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It has been a Long Time

January 4th, 2009 at 03:51 pm

Happy New Year! Yes, it has been a long time since my last post. Commitments from increased responsibilities at work and graduate school held my focus. I was still able to remain committed to my financial goals. I reviewed my accomplishments for 2008 and updated my financial goals for 2009. I managed to complete most of my goals for 2008.

2008 Goals:

We finally have some breathing room due to our emergency house fund. It allowed us to pay an unexpected tax payment and a car insurance deductible without a major financial crisis.

DH and I were able to take a romantic bed and breakfast trip paid fully with cash for our anniversary!

Didn't stress about paying our life and car insurance. We finally started saving the money every month before the bill was due. Sounds silly but what a light bulb moment!

Used cash money to pay for new wood floors. The current housing crisis led to us finding a great contractor at an affordable price! This wouldn't have been possible prior to the housing bust.

Stayed under or within budget for utilities,groceries and miscellaneous categories. The only exception was the gas budget.

Stayed away from buying wants and used our funds for needs. This was specially true during the holidays. Paid cash for gifts!

We finally have eleven months living expenses saved! Working on twelve months for 2009.

Thank you for all of the good advice that was put to good use for my family financial future!

Positive Thinking

July 4th, 2008 at 02:12 pm

Although, my 72 mile a day car commute is a real downer I found a positive note to my job moving to a new location. I spent only $7.15 for weekly lunches compared to $15 - $25 a week at the old location. I have made more of an effort preparing my own lunches/snacks instead of spending money at local restaurants. My $70 a month for parking at the old location is used for the increased commmute. I am keeping track of my gas expenses for this month. I want to get a better feel on how much I am really spending for gas. I spent $61 this week. The last positive is that I did not spend any money on new clothes since March!! Here is to maintaining positive thoughts!

Car Pooling

June 28th, 2008 at 03:55 pm

I am very conscious of how I changed my driving habits due to the higher gas prices. I fill up when the gas tank is half empty once a week. I think it is mental thing for me to pay $47 - $59 instead of $94 - $118 every two weeks. I know that sounds silly but it my way of coping.

We have been staying close to home lately. Living in the D.C. area allows us to use the metro instead of driving to museums, historic sites and free or low cost events. We also are spending more time walking around the community. It is nice to spend time together due to the outdoor events that our local community is offering this summer. Very cheap date night. That's a big plus! The bad thing is that we cut back driving to see our families outside the area.

I car pool with another runner to drive to our designated running trails three times a week. We take turns once a week and that has helped both of us to save gas money. I also try to combine all my errands (groceries, picking up dry cleaning and etc.) once a week in an organized method without going on unnecessary trips.

I will also find out how much money I saved from telecommuting two times a week at the end of July. Right now I spend $180 - $240 a month for my gas budget. Yeesh! My longer work commute is estimated at $310 - $370. Double yeesh!!

We are still planning to end our satellite premium channels subscription in the event gas is at $5 or more a gallon this summer. I rather have a plan then going into panic mode trying to figure out how we are going to pay for the extra cost. I know we don't have control of the prices but dang it I have control of our budget.

Work and Life

June 27th, 2008 at 05:50 pm

This is my first day of working at home. I got up and dressed for my work day to start at 7:00 am. I ended up with a lot of work accomplished for the day. What a pleasure! I did not realize how much people interrupted my workday routine in the office. I even forgot to take my lunch break at 11:30. I guess I need to put an alarm to force myself to take a break in order that I do not burn myself out. I do need to go to the main office today at to pick up my work cell phone and internet router. This means a gas expense). Frown !

I will connect my driving to work with a grocery shopping trip. I am proud to say that we only spent $269 for groceries for the month of June!! Watching the sales, using coupons and cutting out the processed foods really helped. I hope to maintain my $400 food budget for July.

I finally broke down and turned on the a/c due to the heat wave. Our a/c thermostat is maintained at 78 degrees with ceiling fans on and blinds/curtains closed. The electric bill was $90 pretty reasonable for this month compared to my neighbors $250 bill. She finally asked us how we got our bill so low. We were glad to share our secrets.

My break is over and I need to drive to the office before the crazy rush hour traffic starts!

6 Months Goals

June 24th, 2008 at 09:48 pm

Thanks for the mid year reminder Merch about reviewing my 2008 financial goals. My 2008 financial goals were as follows:

1. Increase 401K to 10% and fully fund
Roth $5000
2. Save $5000 to Emergency House Fund
3. Reduce $4200 debt to $2950 (0%
4. Pay $2088 extra to mortgage principal
5. Help DS#1 to be financially independent

I am on track with my retirement funds. I have a monthly direct deposit for my Roth. I started the year at 10% increase for the 401K. A salary increase resulted with me increasing it to 12% starting July.

$218 a month is automatically transferred into the emergency house fund. Any surplus money at the end of the month is used to fund the account. Still waiting for my economic stimulus check! I didn't really count on it but it would help us reach our goal quicker. I plan to check with IRS on why it is taking so long.

We can do better with reducing the credit debt. We currently paid $830 since February but we can do better. I know it is because of the 0% interest and I have until 2013 to pay it off. My plan was to pay it by February 2011. I can add an extra $75 to have it paid off by November 2009.

We are on point with the extra principal payment. $174 a month is automatically transferred to the mortgage.

DS#1 is doing better with keeping a better handle with his finances. During March he had a problem with him not being aware of his debit card use. Resulted with $60 overdraft fee that got his full attention! He is now keeps track of his spending habits. He pays his school, phone and car insurance bills on time. This is without reminders from his parents. He has maintained his budget and contributes to his (401K and Roth)retirement funds. He is slowly realizing that he actually has more money to have fun. We do not assist him with wants. I think that is the key to his financial development. I did not want to raise a young man feeling that he had his hand in our wallets. Now to work on DS#2 during his summer visit with us.

Update on Finances

June 21st, 2008 at 03:54 pm

I've been very busy lately due to my running schedule and heavy work load. Just ran a 5K today at a decent 10 minute mile pace. I am happy about completing the run. My next goal is preparing for the 8K in July. My running group was key to me successfully completing the race. Lots of laughter and encouragement (especially running up hills!)

My job is moving to a new location at the end of the month. My drive was a 25 minute commute and will change to a 45 - 90 minutes commute depending on traffic. The good thing is that my employer is allowing us to telecommute two times a week. My work hours will permit me to avoid the morning and afternoon D.C. traffic jams. I also received a 6% raise which will be used to boost up my 401K, house emergency fund and to pay for higher gas expenses.

DH has negotiated a good salary and an outstanding benefits package from the new prospective job. He is now waiting to see if the military will allow him to retire in October. We hope to have an answer about his release date by the beginning of July. We are on pins and needles about this because there is a chance that the military may say no due to the current status of Afganistan and Iraq. This has happen to a friend who was due to retire in August but was denied and was immediately deployed to the conflict. All we can do is stay positive and hope for the best.

Our DS#1 has purchased his own bedroom furniture (used) and mattress set (new). Paid in full about $650 in cash money. He is now saving up for a television set for his future apartment. He also is continuing to save up for his three month emergency fund, first and last month apartment fees. He plans to look around for inexpensive living and dining room furniture in September. I still can't believe that he has a plan to move out the house in one year. He also had an unexpected car repair (alternator and electrical problems) that cost him $400. He was prepared due to his saving $500 in his car repair fund. He was very happy that he had this fund to pay for the repair. This is a proud moment for us.

DS#2 will be here in July for the summer. We are really looking forward to seeing him. He has all ready lined up a summer job. He has expensive tastes in clothes and electronics. This summer job will be used to supplement his expenses because we won't finance his wants. It will be a challenge due to his mother has a live life on credit and don't worry about the costs. My DH is worried that DS#2 will grow up living beyond his means. I told him that the young man can learn about finances from us but we should do it slowly without being pushy. Since he doesn't live with us full time that is all we can do. Raising young men is so much fun!

DH New Life

June 11th, 2008 at 03:36 pm

My DH has been pondering the idea on retiring from the military after 20 years. He wants to continue to guide and mentor young people to improve their lives. During his time in the military he has acquired his degree in education. He has recently applied for teaching positions in our community. He has been interviewed during the past two weeks at 3 schools. DH was offered positions at all 3 schools! He has narrowed his focus at a school approximately 7 minutes away from home. The main factor for his choice is not just the commute but the enthusiasm and commitment of the staff and students. He noted that it would be a challenge but he believe that he could make an impact at this school. I support his career change but I worry about the financial aspect to the family budget. In the end we will deal with the budget. I just want him to continue his passion with teaching and molding young people. I hope and pray that the salary negotiation will meet with our expectations. He is so happy to about his new career choice. I am so proud of him.

The Bright Side of the Gloom and Doom

June 7th, 2008 at 03:59 pm

I've been reading a few blogs plus listening to the abundunt gloom and doom in the news. I've come to the conclusion that the most of us are prepared for the slowing economy or working to have stronger financial plans. SA bloggers are fortifying their emergency funds (small or big) to prepare for potential rainy days or Murphy's Law. We are all cutting back on the luxury items (cable, clothes (toys) shopping, vacations, and even Starbucks runs) to get more mileage with buying basic items (food, home expenses and gas). Everyone on SA have blogged helpful tips on combating the high prices of fuel and food. There are SA bloggers promoting free or low cost entertainment ideas that fit a family, couple or single person budget. Bloggers are suggesting ways to find grants and scholarship programs to pay for college/ graduate schools to further earning potential. I love that some are encouraging us not to fear participation in the stock market or investment plans due to wonderful low bargains that can be obtained.

Yes, gas, home costs and food are rising. We all have some sort of contingency plan to for this gloom and doom. I know that my family will be tightening our wallets and purses. I am pretty sure that my fellow bloggers will do the same. The simpler way of life by spending more time with our love ones without spending a ton of money to have fun. Let us not get sucked into the news media fury of financial gloom and doom!

Extra Cash Plan

May 31st, 2008 at 04:20 pm

DH and I made a decision to use my $300 cash award in the following matter:

$100.00 House Emergency Fund
$30.00 Charity Fund
$35.00 Clothes Fund
$25.00 Pedicure
$55.00 Credit Card
$50.00 Personal Emergency Fund (I am trying to keep one pay period of my salary in savings)

It feels nice to have a plan for this extra cash. We use to splurge any extras and have no idea where the money was spent. At first we decided to set the money aside for the gas budget. We have budgeted our gas expenses very well due to us committing to alternate transportation methods, driving at 55 or 60 mph, reducing driving and planning ahead for the higher gas prices. This caused us to fill up once every 1 1/2 weeks and instead of once a week at the pump.

My DH said to use $25 to treat myself to a pedicure after my long run today. I decided to get my pedicure after the 5k run on June 21. It will be a welcome indulgence!

Work Award Recognition

May 29th, 2008 at 07:41 pm

Just returned from an award recognition ceremony at my organization. I was presented a certificate of appreciation and a cash award of $300!! YEAH!!! Totally out of the blue and I didn't see this coming. My boss gave out awards to several employees due to their sustained performance and work diligence. I need to think about what to do with this extra cash. No, I don't plan to spend it on clothes! (I am a reformed clothes addict.) I will dwell on this for awhile and make the best choice for the family. YEAH me again!!!!!!

Free Lunch

May 27th, 2008 at 05:59 pm

My bosses splurged for pizza, salad and dessert today for the entire company. The simple pleasure of working for a small business. This meant that I didn't use cash money for a meal! Using my $5 savings for my charity fund (Manna Food Bank). Life is good and very tasty!!

Memorial Day Blessings

May 26th, 2008 at 06:20 pm

I wish many blessings to the active duty military, my fellow retired and separated veterans, and their love ones on Memorial Day. I know that this war is not a popular cause for many but our troops need to know that they are appreciated. Take time to remember those who made the most ultimate sacrifice. Honor, courage and commitment!!

Making a Contingency Plan

May 25th, 2008 at 09:05 pm

We have been going over our budget to anticipate increased expenses in our food and gasoline categories. We have kept the food budget under $350 to $400 a month utilizing coupons and store circulars. A phenomenal feat with DH, 20 yr old and a 16 yr old sons! To put it bluntly we gave up the processed junk food. This at first was not a popular action but after two months the young men stopped complaining about it. I guess they use their own money for the junk food addiction or they prefer the home made cakes,cookies and fruit.

The gas budget increase resulted with DH using the metro for his daily commute to work. Unfortunately, the metro is not an option for me. I will start to telecommute from work once a week starting in July. My DS#1 work and school is only 15 - 20 minutes away from the house. DS#1 normally fills up his gas tank at least once every 2 1/2 weeks. DS#2 commutes to his part time job by bike.

Our game plan is to cancel our premium channels on our satellite subscription in the event of gas prices are $5 or more. This expense was a luxury that can be better utilized for a necessity. The young men are hardly home anyway due to their activities during the summer. I am pretty sure they will notice it by the time football season starts.

A Parenting Miracle!

May 19th, 2008 at 09:30 pm

I was just informed by DS#1 that he paid in full (cash money!!) for his college tution($516.80) and books($50). He is taking Accounting 202 during the summer to attain his degree at a faster rate. I told him that I will pay 75% of the tution. He insisted that he wanted to be responsible for paying the full amount. He had saved the money after our last budget lesson in March. I don't know if I should laugh or cry with joy. I plan to put the $387.60 into his surprise moving out the house fund. My DS#1 is a young man of few words (really he communicates with us in monosyllabic sentences) but his expression was priceless. This is better than winning the lottery!

Found $

May 18th, 2008 at 02:36 pm

Went on my morning run and found $1.45 in change. Placed the change in my coin jar for our family treat fund. Great run and a little bit richer. Life is good!

Blah!!! Wow!!

May 16th, 2008 at 05:56 pm

Due to my extreme boredom at work caused me to ponder my personal budget. Watching my pennies and despite the rise of gas prices resulted in a $169 windfall in my personal checking account. My natural inclination is to rush to Ann Taylor and go shopping crazy. Love the blouses, pants, skirts, dresses and don't let me go on about the shoes (my weakness). I decided to wait until Monday. If I really can't fight the urge to spend then I will spend $75 for clothes. The rest will be divided between the household checking and household emergency accounts. If the urge passes then I will put the entire amount in the household accounts. I think that sounds like a wonderful compromise. But, I still want to spend. Help me get control!!

Graduate Degree

May 10th, 2008 at 04:03 pm

I have been going back and forward with this decision. I have decided to pursue my graduate degree in health care management/education to increase my salary potential. I would use my military educational benefits to pay for the degree. My DH and sons are 100% behind me with this goal. This would aid me to finding a better employment position.

I am a little apprehensive about the immense amount of time this would involve especially with a full time job. I feel good about this decision but a little guilty about the time it would take from my family. The 2 year program starts in January 2009 which involves one weekend a month with a part time internship at a hospital. I can accomplish this goal with a lot of family support, running and coffee! Yeah me!!

Cash Cushion and Online Banking Works

May 9th, 2008 at 01:05 pm

I get paid by direct deposit bimonthly on the 7th and 22nd into my checking account. Unfortunately, my pay check didn't get deposited until today. This was caused by our company's financial institution error. This would have caused me major cash flow anxiety. I have learned from this finance blog about padding your checking account to avoid potential bank overdrafts and utilizing online banking. It works! I was able to immediately changed payment dates for my bank online payments (still ahead of their payment schedules). We had enough money just in case this lasted longer. I wasn't forced to use credit cards to pay for basic living expenses. Our CEO made emergency contingencies for those employees who had financial difficulties from this accounting error. One young lady had an bank overdraft fee of $250!

Thank you to all for the great advice about being financially prepared for Murphy's Law!

A Little Something to Save

May 3rd, 2008 at 04:15 pm

I received my first Pinecone check! It was $3.00 that I didn't have and will put to good use. I decided to donate my survey checks to a local food bank. I came to this decision due to so many folks on a fixed income having a hard time making ends meet. Especially our retired seniors who are forced to make a choice between paying their expenses or eating. I know this doesn't seem like a lot of money but every little bit helps.

I also had to readjust my $100 bi-weekly gas budget to $120. This will get me prepared for the higher summer gas prices. I will also car pool with DH at least two days a week to reduce costs. I was able to negotiate with my supervisor to work one day a week at home. This will be on a month trial period with an option to do this at least two days a week!

I do have good news about our $158 gararge door repair bill. DH complained to the owner who promptly re-billed us for $54. It seems that the repair person (repair bandit) overcharged us and thought we would pay the $158 bill. The owner apologized profusely about the repair bandit. Apology accepted but no love for the repair bandit!

Crazy Garage Door Opener

April 26th, 2008 at 07:53 pm

I spent $158.00 for a service call for the garage door. I came home last night from my weekly beauty treat (using my personal allowance budget) and the garage door didn't want to electronically close. I had to close it manually. DH checked it out and he couldn't fix it. Which meant that we had to make service call. The garage repairman came and made a few minor adjustments that took only 5 minutes maximum. Then promptly gave us a bill for $158.00 ($50 emergency service call and $108 repair).

I am proud that my family is doing our civic duty to stimulate the U.S. economy. Yeesh!!! $158 for a garage door service repair! DH and I must have sucker written on our foreheads!!

Update on Identity Theft

April 24th, 2008 at 12:21 am

Okay, here is the latest on my BIL's identity theft problem. BIL and his wife received good news about their pending home foreclosure. It was found that the bank loan documents containing the wife's SSN was incorrectly entered. In other words the bank screwed up and used my SIL's identity info by mistake for another individual with the same first and last name with the exception of a different middle name. We still do not understand how this could have happen without the proper checks and balances. Truly scary!!

The bank made formal apologies to BIL and will pay the cost of his legal and court fees. Needless to say that he and his wife are still traumatized by this major mistake that almost cost him the lost of their home.

Morale to this story. Check your credit report a least once a year for discrepancies that could impact your credit. My BIL is now a convert on protecting family's information and finances. Can I get an Amen!

Counting Change

April 12th, 2008 at 03:06 pm

I got up at 5:30 today to go for a morning run with my running group. We are preparing for a 5K in June. Very lively and fun group! The pace was perfect for a 2 mile run. No one fell out due to lack of oxygen. There was intense discussions about popping Advil after our run.

I am finally going to cash in our change jar at the bank for our quarterly treat. We have been collecting our change for the past 4 months. It looks like we have at least $20 - $30! I plan to use it for a date with DH. We can get discount movie tickets (AMC, Regal or Lowes movie theatre chains) from the military base, get an inexpensive meal (using coupons) at a local restaurant or go out for a Sunday morning coffee at Starbucks after a long walk. I am leaning toward the Sunday morning coffee (much more intimate and we get to exercise).

My BIL#2 is still working to resolve his ID theft drama. The FBI has spoke to him and his wife yesterday. He also working to retrieve the documents on the HELOC (obtained by identity theft using BIL#2 wife info) from Wells Fargo with his lawyer. It looks like some progress with this disaster.

Identity Theft!!!!!!

April 10th, 2008 at 10:48 pm

We received a call from my SIL#1 about my BIL#2 last night. BIL#2 notices a storage unit being delivered to his Detroit home one morning (last week). He runs out to ask why was this storage unit being delivered in front of his yard. He was told by a bank representative that the storage unit was for my BIL#2 personal belongings. His house was being foreclosed. This was a major shock because he pays his mortgage with an extra principal payment a month ahead!

He contacted his church's lawyer who investigated the foreclosure. The lawyer with a church member who is realtor pulled up information on the home. It was found that the house had a $120,000.00 equity line of credit fraudently taken out in 2006 with a second financial institution (Wells Fargo)! Someone or a group of theives (mortgage officer, finance company, title company and financial institution) stole his wife's identity! (The house is in her name.) She and he are of course are angry, violated and totally devasted!

They went to court yesterday and the judge gave them two weeks to prove that this was an identity theft case. BIL#2 has reported this to the police, FBI, his original mortgage company, Wells Fargo, and all 3 credit bureaus. This is a financial nightmare with the potential of losing their home!! They owned their home for over 10 years.

I did some investigation and found that this is the common incident in Detroit. It is also spreading throughout the United States. This is an easy white collar crime with minimal sentencing of 3 years maximum jail time. This is why so many criminals are switching from selling drugs because of the easy money without the lengthy jail time if they get caught. It is very easy to be a mortgage officer in Michigan. This is due to no state or federal oversight of the lending industry. There are no criminal background checks conducted on Michigan's lenders.

Yes, I know that they could have avoided this disaster early if they were vigilantly checking their credit histories with all three credit bureaus. But, they are like a majority of Americans who are God fearing, hard working, pay their bills on time and trying to better their lives for their two young sons. My BIL#2 and wife didn't deserve this. My DH's family are pooling their money together to help them pay for a lawyer to get them out of this mess.

The positive side of this was that my DH finally acknowledged that my persistent checking our credit histories (even our sons) was not a waste of money. He gave me a hug and thanked me! I am really so sad and angry this happened to my BIL#2.

DS #1 Independence

April 8th, 2008 at 12:30 am

One of my reasons on starting this blog is my DS#1 progress with financial independence. He is gainfully employed part time college sophomore living at home. He is responsible for paying for his books, 25% of his tution, car insurance, gas, misc. expenses and a nominal fee for rent. DH and I came to a conclusion that paying for rent is important to his financial development. He asked me for help with developing a budget for living on his own after he graduates in two years. Well, after I pick up my mouth off the floor. We are developing a plan on how much he needs to save. He is now researching on how much a studio apartment or sharing an apartment with a roommate would cost. He is also looking to start buying furniture via Craiglist, store and yard sales. His first purchase will be a new mattress at the end of this month (he decided he wanted to buy a full size vice queen because he wanted to stay within a $200 budget). We also discussed that he needed to establish a credit history to apply for apartments. After the bank took out $60 in overdraft fees the young man is now in control of his debit card. He wants to learn the proper way of handling credit. DH feels that we should to teach DS#1 how to use credit properly but also show how it can be mismanaged. It's great that DS#1 is receptive to managing money. I know he will be able to accomplish his goals!

Excess Cash

April 5th, 2008 at 07:56 pm

Hurray!! I went through our March budget and noted that we are on budget! We were $125 under budget!! $50 extra to 0% credit card and $75 to short term emergency fund.

BOA Home Equity Line Suspension

April 5th, 2008 at 12:16 am

We received a letter yesterday from BOA stating that our equity line of credit was suspended due to declining home values in our community. It's funny, we never used our equity line of credit! We pay our mortgage one month ahead and put extra for the principal. I have been using all of the helpful advice from this pf blog and pf books to prepare our family finances. We saved to build our patio and garage storage units. We are saving for new carpets and wood floors. We are also in process of saving for our house emergency fund. At first I was bothered by BOA sudden suspension announcement. But, my DH reminded me that a lot of people have been using their home equity like piggy banks. He noted that we took the time to educated ourselves on not using our home equity. He also stated that we are not upside down on our mortgage and we are employed. Many folks are not as lucky and are going through a rough period. I still feel a little po with BOA but DH is right. He is a laid back guy whose approach about taking life as it comes balances my anxieties. I really do feel that we are better prepared just in case Murphy happens.

Spending this Week was out of Control!

March 29th, 2008 at 05:52 pm

I had every intention not to spend my personal money without a plan. Every payday I give myself $160 in cash to last for two weeks. This allowance would be used for gas, a beauty fix (okay, I will come clean about this habit. I love to get my hair done = $40 a week habit!), and for ocassional lunches at work. I ended up spending $32 for lunch with a friend #1 who need to be cheered up (great time and wonderful conversation!).

The second unplanned event was for a friend #2 who was call up for deployment at the last minute (She is leaving in early April). Me and friend #3 treated friend #2 to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory (friend #2's favorite!). My portion of the bill was $44.84 (Lots of laughter and funny insights about our military experiences).

Okay, all of this unplanned spending meant that my beauty fix was going to be postponed until my next pay period. Until my luck or forgetfulness saved me from having a bad hair day. I found $80 in one of my money envelopes that was collected from several pay periods that I didn't utilize. I think I had days where I didn't spend it for lunch. Anyway my hair is now fierce!

Lesson learned from this story is that I need to allocate a bit of funding for the unplanned friend needing cheering up. A better method is to find a cheaper way to boost up their morale!

My friends and DH completed the National Marathon with outstanding running times of under 8 minutes per mile! Smile! I hope they don't need to go out to a restaurant to celebrate! Frown

Extra Money

March 29th, 2008 at 12:13 am

One of my goals for 2008 was to volunteer in my community. I volunteered to participate as an election judge for the Maryland Republican and Democratic Primaries in February. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed meeting new people in the area. I really was proud to see the excitement from young adults who were voting for the first time. Regardless of their choice of political party they all felt empowered and wanted to make a difference.

The hours were long and it was very fulfilling! Plus the upside was I earned $155 for my efforts! Here is where the money went:

$15.50 - Charity Fund
$100 - Credit Card
$39.50 - Movie Night for DH and I

Tomorrow, I am volunteering to provide (free) basic medical care at the National Marathon. Also to cheer on friends and DH who are running it.

2008 Household Budget Goals

March 24th, 2008 at 10:43 pm

We began a spending plan this month for our household to hold us more accountable. Our main goal is to stay within the spending plan with some degree of flexiblity. Here are some of our goals for 2008.

Pay $125 a month ($75 is the minimum at 0%) for $4200 credit card. (We plan to pay this by Feb 2011 or earlier. Any excess house funds left at the end of the month will be added to the monthly payment.)

$174 a month for ($2088) extra principle payment for the mortgage at the end of 2008.

$218 a month ($2616) to the emergency house fund (our goal is to maintain $5000).

$400 a month grocery budget. (We spend approximately $50 - $80 a week by shopping at the military base. I may have to readjust this due to rising food prices)

$60 a month ($720) for house maintenance fund.

$50 a month ($600) for vacation fund.

We plan to reassess this spending plan at the end of April 2008. I hope this will get us on the right track.

Clothes Shopping Demons

March 22nd, 2008 at 02:11 pm

I am going through a major withdrawal! There are so many cute clothes this season that I have an urgent need to spend. I gave my credit card to my husband to lock away. I know this sounds weak but I can't resist the call of new clothes! I went through my closet to remind myself that I have plenty of outfits that I haven't worn yet. I coordinated different looks using my existing clothes for the spring and summer season. I found new uses to my belts, scarves and costume jewelry giving my clothes an updated look. The spending urge is slowly passing but I need to stay away from magazine and TV ads. I don't dare go to a mall or boutique! I am so weak but I noted that I haven't brought any new outfits in 2 months!

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