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Archive for March, 2007

I'm depressed

March 30th, 2007 at 08:11 am

My husband and I rarely carry cash. That's bad because we just slide the debit card when we want something. That's good because we have an accurate account of where our money went. Too bad that I was never really paying attention too much before now. And let me just say that I am embarrassed to have been saying we are gazelle intense when clearly some of our expenses are out of control. This WILL change....TODAY. I cannot, after really taking a hard look at these numbers and realizing how stupid it is, continue to budget and waste money in the manner that I am. Keep in mind this is for two adults, no children.

Fast food for March:

Taco Bell once for $4.21

Jack in the Box - $21.24, $12.19, $20.49, $20.36, $20.36 again, $3.56.... total of $98.20

Popeyes once for $18.39

Sonic- $11.97, $6.24, $2.05, $11.98, $9.18.... total of $41.42

Wendy's- $6.37, $7.44.... total of $13.81

Spring Creek BBQ once for $24.55

Scotty P's once for $8.74

McDonalds- $6.59, $7.44.... total of $14.03

Chick-fil-A once for $4.21

Flying Fish once for $31.11

Taco Delight once for $16.10

Fortune House once for $27.49

Subway once for $8.64

Donut Express once for $9.50

Maggianos once for $42.48

Total spent on eating out- $362.88

Ok, now we get to grocery/household good spending. I don't go anywhere except Wal-Mart and Albertson's occasionally. This month I went to Wal-Mart 10 times and Albertson's once.

Total spent at Wal-Mart and Albertson's- $477.97

Did anybody's else's stomach just turn? Oh, just me?

I don't want to beat myself up too bad even though I probably deserve it. It's just depressing, that's all. The positive thing is that I am going to share this with my husband and I know that we can make drastic improvements. I am a firm believer in "When you know better, you do better".

Please feel free to give me a talking to or a pep talk. I think I need both. Smile

Monthly Bills

March 29th, 2007 at 06:51 am

I have been keeping a log of my monthly expenses since the beginning of the year and it has really helped me to be able to look back over what I've paid and what's coming up. I haven't perfected it by any means, but I like being able to see what bills I have. Basically I just bought a smallish notebook with folder dividers and every month gets a page. I am just listing the Paydays at the top and then a column below for the bill name, due date, and amount due. This is my simple "carry around and glance at daily" system of staying organized. I'm not a big spreadsheet person, even though that might make it easier in the long run, I guess.

For March 2007

Paydays:
March 2 me w/ Bonus
March 8 husband
March 16 me
March 22 husband w/ Bonus
March 30 me w/ Bonus


TB and I each get paid every other week and on opposite weeks...so there is a paycheck every week. Luckily there three Fridays in March so I get three checks. Woot! I am also eligible for a performance bonus at work. I get it pretty consistently and it adds a decent boost to my check. Sometimes as much as $300 dollars but sometimes it is much less. It also worked out that this month there are two scheduled bonuses. Normally there would only be one of those per month.

Bills:
Discover- E $160.00
Carmax $312.65 (March was the last month for this one since I paid it off)
Atmos (gas) $67.92
Netflix $19.29
Mortgage $1223.00
Bank of A (truck) $311.55
Water/Sewer $42.00
TXU (electric) $171.61
Visa $50.00
Sprint (cell) $51.68
Discover- D $110.00
Auto Ins. $120.88
Internet/TV $75.00

Total of Bills - $2,715.58


Since I have that extra check this month I should be able to make a fairly large additional payment on my smallest debt snowball item which is the Visa. All of the bills are paid for the month and once I get groceries and set aside tithing money I should have $900 or so to throw at it. That will help a lot since the balance is approx. $2,200.00.

I kind of feel out of place on these blogs because so many of you are killing it when it comes to budgeting and being frugal. I was just looking at my checking account register and it is quite obvious that fast food and a few other areas are not being budgeting correctly. I think for my next entry I will add up all of the fast food and general entertainment money spent for March. I'm not looking forward to it but will probably help me to see a truer picture.

Budgeting and Couponing

March 23rd, 2007 at 05:26 am

Thank goodness it is Friday! It has been a long week. I mentioned that my husband is in Paramedic school over in the "about me" section. He's already gone to the fire academy and EMT school and paramedic is the last step. It's been a long road (he started in August of 2004) but he gets out at the end of April! We're very excited and hope that he will be able to easily find a firefighter/paramedic job with a local fire department fairly soon. That would be ideal because he's so ready to start living his dream of being a firefighter and also it should mean a decent jump in pay from what he makes now. That's always a bonus!

Anyway, he has to do several different sets of clinical hours and he starts the last "set" on Saturday. This set is ten 24 hour shifts and a local fire station. He's doing it on a normal 24/48 schedule which means that he goes for 24 hours and is off for 48 hours. That wouldn't be so bad except he still has to fit in working full time and going to school at night too. Yeah, fun times! He also has to take $10 per day to the station to put in the kitty for meals...so there goes $100. At least I know he'll be well fed, though. And $10 per day is pretty good if you really think about it, I guess.

I have been working on trying to get the budget under control for a few months now. Dave Ramsey suggests a zero balance budget which is where you put everything on paper and every dollar has a purpose. Make every penny squeal. At the end of the month, you should end up with zero dollars because everything has been allocated to a specific purpose and anything left over would have gone to your debt snowball (or whatever baby step you're on). I've been doing ok with this but I'm not quite there yet. I'm really going to give it my best shot for the month of April and see how it goes.

Reading through some of the forums and blogs on here makes me realize that I am not budgeting as tightly as I should. I can't believe how detailed some of these people are about saving eight cents at CVS or $1.50 at Walmart. I can't imagine being that detailed but I guess it is fun and a challenge for some? I'm not knocking it, I think it is cool...but it would take a lot of work for me to do it!

I did try couponing a few months ago and I didn't do well at all! I want to give it another go, though, because I know there is a ton of money out there to be saved. My problem was that I was using coupons just because I had them and sometimes on products that we didn't end up liking or eating at all...and I had bought 3-4 of those items because I had the coupon. D'oh! Maybe I'll give that another shot in the near future but I'm gonna have to revise my game plan and figure out what we'll really use.

How we got here

March 22nd, 2007 at 06:48 am

I was thinking this morning about why we have been so stupid with money and what got us in the mess we're in now. I don't have a sad story to tell about losing a job or needing credit cards to pay medical bills and groceries. The truth of the matter is that we have been stupid, irresponsible and childish.

I grew up not having much money at all (public assistance including food stamps...might go into that one at a later date) and I really think I just wanted "stuff" when I grew up. Does that make a lick of sense? I don't think that I went wild by any means, but when I wanted something I bought it. I'm not a big clothing shopper but I like to have a nice looking house so I bought thinks like bedroom suites, living room furniture, etc. All on credit of course. I would tell myself that it was only a small payment per month and that I deserved it. Classic "I want it NOW and can't wait" attitude. Until recently I never realized how stupid that really is. Now I realize that paying with cash is the way to go.

My husband is not a big spender. He would just go along with whatever I wanted to buy. I mean, don't get me wrong. He's no angel about budgeting, but he's not one to blow $20.00 a day and have nothing to show for it.

The bulk of the credit card debt that we have now is from transferred balances from furniture accounts and an Exxon gas card that we used to use. That Exxon card was the first credit card I ever got and man did I think I was cool beans. No more going into the gas station to pay and I would pay the balance off every month. WRONG! Oh yeah, I started off great...but then the months got tighter and I would make a smaller payment. Pretty soon those snowballed and I was up to almost a $3000 balance. For gas! Stupid, I know.

Another thing that got the Visa up was my husband's tuition to school. Since I was being irresponsible about budgeting I wasn't prepared each time the tuition came due. Of course that was no problem because we could just swipe the plastic. We used the Visa for pretty much every school related expense he's had over the last couple of years...tuition, books and uniforms.

I guess it was when I first started listening to Dave Ramsey that I had my "Aha!" moment and realized that we are on a slippery slope with this. I thank the Lord that we both have excellent credit and have never missed or been late on a single payment on anything...but that could happen so easily. Listening to Dave I realized that we have got to get this debt paid off and change the way we think about money.

What we owe

March 22nd, 2007 at 06:19 am

Thank y'all (yes, I'm a Texan) for the Welcome and Congratulations comments. I really appreciate it! I welcome your support and advice. This blog is going to be mainly about having a place to list my accomplishments as they come around, and to talk about the bumps along the road. So, the point of me saying that is to let you know that it might get boring at times so don't say I didn't warn you.

So, about my debt... Here is what I have:

Visa card - New balance before I paid $50.00 yesterday was $2,254.08. APR is 13.18%

Discover in my husband's name - (hereafter called Discover-D) New balance after I paid $103.00 yesterday is $5,040.00. APR is 0.00% for life.

Explaination of APR - Last year we got a credit card offer for a Discover Platinum Card where you could transfer balances and have a 0.00% APR for life. The "catch" is that after the introductory (12 month) period is over, you have to make two purchases (no minimum purchace amount) per billing cycle on the card.

Discover in my name - (hereafter called Discover-E) which I forgot to bring the statement for but the balance is around $7000. APR is 0.00% for life.

Same APR deal as the above mentioned Discover.

Bank of America car note - Principal balance is $6,972.79, payment is $311.55 per month.

So there you have it...my debt snowball items. The only other debt that we have is the house. The principal balance on the house is $131,127.75. We have a 30 year fixed rate mortgage at 6% and the payment is $1220.32 per month.

Total Money Makeover Live Event

March 21st, 2007 at 07:54 am

Not sure if anybody is reading this here blog.

**hits the mic** "IS THIS THING ON?!?!?"

But if you are I was wondering if you follow Dave Ramsey's plan? He was here in Dallas back in February and I went to the live event. I had asked for the ticket for Christmas from my husband. At the time, he wasn't sure about his school schedule so we didn't buy a ticket for him then later when he found out that he was free that day tickets were sold out. Bummer! Anyway...I went to the event alone and it was still awesome. Totally pumped me up to get gazelle intense.

The night before the event Dave had a book signing at the Borders bookstore in North Dallas. They had announced it on the radio and I decided to go. Well, at the book signing they were gonna have a drawing for $1000 in debt reduction. There were soooo many people there that I thought it would be impossible to win but I did! It was so exciting! I've never won A THING before in my life. I just got the check from Dave's company last week and since my car was my smallest debt I used that $1000 plus another $600 and paid that off this week.

My next smallest debt is a visa card with a balance of $2,200. I have been making the minimum payment of $40 but now that I don't have my car payment ($312.65 per month) I am going to start attacking that one.

Introductions

March 21st, 2007 at 07:17 am

Me: Hi. My name is Snoopy and I am in debt.
You: HI Snoopy!!

Glad that is out of the way! Smile

So, about me...My husband and I are working on getting out of debt and are following Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover plan. I stumbled across Dave on the radio several months ago (November of 2006, maybe) and have been hooked ever since. I am currently attending a Financial Peace University class and we're about half way through with the lessons. I just really started getting serious with the plan at the beginning of this year. I'm working the debt snowball and just paid off my smallest debt this week, which was my car. I am really excited about it! My husband's truck is further along in the snowball but at least now we only have one car payment instead of two. Woot!!

Anyway, I just found this site today and I thought it was pretty cool. I will try and update regularly.