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Nickel and Diming....

January 15th, 2010 at 07:00 pm

just might work better for me. I tend to save up and try to pay things in big chunks. Sometimes, when the month rolls around, I forget what I had planned from last month. I could blame it on my ADD or something, but I'm not going to let myself get away with that. I have finally joined the recent century and learned bill pay. Wow, the things you can do with that. I've already been sending little chunks of money WHEN I HAVE IT and watching balances go down. No more waiting until the statements come and wondering if I am still following the original plan or have I already changed my mind for another one. Sheesh. No wonder I wasn't getting anywhere.

Hubby got an expense check a couple of days ago in between the running back and forth to the Big City for medical tests. The check was for mileage for meetings. It always covers gas and then there is a little bitty cushion because mileage is a bit over gas costs. For now. Gas is going up, so I'm not sure how long that will work out that way. I took the little remainder and put it on a credit card. Instantly done. Wow. Wonder why it took this old dog so long to learn this new trick.

I'm thinking that this will also keep me thinking about each purchase. I do it anyway, but mostly to see if this purchase will fit in the budgeted amount for that category. Now, I'm wanting to hang on to the money because I can put it somewhere more useful right now. The debt balances. It might be a slow road, but a tortoise I am....

One Tiny Step.....

July 28th, 2008 at 04:29 pm

I paid off a store credit card this weekend, so I have another card to close. Also, I have set a goal on the sidebar to put an extra 500 dollars a month towards repayment of debt. This month, we were able to meet that goal. I guess not going to visit the kids had a silver lining. The gas and food monies contributed to that goal. Another goal I had was to get the card we are targeting below 2000. I have been reading of others setting goals and decided to give it a try. I need to set some for August. Wow, this year is moving on.

Why do I get the dirty jobs? The kitty finally quit throwing up. We got rid of her food thinking something went bad in it. And, she quit throwing up. That was a relief. I thought another trip to the vet was coming. Then, Older Dog threw up one night. Got rid of a box of treats that might have been the culprit. We went back to our old treats and no more problems. Guess who spent their time cleaning it all up? Hubby did pass me the towels.

It was a short weekend as Hubby had to work on Saturday when the plant had a malfunction of sorts. I spent the time repainting the inside doorbell box that had never been painted. Don't know why I put off these little projects forever. Hubby did have time to help solidify our paint choices for the rest of the inside of the house. The outside will hopefully get painted this fall. I'm sure our neighbors will throw a party when we get it done.

I've got a bunch of birthday stuff to mail off to various family members. I need to just sit down and get it done. I usually try to get things like that sent ahead of time, but most of the recipients were on vacation recently. I didn't want their gifts to be sitting on their doorsteps until they got back. But, now, the putting it off syndrome has kicked in. I need to work on at least one today.

Eating out is getting ridiculous. We were running a couple of errands yesterday, and I got hungry before we were finished. I usually bring a high protein bar in my purse and have a water with me. I thought we'd just sit down and have a small sandwich or something and chill for a bit. Two little sandwiches and a drink came to 10 dollars. Way too much. Won't be suggesting that again. I'd rather have put that on the debt and eaten peanut butter......


Little Snowflakes.....

July 17th, 2008 at 03:52 pm

Yesterday, DD deposited a refund check from her MRI/Cat scans, and today it's cleared. I transferred out our money to our account and left her bill money intact. Now, to apply it to some credit cards. She put the payments on her credit card, so logically, I should use it for her card. But, I have others with bigger interest rates. So, I went to figure out what to do next.

I've been snowflaking along this month. I finally set up a revised chart showing what we owe and to whom and the interest rates. Daunting to say the least. I also set up a chart to log my snowflaking and see if I can excelerate the process a little. I thought if I could see the progress, I might make more of an effort. I've paid almost an additional 400 dollars this month toward things. I hope to increase that and get things really rolling. A true snowball.

One of my problems is that we are heading deep into hurricane season. Do I go ahead and pay things off, or do I keep the money for a possible hit and displacement from another storm. We've gotten two recently--2005 and 2007. We feel we've bought most of our supplies, but we have to replenish things as we go along because some things get used like toilet paper. We try to stay ahead so that we won't be buying a lot of things at once. But, you also have the repairs and expenses after one of those things clobbers you. So, I am going around in circles with the decision. I would rather have less on our shoulders, but would like to retain a bit for the next couple of months until our part of the season is over around sometime in October. And, this looks like to be a busy season. I hate this indecision.

So, I suppose I will snowflake for awhile longer. Keep chipping away at things. Keep to the budget if I can and when the season is over, hit the cards really hard with what I have. The problem with that is that last year we used the money for medical purposes. But, at least we had it. I am so tired of having the debts. I am fed up with dealing with it.

I have also set up a chart of money needed for an emergency fund. Short term, six months, and a year. That will keep in focus my savings goals. I included stuff like cable and cell phones for now. And, the credit card bills. My emergency fund needs will change when we pay off those darn cards.

I included good loans like the mortgage. I am also snowflaking a bit on that. I put an additional small amount on the principal every month. I know I should be applying that to the cards, but it is so satisfying watching the mortgage go down a little. We've shaved at least five years off. We're trying to get our mortgage paid off before we reach retirement age.

Sigh. I've tried to work with this for three years. I've gotten used to a budget. Used to saving some. Used to watching what I am doing. The credit cards remain the last stronghold. And, they are going to be history. Just rather slowly....

Crossing the Street.....

July 9th, 2008 at 08:07 pm

I have instituted something that seems to be working well. So far. I try to pay things as they come in. I have a budget for the month, so it doesn't matter if I pay it now or later in the month. The only thing is to have the money to do so. Today, I was out getting a haircut and stopped by a bank to deposit something. I was right next to the post office and stopped in to check the PO Box. We got this after some mail shenanigans in the neighborhood. It was driven home a week or so ago when I was leaving for a doctor's appointment. Two of my neighbors were in the yard watching a scene a couple of houses down. There were cars blocking the mail truck and the sub mail guy was in the back of a car, and people were going through the truck and the mailbag. One neighbor had just mailed her bills with him. I had to leave so I never found out if he was arrested or there was a threat or what. Although I love my regular guy, I had gotten into the habit of taking my bills and stuff to the post office and checking the box. Today, I got the water bill. Since I was across the street from the city buildings, I just went over and paid it. Done. No bills are in the house right now. This feels weird.

I found the card I wanted to close and logged onto the website to see just what is what. Like what is the interest on this one since I have never used it. It was one of those where they discontinued a card and sent you a whole new thing. I saw that the other one that I had closed was still open. I had a letter in my files that said they closed it, so I called and checked it out. They apologized and are in the process of closing it now. I asked about the interest rate and about fell out of my chair at 20%. NO THANK YOU. As soon as the cycle ends and things are done with the other account, I'm writing to close this one. That's ridiculous. I would have closed it then, but their whole drop the ball thing had me want to do one thing at a time.

I am getting where I like to look online and see where the balances of the debts are at any given time. Sort of, in your face and pay attention instead of once a month glancing at it kind of thing. I'm snowflaking along....

A Big Fat ZERO.....

January 16th, 2008 at 06:44 pm

I took the expense check down to the bank and deposited it. It was about 300 dollars. Then, I took a deep breath and told the teller to pay off the auto loan. So, 952 dollars later.....it is a big fat ZERO! One more down.....

I called the credit card with the highest interest rate and asked for it to be lowered. I pay on time and always more than the minimum. Most of my credit cards have rates that are far and away less than this card. I haven't transferred the balance because I wanted to work with less percentage on each card. I missed one payment during DS's wedding month when he was sick and getting married and graduating all at the same time. Two of our bills got misplaced. They didn't even put it on my credit report, but the interest went up. Almost three years later, I've asked twice to lower it. They only lowered it this time and for a miniscule amount. I was floored when he wanted me to transfer a balance for a lower rate on the balance transfer. Why would I do that if he wouldn't help me with the balance I already have? Then, he told me I could pay this one off and then transfer a balance and save money. Sure I could. It would be feasible. But, why would I want to continue with a card that didn't want to take care of me as a customer NOW? He made some sense, but it was the principle of the thing. Now, if he had lowered it to a rate that is the average rate for my other cards, that might have made me feel better and they would keep me as a customer. So, I got a secured loan with the credit union at a very good rate and will be paying this goofy card off. The interest rate I am receiving on the money it is secured to and the interest I am paying on the loan will be close to balancing out. So, goodbyes will be said really soon to a big interest debt. Then, the money I put on that card each month goes to pay a bigger portion on the loan. Yay!

I also redistributed the monies from the auto loan payment. Some went into the charity column. Some went as additional principle on the truck loan. A bunch went toward additional credit card payments. And I took advice from here and put the last into a new fund for a replacement car. All our vehicles are getting up there. I'm hoping that we will have at least another couple years on each. That will allow that fund to build up a little.

Well, year 2008....it's a start....

Plugging Away.....

March 6th, 2007 at 04:50 pm

I went around to the various banks yesterday and paid bills. I like doing that on warmer, sunny days because it gets me out and I get a huge satisfaction on seeing things go down immediately. I have been pondering something that someone mentioned somewhere. Forgive me that I can't seem to remember to give credit where it is due. The something is that I could break down my payments and pay bi-weekly or even once a week and reduce interest. Not only that, I get that lovely feeling of lowering balances every week. Many people put extra things each week on their balances or in their savings and I have watched their progress. However, I seem to wait til the end of the month to send extra from the budget to various accounts. I WANT THAT THRILL MORE OFTEN! So I took yesterday's bills and made a list for after the 15th. I am going to break these local ones down into four ways, pay on them each week, and watch them go down, down, down! I am excited to try something new. At the same time, I am going to add some of the savings built into the budget into the savings accounts each week. This will take so little time, but give me a big reward. I SO love the little things.....

Interest

December 6th, 2006 at 06:36 pm

Hubby's vacation money came in. After the taxes (yikes!), I decided to let things sit for a bit and ponder it. I know we need to use some of it for repairs like new doors for the front and back of the house. But I thought I might be able to make increased payments on a credit card and push the process forward a smidge. Well, I worked with the spreadsheets for a while. I already had a sheet that automatically adjusted for payments and interest and another sheet that showed percentage of use. (See, I AM listening!) Hubby helped me set these up. Then, today I got curious--and then brave--I set up a sheet that showed interest paid on each credit card and totals. OUCH! I PAY THAT MUCH EACH MONTH IN INTEREST???? Facing the problem is the first step. Now, I need to figure out step two. A plan of action. I am motivated more than ever to do something about this. Look out credit cards....this is WAR!

DS Credit Card

November 10th, 2006 at 08:44 pm

Got a chance to "chat" with DS a smidge online in between his working on his thesis rewrite and class. He sure can multitask, sorta. In reading between the lines in the little he got to say, I realize that the reason he's using the card again is that when he orders things from the same companies that he used before, it automatically goes on my card. Now, he did say he would pay me back, but as absentminded as he is, I am not going to hold him to it. He said he is going to take care of the problem, and I am going to hold him to that. He's got his own money and card now, so he can do this. It is not that much money, so I don't think he needs my help on this. We are still paying for the car (will give it to him next year), and for the instrument he changed to in college. We haven't yet turned those payments over to him. We've already given them notice of getting the car, so they can look into their own insurance and get ready for it. So I have decided to target his old credit card after all. Hopefully, I won't get another bill next month and realize that I'm still going around in circles cos he's still using it.....

Another one bites the dust....

October 23rd, 2006 at 09:30 pm

Yipee! Already paid off DS's old gas card and closed the account. Since I started here, I targeted my DD's old gas card. Had a couple hundred balance and I have been saving the odd dollar in an account to pay it off. Last month I paid a bit less than half of it. Today, I got the bill and realized I had enough to pay it of totally. Going, going, gone! Couldn't wait. Wrote a check and ran that bad guy down to the post office and shot it off. This is an account I am going to close. Now, the target is my DS's old mastercard. He had one to buy recital music and stuff online and has an old music trip he took on it. I have just been too lazy to pay it off. It has about 1350 on it. It is now in my sights and on the bull's eye....