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 Post subject: I want the month to end
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:27 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:13 am
Posts: 148
I'm hoping to pay off my Macy's card November 7th but it depends on sticking to budget between now and then. I literally count the days on the calendar every morning as a reminder to control what I can.

I'm looking forward to travelling to a family wedding this weekend, but it's a tough thing for me not to spend more than I need. I've been to so many weddings and family gatherings this year already. I've been strategizing to minimize expenses and exposure to spend-y situations. I'm travelling solo.

1. I've been planning for three weeks to have enough cash for gas and coffees. (12 hours rd trip)
2. I have wedding, hostess, "auntie" and other gifts from stash I already have.
3. I'm not calling to see if there's anything I can pick up on the way.
4. No stopping at stores on the way "just to use the rest room and look around."
5. Leaving after cake with young niece to avoid expensive, boozy session with cousins at local bar.
6. Will not be guilted into upgrading gift, buying tupperware or committing to visit again soon.
7 Staying with parents, but leaving early before suggestions to "just go out to brunch..." start to sound great and all good intentions fade over eggs benedict. They know I plan to leave early but they'll ask anyhow.

Looking forward to updating goals November 7th. O yea.


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 Post subject: Goals update
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 6:56 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:13 am
Posts: 148
Wedding trip was successful . I ended up buying (charging) an outfit for one of my nieces to wear to the wedding at the last minute, but regret it as it probably wasn't really necessary. Paying the department store card in full tomorrow.

I realized that we probably aren't going to meet most of my/ our financial goals for the year but I am working on getting as close as possible by January 1, especially the credit card.

1. Pay remaining credit card balance $423.
2. Personal savings $107/Goal $1000
3. Fund 401k fully --still only 5%
4. EF Fund 3412/5000
5. Mortgage $31106/ goal $25,000


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 Post subject: focused goals
PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:05 am 

Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:13 am
Posts: 148
I have two goals for the next 7 weeks.

1. Have zero balance on any type of credit account at year's end.

2. Make our planned bonus payment of $2250 on the mortgage in December.

Zero balances on credit accounts at year's end would be a major accomplishment for me. I have been trying to minimize social obligations and commitments through the rest of the year. I sometimes feel like a cheapskate, but I remind myself that overcommitting will frustrate me later even more.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:18 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 8:11 am
Posts: 1088
Location: Sunny Florida
Ellie, Sounds like a good plan. You also reminded me that one of our unstated 2008 financial goals was to pay an extra $250 a month on our mortgage and we only did so for January - March so I need to make a $2250 (the same amount you are planning for) extra principal payment in December.

_________________
Sam

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


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 Post subject: I have no credit card debt!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 5:22 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:13 am
Posts: 148
I moved things around a little this month and paid off remaining credit card earlier than I planned. Yay. I'm not out of the woods yet, but I know how rare this debt free moment has been in the past 20 years. I'm savoring it.

My husband and I sat down and worked on the holiday list in earnest. He wasn't ready to even think about it yet, but he was a good sport and humored me by looking over the stuff I pulled out and helping me tag stuff.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:30 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:22 pm
Posts: 548
Location: Northern CA
Ellie, teamwork is a great thing. We haven't done that yet - I'm the geek, and DH is fine with my lead.

However, I'm having surgery next month, and he's gonna have to step up on some of this - including Xmas. I'm perfectly fine with skipping it entirely this year. Not sure that he agrees....

Anyway, good for you - no CCd debt is a GREAT thing!

Sandi


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:39 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:13 am
Posts: 148

My computer is down and I miss being able to readily access this site and my online banking stuff.
Two weeks out of credit card debt.

Living on cash is about making choices. About half of my cash allowance is going toward my basic maintenance:haircuts, makeup, clothing for work right now. And I'm doing what I consider to be a bare minimum to look presentable. .The other half is mostly holiday related and coffees at work.

I am feeling dinged a little socially as a result of not having cash left to go out. My husband's schedule is nuts now so I am on my own most of the time. Making up for that this weekend by going to a candle party hosted by a friend tonight that I have been trying to meet up with for 6 months now. I generally hate these things but can see the social value in this one. I've got a $20 budget if I decide to buy a token something. Tomorrow have a playdate with a nephew to do some low key, low spend fun. I think I need to find some new activities, volunteer, something to get me into a more social groove without having to spend much.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 10:08 am 

Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:13 am
Posts: 148
I saw the movie "Frozen River" last night night, a terrific movie. I saw it with my husband at the $2 movie theater and it was the most satisfying two hours I had all week. Not your typical sugary Christmas movie, but instead about a mother living on the financial edge in remote border town in upstate New York.
My work schedule changed last week, I get up 3am to get to work now. Changing my schedule coupled with the lack of overtime is making me irritable. I'm missing the cushion of time and money OT provided in past years more than I thought I would. THe new schedule is temporary through the holiday season at least.
This week I'm spending more as I prepare for the holidays and I'm hoping that my planning is going to pay off with less stress and less expense later on. Doesn't everyone? It's a novelty for me.


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 Post subject: goals update
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 3:10 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:13 am
Posts: 148
Goals update December 5th 2008

1. still have zero balance on cc
2. personal savings $88/1000 goal
3. 401 k making only minimums 5% goal max out
4. EF 3715/4200 updated goal/ original goal 5000
5. Mortgage 29273/ updated goal 28500/ original goal 25000


Today I'm back on track. I wrote on the calendar for today:GET CASH! Last two weeks without cash for groceries, gas and allowance meant using debit and spending just a little more in every possible category as a result. Cash is how I am going to make it to the end of the year on an even note. I am busier and crazier this year and the last thing I want to think about is writing down debit charges and re negotiate the budget to accommodate overages.

My husband and I need to work out a replacement budget for our house. Our house built in 1957 needs updating and we need a plan to replace eventually many of the items that are wearing out. . Any advice on how to approach this sensibly? I think I've got to do some of the groundwork, my husband has his head in the ground and is in denial about the need to spend money on maintaining the house. Lately I feel like a nag every time I point out something worn, broken, decaying.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:42 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:10 am
Posts: 18
Wow Ellie! You've done some good stuff the last six months or so. I too, am married to a naturally easy going frugal man. It does have it's challenges. But it also can be a great study in how couple complement each other. I definitely like the finer things in life. But thanks to him, I've learned to get them in more affordable ways. It helps that I generally hate shopping...too many people.

You might want to look at ways to find social outlets that are more affordable. Maybe volunteer for some community cause - greening a playground, being involved with running a festival, etc. And don't forget church and school activities this time of year. Concerts are often cheap, if not free. Also universities and colleges have cheap programs this time of year...at least, cheaper than the symphony or live theatre elsewhere! Also, don't forget lectures or drop-in programs at your local library. Some libraries offer free film nights. Some universities offer free lectures/travel lectures/etc. Maybe get involved in helping with politics on a local level. Or with a local hospital auxiliary. Or volunteer in a school. Or maybe the local food bank is looking for help this time of year.

Lots of opportunities out there! Ask around and you'll be surprised what you turn up.

Meg


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:43 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 8:11 am
Posts: 1088
Location: Sunny Florida
Quote:
My husband and I need to work out a replacement budget for our house. Our house built in 1957 needs updating and we need a plan to replace eventually many of the items that are wearing out. . Any advice on how to approach this sensibly? I think I've got to do some of the groundwork, my husband has his head in the ground and is in denial about the need to spend money on maintaining the house. Lately I feel like a nag every time I point out something worn, broken, decaying.


We've got a 20s house so I feel your pain (although Mr. Sam is super handy). I would focus on replacing the most important items (the ones you need for health and security) i.e. A/C heating system, hot water heater, maybe windows/roof first and then focus on replacing the comfort items i.e. stove, dishwasher, laundry, etc. Once I have my list in hand I would start researching stores and contractors and come up with a price list and start saving up for the most important items. Also, we use a scratch and dent center when we replace appliances in our rental units and I probably would consider picking up the same items for my primary home as they eventually ket scratched up anyways.

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Sam

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


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 Post subject: Home fix it/replacement plan is new priority
PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:02 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:13 am
Posts: 148
Power went out Saturday night and we found ourselves with no water. Found out that pipe leading from house to well leaking and leaving us with low water pressure that lead to no water with extended power outage. Able to prime the pump and get water flowing again. Likely need to replace water pump, excavate pipes, possibly well too as having no water is likely scenario if the power goes out again. I have put in calls for estimates with three local contractors this week.

We'll see this goes, but I am working out a list of priorities for the house. Thanks Sam.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:20 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:22 pm
Posts: 548
Location: Northern CA
Ellie, glad to hear that the CASH ONLY plan continues to be helpful. I find it to be very useful in making choices about my money spending too.

In regards to the house - did you have a house inspection when you bought? We did, and it was hugely helpful in listing out our repair needs.

I went through the report, and listed out all the issues that were noted...non-grounded receptacles, worn out roof on patio, drainage issue in the garage, firebox in the living room needing new mortar, etc. I then categorized them into sub lists of Things We Could Do Ourselves (items 1-3 above) and those we needed to Hire a Professional (the firebox). I then re-ordered the sublists into things that cost under $500, under $1000, and things that couild be done over a holiday weekend with help from family members (who were eager to help!).

As a result, we did a lot in the first couple of years - we sanded and painted the kitchen cabinets, we removed the lime green tile from the bathroom walls (which became our first big renovation project), we removed the mis-matched mini blinds from all rooms (got cheap ones at Walmart), we used fabric samples from DH's granny to staple on a new color on the cornice boards above the windows, we removed gold-marbled mirror tile from the walls (and patched and painted the plaster), etc.

We paid particular focus to those things that would increase the rate of decay or cost of repair if delayed...drainage in the garage, bad roof on the back patio...

We've now been in the house 16 years. While it's still not a showplace, it's LIGHT YEARS better than when we started.

Take it one project at a time, or you and DH will get overwhelmed. Make a list, and work with it. Take pics now, so you can go back and remind yourself (when everything seems SLLLOOOOWWWW) about how much you really have accomplished. It helps.

Good luck!

Sandi


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 Post subject: surrender the fantasy
PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 4:07 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:13 am
Posts: 148
Thanks, as always Sandy. Pictures are a great idea. We've lived in our house for 9 years and we did ta flurry of stuff from the inspection list when we bought the house and replaced the windows, siding, porch, septic and other miscellan in the years intervening. We aren't starting from scratch, just need to redirect our efforts .

Here's my fantasy: Hire someone who flips houses for a living comes to our house, creates a practical and aesthetically pleasing plan within our budget, hires contractors and supervises the work being completed correctly on schedule and according to code. Presto! An updated house I can live with! Probably I could hire someone to do that if either I was desperate to sell the house or won the lottery. Til then, must be more practical.

Next year's budget includes $2400 for basic house upkeep and a goal of funding $7000 for replacement/ repairs. My biggest practical concern is moisture in the basement and in the bathrooms: we need better drainage away from the house, reseal the basement and fans in the bathroom. I think we both agree that it needs to be done, but who and when is tough to pin down even when the money is available. o yes and the water pump and well situation. That counts as moisture problems. Contractors out today and estimates expected soon. It's a start.[/b]


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 Post subject: holiday budgeting
PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2008 2:09 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:13 am
Posts: 148
This is the first year I've kept track of spending all the way through the holidays and it will be extremely helpful for next year. Postage, extra groceries, takeout and holiday treats, batteries and accessories for items we already bought, added up in ways I didn't anticipate. It adds up and needs to be part of the budget too. If I didn''t keep track I wouldn't realize I spent $50 on postage the past two months for example. Even though I planned & cut back, I was still spending.

Making most of the decisions back in October was a huge help. I didn't feel pressured to buy something at the last minute or add on to an existing pile because I had thought through the whole process. My husband had to do exactly 2 holiday shopping errands this year which made him happy---once to Costco on Black Friday for three items and Christmas eve he went out and bought chocolates and coffee as a surprise gift, (Thanks, honey!) I had a few unexpected purchases/ lapses in reason this season but I can count them on one hand and tell you what I spent: the overpriced snowglobe, over the top care package for my niece at college, that foggy afternoon at the grocery store last weekend where I spent an extra $50 just adding stuff to the cart while wandering around

Even though I cut back on everything this year, I still tend to do a lot of small things for the important people on my list throughout the year and reminding myself of this helped me feel like less of a cheapskate at the moments when I felt grinchy with gifting.


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