So it looks like once again I have messed up with our budget. We have very little money to make it to the next paycheck, which is Friday.
I start each week with good intentions, then loose them all as the week goes on. We decide to order in becasue it is too hot to cook. We need groceries I didn't budget for (sour milk anyone?). I need more gas in the car, and I forgot to budget that in. We go to the bookstore/magazine store to "just look" and then have no willpower. Kittie has an emergency and we need to go to the vet.
It's so much harder to live in a budget than I thought. I mean, I completely see the benefits and I don't ever want to go back to how I was before, but I'm not quite where I want to be yet.
Sometimes I feel like a financial failure. Sure, I am better now than how I used to be, but damn, there is still so far to go!!!
Archive for June, 2007
So it looks like once again I have messed up with our budget. We have very little money to make it to the next paycheck, which is Friday.
Our kitten Wolfie had surgery about 2 weeks ago. She is still healing, but we noticed her wound was opening up. So we brought her to the vets today. Luckily, she is OK, and they said just to put a sock over her belly until it heals. Sheesh, talk about scary!
While we were there, we got her the last of the 3 shots she needed. So, now she is all up to date until next March. Yay!
Pet Care Spending: $54 for checkup and shots
you might want to be aware of this. Just found out today:
Citizen's BankTheyBank is going to be bought out by the Royal Bank of Scotland and Citizen's will be no more. This will happen sometime in 2008. Also, and more importantly, they are making a change to one of their policies (not sure when it takes affect, but soon). Right now they credit any automatic deposits at 12:01am and then when all the deposits are done, they do all direct debt for that date.
Now, they are going to be doing the debt's first and then the deposits. So if you are scheduled to have a direct deposit and debt on the same day and you don't have a cushion in your account, you will get an over draft fee!!
I would make sure you leave at least a day between deposits and debts. Or, do as I am, and switch banks.
I just got the info I need to start paying back my student loans. I have around $66,000 in SL debt. Ick. I am enrolled on the Income Contingency Program. What this means is they compare my income to how much I owe in debt and give me a reduced payment. So, instead of paying close to $1,000 a month, I am only paying $286.97. Much better, yes, but I am still struggling with where I am going to come up with an extra $300 a month! Hereís my breakdown right now:
Bring home pay per month:$1,500
Electricity: about $50-60 a month, varies. In summer higher, but lower gas; in winter, lower, but higher gas.
Gas (home): about $75 a month, varies. In summer lower, but higher electricity; in winter higher, but lower electricity.
Cable: $40 (cheapest one)
Cell Phone: $30 (cheapest plan)
House Phone/Internet: $55 (cheapest plan, no long distance)
Groceries: about $300, but working to lower that greatly
CC payments: $200
Gas for car: $120 (ouch)
Student Loan #1: $40
Car insurance: $85
And that is it. Anything extra we put on the CC or we use to go out to eat once in a while (less now) or get clothes or a book, or whatever. And believe me, there isnít that much extra.
Freelance work is great, but it is sporadic, and every time I submit an invoice, it takes 8-12 weeks to get paid.
OT is great, but itís rare to get here.
Ebay and half.com, sure, they add a few bucks. But I need something that can guarantee me at least $300 a month.
The biggest help would be for The Boy to be working full time, but as we have seen, finding a job for him is easier said than done.
I suppose I could find a part-time second job, but I am already too busy to do anything I enjoy and completely wiped out every day.
Worked a little OT this past weekend. About 2.5 hours on Thursday night, plus about 3.5 hours on Saturday morning. This give me a good 6 hours, which definately helps make up for the day and a half I missed last week. 2.5 hours should be in my next paycheck (2 weeks), but the 3.5 hours was billed a freelance, so we'll see how long that takes. I have almost $500 in freelanc emoney coming my way, and I can't wait to get it. It will help with the cc debt big time.
In other news, I am starting to look around for other places I can freelance besides the company I work full-time for. (I'm an editorial and design proofreader). I've found a few websites where you can go in and "bid" on projects, but I am hesitant. I was a member of one site where I did just that for writing, and it turned into a big hassle. I got jipped about $100 on a project I did, and the website company that I was registered with did nothing to help. I'm not sure if I want to deal with that again, plus you never know which sites are scams. I think for now I'll just look via websites I know I can trust, like Monster and PoeWar. Whatever happens, I need to find a new way to bring in some extra money each month.
I read Suze Ormans's book the Young Fabulous and Broke. Really good and got some great advice from it. I reccommend it to anyone!
One thing she suggests is to focus on the debt then when it is all paid of, focus on the savings. So, this is my new plan:
Nothing will go into the $20 Challenge for a while. I will be putting any and all extra moeny onto the CC debt to get it gone once and for all.
Since I was so close to $100 in my EF, I just transfered in $3.75 to bring my total to $100. That's it for now. Will just have to hope there are no emergencies!!!
Old $20 Challenge/EF total: $96.25
New $20 Challenge/EF total: $100
I picked up 4 t-hirts, one fancier kind of t-shirt/top, a pair of linen sleeping pants, and a cute pair of linen sleeping shorts for $65. Much better than I expected, as I figured it would be about $100.
Bought lunch at Taco Bell for $5.12 Not the healthiest choice, but oh well. What's done is done.
Went to the bookstore. $44.00 Ooooh, not smart. But I saved about $5 with my membership card. And one is a Suze Orman book.
Grocery store: $145.00 Saved $10 with copons. YAY! And $45 was the new Brita Water Pitcher we had to get. I dropped and broke our old one this morning. Suppose I can't complain too much: it was 8 years old. But Brita is a totally necessity for us. We drink coffee and water and not much else and the Brita keeps us from buying bottled water.
So, about $15 in savings today. I'd like to add it to the challenge or the cc debt, but where I had a day out of work this week, my paycheck was smaller than usual so we need the extra cash.
Yesterday was a bit of a spend day. I had breakfast from DnD ($2.09) then me and 2 work friends went out to lunch. The only day we get an hour lunch is Friday, so we go out to eat every Friday. It's nice because I am still getting to know both these girls and am becoming good friends with them. I need more friends.
When I got home last night, me and The Boy went out to dinner. We went to Friendlies and spent about $25. Not too bad. Then stopped at the grocery store on the way home, picked up some ice cream (we didn't get it at dinner) and curled up on the couch to watch a horror movie.
A fab day, just expensvie.
Today (Sat) I am working for a few hours this morning (about 9-1). Then we are going to the grocery store for some staples, and I need to get a few tops for work. LB is having a sale on their plain colored t-shirts, and I seriously need some new ones. All the ones I wear to work have either stains that are so old I can't get them out, or are starting to literally fall apart. I realy didn't want to buy any new clothes right now (focusing on paying down the LB CC and with the surgery only a few months away, I will need new clothes after that), but I can't keep wearing what I have. So, I'll go through those clearane racks. Gotta hit the bank, too, for a deposit so I can make a CC pyment. Then, that's it for today. Not sure what we are doing tonight, but it will NOT involve spending money!
Today is payday (yay!) and I got the money the company owed me from messing up my last 3 paychecks. (This one was finally right)
Total they owed me: $10.67
Not much, but hey, it's money. And it's going into the $20 Challenge/EF.
Old $20 Challenge Total: $85.58
Extra in Pay Due to Messup: $10.67
New $20 Challenge Total: $96.25
$100 here I come!
Finally had a no spend day! Whoo! It's been a while. And the funny thing is, I didn't even try to have a no spen day. When I try, I end up thinking of little things I "need" (soda at work for a caffine boost, stampes, etc). But when I don't try, I don't think of it and viola! No spend day!
In light of this, I m adding $5 to my $20 challenge fund.
Old $20 Challenge Total: $80.58
No Spend Day Bonus: $5.00
New $20 Challenge Total: $85.58
Did about 2 hours of freelance work this past weekend, so that was great. Won't get paid for it for about 2 months, but it will be nice to have the extra cash 2 months from now.
Also taking home about 2 hours worth of work tonight for freelance, plus work asked me to come in on Saturday morning for a few hours. So, that will also be billed freelance. Bonus! I'll have racked up about 8 hours freelance this week, which is awesome since I took last Monday out without pay.
I love me some freelance!
Wolfie is doing fab after her surgery. She was grumpy last night, but who can blame her? She was up and playing this morning before I left for work. One bonus from her waiting til she was a bit older for the surgery? The woman had the vet give her a rabies vaccination and it only cost us $10. Yay for non-profit animal care!
I think I must have hit on some good money karma. Last weekend, I made $138 at our yard sale. Yay! In the past 2 or 3 weeks, I have made about $120 on ebay. About 2 weeks ago I got a direct deposit payment from half.com for over $75, and since then I have sold 3 more books. I actually got approved for a mortgage (by 2 places no doubt!). This weekend I was given another 2 hours of freelance work (every bit helps). Then, when I got home yesterday, I had a freelance check waiting for me in the mail. But instead of paying me for just one job, they paid me for the last two, so the check was almost $190! And finally, I found 2 quarters the other day (one on the sidewalk and one...in our bed? LOL)
Good money karma?
I think so.
Tonight we had to take the Baby (aka our Kittie Wolfie) to get fixed. She is staying overnight at a friendís house, then that friend is bringing her to the vet at 6 am tomorrow to get fixed. Weíll pick her up tomorrow night when I get home from work. Luckily, this is at no cost to us. The friend who is brining her is actually the woman we got Wolfie from. Usually, she makes sure all her cats are fixed before they go to new owners, but Wolfie was too small to get fixed when we brought her home. As a result, we had to wait a month until she gained enough weight. Since she should have been fixed before we got her, our friend is taking her when she brings in some other kittens, and it will be at no cost to us.
Iím going to miss her tonight! Hopefully she will calm down a little after this. Sheís such a terror. The other night she was literally, trying to climb the wall. She torments our older cat all the time. Iíll miss snuggling up with her tonight, but this is the right thing to do and sheíll be home tomorrow.
Lots of wishes for a safe surgery for the baby!
Transferred some paypal money onto my ATT CC for a payment. Also made a payment onto one of my student loans this month. Itís slow, but at least Iím not moving backwards!
ATT Prev Balance: $3,348.42
Finance Charges: $120.89 (ouch)
Payment (today): $54.06
NEW BALANCE: $3,415.25
Student Loan Activity:
UMD 2 Prev Balance: $2,436.76
Payment (today): $120.00
NEW BALANCE: $2,315.76
CS fee: $0
LB CC: $1,096.45
AT&T CC: $3,415.25
UMD 1: $38,044.87
UMD 2: $2,315.76
TOTAL DEBT: $86,374.83
So this weekend has been pretty good in terms of extra cash. We had out big yard sale yesterday and we made.......
YAY! It was great. Got rid of a lot of junk and made some good money. Plan on putting that down onto the CC debt after I deposit I today.
Also sold some things on ebay this week, plus more books on half.com. Two more half.com books, and aout $85 worth of stuff on ebay. When the paypal transfer to my checking comes through that will also be put on the CC as an extra payment.
I did do some spending this weekend though. The Boy and I went out to the crafts store. He picked up a wooden box and some paints to make a holder for some of his Hecatomb cards. I picked up a ton of supplies for my new crafts project. (More details later). We spent about $80. OUCH! But I figure I am going to be selling my new crafts, and so it is an investment into a side buisnes and it will pay itself off.
Then we went out for ice cream. Can't think of any way to justify that than to say it was Yummy! LOL
I have a couple of hours of freelance work to do today, then we are just going to hang around. Dad is at a gold tournament today, so we did Fathers Day yesterday. I want to hit the bank for that deposit before 3pm, and I finally have some coupons to clip. Other than that, working on my new project and probably watching tv. Nice and relaxing.
Happy Sunday and Happy Fathers Day all!
As I mentioned before, we are looking to get a mortgage so we can buy the condo we found. I went to 3 banks this week. I still have a few other places I am going to check out, as well.
Heard back from Bank S. The good news in, we were approved for a mortgage for the amount we need to buy the condo! The bad news is we canít afford what the monthly payment will be.
We were hoping for a 30-year mortgage of about $70,000 with 7% interest. We were told he would accept an offer for $65,000 so the extra $5,000 was for closing fees and all that good stuff. Taxes are about $600 a year, but do not have to be paid monthly, and we know we can save $600 a year for them. Taking all that into consideration, the monthly mortgage amount and condo fees are pretty much equal to what we pay now for rent.
However, Bank S offered us a mortgage with 7.9% interest. They also want us to pay the closing fees separate (about $2,500), and then want us to pay $50 a month towards taxes. Add all this together and it comes out to be about $150 more a month that we can afford.
Also heard from Bank C. Same deal pretty much. We were approved, but the interest is so high the monthly payments will be more than what we can afford.
So, I donít know what to do. They wonít go lower on the interest because 1. We have no down payment, 2. Our credit score isnít really high, and 3. Our ďdebt to incomeĒ ration is high. Well, hello?? Making us pay $150 more a month doesnít help that! I guess we just wait until we hear back from some of the other places we applied and keep looking for a better deal.
Itís hard. I am very excited to know that we can get approved for a mortgage. But it is disheartening to know we really canít afford the one they are offering us.
The only option we have, besides waiting to hear back from Bank B, is to have a small down payment. With a down payment (even only 5%), we can get a different loan from either if these banks with a lower interest rate. Problem is, where do we just randomly get $3,500?
Mums offered to loan it to us. But Iím not sure how I feel about that considering how much I already owe her. I really wanted to do this on our own. I totally appreciate her offer, but I hate doing that: taking more money from her. Her and Dads are hoping to retire in a few years (theyíre already 60 and 61!) and I do NOT want to take money from their retirement.
I really want to get to using coupons and such to cut our grocery budget down, but I have no idea where to start. I never get any circular with coupons. I go through the ones my Mums saves for me, but can never find a lot of them to clip.
Honestly, the whole thing seems very overwhelming to me.
However, I am dtermined to become a coupon queen this summer and would love some help. Any ideas or tips someone can pass along would be very much appreciated. Also, if anyone knows of good palces to get coupons, or good websites to learn about couponing from, I'd apprecaite that as well.
I know I can count on my frugal family!
Whoo-hoo! Just sold 2 more books on half.com
Happy happy! Can't wait for the payment!
GOOD! HA! Never though I'd see that again!
I went to a few places yesterday to apply for a mortgage and one place was able to run a credit check on my right away. My credit report came back with this:
1 CC in very good standing (!)
1 CC in good standing (!)
3 student loans in very good standing (!)
and that's it! No more open cc accounts that I forgot to close, no more late notices, no more deliquint notes. FINALLY, my credit report is getting better! YAY!!!
And, I found out my credit scores from 3 different places:
I thought they would be way lower. I'm so hapy, especially ince I need a credit score of 660 for one of the mortgages I am applying for. I know they usually take the middle score, but maybe they will take the high one.
Today was a great money day. As I mentioned, I took today out o work to get some things done. And I got some things done, let me tell you!!
And here's the good money stuff:
1. Went to buy tp for the house. The kind we usually use is $3.49 for a 4 pack (I know, expensive, but I have a sensitive toosh). They have a new one out, better for septic tanks, same price. But, there was a $1 coupon for it! Yay! Saved $1.00 Adding that to the $20 Challenge/EF.
2. While I was at the grocery store, I turned in all our soda bottles and cans, plus cashed in 2 old soda can vouchers I had sitting around. $5.05! $5 goes into the $20 Challenge/EF and .05 into our Cash in the Bag bag.
3. Finally deposited my freelance check. Then came home and immediately transferred that same amount onto my CC as another payment.
4. Mailed out 2 of my last 3 ebay items. Still waiting for payment on one. As soon as I can get into my paypal account, I'll transfer that money straight onto the CC as well. (Having issues with the paypal account lately).
Old $20 Challenge Total: $60.49
ING Interest: $.09
Grocery Savngs: $1.00
Bottles and Cans: $5.00
Bills from Cash in the Bag: $14.00
New $20 Challenge Total: $80.58
CASH IN THE BAG
ATT Prev Balance: $3,406.83
Payment (today): $58.41
NEW BALANCE: $3,348.42
CS fee: $0
LB CC: $1,096.45
AT&T CC: $3,348.42
UMD 1: $38,044.87
UMD 2: $2,435.76
TOTAL DEBT: $86,400.91
I took today out of work to get some major things done. It kinda sucks because I don't get paid days off, but I figured it is OK this once to do it. Let's hope when I get paid in 2 weeks it doesn't bite me in the ass.
Today's To Do's:
*Deposit freelance check
*Mail student loans info
*Mail ebay items (yay!)
*Pay ebay fees
*Pay for cards
*Payment to CC
*Update checking account
*Call Health Coach
*Call Mortgage Guy
*Apply for mortgage at 3 places (Citizens, Bank of America, Soverign)
*Research government subsidary mortgages
*Return bottles and cans
*Cash in vouchers
I know paying down debt makes me feel good. I know b/c when the car was paid off and the CS fee was paid off I felt like doing cartwheels. (I didn't though. Have you ever seen a 330 lb woman do cartwheels??? Not pretty).
But lately, it has just been depressing me. I hate that the extra money I get from selling things or freelance work has to go to debt. It frusterates me that I keep paying, but it never seems to really go anywhere. I want to use the extra money for other things.
But, here's the kicker. I don't want to use the money to buy more things. I have been a packrat my whole life and I have finally hit the point where I said ENOUGH! NO MORE CRAP! I have way too much stuff. I realized I could get rid of half the things I own and would probably be much happier (hence the yard sales and ebay sales lately). Plus, if we want to move, #1 I ain't luggin all this crap to a new place and #2 we won't have room in a new place for all this stuff.
I think the stuff frusterates me even more because I know all this crap came from using my CCs and buying things I didn't need. In my mind, CRAP = DEBT.
So, what do I want to do with this extra moeny I keep getting? Save it. I want a fully funded EF (my goal is $3,000). I want to save for a trip to Vegas to move the rest of The Boys stuff out here (another reason I need to clean out!). I want to save for a house. I want to save for a new wardrobe after my surgery. I want to save for the follow-up cosmetic surgery I'm going to need (health insurance won't pay for that one). I want to save for The Boy to go back to college. I want to save for a vacation overseas.
What do I notice about all these things I want to save for? Most of them are for "experiences" (cosmetic surgery, traveling, school). A few are for material items, but those are big ticket items, and in some ways, a necessary want (new wardrobe, a house). None of them are for crappy items I will forget about and lose interest in after a few months.
Mom always told me one day I would "grow up" and grow out of the stage where I wanted the inconsiquental things. I guess 29 is my "grown up" age. Glad I didn't have to wait til I was 89!
Well, the big yard sale was all set for yesterday. Then it poured all day. Mutha.... *sigh* So we figured it will be today. Still raining. Grrrr.... So, it is rescheduled fr next Saturday. It's ok, as long as I get this stuff out of here soon! Plus since next week is not a payday week (I get paid every other week), generating some income will be good.
And speaking of generating income, some of my ebay listings sold. Not lal of the but a few. 3 of 5 sold. Yay! That's awesome, becasue it'll about $65 in profit and that will go down on my CC. The things that didn't sell, I think I am going to try listing on Craislist.
Although I try to save up as much towards extra payments on the CCís, the big payments really come on paydays. So, two more CC payments today: $100 on the LB CC and $215 on the ATT CC. Plus, another $58 to the ATT CC after the freelance check gets deposited tonight.
LBCC Old Prev. balance: $1,171.91
Charges (interest): $24.54
Payment: (last week): $100
Prev Balance: $1,196.45
Payment (today): $100
NEW BALANCE: $1,096.45
ATT Old Prev. balance: $3,347.10
Charges : $274.73
Prev Balance: $3,621.83
Payment (today): $215
NEW BALANCE: $3,406.83
CS fee: $0
LB CC: $1,096.45
AT&T CC: $3,406.83
UMD 1: $38,044.87
UMD 2: $2,435.76
TOTAL DEBT: $86,459.32
So the payroll person where I work can be a bitch. They have previously not paid people for overtime. I just looked at my check and they pay me $12.89 an hour. It's supposed to be $12.98 an hour. It's a 9 cents an hour difference, but here is the math:
$.09 cents an hour
$3.60 a week
$7.20 a paycheck
$14.40 a month
$172.80 a year!!!!!
Got it sorted out. They inverted the two end numbers, so that was the mistake. They said they will fix it for my next paycheck, plus they said they will pay me what the difference is for the last 2 paychecks in my next check. Which means...An extra $14.40 in my next check!
Since it is ďUnexpected extra moneyĒ I am going to put it into the $20 Challenge / EF account.
Sooooo excited! Just got an e-mail from half.com saying they are making a direct deposit into my account in a few days. OK, no big deal, they do that twice a month.
This time it is for..........
That is the largest DD I've ever gotten from them! Can't wait to add that to the CC debt!
Threw $2 in the bag today because I used me AAA card at D'angelos for dinner and saved $2.
Threw in $12 (!) today because when I threw on my jeans this morning, there was $12 in the pocket! Haven't worn these in a week or so, and I forgot about the cash in them. I consider that free money! Cha-Ching!!
After the yard sale on Saturday, this will all go into our $20 Challenge / EF account.
June 6, 2006
So, as mentioned in a pp, we are looking for a condo. Not as great as a house (I want me own yard) but better than an apartment (maintenance and security, weíre not throwing money away on rent but putting money towards owning something, and, did I mention this before, we can decorate as we want! Yay! Paint! Colors on the walls!).
We found one listed in the city we live in, about 20 mins more North of where we live now. About the same commute for me for work, maybe even a little shorter, def. a shorter trip into Boston and Providence. Itís a 2 bedroom unit, w/living room, bathroom, and kitchen. 635 sq. feet. All appliances are included and (so they say) new: fridge, dishwasher, disposal unit, microwave, AC unit, and range/oven. Also supposedly new is the carpet, entry door, bathroom, kitchen, and ceiling (w/remote controlled lights). There is off-street assigned parking (yay! No more fighting over parking spaces!), tennis courts, a swimming pool outside, laundry in each basement, on site security and security safe doors (you can only get in the main building door if you live there or someone buzzes you in).
One bonus is that the condo was originally built to be a 1 bedroom deluxe condo and the previous owners turned it into a 2 bedroom. Since it was built as a 1 bedroom, the condo fee is the 1 bedroom condo fee ($208 a month) as opposed to the 2 bedroom condo fee ($310 a month).
Not sure about the neighborhood. Have heard some negative things about it but not necessarily from people I trust (they are kinda snobby). Def will check into local police reports and activity there before we make a deal.
Price was $70,900, but they just dropped it to $69,900. With no down payment and a 30 year mortgage at 6% interest, it will be about $440 - 460 a month, plus the condo fee ($208 each month) for a total of about $650 Ė 675 a month. We pay $625 for rent now.
However, there is another unit on the ground that is a 2 bedroom, and 950 or so square feet. It is selling for Ö $69,900! So we are going to try to use that as a bargaining tool to get them to lower the price (weíd love it to come down to $65,000).
So, that is our condo news. We are going to meet with the real estate agent and look at it tomorrow night when I get home from work. Iím really excited. Iím trying not to get my hopes up too high, in case the area sucks or we canít get a mortgage, or it is way more than we can handle w/fees and such, but I canít help being a little excited. Just the thought of moving into a place we own (or will own after 30 years, LOL) is so exciting. Wish us luck!
Whoo-hoo! Got another freelance check in the mail yesterday. Another $50 will be going onto the CC as soon as I deposit it on Friday!
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