Viewing the 'Emergency Fund' Category
Two weeks ago we sent in our final payment on our car, making our goal of being debt-free by our final Financial Peace University class! I know that if we had not had the concrete goal we would still be paying on it. It was so nice to celebrate with everyone at our closing dinner.
We had a potluck dinner before viewing the final lesson together. My husband has a co-worker that makes cakes so we asked her to make us a credit card cake that everyone could cut a piece out of for dessert. Everyone loved it! Here's the cake:
It sort of seems anti-climatic to be debt-free now. Maybe it hasn't sunk in because I haven't had the chance to enjoy NOT writing that monthly check.
We are now started on our fully funded emergency fund. We have a little over half of a month's worth of expenses so far. I'm anxious to watch that balance grow.
LuxLiving tells me that I need to update, so here I am. :-) I do mean to post here more often, but it just doesn't seem to happen.
We are doing fairly well. We did have some excitement this past Tuesday. Son # 2 (of course!) called and asked us to come pick him up. He was on the interstate and his engine blew! He said that oil sprayed everywhere and the compartment filled up with black smoke so that he couldn't see to pull over. He slowed and edged over until he felt the rumble strip and managed to get off the road. By the time we'd gotten to where he was stranded, he had the car at a salvage yard and made arrangements to send them the title to scrap it. So he is without a car once again. This was the 6th car since he started driving 3 years ago that has bit the dust!
We are still whittling away at debt. We have just over $6,000 left on the car and then we will be on to working on a fully-funded emergency fund.
I did quit my 2 evening jobs. It was getting to be too much with taking 2 classes and DD's volleyball season starting up. I got to figuring that by the time I bought my dinner those nights and took into account how much I spent on gasoline, I really wasn't making anything anyway. It's been a huge relief. I am still doing bookkeeping for one library as a side job though.
Guess that's all I can think of that's happened lately. Hopefully I'll get back here before Lux has to tell me it's time. :-)
Thanks to LuxLiving for checking on me. We are alive and well. Last month was a bit of a strain, mostly emotionally.
On July 2nd our middle son (19), who is an EMT in a city 2.5 hours from us, was cleaning some basement walls in his fiance's house and ended up spilling ammonia in both eyes. He had set the bottle up on a pillar above him and when he grabbed the bottle it tilted and poured in his face. He was alone but managed to flush his eyes and dial 911. The ER sent him to a specialist who assured him that the vision would return in 48 hours. 48 hours later the vision was worse. The vision in the right eye was totally gone and the left eye could only see vague shapes. He was referred to a 2nd specialist who also could not find any reason that the vision had not returned.
Finally, on the 3rd week the vision did start to come back slowly. They still wanted to know why it was taking so long to heal so we made a trip to the Cleveland Clinic to be seen at the Vision Clinic. By the time we made that trip the vision was back to 20/20 and only some cloudiness remained on the cornea, which we were told would clear up. I'm thrilled to say that it is all totally clear now. Some of you may remember the accident this same son had a month before his high school graduation when he fell asleep at the wheel, rolled his vehicle 5 times and was lifeflighted to a major trauma center. If anything is going to happen in our family, it will be this child to whom it will happen.
The funny thing is that at the time of the accident he already had an interview set up with the ambulance service that took him to the ER for the following week. He went to the interview BLIND and they HIRED HIM to drive ambulance! I told him that he is the only person I know who could pull that off! By the time he was scheduled to begin work his sight was back.
Now for our 2nd Murphy visit: On July 8th someone hacked into my email and from there, got into my Paypal and Ebay accounts which I haven't used in years. They proceeded to order an iphone and a Louis Vuitton wallet for a combined total of $1500. The Paypal account was hooked directly to both of our checking accounts, but I found out just in time to put freezes on them so that no money was ever removed from our accounts. The crazy thing is that the Louis Vuitton wallet was actually mailed to me from Australia! I refused the package and sent it right back on its way to Australia. I filed a police report but hear that they seldom actually ever do anything. We had the address where they requested the iphone be delivered. It was a medical building in Memphis, TN.
I am happy to report that, besides the mortgage, we are working on our last debt. We owe just a bit over $7,000 and hope to have it paid off early next year, if not before. I am working 2 nights a week and applying all of that income toward this debt. I can't wait to start on a fully-funded emergency fund.
DH and I are going through FPU and we had decided that we are finally ready to take the step of stopping our retirement contributions temporarily so we can apply that money to the debt snowball. I had no problem stopping mine at work since I'm the one that does the payroll. DH went into his payroll department and was told that he can't stop his contributions until the beginning of the next quarter.
It's just very frustrating to finally have him on board and now we can't do this. It will really slow the debt snowball down. I guess I'm just anxious to get it done and get a fully-funded emergency fund.
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.
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.
I read an excellent article on the importance of Emergency Funds this morning on the MSN Money site:
Saving Your 'Emergency Fund' for the Real Thing
I wrapped up $12.50 in coins today and decided to deposit that in my EF. I normally deposit $25.00 per week out of DH's overtime. I decided this would be a nice little boost to get us closer to my minimum of $1,000.
We picked up our siding for the house this morning, so that was another chunk out of the house repair fund. Between that and putting a new porch roof on, the house repair money is getting hit heavy this spring.
I assume it's just the price of gas and the fact that we now have 7 to feed again for the summer since college is out, but I'm feeling the financial pinch. We just got rid of the credit card debt so you'd think that I'd have some extra money laying around. Not!
I am adding extra to the mortgage payment but that is all coming out of overtime pay.
I think what I need to do is get that EF back up to $1,000 and I'll probably relax a bit. It makes me nervous to not have some money tucked away, just in case.
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.
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.
...and this time it was me with my beloved Equinox.
I decided to head into work early today to get in some extra hours and maybe come home a bit earlier since everyone else has Good Friday off.
Winter had returned to our area and the plows had not been out on the roads yet this morning. I came around a bend, only going 35 mph because the roads were so bad, when I hit a patch of ice and just totally lost control. By the time I landed in a deep ditch I was facing the opposite way of the direction I had been going.
The car was almost totally on the driver side. I had to be helped out of the passenger door by one of the people that were following me. The first thing they asked was if my neck hurt because the impact was so hard.
It's amazing that the car really doesn't look bad at all. The most damage is up front, but it's not crumpled at all like you would expect. The driver's side that it landed on is not messed up at all that we could see.
I am sure I'll have some bruising. I can already feel some aches and pains.
So my car is now keeping DS's car company at the body shop. This will hit our Emergency Fund with a solid $500 punch.
Good news on his though...they did total it but the bus' insurance has decided to give him over $1900 for it. We have no idea why they went from $800 to $1900, but they did!
I have noticed a trend since I first joined Saving Advice last October. At that time I was not saving any money at all and it seemed like I was barely able to pay our bills at the time. It seemed that we were losing the battle of treading water and were beginning to go under.
Since I have joined, our bills have not really changed much, but I took to heart the advice of "paying yourself first". I started setting aside $5 a week out of DH's paycheck. Over the months that has grown to $25 a week for an upcoming vacation/birthday trip, $20 a week for an emergency fund, and $50 a month for the Ameritrade Save Yourself plan.
Where did I find that money? I have no clue! I just decided that it needed done and started doing it. I seldom miss a week now that I don't set aside money in all the savings areas.
I have also found that the easiest money to save is the account that I have set up to be transferred automatically from our checking account each Friday. If money is tight one week I am liable to not put the Emergency Fund amount aside because it's not already scheduled. But the payment that is scheduled is made each time. It's just easier to sacrifice money in one of my less important budget categories than it is to change the automatic transfer.
My advice: pay yourself first. It really does work!
I'm taking my box of Christmas wrap, ribbons and bows to work today and am going to get the presents wrapped that have been stacked in the corner for a month or more. The tree has been up and it's time to fill in a little underneath.
On the health side of things, I'm going this morning to get blood drawn to test for Cushing's Disease. I had blood taken at 4 yesterday afternoon, took a pill at 11 last night, and get the final blood drawn at 8 this morning. Everything has to be spaced out just right. The doctor doesn't think this is what I have, but wants it ruled out. On a side note, my legs feel really swollen this morning.
Blood pressure is sure much better than it has been so that's a plus. And the referral to a neurologist is in the works.
After work today I will be stopping by the store and picking up the last few things I need for Christmas dinner and desserts. I have to make something to take to my librarian's Christmas party on Thursday and DH needs a couple things for his party on Friday. Tonight is DD#2's Christmas concert at school.
My change box is actually getting a fairly decent amount in it. Everyone knows now not to get into it. LOL!
I now am the proud owner of 3 on-line accounts: Amboy (5.13%), Emigrant (5.05%) and ING (4.5%), all of which make MUCH more interest than our local bank (a little over 1%).
I have the most in my Amboy account, which is my EF fund. I use Emigrant for my $20 Challenge money, and I decided to use ING to save for DS#2's graduation expenses.
I have until June of 2008 before he graduates so I've decided to put money aside when I can to save toward that.
I have been trying to think what my financial goals will be for 2007. When I get some concrete ideas I'll post them here.
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.
Spent most of the day yesterday, after taking my exam, on cleaning up the computer and trying to get it to work correctly. It has been EXTREMELY slow for ages. I did a search for a registry cleaner that had good reviews and found Advanced System Optimizer. I paid the $29.95 for it and downloaded it and got to work. Five hours later it was a different computer! There were so many duplicate files on it and all kinds errors. I had been using different registry cleaner and sypware/adware programs but obviously they weren't working up to par.
I hated to spend the $29.95, but it looks like it was worth it. I was seriously thinking we were going to have to buy a new computer. I have to have one that works in order to take my online courses to get my degree. Glad this worked and I hope it continues!
The exam went pretty well yesterday. Actually, I'm nervous because it only took me a little over an hour. We had 3 hours in which to take it. Usually the exams that I have no idea what I'm doing are the ones that I score in the 90s on. So I'm half afraid that I since I feel pretty good about this one, I must have really messed it up.
And one last subject for now...my change box. Remember I moved it so the kids would stay out of it? Well, I went to put 3 more pennies in it last night and discovered that all the quarters that were in it were gone! Turns out DS#2 took them to wash the car that he borrowed from a friend to go to the dance Friday night! So now I need to recount and start all over again! I think I made it pretty clear that everyone is to STAY OUT OF MY CHANGE BOX!!!
On the change box, that is.
I've been ever so carefully adding up my savings as I've been adding to it only to find that DH and the kids are taking from it without my knowledge to buy treats at the convenience store 1 block over!
Oh well...guess they have to get dessert one way or another since I hardly ever bake anymore!
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.
My blog is no longer listed under "New Blogs" on the main page. Does that make me an old-timer now?
The balance in the change box is decreasing rapidly. DD#2 was asked to go to the last home volleyball game with a friend and needed money to get in. Then DS#2 needed an extra quarter so he could get in. So just when I was close to breaking $5, I'm at just above half of that now.
Came home from work early today to get a dessert made for DH for his men's meeting tonight. He had also come home early to work on the kitchen addition since it was one of the few days this week with no rain or snow. Got his paycheck ready to deposit tomorrow morning and have a transfer set up for tomorrow into the Amboy account. That will bring us to $255 for the EF.
Ordered DS#2's Christmas presents today so that's one more down. I've got a bid in on an Ipod on Ebay for DS#3. I'll bid up to the amount we spend and if it goes above, I'll look at other options for him.
The first thing I did when I got home today was to get my Amboy account activated. I think I've even figured out how you transfer money to and from it also. I'll give it a try on Thursday when DH gets paid.
I'm thinking that I'm going to follow Dave Ramsey's advice and get our EF back up to $1,000 before I pay extra on the CCs again. I really do have a much better peace of mind when I know that money is there. I'm finding that I'm not sleeping well at night because I keep waking up and thinking of all that could happen that there wouldn't be money for. Not good, I know, but that's how I am. I like to have that little nest egg available.
Got paid another 10 cents for doing laundry. Added it to the change box.
I have been waiting all weekend for the small deposits to show up in my checking account from Amboy so that I could verify them and get my new savings account going. Well, wouldn't you know, I just checked and they're there, but the email and password are in my home email and I can't access it from work! I wish I'd thought to email a copy to my Yahoo account so I could have done it now. Oh well! I guess this evening will be soon enough. I'm just ready to make some "real" interest and not that piddling little 1.24% we've been getting!
I needed to stop by the grocery store on my way to work so I had some food here. I got 2 Yoplait Smoothies (65 cents each), bananas (3 pounds for $1), salsa, cracker jacks, honey roasted peanuts and a king size Reese's Cups for a total of $9.77. I'm trying to get my diet gluten-free to see if it helps with some symptoms I've been having. So I'm trying to concentrate mainly on meats, dairy, veggies, and fruit. I already have an apple, cherry tomatoes, and a potato at work.
Had to give up 60 cents out of my change box for youngest DD's library fines at school.
Also paid DH's life insurance for the month. That was $58.75. Need to get busy looking into term life insurance!
That's how much I got "paid" for helping with the leaves yesterday afternoon.
DH came home from working 8 hours of Saturday overtime and immediately started raking the yard so I felt badly. I had cleaned house all day, but thought we could chat as we worked. After he raked several piles our middle DS and I bagged the leaves. We found a penny at the bottom of one of the piles so that is going into the change box.
When I went to get the mail I ran up to our Dollar General to get DH some deoderant and the kids some chapstick. They didn't have the deoderant so I just ended up with 3 tubes of Blistex that came to $3.18.
Added .65 to my change box. This is change from sending a package to Canada.
Ordered my oldest DS's Christmas present. That went on the CC but I have the money in savings so that will be transferred over and paid off on Monday so that it doesn't add to the total. 2 Christmas gifts down, 4 to go for the immediate family! I will get my parents a gift certificate to a restaurant, as always. Last year we tried to get them each a gift but they just ended up returning them so we decided might as well stick to the tried and true. We will also get my aunt a gift certificate but it will be to the grocery store in town. She is disabled and lives on a fixed income so this is the best way to help her.
Last entry of the day, I promise!
I'm excited about opening the Amboy account so I sat down tonight to determine what budget category I could shave $5 off of a week to contribute to the account, along with whatever overtime money I put in. So I decided since my car is newer, hopefully it won't have as many repairs as my husband's 1989 truck. I cut the car repair account to $15 a week. So at least $5 a week will go to the new Amboy emergency fund. Better than nothing!
I also started saving any change that I have in a box that is on the top of my computer desk. Each day I will put any change I have in my purse and whatever change I "earn" for doing laundry. When it gets to a decent amount, that money will also go into the EF. Now to keep others out of it!!!
Also, just wanted to add that I'm so glad I found this site! I tried a blog before but just couldn't find anything to blog about! But get me started on money and I could probably blog all day!
And I think it's really going to keep me motivated to save and pay down the debt!
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