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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!

Everything changes so fast

April 2nd, 2010 at 07:57 pm

Well, the first quarter of 2010 is behind us already. The recap:
Good News: Got a big raise recently that make a huge impact on the savings front. We plan on socking away the difference and replacing my hubby's truck (he drives a '94). Will replace with another good used truck with no car payment. Because I am allergic to car payments.

Bad News: Medical debt reached $2K in 1st quarter due to a recent leukemia diagnosis. No treatment yet as stage is early. Repeat work ups every 3 months but I have met my deductible so....

You never know what life is going to give you. You just have to take it in stride. That is my philosophy.

Today anyway.

Brrr I'm Cold

January 4th, 2010 at 03:51 pm

Fingers feel frozen. Can't warm up. Wish I had some chili...

I have decided to track my no-spend days. Today was day 1. Took a nice breakfast (oatmeal with almonds) and lunch (pita sandwich and yogurt) to work today. I even took snacks to prevent trips to the vending machine. So, no spending today. It feels good.

I have planned all the meals this week and did my grocery shopping yesterday accordingly. Tonight it is grilled pork chops and veggies. Not chili, but pretty darn tasty.

My Microsoft Money if refusing to cooperate and load my accounts. I considered a switch over to Quicken, but decided over the weekend to continue just using my spreadsheet. It has been working well over the past few months that MSN Money has been difficult.

DD and I made $40 pet sitting over the holiday. We split it and mine went into the change jar. Once I hit $100 in loose change, I am going to open another savings account.

First date night of the year scheduled for this Friday. For my birthday, I got tickets to see one of my all-time favorite musicians. I cannot wait. Working on lining up babysitting.

This weeks organization focus is the living room. It appears we may be under invasion by a mad army of Legos.

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!!

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!!!

IRS strikes again

May 16th, 2008 at 01:26 pm

For those of you still unstimulated, like me....

From Yahoo News:


If you have your hopes set on a big "economic stimulus" payment arriving in your bank account any day now, you might have to wait a bit longer. The IRS has announced that a subset of taxpayers is affected by a glitch that is delaying rebates sent to them.

The issue affects people who used a service or software program to do their 2007 taxes and opted to have the fee for those services deducted from the stimulus payment and sent via direct deposit. A bug (which the IRS has not elaborated upon) means those payments will now have to be made via a check sent via postal mail.

In addition to this bug, the IRS has confessed that 1,500 checks or direct payments were sent to the wrong taxpayers. While some reports blame this problem on a computer glitch, the IRS says that it can't necessarily pin the issue on a computer problem. Check any payments received carefully to make sure they're actually yours.

If you have received a check or inaccurate (or duplicate) direct deposit, you are required by law to mail the check back to the IRS and/or report the issue to your bank. If you spent the money, you'll have to pay it back as well.

Finally, the IRS said today that 350,000 households aren't getting properly credited for children in the payments. Makeup checks will be sent out in July.

This isn't the first time the IRS has screwed up rebate payments. In 2001 it sent half a million taxpayers notices of impending rebates (in a similar stimulus/tax relief scheme to what we have this year) that they would never be receiving.

Still haven't gotten your payment? Best not to try calling the IRS, which is now dealing with a reported 2 million incoming phone calls a day. Instead, check the IRS.gov website and consult the payment schedule on this page. And be patient.

UPDATE: The IRS writes to say 1,500 taxpayers are affected, not 15,000.

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.

Moving right along...

January 3rd, 2008 at 09:24 am

Well, Happy Jan 3rd everyone. Hubby and I had a nice discussion last night about energy savings. We made a list of the things we want/need to accomplish in order to get more energy savings, both consumption savings (going greener) and therefore more financial savings. This we are concentrating on keeping the thermostat lower (programmable thermostat is set at 65 from 10 pm to 6 am, and 69 from 6 am to 7:30 am. it goes back to 65 during the day, until about 2:45 when it goes back up to 69 in time for daughter's return home from school. Hubby changed the filters this past weekend and we have replaced another 4 bulbs with new energy-eff compact flours. We have several more to go on this.

So we are concentrating on electricity this month, then on to water.

I finished the budget and "debt reductions" spreadsheets but have been tinkering with them the past few days. It all looks pretty good so far. This weekend is the first payday to log in, so I am looking forward to seeing how I will divide it out and fund everything.

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.