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Another step forward

March 29th, 2008 at 09:57 pm

Well, sorry haven't been posting much here, I have another blog I keep going regularly, but I really like this format and alot of the blogs I read here, so I want to keep this one going. Here's my ramblings, updates, etc:

Well we are making progress, I have two cards left to settle, one I'm waiting for a DV letter, if I don't get the validate by 4/8 I will send a 2nd request via certified mail again. So far they haven't responded and if they want me to work with them I want them to validate and proof they own this account. The 2nd card, nothing much, just going to put this one on the back burner until I get the first one settled.

2nd heloc on primary house - well after two calls to two different people, and me offering 3K to bring this account current if they would work with us, still nothing, no call back. Weird, I spoke with the 2nd attorney two weeks ago and he said he would call me back. So I've done my part, I'm going to keep waiting on this one, maybe another 2 weeks and then I'll check in with them again. In the meantime I'm focusing on paying other stuff off.

Here's what I'm working on

$9340 - business CC
$4800 - medical debt
$15000 (est needed in addition to my 5K savings to settle 2 cards)

Thats it for now, should have a good update on the cc in a week or two.

Man oh man, once the business CC and medical debt are done and I can strictly focus on the DS I think I will be almost in heaven.. lol

Progress is being made!

February totals - so much!

March 2nd, 2008 at 11:11 am

Well thought I would post my numbers for everyone to see. February was the first month I tried to track everything, but in doing this I noticed I missed some categories, so I will be adding them to our tracking for March. I still think I managed to capture about 90% maybe 95% of all our spending. I do have one question though for readers, when tracking your spending do you track spending for items like shipping, items you need for other "business". For example we sell guitars sometimes, well my DH does, he might need to purchase strings, so we buy those, then he sells/ships the guitar and I take only the true "profit" and count this as income. Should I be tracking that as well? And what about our rentals, anything we pay for above and beyond should be tracked? And what about items I'm reimbursed for? Like my cable bill, it was 62.63 but I'm reimbursed for $46 dollars of that? Any suggestions would be welcomed!

I'm still working some of this out, but here's my totals, first number is budget, second is actual spent:

I haven't included all the mortgage payments either, they are on my master budget spreadsheet, but not much I can do about those, they are what they are and included in my master.

Groceries $400/$247
Childcare $200/$200
Pet $30/$16
Cable $62.63/$62.63
Utilities gas $125/$292 - I forgot to pay Jan's so this amount is double what I would have spent.
Electric - $130/$126
Water - $45/$43.20
Cell - $104/$103.27
Dining - $100/$166.90
Auto fuel - $120/$135.16
Auto/insurance - $530.68/$530.68
Timeshare - $60.22/$139.70 - had to pay yearly property taxes this month
Home Repair - $25/$14.20
Life Insurance $58/58
School - $10/20
Medical - $142/58.68
DH misc- $100/119.51
cigs - $100/153.83 - I did buy some lozenges and will work on getting rid of this habit.
Household $50/147.97
entertainment $100/132.77
My misc - $70/67

Some we were over, some under, overall we came pretty close to our budget, the goal for this month is to reduce our total budget by $200 - we should be able to do this. Cutting costs from household, cig's and reducing/staying within our budgets. We'll see! I already started tracking everything again!

Spending free fall

February 16th, 2008 at 10:54 pm

Well as much as I watch our spending, sometimes it means watching it fly out the window. So I'm adding it to our spending and my Excel spreadsheet. Since this is the first month of tracking everything, I'm not being to hard on me/us. At least now I can say I know exactly where it's going, and after this month it will give me a better understanding of our spending and how to adjust our budget to make more of what we got. I can already see some trends and thus I need to start thinking about a plan and how to address these next month. Over the next week and I be looking at this and trying to come up with creative solutions and a plan. Something like a plan for each Sun/Wed it's just my hubby and I, and maybe set days for eating out, twice a month, maybe every other Saturday. I think if I have something set in stone and what we can spend on it I will have a much better chance of keeping to a budget and reducing our me/DH/entertainment/misc fund, which from what I can see now a lot of $ is going towards those funds and it should be less and redirected to more important things.

So two weeks left of tracking, then I need to tighten the reins and make more happen, more to saving, more to debt pay down, we need to get moving on this.

How does everyone else plan/budget each month for these items? Do you plan your month ahead or just set a certain amount? If you always have just a certain amount then how do you really know if you can reduce that or use less? What strategies do you utilitze?

My Negative $1200 Budget

February 14th, 2008 at 10:28 am

I've posted this on my other site, but thought it would be interesting to show what I am learning from tracking my daily spending - it has helped me create a more accurate budget and it is also identifying where we need to start cutting the 'fat'!

Since we were able to re-modify our loan, and for the first time, I'm tracking every single dollar I spend (a real eye opener) I thought I would share my budget with everyone. Well, an overview of it anyway. My goal this last year has been to reduce what I can to try and get our budget to equal the regular amount we receive each month. To get this to work with just my regular paychecks and our rental income and I am still working on it. We accumulated so much debt that this still isn't possible yet. So each month we are in the negative unless I receive bonus. Now I usually receive some type of bonuses each month, but this varies, it could be $100 or $5000, I never know. Thus my desire to make our budget work with what I know comes in as a standard paycheck. It will probably take me all this year to finally get there, and possibly another year until we can start living "below" our means. Again referring to just my paychecks and rental income, no other bonus money. Here is my break down so far:

$4742.00 - two paychecks (we do get 2 extra checks each year as I am paid every two weeks - which is not included in this total)
$985 - rental income 1st house
$1225 - rental income 2nd house
$154 - Work reimbursement for internet/cell phone


Monthly budget:
$400 groceries
$200 childcare
$30 pet food
$62.63 Internet/cable
$125 - home gas bill
$130 - Electric
$45 - water bill
$104 - Cell phone
$100 - dining out
$120 - Auto Fuel
$530.68 - Auto payment/insurance
$60.22 - Timeshare
$500 - debt settlement
$400 - embroidery machine
$300 - Business CC
$58.15 - Life Insurance
$10.00 - School supplies
$35 - Prescriptions
$2500 - rental property
$2212 - primary house
$100 - Misc
$200- Matt/Me (personal care, entertainment)

$8297.00 total
$7106.00 - income

Which leaves - (-1191) per month
(this also doesn't include actual medical bills for my hubby)

So each month we are about 1200 in the hole. What am I doing about it? I'm using my bonus money to get ahead. But also my plan now that I am starting to see where our money is going is this

1 - get a better renter who pays more + $200
2 - quit smoking! (this will be hard but I'm going to try) +100
3 - reduce Matt/Me by $100
4. - reduce Groceries by $50 - so far we have only used $117 of our $400 budget

That would then take us to Negative $750

Next - every time I get bonus money it's going to the embroidery machine and our DS account. I've paid the machine down to $7250 - and I don't have to make another payment until June - so if some months are short I won't pay on this. But any bonus money I do get, some goes to the machine to keep us ahead.

It's not all doom and gloom though, I am realizing that our 'average' for the year on the lower end of the scale from "extra/bonus" money is $1660 per month. Some months 0 and some more than that. So I just have to keep budgeting when we do get extra and keep splitting it up to get out of this mess.

We need to reduce, reduce, and focus all our energy into this.

We will keep at it!