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Long Overdue Update

January 1st, 2009 at 04:17 pm


Wow, has it been a long time since I've written on this blog! Lots of changes for us in the past 7 months.

DS#1 is in his last semester of college. He is pursuing an art degree. DD#1 is taking a semester off of college and working to save money. DS#2 graduated high school and is now in paramedic school. He's working as an EMT and loves it. DS#3 is a junior in high school and working on getting his driver's license. DD#2 is in the 8th grade and is growing up way too fast!

DH and I are going through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. We bought the home kit and just finished the Dumping Debt lesson. We are no longer using credit cards. We should have mortgage #1 paid off this year and the car paid off next year. DH is really getting into it now that he sees it's not boring and it does work.

Our 24th anniversary is this Sunday. We celebrated by buying Walmart's cheapest DVD player ($30) because the Playstation 2 that we'd been using will not play the newer DVDs. We'll go out for dinner on Sunday and use gift cards that we received for Christmas.

I completed 2 more semesters towards my accounting degree. I have 6 more to go. This past semester I took 2 classes instead of just a single and it really worked out well so I'm doing the same this semester.

I have also met my weight goal with Weight Watchers in June and became a Lifetime member in July. Soon after I began working for them as a receptionist. I normally work one meeting a week, but sometimes substitute for others an manage to earn a bit more money. I really enjoy helping other people meet their weight goals.

All in all, 2008 was a pretty good year for our family. I'm hoping 2009 brings a lot of financial advances for us as we strive to pay off the debt.

Discover Open Road Card

January 25th, 2008 at 06:07 pm


Last month I applied and was accepted for the Discover Open Road Card. I had been using my Chase Rewards Card and getting 3% cash back on my purchases. The Discover card gives me 5% cash back so I decided to do that. If I have to pay over $3.00 a gallon on gasoline I might as well get back every penny I can.

I pay the balance of our credit cards off each month, so I'm not spending any money on CC fees. Any money I get back on these cards will be going to pay off the mortgage.

Got DH a Chase Freedom Card

June 5th, 2007 at 04:55 pm


I sent off for a Chase Freedom card for DH. He's been using cash for his gasoline, but we decided that as much gas as his truck takes, we'd be better off getting the 3% cash back on it. Also, the money that we use to pay the Chase Freedom card will be sitting in our Electric Orange checking account earning interest all month rather than in his wallet.

So with both of us using the card to buy gasoline and groceries and almost all of our utilities charged to it, we ought to be earning some money back a few times a year.

Credit Card Debt Wiped Out!

May 1st, 2007 at 03:35 am


It is official: our credit card debt is gone as of today!!!

I paid the remaining $208.85 on the Discover Card this morning. We are credit card debt free!!!!

There is light at the end of the tunnel...

Catching Up

April 28th, 2007 at 04:13 am


It's been a while since I've been here. Life just seems to not want to give us a break.

DS#2 had another seizure on Tuesday. This time there was no doubt it was a seizure so he has lost his driver's license for at least 6 months. They did another EEG on Wednesday and found seizure activity on both sides of the brain. He goes for blood tests on the 3rd to test his Depakote levels and then we will have a follow-up with the doctor before DS#2 leaves to work at camp for the summer.

I had hope that with all the car accidents we had there for a while that that would be the last punch that life threw us for a while and we could relax. Guess not!

Let's see...financial side of life is going okay. I had to draw out $500 from our EF so that I can pay my insurance deductible on the car, so that's back down to practically nothing. But on the bright side the last Discover Card payment will be made in a couple of weeks. Then I'll snowball that payment to my car payment.

I am very close to goal #3 of having our overall debt below $70,000 this year so that's encouraging.

DD#1 is done with her 2nd semester of college. She will begin doing data processing for the summer for a local company in a couple of weeks. DS#1 finishes his semester in a couple of weeks and is coming home and hopefully can get his job back at the grocery store.

Progress

April 13th, 2007 at 03:12 am


Now that the Discover Card balance is down to $208.85 I'm scrounging around for every penny I can to get it paid off ASAP. Today I am depositing $5.50 of pennies and dimes to add to the payment. I can't wait to have no credit card debt! Because of the Easter weekend there was no overtime money in DH's paycheck to put toward the payment this week.

I am still using my parents' car since mine is at the body shop awaiting parts. There was a delay with the insurance so no work has begun on it yet. I hope to have it back in 2 weeks. Our EF will take a $500 hit when the car is done, but I keep telling myself that's why we have an emergency fund.

My Chase Freedom card is working well for me. I've earned over $70 in cash-back rewards since I opened it in November. I just started having our utilities billed to it each month, so that should start racking up some points. I'm goint to wait until I reach $200 to redeem them so that I get the extra $250.

Pay Off Mortgage or Car First?

April 9th, 2007 at 04:00 pm


Now that the credit card payoff is within sight I need to decide which loan I'm snowballing next. Should it be mortgage #1 or the car loan?

I have gone back and forth on this decision, but I'm leaning toward the car loan right now.

The mortgage has a higher interest rate than the car loan and has a lower balance. If I were to snowball into that loan it could be paid off in 2008.

But my thinking is that the car loan is for something that depreciates quickly and if we were to have to get another car and this loan were not paid off we'd be rolling a lot of money onto another loan.

What would you guys do?

Money in the Mail!

April 7th, 2007 at 09:28 am


We hit the jackpot today when we got our mail! Our long-awaited state tax refund was there AND DH's check from Prudential for the cash value on his whole life insurance! So totally we had $6252.09 in our mailbox! A nice little sum, indeed.

I got right to work and started assigning each dollar a job. It really wasn't that hard though. The $901 from the state is being held to pay for DS#2's replacement car this week. He'll reimburse us when the check for his totalled car comes in the mail. The rest of the money went to pay the Discover Card almost off. There is $208.85 left to pay on that and then that debt can be retired. Woo hoo!!!

A very good mail day.

Surrender Papers

March 30th, 2007 at 04:09 am

DH called Prudential last night to have them send him the surrender papers for his whole life insurance. Of course, they were not happy and gave him a hard time about it. He finally told them that they might as well not waste their time going through all the numbers, just to send the papers. So I should be getting a fax at the library today and hopefully we'll be able to fax them back tomorrow. Hopefully the cash value check will arrive within the next month. Soon the Discover card will be paid off!

Received Confirmation Letter

March 23rd, 2007 at 05:32 pm

We received a letter today confirming that Zander received our payment for DH's term insurance, that it is now in effect, and that we can now begin the process of cashing in his whole life policy. Yeah! The cash value on his policy is over $4600. That will take a big chunk out of what we owe on the Discover card!

Luggage Purchase

March 22nd, 2007 at 04:02 am


Bon Ton was having a sale at the beginning of the week on luggage. Prices were 50% off and if you opened a credit account you got an additional 20% off.

DH and I needed luggage for our trip to Mississippi this fall so we took the opportunity to get the luggage now. I applied for the credit, charged the purchase, and then immediately wrote a check to pay the balance. What started out as $200 luggage ended up costing less than $80.

I never shop at Bon Ton and only went this time because DH noticed the ad in the paper so this card will be collecting dust.

DH's Term Insurance

March 9th, 2007 at 03:12 am

We got notification that DH was approved for his term insurance. They say the final contract will be sent in the mail. After all the paperwork is done and we know the coverage is in effect we will cash in his whole life insurance. The cash value on that is almost enough to pay off the Discover card. We had agreed, way back when we started all this, that if we could get term insurance we would use the money from the whole life to pay on the CC.

It feels good to know that soon these debts are going to take a big hit and we'll see the numbers reduced by quite a bit.

Tax Refund

February 26th, 2007 at 03:12 am



I did our taxes last week and despite our changing our number of exemptions last year, we are getting a huge amount back from the government. It is mainly because of the 2 college kids.

So now we are trying to decide what to do with the money. I know that most here would automatically say to pay off the Discover card. I would love to do that, but we also have a house that needs some major renovations. We've been doing a bit here and there a little at a time but it's not making much of a difference. We still have no heat in the kitchen and several days this winter have gone out to find the cat's water frozen! Garage and porch need a new roof, one bedroom is still bare bones (sheetrock, plywood floor, no ceiling, etc.)

One thing we are going to do is finish paying off DH's truck loan. Some of the money we want to put aside for the college kids so that we can help them out when they have a need and no resources to meet the need.

Endless possibilities, but what is wisest?

Bank of America Paid

February 4th, 2007 at 01:55 pm


I just made the payoff on the balance of our Bank of America credit card. This is the one that I transferred the balance to the new Discover Card so that it was interest free for a year. It wasn't much but it feels like an accomplishment to me.

Extra $7.22 to throw at CC Debt a Month!

January 6th, 2007 at 05:42 am


We got our new payment statement for mortgage #1 in the mail yesterday. I took a deep breath and braced myself for what was inside. This is the account that our insurance and taxes are escrowed. We know that our county taxes are going up 14% and that school taxes are increasing 17% so I was sure the payment was going to jump by quite an appreciable amount. Instead the amount came down $7.22. I guess we won't see the effects until next year, maybe.

So I quickly adjusted the budget to add that $7.22 to the credit card payment each month. Not a lot, but it will sure help!

Discover Card

December 30th, 2006 at 05:17 am


I applied and was accepted for a Discover card yesterday. I decided to transfer the balance of CC#2 to the card since it is offered at 0% interest until January 2008. The BOA card we have now is charging interest so I figured any little bit I can save is worth it.

We've never had a Discover card before so I don't know how many places around here take them, but that will be okay because hopefully we won't be using it anyway.

$138 Credit Card Correction

December 27th, 2006 at 03:50 pm


We got a letter in the mail yesterday that our credit card was being credited for $138! It turns out that they charged us transfer fees when we first got the card in July. I had just assumed that I'd missed the "fine print" that said that we would be charged and was not happy with myself that I'd cost us more money. So this was very good news, especially right after Christmas!

A Goal Reached! Can It Be Maintained?

December 16th, 2006 at 06:05 pm


I don't remember if I listed it here, but one of my wishes for 2006 was to finish the year with under $80,000 in debts. I made a payment to CC#2 tonight that puts us JUST under! Now to maintain (or lower) that balance.

Spending 12/8/06

December 9th, 2006 at 02:28 am

Valu= $41.17 DH bought smoke alarms and assorted things for the house
Home Depot= $165.77 DH bought tile to put down so he can bring the coal stove into the kitchen addition (kitchen has been staying at about 50 degrees. Brr!!)
BJs= $119.01 for groceries

Total= $325.95

New Debt Reduction Plan

December 5th, 2006 at 01:52 pm



I got home to find DH's profit sharing check on the computer desk ready for me to work my magic. LOL!

So CC#1 is paid off! I put aside $200 for new glasses for the 3 that I know are going to need them this month. And some of it is going to my librarian friend.

After doing this I reran my Quicken Debt Reduction Planner. These are the results:

Debt-Free Date= 8/2013 (includes mortgages)
Interest Paid= $21,589.18
Interest Saved= $42,689.17

This goal is without any extra payments on the debts. You know I'm going to pay any extra that I can manage!

I'm really motivated now to get down to business!

Oh, and woo-hoo! Change box got over $10 today!

Bye, Bye CC#1!

December 5th, 2006 at 03:03 am



CC #1 will be paid off tonight! Cheers! Celebration! LOL!

DH gets his profit sharing check tonight so I will be scheduling the payment to pay it off. From here on it will only be used for DD#2's flute payments because they are automatically billed to it each month. The flute is almost paid off so that won't be for long, then I am closing the card since it's the Chase card that is starting to charge interest from the day the charge is made.

DS#1 emailed with more info about the attempted bombing at his school. He had just left the building. 2 students decided to throw potting soil and various other available at home products into an oven to make a homemade bomb. They also poured hot wax down the sink while running cold water in order to solidify it within the pipes. They had also stolen a plasma tv from a building that has been closed on campus and smashed it everywhere. Nice, huh?

I'm a Thief!

November 15th, 2006 at 03:25 am



I did remember to use my new cash back card when I got gas yesterday. I see when I got home though that they didn't charge me for the Coke I bought, so I need to tell the owner that when I go back in again. I know he saw I had it, must have just forgot to add it to the bill. I had mentioned to him that I had just activated the card, so I hoped it worked. He told me he wasn't worried because he knows where I live (one block away). Ha, ha. So when I sat down to enter things in Quicken last night I had to chuckle that I had inadvertently "shoplifted" the Coke.

Large Coke

November 13th, 2006 at 03:42 pm



My spending today amounted to $1.58 for a large Coke at McDonald's on my way to work. I woke up with a sore stomach and knew the Coke would make it feel better. The 2 cents of the change went into the cash box and the rest of it into the console in the car so I have change for parking meters.

My Chase Freedom card arrived today. I was hoping it would because I need to fill the car up tomorrow and wanted to begin using it. I will continue to put aside the money for gas and groceries just like I always do and then just pay the balance each month. I'm anxious to see how long it takes to earn the cash back. I plan on letting it build to $200 to get the extra $50.

Saturday Spending: 11/11/06

November 12th, 2006 at 04:52 am

$34.88 at Dollar General for deoderant, cologne, milk, etc.

$298.98 for car payment

$29.95 on CC#1 for registry cleaner program

Added $963.72 to the CC

November 10th, 2006 at 03:34 pm



Don't panic! It will be paid next week. LOL!

DS#1 emailed that he owed that amount on his college tuition and couldn't do his scheduling on Monday if it wasn't paid by then. He hasn't gotten paid for his job on campus all semester because he's been slow about getting his direct deposit set up. So next week he'll be getting over $1,000. So I called the university and put the payment on our CC and he'll pay us back next week and I'll make the payment immediately.

I put it on the Amazon awards card so hopefully we'll at least get a $25 gift certificate to Amazon out of it along with the Christmas presents that have been purchased (and paid off) on it. This gift certificate is DH's to spend.

Broken Thumb

November 4th, 2006 at 04:34 am



No, not me, my son's, and actually it was over a year ago that it was broken. That's how long it's taken my to pay off what the insurance didn't cover. But when my husband gets his paycheck next week, that bill will be paid in full. Finally!

I've been thinking about what my financial goals are going to be for next year. By the time January 2007 rolls around I should have the small CC paid off with what's left of my husband's profit share check he'll get early next month. So I'll be concentrating mainly on the other CC for the year.

My plans for the profit share check are:

- tithe
- get EF up to $1,000
- will probably have to use some to finish paying for tires for my car
- remainder on CC#1

According to my Quicken Tax Center we will be getting about $1,900 back in our tax refund this year. Not my choice, but can't convince hubby to claim more dependents than what he already is. So that will also be applied to the CC.

So according to my calculations I should be able to have CC#2 paid off next year. Let's hope!

Overwhelmed

November 2nd, 2006 at 01:57 am



I've been feeling very overwhelmed by financial things the past few days.

My car needs 2 new tires for the winter driving here. We checked with our friend that we order tires from and found out the tire prices have jumped 30% lately and that these tires are not real common ones so they're even more expensive! They're going to be $135 each. We can just pay him monthly or weekly or whatever so that doesn't concern me too much, but just adds to expenses.

We've also been trying to get term insurance so that we know we're covered if anything happens to either of us. I see on the applications they sent us that they have marked annual premium and that we are to pay when the paramedical exam takes place. I definitely don't have that kind of money to give them up front right now. I'm going to call today, if I get a chance, and see if we can either do monthly payments (which is what I thought we were doing) or postpone the start of the insurance until my husband gets his profit sharing check in December.

The CC debt just doesn't seem to be going down as quickly as I thought it would either.

I just feel like I'm drowning in debt and not getting anywhere.

Financial Tips

October 27th, 2006 at 02:33 am



Just wanted to sum up Jane Bryant Quinn's money tips. This is the order she says to do things in:

1. Retirement: must put away 10 or 15% of your income

2. Reduce, then eliminate CC debt

3. Create a Cushion Fund (Emergency Fund). If still in CC debt start with a cushion to cover expenses for 1 month.

4. College savings for kids. This is optional and should not come before saving for your own retirement. She says the kids can always get student loans but you can't get retirement loans.

5. Prepay your mortgage. This should come last on your priority list.

She says that you should count any contribution that your employer makes toward your retirement fund in the 10-15% that you should be saving off the top.

I guess we're doing well with that because both of us have 5% withheld from our paychecks and both of our employers match that.

We're working on #2, but at the same time that we're also working on #3. I'll be happy just to get to $1,000 let alone one month's worth of expenses.

New Credit Card Charge

October 18th, 2006 at 04:29 am

I had to update the CC balance because my husband charged $70.78 on the card for material he needed for the kitchen addition. I will be able to pay this amount on top of the regular CC payment though, so it will be paid off when the next payment is made.

The Facts

October 17th, 2006 at 03:59 am



These are the debts we have and that I am working on getting paid off as quickly as possible:

Credit Card #1: $408.93
Credit Card #2: $6,122.14
Livingroom Furniture: $2,187.79
Husband's truck: $1,040.00
My car: $16,097.04
Mortgage #1: $9,420.53
Mortgage #2: $45,450.29

CC #1 should be paid off this month or next month at the latest. This card is normally used only for things that get charged and paid off monthly and for ordering gifts.

CC #2 is the one I'm concerned with most. Right now it has 0% financing so I'm working on getting the balance down as far as I can before interest kicks in.

The furniture payments are 0% interest also as long as they're paid off by a certain date. I've made a note to myself to make sure that is done so we don't get hit with all the interest at the end.