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 Post subject: Re: I've HAD it and I'm TAKING OVER!!!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:43 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:57 am
Posts: 378
Hello and welcome! I agree with the suggestions made by peachy and le raindrop and others. I also wonder about the 250 for power and gas (heat)? Seems like that could be a lot lower.

This is going to sound really radical, ready?

When you get the settlement (I am using post-tax numbers here):

1) set aside 3k immediately (or whatever amount you have not yet saved) for the efund. Resolve to put 88 bucks a month toward the efund every month for the rest of your life.

2) sell your almost brand-new car and pay off the loan. Then take 10k of the settlement and buy a really good, reliable used car. No more car payments, ever. You just freed up 500 per month in cash flow. Resolve to put 250 per month in a "new car fund" account so that you can pay cash for your next car.

3) use the rest of the settlement and your increased cash flow to pay off as much debt as possible, as quickly as possible.

I too tend to spend frivolously when I feel flush. My solution has been to route as much money as I can into savings through automatic deposits right after payday, so that I never have very much money available to spend. Artificial poverty, woohoo!

Good luck and keep us posted!


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 Post subject: Re: I've HAD it and I'm TAKING OVER!!!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:38 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:48 am
Posts: 526
Location: Arkansas
CecilyC wrote:
Hello and welcome! I agree with the suggestions made by peachy and le raindrop and others. I also wonder about the 250 for power and gas (heat)? Seems like that could be a lot lower.


I budget $220 a month for my electric, and some months its right up there... some months I have it down to around $125. Depends on heat and AC usage. $250 doesn't seem that much to me. Of course if you were in a 900sq ft appartment then yeah... I guess that would be a lot.

_________________
I can not dwell over that to which I have no control...


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 Post subject: Re: I've HAD it and I'm TAKING OVER!!!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:31 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:23 pm
Posts: 22
peachy wrote:
Hi!
Your groceries seem pretty high. 300 every two weeks seems like a lot. I think Kitty mentioned it, but you should be able to reduce that with crock pot meals. They make a lot of food, and you might even have leftovers, which would allow you to eat less food with fewer ingredients.

When I say $300, I'm referring to food, laundry soap, toiletries, dog food, etc. Basically every thing a person gets for the house at the grocery store. We hardly ever eat out and we have two growing boys. I didn't think that was all that bad..... :worried: Maybe I need to do some trimming there too.....?

peachy wrote:
If you only live 3 miles from work, is there anyway someone can pick you up and/or drop you off, so you save gas, or have your wife take you and pick you up since you're so close. That would save on gas. Does she do a lot of traveling during the week with the kids?
She should cut that down if that's the case. I know gas is expensive in Cali, but with your close proximity to work, you should be able to work something out with someone. Even if it's only a couple days a week, it will save you $. Do not be ashamed and just ASK. For real..

I work 6 am-6:30 pm (most days) and I'm the only one at work that works these hours so I can't really carpool. Living as close as I do, I'd personally love to sell my car and ride my bike to work but I don't live in the best part of town and I don't want to ride my bike in the dark both ways to and from home. My wife does have to do some driving for school activities but she's been slowing down on that. I guess the more I think about it, we probably don't spend $100 every two weeks. I'm going to adjust that and see how it works out.


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 Post subject: Re: I've HAD it and I'm TAKING OVER!!!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:48 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:23 pm
Posts: 22
CecilyC wrote:
Hello and welcome! I agree with the suggestions made by peachy and le raindrop and others. I also wonder about the 250 for power and gas (heat)? Seems like that could be a lot lower.

It is just really expensive here. I sat the family down last night and had a talk about conserving electricity, shutting lights off, etc. Hopefully we can get this down a little bit but it's still really high in comparison to other people I know and talk with outside of my area.

CecilyC wrote:
When you get the settlement (I am using post-tax numbers here):

1) set aside 3k immediately (or whatever amount you have not yet saved) for the efund. Resolve to put 88 bucks a month toward the efund every month for the rest of your life.

Why $88?


CecilyC wrote:
2) sell your almost brand-new car and pay off the loan. Then take 10k of the settlement and buy a really good, reliable used car. No more car payments, ever. You just freed up 500 per month in cash flow. Resolve to put 250 per month in a "new car fund" account so that you can pay cash for your next car.

I really like this idea.

CecilyC wrote:
I too tend to spend frivolously when I feel flush. My solution has been to route as much money as I can into savings through automatic deposits right after payday, so that I never have very much money available to spend. Artificial poverty, woohoo!

I'm starting out by having $125 per check automatically deposited into my savings account. In fact, today, I actually set up a Money Market account through Sallie Mae. With an APY of 1.05%, it makes my current Savings Account (at a whopping .05%) seem stupid!


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 Post subject: Re: I've HAD it and I'm TAKING OVER!!!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:52 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:23 pm
Posts: 22
So in addition to setting up my Money Market account today, the only other update I have is that I ended up using the $500 from selling my bicycle for this month's car payment. Now the $500 I was going to use for the car payment on the 10th will be used towards the water bill like intentioned so it's not really going anywhere and everything will still come out the same. 8)


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 Post subject: Re: I've HAD it and I'm TAKING OVER!!!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:33 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:44 pm
Posts: 308
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
silvertonguedevil wrote:
I sat the family down last night and had a talk about conserving electricity, shutting lights off, etc. Hopefully we can get this down a little bit but it's still really high in comparison to other people I know and talk with outside of my area.

Here's an idea you might not have tried yet: Turn down the temperature setting on your hot water heater. Obviously, don't lower it too much because you still want everyone to be able to have a comfortable shower, etc., but just a little bit should not bother the family much, and you save in energy because the system doesn't have to maintain quite as high a temperature. Another one we had to work on in my family growing up: Don't leave the refrigerator/freezer door open too long. Think about what you want and then open it, and make sure it's shut all the way one you're done. Also, you save more energy (and water) by running a full load of dishes in the dishwasher than washing dishes by hand time after time. Kids are not always the best at remembering energy conservation, so don't come down on them too hard if they forget! :)
silvertonguedevil wrote:
I'm starting out by having $125 per check automatically deposited into my savings account. In fact, today, I actually set up a Money Market account through Sallie Mae. With an APY of 1.05%, it makes my current Savings Account (at a whopping .05%) seem stupid!

That's awesome! I'm jealous -- 0.10% better than the money market I have with Ally Bank! Seriously, *high yield* savings like this is better than your standard brick-and-mortar savings. Having the automatic savings transfer is also a smart move.

Finally, good job selling your bike and using the proceeds wisely!


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 Post subject: Re: I've HAD it and I'm TAKING OVER!!!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:32 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:57 am
Posts: 378
88 bucks a month is 1k a year. The idea is to make your efund grow slowly over time till it's 3 to 6 months worth of expenses.

About the power bill, no judgment implied, just curious. You live in a warmer climate than I do and in a smaller dwelling...of course you have a family and I don't, so who knows. Maybe your apartment building is poorly insulated, maybe your landlord put in an ancient fridge that uses lots of energy, I have no idea. Is there some way to break down how much of that 250 is for heat and how much for electricity? If you can figure that out, maybe you can try different strategies to see which ones make a difference in the usage bill.

The water heater tip is a good one. And switching to CFL or LED bulbs. Also, putting appliances that draw power on a power strip and shutting it off when you're not using them (tv, stereo, etc). Using cheap radio shack timers can help with lamps that get left on; I automated my plug-in lamps to fit my schedule so I don't have to remember to turn them off! I got a kill-a-watt to see which appliances are sucking the most money, too. If you live in a part of CA where it gets cold, using shrinkable plastic film over the windows can help with the heating bill. (Anyone out there know if they help with a/c?)

Good for you for starting the money market account! I use ING just because it makes the money harder to get to so I can't spend it, but their interest rate sucks...

Anyway, keep us posted!


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 Post subject: Re: I've HAD it and I'm TAKING OVER!!!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:48 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:23 pm
Posts: 22
So I took some advice and spent a little time on the Internet this afternoon shopping for lower insurance rates. I then called my insurance (Geico) and we were able to lower my monthly payments $30/month! I'm really pleased with that! Also, after talking to my wife, she said the Alhambra bill was actually closer to $30/month than the $40 I had it at. Woot woot!


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 Post subject: Re: I've HAD it and I'm TAKING OVER!!!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:00 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:44 pm
Posts: 308
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
silvertonguedevil wrote:
So I took some advice and spent a little time on the Internet this afternoon shopping for lower insurance rates. I then called my insurance (Geico) and we were able to lower my monthly payments $30/month! I'm really pleased with that! Also, after talking to my wife, she said the Alhambra bill was actually closer to $30/month than the $40 I had it at. Woot woot!

That's great!!! Your new rate sounds pretty fantastic! Keep up the momentum! I still think you can call DirecTV and the internet provider to get them to give you better rates. Often (almost always?), even if you are not a new subscriber, they will let you take advantage of the promotional rates that are currently being offered to new customers. Also, I'm not sure if "phone" for $80 per month is cell service or landline, but if landline, then there are WAY better rates out there.

Finally, I would reassure you that I think $600 per month for your family of four's groceries, household items/cleaners, dog food, etc. sounds pretty reasonable as is.


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 Post subject: Re: I've HAD it and I'm TAKING OVER!!!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:44 am 

Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:23 pm
Posts: 22
I will look into the cable and internet as well. I'm on a roll. Lol

The phone is for my wife's cell phone.

And thank you for the reassurement on the monthly grocery bill.


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 Post subject: Re: I've HAD it and I'm TAKING OVER!!!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:22 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:44 pm
Posts: 308
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
silvertonguedevil wrote:
I will look into the cable and internet as well. I'm on a roll. Lol

Read this before calling: http://www.erica.biz/2009/negotiate-your-phone-bill/


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 Post subject: Re: I've HAD it and I'm TAKING OVER!!!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:21 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:23 pm
Posts: 22
Good article. Thank you!

After some thought, I decided to up my savings contribution every month. Instead of depositing $250/month, I'm going to deposit $300/month.


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 Post subject: Re: I've HAD it and I'm TAKING OVER!!!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:43 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:08 am
Posts: 113
CecilyC wrote:
Also, putting appliances that draw power on a power strip and shutting it off when you're not using them (tv, stereo, etc).


You can also get master/slave power strips so that one plug is the master (tv), and the others are the slaves (speakers, DVD player, cable box, video games, etc), and then whenever the tv is off, the other plugs shut off automatically. They're a bit more expensive than standard power strips, but I found it useful for things I don't have on that often, but do have on (and should have off!) in one group.


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 Post subject: Re: I've HAD it and I'm TAKING OVER!!!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:47 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:50 am
Posts: 98
Hi Silvertonguedevil, I strongly recommend trying to get as accurate numbers as possible in your budget. You've mentioned two items so far that are different from what you originally thought, so there's a big change that more things aren't what you think they are.

Spend some time this weekend (or let your wife spend some time if she's more flexible with time) to get the accurate numbers. Get the bills for the water for the last few months. Get the actual expenses for grocery shopping and the rest of the numbers. This will help you immensely!

Where I'm from there's a goverment subsidized agency that publishes numbers on average costs for all sorts of expenses. I'd try and find if there's something like that for your area. It'll help you compare costs. Comparing grocery costs with the whole USA will be pointless, but just for California it'll give you a good idea.

Something I've missed in your budget is 'replacement costs'. You know that your car will die at some point, that your computer needs upgrading, that your fridge will die, your tv will stop working, and whatever other appliances you have in the house. Everything needs to be replaced at some point, this, in my opinion, should not come from your emergency fund, as it's something you can very easily predict. Say your tv will work for about 6 years and you've paid 600 for it, then you'll want to put aside 100 per year to be able to replace it once it breaks.

Now the good part is that you seem to be really in a good place to deal with this. No excessive debts and a good salary. My best advice in your situation is to dumb things down. Automate as much as you can, both in saving as in paying bills. Create a new account for grocery like costs. You have 300 per period for these expenses. Put this on a seperate account that you use just for this stuff. You'll not be tempted to spend more money than is in that account.

---
One other thing, you mention you're working 72 hours a week. Is this really what you want to do? I wouldn't change this right away, spend some time fixing your money stuff. But is your job really so important that you'll miss your wife and kids 6 days a week.


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 Post subject: Re: I've HAD it and I'm TAKING OVER!!!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:47 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:23 pm
Posts: 22
I've always had project vehicles as one of my biggest hobbies is buying, selling, collecting and restoring old cars. In addition to my wife's vehicle, my vehicle was a '64 Chevy pickup. It was starting to need some things due to it's age so I decided that I didn't need another expense with everything I'm trying to accomplish and I decided to sell the truck. The truck sold yesterday. I'm going to try to get by with just my wife's vehicle for a while and I can use a company vehicle if needed occassionally also. That allows me to use the $2000 I got for the truck towards the bills. So far, today, I was able to pay off the water/sewer/garbage bill. We are now at a zero balance with them. It feels amazing! Next up will be the smaller of the two credit cards I have and then I will come up with a game plan for the rest of it. I'll keep you posted. I also put $125 into my savings account. :D


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