Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Back in the Saddle

Wow!  What a few weeks it has been.  Some good, some bad.  I will keep this post brief but hope to explain some of what has been going on.

In mid-August my husband was in a car accident.  He’s OK, and that’s first and foremost, but it has been an interesting few weeks to say the least.  We just got his car back and all appears to be well.

However, in the resulting mayhem I resorted to using the credit card.  I just didn’t have them time or effort required to do budgeting, with the car accident, getting set up with a rental, back to school time, getting our daughter into a new daycare ($$$) and all the other stuff we had going on. It was just far easier to throw everything on the card.

We’re back on the wagon now, but it was a rough few weeks and now I am sitting here with $1500 on a credit card.  L

The good news is, we had been doing well with our E-fund prior to the end of August, so I have about $750 in there.  Since I am so gun-shy now about emergency savings, I think I am going to keep it in there, let it build up a little more, and then pay off the credit card balance all at once. It shouldn’t take too long. I am afraid to pull that money out; what if something else happens in the meantime and we need cash? 

I don’t love this plan, but I am more comfortable leaving the E fund in place and working off the CC balance than I am emptying the account.  Also, we’re doing well at purging our house and selling stuff, so I think we can earn enough extra to pay off the CC soon.

So that’s where we're at…in a nutshell. Sigh.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Spending Recap

Mon 8/1 - $40 gas
$11 Daughter's daycare activities

Tue 8/2 - NO SPEND

Wed 8/3 - $107 Groceries

Thur 8/4 $3.50 Fast Food Dinner

Fri 8/5 $10 Theme Park
$13 Snacks


Last week was an OK week, although I had hoped Thursday would be a no spend also.  I had to wait in town to meet my husband before going home, and the wait was longer than expected.  The kiddo got hungry, so we went though a drive thru. Oh well. Other than that I am pretty happy with our spending!  We also went to the theme park and it was awesome!  What a fun time - and inexpensive, too, since my work paid for admission.

This week is unexpectedly going to be a little more money than I want to spend, but we are going to go forth with plans.  Our daughter had a last-minute the opportunity to take a trip to some local attractions with her grandparents so we are going to send her, despite the fact it will be a little money out of pocket. We think that time will be valuable for her, since she doesn't get a lot of alone time with them.   Also, I have been invited to spend time with a friend out of town Friday for dinner and drinks, and since I rarely, if ever, have a time to go out without my child, I am going to take her up on the offer!  I will try to keep my expenditures to a minimum.

Not much else is going on, though we did have a chance to sell two items on Craigslist this weekend - hurray!  I had a buyer lined up for them in July but she backed out, so I was glad to get these items out of the house.  We made $80 on them.

Other than that I have been cleaning furiously and purging our house of unwanted items in preparation for a yard sale.  I have finished the top floor of the house, now I need to work on the 1st floor and then on to the dreaded basement.  I am in hopes to have a very successul sale.  It will likely be at the end of the month.

I guess that is it for now.  How goes it for you, blog friends?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Payday Wednesday Update

Greetings from the very warm North!

It’s payday again, which means money came in, and went out again in a hurry.  It’s OK though. Everything is under control.  We’ve been doing really well with spending lately!

I paid the bills and reduced our truck balance a bit, and added funds to savings.  It now stands at $379, up from $279.

Our focus recently has shifted a little bit.  I have been paying our normal bills and a little extra, but we have become very focused on our tenuous grasp on the concept of an E -fund.  It’s just something we have ALWAYS been challenged at.  So, as of right now we are working towards saving more rather than aggressively paying down debt.

At the same time, it’s disheartening to me because our balances are moving at a snail’s pace. I am not going to lie – at this payoff rate, we are not going to hit our payoff goal for the year, nor are we making any headway on our snowflakes.  I had thought I had some Craigslist sales of items around the house lined up for July, but they fell through.

We are preparing for a yard sale in two weeks, so I hope to do well on that and put away a significant chunk from that.  We have A LOT to sell.  And I know that we’re going to get where we’re going, but when I look at the big picture that goal seems so far away.

We’re trudging forth.  I know we’ll get there.  I’m just discouraged.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Spending Recap

Sunday 7/24 – Included in CASH vacation numbers

Monday 7/25 - $20 gas
$1 Snack

Tuesday 7/26 - NO SPEND

Wednesday 7/27 - $45 groceries
$30 gas

Thursday 7/28- NO SPEND

Friday 7/29 - NO SPEND

Saturday 7/30 - NO SPEND

I did much better this week – really, out of necessity!  Payday is Wednesday and I really need to keep a close eye on our expenditures until then.

This week we have a few things planned...today has been a spendy day, but I should be able to squeak in a few no spends prior to Friday.  We are headed to an amusement park that day, which my job is paying for admission – yeah!  We will pack a lunch, but I’ll bring a bit of cash for treats.

I will post again Wednesday for my usual payday update!  Until then….enjoy the heat!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Spending Recap - My Wallet Hates Me

Monday 7/12 - $15.50 Lunch with kiddo
$49 Home Depot - supplies to paint porch

Tuesday 7/13 - $5 State Park admission
Wednesday 7/14 - $9 Home Depot
$48 Wal-Mart

Thursday 7/15- $60 Gas
$150 ATM withdrawal

Weekend – Vacation! (Cash)

Ouch…this was another painful spending week for us.  Vacation was planned spending and we did well, but on the other hand, I had an unexpected trip out of town Thursday to help out my mom, who had an unplanned surgery.  Some expenses arose from that trip, but what can you do?  She’s my mom, after all.

I am happy to report that we had a fabulous and jam packed vacation week and I was so excited to see our daughter’s face when she tried some new things.  Probably boogie boarding was the coolest thing! What a fantastic week for us.

Back to reality….I am super low on funds until payday a week from Wednesday.  It’s going to be a low key week and I am going to need to work in several no-spends to make it work.  The husband and I are already planning some fun and free activities for the weekend. The good news is we are heading in to August and it’s a three paycheck month for me. Phew.

On the debt front, no new reductions, but I did add some money to our snowflakes and Efund.

Anyway – onward and upward.  I need to get a handle on spending STAT.  If I can do that, we are poised for an excellent end to July and start to August!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Spending Recap

I almost hate to post this...you'll see why.

Sunday 7/10:  $9 State park admission
$16.64 Snacks and drinks
Monday 7/11:  $8.45 Bargain books
$7.09 Food
Tuesday 7/12:  NO SPEND
Wednesday 7/13:  NO SPEND
Thursday 7/14:  $5 Daughter's lunch
$10 Gas
Friday 7/15:  $6.46 Lunch
$156 Groceries
Saturday 7/16: $31 Lunch for myself and a friend
$63 New sneakers
$40 Pedicure

Ouch...expensive week....and I'm not proud of my little binge on Saturday. On the other hand, I was happy to find running shoes at about half what I was planning on spending, which is what led to the other purchases.  And of course I paid cash!  I ran in my new sneaks yesterday and my knee felt MUCH better!

Onward and upward.  We're on vacation this week and I am very excited about that.  We don't have a lot going on this week - we might check out the children's museum and/or go to the beach, but those are inexpensive day trips (under $10 each.)  At the end of the week we are going to Ogunquit which has one of the most beautiful white sand beaches on Maine's coast.  We are staying overnight in a hotel with a friend and her two children. It should be fun!

I guess that's all for now.  Off to clean up the house a bit and then make plans with my little one.  We want to get a hummingbird feeder to hang up outdoors, and I also need to do the returnables.  Nothing too exciting, but it's beautiful out and I am NOT at work - I'll take it!

So long for now...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight

Here’s a little personal insight into my life:  I’m a klutz.

Yes, it’s true. If there’s any possible way that I can injure myself, I do it.  It’s that simple.

What does that have to do with this blog?

Recently, I recommitted to the 2011 goals I set for myself.  I am determined to succeed at not only my debt journey, but also the personal goals I outlined in January.

One of my longstanding goals was to lose weight and take better care of myself, and I had been doing okay up until the spring of this year when work and graduate school overtook me.

I should pause here for a minute and point out that my weight loss goal is about 20 pounds, total.  Of that I have already lost several.  I’m not obese or even close to it.  However, my weight in recent years has been a constant stressor for me because I know I am not at the weight where I look and feel my best.  I do realize that there are many, many people out there who are fighting battles much larger than mine. I am not trying to make it seem that I am facing an insurmountable goal, but it has been a long standing battle for me. ..one that I’m still fighting.

In March, I began to regain some of the weight I had lost and I was bummed about it.  I finally realized that my (almost!) 36 year old body can’t take the constant ups and downs I put it through, even if those fluctuations are only a few pounds in either direction. Also, I realized a 36 year old body doesn’t have the metabolism of a 20 year old’s, and diet was no longer enough to help me on my journey. So I decided to begin running.

Now, my job is one that requires some heavy lifting, so I have to say I’m fairly strong.  I thought running would be tough, but doable.  I had no idea what I was in for.

The first day I went out, I walked about a quarter mile to stretch and warm up and then broke into an easy trot.  Simple, right?

I made it about forty steps before I had to stop.  I was panting so hard I thought I would vomit.

WOW.  I seriously underestimated how out of shape I was.  Strong?  Yes.  Fit?  Absolutely not.

This went on for two miles – run a short distance, then walk to catch my breath, run, etc.  Lather. Rinse. Repeat. 

The next day I was so sore I wanted to cry, but I persisted and went again. And for the next three weeks, I went at least three times a week.  Until one day in late May when it all came crashing down- literally.  I was running on a quiet country road when I stumbled and felt a sharp pain in my knee.

I limped home, got ice and elevated my knee. The swelling came on quickly and by the next day my knee was twice its normal size.  I limped in to work and suffered silently.  I muddled through it for about three days until I finally couldn’t stand the pain any more.  What I thought was a pulled muscle or ligament was not getting better.

I made an appointment with an orthopedist who told me I tore my meniscus.  If you have never done this, pray that you never do…it’s brutal.

The ortho pointed out several treatment options, but leaned heavily on arthroscopic surgery to repair the tear.  Immediately terrified, I told her I would need some time to think about and that I would adopt a “wait and see” plan.

For three weeks, I stopped exercising, faithfully iced and heated my knee, kept it elevated at night, and took ibuprofen. Slowly but surely, my knee began to feel better.  Surgery?  Who needs surgery?  Some minor meniscus injuries heal themselves and mine seemed to be doing just that.

Once my knee was back to normal, I got back on the road again.  And of course since I hadn’t run in three weeks I had lost any progress I made.  Back to square one.  Starting over.  Down but not out.

Since then, I have been running faithfully at least four to five times a week.  And it’s become glaringly obvious to me that my knee is NOT healed.  Every time my right foots hits the ground I get a shooting pain in that knee.

Doggedly, I get out there, warm up and run.  Sometimes I can only make it half a mile before I have to stop.  Sometimes, like last night, I run okay – making it almost a mile before I had to take a rest and walk for a bit.

Two and half miles on a peaceful country road.  I’m finally getting in shape, the pounds are coming off, and I can make it a lot further without fighting for air.  It’s working!  I’m finally getting fit.

I wish I could say I enjoy it.  I will say it’s a beautiful run and I feel like my body is responding to exercise well.  Even though I sweat and gasp for air and say “Thank God it’s done!” when I’m finished.

Where does this leave me?  I need to make a decision.  I need new running shoes, which might alleviate some if not all of the intense pain I’m experiencing.  However, new running shoes just aren’t in the budget right now.

I also might need to make some changes to my schedule and alternate running days with walking days to try to heal my knee back up.  I hate to do it, because I will lose some of the ground I’ve gained.  But I really, really want to avoid knee surgery. 

I’m in a bit of a dilemma, you see.  And I don’t know what to do.

And that brings me full circle to this blog.  Why I am telling you all this?  Because I can’t afford to buy new running shoes right now.  Because I am determined to meet the goals I set forth in January.  And most importantly, because, like running, this debt reduction journey I am on doesn’t come easily to me. I’ve tried before, and failed. There are going to be some times when I fall.  It’s what happens after the fall that matters.

I’m a klutz.  I’ll stumble while running and lose the momentum I had, and I’ll stumble and lose ground on my debt journey.  But I’ll get back up.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Funday

Soooooo it's a beautiful day out and I wish I could rewind to the weekend!   We had an awesome time at a friend's house Saturday and at the beach and on the boat yesterday!

Here's a recap of last week's spending:

Sunday:  NO SPEND
Monday:  NO SPEND
Tuesday:  $6 lunch
Wednesday: $6 lunch
Thursday:  $40 gas
$89.72 groceries
Friday: $137.30 dentist (ouch! Will be reimbursed by FSA on 7/15.)
Saturday:  NO  SPEND

Hmm, funny, when I grocery shop I don't need to buy lunch out....odd how that works.

I don't have much else to report except that I'm working diligently on extra income - stay tuned! I hope to have good news to report by the end of the week.

Until then,

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Payday Wednesday Update!

It’s that time of the week again….

and as usual….

….the money came in, and the money went out.

The beginning of the month is always difficult since most of our paychecks are consumed with bills.  We tend to be very bill-heavy at the start of each month.  Our next paychecks give us a little more wiggle room to pay down things.

That being said, I did manage to pay a little on the truck loan, bringing the balance down from $6610 to $6541.  We added $76 to savings ($50 for the regular deposit, $10 additional deposit and a $16 snowflake from an Ebay sale.)

Hopefully, we will gain some momentum at the end of this month since we have more cash to play with.  We do have a couple day trips planned, though, so I will need to watch spending very closely.

On another note I have decided to open an electronic savings with ING to help keep our EF intact.

I guess that’s it…no big news.  This week I’m focusing on fun stuff we are enjoying this summer.
The view from our back deck...

Our new rosebush.

Caterpillar habitats have been made!

Pedicures with my girl...my graduation treat.  :)

Until next time,

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Electric Orange with ING

Hi all!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend!  Tomorrow I will do my 'Payday Update' post, but I have a quick question in the meantime - does anyone have the Electric Orange checking account with ING?  I have a savings account with them and have been toying with the idea of opening a checking.  They currently are offering a $50 account bonus for doing so.  I was thinking of using this account for my emergency fund since I am having a hard time keeping that balance steady.  Any thoughts?  Does anyone have any experience (positive or negative) that they would like to share?

Thanks friends!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

As the Money Stands

So here's where I am today:

Current debts we're working on total $7753, a difference of $495 since I last posted.  Not great, but not bad either. 

Things are going well here.  I am happy to report that after a HUGE and difficult trimester, I have finished grad school!  YEAH!  I am awaiting my grade for my last class but have no reason to believe it will be below a B. Which means in about two weeks I should have my MBA!  Wooooo hooo!

I updated my sidebars --------> to reflect current amounts, and will recap my yearly goals below.

1. Establish a $1000 E-fund. Grade:  F  Once again we have raided the E-fund.  Can someone please give me some pointers on maintaining this account?  So frustrating!
2. Eliminate $8,800 in debt.  Grade: C.   So far this year, we have eliminated $3,240 or $540 a month. At this rate we will not meet our goal! We must get back up around $750 a month to get there.

3. Graduate from college (again.) Grade: A. It's gonna happen, in about 2 weeks!
4. Continue to lose weight.   Grade: B-.  I have stalled at around 11 pounds lost.  I seem to have hit  a plateau despite working hard, exercising and tracking caloric intake.  The scale's not moving, but it isn't due to lack of effort on my part!
5. Find a way to make $80 in snowflakes per month. Grade: D. I haven't even tried lately.  I am planning a yard sale and some Craigslist sales, so this number will move next month.
6. Be a better wife and mom. Grade: A-.  Summer in Maine is SO much easier to plan activities.  The kiddo and I have done the beach, pedicures, played games, taken walks, etc.  For family activities we have done a lot of boating and fishing.  We have a full calendar planned this weekend, too. And much more to come!  I love summer in Maine.
7. Spend some time improving myself:
a. Go see the dentist regularly. Grade: A!  I found a new dentist and she's wonderful. So far I have done my initial consultation and had a broken tooth fixed (love my FSA!) and I have another appointment next week for a cleaning.

b. Go have my eyes checked (it’s been 5 years!)
Grade: F …Didn’t even try to schedule it.

c. Spend a little more time and money on my appearance. Grade: A+ Maybe I did TOO well on this one? I was given some cash for graduation and I decided to spend it on clothes and shoes. I haven't done that in a long time! It felt good, but I could have spent it on bills...so I do feel a bit guilty. (But I look really pretty!)

d. Visit the chiropractor at least 7 times. Grade: A  I've been twice and have an appointment next week.

e. Exercise at least twice a week.  Grade: A. I've been running!  And I like it.  I partially tore my meniscus a few weeks ago and had to take some time off to heal it.  I have been back at it about 8 days and have run three times in that period.

So that's the scoop. Things are going pretty well and I feel confident we will regain some momentum on our financial goals.  I'll check back soon....until then, rock on, PF bloggers. Reading your words is inspiring!

Still plugging away...

I have made some progress on some goals, and done not-so-hot on others.  But I am still here, and still working. I will write more later and will also update my sidebars.  Thanks for sticking with me, blog friends.  Life has kept me away but I haven't abandoned the cause, and keeping up with all of you helps motivate me!

Until then,

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Recapping March

At the beginning of the year I vowed to track my progress on my resolutions monthly.  Well, I didn’t do so well, as my blog indicates. I was absent for a long time. I’ll recap March here, but really this is a recap of the first three months of the year. I did great in some areas and not do great in others. What can I say….I’m a work in progress.

1. Establish a $1000 E-fund. Grade:  F  See above…we’ve emptied it twice in the past three months. It was needed, but gosh does it sting to see that money go away. L

2. Eliminate $8,800 in debt. Grade: A.   So far this year, we have eliminated $2,243 or $747 a month. This puts us on track to meet our goal by the end of the year!

3. Graduate from college (again.) Grade: A -….As in, I passed my two hellish grad courses this past term with A minuses. J I just began my last class, but I think compared to last term it will be much easier and less time consuming.

4. Continue to lose weight. Grade: C …I have stalled at around 11 pounds lost.  I need to get back to it!

5. Find a way to make $80 in snowflakes per month.
Grade: D…I did return bottles last month but that was only $44 and I don’t think I did anything at all in EBay sales.

6. Be a better wife and mom. Grade: C…I started off the year doing well, then began the grad school term from hell and completely slacked off. This past weekend I did do some mommy-daughter time, but I need to devote a little more attention to my husband and also to doing things as a FAMILY.

7. Spend some time improving myself:

a. Go see the dentist regularly. Grade: B:  I found a new dentist in my area, but could not get in until 4/29.

b. Go have my eyes checked (it’s been 5 years!) Grade: F …Didn’t even try to schedule it.

c. Spend a little more time and money on my appearance. Grade: B+   I spent some time at the salon and also bought a few new clothing items at steep discounts.  Amazing how looking better can make you feel better…

d. Visit the chiropractor at least 7 times. Grade: F  Haven’t even called!

e. Exercise at least twice a week.  Grade: D …Again I began strong and then slacked off.

I’ll keep it at it. I know I can do a better job on these goals! How are YOU all doing with your 2011 resolutions?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Payday Wednesday Update - Been a Long Time!

Hello my friends! Long time no talk.  I hope everyone out there in blog world is doing well.

A lot has happened since my last post…mostly good, but some not-so good things too. But I survived!

Where am I today?  I’ve made a few decisions about the blog.  I got a little overwhelmed these past couple of months, between grad school, home, my regular job and the financial goals.  Now that my workload has eased a bit I have had a little time to ruminate on our financial progress.

I’ve decided to keep working at it and keep the new years’ resolutions I put forth as is.  But I gotta tell you, seeing the number at the bottom of my sidebar saying six figures’ worth of non-house debt….bums me out.  It’s really, really hard when we are trying to make those numbers move and not seeing any progress. 

So what I am going to do is this:  I will continue to track total our total debt in my spreadsheets, but for blog purposes, we’re going to break our debts down a  little further and focus on some specific targets here.  I think this will help us stay on task as we tackle each individual bill, and not overwhelm us with that giant “overall” figure.

So I am off to update the sidebars and hopefully that will keep us a little more motivated and on-task.

Financially, we’re doing well, having eliminated our VERY LAST medical bill and having made some small progress on other fronts.

I continue to do well on my other resolutions as well.

That’s about it! 
Until next time,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Payday Wednesday Update (a day early!)

Well my friends I am back after a long absence! I hope you are all doing well.

As it happens every year I started off with a bang on my goals and then hit a couple of bumps in the road...detoured a little...and finally this past week managed to steer myself right back onto the path. I won't go into details or give excuses...life happens...I'm over it. Don't worry. I didn't charge up my credit cards or gain thirty pounds or anything. I just had....a hiccup.

So, I'll update the sidebars with our most current numbers and go on my merry way. I have lots of reading to do from my favorite bloggers!  Grad school has kept me so busy lately that I haven't read, let alone posted anything.  My apologies, blog friends.

Have a great day!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Recapping the Week

So I didn't do as well this week with my spending, but what a week it was!  I spent 40 hours on the job and about 20 doing homework and going to class. So here goes

Monday - $33.00 - OTC meds (~$28 reimbursed by FSA today)
Tuesday - $1.31 Snack
$25.00 Gas
Wednesday - $2.73 Postage for Ebay Sales
Thursday - NO SPEND!
Friday - $.40 Food
1.58 Treat for the little one
$300 Cash withdrawal

Definitely an expensinve week, but I knew it would be. The $300 will be spent for the weekend but I will just count  it all in this week and start fresh on Sunday!

Have a great weekend all. We depart for our mimi-getaway early in the morning!

P.S. I'm doing great on my weight loss resolution! I am down another 1.6 pounds with about 8 to go to goal!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tracking Spending - Week 1

Sunday, 1/16 - NO SPEND
Monday, 1/17 - NO SPEND
Tuesday, 1/18 - NO SPEND
Wednesday, 1/19 - NO SPEND
Thursday, 1/20 -
$25.00 - Pediatrician co-pay (will be reimbursed 1/28 by FSA)
$12.00 Library fine and fundraiser donation
$16.68 Cat Food
Friday, 1/21 - NO SPEND
Saturday, 1/22 - NO SPEND

I'm not leaving the house today because it's SUPER cold out, so we'll be staying in, watching movies and doing housework. Therefore, today will be a no spend too. I'm happy with my expenditures for the week because we have an expensive weekend coming up. I can't wait for our getaway!

On another note, I am down another 1.6 lbs from my last weigh in! My goal weight is only 9.8 pounds away  now.  That makes me very happy.

I hope you're all having a fabulous weekend. I am off to check my Ebay auctions and then start a spaghetti sauce for dinner.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Reflecting on Recent Credit Card Use

I've been thinking a lot about our recent decision to charge and immediately pay off Christmas simply for the "easiness" factor. While I am very proud of the fact that we stuck to our holiday budget and immediately paid the bill, it's what happened after that I find frightening.

For a couple of weeks after Christmas, just because I was traveling and such, the credit card stayed in my wallet. I just kept forgetting to take it back downstairs and put it in the safe. I even used it a couple of times, on purpose, and then immediately paid the bill - just to see how it felt.

Then one day I was headed to the store and realized I couldn't find my debit card. I didn't have any cash, either.

A little voice in my head said, "Just throw it on the credit card and worry about it later."

Now, it was late, I was in a hurry, and I was trying to get home ASAP on a crappy, dark, and cold night. But that thought put the fear of God in me. What was I thinking?

I took a few minutes to rummage through my purse, located the debit card in my "other" wallet, and only then did I pull in to the store.

Phew. That was a close one.

When I got home, I took my credit card out of my wallet. Immediately.

You see, while we DID use the card responsibly, and we DID pay off the charges right away, I was definitely tempted not to. Which leads me to believe that I am not ready to use credit cards in the manner they are to be used.

Maybe I never will be?

I don't know. But this was an eye-opening experience, for sure.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January 2010 vs. January 2011

I've always been a spreadsheet geek and have maintained an Excel file for all our debts and assets for several years - even when we were still debting, I tracked it in Excel. After posting earlier, I thought to myself, I wonder what kind of start our year was off to in 2010?

So, just for fun, I pulled up our January spreadsheet from last year:

  • We had $3,847 MORE in medical and credit card debt
  • We had $4 in our savings account (eeek!)
  • We had $16,190 LESS in our retirement accounts
I'm sure our car loans were considerably higher too, but I wasn't tracking those then, for some reason.

Wow!  Now, granted, we paid some things off and added some new debt in those 12 months, particularly in the medical category, but this just floored me.

And then I got to thinking: maybe I should re-examine our retirement contributions right now. While I sure do love the matching funds our companies provide, I would really like to have that kind of money to pay towards our debt!

This isn't the first time this has crossed my mind. Your thoughts?

Payday Wednesday Update

It’s payday and that makes me a very happy girl, even though my funds are already spoken for.  I paid the bills and updated the sidebars over there --- >
Not much debt reduction was done this time around since I had a couple of planned expenses I knew we had to cover. I budgeted those out of cash flow from this check:
·         Truck registration:  $300 (haven’t done it yet, but it will be somewhere between $285 and $310)
·         Husband’s 40th birthday mini-getaway:  $240
I’m a bit bummed that these expenses are falling in January, because that would be a nice chunk toward our debt. But, I have to remind myself that one of my 2011 goals had nothing to do with debt repayment, and that was to spend more time alone with my husband. So, I consider this a good thing, even though I could have paid that towards our last medical bill.
Back to money:  one of our 2011 goals is to pay off $8,800 in debt this year.  Our grand total to date is…..
….wait for it…..

$365.  L
We have a long way to go, but we’ll get there. As a comparison, we have paid off $1,607 in debt since we began tracking on 11/1/10:
November, December and January:  $1607 or $536/month.
Sigh. It seems insurmountable, but we’re determined. And at least the numbers are going in the right direction!
I’m making progress on some of my other resolutions, also. More on that in a later post.
Until then,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tracking No Spend Days

So, I've always loved saving money and have made an effort to spend as little as possible throughout the week. But I have never actually tracked no spend days. Since I have been so inspired by Sharon's no-spend February plan, I'm going to write down my spend free days for the rest of the month. Thanks Sharon for motivating me to do this!

Sunday, 1/16/11 -  NO SPEND!
Monday, 1/17/11 - NO SPEND!
Today, 1/18/11 -    NO SPEND!

Until tomorrow,

Monday, January 17, 2011

Weight Loss Update!

I almost forgot! My Biggest Loser contest is going well.  I have lost four pounds since 1/3/11.  I celebrated by buying myself a couple of new tops, a pair of work pants and a necklace - all on gift cards from Christmas, so it didn't cost me anything. The other participants in our contest are doing well, too, so I don't know if I am going to win or not, but it's fun to lose weight while enjoying a little friendly competition.  :)

Since one of my New Year's resolutions was weight loss, I'm happy with my progress so far. How are YOU doing on your 2011 goals?  I hope the answer is  GREAT!  

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Not much to report

Sorry I haven't posted much lately.  There really isn't much to say.  I've begun grad classes again so on top pf my 40+ hours at work, I'm also in the classroom two nights a week for 3.5 hours each  night. So that is keeping me pretty busy.

On the finances side, I will update our progress on Wednesday  when I get paid. Our numbers are moving slowly. We have decided to do a mini-getaway at the end of the month to celebrate my husband's 40th birthday, so we are setting aside a little cash for that, and that will slow our numbers' descent a bit. I'm excited though - it's the first time in years we have planned something with two of our best friends and their spouses and we will all be kid-free!

Nothing much else to report. It's cold, we got a ton of snow last week, and our daughter caught a tummy bug yesterday, so we're laying low this weekend.

I hope you are all having a great weekend! See you Wednesday!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011 Resolutions

1. Establish a $1000 E-fund. And keep it above that amount…see earlier post.
2. Eliminate $8,800 in debt. This includes our medical and credit card debt, and would bring the truck loan balance down under $3,000.
3. Graduate from college (again.) Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I'll have my master's in June.
4.  Continue to lose weight. Goal is 15 more pounds.
5.  Find a way to make $80 in snowflakes per month. I upped this from $50 because we really need more momentum on our finances.
6. Be a better wife and mom. I know all moms struggle with this, but I seem to be spreading myself exceptionally thin between my job and grad school.  I want to make more time to go out with my husband - alone J - and also do more fun activities with our daughter.
7. Spend some time improving myself.  There are things I used to do which I don’t do anymore – I gave them up when we faced financial struggles and I never went back. Sadly, a number of those items directly affected my health and well-being. This year I vow to:
a. Go see the dentist regularly
b. Go have my eyes checked (it’s been 5 years!)
c. Spend a little more time and money on my appearance
d. Visit the chiropractor at least 7 times (helps me with migraines)
e. Exercise at least twice a week.
During open enrollment in December, I changed my withholding amounts for my FSA to cover most of these needs if not all.  I had to do some guesswork but I feel confident that I allocated well, so these items should not after-tax budget figures I use much.

So….there we go. I will do a check-in once a month at the end of the month to document my progress on these resolutions.

Well, that didn’t take long….aka Murphy comes to call

The title of my post every other Wednesday is usually “Payday Wednesday  Update,” but this week Murphy decided to visit, and that coincided with my normal payday update.
So, an unexpected car repair went into today’s bills, and the bottom line is our E-fund shrank instead of grew. I am beyond frustrated.  I managed to cash flow some of it, but had to tap savings for the rest.
It seems like any time I begin making any real headway on growing the E-fund *something* happens.  I managed to pay all our other bills and got a slight reduction in our overall debt, but the E-fund took a hit. I am beginning to think the only way it will ever be at a respectable level is if we come across an unexpected cash windfall. 
Now, I know that the purpose of an E-fund is for things like this, but it’s still extremely disheartening to never have more than a few hundred dollars at our immediate disposal. It doesn’t give us much in the way of peace of mind.  I’d like to think that I could pick up a part-time job to grow it, but I don’t see how that’s possible since I work full-time and go to grad school full-time. And my husband works full-time, then watches our daughter while I work and go to school, so that really limits his availability, too.
I guess I am going to have to find a creative way to make some extra income beyond the few snowflakes we have added through selling stuff.  ???
Anyway, I’ll update the sidebars, pitiful as they may be. And I still need to re-do our 2011 goals and get those up.  I will cover that in a seperate post.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 is here!

Hi all! Sorry for the long absence. I have been traveling for the holidays.

I don't have much to report on the PF front other than I went over budget in the last 6 days of the month. I would say I am sorry for it, but I actually got some great deals and put away some things for next Christmas, so I'm OK with it. I have the money in this week's paycheck to put back what I took out of savings for my purchases. I'll update our numbers on Wednesday as I normally do.

On another note, I will redo my 2011 goals and post them Wednesday also - maybe sooner if I get to it.  I made a step in the right direction for one of the goals which was to continue to lose weight. I have gained back about 5 of what I had lost, so I need to lose about 14 pounds total. My friends and I are doing a Biggest Loser competition and I am stoked! I actually (gasp!) got on a scale today in front of five people - two of them being men. That was painful but it's what I need to do to be accountable, so I am doing it!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. I know I did, and I feel so happy about this year and what's in store for us.

See you soon-