Sunday, February 24, 2008


It's been a rough couple of weeks. A co-worker died three weeks ago very suddenly, and it's been crazy hectic at work. I'm the dept chair, so a lot of that stuff fell on me to figure out (how we're going to get through the semester, etc).

Anyway - during that time, our refund from the state was deposited. While we didn't go wild, we did spend way too much of it on eating out and other stuff. I finally sat down today to get going on the updates in Quicken and found that we are able to refund the BEF, but after all is said and done, we have about $300 left. Dh wants it to sit until the end of the payday month (the 20th) and then if there's anything left, send it to the dryer.

I'm okay with that, because...we are officially on budget! It's been on paper for months but we struggle with actually following it. Now, I have cash out for groceries. We are keeping the gas money in the checking account because it's really a pain to not use the debit card at the gas station. But everything else is paid, and that's where we're at.

I'm proud of us for not using the cc while this was all going on, and I'm relieved to have the BEF back to $1000. I'm annoyed that we didn't have a plan - we both know better. But...we survived.

I've also learned that I need to continue to check in MUCH more often to make sure I stay on track. Makes it much easier.

I'll be jumping around later to say hi to everyone - and wonder of wonders...we're expecting another 8" of SNOW tomorrow! Just in time for me to drive home from work!

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I've been gone for awhile - not because I've gone off track, but it's been a hellish week. Nothing really money-related.

The "Blizzard of '08" is what they're calling the snowfall we got on Wednesday. Here, we got 20". Sustained winds over 40mph, gusts over 60mph. We are now 2.5" away from setting a new record snowfall for a winter season. And...lordy lordy...more SNOW is in the forecast for tomorrow night. How exciting.

Work drama. 'nuff said.

And I have a killer cold which has just set me flat on my butt. Meds can take care of the stuffy nose (mostly) and cough, but there's still the achies and man...I'm just constantly exhausted. I feel like I could sleep for a week.

I did go to the Garden Expo in Madison with my mom & sisters today - and it was awesome, because for a little while, we could imagine that spring was going to come.



Sunday, February 03, 2008

Wow...3 posts in one day! This one is about...2008 plans!

Okay. I realized I've been unusually verbose today in here! But...I thought of something else I wanted to get down.

We are on target to paying OFF the smaller of the BECC's in August. That would be amazingly cool. It's not even really "hoping" - we're on track for it.

I'll be getting close to $1000 in curriculum work. Add in random ebay sales. And summer school checks. Even with buying a new bed (haven't gone in to that story at all...) and finding money in the budget for a car payment, we should be able to get rid of the smaller BECC (about $3200 right now) with the summer school check in late July.

That would free up about $140 a month to go into the snowball, or just loosen the budget a little bit after we tighten it for the car payment. It depends on how poorly we adjust to the car payment budgeting process...I'm hopeful on that, but it won't be easy.

Then, we tackle the larger BECC - that booger is at about $9500 right now. It makes my tummy tighten just to think about how long we've been paying on that one, and how much interest we've paid them, and how much longer it will take to get them off our backs. step at a time, right?

Our order of payoffs, which I know make very little Dave Ramsey sense:
Smaller BECC: $3200
Bigger BECC: $9500
Dryer: $400
Car: $10,000
VA: $1000.
Student Loans: $60,000 and probably rising as I'm returning to school for my doctorate next spring.

There is a reason we chose this order, and it's a simple one: The bigger BECC has a much higher interest rate than any of the others, and VA doesn't bother us about what we owe them (medical) as long as we throw them something every once in awhile. They do seize part of our federal return, but I can live with that. We do owe them the money, after all. After the BECC's are paid off, we can increase what we send them to $80, which would at least keep us even (it is $10 per med per month, and dh is on 8 meds). Then we could divide up some other money coming in to pay down the balance. But.. the BECC's need to be done first.

It is absolutely amazing to think that we might have the smaller BECC paid off in a few months. That's been hanging over our heads for over 7 years. The bigger one is over 9 years old. Whew.

I soooo want them gone.

Cell Phone Fun

We've been looking at the pay-as-you-go plans for our cell phone, as I mentioned before. Well, we stopped at Walmart this morning to see what they had. We found a Tracfone for under $20, and then would have to buy the minutes, which averaged out to about $10 a month for a short number of minutes.

When we got home, I got online to see what our current provider offers. The minutes were acceptable ($25 for 130 minutes over 3 months), but I couldn't find any information anywhere on the phone. It looked like we'd have to buy a new phone (at least $20) or at least a new SIM card ($15) to make our current phone into a pay-as-you-go phone. This really ticked off dh. A lot. "Scam" and "Slimy bastards" were some of the nicer things he said. :)

So I decided to call them. I found out SUCH good news - I'm so excited!

We can transfer to pay-as-you-go with one phone call. It takes them about 24 hours to switch, but we DON'T need a new phone, we DON'T need a new SIM card - nothing. Just a call. They give 5 minutes so you keep your same phone number, and then you can add in minutes as you normally would.

AND...maybe the best part? If we don't like it, we can make ONE phone call back to them, choose a new plan, and get back on monthly payments.

Dh wasn't around, and he is on the account as primary, so I couldn't do it then. Not that I would - dh and I still need to talk about it. But it looks like this will be the best option for us.

And it will cut out $34 a month to go to the car payment. :) Yippee!

Now...Charter is next on the chopping block...


We got our yearly announcement from the mortgage company yesterday. After looking online at our escrow account, I was pretty sure we weren't going to get an escrow refund, but I was hoping our monthly payment would stay the same.

No such luck. Increased by $24 a month.

So...the car payment is now at -$232. I need to get on that.

On the "to do" list today is to call T-Mobile about pay as you go, and to call Charter about dumping a lot of our cable.

I know that won't get us to the whole car payment, but it will help!