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Archive for June, 2008

New week!

June 30th, 2008 at 05:13 am

Well the weekend went well as we didn't spend much money! We did go see Get Smart and enjoyed it a lot (I was a big fan of the TV show back in the day.) That money came out of the budgeted cash we had so that was our entertainment for the weekend. This week we will be getting a check for $5401 which will go directly into the Hawaii fund. My wife is worried I'm going to pay off debt with it so I had to assure her I wasn't! She just wants to make sure everything we do in Hawaii is cash flowed and I am all for that.

We still need to buy some clothes, a gift for her nephew for graduating high school and a gift for our next store neighbor for having their 2nd child last week so the $5401 will get a chunk taken out of it (I'm hoping she spends $401 or less so we have $5000 to bring to the island) but hopefully not too big a chunk.

We don't get paid this week but all the bills are paid and she still has plenty of cash left over from the food budget so we're good there. I'm going to have to wait about a week to pay down more debt but I have a few items listed on Ebay as we speak and since I'm actually off starting Weds through the rest of the week (my anniversary at the company is Weds so my vacation reups and I'm taking the couple of days before the 4th off) I'm going to be listing some more stuff with the off time.

It'll be a fun week hopefully!

CC Roller Coaster

June 26th, 2008 at 05:09 am

I ran an account balance history on one of the cards from my debt reduction tracker (Card 3) and it was pretty ridiculous to say the least. Take a look at this:

Opening balance on 7/1/07: $6866.01

Now each one of these is a net monthly total.

Jul 07: Spent $4092.28 ($10958.29)
Aug 07: Spent $2852.46 ($13810.75)
Sep 07: Spent $3489.31 ($17300.06)
Oct 07: Spent $3155.43 ($20455.49)
Nov 07: Spent $3401.77 ($23857.26)
Dec 07: Spent $3278.19 ($27135.45)
Jan 08: PAID $16188.60 ($10946.85)
Feb 08: Spent $2414.57 ($13361.42)
Mar 08: Spent $10725.13 ($24086.55)
Apr 08: Spent $2326.34 ($26412.89)
May 08: PAID $5707.52 ($20705.37)
Jun 08: PAID $3436.24 ($17269.13)

So out of the last 12 months I had 3 where I actually paid off more than I spent. The biggest key for me is that 2 of those 3 are the last 2 months. It's painful to see that Jan 08 balance (I had it!) but that's what I call a serious case of live and learn. I averaged spending just under $4k/month in the 9 months I spent. Sheesh!

More interest owed...debt must die!

June 26th, 2008 at 04:27 am

Doh! I really am not a big fan of Card 1 (obviously I used to be its #1 fan as you can see by the balance we ran up on it.) They "socked" me with an interest charge of $303.52! Ouch...right in the kisser.

So unfortunately I get to update the debt tracker for all the wrong reasons! The light at the end of the tunnel is I'm not concerning myself with Card 1 for a long while because I have to crawl before I can walk (and then run from this debt monster) so I really need to just keep paying down Card 3 then attack 2 and then 1 and then have NO DEBT TRACKER CATEGORY EVER AGAIN!

I like the plan. Here's the updated numbers (oh and Card 1 has a min payment of $700 due 7/24...yippie.)

Debt Tracker 6/26/08
Card 1 $43817.82 (8.99%)
Card 2 $30411.06 (9.99%)
Card 3 $17269.13 (11.24%)

Knocked down some more debt

June 25th, 2008 at 06:30 am

Well I was able to throw a little under $800 at Card 3 and pay the ridiculous Card X annual fee off (so the card is 0 again.) Here's the updated tracker:

Debt tracker 06/25/08
Card 1: $43514.30 (8.99%)
Card 2: $30411.06 (9.99%)
Card 3: $17269.13 (11.24%)

So from 4/25 to 6/25 I've been able to pay just over $10,000 on Card 3 off. Not a bad run!

Scheduled some more bills

June 24th, 2008 at 04:33 pm

I figured I'd get a jump start on the income and allocate it before I waste it. Ha! Here are some more bills paid:

Life Insurance due 6/28 ($143)PAID 6/28
Maids due 7/1 and 7/15 ($140 ea)
Mortgage due 7/1 ($2908) PAID 6/25
Sewer due 7/6 ($120)
Card X due 7/8 ($45)PAID 6/25
Card 3 due 7/10 ($361)PAID $792.40 6/25
Electric due 7/13 ($204)PAID 6/25
Trash due 7/15 ($84)
Water due 7/20 ($92)
Card 1 due 7/22 ($700)
Cable due 7/29 ($161)
Daughter's contacts due ? ($150)PAID 6/25
Kid's paychecks due 6/25 & 7/9 ($100 ea)PAID 6/25

A few more off the list. I'll be giving my wife $350 for the next two weeks for food, clothing and entertainment (we should be fine with that) so she has cash to carry. I know Sewer says due 7/6 but that's not really accurate (it hasn't come in the mail yet and the due date will be more like 7/31.) I just budgeted for it on the next check so we will be fine. Sooner I can attack more debt the better! I updated the Card 3 payment since I had some carryover cash in the account to allocate to it. Yippie!

Income right on target...kind of

June 24th, 2008 at 03:16 pm

I received my check for $490 today and deposited it into the checking account. I will get the paychecks direct deposited and available at midnight bringing my total to $4831.72 which based on the budget forecast is exactly where I expected to be! So now I can start attacking the list of expenses. Whoo hoo!

On another note...I tried calling and asking that they waive my credit card annual fee ($45 on a card I haven't used all year) and they told me they couldn't because of lack of activity on the card.

Yep...I am paying the stupid thing and closing it. So much for customer service!

As for the bonus I was expecting it will end up being less than expected (thought I was getting $6106) with a bonus for $5491. That's OK because I still plan on taking $5000 and putting it away for Hawaii and using the other $491 towards Card 3 in the debt reduction tracker. So we've got vacation covered and I still will have plenty of excess income over the next couple of months to do some damage to Card 3's balance. Yippie!

One bill down

June 24th, 2008 at 05:30 am

Yesterday I had listed a budget forecast so I figured I'd update as I knock them out. I paid AT&T Long Distance since they just annoy me. Smile

So here's the expenses:
Life Insurance due 6/28 ($143)
Maids due 7/1 and 7/15 ($140 ea)
Mortgage due 7/1 ($2908)
Sewer due 7/6 ($120)
Long Distance due 7/8 ($44)PAID 6/24
Card X due 7/8 ($45)
Card 3 due 7/10 ($361)
Electric due 7/13 ($204)
Trash due 7/15 ($84)
Water due 7/20 ($92)
Card 1 due 7/22 ($700)
Cable due 7/29 ($161)
Daughter's contacts due ? ($150)
Kid's paychecks due 6/25 & 7/9 ($100 ea)

1 down...13 to go!

One year ago vs today

June 23rd, 2008 at 07:14 am

I thought it would be interesting to run the Income and Spending Comparison report from June 2007 vs June 2008. Now I realize June 2008 hasn't closed out yet and I have more income and expenses coming BUT even as is you can be blown away by numbers "to date!" First the basics:

Income June 2007: $10540.17
Income June 2008: $9915.52

Now again I'll be making another paycheck and I have some other income coming so I will end up making more in 2008 than 2007 (which I should be unless I really screwed up along the way IMO) but take a look at expenses:

Total Expenses June 2007: $18580.29
Total Expenses June 2008: $5749.50

WHAT?!! Holy Toledo Batman! We spent over EIGHTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS in June 2007. We've been able to reduce expenses (to-date) by almost THIRTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS! The one thing is the expenses for 2008 includes the mortgage paid June 1st so that will add a chunk onto expenses but we really did slice it down. So the official totals:

2007: Spent $8387.99 more than we made.
2008: Saved $4166.02 more than we spent!

There were some monster culprits like vacation. We spent $8236.86 on vacation in June 07 and (ha!) $31.50 on travel/vacation in June 08 to date. Slight difference. Smile

Entertainment we spent $1604.79 in June 07. Month-to-date we've spent ZERO!

Utilities were actually $260 MORE in 2007 than 2008 (and we don't have any left to pay out of June's paychecks.)

Talk about a difference in spending habits in one year vs the other!

Budget Forecasting

June 23rd, 2008 at 05:02 am

Well I figured I'd sit down and actually figure out what I know is coming in and going out over the next few weeks so I can have some accountability for my money. Here's what I know:

I started today with a balance of about $380.

I deposited a check for $304 so that puts me at $684.

I have a check coming in the next day or two for $490 so that'll put me at $1174.

Wednesday is payday so I will get a direct deposit of $3658. That'll put me at $4832.

July 1st I should be getting a bonus check for $1506. That'll add up to $6338.

July 9th is the next payday so I will get another direct deposit of $3658. That'll add up to $9996.

Sometime in July (hopefully EARLY but it could be anytime) I will be getting a retained earnings check for around $4600. That should add to $14596.

I'm not going to include July 23rd's paycheck since that will apply to August expenses. This $14596 (give or take a few bucks) will hopefully go a long way to paying bills and having a fully funded Hawaii va-CASH-ion. Of course there are plenty of expenses before then...so here goes:

Life Insurance due 6/28 ($143): This will be directly debited out. We both have plenty of term life because the thought process is get out of debt and put a ton of money away where the life insurance will not be needed. A long way to go on that though!

Maids due 7/1 and 7/15 ($140 ea): This is a big one for the wife so I don't argue it. They do an excellent job.

Mortgage due 7/1 ($2908): Yeah I think I need to pay this one darn it. Smile

Sewer due 7/6 ($120): An estimate and this is a quarterly bill but it's up.

Long Distance due 7/8 ($44): This one I want to pay sooner rather than later. This is usually $15 but we spent a lot more than we thought this last month.

Card X due 7/8 ($45): This is that annual fee on that card I had paid off years ago. I'm waiting to hear back on whether they are going to waive this or not. They better but just in case I'll budget out.

Card 3 due 7/10 ($361): That's the minimum and I'm going to do what I can to pay more than that (figuring out how much I'll have helps!)

Electric due 7/13 ($204): It went up as we're playing A/C games but only until the programmable thermostat I ordered shows up! We also put in CFL's all over the house so hopefully we see a return.

Trash due 7/15 ($84): Another quarterly bill with a July due date.

Water due 7/20 ($92): Ditto from the trash comment. This is an estimate and I hope it's on target (Trash is fixed.)

Card 1 due 7/22 ($700): Another min payment for Card 1 until we get Cards 2 and 3 gone!

Cable due 7/29 ($161): I always pay this way early.

Daughter's contacts due ? ($150): She's going to need them at some point in the next week or two. She has an eye infection which is calming down but it has to be gone before she can get them.

Kid's paychecks due 6/25 & 7/9 ($100 ea): They each get paid $50/paycheck as long as they don't get docked for not keeping their rooms and the common areas clean or not doing chores.

ETA: The company I work for pays all auto expenses including gas, insurance and maintenace (all scheduled routine maintenance) for me, my wife and daughter so we have no auto expenses to budget for. They also pay all internet and local/regional phone bills. I pay the long distance out of pocket. They also pay all cell phone bills for me, my wife and the kids.

So I figure about $5342 (I apologize if the math is off. My flight got in around 1:30 AM EST this morning and I was up at 5:30 AM EST to go to work) for mostly fixed expenses. We try to run with a budget of $600/mo for food, clothes and entertainment (clothes and entertainment are just for us out of that...kid's paychecks pay for their stuff) so by adding that in you get a total of $5942.

So if you take the $14596 and subtract out the $5942 you're left with $8654. Now I hope to take $5000 of that to put towards Hawaii and leave me with $3654 to pay as an additional "hammer" on Card 3. It's just a question of when certain parts of that income stream show up in July but otherwise I think I have a pretty good plan of action!

I'll also continue to try to keep some kind of an ebay income coming in (I currently have about $120 in the Paypal account) to help with the cause. Hopefully that will all be gravy money to throw at Card 3 but we'll see.

A little more income

June 23rd, 2008 at 04:02 am

I had a secured credit card that I opened back in 2000 that I recently closed (it was costing me $10/month to keep the TL) and to my surprise the credit card company actually sent me the check for the original secured amount plus interest. Not that it made anything but I did get $303.49 for closing the account (not to mention no more $10/mo for an account I never used with an $1100 limit) and deposited it into my checking account this am! Yay.

More interest I could do without

June 21st, 2008 at 08:46 am

Well Card 3 finally closed its monthly statement and an interest charge of $184.37 reared its ugly head. I thought "oh boy $184.37 I didn't need!" Yeah right. Grrrrr!

Well the minimum payment is $361 and I plan on paying it sooner rather than later (this is the card i threw a little over $2800 at earlier this week.)

I also got my electric bill which was $203 so I'm not really jumping up and down about that one either but obviously we all know it rates way higher on the food chain than Card 3. Anyways here is the updated debt tracker:

Debt tracker 06/17/08
Card 1: $43514.30 (8.99%)
Card 2: $30411.06 (9.99%)
Card 3: $18061.53 (11.24%)

More Ebay money!

June 21st, 2008 at 08:38 am

On Friday I had 5 auctions end and 4 of them sold! They were small items but it added up to a total of $38.96 so it's more to the pot. Here is the updated June Ebay total:

+ 38.96
$1040.64 for June!!!

Annual fee on a paid off card

June 19th, 2008 at 08:15 am

Yeah I knew at some point this would happen. $&*(!&##!!!(#*&$^^$(!

Now that I've gotten that out of the way one of my AMEX cards (yep it's unfortunately plural) socked me with a $45 annual fee today. I of course will be paying it off asap but I thought I would just come here and say "there goes another $45 for having the privilege of a card I don't even use!" Ugh!

Tomorrow the statement closes on Card 3 and I'm excited to pay a little bit more off of it but these things are starting to add up. $45 for an annual fee, I just got a long distance bill from AT&T which was $44 (that's about $30 more than it usually is) and my wife ended up spending $189 at the hair salon (I'm not mad at that but I thought it was going to be closer to $100. She needed conditioner and some other stuff for our daughter.)

So I'm sitting on about $431 in the checking account and I figure I'll pay the stupid annual fee and the long distance bill (so 341 left.) I expect the minimum on Card 3 to be somewhere in the $400 range though. The good thing is that none of these are due until at least July 8th and I have a paycheck on the 25th and another paycheck on the 9th of July coming in addition to around $6200 in the beginning of the month so we're not sweating it. I'm just so anxious to pay them and be done with them! Smile

P.S. I will be closing this $45 annual fee card after I pay it off. What a waste!

Fed the beast! $3500 paid down

June 17th, 2008 at 04:19 pm

Well with all the extra income we've been generating lately I was able to attack! our debt monster and made payments on both Card 2 and Card 3. Card 2 got $1 over minimum ($621) and Card 3 got a heaping helping to the tune of $2828.20! This leaves me $500 to pay towards the payment due (the statement on Card 3 closes on Friday but I didn't want to wait) and I still have $120 reserved for my wife to get her hair done tomorrow.

We're coming for ya credit card debt!!

Here's the updated totals:
Debt tracker 06/17/08
Card 1: $43514.30 (8.99%)
Card 2: $30411.06 (9.99%)
Card 3: $17877.17 (11.24%)

From $95251.73 to $91802.53 (feels good to see that total drop!)

Interest is a pain!

June 17th, 2008 at 05:33 am

I posted awhile back about how much interest I've paid in the last 12 months (you can see it in the Income and Spending in MS Money thread) so I thought it would be interesting to seperate the mortgage interest from the cc interest. Here's what I have for the last 12 months:

Mortgage interest paid:

CC interest paid:

Now add the fees:

CC annual fees paid:

CC misc fees paid:

Bank Charges: late fees

Bank Charges: monthly fees

So I spent $11014.30 in credit card interest and fees in one year. Put that up against saving or investing $11k and did I get my money's worth? I might have if the balances wouldn't keep accruing interest but by the time it's all said and done I will have a lot more in interest (most of the fees will go: The monthly fee cards are cancelled already and the late fees were all one month when my wife forgot to mail in some bills I had written checks for...we now pay them all online.)

Now if that doesn't open anyone's eyes to why you shouldn't carry a balance on a credit card I don't know what would! Of course it took me this long to wake up and get it. Smile

Retained Earnings Check

June 17th, 2008 at 04:32 am

Well we had an awesome day yesterday for the company as we sold four jobs which brought our gross revenues to $15 million dollars (only $5 million away from the goal we set for 2008!) Our margins on these jobs are pretty good from what I hear so this means we will be getting a retained earnings check of about $4600 in addition to that bonus I'm getting on the first week of July. This will really help because now I can throw all of what I currently have saved up for Hawaii towards debt and cut down the interest accruing sooner rather than later. I was going to wait for Card 3's statement to close to figure out how much to throw at it since the interest then will be charged but I really don't have to since I'm throwing the majority of my $ at Card 3 anyways. I guess that's more a topic for the debt tracker so I'll just leave it at that.

Yippie! I should continue to get the $4600 checks every month through Sept at a minimum. Yay for sales!

More more more June Ebay Sales

June 17th, 2008 at 04:24 am

Whoo hoo! Sold an item via Buy It Now for $27.98 (DVD Box Set) and I have two more items with bids that will sell today so I'll get to add them later.

Adding another sale for $103.02 (yippie!)

Adding one more for today for $61.99.

For now:
$1001.68 total for June!

Card 2 Finance Charge

June 16th, 2008 at 05:48 am

Ouch! Freakin Card 2 hit me with a $229 finance charge on Friday. I guess they don't want me to forget the importance of throwing money out the window. So I have a minimum payment of $620 due July 13th on Card 2. I expect out of all three cards in July a total minimum payment of about $1750. Not that I like paying minimums but I have been on the top 2 balances (well usually Card 1 is a min payment and I pay a couple of dollars over Card 2) so I can throw as much extra dough at Card 3 to get it eliminated as fast as possible. It works out that in balance order the interest rates are also lowest to highest so not only am I paying down the smallest balance but I'm paying down the highest interest rate at the same time. That always helps. Last month I paid over $6000 off of Card 3 to get it down to its current spot so I have been making some headway. We'll just have to keep on keepin' on with these three gremlins.

Here's the updated totals:
Debt tracker 06/16/08
Card 1: $43514.30 (8.99%)
Card 2: $31032.06 (9.99%)
Card 3: $20705.37 (11.24%)


June 16th, 2008 at 05:24 am

I had found out on Friday night that I will be getting a bonus of $1506 (post-tax) on July 1st for performance. My anniversary with the company is July 2nd so I'm going to be due for a review and raise sometime in July as well. Last week I discussed an occupational review of my salary and asked for an increase in my pay to reflect my current worth based on skill set, experience and regional area and my boss seemed to be all for it so we'll see if the powers that be decide to grant me my asking price.

The wife and daughter went shopping for Hawaii clothes yesterday and spent about $287. It seems everything for summer is on clearance so they bought clothes for all four of us and did really well. I told her I wasn't worried about it because we do have a lot of extra income coming in right now and I feel a lot better about this trip than I did a couple of months ago. The main thing is she is paying cash for everything and we are not accumulating any additional debt on the credit cards (other than interest charges...dagnabit!)

Monday Morning Ebay Sales!

June 16th, 2008 at 04:52 am

Well I get to wake up to two Ebay sales for a combined total of $234.25! Though on the second item I listed (video game) I had advertised free shipping and for some reason had $4.99 in there and the buyer did pay the Buy It Now price with the shipping so I promptly emailed him and let him know I was refunding the $4.99 (it's not a lot but it's the principle of the thing.)

So the $234.25 -$4.99 = $229.26 which for me is a great number. I have a total of 11 items listed and more than half of them have bids so we are going to be adding to this number before it's all said and done.

Here is the added Monday $:

$808.69 so far for June!

Father's Day Weekend and Hawaii trip

June 13th, 2008 at 06:24 am

First off Happy Father's Day to the other Dad's out there. It's going to be a good time to hang out with the family and get outside (weather permitting but we are really HOT in PA right now) this weekend.

I have a couple of goals for this weekend. The first one is to get more stuff listed on Ebay to sell to continue to generate some extra income and throw it into our savings for this Hawaii trip on August. I still have a lot of stuff to sell and I've been doing a little at a time but I think I'd like to get a few more items up there.

The second one is to sit down with the family and try to plan out the entire vacation. I want to try to plan the activities and meals as much as possible and hopefully get some kind of an idea of what it's actually going to cost. If anyone has been there and has any advice for me I would much appreciate it. We're staying on the big island on the Kona coast and I did get a copy of the Hawaii Entertainment book which is full of nothing but coupons and discounts so I'm excited to actually go through that and pick out things to do. I've also been internet crazy trying to find deals so any advice there would be great too. I appreciate the help!


June 12th, 2008 at 07:37 am

Sold some baseball tickets on Stubhub today for $181.05 so technically it's not Ebay money but it is extra income that we can desperately use!

Whoo hoo! I'll still add it to the Ebay tracker so that will put us at:

$579.43 so far for June!


Estimated Taxes Bonus

June 12th, 2008 at 04:15 am

Well here's a great bit of news. My wife got a call from our accountant since we have to pay estimated taxes on Friday. Due to the nature of the business we have to pay taxes in a few different states (PA, NJ, DE, MD) as well as Federal estimates but the company always deposits the amount of taxes we're paying to cover the tax bill since we have part ownership in the company. We've been told by our accountant that thanks to the tax structure we will be getting an additional $2159 back that we get to keep! We will also get the $2159 back every time we pay estimates this year so to us it's like getting another 1/2 paycheck every 3 months. It will be deposited into our checking account on Friday (yay!)

My plan is to stock it away for Hawaii with the $3301 I already have put away and that will give me $5460 to have stockpiled for the vacation in August. I think after we get back I can lump sum anything I've got left into a payment on the debt tracker but this gives us a lot of elbow room for the trip (and the ability to pay cash for everything and not have to worry about adding to our debt.)

I should add that I am excited about the money but it's partly due to the fact that we're not making as much money as we did last year as a company. I'd much rather have retained earnings checks but I'll take what I can get at this point.

I have a meeting with my boss today to state my case for an occupational raise (I'm hoping for an increase so my salary is more in line with my experience and skill set.) Hopefully everything goes well!

The official payday breakdown

June 11th, 2008 at 07:34 am

OK well here it is...another payday! Right around $3950 showed up in the checking account today (that's what the base salaries bring every other Weds) so here's how I've allocated it so far.

$700 - Card 1 min payment (It was a conso loan that got rolled into a cc with a fixed rate for the life of the balance.)

$300 - Cash. For anyone not familiar with how we try to do this we take $300 out and the wife goes and buys groceries first. Whatever is left is our entertainment/clothes budget for the two of us for the week (we have been trying to stretch this to our one w/d every other week and it is definately possible. She is a great frugal grocery shopper and we definately don't starve!)

$158 - Electric (could be lower...we have to cool a 3200 sq ft house with a 17 year old and a 14 year old crying about how hot or cold it is...much like the wife and I.)

$161 - Cable (Yeah...it's really overkill but whenever I try to cut cable down I get disgruntled household members so I live with it. Thankfully the company pays our internet and local/regional phone bills.)

$70 - Kids (My 17 year old daughter has a checking account and my 14 year old son has a savings account. We're teaching them how money works and they go to the ATM and balance their accounts and reconcile the numbers with Dad. They make a base pay of $25/wk paid bi-weekly but if they fail to do a chore or leave a mess and don't clean up after themselves they get fined (usually $10 after a fee free warning.) They also get rewards for not getting fined for a whole week, a whole month, and they will get a big reward if they can go all summer without getting fined. Just a fun way for us to motivate our kids to be more responsible!)
They would've gotten $100 but failed to return a couple of movies and ended up paying $15/ea for them.

$140 - Maids (They come twice a month though they only really need to come once a month IMO. Try telling my wife that and then dodge the flying object coming at you...another one I live with for peace and harmony.)

$120 - Wife's hair (another luxury but she goes every other month and usually pays less but needs conditioner and some other stuff I don't know anything about. I let her have this as well.)

So that's all that's really "due" this pay period. This means I have $2301 to throw at my debt. Here's a tough thing though. Part of that ridiculous amount of debt you saw in the MS Money post is an already paid for Hawaiian vacation we're taking in August. House, Auto and Flights are all paid for up front and are non-refundable (well the Auto is but that's not really a big deal compared to the flights and the condo we rented.) I'm thinking of putting a good chunk of that money in one of my savings accounts (the trip is in Mid-August) so we can pay for the expenses of this trip with cash. Though I also thought of allocating $1000 towards the vacation fund and the rest on debt. I'm really torn as to what to do so if you have any suggestions I'm all ears. I already have $1000 saved to this point. Smile


June 11th, 2008 at 06:41 am

OK so we got paid today and I am throwing the minimum payment at the largest debt ($700) for June. The other two don't have a payment due for another month so after paying some utilities I am sitting at a little over $2400 to play with. But for now I'll do the standard update:

Debt tracker 06/11/08
Card 1: $43514.30 (8.99%)
Card 2: $30795.25 (9.99%)
Card 3: $20705.37 (11.24%)

I can't WAIT to have another card paid off but it seems like forever. Tom Petty was right: "The waiting is the hardest part!"

Sold an old PC!

June 10th, 2008 at 09:55 am

The old desktop I listed yesterday sold with the Buy It Now option so it's already on its way! After fees and everything I netted $125.92 which is already on its way to the checking account.

So the update:


$398.38 this month! Two more items went up for listing today as well so hopefully I can continue to make a little extra dough here.

Payday Anticipation

June 10th, 2008 at 09:53 am

Getting paid every other Wednesday makes every other Tuesday the longest day of the month for me. I am so excited to hammer out some bills and get the budget funded but I have to wait one more day. I hate the wait!

I've been pretty lazy with the budget for June. I did knock it out earlier in the month (like right after May's last check) but I am always tweaking it here and there and I really need to sit down and finalize it before the money gets here. It's been HOT here and tonight we're going to be at the Lehigh Valley IronPigs baseball game (FREE tickets...so it's not a budget buster...it's AAA baseball anyways) and it should be fun with the kids. We're going as guests in one of the boxes so we have food and drinks all paid for which is great.

I'm excited for tomorrow though. Payday!

Income and Spending in MS Money

June 9th, 2008 at 11:20 am

One thing I love to do is play with the reports in Microsoft Money. I've been using it for years so I have every single solitary transaction downloaded right into Money so I can keep track of balances and spending and everything else. If you've read my most recent post in the debt tracker area you'd probably run from using Money! Well don't fear because it does have a use even for someone like me. There is a report called the Income and Spending report that will tell you by category every cent that you've made and spent from the dates that you decide. Well I decided this would be a great way to get a handle on how I got into this predicament of being (as of today) $95,714.92 in debt. Well here is the results of that report:

From 6/9/07 to 6/9/08:

Income: $263,049.02
That's every type of income (for us it would be salaries, bonuses, ebay income, rebates, etc.)

Expenses: $255963.03
Well...what the HECK did we spend Two hundred and fifty five thousand dollars on in one year? Oh it gets better!

There is what I like to call a top 3. Three expense categories which are all in the over $30,000 spent column. Yes that's over THIRTY THOUSAND spent column!

1) Taxes: $39,822.16
Obviously I can live with this one. Otherwise Uncle Sam probably wouldn't be too happy. Take that away from the above gross income and you have our net: $223,226.86. So where did it go?!!

2) Bank Charges: $36,994.30
You read that right. We sent almost $37,000 to the banks in interest charges, annual fees, monthly fees, etc. Are you kidding? Holy ouch Batman! When you've woken up from passing out you can continue...trust me I needed a few minutes after I first saw this number.

3) Vacation: $32,971.71
Now before you say that's insane no one would spend $33,000 on vacations...well go ahead and say it but it doesn't stop the bleeding. WOW. This includes Philadelphia to Seattle, Vancouver, Chicago a few times, St. John USVI, Phoenix and Hawaii. Yep we lived a little over the last twelve months...way, way, way, way, way beyond our means. It's crazy when it's a big number right in front of you.

***It drops considerably from here but I figured I would throw a couple more in here so you can get more of an idea where it's gone.

4) Home Improvement: $12,709.51
Well finally something we will actually see a return on. I mentioned the house which we bought for $400k in January of 2006 (brand new...we built it from the ground up.) We refi'd it in March of this year after it appraised at $470,000 to a 30 year fixed at 5.75 and included all our closing costs, insurance, etc (and had to pay off two ARM's..yeah...ouch) so we ended up having to borrow $405,000 to do that. The good news is the money above went to landscaping and some upgrades inside that we got our money back on and then some. It still hurts that we have such a large mortgage but at least this money didn't go to waste.)

5) Utilities: $9126.15
Electric, Propane gas (the highest), water/sewer, trash, cable, phone, etc. It equates to around $760/mo. I know it seems like a TON but it's really in the ballpark of what we budget for. Crazy isn't it.

OK so that's just the top 5! There are more...if I get some more time I might just post them. This is a wakeup call to anyone who doesn't budget. We did, then we didn't, now we are where we are. Yikes is about the only word I've got for you right now. !

Ebay awake again

June 9th, 2008 at 09:24 am

Hi all! Ebay tracker is back up and running as so far I've made about $275 this month selling some used computer stuff and a couple of xbox 360 games I played out. Right now I have an old desktop PC listed so hopefully we can cash in there and up the tracker a bit more. There will be more to list as I have been getting into Ebay mode more and more lately. So the tracker goes:

June to date: $272.46

I don't have the YTD yet but I will have to total it up and see how we're doing. Good to be back!

New Debt Reduction Tracker

June 9th, 2008 at 05:29 am

OK well the debt reduction tracker balance is as high as ever but with a positive outlook I know we can knock this out as fast as possible. We're currently sitting on three credit cards and one mortgage so here is the beginning of the fight:

Debt tracker 06/09/08
Card 1: $44214.30 (8.99%)
Card 2: $30795.25 (9.99%)
Card 3: $20705.37 (11.24%)

That's it. Yeah I know that's a TON of cc debt but this is what we're facing. The minimum payment on card 1 is $700 and the minimums on cards 2 and 3 are usually 2 percent of the balance (after the finance charge hits...thanks AMEX.) We're doing everything we can to throw as much extra $ as possible at Card 3 so we can get it down that much faster and then we'll attack Card 2 and then finally Card 1. I don't expect to see another charge on these cards until the balances are zero other than finance charges so this should be the worst of it.

Payday is Wednesday and currently the only one of the above three with a payment due in June is Card 1 and I will be paying them the $700 that day. Thankfully all accounts are current (no late payments!)

We also have a single mortgage at $404174.16 at 5.875 but it will be awhile before we pay that thing off. House was appraised in March for $470,000.00 so we have some equity but we have a long ways to go. This is going to be a long haul!

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