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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.

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.

Emergency Savings Redirection

December 28th, 2016 at 06:37 am

Well, I met my goal last month with my own money for my $1,000 emergency savings and my FIL gifted each of us $1,000 for Christmas.

I decided that in my Capital One 360 savings accounts needed to be fully funded.

Car insurance (due in March) = 500.00 (added 242.55 to meet goal) Deposits from my paycheck will be toward September's payment.

Gym annual fee (due in October) = 175.00 (added 118.95) I can cut this deposit in half since the next fee is due in October 2018.

CCW Club Dues and Extras (due in July) = $60.00 (added 53.80)

DS Guardianship and Senior Year = 500.00 (added 406.28) The "fully funded" goal is actually the rock bottom amount I needed. I am sure I will need more.

I will still contribute from my paycheck but I feel secure in knowing that these funds are set aside for the near future.

In the meantime, I still have the $1,000 rock bottom for emergencies.

My hopes are that in 2017, I can be a savings rock star like the rest of you superstars!

Under $14k

November 7th, 2016 at 07:46 am

Food: Over the weekend, I ate like a fool. I don't even remember what I ate. Weekend food tracking is tough.
Fitness: Sunday went to the gym for cardio.

Paid bills since it was payday on Friday. Credit card #1 is now under $14,000. So far this year I paid just over $3k on the card.

I am considering consolidating CC1 and CC2. CC1 has a lower APR and is fixed. I would like to wait for a promotional rate and get my balance lowered on both before I do this.

I anticipate next payday to be short since I had to take a couple of days off. Hopefully, I can make do with the shortage (about $160 less).

No Spend Day

October 14th, 2016 at 04:44 am

Breakfast - Overnight oats, coffee, Good Belly and orange juice
Lunch - Assistant manager did a cook out so I had boston butt roast, baked beans, potato salad and coconut cake and Coca-Cola. (Healthy? not!)
Dinner - 1 plain hot dog without the bun
Extra food - Chocolate candy and wine.
Fitness - went to the gym/personal trainer

Yes, yesterday was a major eating disaster. It will be better today.

Other than that, yesterday was a no spend day.

Today, I need to buy gas which will set me back between $35-$40)

Tomorrow, I will take my mom and my aunt shopping and I will need to pick up a replacement cell phone for my uncle since his died a couple of days ago, and I want to buy a basic one for my aunt. My uncle will reimburse me but the one for my aunt will be a gift.

That's pretty much it for now.

Spending and Matthew

October 1st, 2016 at 05:55 am

Breakfast - coffee
Lunch - 1 slice bacon & 1 egg on 1 slice toast and green tea
Snack - apple
Dinner - International potluck at church. I’ll bring spaghetti & meat sauce because its what I have on hand. I’m going to keep away from the dessert table because I gained a lot of weight in the last couple of weeks due to stress.

Spending (Start $70, End 18.52):
A flat of jumbo eggs = 3.99
Chicken nuggets (not the frozen Tyson’s type) = 4.50
Gas = 35
Haircut = 7.99 (My uncle received a coupon from Great Clips and he let me have it). Price includes tip.

Looks like Hurricane Matthew may be messing up our weather mid-week. I’m on an audit team at work on Tuesday and Wednesday which requires me to be outdoors and traveling from building to building. Normally I work indoors. I sure as heck don’t want to be out in the rain. As of this writing, the storm is a category 4 and if it follows the projected trajectory, Florida is in the outer cone, meaning that we will definitely feel the effects. I guess depending on the forecast, the emergency weather team can make the call on what operations need to be postponed. For Hermine, they closed for one day. You know what? I’m not worrying about it.

Back to Normal

September 29th, 2016 at 04:54 am

Sort of back to normal. My uncle had heart stents put in on Monday afternoon and was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday afternoon. Yesterday, the home health nurse came to do his evaluation and today, the physical therapist will come.

My uncle's neighbor will be assisting him with getting up out of bed in the morning since he is unsteady on his feet and help him get to bed. She is a Godsend!

My aunt will be flying in from New York next week to stay with him while we go to our original trip to Miami to see my dad's brother who has Alzheimer's and of course, his sisters. If you recall a couple of weeks ago, a series of unfortunate events occurred that caused us to cancel our trip.

So, I'm back at work today and working to get my own life back to normal. I gained weight because I haven't been tracking my food and also I haven't exercised. My family, as understanding as they are, were feeling a bit neglected. It is amazing how one event can turn your routine upside down.

Financial: DH gets paid today and he will pay the mortgage tomorrow. As for my spending... well, lets just say I dread tallying my receipts.

Health (today):
Breakfast - overnight oats and coffee
Lunch - ham, egg, cheese burrito
Dinner - ?????
Snack - banana
Workout - personal trainer and 30-minutes cardio.
Goal - lose 2 pounds by October 7th.


September 22nd, 2016 at 05:38 am

Sorry for the long and dreary post… just rambling.

Health (today):
Breakfast: overnight oats, coffee
Lunch: Scrambled egg on a slice of toast,
Dinner: Pork roast w/mashed potatoes left overs
Snack: apple
Extra Food: green tea
Workout: I did walk around the parking lot yesterday while my son was in therapy and later at home I did 10 pushups. Tonight, Lord willing, I will go to the gym and exercise with my personal trainer. I need to make time to exercise now more than ever because I am feeling the stress building.

Finances (yesterday):
NSD for my, but DH had to buy gas and pick up some lettuce at the grocery store for his lunch salad.

My paycheck posted in my account and it is for the full amount. I found a penny and added it to my coin jar.

Received the mortgage statement and for the first time in a good while I really looked at it. My maturity date (last mortgage payment) would be June 1, 2036. Our monthly payment is 797.40. We were paying 805.44 and then escrow estimate went down and reduced the payment. We just continued paying the 805.44 which is an 8.04 difference but every little bit helps. I wish we could do a little more but that is as much as we can do right now. It amounts to about 96.00 additional per year.

My Interesting Life
My uncle fell in his bedroom last night. Seems the walker slipped from under him. My sons and I had to go over and hoist him to his bed. We are looking into getting a wheelchair for him because he feels now that he cannot support himself upright anymore. My dad is frustrated and my mom is stressed. Both are having difficulty dealing with this.

Tomorrow I’m taking annual leave to take my uncle to see his doctor and to see what he says. I will have a list of things to ask regarding home health care, wheelchair, meals on wheels, or anything else. I just can’t think straight. If anyone has suggestions on what to ask his doctor regarding services and assistive items, please comment. I want to be ready and have him set up comfortably and without worry.

I learned yesterday that I cannot apply for FMLA for my uncle’s care because it only covers parents, spouse, and children (and of course, myself). I am down to 32 hours of annual leave until my drop comes in April (my hire date anniversary). Needless to say, I’m glad I’m setting aside some cash for when I need to take LWOP – leave without pay. I see that coming in the near future.

In the meantime, on the passenger side of my car, the little latch on the car door is broken so my husband had to do a temp fix so that I can close the car until he can buy the new part and install it. I put some blue painters tape on the inside and outside handles as a reminder to not use that door. No riding shotgun for any passengers as they will have to go limo style and sit in the back seat.

Catching Up

September 20th, 2016 at 04:50 am

Health (today):
Breakfast: overnight oats, banana, Good belly, and coffee
Lunch: Grilled cheese, plain greek yogurt with frozen blueberries
Dinner: nothing planned – probably leftover BBQ
Snack: fresh pineapple
Extra Food: I don’t know yet - hopefully nothing.
Workout: Personal trainer and probably some cardio.

Finances (over the weekend):
Friday: Asian buffet 41.43
Saturday: Grocery shopping – DH paid and it was nearly $200! I have no idea what I bought but most of it was non-food items that we needed which brings up the price. Haircuts for DS2 and DS3 at Great Clips (they had the weekend sale 7.99) so it was 19.98 including tips.
Sunday: Chinese food (again) 44.36, Gas 33.08, Krystal for a rootbeer float for myself 2.13* (raided the change jar).

Payday from my day job is Friday (but my credit union posts it on Thursday). I hope it is a full paycheck.
Also payment from my side gig is coming in the mail this week for $250.
This afternoon I will earn another $50 from my side biz.

*I was feeling stressed over the weekend. Have you ever felt detached and just going through the motions? That was how I felt over the weekend. I didn’t even track what I ate over the weekend. The weekends have always been hard for me to track since the meal schedule isn’t the same as the weekdays.

Update on my uncle (he is 89): We are looking into a home health nurse for my uncle at his request. He is doing better but still unsteady and a little down. He said he called his doctor yesterday and left a message so that he can order/prescribe or whatever they do so that Medicare would cover the service.

Update on my parents (both are 84): They can’t wait until a home health nurse starts because it has been hard on them to do for my uncle. My mom gets tired easily and my dad has issues with his knees. Mobility is an issue for him as it is now for my uncle.

I see that there are some “getting to know you” lists out there! I will work on mine later when I have a little more time.

Payday and Expenses

September 9th, 2016 at 05:40 am

Breakfast: overnight oats with coffee
Lunch: Leftover BBQ chicken on Kaiser bun
Dinner: Empanada
Snack: Green tea and apple
Extra Food: low calorie protein drink
Workout: 30 minutes on treadmill and 30 minutes with personal trainer. My personal trainer is moving to Maine so last night was our last session. She is very good and I’ll miss her. I will continue with another trainer who is also very good.

I do need to incorporate more vegetables in my diet. I get burned out with salads. The green tea that I buy is Republic of Tea http://www.republicoftea.com/ and I add the Matcha powder in my overnight oats and I brew the Double Green Matcha around lunchtime. I don’t think I would be drinking the tea every day but at least on my workout days as it does give me a boost of energy.

Overnight Oats have various combinations. Here is my recipe (high calorie but nutritionally dense):
Old fashioned oats = 1/2 cup dry (150 calories) lowers cholesterol
Chia seed = 1 tablespoon (60 calories) omega-3, antioxidant and energy booster
Powdered peanut butter = 1 tablespoon (25 calories) low fat and low calorie version of the real thing, plus it is a flavor-enhancer. Same amount of protein as the real thing.
Walnuts = 1/8 cup (100 calories) omega-3, antioxidant
Raisins = 1/8 cup (42 calories), potassium, iron, and fiber
Designer Whey vanilla protein powder = 1/2 scoop (50 calories) protein
Matcha Green Tea powder = 1/8 teaspoon (zero calories) energy, fat burner and antioxidant
Lowfat Milk (1%) = 1 cup (102 calories) calcium for bone health

Total calories = 529
Macro breakdown = Carbs 69, Fat 23, Protein 32, Fiber 12.

Snowflake: Received as a gift from work some restaurant coupons from a fundraiser. Nice!

Expenditures so far:
1/2 power bill = 98
1/2 student loan = 90
100% Internet = 84
1/2 Visa = 125
Gas = 40
Groceries = 77.02 I forgot eggs! Eggs were on on my mind but I forgot to jot it down on my list and they are on sale for 80 cents a dozen for the large. I pulled out 1.60 from my dresser change and gave to DS1 to pick them up today because we have run out and we are an egg-eating family.

According to Mint, Zillow now has my home valued at $90,068 and we currently owe 87,124.19. It is a seller’s market now so if you are in the market to buy a home, do your homework!

Frankly, I see the housing bubble bursting again soon. If that bubble bursts like it did seven years ago, my side biz will start to boom again. My side business is property preservation and inspections. The meat of this business is foreclosures, which makes this a boom industry when the housing market crashes.

Her Name is Hermine

September 1st, 2016 at 04:36 am

We are still under tropical storm watch even though Hurricane Hermine hasn’t made landfall yet. We are making basic preps. We do not know yet if schools will close tomorrow and whether or not DH and I need to report to work. Though we are located at the southern end of the storm when it passes through, the possible impact on our area could be tornados, intense rain and flash flooding. I understand that Hawaii is getting a double hurricane at the same time. Louisiana is still reeling weeks after their storm. Pray for all those impacted by these storms.

Health yesterday:
Breakfast: Overnight Oats and coffee
2nd breakfast: cheese omelet on 1 slice of toast
Lunch: Greek salad and apple
Dinner: ‘Brown Dinner’ (Salisbury steak with mushrooms, onions, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans)
Extra food: banana and 3-2-1 brownie (http://www.duncanhines.com/recipes/cakes/patti40/3-2-1-microwave-cake/)

Snowflake: Amazon credit of 5.99 for selecting no-rush shipping (for Prime members). Promotional credit expires on December 7th so I need to remember to order something else on Amazon before then.
I got this for ordering my dad’s Christmas gift yesterday.

Financial Goals:
I’m following Dave Ramsey and working on baby step #1 – save $1,000. I'm already a third of the way there!

At the same time, I am working at paying off my debt but I am thinking that perhaps I should pay the minimums and become more aggressive with savings deposits in order to reach $1,000 by December 31st. The last quarter of 2016 I will devote to doing this. I have some money crunching to do but I think I may be able to achieve this in four months.

Come January, I will devote 2017 with baby step #2 – paying off debt as aggressively as I can. My smallest debt also carries the largest interest rate, so I may just go with the debt avalanche method. Dave Ramsey’s method is the debt snowball.

I am so glad I started this blog. This has helped me tremendously these last few days in getting my financial perspective together. Thanks everyone for reading and for your encouragement!

Day 3

August 26th, 2016 at 04:29 am

Today is payday. I have two main checking accounts that I set up some time ago for different reasons.
8/26 Paycheck:
1/2 payment for CC1 and CC2
1/2 power bill
1/2 student loan bill
savings deposit
tithing monthly
security alarm service
mortgage (transfer from DH’s account)

There is drama. My DH’s job has made a mistake with the majority of the employees’ paychecks who have worked overtime. The errors are as low as a penny or two per hour to up to a dime per hour. Now they are auditing everyone’s paychecks a year back and are demanding their money back. So DH spends about two hours yesterday, on his own time ( I think this should have been on company time since the snafu was theirs) printing out his pay stubs and going through the OT rates. He did find errors on some which amounted to less than $50.00. A huge relieve because we were afraid it would run into the hundreds. The company was recently sold and the changeover will be completed by December so they are scrambling to audit their accounts. Very sloppy. I hope this new company is better.

I have the day off from work today to take my dad to see a new doctor, an orthopedist for his knee issues. I use Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to take my dad to his doctor appointments. I elected the “intermittent leave” FMLA because I only need time off to drive him to the doctors. If you didn’t know that and were considering using FMLA to help a family member, this is available. My mom doesn’t drive and he has some mild mobility issues (reason for his medical appointments) and also a language barrier. He has been living in the U.S. since 1962 and though he understands enough English, his pronunciation is limited and his understanding of what he is told in English can be misunderstood. So I’m the interpreter.

FMLA days are without pay so I started a savings account with Capital One 360 recently to fund my days off. For take home pay, that is about $80 per day. So I am trying to build up that account to make up for time lost.

Yesterday 8/25:
Helped my uncle with his new answering machine
$50 loan to DS2 for college textbook (unplanned spending)
Personal training at the gym
Breakfast: overnight oats, coffee, omelet on toast
Unplanned snack: a slice of cake someone brought in at work
Lunch: chicken tenders, mac n cheese
Snack: Greek yogurt with strawberries
Dinner: shepherd’s pie
I need to control my eating as well as my spending!

To do today:
Meal plan
Side gig (earn 50)
Dinner at Mom’s (My mother cooks dinner for us on Mondays and Fridays-HUGE blessing!)

Variable spending for today (estimates):
Groceries - 125
Buy gas – 35 (gas buddy priced the lowest at 1.88/gal)

Day 2

August 25th, 2016 at 05:49 am

I just spent a good 30 minutes on this post and when I published it, it was gone. Now I'm trying to remember what I said because it was long.

Here is what I can remember:

Thank you to everyone for the warm welcome. I am looking forward to sharing my financial journey with you. I want to give a shout-out to the following bloggers who have inspired me:

CB in the City - My future self...I can see my retirement looking bright!
VS-from-Oz - I am on the same journey as you.
Scottish_girl - My younger self...I've been there and I can relate. Hang in there SG because it gets better!
Creditcardfree - What I'm striving for now.

I said more in my previous post but I want to say that these bloggers were my inspiration to begin my own blog.

Let's talk about my money and where it goes. I am currently gathering up to date figures for my debt balances.

CC1 is old debt that was from consolidating other debts. The APR is 9.90%. I pay half a payment each payday (every other Friday).

CC2 is newer debt. I began this card to use for gas for my side biz. Did well too. Then other expenses here and there (bad choices) plus my personal training fees go on this card. The APR is variable and currently sits at just over 15%. I also pay half a payment each payday.

Student Loan from when I graduated in 2006. This is consolidated and the APR is 2.8%. I also pay half a payment each payday.

Mortgage. My husband pays this but he transfers from his checking to my checking. I pay this in full when due.

Obligatory expenses: Groceries, electric and water (one bill), cell phone, internet, security alarm service, gym memberships, tithing, clothing and miscellaneous.

We cut out cable TV years ago. We feel that cable is a rip-off. We also recently decided that going to the movies is also a rip-off. We check out DVDs from the library and if we like a movie enough to watch over and over, we will buy it but wait for it to reach rock bottom prices usually at Big Lots for 5.00.

Income sources:
Day job and side jobs (I have one side job. My husband has multiple side gigs).
Bing Rewards
Ibotta app
Receipt Hog app
Target gift card rewards (for certain purchases)

No spend day!
My side gig earnings 50.00
Breakfast: overnight oats, coffee
Lunch: cheese omelet on toast, greek yogurt with strawberries
Snack: apple
Snack before side gig: hot dog (from home)
Dinner: chicken tenders, mac n cheese, wine

Day 1

August 24th, 2016 at 10:14 am

I decided earlier this year to split my monthly expenses on each pay check so that I have a little breathing room on each check (money to spare). It gets to where it is tough to pay all from one check and be basically broke for two weeks and so far, this system has worked out well for me.

For 2016, I have 10 more paydays for my regular job. I also have a side business that is not steady but reliable, meaning, that I can count on having assignments each month from my business, but some months have more activity than other months.

I know that I can do better on my savings and debt reduction and as I blog my thoughts, I know that I can come up with a plan to get ahead!