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2007 Goals

January 1st, 2007 at 06:42 am

I was looking back over the goals I had previously set for 2007 and realized that I need to adjust them. Here is what I had originally planned on:

#1: $1,000 in EF for bare minimum
#2: pay off at least half of CC#2
#3: pay off furniture
#4: pay off DH's truck
#5: look over DH's 401K investments and determine if we should change the mix
#6: max out my IRA contributions
#7: get disability insurance on me
#8: hopefully have the term insurance process finished soon!

Because of my health issues I seriously doubt that #7 is going to happen any time soon, if at all, at least until we find out what the underlying issue is. And I realized that the more focused I am on less goals, the more I'll be driven to see them accomplished.

So, here are my "adjusted" 2007 goals:

#1: $2,000 in Emergency Fund
#2: CC #2 paid off
#3: pay off furniture
#4: get overall debt below $65,000

I'm going to keep it short and simple so I can really focus on those goals.

A Look Back Over 2006

January 1st, 2007 at 06:24 am


2006 was the best year for us so far financially, I think. Not because we paid off a lot of debt, but because we (okay, I) got focused on getting out of debt. I found Saving Advice and felt like I really fit in here because of my desire to control our money instead of our money controlling us.

We managed to get our outstanding debts below $80,000 by the end of the year and paid off one of the credit cards. I started to really keep track of where our money goes so that I could better set up a workable budget.

We started setting $20 aside in an interest-bearing savings account so that we had an emergency fund when needed so that we didn't add more debt to the credit card.

So all in all, 2006 was a good year because it made us get serious with money and saving for the future.

On to 2007!

Time to Wrap it Up!

December 19th, 2006 at 04:00 am


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!

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.

Targeted Debt Reduction for 2006

December 12th, 2006 at 11:07 am

I'm wondering if I can get my debt total to under $80,000 by the end of the year? I only need to pay $192.57 to get it there! I'm just afraid that as soon as I do DH will have to charge something and it'll go right back over the $80,000 mark.

Hmmm....good thing to strive for anyway!

Disability Insurance

December 12th, 2006 at 11:04 am


My paperwork for disability insurance from Zander arrived today. I haven't had a chance to really look at it yet, but I see that it requires another paramedical exam. My first thought was that I am probably wasting my time applying because of all the health issues I'm having, but then I got to thinking that with all the medical tests the doctor has done lately he hasn't found anything, so they probably won't either!

So I guess I'll get started filling it all out just to see what happens.

The past couple of weeks have really impressed to me the need to have disability insurance. If I had to quit work right now we'd be in trouble.

I Can't Fight this Feeling Anymore...

December 11th, 2006 at 02:15 am


Ah yes...the famous lyrics of REO Speedwagon's hit. But yesterday it took on new meaning to me as I sat working on my last accounting lesson:

DH was cleaning out the pellet stove when all of a sudden the shop vac made a terrible noise. You know, that sound that motors make when they're dying? Yeah, that sound.

Immediately my stomach went into knots. That sound means spending more money and lots of it! Ack! Not what I needed right then when we're working on getting my blood pressure down.

That sound made me even more determined to climb out of the depths of debt so that when things like that happen I don't automatically have an anxiety attack just wondering where the money is coming from.

The war rages on!

My 2007 Goals

December 10th, 2006 at 06:31 pm

#1: $1,000 in EF for bare minimum
#2: pay off at least half of CC#2
#3: pay off furniture
#4: pay off DH's truck
#5: look over DH's 401K investments and determine if we should change the mix
#6: max out my IRA contributions
#7: get disability insurance on me
#8: hopefully have the term insurance process finished soon!

3 On-line Accounts

December 10th, 2006 at 04:58 pm



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.

Vanguard Account is Open!

December 9th, 2006 at 02:41 am



I got a call from Vanguard yesterday that I needed to call the company that my SEP IRA is in now and ask them to liquidate the holdings so that they can be rolled over to Vanguard. I did that, called them back to let them know it is done and asked what to do about this month's contribution since it will come out of the next paycheck. They said my account is open and gave me the address to mail it too. So this Friday I'll be making my first contribution to my Vanguard Target Retirement 2030 fund.

I got my results back from the term insurance health exam. About the only results I understood were the negative findings for cocaine and marijuana. That's good to know. LOL! I never dreamed this process would take so long! I thought maybe a month or so. I'm itching to cash in the whole life insurance to put on CC#2!

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!

Disability Insurance

December 5th, 2006 at 08:41 am



I just submitted a request for a quote for disability insurance on myself. We've had disability insurance on DH for quite a while now, but until 4 years ago I was a SAHM and didn't really think about it. Now that I've got an income that we depend on, I think this is the next step to take. It looks like it would amount to less than $500 a year. That's not too bad.

I just have been feeling lately that we really need to get our bases covered just in case.

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?

The Time is Near...

December 2nd, 2006 at 03:48 pm

that CC#1 will be paid off! DH gets his profit sharing check this Tuesday. This will be enough to pay off the credit card with some left over.

That will be one step closer to financial freedom!

Vanguard

November 29th, 2006 at 05:08 pm



After reading a bit about Vanguard's Target Retirement Funds I decided to roll over my SEP IRA to Vanguard's 2030 Fund. It's a lot more aggressive than the plan I have and I just haven't been happy with the way my plan has been performing. So I registered online, printed the papers and will get them finalized and in the mail in the next couple of days.

I also was able to add $5 to my challenge money today. As soon as I returned from my delivery trip I logged onto Emigrant's site and set up the transfer.

The balance in my change box is growing. I'm finally over $5!

I'm reading an excellent book right now (well, actually listening to it on CD as I travel). It's The Memory Keeper's Daugher by Kim Edwards. It's her first novel and it's excellent! I highly recommend it.

On the Road Again

November 29th, 2006 at 03:46 am



Exercise= 1 mile walk with weights

Today is another opportunity to earn $5 for my challenge. PB&J is already in my work bag along with some Combos. I'll add an apple and I should be all set for lunch and not need anything else. This delivery is the longest one on my rotation and the worst roads. I'm glad to get it done before the snow hits.

Tonight is also grocery shopping night. I need to figure out how much money we have for groceries. I'm finding that with putting it on the cash-back credit card it's making it harder to keep track of what we've spent. But I will figure that out before we go.

I called yesterday and answered some questions about DH's term insurance application, so hopefully that will speed them on to a decision soon so we can cash in the whole life policies.

New Debt Reduction Plan

November 24th, 2006 at 06:07 am



I redid my Quicken debt planner the other day and took out the mortgages so that I could see how long it would take us to be debt-free minus the mortgage. I thought if I broke it all down into a smaller goal that would help keep me on track since it would be a shorter time frame.

The results were:

- all bills but mortgages paid off in Feb. 2010
- $4,125.98 saved in interest
- CC#1 paid off in Feb. 2007
- CC#2 paid off in Sept. 2008
- furniture paid off in March 2009
- car paid for in Feb. 2010 (2 years and 1 month ahead of payment schedule)

Hopefully, it won't take as long since I didn't add in the extra money that I know will be coming in that I plan on using to make extra payments. And in January I'll be adding more to the payments out of my raise also.

It Pays to Clean!

November 23rd, 2006 at 07:01 am

I noticed this morning that it was pretty dusty behind the freezer so I moved it out to clean and was rewarded with 15 cents to add to my change box!

11/22/06 Spending

November 23rd, 2006 at 04:58 am

Spending for the day:

Tithe: $80
Angel Food for next month: $41.00
Life Insurance: $58.75

We haven't gotten a final decision on our term insurance yet, so I have to keep paying the whole life. I got a notice saying that my paperwork had all been received. My husband got a call from the paramedic that he needed to sign another form and they met at work last week and did that. So until the final policies are in my hands, I keep paying the whole life.

I also spent about $3.00 for lunch yesterday while traveling for my job. I sure wish a monthly food allowance was available. That's what most of my pocket money goes toward unless I take a pb&j with me 3 or 4 times a week.

Quicken Debt-Reduction Planner Report

November 17th, 2006 at 05:30 pm



According to the debt-reduction planner in Quicken if I continue making total payments on all debts of $1,290.85 each month and snowballing the payments as each debt gets paid off, we can be out of debt in June of 2013. This includes the house. By doing this, instead of making the minimum payments, we will save $45,965.10 in interest.

Personally, I know it can be done sooner and at a greater savings because I did not figure in my husband's profit sharing that we plan to apply to the debt or income tax return money.

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.

Computer, Exam, & Change Box

November 12th, 2006 at 04:30 am



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!!!

Blood Work

November 8th, 2006 at 07:36 am



Tonight's the paramedic exam for the term life insurance. I just finished my "lunch" (it's 10:30 a.m.) because we're supposed to fast for 12 hours, but the examiner told me since he's not meeting us until 5:30 to just stop eating as early as we can. So I ate my turkey sandwich extra-early. Now to get the water down so hopefully it's easier to take my blood. I do not bleed well for blood work. They've had to syphon it out of me before.

Got my weekly deposit into my Amboy account set up for Friday.

Made the last payment on DS#2's broken thumb from last October! Paid! Yeah! Just that little bit paid off is an encouragement.


I Give Up!

November 6th, 2006 at 05:03 pm



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!

Term Insurance

November 4th, 2006 at 04:21 pm

Well, the applications for the term life insurance are here and mostly done. The appointment has been made for the paramedical exam. That will happen on Wednesday after work. So we'll see if we're accepted or not. I just wonder how stringent their health guidelines are? Neither of us have major medical problems. Both of us do have high blood pressure though.

I hope we are accepted because it would sure ease my mind a lot!

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.

Cushion Fund

October 29th, 2006 at 04:41 pm



In Jane Bryant Quinn's book she recommends a Cushion Fund (a.k.a. Emergency Fund) of 3 months living expenses. This amount should include mortgage, groceries, car payment, gasoline, phone, utilities, insurance, minimum CC payments, health insurance, etc. Whatever bills you pay monthly should be figured into the amount you will need for 3 months.

She recommends not mixing this money in with other savings such as gifts, vacations, etc. because it's too easy to dip into.

Build up the cushion with automatic deposits from your checking account and any other bonuses or gifts you get.

She says for your own safety to build this account as fast as you can. If you have to tap into it, refill it as quickly as possible. This money should be kept in either a bank money-market deposit account or a money-market mutual fund.

I am doing this with my new account with Amboy. I am depositing $20 minimum into it each week. I would like to make it more, but until the kitchen addition is done I don't dare go over that amount. I want the addition paid for without adding to the CC debt.

On to Present & Future Value of Money

October 28th, 2006 at 03:59 pm



Well, the exam is over with. By the time I took it I was so sick of the subject that I just wanted it done. LOL!

Now onto the next chapter which is about bonds and present and future value of money. That will be interesting and practical for me.

The only money I spent today was for gas. Had to fill the car up after running to work and doctor's appointments this week.

I got my term life insurance application in the mail today. Got most of it filled out. It's not too complicated. The only problem I have is under "Contingent Beneficiary". There's only room for 2 names and I wanted to put the 5 kids. I don't know if I can just attach a sheet with the names or not. I was just going to put "children" but they want names, SSNs, etc.

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.


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