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Popping In With An Update

February 20th, 2016 at 11:50 am

One of these days I'll be back more regularly.
I have certainly missed you all and want to catch up on everyone's blogs.

The kids and I are doing well. Naturally emotional ups and downs. Financially I have been in a very solid and comfortable position. I'm beyond thankful for that since dealing with everything would be 100 times more difficult if I couldn't make ends meet.

Certainly the children and I would have been better off if there had been some life insurance, but that was not in place. Giving us a financial foothold is the children's monthly death benefits from Social Security.

No benefits for me because I make too much. However, if I ever made less due to reduced hours or job loss I would be able to receive money then.

In other financial news I decided to refinance my house. Refinancing to a conventional loan saves me $114/mo in PMI (FHA loan). I also consolidated the HELOC and my cc debt which saves me several hundred a month in minimum payments.

I was initially resisting the idea of paying off my cc's with my house. But, reducing my amount of outflow every month was the deciding factor.
My new mortgage payment will be $280 more per month than it is currently. I have been paying $315/mo just for the HELOC payment and several hundred more to credit card payoff.

The amount that we receive from SS each month is enough to cover the mortgage and utilities.

My future is a huge question mark.
Who knows how long I'll be living in my current home.
Being able to save a large amount of cash to an EF seems to be the best plan for me right now.

As part of the refi I had to have an appraisal. Housing is ON FIRE here.. It's crazy.
Anyhow, house appraised for $455k!
We purchased it for $265k seven years ago.
It boggles my mind.

Next up working on my taxes...

Y'all take care. I'm looking forward to catching up more soon.

Special Focus Payment

November 2nd, 2014 at 02:09 pm

$4299 Starting Balance

- $ 15 Survey Snowflake
- $120 Regular Payment

$4164 Ending Balance

My goal is to have this cc balance at $3900 before 1/1/15.

Rain. HELOC News. Spending.

September 26th, 2014 at 09:46 pm

We had a little rain early Thursday morning and again this evening. The weather has been very mild for weeks and the rain didn't change that - still mild. Plus the rain makes everything smell so nice and fresh and we can certainly use the moisture.

Our loan officer from the CU left me a voicemail that she was completing the documents today. DH and I will sign early next week and the money will be available by next Friday.
DH has contacted several roofing contractors. Some have come to the house already, but we don't have any written estmates yet. We want to get moving on the roof ASAP.

Re: Spending.

DH's side work profits were used to get the truck's water pump replaced (finally), two new tires and a few other odds & ends replaced (wipers, filters, etc.)
$1451 in auto parts and repair

It is the start of a new 4H year.
Yearly membership dues and two pre-purchase tickets for the large fundraising dinner came to $71.

DD is in the Honor band at school this year. Band camp weekend for $135.

I bought a Groupon for the Pilates studio I used last year for $89/eight classes.

I went kayaking last weekend with a girlfriend. $55 for the all day, 11 mile trip down the river. It was beautiful and relaxing, but....

My back was so tight after kayaking that the following day I had a spasm and threw my lower back "out". Had to see a chiropractor yesterday to pop everything back in place. (Primarily the left side of my pelvis.) I haven't used a chiropractor in over 13 years, but I really needed help.
$45 and worth every penny!

Everything (including $900 to debt payoff!) was paid using side money. WooHoo! Keep it coming! Big Grin

Special Focus Debt - PAID OFF!

September 24th, 2014 at 02:40 pm

DH and I have both been blessed by some side work this past week. I have a dog that I am pet sitting at our home for two weeks and DH installed a furnace and new duct work for an acquaintance last weekend.

I decided to use the cash I made and some of what DH made to PAYOFF the "Special Focus" credit card.

$876 - Previous Balance
$0 - Current Balance

Yippee! Big Grin

Applied for a HELOC

September 18th, 2014 at 04:56 pm

DH and I discussed the need to get a new roof on the house this year. And the need to not drain the EF completely. The solution that made the most sense was a HELOC (not that we are excited to take on more debt!). Once we decided to go that route we visited our local credit union to get some information. It felt really good to have DH participating in the process and making an educated financial move.

Because our loan to value ratio is very favorable our CU offers a zero cost HELOC. We won't be paying for an appraisal or any document, notary or closing fees.

As far as our home value I found this very interesting:
"We will not need to order an appraisal for this mortgage and will utilize the automated value of $421,400.00."

(That's quite a value - Wow! Wonder how that gets calculated? Zillow has us valued at $391,700.)

I filled out the application online from home. Then a few days later received an email from our loan officer requesting documents - W2s, tax returns, mortgage note, proof of insurance, etc. I submitted all that by fax.
Now we are waiting...

Special Focus CC Paydown

September 6th, 2014 at 03:54 pm

At the end of last month I received a $60 check from one of the companies I do a monthly inventory survey for. This company pays me quarterly - $20/month.

$976 Previous Balance
- $60 Snowflake Payment
- $40 Regular Payment

$876 Current Balance

Special Focus Payment

July 9th, 2014 at 02:28 pm

Pushed it just a little here and used all my cat care money for the week to drop this balance under $1k. Smile

I say "pushed it" because DH still was short a few hours on Friday's paycheck. We ended the week with about $60 less than what I budget for. I think so far there has only been one week where we weren't short. It is slowing goals down for sure!
AND we'll be short again this Friday as DH doesn't get holiday pay for the Fourth of July. Phooey..

The $80/week cat care cash is REALLY helping to buffer the low paychecks, but I'd rather be using the cash for other than covering regular bills.

Okay, here it is.....

$1071 Previous Balance
- $80 C.C. Cash

$991 Current Balance

Progress on Special Focus Debt

July 1st, 2014 at 04:22 pm

So despite DH's weekly paychecks still coming up short, I did manage a few small flakes toward this one particular cc.

$1121 Starting Balance

- $15 S. Flake
- $25 Regular payment
- $10 S. Flake

$1071 Current Balance

Still Having Short Paydays..

May 27th, 2014 at 11:33 pm

Although not as bad as previous weeks we are still running short each payday. With the increased heat DH's work is busier, but still not back to full paychecks. Friday we were just about $100 short.

As long as my work is not dead slow and the boss sends us out early then my paychecks are predictable. It might be + or - an hour per week depending on what's going on and there's not much I can do to change that.

You might recall several months back my boss increased, then cut back on my Tuesday hours.
For a long, long time I only worked a half day on Tuesdays. Then he and I agreed to increase it to a full day because it was so much work for just him and the receptionist alone. That worked well for awhile until he decided he needed to save money and cut my hours back to where I had been.

Well I think that choice has really been biting him in the butt.. There have been several busy Tuesdays recently where there is a bunch of extra work.. But he hasn't yet asked me to stay all day. Rolleyes

I really enjoy getting home early on my half days, but I wouldn't pass up the extra hours if I could get them here and there.

I received my usual $15 check for the inventory tracking on Friday.
I applied it to my *Special Focus Debt*.

$1109 Starting Balance

$15 Payment

$1094 New Balance

Treading Water

April 23rd, 2014 at 03:44 pm

Last Friday our paychecks managed to meet our budgeted amount, so that was a good thing.

Need more though..

Easter weekend was very nice. We visited my sister, her DH and their baby. The money we spent was on gas (about $80) to drive there and back. To save money we slept on her living room floor in our sleeping bags instead of getting a hotel room. And we didn't buy any candy or any Easter treats this year - not even one. (My sis did get the kids a few little candies - I was glad for that.) My mom and dad came and brought my Grandpa with them. That was extra nice because we rarely get to see him as he lives so far from us. It was really special.

Yesterday I transferred $5 to the "special focus" just to feel like I was making progress *somewhere*.
I'm only kidding myself because in reality the "special focus" now is just getting enough into the checking account to cover regular bills.

Not going to be able to swing much extra to any of the cc debt for the next few months. Hopefully there will be money to put back into savings starting in June or July.

Some of the savings that I used recently I had earmarked for new tires. The current set we purchased in May 2011 and they are worn. I think I can get by for a few more months without any trouble.

Truck still needs a water pump...

Car Repairs. Two More Short Paydays.

April 13th, 2014 at 06:21 pm

My car was repaired last Sunday.. sort of..

I took it for a little test drive just to be sure it didn't give me any trouble before my commute Monday morning. It was a beautiful late Sunday afternoon. I cruised just out of town and through rolling green hills with houses, gardens and animals. I was really enjoying my drive and then the car started running badly again..

Even worse, actually, because it had no power whatsoever. I was glad I was on a quiet country road with nobody behind me. I puttered for a few miles, pulled into a school parking lot and had to call for a tow home.

I was glad it was only me stranded and that I was in a safe place and not on the side of the highway.
I passed the time by watching baby goats playing in the field next to the parking lot and catching up with games on my phone.

Unfortunately, I was 9 miles from home and we just have basic roadside service that covers up to 5 miles of towing (or to closest repair garage), so we had to pay the 4 mile overage. Frown

Turns out there was a second sensor that needed replacement. The car would run fine until it got hot then it would crap out. Our mechanic neighbor finished that replacement early Tuesday afternoon (and the car has been running great since *KNOCK on WOOD*). We returned the rental car that night - we had it for five days.

$542 - repair
$ 82 - car rental
$ 40 - tow

AND as if that isn't financial headache enough, we had two more paydays short of the weekly income I budget for.

On 4/4 we came up short by $240.
On 4/11 short by $318.

The costs for the repairs and the funds to balance the budget have come out of the now pitifully depleted EF.


Snowflake to Special Focus

March 29th, 2014 at 09:52 am

Snowflake to "Special Focus":

$15.00 Honorarium for monthly inventory tracking
$ 0.46 Paid from checking

$1197.00 New Balance

New Roof = More Debt??

April 4th, 2013 at 04:41 pm

This morning I woke to the pleasant sounds of rain, but the very unpleasant patter from the drip inside our bedroom. Frown

The temporary patch job DH did held up for almost the entire rainy season. The weather forecasters claim this is the last big storm, but I can't say I trust them even more than 50%. At present we only have the one leaky spot, but this roof has got to be replaced.

In an earlier post I wrote about DH getting together with some of his buddies and doing the job himself. There would be the cost of the materials and the fees at the dump to haul all the debris away. I am not yet sure what the materials would even be because we haven't started to get pricing. If you read my other post I said our plan was to use the fifth payday in May to buy materials. If the materials cost more than that we are going to have to use the credit card to make up the difference.

This morning I was up early and it gave me some time to reflect on this major replacement that our house needs. It's going to be a big job. Demo of the existing roof will probably take one day if not a weekend. The new roof will likely take more than a day or two, but that will be easier, cleaner work.
The way I figure it my DH is looking at two solid weekends on the roof. I think he thinks he is up for it, but I need to be sure he is really committed to wanting to do it. I am not concerned about the quality of the job, but with how much time it would take. If we did it this way it certainly would be the cheapest option. (Option A)

Because this is getting to be a MUST DO item and I can't see us putting it off much longer I am liking the idea of hiring out. Just get it done and over - Period. Much less stress on DH (and marital bliss) to go this route, but more expense (roughly $6500).
Two thoughts I had this morning were:
Option B: HELOC. Lower interest rate and I think we'd get one, but have never checked into it, so??
Option C: CC. I hate this, but it's an option.

Bottom line is DH and I have got to do some material price shopping and some serious discussion. There is not an easy solution with this one.

CC Payoff Progress

November 18th, 2012 at 01:26 pm

All the CC payments have posted for the month.

Big news for this month is that the card with the highest balance just dropped below $10k with November's payment. Smile

Unfortunately, I will not meet my goal of getting the combined debt balance to $13k by the end of December. It looks more like $15k.

Not Working Today

October 11th, 2012 at 02:03 pm

I took the day off work so I could drive DD to and from a school field trip. It is to a close regional park for a fall festival. Her school does not have buses, so if they take a big trip they have to rent them. That means at her school most field trips require parent drivers. I don't have the increased coverage needed to drive other kids, but I can drive DD.

This worked out great for today. Thursdays are a half-day at work and I was able to be home to see the SF Giants win their playoff game. Whoot! Big Grin

Our pot roast was so tasty last night. Little DS really ate a lot of the meat.

I agree that the slow-cooker is great all year round, as many of you commented. It's especially nice to use when it's hot during the summer and you don't want to use the oven or stove. I haven't made any desserts in mine, so that's something to try one of these days.

This morning I scheduled payments for the rest of the month. Unfortunately, our cc balance increased this month. There is no avoiding it. These were the charges from last month when DH went to Alaska and he wasn't home earning money. There was also a medical bill I had paid finally.

I am really feeling discouraged. This year will be over in a blink and so much I had hoped we'd accomplish has not been done. This increase in the debt sucks. The somewhat silver lining is it is on a 0% card.

CC Payoff Progress. Other News.

September 20th, 2012 at 10:07 pm

$16,921 - Previous Balance
$16,898 - Current Balance

Yeah, as predicted I couldn't put much of anything toward pay down. I paid the amount that we charged on the cards this billing cycle. I paid the interest to the one card that accrues interest, plus a tiny bit more. No lost ground, per se, but this is not how things are going to get paid off either.


Trimmed the nails on a friend's cat. She is paying me $15 each time I do it. I figure that will be every six weeks or so. She thinks she will want me to do it every month.


I filled up on Tuesday night and it was down to $3.99/gal.


My new cell phone arrived Tuesday and I am officially switched over to Ting. More on that later...

CC Payoff Progress

August 29th, 2012 at 01:27 pm

Even with the new cell phone purchase I still managed to get the total balance down a wink. Small progress is still progress. Smile

$17,387 Previous Balance
$16,921 Current Balance

Monthly CC Payments

June 15th, 2012 at 08:59 pm

Made the usual monthly payments.
I was able to chip $46.75 more from redeeming reward points.

$17,940 Previous Balance
$17,387 Current Balance

CC Payoff Progress

April 28th, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Made the cc payments this morning.

$18,872 - Previous Balance
$18,385 - Current Balance


Added to the EF this morning also. (Giants wins while on vacation)
$3,038 - Previous
$3,046 - Current

Goals for March..and Beyond

February 26th, 2011 at 05:03 pm

I have a few goals I have started working on this past month and am starting to think about March now.

1. Get to the gym three times weekly.
I started doing this and so far I'm on track. Yay! Big Grin I go by myself Tuesday morning and with the family on Thursday evening and Sunday mornings. DH and I discussed trying this for a month or two and if I didn't use the gym enough to make it worth while we would cancel the family membership and downgrade to just an individual membership for DH. He plays racquetball two to three times per week. We've cut back to the individual membership before when I knew I wouldn't be using it or we really need to cut back. My DH needs to workout for his mental health even more so than physical health...that said our gym membership costs less than visiting the marriage counselor. hehe Big Grin I will always make his membership more of a need. Mine is more a nice perk. I like being able to work out at the gym, although I know I could still get exercise other ways. The gym makes me more "accountable" I guess and I get nice results when I go regularly. Wink

2. Apply any "extra" money from regular paychecks to debt. (Then it'll be savings - Can't wait!)
This is when the paycheck is more than the amount I've budgeted for. Example: DH's budgeted paycheck is $800/wk. When his paycheck is more, say $870, I used to just put that in the checking account for more spending. Now I will apply the $70 to the debt. This is DH's idea. He has wanted me to do this for awhile, but I was reluctant to "cut ourselves too short." Now I see I was only enabling our spending by looking at that as EXTRA $ and thus spending it like EXTRA $. Embarrassment

3. Weekly budget amount for food and household and etc. spending cut to $175/week.
I am thinking it will be easier for us to monitor our spending if we break it down weekly vs. monthly. And inspired by ThriftORama, I just lumped all of that together, instead of trying to track grocery, dining out, household, gifts, etc in different categories. So I've combined and then cut back. Yesterday was the first day of the first week of this new approach. Wish us luck!

DH - What????

January 9th, 2011 at 06:53 pm

My DH has been talking to his dad a few times today..and..well..DH is going to buy one of FIL motorcycles. ARG!! I can't beleive him!! It's totally against my wishes and he knows it. Angry He'll be using side work money to pay for it. Angry I want that $$$$ to go to debt, retirement and savings!!!! It's a bike I've been on before and I really like it, so he says I'll be glad he did this. I told him I am NOT happy and yes I liked riding on it when his dad owned it!! And I won't ride on it until all cc debt is paid off. So There! Rrrrrrr!!

Taxes, Shopping, "paid" Sears.

January 9th, 2011 at 10:03 am

I paid the Sears card off. Don't get too excited for me though because I tacked it on to another card.
Frown I had to pay Sears before the 20th to avoid the intrest from the past year being applied. It was 0% for the year if paid in full by January 20th. I had fully intended to do this and was on track to until I was was out on maternity leave. Doh!


Did major grocery and Costco shopping this past week. Used some nice coupons at Costco. $4 off boneless porkchops, $2.50 off laundry soap, $3.50 off dishwasher tabs. They have Quicken there for $65 and I have a coupon for $20 off. (I am very tempted to pick it up. Sounds like a good deal, but I haven't checked around at all.) We also buy our razors there (DH and I use the same kind) it's a 52 ct. for $23. I also bought 12 fresh, boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $20, 6lbs of hamburger, papertowels, a six-pack of Lean Cuisine $7.59 (great for lunch) and several other items. Total $210.


I have my W-2 already, now waiting for DH's. I also need to get the year statement from DD's school's childcare and the mortgage companies. I guess there isn't any hurry with all the news I hear of the IRS delay. But I am going to start plugging in numbers today to my online tax program. I have used FreeTaxUSA the past several (5) years. $20 for state and federal. With our new tax deduction (DS Wink) and my decreased income I am curious to see how things will calculate.
Here's to getting some money back! Big Grin

Good News & Ranking Debt

September 22nd, 2010 at 10:30 am

The company in Alaska who processed and shipped DH's fish charged us for his AND his boss' fish. The good news is we are getting $125 back. Yay!


I was thinking yesterday about debt. I think we can all agree that there is bad debt and worse debt, but how would you "rank" it?

Here is what I came up with in order from not-so-bad to worst.

Mortgage Debt
Student Loan (IF you're using what you learned to make money)
Auto Loan
Student Loans (when you're NOT using what you learned)
Personal Loans from family/friends
Credit Cards
RV/Boat/Recreational Loans
"Rent to Own" places for furniture/appliances
Personal Loans/Check Cashing places

So what do you think? How would you rank these?

***Edit: Disclaimer Wink
This list is just for fun. My musings about debt. I'm assuming these debts under "normal" conditions. Of course there is exceptions to every debt. Underwater mortgages, using HELOC as an ATM, "buying" a new car every three years, a personal loan that destroys a friendship or a medical loan for butt cheek implants vs. heart surgery. Big Grin

Water Bill & Other Payments

July 20th, 2010 at 09:24 am

Arrg.. the website logged me off/kicked me out. Made me lose most of this post so now I've re-typed. I MUST remember to highlight and copy before I click the publish button!

Our water bill came yesterday. Our city is now billing once monthly instead of every other month. The good thing is they finally adjusted our sewer usage down to "Winter Average". That saves because the sewer charges are $7.04 per hundred cubic feet (hcf=748 gallons). Tier one water charges are $2.83 per hcf and go up from there. Then you have base service charges on both water and sewer.
Our bill $74. I am going to start having this bill automatically charged to the cc each month.
In regards to the water bill it seems that our new washer is saving lots of water and that means it's saving me lots of money both in and out (sewer). I'll post once I calculate. But even if it uses one hcf less per month that saves $10.
Recent payments:
Payment to Sears card $75. Much less than I had budgeted for, but spent in other areas. I'll do a second payment if I have a little extra at the end of the month.
PG&E $143.
Home phone/cell phones/DSL $156.
Cable $85.
Garbage/Recycle/Yard Waste $44 (three months)

My ROTH is down $14. Not bad with the market jumping around right now. I need to check DH's, but he has forgotten his username and will need to call. Rolleyes

Jail for Debt

July 19th, 2010 at 02:48 pm

Just saw this online.
Look out...Wink


Little Things & Budget

July 2nd, 2010 at 02:45 pm

Getting a couple To Do things crossed off my list today. Ah.. it feels so good. Smile

Grocery shopping this morning, about 8am. It was good because the crowds hadn't showed up yet to shop for the weekend. Bought a coffee and cruised the store with DS. Total $149. They had buy two 12 packs of soda get four Free! That much soda will probably last us until the end of the year.

Paid a medical bill. $130.

Mailed a box of gifts and such to BFF. $8.

Called my car insurance agent to discuss some changes to my policy. Left a message. Dropping collision, keeping comprehensive, probably. I'll put the savings into a "new car fund".

Vehicle registration on Pathfinder. Paid online. So easy! $124 for one year.

Still need to pick up chicken feed and pine shavings, deposit DH's paychecks and....Oh I forget!

Basic look at our July (& most other months) budget.

Mortgage $2064
& ROTHs $200
CC#3 $400
Sears $275
Childcare $0 -for now
Horses/Pets $300
Auto Insur. $115
Utilities $250
Food $600
Gas $125 + reg. $124
Gym $150
misc/cash $400
All I can think of off the top of my head. I've got a more detailed budget on a works spreadsheet.


If I don't post again before the weekend -
Have a Wonderful 4th Everyone!
We're going to have a relaxing weekend hanging around home. No plans to go anywhere; can see our city fireworks from our house.
Big Grin

Escrow Account

June 18th, 2010 at 11:54 am

Oh *groan* we received a notice from our mortgage company that we have a projected shortage in our escrow account. This means our monthly mortgage payment is increased by $137. *groan*
About a year ago they sent me a fat check for the overage, like $1200. So silly! But what'da goiní do?!
I know we could take care of paying these things ourselves, but having an impound account seems like a better idea for us right now. I mean, we'd just have to set aside the same amount each month anyway.

Here's a question: In my sidebar with regard to the debt payments. Do you think I should leave the starting balance posted and bracket the current amount? Or should I just update as I payoff? What would you all like to see? I can't decide. (Boy, my life is full of hard choices isn't it? lol.)

What would you do? Buy a new fridge?

June 16th, 2010 at 04:41 pm

We have a friend who works at Sears. I saw her yesterday and showed her baby DS. She showed me a new refrigerator. It is one of the models I had admired on past visits. It's 'last years' model, the floor display. It is on clearance. More than 50% off, like $1100 less. 0% Sears card financing for a year.

We are going to need a new fridge - at some point. Our current fridge is a 1991 model that came with the house. I suppose it will die sooner rather than later. Should we replace it now while we can get a great deal on the fancy fridge I really like? Or wait until it dies and buy at (likely) full price?

Loan Update

June 1st, 2010 at 09:06 pm

So tonight I happen to get on the computer again and in my inbox is an email from Prosper. I had a question from a perspective lender! Whoa! I logged into my Prosper account and 1% of my loan has been funded. Yippee???

Or is it a pitty bid?

If I can manage the time I will go talk to someone at my credit union tomorrow. I might at least call and ask some questions if I don't feel like going in.

Prosper has 20 more hours to come thru.


June 1st, 2010 at 12:29 pm

So after checking into Prosper I decided to try it. I was excited and a little nervous, but I jumped in..

Too bad it's not working for me. Frown
Too bad someone won't be making money from my loan.

Here's the story:
My very low interest rate on CC#2 has ended. I HAD planned on having it paid off by now. When I called the bank they didn't have any lower offers for my account at that time. They doubled my rewards points and told me to keep calling back to check on lowering my rate.
I wonder if they aren't lowering rates now so they can make more money before the new cc laws take effect ???
So I am thinking it would be a good idea for me to consolidate my cc debt to a lower interest rate. Save money and get the balance paid faster. In order for me to save money doing this the new rate would have to be lower then 16%.
This is when I think Prosper would be a great idea. I don't really want another cc to transfer the balances to. And the peer to peer lending seems like a win/win. I mean somebody would like to make 8%, 10%, 12% or even 14% on their money loaning to me, right?
When I sign up and fill out my "profile" Prosper suggests I start my asking interest rate at 24%! In order to attract more "bidders". The web site says your rate will probably be lower due to the "auction process" and you can decline the loan if the rate is too high. It didn't make sense for me to ask for a loan at that rate - That's higher than what I pay on my credit cards!
I ended up posting a request for a loan with a 16% rate. I was clear in my comments what the money was for and for any prospective lenders to PLEASE ask me any questions or comment on how I could make a better posting. I spent about 30 minutes setting things up and carefully posting my request.

And...Nothing...Not a bite or even a comment..Nada..

Meanwhile, I am looking at my credit union's rates. I could get a personal loan for 12% or less. I could get their credit card with balance transfer rates starting at 6%. I have a credit score of 750ish so I'm pretty sure I'd get a good rate from them or another bank if I look around.

Phooey on Prosper..
My dreams of p2p lending going down the toilet.
So Un - Prosper - Us!

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