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End of the year..yikes!

December 1st, 2010 at 07:44 pm

Getting ready for Christmas but haven't really been in the mood. I think I've been somewhat depressed about the mounting medical bills. I have a $10,000 out of pocket and the chemotherapy treatments are really eating through it. By the time New Years rolls around, I will most likely owe my oncologist upwards of $8k.

But, I have a plan. It is still formulating but I think it's a good one. I will share in the next few days. If i can stick to this new plan, things will be fine.

I am feeling the need to reorganize, renew, and refresh. Or maybe I just need a nap. :-)

Sidebar updated

October 23rd, 2010 at 06:34 pm

I was finally able to get the sidebar updated. Since I only update the 401k quarterly, I was excited to see a nice jump in the balances.

The medical bills have gone up, and I expect that to continue for the next 6 months since I have started chemotherapy. I am feeling okay and tolerating it well. I have decided to get a Flex Spending account through work since the medical will be a continuous expense for the foreseeable future. I had hoped to have this years medical expenses paid before the end of the year, but I don't think it will happen.

I need to figure out the best way to track expenses. I have used spreadsheets, Mint, Microsoft Money, and quicken in the best. I need to pick a method and stick to it.

I am looking forward to the holidays, though I haven't started my Christmas shopping yet. Egad!

I love fall!

September 3rd, 2010 at 04:34 pm

It has been hot here in my part of the world. And I mean hot. But, we had a little rain a few days ago, and it has been overcast, and this morning, when I left for work, it was only 74 degrees. Grated it was 6:30 am, but it was glorious. I am doubtful it will stay, but will enjoy every last minute of it.

I will be working on the budget this weekend as payday is next week and I want everything squared away. As we head into fall, I would like to plan for those bigger expenses that I know I should plan for but never do. Here are a few things:
1. Volleyball team expenses for d.d.
2. D.s. 7th birthday party/Halloween. His birthday is 10/30 and we always have a Halloween themed party.
3. Small weekend trip in oct/nov to watch some college football.
4. Christmas

I need to allocate budget amounts and shop early for the best deals. The football tickets need to be bought in advance and I never start early enough on the Christmas shopping.

I hope everyone has a great, and safe, Labor day weekend!

Finding my mojo..

August 29th, 2010 at 02:22 pm

I updated my sidebar of the balances ending August, with the exception of the 401 k's, which I only update after the quarter.

I am disappointed that I am likely not going to hit my debt and savings goals this quarter, although I still have a month to push hard. But, I am refocusing efforts and will see where I end up at the end of September.

I have decided to set up some mini-goals for September:
1. 3 no-spend-days per week or 12 for the month.
2. One date night with d.h.
3. Plan and cook all meals during the week, with dinner out one night per weekend.

It is aggressive for us because the dining out budget has been crazy lately. But, it is the area I want to focus on the most. If you read my previous post regarding dining out and the grocery budget, it is still the cause of the money "leak".

I hope to add another $500 to the savings account this month, which will put me $800 short of my original goal. I think the budget is in need of some tweaks again as well.

Hope everyone is enjoying the waining weeks of summer and are all as excited about fall as I am. Happy Sunday and have a great week!

Looking forward to Fall

August 9th, 2010 at 04:58 pm

The heat is really getting to me. It was 104 today and the heat index was around 112. I am so looking forward to fall..but fall here doesn't hit until end of September or first of October.

We completed most of the school shopping this weekend with the exception of a few odds and ends. We caught some good sales at the outlet mall yesterday and had a gift card from hubby's work so the clothes are bought with the exception of sneakers for dd.

My paycheck and bonus hit the bank over the weekend. I will be transferring the bonus into savings, as well as part of my paycheck to prep for the end of month mortgage payment. I am finding that we are really strapped at the end of the month because I am paying all of the mortgage payment out of that last check. Between hubby and I we get 4 paychecks per month. So I am going to start taking 1/4 of the mortgage payment from each check and putting it in savings until the mortgage is due. We will see how it goes.

The kids will be going to my Mom and Dad's this weekend for one more mini trip before school starts on the 23rd. Hubby and I are going to work on installing the wood floor in dd's room.

Hope everyone has a great week!

The new budget

July 6th, 2010 at 06:27 pm

Friday is payday for me and, in a wierd way, I am looking forward to paying bills. I have the new budget fine tuned and am looking forward to start on some of our new savings goals. It is helpful that hubby has 3 paydays in July. With the last of the catch-up mortgage payments made on 7/2, we should be looking good this month.

I have decided to try a budget with a mixture of auto draft payments for regular utility and savings payments and a cash-plan (or envelope system) for variables like groceries, entertainment and dining out. We will see how it goes.

I am thankful that we don't carry a ton of debt. We do have the one credit card which has $3500 on it. Paying it off in 12 months is my goal. I want to reduce the balance by half by Christmas. I am confident we can do it.

It has taken me a long time to get to this point where I feel good about the money we are making and I am confident we can accomplish the goals we have set. I have had a shift in priorities in the past couple of years. Having security and the possibility of retirement is more important than immediate goodies, fancy cars, or trips I cannot afford. It has taken us 15 years to get here.

Better late than never, right?

Fresh start

December 28th, 2009 at 04:09 pm

Well, I have been away a while but things have improved since I was last around. Hubby got a job--he was officially unemployed for 18 months. He is working for a smallish start-up company gaining a foothold in green business. He is making much less money but loving it. Less stress and he feels good about doing something worthwhile.

Financially, him having a job and having a few paychecks under our belt feels wonderful. I have big plans for the coming year and have decided to do my goal setting based on quarters. So, I have set my goals for the first quarter of 2010 (see sidebar) and am feeling pretty good.

I had a rather large, old debt hanging over my head from previous years that I decided I wasn't going to carry into 2010. I owed $1800 and in November decided I didn't care if we had to go really cheap on Christmas, I was paying it off. Paid $900 in November and have paid $500 so far this month. I have an automatic draft coming out on 12/31 for the remaining $400.

And, it got me to thinking. We survived those big payments. I think I have made saving money harder than it needed to be. I have gained some perspective in the past couple of months. I am going to continue plugging away at debt and I am going to start building up the savings account. Since hubby gets paid every other Friday, we happen to have an extra Friday in January. And that check will start the new savings account.

I am excited about the prospects that the new year will bring.

Happy New Year everyone!!

My Mid-year update

June 24th, 2008 at 11:11 am

Well, since Merch has gotten the ball rolling, and with others joining in on the fun, I thought I would do my June update and mid-year goals assessment.

As far as my goals on the side bar--
1.Hubby is still job hunting and it is going slow. Financially we are doing fairly well, all things considering. He will find something but it is just going to take some time.
2. I paid off credit card ($97), personal loan to Mom ($303), made a small medical bill payment ($24.42) and made a collection payment ($150.00). So that means I paid off $574.42--57% of my goal!!
3. Still sitting at 26 lb weight loss. I plan on getting back to the gym starting next week.
4. I have opened the Roth accounts but they have not yet been funded.
5. We had the plumber come replace the leaky faucet near the deck, so we plan on starting the demo tonight and will hopefully be able to get the boards replaced this weekend.

I feel like we have made some good progress so far. I am planning on coming up with new goals for the next quarter but will have to give that a little thought.

I start my new job on Monday and am looking forward to getting done with my training (3 weeks) and jumping in to my new auditing position. It will be a transition, no doubt, but I am up for the challenge. Benefits will kick in at 60 days, so only 2 more Cobra payments!

Moving on and misc

June 19th, 2008 at 09:31 am

Well, I decided to accept the job offer from my former employer. The benefits are too good to pass up and with hubby still job hunting, the benefits are a major plus. I am excited but was dreading telling my current boss. He made me feel guilty for a day or so, which made work this week very depressing, but he is over it now. I will miss him but am excited about this new opportunity.

On the financial front, I received the reimbursement check from the auto carrier covering my auto accident I had in 2006. So it is in the bank and waiting disbursment. $1000 will go to the EF to get that started. $600 is going toward rebuilding our back deck that is rotting under our feet. The rest will just sit for a while and we will decide later what we want to do with it. My stimulus check for $1800 is set to be mailed on 6/27 and we will sit on that until I figure out how I want to disperse it. I get paid tomorrow, hubby just got 2 weeks of unemployment check so I have to sit down and pay bills tomorrow.

We are supposed to go over to my sister's tonight for a cook out and swimming. Hubby and the kids will go over in the late afternoon and I will meet them there after work.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!!

Job interview

June 11th, 2008 at 02:18 pm

I have a job interview tomorrow with my old boss at her new place of employment (she has been there over 3 years). She is hiring for what I do and has been trying to get me to come work for her for a while. I blogged this in my last entry. So, anyway, I am going to meet with her tomorrow. I am not nervous about the interview because I have know her for almost 9 years. But the idea of a job change still gives me butterflies. Here is my abbreviated pros/cons list for leaving my current job:

Cons:
1.I like my current boss--he is a decent guy.
2.The job I m applying for adds an extra 10 miles each way to my commute.
3.It is only 10 cents more per hour than where I am at.
Pros:
1.Full Benefits at new place-health/dental/vision/401K/disability
employee gym.
2.They give monthly bonuses (up to $300) for meeting goals, have quarterly incentives, and yearly reviews for raises (I haven't had a raise at current emplyer in 3 years)
3.I could gain some new skills and sharpen the ones I used to have--current boss still uses ledger cards for crying out loud-I have lost all my electronic billing knowledge.

So, anyway, I will go talk to her about it. She and I live in the same suburb and can could feasibly carpool a few times a week and share gas expenses.

In other news, I got a settlement offer from an auto accident I had Christmas Day 2006. (short story--guy made an unprotected left turn in front of me-no turn signal on his side-BAM-totaled my car that I had just paid off the previous month). Anyway, after reimbursing my group health plan that paid some expenses for my injuries, I would get a check for $2359--the least they could do for ruining my Christmas, right?

Considering a Job Change

June 5th, 2008 at 08:38 am

A previous supervisor of mine has been trying to get me to come to work for her for about 3 years--I keep declining because it is about 10 extra miles a day commute from what I do now. But, with hubby being unemployed and us losing all of our decent benefits we have had for the past 10 years, I am actually considering it. She has awesome health/dental/vision insurance and 401k, cafeteria plans, etc. I have no benefits or sick/vacation time where I am at now (very small employer). It makes me nervous to think of a job change. I am doing the pros/cons list right now and will post it later. She is a great person to work for and I enjoyed the 5 years that we worked together, which would be a big plus.

This would also allow hubby to lower (somewhat) his needs as far as employment goes. He would love to find a telecommute position so that he could work from the house and we could forgo daycare ($570 per month). Plus, he has had a blast being home with the kids. He has spent the past 12 years of our marriage in jobs that require him to work long hours and be on-call often. He has never had this much time with his kids and he is loving it. Although I do think he is ready to find something "professional" to do. Smile

May totals--not so shabby

June 2nd, 2008 at 09:40 am

Well, all in all the May totals were good. We are starting June with a balance forward of $1066.85. I have a check due me today from my part time job which will add another $445.00. Then I get paid from my full time job on Friday $1079. This week's payment priorities are mortgage ($1247) and utility bills (water $87 and electricity $195). So I am feeling confident--today anyway.

Hubby's job hunt has stalled--he sent out another 3 applications and resumes but hasn't gotten any interview requests. The tech field has totally dried up around here, at least in his area of expertise. His unemployment payments are coming in timely and are helping out nicely ($378 per week) but it would be nice to have something steady. We are managing pretty well right now, all things considered and I am proud that we have been able to really focus on the financial situation. The lay-off caused us to really analyze what was important and what we were wasting money on. We have the budget wittled down and though there are still areas that could be improved, I am impressed at how easily we are adjusting to the sudden "one income" situation. Things could definitely have been worse.

Keeping the faith

May 14th, 2008 at 08:01 am

Hubby's old supervisor (from 1 year back) called yesterday and asked if he is still looking for a job. He said the place he is at now is hiring and had hub send over his resume. Old supervisor says the pay is about $5K less than he was making when he got laid off but the benefits are really good, which would make up the difference. I am hopeful for this. He had two emails from places he sent out to yesterday expressing interest. We will see what happens.

Today, I am in the process of making a list of bills to pay, in order of urgency, and income I have coming in. I have been calling around tracking down refund checks I am owed for various things. I wish the tax rebate would show up--it should have been here last week according to my calculation. But it hasn't shown up yet. I tried calling the IRS but that was a complete waste of 20 minutes of my life.

An upside to hubby being home during the day is that dishes and laundry are done everyday. Plus, he makes me lunch of sandwiches or leftovers and coffee everyday. I enjoy seeing him and DS at lunchtime everyday. I live close enough to work that I can go home at lunch.

I am really anxious for him to find work so that I can start making a dent in that medical debt and start beefing up the savings. I have all these great plans waiting to be executed--as soon as we can get out of "survival" mode.

Better than -0-

May 12th, 2008 at 02:12 pm

Well, hubby received his first state unemployment payment since becoming "a man of leisure". State of Texas sends debit cards, not checks, and weekly amounts are direct deposited onto it each week. So that is helpful. I am still waiting on my stimulus payment, which I thought would be direct deposited last Friday but, alas, no sign of it. I have a $440 check coming from my part time job, so all in all, we are surviving. He sent out 6 more resumes today and hopefully will get some interviews from those.
In a related note, we thought we were going to have to take DD out of gymnastics until hubby found a new job (fees for classes are $135 per month for 4 hours a week). But, her coach, who has a 6 week old baby, traded me class fees for babysitting two days a week. So DD was able to continue with classes and helps me babysit the baby. A side benefit is that she is learning to "work" to get the things she wants. A good lesson I think.
I feel optimistic that things will be looking up for us soon.

I made the new budget

January 1st, 2008 at 04:25 pm

Well, I have completed the new budget and have to say I am somewhat optimistic. I feel like we should be able to work with this. Hubby and I are still looking at a few categories where we can trim the expense--specifically on utilities-electric, cell phone, DSL, and satellite TV. We both get paid this weekend so I will be able to do the first funding of the categories. I cannot wait to be able to enter the info on my spreadsheet!!

I have also done a debt re-payment spreadsheet to include all the debts listed in my profile, with the exception of the mortgage. The way I have the mortgage set up (twice monthly auto-draft) I make an extra principal payment each year. I am going to leave this alone for 2008 and work on applying any extra funds to debt reduction and building up the EF.

I should get an additional deposit from my employer into my SEP IRA--maybe next month. When I get to $2500, I have to look at investing in something for the long term, as it is just in cash reserves now.

My short term goals are to work to stay on the new budget and continue finding ways to save--more no-spending days, find better deals, be a smarter consumer.

Happy New Year everyone$$$$$

2007 is OVER

December 27th, 2007 at 12:07 pm

So, I have a few "year-end" items I want to take care of. I need to get everything downloaded into Microsoft Money so I can get it catagorized. Also, the last week of the year I usually purge the file cabinet and get things in order so tax time will not be near-scary. I need to come up with my specific goals for 2008, which will generally focus on the big ones-savings, debt reduction, and budgeting--all of which I didn't get near as much accomplished this year as I had hoped.

All in all, I am excited about the prospect of the New Year.

Christmas is over and I am beat

December 26th, 2007 at 08:08 am

We had a really nice Christmas but, as usual, once it is all over, I am ready to move on. I always look forward to the New Year--always the optimist that we can start over, change bad habits, set new goals and actually stay on track. I am considering what goals I want to set for the New Year. It will take some thought.

Just getting started

December 19th, 2007 at 12:27 pm

I am new to this site but not new to this delimma. I try so hard to live within budget and try to save but after 18 years of living on my own (married for 11 of it) I have nothing to show for it. I am tired of feeling like we are always struggling to make ends meet. My hubby and I make decent money--not a lot but we are not poor. And we never have anything left over. And I know that has to come to expenses. So, starting today we are going to be looking at where every last dime is spent. I have tried (unsuccessfully) over the years to track this but something has to change. I need to visibly see where it is all going. I have the checking and savings accounts set up in Microsoft money and now I just need to start tracking. and, I need to come up with ideas to make the money last longer. The budget belt is about to be tightened--as far as it will go.