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Blown Engine

September 24th, 2009 at 01:10 pm

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. :-)

Murphy Strikes

August 15th, 2009 at 10:53 pm

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.

Long Overdue Update

January 2nd, 2009 at 12:17 am

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.

Profit Share Check

March 4th, 2008 at 08:30 pm

Today DH received his spring profit share check. I am sending half of it to our gift savings account to cover gifts for the year and the rest is going in the house repair fund toward the new roof.

I would much rather apply the entire thing to the mortgage, but I know that we would then be in trouble later on and be tempted to borrow. So for now, it will sit in our ING account and earn some interest.

Tax Return is Finished

February 20th, 2008 at 11:14 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.

Not What I Wanted

January 31st, 2008 at 12:15 pm

I sat down this morning to figure out how much I could pay on the mortgage payment that is due tomorrow. I want to pay $604.16, but looks like I'll only be able to pay $307.48, maybe a bit more depending on how much overtime is in DH's paycheck. But that's more than the minimum I have to pay of $235.34 so I guess that's better than nothing. The oven repair set me back this month and then the unexpected ER visit and DD#2's new medicine that she's taking for migraines.

I should be getting my first paycheck for the new bookkeeping job in a couple of weeks, so I'm planning on putting that on the mortgage.

And I've been told that I may be getting another bookkeeping job. I guess the librarian at the library just across the border in NY state is pushing for me to do their books for them. I went over a couple of weeks ago and helped her treasurer get their QuickBooks set up. When she heard that I do a monthly report for the libraries so that they know what they're spending, she was interested. Right now they pay an accountant to do their books. All he does is figure payroll and then inputs the yearly information into the annual report. He doesn't give them a monthly report so she never knows exactly how much she's spent on collection items or anything else for that matter. So keep your fingers crossed that she can convince her board to hire me!

Stimulus Package

January 25th, 2008 at 12:04 am

According to
Text is Voice of America and Link is
Voice of America DH and I could be getting $2700 we weren't counting on this year. That's banking on reports that it would be $300 per child, with no limit to the number of children.

I reran my Quicken debt reduction planner, and if that is correct, mortgage #1 can be paid off this November and the car payment could be retired November of 2009.

Guard that Money!

January 24th, 2008 at 11:29 pm

We received an unexpected check in the mail today for $129.60. It is a rebate from our escrow account.

Guess where that check is going? Right into the checking account to be applied to that very same mortgage balance! I'll be making that payment on the 29th. Can't let much time lapse or something else will come along that will claim that money!

Need Help with Business Name & Slogan

January 24th, 2008 at 01:27 am

My side job is getting to the point where I need to start thinking of a name and slogan. I was thinking of naming it "By the Numbers". What do you think? Any idea for a short slogan to put under the letterhead? This is just off the top of my head. I really haven't put much thought into it.

Extra Income

January 20th, 2008 at 02:37 am

I made an extra $75 today! I met with a NY state treasurer and installed QuickBooks for her and helped her begin to enter in transactions so they would be more organized for their Annual Report. It took us 3 hours, so I don't think that $25 an hour was bad pay at all. I will use it to pay down the mortgage.

I wish I could get more of these side jobs!

Sold My Fluidity Barre!

January 14th, 2008 at 07:49 pm

I just sold my Fluidity Barre that I had posted on CraigsList! I am $100 richer now. I'm hoping to put that money on the mortgage this month.

I was surprised at how many inquiries I had on the sale. The girl that bought it drove 3 hours one way to come pick it up.

I'm glad to have it out of the way and hope she enjoys it.

First Try on Craigslist

January 10th, 2008 at 11:58 am

I tried out Craigslist for the first time last week. I have a
Text is Fluidity Barre and Link is
Fluidity Barre that I haven't been using. I enjoy yoga more and so the Fluidity Barre has just been sitting propped in a corner for months now. So I decided to try to sell it. I really didn't want to go through Ebay and pay the fees and then have to figure out how in the world to ship it, so Craigslist seemed like a good option to finding someone that would be closer and able to pick it up.

I got an email from someone about 3 hours away who is thinking of driving to my place of work to buy it from me.

I'm asking $100 for it, which for the little bit it was used is a good deal. I told her I would also throw in other workout DVDs that I have for free. That would clear some cabinet space for me also.

Still Plugging Along

October 27th, 2007 at 09:35 pm

I haven't been around much for months. I am still here and still paying down our debt. We will have the furniture paid off next month as long as the overtime continues like it has. Then it will be time to start on the car.

I decided to pay off the car since I checked the Blue Book price on it and it was nowhere near what I had thought it was. So since it is a depreciating item and the house isn't (well, depends on your take on the news lately!), I decided the car was the next debt to focus on.

I am in the middle of my accounting applications class and really enjoying it. Right now we're learning QuickBooks, which I use every day at work, so it's been a breeze. Next up is Turbo Tax. I'm really looking forward to that one.

Today we went car shopping with DS#2. He will be getting his license back soon since it's been 6 months since his last seizure. He has a job, but no car so he's looking for some wheels. It's very hard to find a car in his price range, but he's searching. He's found quite a few on a local site so we checked them out today. One of them is a strong possibility.

I found out a few weeks ago that I'm getting a nice merit raise next year, along with a cost of living raise. That will really help with the budget. I reworked my spreadsheet so that the items that are desperately under budgeted will have more funding.

We got quite a bit of home improvement work done this summer. That's why the net worth chart took a dip. We put on siding and a new porch roof. Now we're working on the kitchen addition.

Guess that's about it for now. Just wanted to drop in and say I'm still here. I hope to have more time to blog from here on out.

2nd Pinecone Survey

August 16th, 2007 at 09:20 pm

I just finished my 2nd survey for Pinecone Research. It took forever for me to finally get chosen for a survey but now it seems like my name is in the queue for them. Small amounts earned, but every little bit helps. I'll probably put the money toward paying off the furniture since that's what I'm working toward right now.

Friday Round-Up

June 9th, 2007 at 12:41 am

Rolled $6 in change this morning and deposited it in the Emergency Fund after work.

Came home from NYC with the worst sinus infection I've ever had. I've been sick all week and seem to be getting worse. I'm now on antibiotics but woke up this morning with very little voice. The family is enjoying that.

Tomorrow there is a motorcycle dice run to benefit Sydney, my cousin's 18-month old daughter that had the seizure. She has been off of life support for quite a while now and is still breathing on her own. Her eyes have begun to respond a bit to light even though the doctors said it would never happen. She's had a feeding tube inserted and the family is either going to bring her home next week or take her to a nursing home near them.

Getting anxious to get that $248 paid to drop our total debt below $70,000.

DS#2 called from camp tonight but a thunderstorm was rolling in and we lost the connection. DH had time to ask him if he was taking his seizure medicine like he should and that's about it.

DS#2's salvage title FINALLY came for his wrecked Toyota so I faxed that right off to the insurance company so they can mail him the check. Maybe that whole mess can be done soon. It's only taken 3 months...

Something's Fishy on Ebay

May 11th, 2007 at 09:35 pm

I put 2 exercise DVDs up for sale on Ebay this morning and happened to think to check on them around noon today. Imagine my surprise to see that they both had bids on them for over $25 when I had made the starting price $7.50! As I investigated further I see that only 2 people have bid on these DVDs and the same person outbid themselves a couple of times. Both people joined Ebay May 3rd. It just seems fishy to me.

Who in the world would pay over $25 for an exercise DVD??? I will hold back my excitement at making so much money until I find out if it's legit or not.

Money in the Mail!

April 7th, 2007 at 04:28 pm

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.

Tax Withholding

March 31st, 2007 at 07:24 pm

We have to decide if we want tax withheld from DH's cashout payment from his whole life insurance. My thinking right now is not to have the tax withheld because I think that we will have more than enough in our normal withholding to cover it.

We got a much larger refund this year than we expected because of the 2 college kids so I think that that money will more than offset the taxes owed on this amount.

Surrender Papers

March 30th, 2007 at 11:09 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 24th, 2007 at 12:32 am

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!

The More I Save, the More Money I Seem to Have

March 23rd, 2007 at 05:29 pm

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!

Peter Pan Peanut Butter Refund

March 21st, 2007 at 10:23 am

I received my refund check yesterday for the 4 containers of Peter Pan that I had that were recalled. I got back $16.45. Not too bad.

Tax Refund is Here!

March 17th, 2007 at 11:41 am

I mentioned in an earlier entry that we were getting back quite a large refund from the government this year despite raising the number of dependents we claimed. I checked our checking account on-line last night and the money was there!

So...early this morning (5:30, to be exact!) I jumped out of bed and set about dispersing this money to the areas we had agreed upon. I put money aside for repairs that DH's truck needs, padded a few of my budget accounts that always seem to be in the red, paid state tax we owe because DH works in another state, paid off the balance on DH's truck, and still had $3,000 to send to my Emigrant account!

This money is going to be used to do house repairs. I really would like to have heat in the kitchen next winter, the garage roof needs replaced, we need siding on the house and still need to replace a few windows, etc. The list goes on and on.

Making Some Money on Ebay

March 13th, 2007 at 08:28 pm

Well, the workout DVD that I listed on Ebay is going to sell for at least $14. That's pretty good. At least I'm getting something out of it so it's just not sitting in my cabinet not being used.

I have someone watching 2 of my pilates workouts so hopefully they will sell too. I really don't care what I get from those.

I Got a Bid!

March 8th, 2007 at 07:04 pm

I checked today and I've got a bid on my listing for Leslie Sansone's workout on Ebay.

I went ahead and listed 2 other Pilates workouts and 3 yoga ones that I don't do anymore. I try to keep my exercise cubbyhole from getting overly full. Right now it's bothering me so it's time to pare down and get rid of those workouts that don't get used much.


March 8th, 2007 at 06:19 pm

I got my email today from Pinecone Research to fill out my registration so it sounds like I'm in. YEAH! I'm anxious to do my first survey.

Profit Sharing

March 7th, 2007 at 11:17 am

DH came home last night with his profit sharing check for $1124.42. Of course, $337 came right off the top to pay for those taxes that our escrow didn't pay. The rest went right into savings for house repairs.

I contacted the collection agency and they assured me that this will not show up on our credit. Anyone know if that is true??? I find it hard to believe. I paid the bill so it's taken care of and now I need to contact the escrow department at the main bank to find out why, if they weren't going to pay the bill, they didn't send it to us so that we knew it was due. I just don't understand that. How can we pay it if we don't know:

#1 how much it is
#2 when it is due
#3 that they didn't pay it
and #4 that the obligation even exists???


For 2 cents I would take the profit sharing check and our tax returns and pay off this little mortgage just to be done with them. Then I would receive my own tax bills and know that they are paid. Too bad we actually need to have heat though and the money has to go for that!

Profit Sharing

March 5th, 2007 at 10:58 am

DH gets a profit sharing check tomorrow. We're not sure how much it is going to be, but probably around $1,000. We've decided to stick it in the savings account and use it for home repairs so we can get things done that have really needed done for a long time.

Tax Refund

February 26th, 2007 at 11:12 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?

All 5 ING Invites Used

January 18th, 2007 at 10:20 am

When I got up today I had 2 emails telling me that my last 2 ING invites had been used so I now have $25 more in my Missisippi trip account than I had at the beginning of the week. Now I just need to send Jeffrey his $25 when I find out how.

When DH gets paid I'll send the matching $25 to my challenge account.

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