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Can't Get Ahead

January 5th, 2018 at 07:21 am

We finally made some good progress on the house. That is the end of the good news.

I just now received the bill for HVAC work I got done back in May. It's over $1,000. Frown I planned/should have kept some money back for it. But I had no idea how much the cost would be, and the guy it notorious for billing delays or not billing at all. So the money ended up getting spent on other house things. I have no idea how we are going to scrounge up this money. Will probably have to pull from our meager cash reserves. Trying not to panic and just take each day at a time. We have $800 put back which is earmarked for mudding/taping. May have to delay that for now and apply the cash towards HVAC.

The guy is a family friend so I may call him and ask if he would be willing to take 2 or 3 payments. I'm doubting it though.

I have some bigger web design work coming up. I need to buckle down and really try to pump out some extra hours. My other hope is that we will get some tax return money. *fingers crossed W2s come in quickly*

Ugh. I just want this to be over! Deadlines and money are running short.

Trying to Make Goals

December 19th, 2017 at 07:54 am

I am still indecisive about my goals for 2018. My life seems so unstable with the remodel and pulled in so many directions that I don't know where to put my efforts. I know that my main goal isn't even a financial goal. I just want to finish our house.

I also know that I have never been able to finish my yearly goals and that is disappointing. Especially this year, I bombed them. So for 2018 I am going to try to be much more realistic about what I am able to achieve.

Here are my preliminary thoughts:

1.) Finish remodel
2.) Refinance mortgage
3.) Pay off $5,000 in non-mortgage debt
4.) Add $1,000 to truck fund
5.) Add $1,000 to Roth

My Roth goal is a LOT smaller this year. This is for several reasons. #1 being that husband is going to start contributing to a 401K this year. #2 is that I want this year to be about paying down debt. I will happily add more than $1,000 to my Roth, but I don't want to stress myself out with too lofty goals. So I will start here and adjust if needed.

Hopefully 2018 will be a calmer and less stressful year! I just want to tie up some loose ends, and finish all our ongoing projects to get back to some sort of normal.

Getting Worried

December 18th, 2017 at 08:27 am

Husband's work still hasn't given out their Christmas bonus... It is normally deposited by now. No one knows what is going on, but the workers are starting to worry that there won't be a bonus this year. I hope not. So many people live check to check and husband said lots of people have already spent that money on Christmas presents, etc. (Including us!)

If it doesn't come we will manage. But the thought of a company not giving out a bonus (which they have given out for 75 years) makes me sick. How could they do that to their workers? They continue to get greedier and greedier, so it wouldn't be a huge surprise. Husband is saying people will strike if they withhold the bonus. I hope they are just taking longer than normal. *fingers crossed*

In other news, house is slowly going along. Still waiting on the mud/taper. He was supposed to start today but no word yet. :/ That is holding up a lot of progress.

Still trying to figure out goals for 2018. I will have to make another post for that.

401K with Matching!

December 4th, 2017 at 01:10 pm

Husband's job is going to be offering 401ks with Vanguard in 2018! How exciting!

Also, they will 100% match contributions up to 3% and 50% match up to 5%.

For now I think we are going to start with 3%. They said you can change the amount at any time. So once our budget crisis is over hopefully we can up it to 5%.

With this 401k I'm not sure if they are doing away with profit sharing then? I kind of hope not. Because on average they have contributed about $2,000 a year. If they do 3% contribution matching they will only be giving us about $1,000 a year. Ugh. BUT at least it will be with Vanguard and accessible. Right now the profit sharing is all very sketchy. We don't know where the funds are and have no way to track them. They just give us a statement of what we have once a year. It doesn't really feel like our money.

Mortgage & 2nd Income

December 1st, 2017 at 06:40 am

I paid my mortgage today. Balance is at $44,217.39!

I missed my 2nd job work hours goal this month by one hour. Frown Booo. But I am only looking at about $20 short on bills not counting the $300 I am still owed so that's good news. I'll do better this month!

Hoping the Christmas bonus will get here next week. Also hoping we get husband's profit sharing update soon.

Got the plumbing and septic hooked up in the addition! Also ordered the last big piece of the puzzle today, the flooring. Things are slowly but surely getting done.

Bills Again & Christmas Shopping

November 27th, 2017 at 09:39 am

Arg! It's almost time for the flurry of bills due all at the same time again. I was hoping to be in a better spot this month, but my owed check STILL hasn't come yet. Looks like I am going to be about $180 short if I don't scrape up some more hours or the check doesn't come. I really really don't want to pull from savings again. But I will if I have to. I'll be glad when our refinance is over and I can get better control over the finances again.

Not only that but it was a big spendy weekend. I got several things for the remodel we needed. (Thankfully we had money back for this.) I got most of my Christmas shopping done, and also bought a baby shower gift. Only spent $10 on myself, on some much needed undergarments.

All told I spent about $220 that wasn't previously saved for. Which isn't a huge amount to spend on Christmas, but is still money that will have to be paid by the statement.

Our remodel deadline is quickly approaching. I am happy to say the tile, and vanity has been ordered, and the drywall upstairs is complete! Now we are waiting on the mud and taper to finish so we can start painting, hooking up electric, etc.

The main big expenses left is paying for the plumbing hookup, and the flooring. After that we will be on the home stretch, thank goodness!

Husband should be getting a Christmas bonus in the next couple weeks. Planning on using about $200 for gifts. The rest will be put towards retirement or into paying down house bills. Not sure on the total he will get but in years past it has averaged about $700.

Payments & a Raise

November 8th, 2017 at 08:12 am

Well I did it. This was the week of all the large bills hitting at once. I paid everything today. I did end up transferring $300 from savings, but will pay it back as soon as I get the check I am waiting on (hopefully sometime next week).

Mortgage is down to $44,415.49

Now I have to be more careful in the future to make sure I have enough cash to cover expenses even if my design check is late.

I am hoping to do a little black Friday shopping for Christmas presents this year, and also there are a couple tools we could really use for the house. I will have to work extra or brainstorm ideas on how to come up with some extra money for this.

Some good news. I found out I am getting a $.50 raise and also another week of vacation next year at my office job. It only equates to about $25 a month, so not much, but everything helps.

House Update (For Snafu)

October 31st, 2017 at 07:51 am

Here is the status of our large home remodel/addition.

What has been done...
Entire house has new exterior insulation, new siding, new windows, new gutters, and foundation repair. New front and back doors, new porch lights. New roof on the mudroom and front porch. (Rest of the house got a new roof in 2012) We also dug out part of our pond to make it deep enough for fish.

Basement/addition was added. Insulation, electric, and plumbing drains have been installed. Drywall is complete and we are about halfway done with mud and tape.


Still needs to be done...

Addition foundation needs parged and backfilled. Yard needs graded. (Perhaps next year?)

3 more upstairs rooms needs drywalled. (Two are small rooms, this is our current daily project) Mud and tape needs finished in addition, and totally done upstairs. (We are waiting on a quote for this.)

Addition: Trim, plumbing, doors, septic hookup, bedroom closet, bathroom faucets, lights, shower/bathtub tile, flooring, bathroom vanity.


Propane tanked needs moved, gas lines dug, and hooked back up to furnace. (Currently no heat and it is 30 degrees outside...)


Our deadline is supposed to be the end of the year!! We are getting significant delays due to quotes for tile and flooring taking way way too long. I just contacted another company and I am hoping they will be faster.

The problem with building/remodeling is that it is a domino effect. We are held up waiting on quotes/builders to get back to us. Once the tile is in we can install the floor and vanity. Once the mud and tape is done we can install lights outlets, trim, etc.

I highly doubt we will be 100% finished by Christmas. But I think everything can be drywalled, painted, and have lights/outlets. I am worried mostly about the tile timeline. Which is out of our control. Most of the finishes such as lights and faucets are already purchased and waiting for install.

Lots of Bills

October 30th, 2017 at 06:39 am

Ugh. This is the first month where I've really had to be on top of bill dates and what order I am going to pay. Usually I just pay as they come in. But stupid me put $800 (home remodel stuff) on a credit card thinking I'd be able to pay if off before the due date no problem. Well I forgot we don't have as much wiggle room anymore to just cash flow such large expenses.

Money is coming in. I just never know which day I will get my design check. So in case it is late I need to pay bills carefully.

It's a pain, but I'm not too worried. I do have an EF I can pull from, but it's in a savings account so I would have to transfer and I just don't want to if I can help it.

In the future I need to be much more careful. I also realize I need to keep a bigger buffer in my checking account. I don't want to have to juggle things again.

In better news. I set a goal for working on design this month, and not only did I do all those hours, I set a bigger goal and did those too! Hurray! If I can keep that up our finances will be in much better shape.

Mortgage & Budgets

October 6th, 2017 at 07:06 am

I paid my main mortgage today. It now stands at $44,551.21!

I love watching that number go down, too bad all our other loans just continue to climb...

I also started a free trial of YNAB. I used it previously for a short time, but fell out of it when my free student offer ended. I'm going to give it a go again and really try to be faithful. I need to start tracking every dollar and try to keep our spending minimal until our debt goes down.

I am feeling a little better about the home remodel today. Not any better about finances, but we have 95% of the drywall completed in the addition so it finally feels like progress. There is still so much to do, but most of the "invisible" things are done, and soon we get to move onto the fun stuff like paint/flooring/lighting. Of course I still have to tape and mud all the drywall which is the worst job of the project...

Nothing Much

October 2nd, 2017 at 02:12 pm

It has been a month since my last entry and not much new to report.

Trip was great! We stayed on budget, and had a great time.

Getting ready to leave on another short weekend trip for a wedding I am in. I also had two baby showers to help at this week. I'm so busy, and all these gifts and party foods are killing me!

I am feeling quite discouraged about our home remodel. It is looking like we are going to be right round $5k short to finish everything, and there is just no way to come up with it in time for the year end deadline.

My mother has graciously offered to purchase the remaining needed items partly as a Christmas gift, and partly as a "pay me back later when you can." And that is very generous of her, but I am sick of borrowing money, and I HATE having to take advantage of family. Will have to wait and see what others options I can come up with.

I am also worn out from working on the house, and everything being messy and a disaster. I'm sick of a 5 year long construction zone and I just want it to be all finished so we can get on with our lives and I can properly clean/organize/decorate.

I am going to really really try hard to start picking up more design work. An extra 5 hours a week could go a long way towards paying down our debt. I got all my invoices caught up today and sent out. So it's a fresh start and I am going to set a goal to do at least 5 hours of extra work a week.

Looking at the 2017 Goals

September 1st, 2017 at 08:00 am

As I look at the goals I set for 2017 I realize I am not going to complete anymore of them. That makes me sad but I also realize things change, and life can't always be planned. Goals are a good idea, even if they seem impossible because they give you something to work towards.

Our home remodel is way over our original budget. But it is coming along and I am hopeful we will be able to finish without surpassing our new budget.

I have been selling goats and continuing to add to the animal fund. I will make it to $2k, but I don't think I will continue to save after that. My feed bills were actually down this year, and I really just don't need the extra thousand in there. Which is a good thing! I've managed to pay for my food, and I will still have a buffer in the account in case something comes up.

The Roth goal is about 2/3s done, but at this point I think it is wiser to send our extra money towards paying house debt and put the Roth on the back burner this year.

Same with the car fund. We had money saved which we raided for the house. A car just seems unimportant compared to the house debt we have. I think our focus needs to be 100% on paying down the home remodel this year.

___________________

We are leaving for our trip today. Should have enough money set aside to pay for everything with cash.

Lots of Trips

August 11th, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Husband did not get the high paying job he applied for, which was expected.

No word yet on the job with good hours. It has been a couple months now and they still haven't hired anyone, so I am doubting they will.

Oh well. We are okay for now.

I have about a million trips planned the next couple months. Ugh! This month I will be gone for a weekend for a show. Then another 14 hour trip to deliver goats and visit a friend. Then next month we are going on a weekend road trip with some friends as a last hurrah before husband's friend leaves for the military. One of my friends is getting married a couple states over and I am in the wedding so I will be gone for a weekend for that. Then most likely we will go camping or something for our anniversary. Yikes!

Thankfully they are all cheap trips. But still a lot of driving, planning, etc.

Today is payday, and next payday is an "extra" one. We will likely use some of the funds for our weekend trips, and some to pay down our home loans.

Floating along. We haven't wracked up anymore house debt, but we have had several larger household expenses pop up such as doctors visits, vet visits, etc. Just trying to keep everything cash flowed.

Finally Paid

July 31st, 2017 at 06:21 am

Finally got some checks I have been owed since May. Yikes! That allowed me to pay the mortgage, LOC, and the minimums on both home CCs. All caught up for now.

Home addition is still going well. We are started putting up drywall! That makes such a large difference.

Friend is committed to the military and can't back out now. He signed up for 6 years. Frown Oh well. I am just hoping that getting away from his family will help him. He is going to leave most of his stuff here where it will be safe.

Husband has gotten no word back on the two jobs he has applied for. Phewy. He will test for the two other jobs soon.