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Archive for September, 2007

Updated Debt Totals & Other Ramblings

September 27th, 2007 at 09:07 am

I have updated the debt totals now that both loan payments have cleared. I am excited to be well under $7,000. I am not sure we will be debt free by the middle of 2008, but we should have no problems being out of debt by the end of 2008.

I got a gift card from Netwinner that helped with the grocery budget, which is the area I cut due to the paycheck mixup. I average $25/month through there so that has been helpful.

I have already saved up a little money to add to the debt payments for October. I am expecting a survey check which I hope will come in time to add to that as well.

I also need to total up my no spend days to see how close I am to my September goal of 15.

Similar Vacations - Very Different Prices

September 25th, 2007 at 10:23 am

Yesterday I spoke with a person who took a similar vacation last month to mine. She and her partner stayed at the same resort for the same amount of time that dh and I did. They went on the weekend, and we went during the following week. They spent $1,000, and we spent $250. I do think they had a bigger room than we did, but our room was spacious and larger than a regular hotel room. We took food and snacks with us and fixed meals in the room. They ate at the hotel's restaurant and had room service.

I see no problem with splurging on a nice vacation if you have the money. Every time I see her she talks about how I need to teach her to save money. I figure other than the food and maybe the view of the pool we had the same vacation. I am not sure I would find the food and looking at a pool worth $750. I did not tell her how much I spent so I do not have her opinion. I know that I thoroughly enjoyed our trip and it was within our budget.

Continuing Saga of Paycheck Problem

September 21st, 2007 at 10:35 am

Dh found out today that his paycheck should be straightened out on the next pay cycle. It has been off by $150 for two paychecks. Other than being annoying as it throws off my budgeting, I guess I can be patient. My budget is offset though so we could technically miss one paycheck without being behind on any bills. Dh says this happens to other people, and I wonder about those who live paycheck to paycheck. I know this could create serious problems for them.

It just reiterates the need for an EF. Until a few months ago we never never had an actual EF. There was extra money but never really enough if there was an emergency. I am amazed that a few changes in thought and spending have allowed us to set aside money for yearly bills (property taxes, insurance, etc) and have an EF of $1000+. I am glad because these changes have allowed us to handle this paycheck mixup with no real financial problems.

Lost Art of Letter Writing

September 19th, 2007 at 02:35 pm

I was very close to a no spend day today but then I caved. Part of my spending was planned as it was for Christmas gifts on sale that had to be bought now or else pay more in a month. While I was ordering I decided to get some stationery supplies for myself.

One of my main hobbies is letter writing. I have friends scattered all over the world, and we keep in touch through letters. Yes, I know we could email for free, but I feel email cannot stand up next to a lovely, handwritten letter. I love getting mail from friends and seeing the colorful stationery and handwritten words. Just as much I enjoy sitting down to handwrite a letter on pretty paper, choosing a fun stamp, and dropping it into the mail on its way to my friend.

Emails tend to be quick notes about the more exciting highlights of life. Letters are more about rambling and sharing those little moments and events that while not earth-shattering are what life is truly about. Even though email is free and letters are costly (paper, envelopes, stamps), I still choose letters. I think personal finance is about choosing which areas are worth the extra money and which areas are for saving.

Behind on Blogging

September 18th, 2007 at 04:28 pm

I have fallen behind on blogging lately. Most of it is due to lack of time but part is due to laziness. Quick update on the debt. We were able to pay extra on both loans. Now I am wishing I had not paid quite as much. Dh's check was messed up for a second time. The payroll department cannot seem to figure out how to fix their mistake so this next check will be short. I have had to juggle the budget a bit, but I think we can handle it.

Some planned expenses ended up being more than expected. My dental visit was $37 instead of $17. I took our younger cat to the vet, which cost $90 rather than the expected $60. It seems the $60 will be for the visit in three weeks. I guess budgets only look perfect on paper.

I am going to get more serious about blogging again since that keeps me focused on saving.

Balancing the Budget & Other Stuff

September 11th, 2007 at 10:22 am

Whew! I have spent most of the morning figuring out the rest of the bills that have to be paid and how much can go toward debt. It actually made my head hurt a bit and I ended up walking away for a few minutes. I came back with a clearer head and got everything squared away.

Here is a quick rundown of financial happenings here since I have posted last. Dh's bonus came to $147 more than expected so with $3 I was able to return all the money to the EF. The electric bill was $120 or about $30 less budgeted. I have about $300 between dh's bonus and saved money to add to the debt. I will update the totals after everything posts to the loans.

Basically I expected to have little or no money to add toward the debt this month. Obviously I am thrilled with have $300 extra. It helps to keep me going especially when I am tempted to buy something I do not really need.

Today will be No Spend Day #6 for this month. I am well on my way toward my goal of 15 NS days. For me that is the key to saving money and paying off this debt. I have been tempted to check out some clothing sales, but I want to inventory my closet and see if I need anything. That will be better than just mindlessly buying clothing because it is on sale.

My next financial focus is going to be on the upcoming holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas). I hope to estimate how much we will need for the holidays so I know how much more I have to save up. I want to do all cash this year and absolutely no charging or dipping into savings.

I think that covers everything recently. I do want to get back to posting more regularly as that helps keep me motivated and gives me a sense of accountability. Unless some unexpected expense comes up this month things should end on a positive note.

Surprise Money

September 8th, 2007 at 01:38 pm

Dh got a bonus at work and it was more than he had expected. Actually it was almost $150 more or almost the amount we had to take out of the EF. Of course taxes had to be taken out (ugh). We should be able to put back the EF money and pay an extra $200 toward the loans. Yeah! Unfortunately they messed up his paycheck so I have to wait until Monday to find out just how much can go toward the debt.

I am thrilled to know that there is extra money this month as I was not expecting any. Sometimes life does not work out but other times it gives you a nice ray of sunshine.

September Goals

September 2nd, 2007 at 10:02 am

I have already said that I would like to have 15 no spend days this month. Yesterday was a no spend day and today will be as well so I have a good start. I want to get the loan totals under $7K. I also need to put $150 back into the emergency fund. I had to pull that out to cover doctor visits and two car batteries. That will cut back on the extra money going toward the debt. I also want to plan a date night for dh and myself. I think we have been cutting back a bit too much and need to get out of the house at least one evening.