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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.

Anyway...
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.

Frown

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