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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:43 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:22 pm
Posts: 548
Location: Northern CA
OK, I made some moves over the weekend.

1) I opened an ING Orange savings account (thanks, Daedala!)

2) I decided to reduce my over-withholding for Federal Taxes. With DH self-employed, we've had some big tax bills in recent years, and the extra withholding has helped. However, Decreasing the amount withheld by $300 a month for the next couple of months is easily recoverable, so I did so. That gives me an extra $300 for October 1 and November 1 paycheck.

3) I've calendared in early October to halt my 403(b) contribution of $1k each month for the November 1 and December 1 paychecks. Since I'd increased my contribution this year, the stoppage will bring me about to last year's total contribution of $10K, but it will give me the cash flow to pay off the remaining CCd balance, AND get the EF up to $1K in my personal savings account (actually, I have $400 in WFargo, $350 in ING Direct, and $500 in the Credit Union already, but this will allow $1K in the ING account).

So, on January 1, I'll be ready to MAX OUT the 403(b), start saving cash for the next goal, and start pre-paying my auto loan off early.

Focus is a lovely thing.

Sandi


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:20 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 3:19 pm
Posts: 620
sandi_k wrote:
Focus is a lovely thing.


Yes, it is. Do you have any spare? :)


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:54 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:22 pm
Posts: 548
Location: Northern CA
Three days can make a difference!

sandi_k wrote:
As of Sept. 22...

SAVINGS

S-1) 2007 SEP-IRA for DH - fully funded at $7900

DONE
sandi_k wrote:
S-2) 2008 403(b) contributions for me - Contribute $1000/month

DONE

sandi_k wrote:
S-3) Establish Joint Emergency account of $10,000

DONE. It's actually at $12.5K now.

sandi_k wrote:
S-4) Max out 403(b) contribution with October raise - additional $291 per month

I've changed my mind. As noted earlier, I'm suspending November and December 1 contributions to fully pay off the personal CCd and build some liquidity (in case surgery really does happen in December, I am told it could take a couple of months for the Disability Insurance checks to get cut and paid!)

sandi_k wrote:
S-5) I need to establish an ING Direct account.

Done, and funded with $275. This leaves $600 in the CU savings, $400 in Wells Fargo (so we can get a safe deposit box), for a total of $1275 in the personal EF.

sandi_k wrote:
DEBT REDUCTION
DR-1) Pay off joint credit card (current balance $16,535, Interest rate of 6.12%)


I have $4K to pay now, and an additional $3K at the first of the month - that will bring it down under $10K. I brought home a spreadsheet last Friday, and DH agrees it's time to tighten up. Happily, we're not in need of anything, so I plan to get this paid off by Valentine's Day (and what a present to each other that *that* would be!) I could possibly pay down another $2500 now, but have decided to wait until surgery finances are clearer.

sandi_k wrote:
DR-2) Pay off individual credit card (interest rate of 4.99%)

Current balance: $3127. Ouch.

Immediate steps:

1) I reduced my extra withholding on Fed Taxes by $300 monthly.

2) On Nov. 1 and December 1, I've decided to stop my 403(b) contribution. With a scheduled payment to the card of $1200 on October 1, with an additional $1K each month for November and December, that should take care of paying it off completely by the time I go for surgery.

3) As noted in a previous post, I've decided to get back to basics with spending. I've gone to the bank, and withdrawn cash. I have $7 per day on weekdays, and $10 Sat/Sun until the end of the month. I will carry only that day's money with me. Since starting this last week, I've had $$ left over each day. Intensity matters.

sandi_k wrote:
DR-3) Pay off car loan (current balance $14,369, Interest rate of 5.3%)


Later on the To Do list...

Whew.

Sandi


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:44 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:22 pm
Posts: 548
Location: Northern CA
OK, it's the end of the month. Update before I do bills tomorrow:

sandi_k wrote:
3) As noted in a previous post, I've decided to get back to basics with spending. I've gone to the bank, and withdrawn cash. I have $7 per day on weekdays, and $10 Sat/Sun until the end of the month. I will carry only that day's money with me. Since starting this last week, I've had $$ left over each day. Intensity matters.


So I made it! $88 from Sept. 19th to the 30th.

I used $6 per day on average. During the weekend, since DH and I spent them together, I spent less cash, but did use the DEBIT card for gas and food and eating out.

I was able to set aside a few extra dollars over the 11 days, including a build up of my "$10 stash" for the wallet, in case I miscalculate some day for expenses.

And I haven't used my Credit Card for anything since Sept. 16th. So that will help the balances for sure...

Finally, I set up an auto-transfer to my ING account of $200 each month, for October-December. I want the full $1K in that fund, in addition to more accessible cash in my Credit Union account locally.

Debt balance update tomorrow...

Sandi


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 12:31 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:22 pm
Posts: 548
Location: Northern CA
OK, I was so eager to see results, I did all the bills virtually, after seeing that my auto-deposit amounts were posted.

Debt Goals:

1) Pay off joint Credit Card (Balance 9-24-08 of $16,998). I made a payment today of $3500. With the finance charge, that brings it down to $13,524. We have made NO NEW CHARGES since Sept. 21. I hope to have this paid off by Valentine's Day, 2009.

2) Pay off individual Credit Card (Balance on 9-24-08 was $3127). I made a payment of $1100 - new balance of $2027. This will be paid off by December 1, 2008. As with the joint card, no new charges on this card since Sept. 16th. I don't want to dig the hole deeper.

Savings Goals:

1) Establish $1K in individual savings, and $10K in joint. Done last month. With this month's deposits, I have $1485 in my savings, and we have $12,400 in the joint savings and ~ $1500 in checking.

Retirement Savings:

I already have contributed $11,600 this year, and will make minimum contributions for Nov/Dec of $157. So my total for 2008 will be ~ $12,000 into the 403(b).

DH has agreed to start making monthly contributions in January for 2009, so he won't have to come up with a huge lump sum in 2010. He will also make his $7K contribution to his SEP-IRA in April 2009. This will mean we will have contributions of more than 10% of our gross income to retirement.

We're making progress!

Sandi


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:25 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:22 pm
Posts: 548
Location: Northern CA
Eek. I got an email today from my company's investment firm that my online cancellation of 403(b) contributions (which I hoped to stop for Nov/Dec paychecks) may take 2-3 pay periods to take effect. Ugh - this may derail the plan to have my CCd paid off on December 1.

Well, fingers crossed.

Sandi


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 1:16 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:22 pm
Posts: 548
Location: Northern CA
I wish payday came more often! I like seeing the debt go down. :)

Well, I have only made one charge on the CCd since mid-Sept. - I ordered boots for my mom's Xmas present. Total: $217 including shipping and tax. I'm splitting it with my sister.

The plan this month, assuming that my $1K 403(b) is halted in time - PAY OFF the Chase Card (current balance $2300).

Stay on cash - my $220 cash use for the month is on track. In fact, I've squirreled away $50 in the first three weeks. I will spend $30 on a mani/pedi at the end of the month from the "excess" cash.

DH and I have been listening to the Dave Ramsey show, and he's showing some interest in getting into the financial discussions in more detail. We are REALLY interested in buying the land we discussed, so he understands that if we are focussed, we can absolutely do this.

I am considering selling my car. I'm not upside down on it, but I'm spending $250 a month in gas, and DH finds it sets off his back issues on road trips. It also is going in for its second warranty repair on a defective throwout bearing - and I have no intention of spending $2K every 15K miles to replace the clutch assembly.

Sandi


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 1:40 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 3:19 pm
Posts: 620
sandi_k wrote:
I wish payday came more often! I like seeing the debt go down. :)


I get paid weekly. It's so weird!

Hooray on whittling down the debt. I hope that the land thing works out how you want it to (even if that means deciding not to buy the land...).


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:10 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:22 pm
Posts: 548
Location: Northern CA
So, I am not updating everything tonight; we are leaving on our annual vacation soon, and I still need to do too many things. I'll update thoroughly when I am back. What I did do:

* Deposited funds/xferred funds for bills
* Did online bill pay, scheduling everything for next week.
* Set up auto-transfer for the ING savings
* Logged all our purchases this past month on clearcheckbook.com and TMMO's site

We're doing pretty well at keeping to the expected budget. The big outliers: two vet visits for our geriatric cat, and additional pet supplies, since we've "rescued" a litter of three kittens abandoned by mama cat.

Oh! And I was able to keep to my cash budget of $220 for the month. In fact, I had about 25% left over as slush (on days when I didn't spend it all, I set it aside). As a result, I got a mani/pedi and brow waxing for the vacation before we leave, out of those funds, rather than in addition....which is how it's normally handled. That's a victory. :D

We've greatly reduced our eating out, we've made only 3-4 charges on the CCd this month, and there's very little we'll be spending on other than some travel expenses this month.

Progress...

Sandi


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:27 pm
Posts: 591
Location: NC
Hey Sandi, hjave you tried Mint.com, or yodlee.com? Just switched over to them from using spreadsheets, and its WAY better.

_________________
DTR


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:59 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:25 pm
Posts: 28
Sounds like you are doing great, hope you are having awonderful vacation!!!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:15 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:22 pm
Posts: 548
Location: Northern CA
dtr wrote:
Hey Sandi, hjave you tried Mint.com, or yodlee.com? Just switched over to them from using spreadsheets, and its WAY better.


Hi dtr:

I don't want the info online with that amount of detail and passwords, thanks. It's why I use googledocs and clearcheckbook.com - it gets me where I want to be, with no breach of personal info.

Sandi


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:16 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:22 pm
Posts: 548
Location: Northern CA
mld wrote:
Sounds like you are doing great, hope you are having a wonderful vacation!!!


We did! 7 days in Antigua, 4 days in Florida. Warm, warm, warm.

Sandi


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 3:32 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:22 pm
Posts: 548
Location: Northern CA
OK, post-vacation update.

* All bills paid before we left.
* I just made a mid-month payment on my individual credit card to offset some of the trip purchases.
* My 403(b) contribution DID get stopped in time, so the credit card will be paid off SOON. Yay.
* I did my Open Enrollment in a 2009 Flex Health Care Spending Account. This year we set aside $500; next year, I elected $600.
* My ING Direct savings account is up to nearly $700, my credit union savings has $765, and my WF savings has $400. So nearly $2K in my personal Emergency Fund.

Now I need to check in on the joint accounts....

Sandi


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:04 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:22 pm
Posts: 548
Location: Northern CA
So, I haven't updated in awhile. Things have been HECTIC.

1) My neck surgery was finally approved by Workers' Comp. So I had surgery on Dec. 2nd. I'm home now, in a neck brace, forbidden from doing much of anything at all.

2) The day of surgery, I got a call from the Disability Company. My Disability claim has been approved! That is very fast - I submitted my materials and application in early November, and they approved it in 30 days (rather than the 90 days they are allowed to take).

3) My 403(b) contribution did get stopped on Dec 1 as I hoped. With the additional taxes, rather than $1000, I netted $650. So that was applied to debt.

4) The bad news: on vacation, I bought some jewelry (for me), and some neat shirts for DH's birthday. So the card which was supposed to be paid off Dec. 1 will be paid off on January 1 instead.

5) The good news: I'm housebound due to the surgery, and we're limited Xmas as a result. So my spending and normal expenses (lunch at work, gas of $250/month, Blow $$ of $250 a month) will be available.

6) Savings has continued to increase. I deposited another $200 to ING this month, for a total of $875 there, and another $1000 in my credit union account.

So, no personal debt (other than the car loan) after January 1. I will be removing the CCd from my wallet, and carrying only the debit card. I have a disability check for February 1, so not having a CCd payment will be a Very Good Thing.

Sandi


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