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Archive for February, 2008

Upgraded

February 29th, 2008 at 04:41 pm

Last night I took the plunge and upgraded to Quicken 2008. I had been using the 2006 version. It's going to take me some time to get used to the newer version, but so far I really like it. I like to be able to access different pages through the tabs. Reports are easier to access.It has a sleeker look than the old version.

Yet Another Home Repair

February 28th, 2008 at 05:45 am


2 days ago the motor for our coal stove's exhaust fan seized up. So last night after work DH stopped by to pick up another. Almost $300 later we now have a functioning coal stove again without fear of a houseful of smoke.

I can't complain because it's the first repair we've had for the coal stove, unlike the pellet stove which we've fixed several times and doesn't heat nearly as well.

I'm really glad that we have a house repair fund! Still don't like to spend the money, but that's what it's there for.

Weight Loss Update

February 25th, 2008 at 06:03 pm


As of tonight, I have officially lost exactly (and I mean to the 10th of a pound!)......35 pounds!!! I needed to lose .6 this week to get there and that's exactly what I've lost. I have gone from a size 18W to a size 8/10, depending on the make of the pants. I still have 22 pounds to go to make it to my Weight Watchers goal, but I will get there, slowly but surely.

I've decided to switch from the Flex plan to the Core plan for the next 3 weeks to see if that jump starts my weight loss. It's really slowed down lately and I've read that many that switch from one plan to another seem to rev up their metabolism again.

So I sat down tonight and entered my emealz for the week into the Food Planner to see if this will work with the meals I've planned, and it does. I still have 11.5 weekly points left to use as I like for other meals. And I can earn more with the exercise I do.

So this will be a new phase of weight loss for me. I'll be learning to be more in tune with my body and it's hunger and fullness levels and eating accordingly from the list of Core foods and counting those that aren't on the Core list.

Getting a Little Nervous

February 21st, 2008 at 04:07 am


I'm getting a little nervous about only having $1000 in my emergency fund. I know the reason that Dave Ramsey recommends that amount is because most emergencies will be under $1000. But with the car repairs (if the insurance hadn't covered them) being over $500 just for struts, that's a little too close for comfort for me.

I also think he recommends the $1000 so that it will spur you on to getting baby step #2 (pay off debts) done faster. I just feel like we're not really making much headway there because there always seems to be something else coming up.

I would really like to save another $1000 just to have a higher comfort level, but then it would be putting off getting the mortgage paid off even longer.

Tax Return is Finished

February 20th, 2008 at 03:14 am


Last weekend I worked on ours and the 4 kids' taxes so that we can get our refunds back. Each of the kids, except DD#1 made out well and are getting quite a bit back. DD#1 owes more than her federal return will be because she worked in one state, but lives in another. They didn't withhold enough to cover her home state tax and didn't take her 1% wage tax out at all. Of all the kids, she's the one that needs money the most!

We aren't getting nearly as much back this year because we could only claim 2 of the kids for the credit and we aren't getting the Hope credit this year. But that's okay. That's the reason we changed DH's withholding, so that we got more money through the year. What we are getting back will most likely be saved for a new roof.

Good News for Once

February 15th, 2008 at 04:15 pm

I called and talked to the car repair shop today and my part is in and it IS the correct one this time. The claims adjustor from our car insurance company also came out and looked at the damaged parts today and they will cover both struts and the bent strut plate. Yippee!!! That's over a $500 savings for us! A huge relief.

Car Repairs

February 14th, 2008 at 05:59 am


I have had my Equinox to the shop at least 5 times over the past 3 weeks. It has a bad strut that they believe is a result of my accident several months ago. Well, each time I've taken it up and left it, the strut that they are going to put on it hasn't fit. After trying to force 2 of them to fit and ruining them in the process, they finally contacted the manufacturer. They had tried to make them universal so that they would fit either side. Someone wasn't thinking too clearly because the place where they fasten on is on the wrong side if you are trying to do the driver's side. So now they have recalled ALL of those struts!

The shop found one factory strut in a dealership near us, but the cost is over twice as much as after-market struts. They are trying to turn this into my car insurance and get it covered since they also found that the strut plate was bent and it's on the side that ended up in the ditch. So we are waiting to hear whether it will be covered or not. If not, it's going to cost us over $500 if they have to put the factory strut on! That's about what I have in the car repair budget, but that was being saved to get DH's paint job done on his truck that keeps getting put off.

Suze's Advice on Stimulus Package

February 11th, 2008 at 09:09 am


I have Suze Orman's Yahoo column listed on my homepage so that I can see whenever she writes a new article. Today's column is Stash it, Don't Cash It. She advises using that check the government is sending you to either pay off high interest credit card debt, build your emergency fund or put it in a long-term investment.

Glad to know that Suze approves my plan!

e-mealz

February 10th, 2008 at 02:29 pm


I am trying something new for our meal planning that should benefit my Weight Watchers lifestlye and our family time.

While listening to Dave Ramsey early mornings in the office, I've heard ads for e-mealz. I decided on Friday to check into it and see what it was all about. After reading through their website and looking at their sample menus and grocery lists, I decided to sign up for a 3 month subscription and give it a try.

I chose the Point-System meal plans since I'm following the Weight Watchers Flex plan. I then decided to get the menus for any grocery store. Our area has a Super Walmart coming soon, so I'll probably switch to that choice once it's open. The cost is $5 a month, but I was able to find a coupon code that gave me a $2.50 discount.

Once I registered, I had access to 2 weeks' worth of menus and grocery lists. I really like that there is a dinner menu for 7 days of the week. That is the hardest point of cooking for me, deciding what to make.

So tomorrow after work I'll be going grocery shopping and picking up the needed items to begin using the menus. I am anxious to see if I do save money as they claim, but even more anxious just to have a plan all laid out for me.

$8.00 in Change

February 8th, 2008 at 07:22 am


I still have my change box in which I collect any change I receive. That includes change back from purchases, any coins found around the house, and most important of all, my "pay" for doing laundry from those who aren't wise enough to empty their pockets.

I rolled change yesterday and came up with $8.00. That is being deposited today and will go as extra on the mortgage payment at the end of the month.

A Sense of Urgency

February 7th, 2008 at 01:10 pm


The past few weeks I have felt a sense of urgency to get out of debt that I have not felt before.

I have been working on it steadily for about a year and a half now, but the crisis in the housing market and other economic indicators have really gotten me focused on getting out of debt as soon as possible.

The more I observe what is going on around me and hear the horror stories of couples hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, the more thankful I am that our debt is only $65,000.

I really want to get the debt out of the way and get a fully funded emergency fund built up, just in case.

Helpful Personal Finance Calculator

February 6th, 2008 at 04:40 am


I found this personal finance calculator interesting this morning. According to it my budget is WAY off.

According to their percentage allotments, our housing & debt costs are fine. They recommend 30% and ours are at 24.34%.

Our insurance costs are slightly over what they should be. They recommend 4% and ours weigh in at 5.48%.

We are not saving near enough, which I expected since I'm throwing as much as I can toward the debt instead.

Our living expenses are really over the limit that they recommend. They say they should be at 26% of your income and ours come to 57.3%. I really don't see any way to cut those expenses. They are what they are and there's not much I can do about it. We need to heat our home, put gasoline in our cars so we can work and have money for prescriptions that we need.

All in all, it's a good tool to use to see how you measure up against the ideal budget and get a grasp on how you spend your money.

Little Expenses Add Up

February 4th, 2008 at 04:17 am


It seems to me that it's really not the big expenses that break my budget so much as it is the little ones that eat away at it bit by bit. This morning I had to write a check for DS#3's field trip for environmental science that he wants to go on. Only $25, but that's $25 that wasn't expected, so I have to take it out of the budget somewhere.

We've stopped paying the 2 youngest to do chores around the house because DH got tired of them not doing them correctly. So that money went back into the budget and I'm paying for the things, like this, that come up instead of them using their allowance. It's not often that they need money for things, so it's not a big deal. I'll account for it somewhere...

Getting Lost in Lost

February 2nd, 2008 at 01:15 pm


I've spent way too much time the past 2 days watching repeats of Lost. I had watched it when it first began but didn't see any of last year's episodes. I decided I wanted to get back into it again, especially when I saw that you can watch all of the previous episodes on-line for free.

So yesterday I began with the pilot episode and am making my way through season 1.

I figured this is a much cheaper way to do it than buying the DVDs for all 3 seasons!

What to Do?

February 1st, 2008 at 04:04 am


We got a notice in the mail yesterday that DS#2 has overdrawn his checking account for the 2nd time in 2 weeks. DH wants the account closed out immediately since my name is also on it. Needless to say, I am not too happy about it, either, but I don't know if closing it out is the correct thing to do.

DS#2 will be 18 next month. I don't know if he can have a checking account by himself before then or if he needs an adult to be on it. He needs to learn to handle his money, but I don't want it to be at my expense either. He has always been the type of kid that flies by the seat of his pants and just goes with the flow. A good thing for all the troubles he's had, but bad financially.

And it's not that he doesn't have the money...he just forgets to deposit his paychecks!

The only thing that he really uses the account for is the automatic withdrawals that the car insurance company makes every month. He pays cash for everything else, except the one check he wrote a few weeks ago and forgot to write down!

My first thought is to make him take the paycheck he just got yesterday and make the account current and then have him give me his paycheck every week and let me take care of it, but that's not teaching him anything. He'll be moving out in June and needs to know how to do things.

Ack!!! Kids!!!