<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Category: Personal Finance
 

Viewing the 'Personal Finance' Category

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.

*Had* to Update Quicken

April 17th, 2015 at 09:34 pm

I bought Quicken Deluxe in 2012 at Costco for $20.
I had never used Quicken before and quickly fell in love with using it. Honestly, I open and update our accounts in Quicken probably three to four times each week. I love the colored charts and how easy it is to track every penny. I also use it to plan my bill paying a month ahead of time.
It's like a game for me when I'm on Quicken. Smile
(My DH has even referred to me paying bills/accounting as "playing on the computer"!)

About two months ago I started getting messages about how if I didn't update to the latest edition I would lose the ability to download transactions directly into the program. This is a big deal for me. It saves mucho time to just click a button and have all my financial accounts updated. Oh sure the program would still work after May 1st; I'd just be manually entering all transactions.

Had I known at the beginning of the year they would shut off the auto downloading I might have bought it at Costco again. They have Quicken on special every January. I checked the price now - $49.99.

The biggest rip-off is the maker of Quicken - Intuit - says "upgrade now and we will give you $10 off". The cost on their website is $74.99, so $64.99 for all the loyal current customers. The highest price out of anywhere I checked.

Last night I broke down and purchased the 2015 version through Amazon - downloaded and installed it with about three clicks. That process was very easy and smooth.

So far the new version works the same as the old one that I was quite happy with, plus these "improvements".
* The chart and graph colors are in a new color scheme - whatever. Rolleyes
* Some things have been moved from one side of the screen to the other - I find that annoying.
* I get my credit score listed in the side bar - wow (not).
* You can access your account from your phone - I opted out of that for now as I want to try to limit exposure to sensitive account info.

It cost $39.99 on Amazon. BUT, I still had gift card money from the CC rewards so it cost $0!
*Silver Lining* Big Grin

And honestly, $40 every three years for something I use so often is a good deal. I just hate being pushed into it.

Easy, Low-Tech, Calendar Budget System

September 7th, 2013 at 11:41 am

I wanted to share this little budgeting system using a calendar and pencil (and maybe a calculator too).
I hope someone will find it useful...

My coworker was having trouble planning her money out. She asked for some advice when she couldn't pay her rent until two weeks into the month it was due. She'd like to do the envelope method, but that is hard to start when you are starting out behind. I showed her how to lay out this calendar and she has told me the past two months have been so much better. Just a glance at her calendar budget and she can stay on track.

Some of us might refer to this a "future checkbook" or might use a spreadsheet to plan ahead. I use Quicken to do this every month - planning ahead to see where we need to move money and when in the month we can do it. In Quicken it is much easier because I can easily change numbers and dates and the program makes all the calculations. However, this calendar will help someone looking for a low tech way to look ahead and keep tighter tabs on their cash. I think this method is most helpful for people being paid weekly or bi-weekly.

These examples are based on my coworker's situation. She is a single woman without many expenses. She is paid weekly. Currently she is trying to get caught up to the point where she can pay her rent on the first of the month.

First, write in the starting balance.
This could be in your checking account or cash.
I like to plan for all the income first ('cause it makes me feel warm & fuzzy Smile ).
Payday is Friday.
Her paycheck fluctuates, so this number is a best-guess-average. Eventually her plan is to save any income above her "estimated" number and to budget a set amount to save weekly or bi-weekly.




Second, plan your month.
Each week she withdraws cash to spend on gas and food for the week ($50/wk).
She has a few small charges on auto-pay (insurance, game club, etc..).
Cell phone is always $40/mo.
TV & Internet.
Electric & Gas.
One CC payment.
Dentist payment.






Third, make changes as you go.
In this picture I show the adjustments she makes when she deposits her actual paychecks.



As you can see in this example she started September with $816 and is finishing the month with $1135. Almost enough to pay her rent on or before the first.
She would meet her goal by the end of October as long as nothing changed. Smile


*** In "real life" my coworker is not quite that close to her goal yet.
She had really gotten behind. She tells me that she is much better off now with the calendar and it is "simple to use". She showed me her September projections yesterday at work and she will have her December rent set aside by Thanksgiving.
*fingers crossed*

Good Way to Compare Health Plans

May 2nd, 2013 at 06:09 pm

In an earlier post I said we had met with an insurance broker about plans for our children.
Now that I learned how to use the Snip Tool I can post some screen shots of the nifty spreadsheet he gave us to compare costs. I couldn't fit all of them in (there were 66) but you'll get the idea.

For those of us who have a hard time figuring out where to start when it comes to narrowing down the choices I hope this helps - It certainly helped me.

Okay, so things to know when you look at this:
- All the numbers are doubled to account for both kids.
- It's color coded to show different companies. I didn't include the company/plan names for space reasons.
- The HSA and Tax columns are both blank because it's "child only" plans.
- Based on the best case/worst case numbers I chose four plans and investigated their specific coverage. The best thing, for me, was to remember that now with ObamaCare preventative care is covered 100% no matter what plan you have.

Best Case Scenario
Annual Premium. No other money spent.

Worst Case Scenario
Annual premium *added to* Total Out Of Pocket Limit.





I found it very interesting to see how a "full coverage/$0 deductable" policy could really cost you a whole lot more especially if you are a healthy person. You could spend as much in *Best Case* as you would in some cheaper plans *Worst Case*.

Learning New Things is Good

April 16th, 2013 at 10:06 pm

On Thursday afternoon my DH had set up a meeting with an insurance broker. (Our kids need health insurance, so this was a good thing for him to do.) I was happy he had taken the initiative to set it up, but silently to myself I was thinking "Ugh!".

Long story short the meeting went very well. The broker was knowledgeable and not at all pushy. He thoroughly explained HSAs and high deductable plans. What was really great was the spreadsheet he gave us ranking about 55 different plans by cost. Premium, deductible, maximum OOP etc. A wonderful spreadsheet tool.

I have it narrowed down to two plans both cost about $150/mo to cover both DD and DS. I will purchase through the broker. It doesn't cost us anything to do it that way and he was super helpful.

Afterwards I told my DH he did very well by setting up the meeting. Smile

DH has HSA compatible insurance so we are going to open an account at the credit union we use. It has the lowest account fee at $12/year. I figure we can save at least $12/year in taxes, so why not?

It would have been good for us to have the HSA earlier this year when I got my crown at the dentist and DD her eye glasses - Darn it.

House Values

March 3rd, 2013 at 02:50 pm

The market is pretty strong in my county right now. I started looking at houses and prices about two weeks ago. A friend is house shopping and my co-worker and I have been perusing the listings. It's been interesting because prices are climbing steadily and inventory is tight. If a house is nice and priced right it isn't for sale long.

I looked at my neighborhood (about a five block radius) and in the past four months there have been four sales all about $300k. Currently there is a house listed for $325k one street over from ours. It is a slightly smaller house, smaller lot and only a single car garage.

Zillow has our house estimated at $285k. If comparable houses are selling at $300k I think it is more reasonable to say our market value is $300k. It's rather exciting to gain value even when it really doesn't matter for us right now.

There are still plenty of foreclosures. I know some people just walked away because they didn't *want* to pay the inflated mortgage when the house lost value. Of course there are also people who couldn't afford such a huge payment anymore. At the height of the bubble our house sold for $506k.

Is the market gaining steam in your area too?

March - The First 'Extra' Payday Month

March 2nd, 2013 at 10:42 am

DH and I are both paid on Fridays. A few months each year have five Fridays, thereby giving us an "extra" payday. March is the first for 2013.

I am laying out a plan for all the "extra" payday months here and now. This will keep me accountable to sticking to my plan and keep the money from "evaporating" into the usual monthly money flow.

March

$300 Truck Registration
$500 EF
$500 CC Payment

Actual: $1223
$300 Truck
$500 EF
$423 CC



May

$1300 Roof Replacement


August

$500 Summer Camps/Classes/Activities for Kids
$800 Vehicle Repairs/EF


November

$500 EF
$800 Christmas Spending




My V-Day Gift - Taxes

February 14th, 2013 at 02:48 pm

My gift to myself and my DH was to finalize and e-file our taxes. Big Grin

Just finished..

This is my sixth return I have filed using FreeTaxUSA.com. It costs us $10.

The only trouble with our taxes was me. lol.
Last week I was wondering where the heck our forms from our mortgage were. Then I felt silly when I realized I just needed to go to the website and look at them right there. I think several months back they may have asked if I wanted them online vs. paper copy. SO that was easy.

DH's EMT class got us an American Opportunity credit that I was totally not expecting at all. Cool!

All in all we are getting a small refund.
I am fine anytime "small" and "taxes" are in the same sentence. Wink

Happy Valentine's Day to you all.
Tonight we'll celebrate with cupcakes!

Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel

January 17th, 2013 at 03:03 pm

We have $1.30 in our checking account right now.

I cannot remember the last time our checking was scraped away to nothing.
I did say it was a tight month.

Tomorrow night I will deposit paychecks and the rest of the month will be much smoother sailing. I only have a daycare payment and two cc payments due before February 1st.

Bye, Bye EF

January 5th, 2013 at 06:36 pm

So we ended 2012 with $4008 in our EF. Smile
By the middle of this month we will be down to $200. Frown

The breakdown:
- $2356 for DS's ER visit (ER, doctor, ambulance)
- $ 248 for DD's first pair of eye glasses
- $ 647 for annual auto insurance policy
- $ 250 for root canal
- $ 338 for equine vet and disposal truck

The silver lining is we have that money, so it's not going on a cc or being borrowed.
That takes a little bit of the sting of wiping out the EF. (Just a little..)

Busy Tuesday

November 6th, 2012 at 09:54 pm

I started my day at 7:30 with a parent/teacher conference at DD's school. She had a perfect report card and very kind remarks from her teacher. We are so lucky that every year it has been the same - great, great, great. Big Grin

I really give a lot of credit to the wonderful preschool she attended. This is the same preschool that we have DS enrolled in for Fall 2013.

Mid morning I had a dentist appointment. Just a routine cleaning. It won't be covered by my insurance and will cost about $80. I also scheduled my crown for the first week in January. My root canal is scheduled with the endodontist at the end of December. This way I can maximize my dental benefits and pay the least out-of-pocket I have to.

After my appointment I dropped my ballot off. (I filled it out at home, but didn't want to risk mailing it.) It is always neat to see all the different types of voters out and about. Smile

Then I had to stop at MIL's bank. She asked for a $600 loan. This is the second time this year. She always pays it back promptly, so for that I am comfortable. What really alarms me is that they don't have any savings to tap? I'm not saying we are 'The Expert Savers', but we are working on it! (I really understand DH's lack of money management skills when I see things his parents do.)

I bought a banana milkshake from a burger stand next to the bank. It was a serious *want* and it was so gooood! Big Grin Plus, my throat has been sore all day and that shake felt good - wish I had another one right now.

Lastly, I went to work for the afternoon.
It was pretty quiet, so work was the easiest part of the whole day. Wink

Comparing the Annual Spending on Children

June 16th, 2012 at 03:20 pm

Going off Ceejay's post yesterday...

I'm home from work and it's hotter than heck out, so I enjoyed sitting inside with the AC putting this post together. Spent some time looking thru Quicken. Pretty convenient that we are exactly halfway thru the year; it was easy to come up with some averages. Smile

If you missed Ceejay's post here is the USDA report she cited -
http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/CRC/crc2011.pdf

I used the Western Region/middle income bracket. Page 28

USDA Figure [Our Actual Spending]

For DS (2 years old):
Housing: $4670 [$0]
Food: $1440 [$950]
Transportation: $1780 [$162]
Clothing: $800 [$300]
Health care: $800 [$250]
Childcare: $2750 [$6750]
Misc.: $1020 [$700]

For DD (10 years old)
Housing: $4670 [$0]
Food: $2460 [$1900]
Transportation: $1970 [$162]
Clothing: $750 [$300]
Health care: $940 [$250]
Childcare: $1950 [$1260]
Misc.: $1230 [$1000]


Housing:
DH and I would have bought this house or a similar three bedroom house regardless of having the kids or not.

Food:
I figured our yearly food costs. I was going to just divide it evenly between four people, but obviously DH and I eat way more than DS. So I just figured DD would eat about half of DH or I and DS would be about half of DD.

Transportation:
The USDA definition was "expenses related only to family-related activities". We do trips and such, but we would do those even without children. I just figured 5% of the annual fuel expenses per child.

Clothing:
Kids get gifts of clothes all the time. I figured an average of $20/mo/child, plus two pairs of shoes.

Health care:
"..the share of household out-of-pocket health care expenses spent on children.."
I've listed copays for annual dr. visit and bi-annual dentist visits.

Childcare:
These are crazy low averages IMO. I get that many people might have family watching the kids for free or work opposite hours so one parent is watching them. Anyhow, our total is much higher than their average.

Misc.:
"..(personal care items, such as haircuts, toothbrushes, etc.; entertainment, such as portable media players, sports equipment, computers, etc.; and reading materials, such as nonschool books, magazines, etc.).."
For DS this is where I counted his diapers, wipes, haircut every 4(ish) months, books, occasional toy and gifts.
For DD I count her gifts, twice yearly haircuts, extra activities (camp, craft classes, movies, trumpet etc..).

CC Payoff & Other Goals

May 27th, 2012 at 11:06 am

Made the CC payments this week.
$18,385 - Previous Balance
$17,940 - Current Balance

Slowly creeping downward....

------
My weight loss was going great before we went on vacation. Now it has come to a screeching halt. Frown So at the half-way point of the year I've only lost 6lbs. Right before we left I was down 11lbs.

New car savings. Nothing new. This was overly optimistic with the other stuff, but aim high right?

Roof. Hoping DH will swing a few side jobs this summer to round out the roof replacement savings. This is pretty likely - summertime and people want AC.

Life insurance. Have gathered several quotes. Just want to lose the weight to get better prices.

Braces. Lasik. Trust. No action - Yet.

Not Quite That Easy

March 26th, 2012 at 02:26 pm

BlahArrggg!

Checked our checking account this morning and the fraudulent charge to Diapers was showing as a posted transaction!

I was finally able to call after we got finished with all our morning appointments and procedures. Ended up on the phone for 40 minutes. I didn't have the reference number for the claim from Thursday and the bank couldn't find it so they started a new claim. Oy! Then once I was transferred over to the fraud department for the second time she found the first claim. Rolleyes
That's about 20 minutes of my life I'll never get back!

One good thing about going thru this again was that the fraud advisor/rep lady called Diapers to try to find out names, addresses etc of the people who had ordered. Unfortunately, she didn't get any information that could help.

And I answered a list of the same questions with three different people only to be told that it didn't matter what I said because they need to speak to DH to finalize the claim. *pulling hair out!*

I will have him call the fraud department tonight. I want this matter resolved pronto.

Meanwhile, I want to place an order from Diapers., but I don't want any activity on my account with them for fear that it might mess up the fraud claim.

I am thankful we are only dealing with one charge. It could have been a much bigger mess.

Quicken Update

March 10th, 2012 at 02:56 pm

I *heart* Quicken. Big Grin

I have used it for a little over a month now. I bought it from Costco when they had a coupon for it.

I love it. SO great for putting everything together in one place and makes tracking SO easy.
I feel like, "Why didn't I do this sooner?!"

Click. And the accounts update via the net. Smile

Click. And a lovely pie chart. Smile

Click. And get a nifty bar graph budget. Smile

It was very easy to set up. I spent about 90 minutes on it the first day getting the accounts set up and playing around with the features.

Really makes financial tracking super easy and quick. SO worth $20.

Working this AM. Spending $. Getting a 1099 now?

March 3rd, 2012 at 09:16 am

My co-worker wanted the day off, so I am working for her. That bathroom reno post will have to wait a few more hours.. Smile

I had the day off on Thursday, which is a half day, so working today will give back those hours. I like that. Thursday was a lot of running around and spending money. Pharmacy: $10. Grocery: $190. KMart: $32. TraderJoe's: $38. Re-ordered checks: $23. DD's school band is playing at a SF Giants game. Tickets for her and DH for the game: $60.

Last night I stopped at Costco and really stocked up esp. on meat, fruit and spices. $240.

And I bought gas. $4.19/gal! $73! Frown

Yesterday we received our federal refund. (We received our state refund last week.) Both checks went straight into savings because they are earmarked for the new roof.

So here is what really bugs me - we got a 1099 in the mail Thursday! It was postmarked Feb. 27. Isn't that wrong? Don't you have to have all your tax stuff sent out by Feb. 1?

This is the 1099 I was waiting and waiting for and just ended up filing on Feb. 12 when we never got it. Now I'm going to have to file an amendment. *Grrr*

Lots 'o Checks Today.

February 24th, 2012 at 09:23 pm

My pday check.
DH's pday check.
Cat sitting check from this past week.
Plastic Jungle check.
State tax refund check.
Big Grin

The cat sitting check and the refund check both went into the EF (for now).
The tax refunds have been earmarked for the new roof.
The cat sitting check was $245 and I think I'll split it between savings and an extra cc payment.

Checking Account Changes

October 14th, 2011 at 09:53 pm

I was looking thru the notices on my bank account online earlier this week. They had sent us one last month notifying us that our free checking account would be changing in November to an $8/mo account or to $6/mo if we had a linked savings account. We do have a linked savings, but heck if I'm going to just submit to paying for our checking account after having it free for like.. ever?

So today at lunch I went into a branch and talked with a banker. They are more than happy to give you free checking if you can set up direct deposit, but that isn't an option for our paychecks. I told the banker that we have always been happy with this bank and like that they have ATMs and branches everywhere, but we would move our checking account to the credit union next door if we couldn't get free checking anymore.

He must be having these conversations multiple times daily. With the notice going out and the "99%" movements he said a lot of people are changing accounts. Anyhow, he was very friendly and quickly found an 'account product' that will work. Get this - College Checking!
There is a $3/mo fee IF your balance averages less than $500 for the month. I keep a cushion in checking and there is a steady flow of money thru, so this shouldn't be an issue. I am willing to give it a try because I do like the service I've gotten the past 13 years.

Nope, you don't have to be a student or be 20 or live at home to have the College Account. Thought that was interesting.
Why even name it that? Rolleyes

Our old account was named Custom Management.

I told the banker they should consider naming accounts like this: Super Special Savings or Valued Client Checking. Big Grin

We'll see how this works out... I've got other options if it doesn't.

I wonder how many people won't try to change their accounts or how many will even notice they're paying a fee now.

Doh..That was stupid!

September 20th, 2011 at 11:31 am

I had an email this morning from our bank that they did an overdraft transfer to our checking account. I was a bit panicked because I knew we had money in checking; DH deposited his paycheck Friday. On Saturday I had transferred money and set up some bills to be paid and updated the checkbook. So I was worried that somehow there was a mistake, or worse, someone had gotten access to our account!

Well, neither happened. I am such a dork! I set up a $300 payment to CC3 and totally forgot about it. So of course I thought I had $300 more than we actually did. This stupid mistake will cost me $15-$20 for the OD fee. Hopefully no more. *groan*

I get paid today, so our account will be well in the black by the end of the day.

I am feeling very foolish.

Suze's Book

July 7th, 2011 at 04:26 pm

I finished Suze's The Money Class book over the weekend. I want to share an online resource with you, plus if I post it here then I can always find it easily myself. Big Grin

For special tools and resources for readers of The Money Class:

On her homepage (suzeorman.com) there is an icon labeled
The Classroom
Enter the passcode: 999 999 999





March Wrap-Up. April Goals.

April 1st, 2011 at 11:52 am

How'd I do in March?

1. Get to the gym three times weekly?
Yes! Big Grin
There were three days out of the month I didn't go to the gym when I was planning to, but I did get exercise in other ways. And I tried out a once weekly Zumba class (free w/my gym membership) this past month and I like it.

2. Apply any "extra" money from regular paychecks to debt.
Unfortunately, No. Frown
This month we didn't bring in much extra. And any extra income covered extra expenses like the truck smog, dentist, etc..

3. Weekly budget amount for food and household and etc. spending cut to $175/week.
This was sort of a success. Wink
We never kept spending under this number, but we were very close one week! All of our spending was on the necessities. Food, baby care, household items like laundry soap and kitty litter, etc. etc. This is pretty much my version of the "No Spend Month", which I think is more like a "Low Spend Month" or maybe call it a "More Save Month"?

For April? All of the above.
And now that MLB season has just started (last night) I think I'll borrow from Ima her idea of adding to savings when her baseball team wins. I think that is a fun idea.
so..

4. Add $2 to savings for each SF Giants win.
If they only win half their games that would be $162.

Sunday. Spring Pictures.

March 20th, 2011 at 01:36 pm

For Sunday dinner I have a crockpot full of carrots, potatoes and corned beef cooking right now. I will add cabbage later this afternoon. It smells heavenly, I can hardly wait.

Last night the rain was pounding and the wind was whipping. Didn't get to see the SuperMoon. Frown (Well we saw it on the news.) DH is a volunteer fireman and last night they were called out for a tree down, then a mud slide onto the hwy, then flooding at some cottages along the river. He was gone from 1:30am to 5:00am. Then he had to go work the Home Show at 9:30am. I packed him a ton of food to take with him so he doesn't have to buy anything to eat or drink there at the show. You all know how expensive the food concessions are. Yikes!

---------------------------------

Friday was the beginning of the new week, budget wise. Last week we were over by $74. Even though we've been over every week, it has still really helped us spend less.

---------------------------------

Our truck's yearly car registration is due the end of this month. $290. Blah! And in California they've started a smog check program for diesels. SO, we get to have that done this year. $50-$60 I figure for that. I will be seeing this week.

----------------------------------

My trees in the backyard are blooming. In between cloud bursts this morning I took this to share.

This tree has really taken a beating this weekend in the wind and rain. I need to look up what type of tree it is. A type of Magnolia maybe??




This is our Oklahoma Peach. It just started getting its buds and blooms this week. DH really pruned it back last year. I was afraid he had killed it, but it looks like it survived.


Federal Return. Gym Time.

March 17th, 2011 at 04:51 pm

We got our federal return on Monday. Big Grin
2k to mom, 1k to EF, $500 to MIL, $200 to checking account.

I am updating the sidebar and I am making a 5k goal for our EF by the end of the year.

--------------------------------

I have been meeting my workout goals for the month so far. Big Grin

I went last night to a Zumba class. It is free at our gym so I thought "Why not, I should try it out." But by the time I got home from work (6:10pm) I was ready to just stay home. DH kinda pushed me out the door to go try it. I'm glad he did. It was fun and an hour went by in a flash. And boy it kinda kicked my butt, hehe. I used to dance in high school, but last night I was feeling old and slow. Wink Not picking up the steps as fast as I'd like. The instructor is an older lady, which I thought set a great example, and she kept the class very upbeat and relaxed. It was a good mix of ages and body types too. I told DH I am going to try to make it a regular thing.

Gym four times a week???? If I don't lose weight from that...

DH and I are going tonight in about 40 minutes. I'll do about 30 minutes of something and then I've got to take DD to a class skating fundraiser thingy.

Never a dull moment here.

Where's my money?

March 10th, 2011 at 04:51 pm

I've been waiting for our federal refund. We already received our California refund, so I didn't think the federal would be taking so long. I just logged onto the IRS website and it said my check would be mailed tomorrow. Okay, not much more time to wait. Smile

Today is the last day of week #2 of the new, tight, weekly budget. I had to pick up two items at Costco, which turned into three items Wink. They had a two pound pack of chicken breast lunch meat for $5.89 that I couldn't pass up. I spent $42 total. As long as we don't spend anymore today, we will finish the week only $22 over budget. I am very pleased with that. Big Grin

Bought gas at Costco today too. $3.81/gal. Total to fill up - $67. Ugh...

Last Week

March 6th, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Our goal of spending $175/week didn't work out this past week. Frown We were over by $130. It's okay, we're just going to keep trying to hit that mark each week. It may be a bit ambitious, but I feel that the amount is doable. I went a little crazy at the grocery store; it's hard to walk away from a good deal. Embarrassment

Bought gas on Friday. (Gas has it's own budget, so it's not deducted from the $175 thankfully, or we'd have no money to eat with!)
It was $3.68/gallon at Costco. Total to fill up - $64.
The price of diesel has really shot up. In 24 hours the stations in our town had raised the price by 0.20/gallon! We don't drive our big truck regularly, but the company DH works for has all diesel trucks and these prices really hurt business like them.

---------------------------------------

My mom came for a visit yesterday. We meet with my co-worker and had mochas, these amazing éclairs and a nice visit. Yummy, Yummy. I spent $7. Then we dropped DD at a birthday party for one of her friends. Gift was $7. Mom treated me to a pedicure. (Thank you mama!) We picked up DD from the party and had take-and-bake pizzas and chocolate chip cookies for dinner, cost $20.

--------------------------------------

My DH is almost back to normal. Thank goodness! I was worried that he might need further treatment. This type of thing is why having savings/EF is so critical. It is also a reminder why I need to get life insurance squared away on us. I know - bad we don't have it yet.




Taxes Done. Cost $10.

February 19th, 2011 at 02:44 pm

On Tuesday, we received DH's 1099 (from his side work/business) we had been waiting for. I had everything entered by Wednesday night, but waited until this morning to review all my entries before pressing the SEND button. Double checking that I typed the correct amounts and didn't screw up on something silly like a SS#. I have used freetaxusa.com for several years now. (This is the sixth year??) It is user friendly, IRS approved, e-files, free to file federal and costs me $9.95 to file our California return. My FIL has used TurboTax the past few years. He thinks it's great and saves him so much money. DH and I have told him about this site each year. I'm sure in some way he feels like we don't know what we're talking about. Even though I believe our taxes are a bit more complicated than theirs. I, at least, have childcare and a schedule C to file that they don't have. In our situation TurboTax would cost me $75 for federal and an "additional fee" for state. Umm, I'll stick with $10, thank you. Smile

I e-file, but have the checks mailed to me. I guess I am paranoid because I don't want to give the government our bank information. Although I am sure they could get it if they wanted.

This year we are getting back more than from past years. I'm thinking our newest tax deduction/credit (DS) plays a part of that. Big Grin
Getting back $3724/federal and $2470/state.
Our gross income was down only slightly. $3273 less than 2009. DH made more, but because I was on maternity leave I made much less, so it pretty much evened out.

Plans for our refund?

**Both our moms have given us cash in the years we've been married. We try to give a little back each year. Looking at $2k to my mom and $500 to MIL.
**EF. $1k ish.
**cc debt. Remaining $$.

Bill Paying and Reward

January 15th, 2011 at 04:17 pm

Lazy Saturday here. Baby is down for his afternoon nap, DD is outside playing and DH is running errands on his 'new' motorcycle that came today. Rolleyes Inlaws brought down early this AM. They have just left to head home. The weather is beautiful, blue skies, sun and 65F.

I should go out, but I am comfy in the recliner switching between football playoffs and the movie Pirates of the Caribbean all while online. Enjoying being alone right now. Smile

Paid some bills. PG&E $210. Cell phone $200 (two bills - I didn't pay last month) Cable/Internet/Home Phone bundle $165, I didn't technically pay because it's on auto bill, but I did transfer the money from checking to the Visa to "pay" for it. Water $74, again on auto bill. Our water rates went up on January 1st. Small increases ($0.20 - $0.60) to the base rate for water and sewer and small increases ($0.15) to the per hcf for both water and sewer(hcf= hundred cubic feet; 1 hcf= 748 gallons). We used 6 hcf in December for $69 and in January 6 hcf for $74. So their small increases will add up. The city is paying for a new sewer treatment plant.

Today I had enough points on my visa to redeem for $100 account credit. So I did that right off. Yay!

Watched the movie Julie and Julia last night. It was very cute! DH liked it. He's a romantic so he liked how both the hubbys loved their wives. Smile

Now I am wanting to try a few of those recipes.

Burritos for dinner tonight. And I'm thinking about French food. haha. Back to relaxing, only two hours until dinner and Suze Orman.

Back to School Shopping Ads

August 5th, 2010 at 05:07 pm

Driving home this afternoon DD was looking at the newspaper insert ads. I think it was a JC Penney or Kohls ad when she said, "Look at these cute shoes mama." They were cute little pink plaid ballet flats. But, uh, $28!! Not for my nine year old who wears holes in her shoes before she even outgrows them! (If they were everyday shoes - okay, I'd buy them.)

I said, "Honey, wow, those shoes are kinda pricey."

"But mama, look the regular price is $39."

Ahh, a "teachable moment"...

"Well sweetie, that's how the stores get you to buy something like that. They make you think you're getting a good deal. Sometimes you are. But not on those shoes." I said.

She thought about that and was like, "Okay, maybe we can find some like these for a lot less, then we could buy them."

"Maybe." (universal parent answer. Wink )

She does need a new backpack and lunch sack for school. I usually wait until fall, Oct/Nov, to buy clothes and new shoes. So far she has always been fine with wearing "old" clothes to the start of school. Sure hope that doesn't change anytime soon.

Gosh, she'll be back to school on August 18th! Fourth grade! *WOW*

--------------------------------------
Today baby DS is three months old. I will have to take/post a picture soon. Such a cutie!

--------------------------------------
Grocery shopping yesterday. $108. Dinners for the next week easy, plus milk, bread and cereal. Tonight it's Sloppy Joes, broccoli, and homemade fried french fries. Yum!

-------------------------------------
Overspent last month *sigh* Over budget by $900. Money I would have LOVED to put toward bills or savings. My excuse - long month and we did a lot and had several one time/occasional expenses (car registration, medical/dental etc..)
This month it'll be childcare and increased fuel usage.

Crunching numbers now.

DH and our Budget

July 14th, 2010 at 09:33 am

Most months I have a budget on a spreadsheet/budget template on the computer. I update as we spend and pay bills. (So like every other day! Wink) But up until last night DH had never looked at it. I'd just tell him, "We've xx amount set aside for this." Or, "It'll have to be a cheap dinner out. We have already spent our eating out amount." Etc.Etc.. This past weekend I typed my financial goals (like what I have in the sidebar) on a Word document and stored it on the desktop. I showed DH the "GOAL$" document and where to find the budget folder. I want him to look for himself.
Last night he was looking it over and was commenting on how he didn't realize this, and, wow - we spend that much on that?
Good!
Eye opening for him to SEE what I see daily. He doesn't have to take my word for it anymore. Always has, but I've seen the skeptical gleam in his eye when I say we don't have money for "it". In his parent's marriage there is a lot of money hiding. Like a cc and loan his mom has that his dad knows nothing about. I think that creates a lot of distrust. So this is good for me and I know he appreciates the full disclosure.

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.


<< Newer EntriesOlder Entries >>