal or am I breaking the budget?

Royalty...

April 29th, 2011 at 05:08 am

I am super exicited to watch the wedding festivities tomorrow! I am an American who is semi-obsessed with the British Royalty, especially Diana and her boys and now Kate! Apparently tomorrow and Monday have been declared as 'bank' holidays for the UK so people are off!! Must be nice -- I am definitiely envious! While I get 'tired head' when I think of the crowds that will be swarming London, I just MIGHT be tempted to join them to try & get a glimpse of someTHING or someONE royal. Good luck to those of you who will be in the crowds but more importantly, good luck to the young couple William & Kate...may your union be blessed by God Almighty :-)

Good night everyone, I have more to say on "good news & bad news" but I'm too tired tonight. Here's a hint: the good news is my budget is working, the bad news is my budget is working. more to come on that later.

The latest installment...

April 25th, 2011 at 03:30 am

My sweet baby kitty is still missing. I'm beginning to doubt he will return home to us :-( We did post several MISSING signs around our small town with his cute little pic...but no one has called us. I just hope someone has decided to keep him rather than something bad happening to him. He's so dang cute and sweet, I would probably keep him too.

Moving on but not forgetting....evertything else is very busy this time of year. For some reason I didn't budget for easter goodies for the kiddos....I don't know why. I don't usualy spend a lot but it just sort of slipped my mind this year. So I had to dip into other budgeted items to cover the 'stuff' I picked up for the kids. We also have a lot of other expenses to cover this time of year...we find our selves in need of lots of dresses! We are a family of mostly girls but hardly any of us dress up on a regular basis so when we need something nice, we don't have a dress or shoes. So we needed something for easter that we could also wear to the sports banquet, something for the graduation 'Tea Party' my mother-in-law is hosting for my daughter and we also need something for the actual graduation. You might be asking, can't 1 dress cover all that...no, it can't. We shopped around, found some good deals and cute stuff they could use again. I'm fine with spending the money if it is good quality and can be versitile and used for other things. So not only do we have all these dress needs, we are also trying to prepare for 2 proms this year. The oldest DD has her high school prom and her boyfriend's prom who lives in another town. So we bought her dress for her HS prom but she borrowed a dress for the boyfriend's prom. Worked out pretty good and she's happy with both dresses...and I'm happy b/c I didn't have to refinance my house LOL.

Just kidding - I don't go nuts on stuff like this. I don't go 'cheap' either so I am all about shopping around & finding good deals online. I also don't mind spending the money on these dresses b/c I have 2 other daughters who may find they need a fancy dress some day....hopefully they will still be in style.

We are also in full 'getting ready for college' mode too -- or atleast I am. The DD is lucky enough to have a scholarshop to an awesome college but obviously there will still be some expenses to cover. According to my budget, I should be able to cashflow those expenses but we went ahead & filled out the FAFSA application to see if she could qualify for any other monies. Haven't heard anything back on that yet -- anyone out there have experience with FAFSA? Just curious how it will be handled...?

I'm off to bed now - hope you guys & gals have a good week :-)

my kitty is missing :-(

April 19th, 2011 at 04:34 am

My youngest daughter got a pair new kittens for christmas and one of them has turned up missing today. She got a boy & girl - the boy is an orange tabby and the girl has the mixed pattern of a tabby and a tortoise so they called her a tabby-tort or a torty-tab. Anyway, it is the little boy who is missing. He was here this morning and no one has seen him since then. I've checked every room of the house, closets, under the house, etc. I've looked in the bushes, trees, ditches, creeks, neighbor's bushes/trees/ditches, fields, the side of the road, no sign at all. He is the sweeter of the two, very loving, cuddly, chubby and so cute. His personality is so laid back - you just want to snuggle with him all the time. I'm actually quite heart broken he is missing but I'm not letting my daughter know! My husband is going to check the animal shelter tomorrow but I would be shocked if he turns up there -- he is so small and I doubt someone would have called the pound on him. They barely even go outside muchless wonder out of our yard which is quite large. Anyway, I hope he's ok but I can't help but fear the worst.

please come home - we miss you fat kitty :-(

On the financial side of things -- I'm feeling 'plateau-ed'. At this point we just have the cars to pay off and instead of me sending the extra cash as a payment every month, I'm putting it all in savings to pay off when I get enough saved up. Kinda takes the momentum out of my sails a little bit...not sure if this is the right thing to do or not? I really wish I hadn't been such a moron with money in my 20's.

feeling depressed today....?

April 14th, 2011 at 05:20 am

Not my typical topic but I am 'down and out' today. While my life isn't perfect it is pretty good so I really can't put my finger on exactly what is dragging me down. I'm sure it is a combination of things and they all sort of culminated today...making me want to bury my head in the sand and stay there for a while.

My middle child is giving me stress too...she has failed her spanish class and is now ineligible for the rest of the highschool softball season. AND did I mention they are going into the playoffs next week? Softball is not the important issue of course but it is a BIG factor since my husband (her step dad) is the coach!! I've been all over her like a cheap suit over this grade and she adamantly reassured me she 'has it covered.' Not so much.

She is also in trouble for cussing at me so getting the news she has failed a class on top of this issue has compounded the situation. She sounds like an "out-of-control, her parents are losers" kid but she's not.

Anyway, little bit of a rough week and now with this latest stuff with my daughter just kinda 'hit' me today. AND, I caught the extreme couponing show on TLC, that was a little depressing to watch. So much money saved using those coupons but those ladies spend more time strategizing and planning than I'm AWAKE every day. Super impressive for them but kinda crazy...how can they really use that much stuff and store it? Some of those families had food in every room of their house. I can see going on a "shopping with coupons bonanza" every month or so but not multiple times a week. Overwhelming and I would be so nervous about stuff expiring!!

I'm off to bed now. Looking forward to tomorrow being a better day :-)

the good, bad & ugly

April 11th, 2011 at 05:00 am

hello, i've been away for a bit but i thought I would drop a quick note.

The good: The new $0 budget thing is working out pretty good - very easy to relax and not worry about my bank account or any transactions that my husband may have made but forgot to mention. We basically don't use the debit card at all now. The bills are paid using the BoA online payment feature (the only redeeming quality BoA has to offer) and I draw out cash for everything else, putting it in the envelops for the various expenses. TOTALLY helps me to spend less for sure b/c I'm more reluctant to let go of cash...which is weird b/c the money is coming out of the same place anyway. O-well, I've just noticed I'm less inclined to spend a few dollars here & there when you SEE the CASH DWINDLE...very good system for me. Glad I found it.

The bad: The lawn mower deck broke this weekend so we will have to spend so money to get it fixed. Why you say? b/c we have over 3 acres that we have to mow...can't just let it go crazy. Not really sure how much this will cost - the husband isn't sure if he can fix it himself either so we may be out parts + labor or at the minimum, just parts. who knows.

The ugly: I'm going to try & NOT paint my toe nails this summer. For some reason, my right big toe nail HATES toe nail polish and throws a big hissy fit every year. So this year I'm going to try & lay off the toe nail polish and that leaves me with ugly, boring toes. I'm not looking forward to you...and you shouldn't either. In fact, if any of you have any suggestions on "toe friendldy" or "sensitive toe" nail polish, I would pay some good money to hear it right about now....sooooo, speak up!!

have a good week everyone!! :-)

I got to talk to Dave Ramsey today!!

March 22nd, 2011 at 04:36 am

Well....I have been struggling back and forth with a financial question and I thought I would try to see if I could get in touch with Dave Ramsey on his radio show and I DID! I don't know why but I was so shocked when they answered my call and began to ask my question, name and location, etc. So I thought maybe they would do some kind of "question validation" to see if my question was worth putting on the air...and I guess it was b/c she said she was putting me on hold and would tell me when I was up next. My heart IMMEDIATELY went into crazy mode and I got SO nervous without even uttering one word to the guy. I was on hold for about 10 mins and my mind was racing about how I should best frame my question to him and how much detail I should share, etc. I had a pretty good idea of what he would recommend but I kinda wanted that validation anyway so the idea would LEAVE my head. My question is about cashflowing college tuition for my daughter this fall. Because I'm in the middle of my debt snowball and I still have some debt to pay off, an idea popped into my head to have her set up a student loan so we could defer the payments and then pay it all off after everything else. The thought process is to put that "cashflow tuition" money towards the debt instead of pulling it out of my snowball. But I couldn't fully rationalize it either way b/c I would be paying it off either way...just at different timeframes. Dave's recommendation was to go with my current plan and cashflow the tuition NOW so I don't run into issues later. I agree with this advise and will follow it...but it is tempting to put the extra $11,000 each year towards the SNOWBALL! Hopefully you are able to follow my explanation.

Anyway, I know he can be a little harsh sometimes on how people have gone into debt and WHAT was bought....I was scared to death he was going to ask me what kind of debt I had left. And with it primarily being car debt, I was so worried he was going to SCOLD ME and point out the fact that I would be the WORST MOTHER ALIVE if I 'borrowed' money to pay for my kid's education so I could have my stupid cars. I can honestly say "had I known then (when I got the cars) what I know now" I would never have purchased new cars. BUT we do have them, we are not interested in selling, getting a loan for the payoff difference AND then buying new "used" cars. We can make our payments today comfortably so the plan is to keep them, pay them off and not buy new again. For some reason I was terrified of explaining that plan to Dave...

Hope you are all having a great week - mine is off to a good start :-)

March Madness....and my scared kitties!

March 21st, 2011 at 04:15 am

I love sports - primarily basketball and softball. This week has been great catching all of the games and seeing the upsets! My kitties however, I'm sure are thinking I've lost my mind. I get very animated during the games and I tend to yell at my TV on a regular basis. I also do this during the olympics. I don't do this on purpose and half the time I don't even realize I'm doing it but for some reason I cannot sit quietly and cheer for my team. So this week my kitties have been staying outside during the evenings and then when the coast is clear (aka TV turns off) they come back inside to konk out on the foot of my bed. Sorry little fellers :-)

My husband and kids are used to it by now. They don't really say anything about it anymore however I do get "the look" every now and then that says I've gone too far or I need to just shut up b/c my team is failing miserably.

Anyway, ready to get this week started so it can be over. I am also hoping for a busy week at work so it flies by quickly! I'm taking off on Friday to go on a scrapbook retreat for the weekend. I always have a great time getting away but I will be missing a MISSION CRITICAL ball game on Friday night. My 2 oldest daughters are in the middle of their high school softball season and we play our district rival that night. I had no idea of the schedule at the time I made the reservation, it was done late last year. O-well, probably best I don't go anyway b/c I get sooo nervous when we play this team.

Hope you all have a great week, good night!

Garage Sale = Success!

March 20th, 2011 at 04:23 am

Day 2 of the garage sale turned out to be very successfull! Overall made about $350 and got rid of a lot of stuff I did not need or want to keep around the house anymore....which is usually why people have garage sales LOL. What I found interesting is that I was not really wanting to spend it! My habits are changing (Angels are singing hallelua in the background)...we knew we were going to buy new wood trim to finish a project we've been working on but other than, I was not really interested is getting more 'stuff' so I'm kinda proud of myself!! MY HUSBAND...now he is a little different story. He was like, "should we get this..., do we need that...., are we going to replace that thing...." My comment back was no, no and no.

So there YOU go, nothing too exciting but I am happy to get my garage sale done, make some extra cash, get all of the trim work hung and caulked...I will paint tomorrow and hopefully put the final NAIL in this project coffin.

Other good news is that BUTLER UNIVERSITY pulled off another BIG WIN to make it to the SWEET 16! Yeahhh Bulldogs!! Amazing win, seriously...came down to the last 1.9 second. CRAZINESSS....but happy with the colossal win!

KINDA looking forward to getting back on the regular schedule with spring break coming to an end....but I will miss sleeping in a little later since I didn't have to shuffle kids to school in the morning. O-well, we're moving on...can't make progress unless you are moving on!

take care friends ;-)

Yippy Skippy!

March 19th, 2011 at 05:55 am

We had a garage sale today and got lucky with beautiful weather! We didn't think we had much of anything anyone would be interested in -- the typical "junk" collection. Turns out people wanted about $100 of our stuff! I was pleasantly suprised and am encouraged to open it again tomorrow morning for a few hours. We even had someone ask us about our swing set which my daughter never uses anymore. It is one of those nice wooden swingsets we got at Sams a few years ago. The lady asked me if I would consider selling it and I said SURE! However I didn't know how much to charge LOL! So she is coming back tomorrow with her husband to look at it since he is the one who will be taking it down & putting it back up. I'm thinking maybe $300 but I don't know if that is too much or not...? I guess I'll find out in the morning. She was a nice lady and bought an old patio table set we've had lurking in our backyard for years now. I'm just glad to see that thing going bye-bye. If they take the swing set, that is a double YIPPY SKIPPY for me b/c I'll get the $300 extra bucks and no more weed eating around that swing set anymore! The money or effort wouldn't matter if my daughter still wanted and used the thing but she doesn't and we asked her what she thought about selling it and she said she didn't care....so I guess we will if they want to pay $300 or even $250 for it.

Anyway - happy trails pardner...this chickie is going to bed now :-)

hello $1950.00

March 18th, 2011 at 02:48 am

I hit a major milestone (for me anyway) this past week by paying off my last credit card. I started in January with a student loan, an orthodontist note, a bank of america credit card and a southwest chase credit card -- all totally around $20K. I started my TOTAL MONEY MAKEOVER in January and let me tell you, I have been GAZELLE intense! I am super happy to report that I sent the last payment to the southwest chase card yesterday and I'm anxiously awaiting the balance to hit $0 so I can close down that card. Total debt paid off since January is $20,114.00

Now I'm moving on to tackle the car notes and much later on, our mortgage (according to Dave Ramsey's baby step plan). Now that the other debt is gone, I'll have an additional $1950 each month to put towards getting cars knocked out quickly!!

Having a garage sale this weekend so I'm hoping to make a little extra cash. We have a few lingering projects to do around the house and I haven't wanted to take money out of the budget to do it b/c I was so intent on getting that $20K gone by April. I'm glad I didn't get distracted b/c I was able to knock it out a full month early! Hoping to get maybe $200 or so....but I won't be heart broken if I don't. When I have garage sales, my main goal is to get rid of stuff rather than make money. Sooooo....wish me luck!

BoA Credit Card BITES THE DUST!

March 8th, 2011 at 05:02 am

Earlier today I paid off the last $500 of my BoA credit card. It was a little bit of a stressful situation b/c I accidentially doubled paid a truck payment and I wasn't sure if I was going to get my double payment money back so I could make this final payment!

If the balance is $0 tomorrow (for some reason it takes BoA a while to apply the payment...?), I'm going to call and close the card out...never to be opened again. And since I paid it off before the end of the cycle this month, I won't be paying anymore interest!

I'm glad it is gone - of the 2 credit cards I have, this one had the highest balance so I was anxious to get it paid off quickly once I decided to get out of debt and stay out of debt. Balance in January was $11,118.00. With the help of a $6000 tax return, I was able to attack it very quickly and get it gone forever.

That leaves me with the other credit card with a balance of $3500. My current plan is to pay $1750 on March 15th and then another $1750 on April 1st!

As previously mentioned, my husband and I were planning to put our house on the market...however we keep wavering back and forth so I don't know if we will be moving or not. I hate not knowing for sure although I know this is not a decision we should rush into. I'm just that way - once I get something in my head, I have to 'address' it in some way sooner rather than later...not let it remain unresolved and open ended for long periods of time. I'm hoping we will come to a mutual decision within 1-2 weeks and we can stick to the decision...whatever it may be. Fortunately the question isn't around 'can we afford the house' -- we can, it is actually a very affordable payment for us (total $1600 with taxes, 1st & 2nd note and insurance). The question is around whether we want to sell & make some money to pay off cars (the remaining debt after April 1st) and then begin saving about $4500 a month to pay CASH for our next house once we move in about 3 years.

I don't want to regre whatever decision we make...? Any suggestions out to on determining if you should sell or not?

Debt Update #2

February 28th, 2011 at 02:31 am

Debt reduction plan started in January. To date, here is my status:

Orthodontics - $1130 = paid
Sallie Mae Student Loan - $3850 = paid
CC#1
*January balance = $3,550
*Current Balance = $2,950
CC #2
*January balance = $11,118
*Current Balance = $7,880 to be paid off tomorrow with tax return money + $1880 from payroll!

Cars 1, 2 & 3 = $80K
House = $150K

TOTAL DEBT PAYOFF FOR 2011 YTD = approx $16,700

As happy as I SHOULD be about paying off my stupid credit card tomorrow, for some reason I'm not that excited about it. I will pay it off tomorrow morning and then close the account once the payment is cleared and balance is $0. For some reason BoA can't seem to update the balances when you make online payments until a couple days later. BUT my money is definitely deducted as soon as I issue a payment....??

Anyway, I am glad to have that one gone. With such a high balance, my interest payment was always high and that always pee-peed me off. I'm glad it will be gone and I will never do that to myself or my family again. The other one CC#2 should be pay off by the first pay period in April. Same story there too - will close the card down once the balance shows $0.

That will leave my cars and my house. We are selling the house and have a plan to accelerate paying off the cars within 6-8 months. If we don't sell the house, we still have a plan to have them all paid off in less than 2 years....unless I need to sell one.

If the house does sell, we will rent locally and save money so we can pay CASH for our next house in 3 years once my middle daughter graduates HS. We think we will be relocating but not 100% sure just yet.

Anyway, while I have made great progress by getting "Gazelle Intense" and killing off this debt....for some reason I'm not feeling as excited or relieved as I thought I would be. I am very grateful but I think I'm probably feeling "behind" at this point since we don't have any money invested and no significant savings. Hopefully that will be drastically improved by the end of this year...and well underway going into 2012 & beyond.

This weekend was a giant suck-fest for me, hopefully the coming work week will be much better. It can only improve, right??

have a good week :-)

Off to a GREAT week!

February 23rd, 2011 at 05:22 am

This was my "Monday" since I was off yesterday and it started off a little shaky. But things drastically improved as the day wore on and I quit working (I work from home) a little early so I could go to my daughters' (2 daughters on the team) high school basketball playoff game. We played a great game and are now advancing to the regional finals! This is a great accomplishment for our girls - the fartherest we've gone in the 4 years since my oldest (now a senior) made the varsity team as a freshmen! So proud of both of my girls & the entire team!

Annnnyway, we play our next game later this week but not sure who or when just yet. Fun times -- win or lose this will be a great week just b/c they've accomplished so much this year :-)

On another happy note, my oldest daughter turns the big 18 tomorrow! I can't believe she is a grown woman already! She's a great kid - very good heart, sensible & mature, not given to the dramatics and quite funny on occassion. I'm extremely proud to call her my daughter and I can honestly say she is a better person than me in some regards (doesn't let rude comments or gossip bother her!).

I'm proud of all my kiddos for sure but it is so strangly funny how they all turn out so different. All 3 of my girls come from different planets - they look like but that is where the similarities end for the most part.

The one thing I am going to work on with all my girls is teaching them to manage their money better than I have. Over the years my husband and I have made good money but we have mostly spent what we made, saving very little. Sure we have 401K's and pensions but there should be no reason for us to be in debt or not have more savings than what we have. VERY big shame on us...but we're getting better :-)

Annoying debt

February 22nd, 2011 at 05:25 am

I had the day off today and it was really nice b/c the kids were in school and my husband had to work too! Hopefully that doesn't make me a bad person - I just enjoy a quiet house every now & then :-)

For some reason this evening I have a nagging feeling about something being off....not sure WHAT is causing the feeling but I just have this feeling of mild annoyance and I guess I will chalk it up to my debt LOL. Payday isn't until the end of the month so I have a little bit to go until I can make another dent in my balances. I really do hate it that my debt distracts me and I find myself wanting to 'hurry up' my life so I can get it paid off. I do not want to be that person who misses TODAY b/c I'm too worried about the FUTURE! While I need to plan for the future I know I need to live in TODAY so I enjoy my life, my kids, my husband and the countless other blessings the Lord has blessed me with.

This is a blog-slap to myself...stop trying to 'hurry up' your life b/c you might miss out on the small stuff of today!

Remember to live in TODAY while planning for the future... Afterall, today is all we have :-)

Debt update

February 21st, 2011 at 05:24 am

Today I meant to log into my other computer to get all of my debt balances to share with you all. I didn't get a chance but here is a run down of the estimated balances for what my husband and I owe:

CC #1 - $9,240.00
Game Plan: to use my tax return to pay $6,000.00 and get this bad boy paid off by my 2nd pay period in March.

On a side note, I now know $6000 is too much of a tax return. My husband and I have already adjusted our filing status to correct this. Thanks Dave Ramsey ;-)

CC #2 - $2950.00
Game Plan: My plan is to have this one paid off by the first pay period in April. I know DR says to pay off smallest to largest but I have a burning desire to get that CC#1 dead & gone ASAP. I figure paying this one off shortly after that first one won't kill anyone or anything.

This is the gasp part....we have 3 new cars we bought late last year (pre DR). We've looked into selling them but the upside down situation is not something we are wanting to deal with (unless circumstances drastically change). By the time we sell them, get new loans for the 'gap' and buy new 'old' cars....we decided that would be very expensive as well. The plan is to keep these cars just pay them off....never to buy new ones again.
Car#1 - $18,500.00 at 0% interest (daughter's car, going to college)
Car #2 - $31,000.00 at 0% interest (my car)
Car #3 - $34,000.00 about to be convered from a lease to a 'lease purchase' so I'm not sure about the interest yet (husband's truck)

Game Plan: once the CC's are gone in early April, the plan is to snowball the payments and add about $3000 a month to get the cars paid off ASAP. As we knock out payments, we'll have roughly $4500 a month to get this gone.

House - $150,000
Game Plan: My husband and I are actually in the process of preparing our home to put on the market. We are pretty sure we will be moving to a new town in a few years when my middle child graduates HS. Since owning a home is more expensive than renting, our plan is to find a rent house here locally and socking away money to pay cash for our new home...where ever that may be. We will stand to make a significant amount of money when we sell so we could possibly use that money to paydown car debt or just put away for our next house. If the house doesn't end of selling, we will take it off the market & try again later. Probably won't put it on the radar to pay off since we know we are moving later.

On a happier note, since I started my DR budget and snowball plan in january, I have managed to score a few quick wins by paying off my Sallie May student loan ($4000), my 2010 taxes ($3650) and mine & my daughter's orthodontic note ($1300)...go me!

The snowball is rolling...!!

Future goals:
MUST save more
MUST give more
MUST stay out of debt (the CC cards are cut up)
MUST stick to our budget
MUST have fun doing all the above

Have a great week everyone!
:-)

Is getting out of debt going to be fun?

February 20th, 2011 at 05:20 am

I think so! I am so excited and looking forward to the immediate satisfaction that will come when I make my final payments to my creditors! While it will be TOUGH (and tough can be fun), it is with a very determined heart and mind that my husband and I usher our family into a new phase of our lives where we have ZERO debt and WE decide where our money goes down to the last happy little penny :-)

My husband and I are very fortunate to be employeed and we currently have no issues with paying our bills on time...however that would NOT be the case if I was to unexpectedly lose my job. I have usually been fairly decent with money and not racking up debt but as I've gotten a little older and made more money, I have noticed that I made some financial decisions assuming we could pay it off later. Now I look at our finances and my thought process and I am really shocked at how stupidly I've behaved and the money I've wasted. I can't do anything about THAT money but I can do something about the money God has earmarked for me in the future.

In January of this year we started the Dave Ramsey plan. I really do love that man -- so practical and so very right in his teachings. I prayed to God for helping in managing our finances and doing a better job and I KNOW WITHOUT ANY DOUBT THAT HE LEAD ME TO DAVE RAMSEY! He is so passionate about giving people HOPE for their future -- it is really a blessing to those who are seeking help! Thank you Dave!

So this blog will be my personal outlet to share my fun and exciting journey of getting out of debt. Will it ALWAYS be super fun...no. Will there be setbacks...sure. All I can do is the best I can for myself and my family and I know the reward will be the best thing I could ever do for my family!!

More to come on my numbers....wish me luck ;-)