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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??

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 :-)

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.

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 :-)