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 Post subject: Re: annibe11e's journal-open to advice!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:04 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:18 am
Posts: 30
Catchingup-I don’t have access to the university because it’s 90 miles from me, but they are offering classes at my local 2-year. There is a university in my town, but my GPA isn’t high enough.

I actually don’t know if I’m going to sign up for the health insurance. It’ll cost a lot without covering anything but emergencies. It has a $3000 deductible. I already have money set aside in my budget for some medical under “irregular expenses”, so I’m debating that right now, especially since I’m looking for a different job.

Would you be willing to share your pets, personal care, household, clothing, food, ect numbers with me? Although I do include some general spending money in mine, it’s hard to see where I can cut back very much. I only spend $36 a month on the cats and I’m sure your big dogs are more! Oh, I should mention that some of that is for e-cigarette cartridges. That’s about $20 a month since I quit smoking in June ($148 a month). Yay me!

The money from my son for insurance is included in the $211 “extra”. I don’t intend to count on it as income, but apply it to debt/savings when I actually receive it.
Justus-Yes! I just applied for all the scholarships I could find. I’m sure there are many more. I’ll look into the book. Thank you!


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 Post subject: Accidental VISA use and selling my car??
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:23 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:18 am
Posts: 30
Well, this is all about accountability so I better tell you guys that I used my VISA this morning. I needed gas to get to work and I use a gas station credit card, but my payment hadn't gone through yet. Normally I don't have to worry about that, but I didn't pay it off in full last month in order to find money for my insurance deductible. Anyway, I got $10 in gas and intended to write a check, but when I got to the counter, I pulled out my VISA! I don't use it often as it's usually maxed out, so it's not a force of habit to use it. I guess I better just leave it at home.

Someone suggested I get rid of my car payments by getting a cheaper car. My knee-jerk reaction was NO WAY! This is my first new car that I bought in 2009. My payment is only $189 and I finally have a reliable car. Isn't that what people work toward?? Well, it must have put a bug in my ear because I got a little curious. I ran a bookout on my vechicle. Less the loan payoff, I have about $3000 equity. What kind of piece of crap can I get for $3000 nowadays? I work at a dealership, so I looked through the "lowest price we could take" column on my used list. The best car I could find is a 2002 with 194,000 miles. I won't tell you where I work, but I think the prices could be better. So I went to where I bought my car. I found a 2005 Neon for just under $3000 with less miles. I think I'll have to finance around $500, but then I'll have a paid off car in a couple months instead of a couple of years.

My entire budget listed on here starts next month. That's also when my first student loan payment is due. That would be completely offset by the money from my car payment. I intend to keep full coverage insurance until I have enough in my EF to replace the car. I'm test driving it tonight, so we'll see what happens.


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 Post subject: Re: annibe11e's journal-open to advice!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:13 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 8:11 am
Posts: 1088
Location: Sunny Florida
I think it is hard to give up your newish car for something less. But think about how you will be able to use that car payment to put towards your debt and other goals.

_________________
Sam

http://adventures-of-sam.blogspot.com
(Follow Sam's financial and real estate adventures.)


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 Post subject: Re: annibe11e's journal-open to advice!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:06 pm 

Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 11:56 am
Posts: 132
Ditto what Sam said! I think it's great that you're at least looking, it shows that you're really getting into a good mindset of actively managing your money, too many people just say "no, can't do that" without actually exploring their options.

You asked earlier about my food/pet/etc spending:
1 cat ~ $10/month. That includes a good quality store brand food (better than the cheap name brand stuff although not as fancy as some other brands) that I buy once every 2-3 months, clumping litter that I stock up on when it's on sale, and the occasional toy or cardboard scratcher as they wear out. She also has medicine that she takes once in a while for asthma, about $30/year if that.

2 dogs ~ $40/month. A $30 bag is... 40? 45lbs? Doesn't quite last a month. Again it's a quality store brand and was highly rated on dog food adviser. They also get treats - mostly "natural" jerky type with some junk - and occasionally new toys, I either buy dollar store toys for supervised play or they get tough chew toys that are pricier but last a long time (these dogs will tear apart anything weaker in minutes). This will actually be going up, one dog was recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism but I haven't figured out the monthly cost for his medicine just yet.

Groceries ~$150/month. This varies widely, some months I spend $100 or less and eat from my freezer and pantry, some months it's over $200, but average is $150. This includes cleaning supplies, hygiene, kitchen tools, etc.

Clothes ~ $20/month. I do a lot of thrift store shopping and when I buy new I only do so when it's a good price. I'm also a jeans and t-shirt kinda girl which keeps things simple. I shop with an eye on quality and I wear my clothes until they're dead.

Fast food - I budget $80/month but lately I've been closer to $60.

That's about $300 total. I could get rid of fast food, use coupons to save on groceries, etc, but this amount works for me. I don't expect you to start cutting out every convenience and eat nothing but rice and beans, but if you start cutting back a little here and a little there it could add up.

Here's another little bug to plant in your ear - online schooling.


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 Post subject: Re: annibe11e's journal-open to advice!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:51 pm 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 2:23 pm
Posts: 810
I don't understand why travel is such a big priority when you can't afford gasoline for your car.

My vehicle is a 2004 with 130k miles, and it is only worth about $2k. And is plenty reliable. Go to a private seller and give them your sob story.

_________________
Bichon Frise

"If you only have 1 year to live, move to Penn...as it will seem like an eternity."


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 Post subject: "New" car and a root canal
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:52 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:18 am
Posts: 30
I got a different car. I didn’t have enough equity to cover the entire cost, but instead of owing $4800, I now owe $1925, and at a lower interest rate! I do have to have full coverage on it, but I’m planning to have it fully covered until I have enough in an EF to replace it, anyway. It has new tires and brakes, which were needed on my old car, so those expenditures are now put off so I have time to build up my irregular expenses area of my budget. Thanks for your input Sam and catchingup!

I’ve felt pretty comfortable with just pulling out $150 twice a month and buying stuff I need plus mochas and a couple of burgers. Maybe I’ll start tracking just to see if anything’s way out of whack. I used to spend $150 a month on cigarettes, so I think I’ve given myself a pass on some spending since quitting.

Bichon-the travel is to visit family I haven’t seen in years, hence the priority. I guess I didn’t explain the gas very well. My gas budget was in transit and I don’t like to reallocate, so I only got $10 to get me by until I could use the card. I like to track gas spending and gallons from the statements and I also get 3 cents a gallon off by using it.

I also had a budget buster. I have a recurring toothache that I’ve ignored diligently. I finally had to go in. I went to an open door clinic since I don’t have insurance. It takes longer to get appointments but they are cheaper than any local dentist. I got in on a cancellation for a triage appt. I need a root canal which will cost $499 and must be paid up front. If I had my EF even half funded, I could have taken the appointment next week. As it stands, I had to take the next available slot in March.

I’m still struggling to set actual goals. I’ve always lived with feast and famine finances and now that I have a steady income that pays the bills, I don’t know how to budget savings and debt payments. That’s always happened with windfalls. I’m hoping to make time this weekend to sit down and get some goals planned and defined.


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 Post subject: Re: annibe11e's journal-open to advice!
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:37 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:35 am
Posts: 1148
Location: Maryland
I have to commend you on finding a cheaper car. Now what you need to do is redo the budget that you posted for us, and see how you can get rid of those credit cards, especially since you're not using them anymore. Stop carrying them with you and it will be easier not to use them. You have more money to put towards other things. It will help you reach your supposed "goals"

Now, speaking of you "goals"...I'm still a little confused. Life goals? Financial goals?


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 Post subject: Re: annibe11e's journal-open to advice!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:10 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:57 am
Posts: 375
Good for you! So now you have 211 plus the difference between the old and new car payments every month to allocate to debt payoff (car, credit cards, SLs) and savings goals (retirement, travel fund, house fund). Did your insurance go down at all, given that your car is now older? That might give you a few more bucks per month too. Now that you have freed up a bit more money, you'll see financial progress sooner, which will help with the patience issue (we've all been there!).

If you are worried about your credit cards, put them in a ziploc bag, fill it with water, and put it in the freezer. Sounds dumb, but it works. Then point yourself at one target at a time -- it makes the patience thing easier, because you reach goals faster. I say pay off the 18% card right away because the rate is so high. Then push your efund to at least 500, then pay the other card off (and keep them both at zero) and next March, when your new retirement option kicks in, start putting 50 or 100 per month automatically in retirement. Then use the 161 or 111 plus credit card minimums to put a little monthly towards efund (like $25) and to pay off tuition so you can eventually go back to school.

Meanwhile you can investigate/map out education options and travel budgets. You probably won't be in a financial position to buy a house for a while, so I would put that on the back burner; once you get the 4-yr degree and have a bigger salary, it will be easier to get a mortgage! Besides, home ownership costs a lot more than the mortgage. Maintenance is really expensive. You need a bigger budget for that than you currently have.

You asked about budgets. Here's mine. I get paid on the 1st and 15th, so I divide my budget into expenses that occur regularly during each paycheck. Some come out of the first check, some out of the second check. My retirement money is automatically deducted before I get my check, so I never see that money at all, which is really helpful. Almost all of my monthly expenses are deducted automatically. I take out cash for gas, grocery, and entertainment. After expenses, I put bits of money towards each of my goals out of each paycheck. I automate that, too, because I don't trust myself. I love ING direct for this, although their interest is pitiful these days. I have ING transfer money three days after payday for each of those goals, each of which has its own ING account. That way I can't spend it! Automate, automate, automate!

Paycheck one 1880.48
mortgage 954
gym 20
dog food 55
gas 60
grocery 140
entertainment 60

after expenses 591.48

dog acct 50
goals 145
mort prepay 220

left over 176.48

Paycheck two 1880.48
183 utilities
44.95 internet
30.73 phone
105.2 car ins
60 gas
160 grocery
80 ent

after expenses: 1216.6

150 dog vet
555 goals
346 mort prep 566.18

left over: 165.6

The dog numbers are from earlier this year and included saving ahead for future vet visits for my elderly pooch, good quality food (big dog), and incidentals (cookies, mostly). We had to say goodbye in late May, which was really tough, but it was time. She was easy to budget for for most of her life. Her expenses line, however, shot upwards in the last 18 months of her life, so I had to juggle my budget to save ahead for more frequent vet visits (and even with that planning, I wound up digging into the efund a couple of times this year when she twice suddenly got sick). That's one of the reasons I'm a big advocate of having a good-sized efund on hand. It's so frustrating to pay off credit cards but then have to run them right back up again when something unexpected comes up, like a root canal or a two-day emergency vet visit with 24-hour IV.

Keep us posted!


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 Post subject: Re: annibe11e's journal-open to advice!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:49 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:18 am
Posts: 30
Financial goals! I’m still trying to define them, but here’s what I have right now, tentatively ordered by number:

Savings
$200 checking account cushion (1)
$500 for root canal in March (2)
$1000 mini EF (for now) (starting at #3, continuous)
$10,000 down payment for house (8)

Debts
$176 Store credit card (3)
$500 Visa (4)
$1186 Tuition bill (5)
$1924 Auto loan (6)
$39,000 SL (starting at #7, continuous)

I’ve decided to go ahead and sign up for the health insurance at work, which I become eligible for next month. My premium will be around $100. Although the deductible is $3000, some preventive visits are covered aside from the deductible. There is also a $100 a month match for the HSA, so this will alter my budget quite a bit. I’ll also be contributing to the 401k beginning in March at a minimum of 2%, since that’s what they match.

I spent a few hours last night tweaking a budget template, including creating irregular expense funds which accumulate money monthly and then are reduced by expenses to those categories. Tonight, I’ll make charts! (I love Excel!!) So, now I have the basic budget laid out for each month of the coming year. I’ll tweak it some more when the changes take place.

I went over budget yesterday. I have to reevaluate clothing expenses. I hate shopping for and buying clothes. I usually hit the thrift stores when I absolutely have to get something. Well, now I have an office job and I’m finding I have to buy nicer clothes, pantyhose, etc. Its winter in MN now, which requires more clothes which are often more expensive. So yesterday I bought a cardigan for the office, a clothes shaver, lint brush and some shoe care supplies. Oh, I also bought a bottle of nail polish. It was on sale for $1.99 in a color I’ve been looking for a deal on for a few months now. I’m pretty cheap when you come right down to it.

The expense yesterday that I couldn’t justify was the kitchen scale for $10. I could live without it or wait until I have more incidentals money, but I was mad at myself after shopping for clothes and decided to get more serious about my diet. I’ve gained 35 lbs in the last 3 years and I’m not happy about it, but that’s for another journal.

Thanks to everyone for your feedback so far and for sharing your budgets with me! I’ll be posting my new one soon.


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