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Archive for December, 2013

2013 Goal Met

December 30th, 2013 at 07:18 am

I met my 2013 goal!

I deposited $100 today to bring my Emergency fund to $1,500!!

That is one month of bills for us. I am excited to finally have a little cushion, and I pray that it just keeps going up from here.

The bad news is I have spent more than I should this week. My best friend surprised me by coming home early from her trip to Africa and I haven't seen her for months. So of course we went out to eat and I bought her meal. We may be going out to eat again tonight, and I have to buy some food to bring to a New Years party. I have about $100 on the credit card right now, that is not due until Feb. But I really need to work on keeping that down so it does not continue to suck all my saving money.

I also still owe the $80ish to the escrow and $50 to my propane fund. So I am going to have to be thrifty or work a little extra for a couple weeks, if I want to meet my saving goals.

What I found today that was really cool is that my savings account is now making me $.01 of interest a day. I know that doesn't seem like a lot, but I have NEVER seen a daily amount of interest, in the past I have gotten about $.01 a month or so. So to see that I am making something daily, especially on such a low amount is awesome!

It makes me excited to add more!

Sources of Extra Income

December 27th, 2013 at 07:24 am

First I want to share how I saved $20 yesterday!

Husband bought me a beautiful Carhartt coat for Christmas. But it did not fit quite right. So we went to return it yesterday and get a different one.

Well they were having a 20% off sale on all the coats!

So we were able to return the one he had bought for full price, and buy a new one for 20% off, score!

(I am not too happy about him spending nearly $100 on a coat anyway. But he refused to take it back, and said he got a big bonus and wanted to spoil me.)

Now back to my main point. lol

This year I need to come up with a lot of money that frankly just is not in the budget. So I am going to have to come up with several thousand some how.

I thought I would share some of the ways I plan to make money this year, maybe other people will get some ideas from it.

I breed goats and am expecting at least $2,000 of profit from them. It could be more, but you just never know.

I will be getting between $200 - $400 in grant money back from school.

I will be putting at least $500 from income tax return into savings, but it may be even more. Maybe up to $2,000 depending on how my savers credit works.

I will try to get a couple freelance web design jobs. They bring in $750 for a big job, or $50 for a little job. I hope to do at least 3 this year.

Husband will get another Christmas bonus next year, and some of that will go to savings. No idea how much it will be because it is dependent on the company's profits.

Ebay is always an option, although since we have a new house we really don't have too much extra junk. But I am going to try to dig up a few things.

All these little things add up. Plus it seems like every year extra money is found. Either by gifts, or side jobs, or just whatever.

I am hoping all of this will be enough to meet our goals this year!

2014 Little Goals

December 26th, 2013 at 08:29 am

So I have already listed my big goals for the 2014 year.
Now I want to share some of my little & personal goals. Not all of my goals have to do with money, but with just life in general.

My little goals are much more likely to change than my big goals, and some are sure to be added later on in the year. But this is what I came up with at the time. They are in no specific order.

1.) 3 new windows. $1,100

We put 2 in last year, 3 this year, and now I need 3 more to finish one corner of the house. The new windows look great, and certainly help with heating and cooling. So I want to get one corner of the house finished.

My parents have generously offered to pay for one of the three as a late Christmas present, but I do not want to count on that too much in case they change their minds or are unable to later on.
The total cost will be right around $1,100 for all three.

2.) Tar porch roof.

We put a new shingle roof on the house last year, but over the porch the slant is too low to shingle and it has tar. It does leak under heavy rain. So that needs to be fixed. I would love to talk to a professional to see if we can shingle it somehow. It's ugly as heck. But I'd be okay with just re taring it if we have to. No clue on cost.

3.) Put in a garden & more landscaping.

Last year and this year was mostly focused on the inside of the house. So we didn't do any gardening, and we only put in one landscape box and a couple little plants. This year I want to spend more time working on the outside of the house, and the yard. I also want to plant a garden, even if it is small. Husband has pet turtles and they eat a LOT of fresh vegetables and fruits that are expensive. So if we could grow some it would save a lot or money.

4.) Decorate the house.

The house has been rebuilt, but it is sooo bland. I want to start adding pictures, decor, rugs, anything to spruce it up.

5.) Spend more time on crafts & hobbies & books.

I am a workaholic. I also go to school. I am so busy that I meet myself coming and going. I do not get to spend much time doing fun things, or things I enjoy. Most times I am just happy if I can keep the house reasonably clean. This year I want to slow down a little. (as best as I can with my current job) I want to ride my horse, read books, do crafts & house projects that I enjoy.

6.) Put the trim up in the house.

Trim is really the last big project left to do inside the house at the current time. We have none of it up, and our house looks unfinished.

My 2014 BIG Goals

December 24th, 2013 at 09:24 am

It is almost the end of the year!

Yikes! It is time to start thinking about next years goals.

My mind is filled with things we need and want. I know I have lots of little goals, that I will go over later, but I have narrowed a list down to 4 things that are my BIG goals for 2014.

1.) I want to put at LEAST $2,000 in a Roth IRA.

I am anxious to get started with our retirement savings. $2,000 seems so small, but at least it is a start.

2.) I want to get my EF to $4,500.

That is 3 months worth of bills, and I think that is a suitable number for us. Although some people need more, we have no outstanding debts, and we both have steady jobs. We will have $1,500 by Jan. so that means I need to come up with $3,000 more.

3.) $3,000 in Animal Fund.

This is a hard one. I have a goat breeding business that has taken a long time to take off. But we are to the point now, that cost is lower and profits are higher. I had to move my herd to my new house when I got married, leaving behind the thousands of dollars worth of fence that I had purchased over the years.

Last year I paid with savings to have two small fences put up, and a shelter so I could get my horse and herd moved. While they are safe, and the pen does work. They are in a small area, and not as healthy or happy.

I have a large pasture that is waiting to be fenced off so they can roam. I will do half at a time, and it is going to cost at least $2,000 for the first half. I would like to get that done ASAP.

I also need about $1,000 in reserve, that should cover all care and feed costs for the year.

I am expecting a lowball estimate of $2,000 of profit from goat sales this year. So that means I will still need to come up with another $1,000 out of the budget.

4.) Pay down Mortgage to below $50,000.

We are planning on refinancing sometime next year or early 2015. I need to build more equity in our home, so we can take out a future HELOC for remodeling. So I am setting a goal of getting the mortgage below $50,000 by the end of the year. Thats about $1,170 away. So it is possible that it will decrease that much with just normal payments. Lower would be even better of course.

That means I need to come up with a total of $9,170 extra this year to meet our BIG goals.

As I said there is a lot more little goals along the way though. And currently we can only save between $200 - $300 a month. So there is a lot of money that will have to be found to meet all these goals.

Close to Goal & Bank Update

December 23rd, 2013 at 07:32 am

I rearranged money to deposit $200 into my EF. I had to put $50 less in my propane fund, but I will replace it quickly. I just really wanted to hit my goal this year, and I am so darn close.

Only need a $100 deposit next week, and I should be able to do that no problem.

I was not able to pay much on credit card this week, but it is low enough that I am comfortable putting it on hold, especially since it will not be due until February 6th.

I got a final answer from the bank. My payment is being lowered to $471.13. Whoot whoot!

I DO owe $81.33 to escrow. But it is no big rush to pay it. So I can just make my normal payments, and it will be paid in less than 2 months.

I am excited about the lowered payment. I will continue to pay $500, and that will lower my principle by nearly $30 every month, which is not a lot, but it is a little boost.

I will be posting about next years goals soon!

Things Are Looking Up

December 20th, 2013 at 11:49 am

Whew! Yesterday was great on the financial side of things.

First the bank called me and told me they had a calculation error and that I only owe $241 for escrow, and that my house payment would be dropping $15 a month.

Well again that did not sound right because my taxes dropped nearly $500 this year, so I was figuring on my payment going down at least $40. So I mentioned it, and apparently they had missed that somehow, and not plugged those numbers!

So now I'm waiting again, to hear back on an exact number. But my payment should drop around another $30, and I won't owe any extra escrow! In fact, they may have to return some to me!! Whoot!

It does kind of worry me, that they just somehow missed that... again. If I was not on top of my finances who knows what I would be paying.

My dad won some money yesterday, and gave me $100! And someone at DH's work gave him a scratch off ticket and we won $30!

So I deposited all that and paid down my credit card to $50. (My last $30 hasn't shown up online yet)

Monday is payday, and I will be able to pay off the rest on the credit card, and put some in the EF too!


Short Term Goals

December 18th, 2013 at 09:25 am

The bank talked to me briefly.

They said their system has been having issues so they still can not give me an exact amount I will owe for escrow, nor can they tell me what my payment for next year will be yet.

But they apologized for the communication error about the escrow and they are going to let me just make payments as I can over the next few months. So that is a relief. I will just pay as I can, no rush.

With Christmas rapidly coming to a close, I am trying to reassess my goals.

I have about $180 on my credit card at this moment. But I will have to add gas this week so probably around $210.

I always pay it in full every month. I don't think it is due until Feb. 6th or so, but it is a little higher than usual because of Christmas, so first I will knock that out.

I want to get my checking account cushion back up to $500.

Then I will start making payments towards escrow.

I added $300 of husband's bonus into my EF. So our total is at $1,200.

He also has $350 in his checking account for a cushion, so I could count that (technically it is for EF) but I'll hold off on counting it for now.

Short Term Goals
1. Pay off $210 on credit card
2. Raise cushion by $200
3. Make payments towards escrow

Sucessful Shopping Trip

December 16th, 2013 at 07:28 am

I had a GREAT weekend date night/shopping trip with husband.

I finished all my Christmas shopping!!

Favor seemed to be on us. We got a ton of great deals.

First we went to Toys R Us. Legos were on sale for 50% off. So we bought a big set we've been eying for a long time. Yes! We are grown adults who have a western lego town set up on our living room coffee table right now! Haha.

We also saw these super cute little Nerf guns on sale. So we got two for niece, and sister. The Nerf was on sale for 25% off, but the guns were buy one get one 40%. So we go to check out, and when they gave us the receipt it was higher than expected. They forgot to put the sale on there. So we talked to a manager, and instead of giving us either 25% off on both or 40% off on one he gave us 65% off BOTH of them! We got over $20 worth of guns for like $7.

Then we went to Kohls and I had a $10 off coupon. I got 2 shirts that were 35% off. One was $18 which is way more than I like to spend on one shirt, but I really loved it, and if you count my coupon I really only paid $8. We also found a candle holder for another sister that was 50% off.

Hobby Lobby we found a perfect candle for above candle holder and it was in the 66% clearance aisle, but it didn't have a sticker on it, so someone must have just sat it there. We talked to the cashier and they gave it to us anyway for clearance. So we got a $13 candle for less than $5!

We ate at Longhorn Steak House, which I had a gift card for from Swag Bucks. We ordered a starter, and our meals, and they accidentally dropped my steak on the floor. The manager came out and apologized repeatedly, and they gave us another free side dish and a free dessert.

We had so much food we couldn't eat it all, so we took home half our starter, 2 halves of a steak, a sweet potato, and our dessert! We got an another entire meal out of it.

Overall it was a great trip, we had a lot of fun, and we saved more than we spent.

Husband and I have a good agreement for his bonus. He is keeping $500 for cushion, $100 for gun savings, and $200 for a new window. He also paid for our date, and is paying off this month's credit card statement. The rest is going to our EF, probably about $300.

We still have to come up with $700 for escrow, but the bank still hasn't contacted me yet. We could use his bonus, but we both feel that we shouldn't use every single cent we own, so we are going to go ahead and get a very short term, borrow from my parents.

Big Bonus!!

December 13th, 2013 at 07:17 am

I have not heard anything back from the bank even though I talked to them Monday and they dropped the bomb that I owe $700 by next week. They told me they would call me and let me know the exact total and how we could work it out.

I have not called them yet. I figure it is buying me time, and no way and I going to pursue people who want my money. lol

But I have some great news!!! We got husbands bonus yesterday. We had heard rumors of $700, we were hoping for $500. Well the check arrived and he got $1,600!!! Minus taxes of course comes down to $1,200. But still! Neither of us has even gotten a bonus before, so we are pretty excited.

He is being quite entitled and selfish with it though. He refuses to put any into our savings account, or give me some to help cover the Christmas presents for his family.

I am sure he will come around.

He plans on replacing his broken car windshield, paying for the Christmas presents that he bought, putting $100 back for a gun, and putting the rest into his checking account for a cushion.

So I guess he will still be saving it. It just won't be gaining any interest.

I was not going to be able to meet my goals this year. But if you count the $500+ that will be in his checking account for an emergency. We are already there! Hurray!

I wish I got a bonus. My checking account cushion is at an all time low, and all my savings right now are going to rebuild it. I am still hoping to persuade him to put $200 in my cushion as well. But we shall see.

From Bad to Worse

December 10th, 2013 at 07:57 am

I am SO SICK of my bank. When we go to refinance I will be shopping around. They have messed up so many times I am about to go in there and start screaming!

I stopped into the bank yesterday as I made my December payment to ask what my payment for 2014 will be. My taxes and insurance dropped and by my calculations it should lower about $50.

Well they informed me that they could not give me an answer right away, but in the computer it shows a shortage in my escrow account! Of $700.... that has to be paid within a week! Say what!?

We got the loan back in August of 2012. When we got it they said all the taxes and insurance had to be put through escrow, and they assured me that they would take care of everything and make all the payments, and yadda yadda. We did not have to lift a finger.

Well fast forward 4 months, and I stopped by the insurance place to see about getting my rate lowered. They could not find my account. Turns out the bank thought I was going to open the policy (even though they said it was their job and I was paying them the escrow) and we were without insurance for 4 MONTHS even though we were paying escrow.

They apologized and we got insurance without burning the house down.

Then in Sept of this year I got my little card that said my taxes were due. I remember the insurance incident, so just to double check I called the court house to make sure it was paid....

Well no, they hadn't paid it and now it was 2 weeks late and I owed a fee! GAH! I called the bank and argued and they had to call the courthouse and apologize and they got them to waive the fee.

Their reason this time was that the courthouse never sent them a parcel number after my land was divided when we bought it... Did they not notice that they had not paid taxes for the year. Geez!

This escrow crap is NOT panning out.

Now they are telling me that we were suppose to pay the first year of insurance out of pocket and since they paid it with escrow that we have to pay it now. I have NEVER gotten a single notice or no one ever told me that I would have to make it up later. And it seems as if they knew this entire year. I could have been putting back money! If I had not stopped in and asked, I probably would have not even known until the day it was due!

The whole thing is stupid though. There is still plenty of money in the escrow account, and the taxes and insurance was just paid last month. By the time a year goes by and they are due again there will be more than enough money in there.

Not only that but it looks like my payment is only dropping $30 instead of $50.

They could not give me a straight answer on anything, but they said they will print up a sheet tomorrow and go over it with me.

I am seriously fuming over this! How can they expect me to pay up $700 with NO WARNING in one week. And why do they need it if there is already enough in escrow. I am going to have to take out a personal loan to cover the amount, just so it can sit and waste in my escrow account.

This is all after they charged me $45 dollars for checks. Which surprising came out of my account last night, without even telling me. Good thing I have a cushion...

Sigh. Good news is my washer magically started working again.

Spending Today Saving Tomorrow

December 9th, 2013 at 07:57 am

It has been a hard couple weeks.

We got 14 inches of snow this weekend! Our town had the highest amount in all of our tri-state region!

Oh course that meant I was snowed in but silly me still felt I needed to get to work, since I have taken off so much in the past couple weeks.

Got 2 cars stuck and didn't make it to work...

Ended up missing 4 days of work, and I did not even get to enjoy my long weekend because I was too busy stressing about how I was going to get to work, because I need money!

Not only am I getting another low pay check this week, and next. My washer has broken. Frown I am hoping father in law can fix it, but I am not holding my breath. I can NOT afford to buy a new washer. Right now I am taking clothes to wash at our parents house when we go to visit... yay.

I have been falling behind on my saving goals, and I even had to steal some out of the EF to make ends meet. Sadness.

Now for the good news!

My Christmas shopping is almost done. I think I have about $40 - $50 more to spend and I am done. Praise the Lord.

I was contacted about doing a Web Site finally! Whoot! I am really hoping the deal goes through because that extra money would help me so much right now. I am still waiting to hear back from them with my fingers crossed!

Despite the roads being icy, I pushed ahead and still went to the BackStreet Boys concert yesterday that I have been waiting my entire life for. It was great! And we did not wreck, so that is a good thing.

Found out husband may be getting a Christmas bonus from work! As much as $750!! We are not for sure, but I certainly hope the rumors are true.

Husband is going to use the money to replace his broken car windshield, and he would like to buy a gun. I doubt he will let me save any of the money, but maybe I can talk him into it.

I hope next week is better! Can't wait to start saving money again, and get out of the hole I am in!

New Windows, New Account & Expensive Checks

December 4th, 2013 at 08:07 am

My new windows were finally installed!

They look great, except there is a gap under one where it looks like he forgot to put a piece of metal. So I will have to call and ask what the heck.

Already I ca not feel a draft anymore! I am so excited.

The problem now is that seeing these beautiful new windows has really made me itch to put in more. It looks funny to have some old and some new. 1 more on the front, and 2 more on one side would help it look a lot more balanced. My parents are going to give me one for Christmas, but I can't come up with another $700+ to put two more in. I don't want to take money that should be going to my EF. Maybe if I get some freelance work...

My Ally account finally went through as well. I went ahead and transferred $100 from my checking. Which is not really adding anything to my EF since I count my checking too, but I was just so excited and wanted to see some money in there.

In sad news. I finally got my checking account information updated with my new name and address. I ordered a new free debit card, and new checks were going to cost $45 at the bank!

I had to bring back a signature card before they could order them, so I went online and ordered checks for $20 from walmart instead. Whoot! Savings.

Well I went and dropped off the card the lady was out to lunch so I left her a message not to order the checks from the bank.

She called me a few hours later to say she didn't get my message until she had already ordered them, and she was sorry but it was too late to cancel.

GRRRR. So I had to call walmart and luckily they could cancel that order. But now I wasted an extra $25 on checks.

Oh well I guess. They will last me for years.

Black Friday & Spending Woes

December 3rd, 2013 at 07:24 am

Last week was crazy, and this week is even worse.

Money has been running out like water, and will continue to do so until next week.

To make a back story, I bought a pretty nice camera several years ago. I had it about a week when I was taking pictures and asked my mother to hold it for a second. Well she dropped it on a concrete block, and since then I have been struggling to keep it working. I have to duct tape the battery door down, and hold it tightly with my fingers. Then a month ago it stops turning on, and said memory card error.

My memory card is now corrupt and I have lost most of my pet pictures including my beloved Goatie, who was my best friend, and died last year.

I am still working on finding a person to try to recover them. My attempts have failed.

I have a goat herd, and babies have started arriving, and of course I need a camera to update our website, and get pictures to buyers.

I was planning on asking for gift cards for Christmas, and saving up to buy a new camera.

On thanksgiving I was flipping through the sale ads and the EXACT camera that I wanted was on sale for 60% off, a savings of over $90.

I could not pass it up, so I went and stood in line for 2 hours, and they ended up only having a couple so I went home empty handed.

I was so upset, then my brother-in-law called me on Saturday and asked if I still needed a camera because they had a whole stack left over at the walmart he was at! Whoot! So I got my camera!

I bought a new memory card on Cyber Monday. It was $35.99 on sale for $7.00!

Then I had some emergency vet bills, had to buy a coupon to get my cat fixed which was only $35 instead of the normal cost of $100, I went black Friday shopping and spent $100 on gifts and some needed clothes.

So while everything I bought was at a huge discount, I have been bleeding money.

Thursday is my planned shopping trip with my mother. So I bet I will spend another $100. Sunday I am going to a concert which I have already paid for, but there will be gas, and possibly food.

My husband has not gotten to go shopping yet, so I may have to go with him on Saturday as well. Yikes!

This week I got only a half of a check, so that has not helped.

Everything just fell in two weeks and I am scrambling for the money.

As of now I have spent about $300. With at least another $100+ expected by the end of the week.

Sigh. I hope I can still need my savings goals this year. It is not looking too good at this time.