Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Family Budget cuts

I made some more changes this month.
- Reduced Family cell plan from 1400 to 700 min - saved $20/mo
- Cancelled Data plan (VCast) on cell phone - saved $15/mo
- Cancelled web site on Verizon - saved $5/mo
- Cancelled Credit Card Managers (3) - saved $52/mo

Net reduction in expenses = $92/mo

Friday, January 16, 2009

Paid off Christmas

Well, my January 15th paycheck came yesterday. I went straight over to Kohls and paid off the remaining $190 on my wife's credit card that we used for Christmas '08. We actually spent $340 at Kohls at Christmas time and my wife wanted to get the discounts by using the Kohls credit card. I paid off $150 of it right after New Years. So at least we did better at Christmas spending in '08 than we did in '07. What I mean is that although we spent more we were able to quickly pay it off.

And I also paid off one of my $250 PayDay loans. The other $250 Payday loan is due at end of the month when I expect - pretty sure about it - my year end commission for 2008. Should be able to put a significant amount of money into our emergency fund and at the same time also be able to pay off some more debt.

Oh, I also paid $116 in car registration fees for one of our cars. And I paid $200 as partial payment for my life insurance. That's not the entire budget of course but just explaining where the money goes.

I've been debt free two times in my life. I'm hoping third time's the charm - expect to be CC debt free in about two and a half years.

I've still got another $98,600.00 to go. Oh well, making progress. Two steps forward, one step back.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

December 2008 expenses

I also had to spend $400 on new tires for my car and $200 for a combination of new battery, oil change, rear differential change, and just plain routine service such as new wiper blades for two vehicles.

Spending $400 for tires was expensive but I could feel my tires starting to spin and the car starting to slide in wet weather. It's less money to buy tires than it is to pay a deductible and rent a car while your car is being repaired - I went through that last year. Not going to make that mistake again this year. I still need rear tires but that's going to have to wait.

For Christmas we spent $340 - still owe $190 but plan to pay that off on Jan. 15th with funds from paycheck.

Also had eight birthdays in December that we budgeted for $200.

And my son's 21st birthday was in December so we celebrated with a restaurant dinner.

I'm very proud of my son. He worked and saved his own money and bought a new (used) car for himself back in November. We sold his old car for $1350 so that helped with the budget.

Some sad news - put our dog down last month

I have mixed feelings about having put my dog to sleep last month. Our dog grew up with my kids. She was about 14+ years old. We don't know her exact age since we got her at an Adopt-A-Pet at our local Pet store some 14+ years ago.

She's had a huge tumor on her side for the last couple years, had a cyst on her back, had severe arthritis in her hips and had a very difficult time getting up by herself. And I noticed that she sometimes didn't hear me even though I'd be standing right behind her.

Earlier last year our dog groomer said they wouldn't take her for grooming anymore and told us they couldn't because she couldn't stand for long periods of time. She'd also begun yelping at night recently when we think she was in pain.

We had family over at Thanksgiving and they all saw her and said we should put her down. Even the two nurses at the animal hospital said it was the right thing to do.

When I finally took her to the animal hospital the nurses had to bring out a stretcher because she just couldn't walk at all. I think her hind legs finally gave out for good that Friday morning. Both nurses at the animal hospital said we were doing the right thing for her since she really had no more quality of life anymore. Well we all feel pretty bad over here. Not seeing her or hearing her bark or having her lick my face is tough. She was a constant source and receiver of love in our lives. We miss her very much.

Counting My Chickens

I know I'm not supposed to count my chickens before they're hatched but its part of my planning.

I'm expecting (hoping) a good sized commission at the end of January so I've been planning on what I'll payoff then. I only have $365 left on a CashCall loan that I took out back in June of 2008 so I am planning on paying that off. And I need to payoff one of my smaller credit cards in the amount of $320.

In the meantime I'm struggling to finance my budget for the next week and a half until I get paid again on January 15th. I'm expecting - counting my chickens again - about $700 over the next week and a half but I'm still waiting to get paid for some free lance work I did two weeks ago.

I've been doing some Elance work for a small company and they're late on paying me by about a week. Hopefully it is because of the New Year's Day holiday week that they are late. Also, they asked me to write some new work and resubmit my invoice to reflect the "replacement" work. They wanted half of my work resubmitted with new material. Not that it was bad but because it didn't fit their criteria for what they needed. So I wrote some new documents and resubmitted. Hopefully I'll get paid for that work on Monday (1/5) morning.

Due to that shortfall in the budget I decided to apply for two $250 Pay day type loans. The total $500 in loans will cost me $100 - that is the equivalent of almost three NSF charges that I might possiby incur without the loans.

Good news is that last year I paid about $36K in debt off. I still have another $98.5K to work on in 2009. I hope to get the total debt down to about $60K owed by the end of the year.

It will be interesting to see how I do this year. Hopefully I or my wife will not lose our jobs. I pray that there'll be no big surprises financially this year.

Right now I am late on my $200 car registration and I expect to pay it on January 15th. I did pay for my daughter's community college registration of $270. Have to budget for books though. Maybe about another $270 around mid-January. My son is now paying for his own college registration and books. He's earning his own money and wants to pay his own way. He is in a hurry to save up enough money to move out on his own. It will be weird here when he moves out. Hope it doesn't happen for a long time. Same for my daughter. I really do enjoy having a family and having them here.