Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ignorant People

I haven't been over at Associated Content for awhile, and so I hopped over there today and was just poking around. Now, I teach Econ to high school students (not sure if I ever mentioned that to y'all), and it just pisses me off sometimes how uneducated people can get their (incorrect) information across to people and make them scared!

I ran across the following article...well, then again, I don't want to link it to give him more page views. He basically said we're in a recession right now because of "high" unemployment (he states 5% is high, which is it NOT, that's actually a pretty healthy unemployment rate - it's always necessary to some degree because people leave jobs, move, etc), gas prices, and the national debt.

Tphhhhhhhht. That's all I have to say about that. A recession is marked ONLY by real GDP. That's it. And real GDP is not declining. It's still rising. Smaller than before, but still rising. telling people that those things mark a recession, he scares them.

Yeah. That's fair.

So I wrote an article. My first in quite a few months. I'll post the link once it goes through.

I need to get back over there. It's a good resource and the chance to get some extra money for ...not that tough of a job. It's not a lot, of course, but every little bit helps us get the BECC's off our backs. :)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Re-making the budget...

Well, tonight was the first night I worked on re-doing the budget to find the money for the car loan.

This isn't going to be easy. I knew that.

Updated Quicken - our BEF is down by $314.82. We are in the $600's for our BEF, which is better than I thought. I used our money for the christening gown to get us up to date, too, so that was part of the "loss" from the car.

So far, I have found a grand total of $35 to go to the $257.97 car payment. Only 232.97 to go.


I need to call the cable company - there's only a few bills that we can actually change, and they are one of them.

I'm also seriously considering a pre-pay cell for us. We never use ours - we only have it with us for emergencies, to call home or AAA if needed. Most pre-pays that I've found are about $10 a month (minutes expire, etc) vs the $45 we're paying now per month. That would save us another $35 - and then we only have to find $200 a month.

Only. Ha!

It's not a panic - we do a lot of spending we don't have to. We'll have to cut out the eating out to once a month (which is what we should do, anyway) and really cut down our groceries, etc. I have $300 a month budgeted for that now, and I know I could get that down. Gas...can't change that too much, although we need to look to see how the new car will be doing on gas mileage.

So - still trying to find it all. This week will be the biggie. We need to get it all set on paper before the first car payment is due on Feb 23rd.

Oh, and work on getting our BEF up to $1000 again.

no problem.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Money Today

I forgot -

Christening gown: Paid for and will be sent out tomorrow.

Sold on etsy: one child's poncho

Sold on one textbook

Total right now that can go back into the BEF: $160.97 I need to recheck our numbers, but that might get us back to $1000.

Ooh - forgot, a reimbursement check for $75.

Oh, but I did forget the $200 for the car stuff - a "chip" key + 2 remotes for the alarm (did I mention we have an alarm on the new car - but no remote to turn it off? Sucks how much that cost to get new ones...).

So...not at $1000 yet. But soon. I have plans for ebay within a month or so.

Our tax return is not looking amazing. So far, federal return is at $40 or so. I'm waiting for Tax Act to release the WI state version to see what we'll get from the state. We might not even be able to go to KY this spring - it might have to wait until summer. That would stink - dh hasn't seen his family in quite awhile...

Tax Rebate

Looks like the tax rebate was approved today:

Unless I'm reading things wrong. It would be cool to get a nice check in May for $1200 - could really help us dump down the lower BECC.

I know, not what it's intended for. Maybe we'll go out to eat, too. :P

Sure would be nice...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Car car car...

It was REALLY cold on Saturday - I go out to start our new (to us) car -


Dead battery.

After a HUGE amount of drama over the weekend (topped off by the Packers losing...what a crappy weekend...) - dh was able to get the car into the dealer today and warranty covered the new battery. Nice surprise!

We did, however, need a second key for the car. Did you know how much getting a "chip key" costs? $50 freaking dollars. That's how much.

Not to mention that we don't have remotes for the alarm (guess how I found that out!) or the trunk. They're on order. Not sure how much they're going to charge us for that. The trunk is an annoyance...but it really sucks when the alarm goes off. We don't have any way to turn it off. Embarrassing. Really.

So...our BEF is no longer $1000. It's not even $800 any longer.

Hopefully it won't take long to get it back up to where it should be. I need to do the taxes...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Good grief!

The water bill came today - 3x it's normal amount!

The toilet has been running longer than normal, and I think we finally figured it out...but jeez...I didn't know that was going to run the water bill over $80 higher than normal!

I'm glad we have the BEF...this would have been a disaster a few months ago. ick.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Not much to report money-wise. We needed to go into the $100 that we got for Christmas in order to make it through to payday (Friday), but that was expected because of the car issues last week.

We did have to use some of the BEF during the car emergency, so that will have to be our #1 emphasis as we get paid - to get the BEF back to $1000.

Then, we need to work on the budget to get the new car loan fit in there. That will mean some calls - to the cable company, and probably the cell phone.

Finally, we need to get our tax stuff together - we should have the last of the tax papers within a week or so. So different from last year - we were so anxious to get the tax stuff so that we could book our vacation to Vegas! Now, we do them to get the refund to go to KY to see family and pay off the smaller of the BECC's.

Although it will be really cool to pay off the smaller it will give us $140 more that can help with the car payment...

Well, I guess this is just a rambling post. :)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

There is a reason why I call them BECC's...

After being able to pay a nice chunk to the smaller of the BECC's, I became aware of why I call them "Evil", other than as a joke to myself.

Our min payment on the smaller BECC has been at $140. After paying that card down to about $3200, they have DECREASED our min to $75. Almost half.

Soooo....we paid it down less than $1000, less than 25%...and they chop our min payment in half.

And I double checked - thought maybe that last payment we sent them posted after the month closed and they just took that amount out of our min payment...nope. That isn't what happened.

They just seem to have randomly dropped our min payment.

I soooo want them gone. I swear, we've learned our lesson on the cc's. Once they are paid off, we're not closing them, but we are locking them away. I mentioned before that we follow Dave Ramsey, but aren't 100% with him on the "no credit ever again" idea.

Although we did talk about how cool it would have been to go in with cash to buy our car. I think if we had come in with $8000 cash, we could have gotten our car for that (instead of the $10,000 we financed). Wouldn't that have been sweet?

Anyway. Stupid credit cards. I'll be glad when they're gone.

Oh, and the other one? The bigger BECC? They've raised our min. We've kept them at mins while we pay the smaller one first...and they raised our min by $30 a month. Go figure.

CVS fun run today!

I haven't seen super-great deals for us at CVS lately - just the holiday stuff, I guess, and not as many coupons out.

Today I made a run down there because I needed two prescriptions filled anyway, and I ended up with a really decent haul. :)

I found 2 CVS brand "Olay Regenerist" face creams on clearance for a dollar each! That was a really nice surprise - that's nice stuff!

A two-pack (combined) of CVS storage bags, gallon sized, with zipper.

20 rolls of Cottonelle tp (they were out of their advertised sale, a 20 pack for $9.99 with 2 ecbs, so they gave me a 12 pack and 2-4 packs for the $7.99)

2 toothbrushes

1 Garnier Fructis hair mousse

2 Lysol sprays

I had a few coupons, and paid with Ecb's - but it came to 83 cents OOP! I was really excited. ooh - I take that back - I paid out of the household account for the tp. What a deal, though!

Plus, i got more ECB's back than I paid with. Gotta love it.

I enjoy CVS - the couponing has become a fun hobby. Who knew - a hobby that could help you with your budget instead of hurt it! lol

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Car Issues

Well, it's been awhile - we've had a little drama in our lives!

Our car died. Completely. As in, we're not getting it fixed. It was a 1996 Cavalier that I purchased off the lot with 14 miles on it (not 14,000 - just 14). I've had it longer than I've had dh. :) I guess I should say, "I had it"...because it's been hauled away to a salvage yard.

It's been a weird week. The car died on Monday. We've put a lot of money into it recently, and we knew we'd have to make a decision to get rid of it soon. The estimate to fix was over $800 - with no guarantee that it would work. It would probably need at least $400 more. And then - who knew how long it would be until another thing went wrong. It had 192,000 miles on it.

We bought a new car last night. I know, I know...not very Dave Ramsey-ish. We thought long and hard, and talked it over a lot. We were able to get decent terms, and found a good, reliable car:

I Kelley Blue-Booked it and the retail value is over $14,000 - as in, that's what it should have been on the lot for. Even the private sale was over $11,000. So we think we got a really good deal.

So, we have added to our BS2, and killed our snowball for the moment. This means that we have to redo the budget, and work harder to find work outside of our standard month's pay.

I'm determined that this will not pull us under. As I told dh - if we can get rid of the smaller of the BECC's, we can have another $140 to snowball to the bigger one, and it will go that much faster. Not to mention that we can work harder on getting ebay stuff up and working on the sewing business and etsy. That would really help. I think that if we work at it, and include most of the tax return (we need part of it to go visit dh's family over spring break - we haven't been down there in almost 3 years...) - we could get it paid off by April - if not by April, definitely with the summer school check in August. That would be freakin' AWESOME!

I am not convinced that we will go forever without incurring debt. I would be delighted if we never incur more cc debt. I know that's not totally Dave Ramsey style...but that's where we're at right now.

I do love our new car - it's very nice, quiet...who knew there were cars out there that you didn't have to put the heat on "high" for it to work? Or without a crack in the windshield? Or where there was a CD player? Hmm...


Otherwise - money has been decent. We've been eating in - we did have to pay a little out of the BEF for gas for the truck for me to get to work on Tues & Wed, plus to drive up to where the new car was at (about 45 minutes away), so that will need to be replaced.

But it feels like we made the right decision for us - and that feels really cool.

Have a nifty weekend - I'll try to get in again to catch up with everyone! :)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Sent another little chunk...

Well, actually a nice sized chunk!

We are now at $12,796.86 for the BECC balance - UNDER $13,000 for the first time in YEARS.

I am so freakin' excited, I could BUST! lol

And we still possibly have more money to send to them - $100 from mom for xmas, $120 for a dress I'm making, and the possible $800 or so from the annuity that I'm still trying to read the fine print on.

I tell ya, as you make changes, you find money EVERYWHERE!

I love seeing that little chart's really become an inspiration for me. Weird, cuz it's been there for quite awhile does it just now become so cool to see change?

Maybe it's because the BEF is finally in place and I feel like we have a plan.

All step. I have yards and yards of polar fleece in my sewing room. I had grand plans that aren't happening. Should I sell it on ebay? Yes or No...


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

File Cabinets

I just finished cleaning out 11 pounds of paper from our file cabinets!

I tend to put it off because...well, it's just not fun.

But - believe it or not, while doing so, I found somewhere between $846 and $995!! Can you believe it!?

Here's the story:

Way back in the mid-1990's, I got my first real job, and I was talked into contributing to an annuity. I contributed for a whopping 1 year. Then, I stopped. It has sat ever since, because there were MUCHO penalties for early withdrawal.

But - I've let it sit now for 13 years. And...I looked at the setup, and the withdrawal penalty isn't quite as bad as it was. 5% + taxes.

Now, I'd lose that 5% + taxes if I cashed it in.

Is it worth it?

I'm not sure yet. Think I'll ask on . I'm confused as to whether I should just sit on it. I'd love not to have to worry about the paperwork - I keep forgetting about it.

But - my files are cleaned out! Yay! I'm going to paperless with most of my bills, too, which is nice. Anything I can, will. I like that.

It sure would be nice to have another $800 to send to the BECC, though...


Amazing that it's 2008 already.

Well, I was able to hit some cool sales the last week. I put aside $50 for after Christmas sales, just because I love them so much. I got some random Christmas stuff, but mostly things we would need - xmas cards, a few wrapping boxes, food.

Some real steals:
  • Found big(gish) boxes of sturdy cardboard, about a foot tall and 9" by 6" or so. They have lids, too. And they're decorated with snowflakes - $1.74 each (75% off at Target). I bought 4 of them for packing away and storing xmas stuff, and they can be used for wrapping next year, too.
  • Bags of "Hershey's kissables". My dh loves them, and they were $.69 a bag. We bought 10 for the freezer. He'll forget about them and I'll tote one up in a couple months and make his day.
  • Some lights for outside - big bulbs in a satin finish, for $2.50

Those are the really big deals. I got more, and it was fun. :)

Still waiting for the paypal money to clear our bank to get it transferred to the cc. It will feel soooo good to do that. We're still waiting to see if we need the $100 from my mom (she gave us for xmas) - if not, it's going to the cc, too.

I'm so excited to get this going! I have plans - big plans - for working around the house. The next big thing is the rummage sale in June. I might post some things on ebay in a few weeks, but for now, that's over. It was a lot of work for under $300! I might post some things on Craigslist - at least it's free.

Okay...I need to go do something...what can I do TONIGHT to get more money to send to the cc's? Hmm...