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Kamikaze Kitty Strikes Again.....

July 31st, 2008 at 09:03 am

The Kitty no longer attacks my arm while I'm on the computer or holding a cup of something. She's got a new game. She laid low for a long time, and then started attacking the bed while I'm making it up. She lands right in the middle of the bed. Poised for attack. I wonder if that is a comment on my bed making skills. But, she's caught me offguard a couple of times lately and made me jump. I can just imagine her cracking up.

I may be jumping the gun here, but I'm going to post a gain of 700 dollars on my challenge total. I know that, technically, the month isn't over. We switched to a regular monthly cycle here since I'm paying things as they come in. That way, we don't have things that migrate from one month to the other just because they are at the end of the month. Almost all of the challenge money went to additional debt payment. Last month was such a mess budgetwise with so much going on that I didn't even try to see what the final results were. I could go back and try to finish reconstructing it all, but most of it is still packed for evacuation. I think I'll just forget it and move on.

I knocked the lever on the bottom of my office chair on a box while packing files and dropped myself rather suddenly. Recently, the Kitty has been rubbing her head a lot against that lever. She sort of rocks the chair, but I can't help but wonder what she is really up to......

AWOL......

December 6th, 2007 at 01:19 pm

I haven't updated in a month! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday! We celebrated with the kids early, so we had several days to just chill at home and stay out of the nasty weather. Now, it's Christmas shopping time. I honestly need to try to do this earlier next year.

I've been trying to stick to the new budget. Seems to be going okay. I can't wait to finish off the auto loan. Also, if DS gets the job he's interviewing for today, he might be in the position to be given his car outright because they will be able to afford the insurance. We'll have to see because he'll have his student loan repayments start in a couple of months. They will also be paying more for daycare, so we'll just have to wait to let them have time to adjust their budget. They've been paying on their insurance, but I had them stop when their daycare kicked in and DS lost one of his jobs for the season. This one will be a steady position.

Our budget is divided into three sections. The first is housing, auto payments and utilities. Most things are about the same every month, so I have them as sort of fixed items. I try to have a few dollars left over each month, and I have been applying those to my mortgage.

The second section is food, entertainment, gas, etc. Things that fluctuate. I don't know why I included our medicines in it, but I will probably move a couple of things around. I try to save what I can in each category and that money goes into the challenge. I also put our credit card payments in this category for some reason. Probably because I don't consider them a necessary expense. The sooner they are gone, the better! I am going to apply the auto loan money to them as soon as possible.

The third section is savings. Things like auto repairs, eye and dental funds, and so forth. I put those numbers on a separate sheet with a breakdown of how much is accumulated over the months. I also finally realized I needed to move those monies into a separate account until needed. So far, so good. I have used the auto fund a couple of times for tires and such. I also have all the insurances in there. We have so many kinds of insurance. Property, flood, wind, life, auto, etc. I created separate funds to keep track of it all.

I like this layout better than the old one. I have each section adding itself up and subtracting from the section budget total. That way, I don't have to keep getting out the calculator to see what is left. According to Hubby, Math is our friend. Hubby can do all kinds of calculations in his head. I need buttons.

No matter how hard I try, I never totally stick to the Christmas budget. I think I am already over. Sticking to it is something that I'm going to shoot for next year....

Around and Around....

October 9th, 2007 at 12:23 pm

I received a check in the mail today from my mortgage company for a refund on PMI insurance. I've been meaning to check on that for at least a year or so. Nice that they did it for me. I was clearly dragging my feet on something that would save me a few dollars a month. Sheesh.

In addition, they redid my escrow. Since that had already been done this summer, I figured that they wouldn't redo it again until next year. I didn't know what kind of hassle it would be to see if they could reopen the file until then. But they saw that the escrow had a big surplus. This was because I had to pay the windstorm out of pocket this year and the insurance they pay went WAY down. By almost half. So, they are sending me another check to cover the surplus. In another life, I would have spent it on things and bills and such, but I've been learning a lot of lessons. Lesson: Next year I will write a check for at least $1000 for windstorm out of my pocket. So, the surplus check will reside in an interest-bearing account until then. Because I'll just have to use it to pay out to the state insurance. But at least it will be done for next year. Now, I need to include it in the monthly budget so I will have it for the following year. Things keep achanging....

Finally, I see on the readout that my mortgage payment is going down for those reasons. I can probably use that money to build the insurance fund. I wish I could use the money for paying down the mortgage more quickly. But I need to get the numbers all sorted out. In any case, the mortgage is closer to the beginning amounts for when we bought the house. Funny, the mortgage was sold the first month. That was weird, but then we still have the original terms. Then, the insurance went way up. We may have only had one payment at the original setup number. I wish they would mention that fact when you buy a house. I had no idea that things could change before you even got started. We've had a good mortgage relationship though. I can't wait to see the numbers all set up in the new budget. With the insurance costs though, I think we'll just be going around in circles.....

Little Showers of Savings....

July 11th, 2007 at 11:52 am

I must have done something right. I just got my water, sewer, garbage bill for last month. And it was 10 less than the bill before. I do know that they used to only read the meter every other month and estimate one month based on past bills. If still true, that means that my bill dropped an average of 5 per month over the last two months. I'll need to get the files and check to see how much usage that means and if it will go any further. Could be that there is a level beyond which it won't drop because of flat rates per certain level of usage. That's okay. I'm so tickled that something is working.

I did time my shower this morning and found out that I can take a comfortable, unhurried, shower in about 6 minutes. However, DD is coming home this weekend for a couple of days, and she has her daddy's love of LONG HOT showers. So, I might be balancing her out for a few days. That's also okay.

I also have on track to save about 40 percent on my grocery budget this month. Course I have through Saturday before this one expires. It will counteract some of the other goofy things I did this month....

Rationing...

July 5th, 2007 at 12:42 pm

When I paid my bills and looked at the budget, I was really startled to see that I still have half of my grocery budget with about 10 days to go. I know that we won't end up with that, but I got to wondering what had happened. I do know that we've been eating smaller, lighter meals at night. Hubby has been working a lot and hasn't been getting home as early, so he usually wants just a sandwich. I looked in the fridge and the freezer and on the shelves and thought to myself that I might could make it on minimum purchases for the next 10 days. We actually have a lot of food. Compared to our college days, our cupboards are full. We used to be only able to afford a week's worth at a time. And we rationed it out and ate a lot less than we do now. We could definitely afford not to eat as much. Both of us have an extra 10 pounds at least. I started making lists of things we could eat. There were plenty of breakfasts. And we can get creative with the rest. I know it is not a large amount of money to save. But after paying bills, I realized that it was enough to pay for my cable and water bills put together. Perspective is an interesting thing.....

Seeing Red.....

May 15th, 2007 at 06:50 am

in the budget. Rats. The month ended yesterday and we clobbered the budget. The big problem was entertainment expenses. We overspent quite a bit on eating out and I overspent on books. The eating out was because we spent so much of the time hanging out with the kids, so I enjoyed every minute of it and don't begrudge it. But it was an eye opener.

We had some things that we were able to do without any credit card bills. We bought DD's bridesmaid dress and got some auto maintenance done. And we had a lot of medical expenses this month. Can't seem to get rid of this infection crud. Hubby has it again and DD and I both need to go back to the doctor again concerning it. I'm going today.

I still had enough left to put into the various savings columns we have going on. That was still on track. But we did end up with a shortfall when all was said and done. About $100 worth. So no monies to add to the challenge.

Did get our escrow refund and our tax money came yesterday. I didn't count those in the income. Most people have mentioned that we shouldn't include those and save them. So for once, I tucked them away into the savings funds. Hmmm. Everyone was right. That is definitely the way to go.

New month, new sheet of numbers....

The Bottom Line......

January 29th, 2007 at 10:00 am

I finally got the courage.....When I set up the debt chart, I got the courage to include my auto debt. Now, I have finally built up the strength to add in--the mortgage. I didn't collapse from anxiety or shock--I was ready. The bottom line is definitely not where we would want it to be. The funny thing is, the mortgage isn't so bad. In fact, I owe a lot less on it than I expected. Phew! I made it to the next level of the Finance Game.

I noticed that in my budget there are a lot of little categories that have a couple of dollars here and there left after the end of our month. I had just used them to offset the couple of dollars here and there overspent in other categories. But, I now see them as a resource to be used. I want to have more dollars in EACH category left. I guess it is my dollar and change savings that others use. Since I use my debit card for almost everything, I don't have much change anymore. So, I decided that these dollars are my change. I have been perusing the boards and seeing lots of ideas to save a dollar here or there. I made up a starting list of 10 things to save $10 (each) per month. As I have gone through daily stuff here, I am making note of other things to cut money. I am excited to think that my thinking has changed from "that will only cost a couple of dollars, no big deal" to "Wait! That will save me a couple of dollars." Keep sending the good ideas because I'm on a roll here....

New Budget

December 15th, 2006 at 01:55 pm

Got the new pay stub today for Hubby's new job. The last one was abbreviated and didn't have the 40lK stuff, and I decided to wait until the first full one to see how it would affect the budget. Even though he is getting more pay, the retirement deduction is higher and so is the medical stuff. All in all, it is a little over 100 less for each two weeks. So I went to the spreadsheets and started to play. What is so great is that I can see right away where it will affect us. This budgeting thing is great. So I adjusted a few accounts that have been a little underutilized for now and the figures all seem to add up. We'll see how it does.

I simply cannot wait to see how paying off these debts will affect the budget. It seems such a slow process, but I am trying to learn patience....

Month 2

November 15th, 2006 at 12:16 pm

I know that month one is running around somewhere in uncategorized...

Our month two ended on the 14th, and I am analyzing the results. The bills were pretty much on target so those will not be adjusted. The credit cards are going down slooowwwwllllyyy, except for DD's tuition card which went up. No more payments til the end of December, so I hope to pay some of that off this month and next. I think we will have some vacation money coming at the end of November that is unused at the old company. That, we can set aside for the next tuition and not add to the card. A step in the right direction.

We did go over eating out by $20 and the book line went over by a bit, too. Neither have that much in them, might need to adjust those amounts if another month shows a surplus somewhere else for the third time.

The plumbing made the house maintenance fund over by a whopping 375 dollars. I still had 100 from last month, too, so I am over 275 in that dept. I am keeping a separate sheet for those accounts that we carry over. Like dental/medical and auto stuff. So far, that is the only one that we have clobbered. Might need to up that one, but I'm not sure where the money would come from.

Still putting my dollars into the envelopes for the workboots, water cooler, and baseball tickets. Have them in the budget so I'll remember to do that each month. Funny to have a line in there for 4 dollars....

Hubby had a surplus again in his "vices" column. Good for him! Course we've all been on his case about a couple of things to be healthier. So that might have helped.

Having Inlaws here and going to see DS in a music thing will take some extra cash and probably do a number on the gas and food bills. I have used the Holiday/Christmas Club money for food for Thanksgiving. The tickets for the musical is going to come from some money the kids owe us. So I am not paying out any money for it, sorta.

I am hoping for once to get through a holiday season relatively intact. I would like to control things more and not start January with a feeling of being knocked out by the finances. The cool thing is the feeling each time you start the next month's budget. It's a feeling that you've got a clean slate for this month...go for it!