Posts Tagged ‘Savings’

So to Speak…

I have so much in my brain right now – I’ve discussed where we’re at with the Mortgage and the van – and we have that underway.

The mortgage is in a holding pattern until the funds from our 401K arrive via Fed-Ex after it’s sent – the NCHFA has told us that we’ll have the funds forgiven after 10 years in the home – I really hope that we’re successful in paying the mortgage ourselves after their support runs out after 18-Months.

However, today I received the paperwork FINALLY from Wells Fargo to close my account – I sent an email to the HR Team of my previous employer requesting they complete the paperwork and send it back to Wells Fargo as soon as they can so I can get this money quickly.  So now we wait…as per usual.

Bonus, though today we got a call from DSS telling us we qualify for Family/Adult Medicaid through the State so we can get medical insurance.  YAY! My husband has been experiencing random low grade to somewhat highish fevers and I am really worried about him – BUT we’ve been unable to get him to the Dr’s to get it looked at.  And, he’s been unwilling to go to the hospital to get it looked at, and I understand that, ER’s are not clinics and not the place to go for medical attention.  So tomorrow, off we go to DSS to get this application in.

I was told today that another manager in my store is looking for someone Full-Time in two of her departments – she’d already offered me extra shifts and I am going to take them – however, my counter manager told me to talk to this other manager about getting a full-time position with her.  I am considering it because we could definitely use the money, and its looking like my future is bound within the walls of the store…for now at least as I am having a very hard time finding work outside of the store. Been looking for a couple of months now with no luck…so yup.

I am also considering undertaking a change in our diet – recently one of my favorite author’s has started on her blog a series of posts about Depression Era Eating and cooking.  She’s listed those items to store in bulk and now I am thinking about how to outfit our kitchen to accommodate bulk dry goods in my kitchen. (her initial post is here, Food Frugality in the New Depression) – it’s a 12′ x 12′ square with one wall of cabinets interspersed with my stove, sink, and refrigerator

The other side of the cabinets is the same, and on the 3rd wall is a steel dog crate for Sadie.  So now I have to get creative, maybe using some shelves and the real estate on the floor by the other wall on the other side of the kitchen next to the living room…

I think doing this would allow us to save some money at the grocery store – just because we’re on Food Stamps doesn’t mean we have to eat like crud – we can use those funds to pay for bulk items at the store and eat well. At least that’s my thought…what do you all think? If nothing else the money saved will be helpful in paying for other items.

One is Silver – we’re considering selling her, as much as it breaks my heart – we cannot continue to pay her monthly payment, the insurance and gas – we’d need another vehicle so possibly going back to a buy here – pay here place OR buying something for cash.  We won’t get what we owe Regional for her – I am aware of that – BUT the bigger picture is that her monthly payment ($540.00) plus the insurance ($272.00/mos) plus gas ($140.00) is just too much for us right now on my $9.00/hr income…so we have to determine if that’s a viable option…

Ok I think I’ve offloaded enough…

Hello One & All – Its been ages since I’ve been in the post here, been super busy with work and getting ready for the Holidays!

Our Holiday season was a busy one, and one that closed out with some HUGE financials burdens being laid at our feet – seems to happen every year at that time, I don’t understand it seriously – why does something go wrong with the car at the holidays every damn year!?!?!?!? This year it was a wreck – something happened 5-Days before Christmas and I managed to hit a pole! A totally learner’s permit move, but it happened – ugh – a lady told me that my front drivers side tire didn’t turn right and thus caused me to hit a pole on that side of Bessie (aka our van) – BUT its a pole with a yield sign that EVERY single friggin’ person hits!  Frustrating as Hell!  So I have incurred for this a charge for a tow truck, $65.00, a rental car, cost TBD and a deductible on the car repairs, $250.00 + an Oil Change + a Coolant Flush, cost TBD from the dealership…ugh! And we have one more payment on our trial period for the mortgage to make on the 15th, $860.14.  Ugh someone has decided we’re bleeding money that time of year….happens every damn year and frankly I am sick & tired of it.  Curious who we pissed off in terms of the financial karma’s that has cursed us and caused us to consistently be struggling?!? We do everything we can to make things work – do everything right and inevitably we hit trouble financially ALL the DAMN TIME!

Ok so where does that leave us financially for the New Year? Well currently at a stand still until I know for sure where we are in terms of the cost of the rental car + the oil change and coolant flush from the dealership – I’m waiting on an estimate from the dealership and won’t know how much the rental will be until I turn it in – I got an estimate when I opened the contract, $90.68, but that was for only 4-Days and now I am sitting here on two+ weeks, it’s $21.00/day = roughly $294.00, then there’s taxes + fees, etc…so I am looking at about $350.00…so not happy about this!  Not sure where to go from here…

We are doing something, or more taking on a challenge of sorts – we’ve decided to join the millions doing the 52-Week Savings Challenge and keeping the funds in a jar here at work so we’re less tempted to use it, see the image here

52 Week Money Challenge

I’ve deposited the 1st Week’s Amount into this jar – if all goes well, maybe by the end of the year we’ll have a decent amount of money saved and we can use that money to start our Emergency Funds account! Or even start saving toward a vacation – we haven’t decided exactly how to use that money yet – in fact, we haven’t even discussed it…for now it’s just a matter of budgeting smart so we can make those contributions weekly.

Well enough from me – hope everyone is having a good week! I’ll try to get back in here weekly to bi-weekly to update!

Which only meant we had more “loose change” or other monies to spend elsewhere – while I am glad about that after seeing the total of how much we spent this week, $88.80 on Misc. Items we probably could have done without, or better planned for in our grocery shopping we’d have that money going into this new week coming up…kicking myself in the arse on this one I swear!

Last week I posted a topic on Weight Loss and Budgets stating how my weight loss program has been costing us additional monies – what I did not mention is that now I am yet again at that in-between stage in terms of clothing sizes meaning while all of my Size 12/Mediums still fit, I am wondering how much longer they’ll still look decent – the 12’s are starting to just loosely hang on me, yet we don’t have funds enough quite yet to get me into 10s…and I still need shorts for summer…fantastic.  The other side to the weight loss is that I am not eating the same foods as the rest of my house – my lunches consist of items consistently different than what I used to eat (which was closer to what my kids eat) along with alternating items for dinners…to say grocery shopping has gotten interesting would be an understatement…while I have worked it so that I am not spending more on the grocery budget – just different – some of what I eat now comes from Target vs. Wal-Mart or even from Harris Teeter vs. the other two just depends on what I’m in the mood for.

On that note, here we go here’s the budget from this week:

 $15.54 Remaining from W/E 03/09/14  $523.78 Lara W/E 03/16/14 Salary, Pay Date 03/21
 $88.80 Amt. Spent  $288.13 Jimmy W/E 03/16/14 Salary
 $(73.26) Avail. Starting  $811.91
 $15.00 Savings for X-Mas ’14  $(73.26) Avail. Starting
 $2.99 Food Lion  $811.91 Total Pay
 $4.54 Target  $738.65 Avail. For Bills
 $11.00 Target
 $26.73 Target
 $5.13 KTC
 $4.80 Target
 $1.00 Facebook?
 $2.51 PetsMart
 $2.03 Rite Aid
 $13.07 Food Lion
 $6.03 Everybody’s
 $1.52 Office Max
 $88.80

As I mentioned above – we spent WAY too much this past week…seriously will cut that back in the coming weeks otherwise we’re going to be royally screwed financially.  I am still trying desperately to put money aside to help fund Christmas this year, just want to ensure we don’t run into the problem on having to pull it back into our account like I did two weeks ago.

So here’s how things broke down, we had our internet bill due which meant no money going to the mortgage – yes I am starting to sound like a broken record here…going into Q2 2014 I am going to work much harder to correct this…

 $738.65
 $121.66 AT&T, 03/21 Pre-Payment
 $616.99
 $85.00 LAS Financial
 $531.99
 $60.00 Brigades Boys & Girls Club
 $471.99
 $63.44 State Farm, 03/24 Auto-Draft
 $408.55
 $200.00 Groceries
 $208.55
 $25.00 Dinner, 03/21
 $183.55
 $25.00 Jimmy’s Money
 $158.55
 $40.00 Cat & Dog Food
 $118.55
 $60.00  Gas
 $58.55
 $7.99  Hulu.com, 03/21 Auto-Draft
 $50.56  $50.56
8%  $4.04
 $4.04  $46.52

So there you have it – our budget – we’re back to square one – BROKE as a JOKE and not liking it at ALL!

How does one fix the above?

  1. First and foremost they STOP spending money frivolously
  2. They find a means to bring in more money – we’re working on this
  3. They find a means to take advantage of ‘free money’ (i.e. rebates, things benefits through work cover and such)
  4. They get smarter.

Any other suggestions? Taking them now!

Hope you all have had a good week!

Not feeling it this week…the budget is strained once again and I am in a place where I wonder what happened to that lovely map I set-up…seems to me that when I do develop stuff like that I am thrown for a loop and items unexpected come up – then again this time it was lack of income to expenses…sorely missing my overtime right now, we really need it as I try my damndest to keep up with the utilities and the mortgage and keeping food on the table…that’s been my biggest struggle…the mortgage is seriously more than we can swing right now and I am just trying to figure out how I can make it all work.  Seriously hoping the restructure comes through soon so we can get situated in a budget and keep it stable and balanced.  That is the hope at least!

The car situation is on hold for now until the mortgage comes through – as I said in my post mid-week last week they requested duplicates of paperwork previously submitted – turns out it was paperwork that was supposed to be sent to us, but our idiot ‘counselor’ never sent it and that was what was holding up the process…go figure…so now we’ve sent in that paperwork and I am waiting on a response from the underwriters, seriously hope we have one this week.  I am very anxious to get to a resolution very soon!

Alright here goes – the budget for the week – we’re actually going to be left with $28 cash from the cash withdrawal and surprisingly we got a check from our health insurance provider refunding the co-pay I paid for my check-in/new patient visit a couple of weeks ago, so that $20.00 was put back into the general funds account and will be used next week…that and another check for $5.00 from LCA (guess it was a payment that drafted before I stopped payments from our account) – so hey an extra $25.00! I’ll take that!

 $45.41 Remaining from W/E 06/16/13  $496.56 Lara W/E 06/23/13 Salary
 $50.32 Amt. Spent  $216.42 Jimmy W/E 06/23/13 Salary
 $(4.91) Avail. Starting  $712.98
 $10.37 Wal-Mart  $(4.91) Avail. Starting
 $9.60 Michaels  $712.98 Total Pay
 $6.13 PetsMart  $708.07 Avail. For Bills
 $2.54 KTC  $5.00  Addt’l Refund from LabCorp
 $6.00 Tommy’s  $713.07
 $15.68 Smithfields  $9.00 Transfer in from Savings
 $50.32  $722.07

While I have wanted in the past to have the ability to go out with my hubby alone more than we do – I will say this – we’ve had two lunch dates this week, which has made me very happy!  We hit Chipotle for lunch on Tuesday and used what leftover cash we had on hand to split a burrito bowl, chips and drinks and then on Friday we went to Smithfields for lunch! We managed to keep the costs under $20.00 both times and I got to have a long-needed date with my hubby! So it can be done, just have to get creative!

 $722.07
 $25.00 DB Plumbing
 $697.07
 $80.00 Brigades Boys & Girls Club
 $617.07
 $5.00 OT Solutions
 $612.07
 $48.00 Great Lakes, Auto Draft 7/3
 $564.07
 $170.00 Groceries
 $394.07
 $25.00 Cat & Dog Food
 $369.07
 $25.00 Dinner, 6/28
 $344.07
 $25.00 Jimmy’s Money
 $319.07
 $40.00 Gas
 $279.07
 $225.00 Citi
 $54.07  $54.07
7%  $3.78
 $3.78  $50.29

We have actually managed to stay out of our checking account this weekend – with the exception of a movie rental yesterday we haven’t spent a dime, which is a good start for the week!  Here’s our budget now with the cash withdrawal – like I said we’re left with $28.00 which is going into the pot to purchase Ashley a new bike and then the next things we’ll  be saving for is some new clothes for my hubby and I then Austin would like a computer game…so we’re using the money to save and purchase needed/wanted items and what’s left will go into the emergency fund.

 $722.07
 $25.00 DB Plumbing
 $697.07
 $80.00 Brigades Boys & Girls Club
 $617.07
 $5.00 OT Solutions
 $612.07
 $48.00 Great Lakes, Auto Draft 7/3
 $564.07
 $300.00 Cash for the Week
 $264.07
 $225.00 CitiMortgage
 $39.07
 $3.78 Merrill Transfer
 $35.29

So that’s all folks! Once we’ve made the purchases we need, we’ll work on re-building the emergency funds account…for now though we continue on the path we’re on!

This question was posed to me last Friday after I posted our budget for the week and I wanted to lay  it all out simply – first though we need to back track on how I come up with some of our numbers:

Simple – I tracked our spending over the course of a year, yes a YEAR everyone! I notated where each dime went and quarterly I took those numbers and averaged them out to come up with what would be allocated for each item weekly – namely the grocery and gas budget figures.  These two items in actual amounts fluctuate each week based on how much we need and the meals we choose – but for the most part we come in somewhere around the $170.00 figure I set aside each week.  This number has grown from the $100 we used to spend each week roughly 12 years ago, increasing to $125/week for awhile, then up to $130 for another few years, growing eventually to upwards of $150 then landing at the $170 figure i use now.  This might change again in a years time if I find we’re spending more than our budget each week.

For gas though, as we all know the cost of gas can swing greatly day to day, nevermind week to week, thus the reason we came up with the averaging across numbers.  I maintain the total size of my tank and figure roughly how much it’s going to cost to fill it – right now I have a  13-Gallon tank in our Focus and gas prices have been floating around $3.50 – $3.79/gallon recently, so therefore it’s best to budget up to $40.00 for a full tank fill.  If I come in under budget WOOHOO!! Rarely do we go over budget as I won’t allow the tank to get less than 1/4 full before racing to the gas station!

Ok that done now, I then developed a spreadsheet, as you’ve seen posted. First things first is to pull in our incoming salaries – this I pull obviously directly from our checks as they are direct-deposit each Friday:

 $572.95 Lara W/E 04/07/13 Salary
 $324.48 Jimmy W/E 04/07/13 Salary
 $897.43

The $897.43 is the sum total of both checks

I then figure out how much we spent on non budgeted items the week before – these are spur of the moment Debit card transactions from our bank account that weren’t accounted for in the budget:

 $13.33 Target
 $8.53 Wal-Mart
 $1.29 Amazon.com
 $10.20 Office Max
 $7.24 Tommy’s
 $8.12 Target
 $5.14 KTC Total
 $1.07 McDonalds
 $54.92

The $54.92 is the total amount spent from our checking account for the week – last week I put $10.00 back into our account from the KTC (Keep the Change) account because we were on the edge of Overdraft.

Next – I take what was left over from the week prior’s budget figures and deduct the amount spent, in this case it’s $44.92 and come up with what’s left in our checking/budget before we’re paid:

 $61.08 Remaining from W/E 04/21/13
 $44.62 Amt. Spent
 $16.46 Avail. Starting

In this case there was a discrepancy between the budget left over $44.92 and what was actually in checking remaining, $44.62 so I accounted for that $0.30 in our check register, leaving just $16.46 before we were paid on Friday.

Next, I take the left over dollar figure amount and add it into our paycheck total:

 $16.46 Avail. Starting
 $897.43 Total Pay
 $913.89 Avail. For Bills

And that is how I come up with what we start with each week to do the budget, this is obviously double-checked against the bank account – as this means ZIP if it doesn’t first match the checking account.

The means of actually doing the budget is taking what you have to start, $913.89 and line by line subtracting the bills, grocery money, gas money, and other budget items to come up with the final left over amount each week.  Bi-Weekly for us that dollar amount is very small, but on the bi-weeks like we’re in right now it’s several hundred dollars that is rolled over into the bill pay week to pay our bills.

Before actually starting my weekly budget though, I sit down and manually balance our checkbook – yes it’s a paper/pen process as I’ve used Quicken in the past and it gets all jumbled and is generally incorrect – this way I can micro-manage the bank account.

Now tracking our bills is another post for tomorrow! But a preview here is that I use a paper and pen calendar 😉

For other budget tips, please also visit the Simply Money Blog – I have found some of their tips useful as well!

Here we go again, it’s Friday and because we have a very busy weekend ahead of us, I opted to do the checkbook/budget/pay bills etc. during my lunch hour at work today…there’s not much to report in our world financially today – Jimmy’s off this weekend, so I am sure we’ll be getting into something, what is yet to be seen, as it depends largely on the weather.  If it’s nice we’ll head to the beach if it’s not we’ll go shoot pool or something else indoorsy.

Our mortgage restructure is still in process – got an email yesterday from Citi stating it was with the underwriters for final decision – yet when they called the other day they told me it was just with the underwriters, nothing saying it was in the final stages of completion…again that lack of communication is (utterly) frustrating.

I am making good headway with our cash savings, and this makes me very very happy, between the two spots I am stashing cash we’re just under $100.00 on hand, which for us is a LOT of money, so I am going to keep building that in hopes that we eventually have enough where I feel comfortable dumping it into an interest bearing savings account – that research to be done at a much later date as we’re no where near that quite yet.

That being said, here’s this weeks budget – hope it doesn’t depress you as much as it does me 😉

 $61.08 Remaining from W/E 04/21/13  $572.95 Lara W/E 04/14/13 Salary
 $44.62 Amt. Spent  $324.48 Jimmy W/E 04/14/13 Salary
 $16.46 Avail. Starting  $897.43
 $13.33 Target  $16.46 Avail. Starting
 $8.53 Wal-Mart  $897.43 Total Pay
 $1.29 Amazon.com  $913.89 Avail. For Bills
 $10.20 Office Max
 $7.24 Tommy’s
 $8.12 Target
 $5.14 KTC Total
 $1.07 McDonalds
 $54.92

Now this week is a bi-week, meaning there’s no bills being paid other than AT&T and that’s because I didn’t want to try and lump it in with the bills being paid next week – that and the due date is before I’d be able to get it to them before shut-off and I need our Phone/Internet to work at home right now…

 $913.89
 $20.00 DB Plumbing
 $893.89
 $70.00 Brigades Boys & Girls Club
 $823.89
 $5.00 OT Solutions
 $818.89
 $17.00 Savings for Car
 $801.89
 $5.00 CCA, 04/29 Auto-Draft
 $796.89
 $5.00 LCA, 05/01 Auto-Draft
 $791.89
 $170.00 Groceries
 $621.89
 $40.00 Gas
 $581.89
 $35.00 Dinner, 04/26/13
 $546.89
 $25.00 Jimmy’s Money
 $521.89
 $121.00 AT&T
 $400.89
 $25.00 Cat & Dog Food
 $375.89

And now with the lump sum cash withdrawal

 $913.89
 $20.00 DB Plumbing
 $893.89
 $70.00 Brigades Boys & Girls Club
 $823.89
 $5.00 OT Solutions
 $818.89
 $17.00 Savings for Car
 $801.89
 $5.00 CCA, 04/29 Auto-Draft
 $796.89
 $5.00 LCA, 05/01 Auto-Draft
 $791.89
 $300.00 Cash for Week
 $491.89
 $121.00 AT&T
 $370.89

I find something else totally ironic here – just yesterday I was reading an article on MSN Finance that said Americans are least likely to discuss Credit Card Debt with total strangers than anything else (this same article also mentioned that we as a whole were unlikely to discuss our other financial concerns including mortgages, medical debt, student loans, etc.) – and yet here I am openly sharing everything with the world to see.  Does that make me strange, an over-sharer, or just someone who is totally flipped her lid?  I’ll let you all decide!

Until next time – hold onto this: Your Debt is Your Debt, Whether you Decide to Discuss it is Entirely Yours, But Don’t Discount Those Who Truly Want to Share!

It’s that time of the week again and I am feeling slightly overwhelmed with the mass amount of money going out of our account this week and the small amount we’ll be left with come the middle of the week next week…it’s frightening almost, especially coming off of having the refunds sitting for so long, alas – that comfort will be gone…long gone…so good bye!

I’ve set-up weekly transfers from our checking to savings for the next six (6) weeks to  bring the $650.00 we have sitting in savings for a down payment up to $750.00 for the new car.  We discussed it and decided this was the best, most optimal down payment we could offer.  We think – and I emphasize that word THINK – that this will give us the best leverage when we return to the dealership at the beginning of June – that will also put (2) more payments to Credit Acceptance on our account which will bring the payoff amount down that much as well…so it’s two fold really!

BUT BUT to top everything off – and this is the prime kicker – after having a conversation with CitiMortgage on Monday evening – after receiving a call from our idiot homeowner assistance counselor – requesting a letter drafted by Jimmy and I stating that we don’t pay homeowner’s fees – this would normally be an ok situation but here’s the thing – our neighborhood is over a century old BEFORE the concept of HOA’s was even thought of and it’s really houses situated on through roads in an urban area.  HOA’s are generally used in Pre-Planned neighborhoods where they have that sort of thing…um not us…um it’s not been in ANY of our paperwork EVER that there was one…why they are asking for this now is beyond me! And, to add to it, I received a letter yesterday from them requesting MORE paystubs and a new Workable Solutions Packet – um nothings changed since 3/19 when we sent the first one?!?!? Um am I missing something???  So I sent off a new set of pay stubs and am requesting why they need this new workable solutions packet…please hold on this!

Alrighty then, onto why we’re here…the budget, please enjoy!

 $520.71 Remaining from W/E 04/14/13  $568.30 Lara W/E 04/07/13 Salary
 $37.83 Amt. Spent  $303.33 Jimmy W/E 04/07/13 Salary
 $482.88 Avail. Starting  $871.63
 $14.97 Target  $474.59 Avail. Starting
 $14.38 Target  $871.63 Total Pay
 $1.99 Amazon.com  $1,346.22 Avail. For Bills
 $1.02 Amazon.com
 $5.47 Tommy’s
 $37.83

So again, first the breakdown by line item, then we’ll get into the one with the lump sum cash withdrawal:

 $1,346.22
 $20.00 DB Plumbing
 $1,326.22
 $70.00 Brigades Boys & Girls Club
 $1,256.22
 $5.00 OT Solutions
 $1,251.22
 $170.00 Credit Accept.
 $1,081.22
 $120.00 Progress
 $961.22
 $69.00 Needham Animal Hospital
 $892.22
 $65.20 State Farm
 $827.02
 $7.99 Hulu.com, 4/21 Auto-Draft
 $819.03
 $5.00 WHA, 4/22 Auto-Draft
 $814.03
 $5.00 Coastal Behavioral
 $809.03
 $21.39 Blockbuster, 4/23 Auto-Draft
 $787.64
 $5.00 LCA, 4/24 Auto-Draft
 $782.64
 $170.00  Groceries
 $612.64
 $40.00  Gas
 $572.64
 $30.00  Dinner, 04/19/13
 $542.64
 $25.00  Jimmy’s Money
 $517.64
 $400.00  Citi
 $117.64
 $17.00  Savings for Car
 $100.64
 $25.00  Cat & Dog Food
 $75.64  $75.64
7%  $5.29
 $5.29  $70.35

And now with the cash lump sum withdrawal

 $1,346.22
 $20.00 DB Plumbing
 $1,326.22
 $70.00 Brigades Boys & Girls Club
 $1,256.22
 $5.00 OT Solutions
 $1,251.22
 $170.00 Credit Accept.
 $1,081.22
 $120.00 Progress Energy
 $961.22
 $69.00 Needham Animal Hospital
 $892.22
 $65.20 State Farm
 $827.02
 $7.99 Hulu.com, 4/21 Auto-Draft
 $819.03
 $5.00 Coastal Behavioral
 $814.03
 $21.39 Blockbuster, 4/23 Auto-Draft
 $792.64
 $5.00 LCA, 4/24 Auto-Draft
 $787.64
 $400.00 Citi
 $387.64
 $17.00 Savings for Car Downpayment
 $370.64
 $300.00 Cash for Week
 $70.64
 $5.00 WHA
 $65.64
 $5.29 To Merrill Savings
 $60.35

Alright there ya go! Enjoy!