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2018 Financial Year In Review

November 14th, 2018 at 09:55 am

Here is my annual review on what my balances were since I started tracking:

MORTGAGE:
NOV 2016 = 86,735.14
NOV 2017 = 84,213.18
NOV 2018 = 81,699.54
NOV 2019 =

STUDENT LOAN
NOV 2016 = 17,764.25
NOV 2017 = 15,990.72
NOV 2018 = 14,157.47
NOV 2019 =

CC1
NOV 2016 = 13,928.46
NOV 2017 = 11,564.48
NOV 2018 = 9,759.51
NOV 2019 =

CC2
*** NOT TRACKED IN 2016
NOV 2017 = 8,315.19
NOV 2018 = 0 (Paid Off Balance Transfer back in August)


Goals for 2018 to bring CC2 to zero. CC1 down to $6,000. Did not quite make it down to 6,000 as of November.

Goals for 2019: Pay off CC1. Then, snowball Student Loan by end of year get it

Set Some Debt Goals

October 11th, 2018 at 05:24 am

As I was updating my debt balances on my side bar, I realized that I can see a faint light at the end of the tunnel.

So I examined a couple of scenarios which I believe to be attainable give or take a couple of months.

I met my goal of reaching $3,000 in my emergency savings account so I can redirect those deposits toward debt payments.

Almost Met my Savings Goal

September 19th, 2018 at 05:13 am

I am just $7.00 shy of meeting my savings goal of saving $3,000 in my emergency fund.

Balance Transfer Nearly Paid Off

August 10th, 2018 at 04:54 am

Updated my sidebar. I am $200 shy of paying off the balance transfer from January. By the end of August the entire balance transfer will be done.

Then,I will continue the accelerated pay-off and my hopes, if all goes well, I can have my Visa paid off by March or April. Then I will be entirely free of consumer credit card debt.

Once the Visa albatross is gone, I will tackle my student loan. My goal is to get that paid off in two years or less.

Love seeing those balances come down!

Lots of Waiting

April 26th, 2018 at 03:22 am

Well I understand that sometimes the hiring process takes some time. So far it has been one week since my interview and I have not heard. The lady who recommended me said she is not getting any vibes from management and no one else has been brought in for an interview. Whatever happens! The commute alone (under 10 minutes) is super appealing.

In January I consolidated my credit cards to one with a lower rate (see side bar). As of yesterday, I have paid $3,084.00 since the balance transfer. I can't wait to get this credit card paid off.

In health news, I had an x-ray and a nodule in my left lung was found (unspecified). So my doctor wanted me to go again in a month. I went last week and apparently the nodule is still there but I'm not clear if it has moved to the lower lobe or grown into the lower lobe. So I was sent in for a CT scan.

So now...more waiting.

Now I Wait

April 20th, 2018 at 10:54 am

Interview was yesterday. I feel lukewarm about the experience and I was told that they would contact me. I haven't heard anything yet. Que sera sera.

Job Interview

April 18th, 2018 at 04:33 am

Back in January, I posted this blog entry regarding a possible new job: http://tryingtogetahead.savingadvice.com/2018/01/09/possible-new-job-need-your-feedback-plea_214641/

Fast forward to yesterday. I woke up yesterday morning thinking about the lady and that job. A few hours later, the lady calls me on the phone said that her manager was ready to hire and asked if I was still interested in the job and I told her that I was. How wild is that?

I learned some additional things from the lady.
401k is 5% match (after 1 year employment).
15 days vacation/sick time and holidays.
Friday after Thanksgiving the office is closed but counts as vacation.
Annual raises.
Annual bonuses starting at 1,500 and increasing yearly until year 5 where the max would be $3k.
New office building move in July or August with new furniture and...drumroll...those adjustable stand-up desks. The office is still in the same area so the commute is still only 4 miles.
As a vacancy arises, the next person down the line gets moved up with the raise along with it (no need to apply and compete).

What can I say? It sounds better every time. My interview is tomorrow afternoon.

Happenings Since March

April 13th, 2018 at 05:28 am

The bad part:

I've been sick most of March and the early part of April. Basically it amounts to several things that occurred at once like severe seasonal allergies, a relentless cough, change in medication strength, and finally overall severe fatigue. I probably missed something, but those were the main ones. I'm better but not at 100% just yet. My mom has not been well and my uncle had a fall.

April has been a slow start to the business and though we have bids pending, we haven't heard back. There may be a bottle-neck somewhere but hopefully we will get approval soon and get to work. For one of my clients I ask them to remove "insurance inspections" off our contract agreement. It is not worth the trouble and time for what they pay. Let me say this... if you know anyone who is considering getting a reverse mortgage, if you care about them at all, don't let them do it. I will explain the dark side of what I have seen in another post.


The good part:

Our business did well this month and 1st quarter.

My youngest finally is receiving SSI payments. We applied for him in October.

I earned another $5 Walmart card and $5 from Receipt Hog. My savings is growing and now it is half-way to my goal.

Credit card balance is going down.

Credit score went up 25 points since January due to paying down the one card aggressively and making on time payments.


Taxes and Credit Card

March 3rd, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Well we were very pleasantly surprised that we are getting over $2k back as a tax refund.

Half of it will go to the CC.

Back in December, I blogged about my payoff goals and that I would have paid CC2 off and Have half of CC1 paid down. If I stay on target, I should have the credit card half way paid down. My aim is that if I can get aggressive and creative enough, I can have this card paid off by Spring 2019.

I have frozen CC2 and the current CC I am paying is essentially cancelled by the bank since they now have a new credit card (a variable one).

February Earnings and Projections (Side Biz)

February 24th, 2018 at 09:37 am

February has turned out to be a great month on our side gig. We have expanded our services since my husband is now doing it full time.

Anyway our anticipated income by month-end (invoiced) = $4,810.
Payments received to date from invoices = $2,770.
Expenses = 1604.
Profit to date: $1,166.
Projected profit for Feb: $3,206.

Finally! A Raise!

February 21st, 2018 at 04:42 am

We finally got our raises at work. Mine was $3.85 per hour higher and I am so happy! The raises were effective July 31, 2017 so on this paycheck, they retroactively lumped what they owed in the paycheck so I have a huge chunk. I plan to apply half that lump to my EF so I will be halfway to my annual goal. From what is left, I plan to divide into payment towards my CC debt and also to beef up my sinking funds.

January Updates

January 30th, 2018 at 05:28 am

We have had a sick household and are finally recovering. Luckily we weren't down for long.

I have not heard back from that lady after I gave her my resume. She told me that it may be a while before her boss was ready to start calling people. Frankly, I'm not holding my breath but it was a good opportunity to make updates.

Actual income from the side biz (not paid yet, just worked completed and invoiced) = $2,285.00. Not bad. DH and I are looking to add more clients.

We are selling furniture and odds n ends that come from these vacant homes. So far, we earned $50 from that and we have a lot more to go through and list. I'm finding that Facebook marketplace is the fastest way to sell (compared with Craigslist and Let Go). For smaller items, we may try eBay. DH and I are amazed at how fast the items we list are selling and we hope this streak continues. We are setting the money aside but we haven't decided how we will use it.

This side income obviously fluctuates each month. If I knew we can count on a base minimum each month I would feel so much better.

January Earnings and Projection (Side Biz)

January 11th, 2018 at 09:41 am

Here are my numbers based on what we have been assigned so far:

Jan 1 - Jan 10 earnings: $440
Jan 11 - Jan 31 (projected): $2,910
Total Jan 1 - Jan 31 = $3,350

Most are inspections.
One is a door lock change.
And the big number is a bid to tarp a roof and empty out a house and inspections assigned. There are expenses, such as fuel, tarps, wood, nails, and trash bags but those are minor.

Possible New Job - Need Your Feedback Please

January 9th, 2018 at 03:10 am

A lady, whose apartment I inspect, and I had a conversation six months ago regarding her job change and the new company she is with. After that conversation, I haven't put a second thought about her new job but I do remember telling her that if there were openings, I would be interested.

Fast forward to last week. I schedule her six month inspection and she asks me to bring along my resume because she wants to give it to her boss because the company is hiring. I said ok and asked no questions.

The day of the inspection (yesterday), I arrive and she tells me about the job. It is her job because she was promoted. She tells me all about the position and the company and that she has been "talking me up" to her boss. I gave her my resume with a cover letter and my personal business card.

Mind you, I'm currently employed, but my company is facing the end of the current contract (September of this year) and we may either remain or be picked up by a new company. I don't think my job is in any danger of being eliminated, but who knows? I enjoy my co-workers very much.

Here are PROS to the new job as I know them:
Salary
New job: Somewhere in the mid $40k (DOE)
Current job: $38k (for the last 10+ years)

Raises
New job: Every year
Current job: No raise since 2008

Annual Bonus
New job: Every year (generous according to her)
Current job: Never

Commute
New job: 4 miles from home
Current job: 22 miles from home

Schedule
New job: 8 hour day - flexible hours and possible work from home when needed (as in Hurricane Irma or when feeling sick)
Current job: 8 hour day - fixed 7-3:30.

Skills Challenge
According to the lady, practically the same job I'm doing now. Sometimes its slow.

Advancement Opportunities
New job: the company is growing and some people are retiring soon which means an opportunity to move up.
Current job: Only if I go to another project (most likely in the Middle East) or the corporate hq in another city. In other words, none.

CONS:
New job: No health insurance (dental, or vision) is offered. According to the lady, you shop your own insurance and the company reimburses you for the premium. Now she is single so that is easy, but I have a family so I don't know if they would do that for family coverage. This would affect my husband and #2 DS (21 y/o and in college). I am in the VA system and #3 DS is on Medicaid due to his disability.
Current job: The whole enchilada, though I pay about $400-ish a month.

New job: 401k is deferred until 1 year of employment anniversary. I did not ask if they had a company match for contributions. (Though I have an IRA where I rolled in my old 401ks and I contribute a little to that).
Current job: 401k with company match up to 6% with immediate vesting.

Time Off
New job: 14 days per year which includes vacation and sick days.
Current job: I have finally earned three weeks vacation after working eight years. I accrue some fraction of an hour each pay period for paid time off (sick time). None of it is use it or lose it. As of now, because of my folks' health issues, I'm in the hole by three days. If I leave without it reaching back to zero, the company will take it from my final earnings.

So that is what I'm grappling with. I don't know if I will be contacted or not, but if I am, I want to feel assured that I'm not missing anything. I would love your feedback!

Personal Maintenance

January 8th, 2018 at 05:16 am

On the personal maintenance front:
Haircut - 2 inches off. $17.00 - I do this as needed.
Pedicure - $22.00 - I do this every 5-6 weeks.
Manicure - $10.00 - I do this annually. I do it myself the rest of the time.

Please, before the criticism comes about a mani-pedi while I have debt, understand that I set aside a little each paycheck for personal maintenance.

I don't need to explain, but I will: I'm a fat girl. My pudgy middle roll under the ribcage and boy does that hurt! Needless to say, I can't comfortably reach my toes and work on them without doing some sabotage.

I could have waited on the haircut and manicure, but there is a possible change of employment opportunity and I want to be ready with a professional polish.

Side Biz Earnings 1/5 and 1/6/18

January 6th, 2018 at 09:19 am

Earned $50 for a property inspection yesterday on 1/5/18.

Earned $150 ($50 each) for three inspections this morning.

Total for literally 90 minutes work is $200.

I went to get more supplies from the property manager and asked for my check. I earned from October - December $750.

All that, however goes into the business account. Like I mentioned in a previous post, we need to make over $5k to make a profit.

Credit Consolidation Twist

January 5th, 2018 at 11:44 am

CC2 balance transfer over to CC1 hit today. $6,841 will have the 2.99% APR until 3/31/19.

Now I have one credit card payment with split APR (see sidebar).

End of story right? Wrong! CC2 is now offering a 0% credit card balance transfer. My credit limit with CC2 is $12,100.

Here is what I'm thinking of doing.... After everything clears, I'm going to transfer the $12,100 from CC1 back to CC2 for 0% before the deadline (2/28/18). Since that payment is distributed to the oldest APR first (9.9%), then the remaining balance will only have a 2.99% APR.

CC1 new balance will then be $5,900 with a 2.99% APR until 3/31/19.

CC2 new balance will be $12,100 with a 0% APR, also until 3/31/19.







Earned A Gift Card

January 4th, 2018 at 10:23 am

I earned a $5 Walmart gift card from Microsoft Rewards.

Income and Expense 1/2/18

January 3rd, 2018 at 06:15 am

Side biz earned $50 for a property inspection and $40 to re-key a door.

Size biz expense $124 for annual background checks.

Total earned today = $90
Total income YTD = $160
Minus expense = $36 profit

2018 Estimated Expenses is $5,000. Once we pass $5k, we will be earning profit.

Consolidated Credit Cards

January 2nd, 2018 at 10:30 am

I updated my sidebar just now, so here is what I did.

CC1 credit limit is $18k. I transferred enough from CC2 to reach my credit limit.

I tapped into my emergency savings fund to pay off the remaining balance on CC2 to bring it to zero.

My goal is to pay this off in 24 months and not add any consumer debt, Lord willing.

Thank you Credit Card Free for your advice!

Amber, you have motivated me to get my debt down.

I look forward to sharing my progress this year. Please pray for me!

Income on 1/1/18

January 2nd, 2018 at 05:20 am

Earned $70 from side gig (two property inspections)
Received $60 from my parents (I ordered some meds for them and they paid me back)

Side gig funds go to the business checking account.

The $60 will go to the EF for now.

No spend day yesterday.

I'm still contemplating how to make the credit card balance transfer work (see comments from the previous entry).

In other news... it's freezing in Northeast Florida, so much so that we may even see some snow flurries tomorrow (I know, Northerners are saying "ha, ha, that's cute!)

Stay warm friends!

Need Some Advice

January 1st, 2018 at 04:02 pm

So CC1 is offering a 2.99% APR for balance transfer. I have until March 31, 2018 to make the transfer and then the rate is good until March 31, 2019. After that, the transferred funds will be subject to whatever the variable rate will be at that time.

If I transfer the balance from CC2 to CC1, I have one year to pay off the entire balance, which as it stands now, is just under $20k.

Here is the promotion:
"Lose some rate with an introductory/promotional rate as low as 2.99% APR* on balance transfers through March 31, 2018. Just transfer the balance from a non-VyStar credit card. If you don’t have one yet, apply by phone or at any VyStar branch. The special low rate will apply to qualified balances until March 31, 2019. After that, your standard variable or non-variable APR will apply to any remaining balances. And, of course, there are no annual fees, no transaction fees, and absolutely no inactivity fees. Saving money is sure to make your new year happier."

Here is the small print:
"* APR=Annual Percentage Rate and is current as of January 1, 2018. Introductory/promotional rate is valid on balance transfers from non-VyStar loans/credit cards through March 31, 2018. All loans subject to approval and actual rate may vary and is based on an evaluation of the individual’s credit history. Rate on unpaid balances returns to standard variable or non-variable APR (currently as low as 10.35% - 14.75% APR) on April 1, 2019. Programs, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice. Certain restrictions apply. Balance transfers and cash advances do not earn rewards points or cash back. Business and Savings Secured VISA cards are not eligible for this promotion."

If it were you, would you go for this offer?

Business Expansion Investment

December 31st, 2017 at 01:08 pm

Well, today we bought a 10x6 dump trailer just in time to deduct from our 2017 taxes.

This purchase is an investment for our side business, which, actually, has become my DH's new full time job so I guess it is no longer a side business. We are excited at the possibilities!

Goings On in My Life

December 29th, 2017 at 08:24 am

No spending yesterday.
My dad gave me $20 to take my mom to her doctor's appointment.

2017 had its ups and downs.
The ups -
Our trip to London. A dream come true for me.
Our middle son turned 21 and our youngest turned 18.
Our oldest son got his first full-time job at Amazon. All adults now in our household, which is rather bittersweet for me.

The downs -
My husband lost his job in September (just before Hurricane Irma) so we are struggling a bit. Fortunately our side-gig ramped up quickly after the hurricanes so it helped our financial situation. It is starting to slow down.
My mom's cataract surgery did not go well and required a second eye surgery.
I gained nine pounds since August and I have felt down in the dumps pretty much since September.

I hope for a 2018 that has more ups than downs.





Lowered Interest Rate on CC2

December 28th, 2017 at 08:56 am

I called my bank to check on my variable interest rate, which is greater than the 15.4% I had on the side bar. The current rate is 16.15%. The bank was able to lower it to 12.65%. I was told they could only do this once per year so I can call again on 12/29/18 to have them lower it once again.

That's nice.

Review of Debt Since 2016

November 27th, 2017 at 09:30 am

Here is a perspective on what my balances were a year ago and today.


MORTGAGE:
NOV 2016 = 86,735.14
NOV 2017 = 84,213.18

STUDENT LOAN
NOV 2016 = 17,764.25
NOV 2017 = 15,990.72

CC1
NOV 2016 = 13,928.46
NOV 2017 = 11,564.48

CC2
*** NOT TRACKED IN 2016
NOV 2017 = 8,315.19


Goals for 2018 to bring CC2 to zero. CC1 down to $6,000.

Pay Off CC2 with Some IRA Money

August 23rd, 2017 at 09:23 am

Hope you all had a nice summer!

I've been contemplating cashing in some of my IRA to pay off CC2. I can afford the penalty. But I can't continue this treadmill anymore. I have to pay off something. There will still be a large balance in my IRA account.

Once that is done, I need to get down to business to pay off CC1. My goal is to have it paid off by end of Summer of 2018.

All that will be left is my student loan and mortgage.



Vacation

June 13th, 2017 at 08:19 am

Time slows down for no one and I am no exception. I can't believe my last entry was February.

Lots of things have happened and hopefully I can recap goings-on.

DS2 moved out back in February to live with his grandparents (my parents). Needless to say it was prompted by a disagreement between him and DH but since then things between them have improved. It was a very tense time and I hope to not re-live that again.

DH and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and we went to London. Wow! We loved it there and we even saw Queen Elizabeth. It was a fluke because we were just meandering around until we reached Buckingham Palace. Then next thing, her motorcycle detail drove out to the street to block traffic then her green car (Bentley?)drove out slowly. We actually saw her face! What a thrill!

We took a bunch of photos on DH's cell phone. When we came home, we showed a few then we decided to transfer the photos to our laptop so we can create an album. Well, somehow, the photos did not transfer and we lost all the photos. We are trying one more thing and if that doesn't recover the photos, then they are lost. Needless to say that I am devastated about that. All the fun we had and nothing to share.

So.... Here is some advice from a hard lesson learned for those about to embark on a trip of a lifetime like we did: backup your photos somehow, like upload them in the cloud, Facebook, email to yourself each day of your trip.

Another lesson learned: Walking in a metro city is not the same as walking in your neighborhood. It is more intensive, so if you are middle-aged and chubby like me, or simply not accustomed to lots of fast pace walking on sidewalks, side-stepping, mini-sprinting so you don't get hit by a car ... don't underestimate how bad you will feel at the end of the day. Be sure to pack some muscle cream or those back patches. And take care of your feet. By the end of our trip, even with comfy shoes with good support, my feet looked like I trekked the globe barefoot. Take an extra pair of shoes with support inserts. I plan to bring one of those little inflatable foot tubs and some Epsom salt next time I travel.

Crossing the street? Look RIGHT first! If you look down at the sidewalk curb, you will see that printed as a friendly reminder!

In England, they don't use washcloths so be sure to bring if you use them for showering.

I don't know where people there do their laundry because we did not see one single laundry mat in London and our hotel didn't have one. A good thing we brought one of those Tide Pods with us. I punctured it and poured the detergent in a ziplock bag. With that we did our laundry in the sink.

The Oyster Card is a must-have to get around. The tube is remarkably easy to use. It was DH preferred way to get around.

We flew with Norweigan Airlines and we recommend it. They don't fly from our own airport so we drove a couple of hours away to the airport they fly from.

February 2017

February 3rd, 2017 at 05:11 am

My goals are:
Lose 6 pounds this month.
15 no spend days.

I received two free loaves of Pepperidge Farm bread from a friend.

I heard that there will be an Aldi store coming soon near my neighborhood. Yay!

There are two birthdays in my family later this month: my mother and DS1. We normally go out to eat so I will need to be careful of my intake on those days.

I will contact my CPA for an appointment to get our income taxes done this month. I would normally do this myself but when it comes to a small business, I don't want to take any chances and make any mistakes. It is very much worth it to me to have a professional handle it.

January 2017 Financial Events

January 30th, 2017 at 10:24 am

Where to begin! Well here goes:

Unsubscribed from Comcast internet service. ($89/mo).
Unsubscribed from AT&T cell service family plan ($223/mo).
Subscribed my parents to Consumer Cellular 1,000 talk minutes for $30/month. I bought them flip phones for $30 each.
Subscribed myself and DS2 to MetroPCS for $50/month. Once DS2 finds a job, he will get his own account.
DS1 subscribed to MetroPCS independently for $30/month. We all scored free phones and transferred our phone numbers.
DH still hasn't converted yet. It takes awhile for him to convert.

Before: 223 AT&T + 89 Comcast = $312
After: 30 (Consumer Cellular) + 50 (MetroPCS) = $80
Total Savings per month = $232

As for income taxes. Still waiting for DH's W2 in the mail.

I joined Weight Watchers for $45 for 3 months. I have lost 6 lbs so far.


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