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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
vs
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
vs
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:

INCOME
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:

$1001.68
+ 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!)