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May Finances and Goals

I’m a few days late with this post, but my in-laws were in town and we were having some family time. It was very nice, and I’m glad they got to come see Little Man and Baby!

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May is still kind of a financial transition period for us. Hubby got promoted in April, so this is our first full month of Sergeant’s pay, and I’m still kind of trying to figure out how our budget works now. On top of that, several financial hockey pucks hit us in the head last month (mostly due to crap timing), and we’re now further in debt than we were last month. Boo, debt, boo.

May’s pay periods are from April 31st-May 13th, and May 14th-May 29th. It’s the fourth month of our snowball debt reduction plan. So far we’ve paid off $8,802.68!

Our total income for the month (not counting any extra I make from side ventures such as Bookoo) is expected to be around $2,580.

We have these bills

  • Insurance: $235
  • Internet: $37
  • Cell Phones: $42
  • Disneyland Tickets: $99
  • Netflix:$8
  • Savings: $110
  • Haircuts: $40
  • TOTAL: $472.00 (Ooh, that’s down from last month!)

And these budgets:

  • Gas: $200
  • Food: $250
  • Thursdays: $250
  • Miscellaneous: $200
  • TOTAL: $900.00

We owe:

  • Credit Card #1: $1,113.74
  • Credit Card #2: $2,498.44
  • Car Loan: $9,377.46
  • Line of Credit: $497.24
  • Student Loan: $8,850.00
  • TOTAL: $22,336.88 ($4,109.42 of this is high interest)

Our snowball payment plan looks like this:

  • Credit Card #1: $25.00
  • Credit Card #2: $703.34
  • Car Loan: $321.66
  • Line of Credit: $50.00
  • Student Loan: $0.00
  • TOTAL: $1,000

Goals

  1. Pay off $1,100 of debt. This will require me to make an extra $100 through Bookoo and various other side ventures, then put that money towards our debt!
  2. Re-evaluate our debt payment plan and monthly budget. Like I said, this is our first full month of having Sgt. pay, so we’re still figuring it out.
  3. Sell at least 10 things on Bookoo. I just want stuff GONE!
  4. Take at least 3 bags of stuff to the Bring-and-take on base, and leave with less than I brought. Every so often, a church group comes on base and does a Bring-and-Take. It’s exactly what it sounds like- you bring stuff you no longer want, then get to come back the next day and fill one bag with stuff you do need. My list consists of toddler shorts, maternity shorts, and newborn gender neutral clothes. That’s about it.
  5. Start the semester off right by getting a week ahead right off the bat! School starts midway through May, and I’ve switched majors with the intention of having a more portable degree (Biology is my passion, but the job market in small towns is almost nil. Business Administration will give me more options).
  6. Survive and keep the baby, toddler, and Hubby alive. At 8 months pregnant, I’m about ready to be DONE with this.
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April Finances and Goals

We’ve got some big financial changes coming our way in April! First, my flight loan payments have been suspended until we pay off all of our debt with more than a 4% interest rate. Second, Hubby got promoted! This comes with a small pay increase, which we’ll see the second pay period in April. Third, we updated Hubby’s W-2 so that less money is taken out for taxes (having thousands of dollars come back to us each year is great and all, but that’s an interest free loan we’re giving the government. Not cool, yo. We’re hoping that our adjustments will help keep more moolah in our pockets). And finally, our bills have changed thanks to some adjustments I made.

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April’s pay periods are from March 31st- April 13th, then from April 14th- April 29th. It’s the third month of our snowball reduction plan! So far we’ve paid off $7,632.09!

Our total income for this month (not including extra money from my various side ventures) is expected to be around $2,373 (this is a very rough estimate, since I’m not sure how much of a raise Hubby is getting).

We have these bills:

  • Insurance: $170
  • Internet: $50
  • Cell Phones: $42
  • Disneyland Tickets: $99
  • Netflix: $8
  • Savings: $110
  • Haircuts: $40
  • Total: $519.00

And these budgets:

  • Gas: $250
  • Food: $200
  • Miscellaneous: $200
  • Hubby’s Birthday Present: $200 (He’s been asking me for more stuff than a three year old in a toy store, so I’m just giving him cash this year. He can spend it however he wants, and hopefully he’ll stop bugging me for things we can’t afford)
  • Total: $850.00

We owe:

  • Credit Card #1: $1,138.74
  • Credit Card #2: $2,465.75
  • Car Loan: $9,668.39
  • Truck Loan: $0.00!! Woohoo!
  • Line of Credit: $478.18
  • Student Loan: $8,900.00
  • Total: $22,651.06 ($4,082.67 of this is high interest)

This month, our snowball payment plan looks like this. We’ve raised our usual $900/month payment to $1,000/month in accordance with Hubby’s raise! The number in bold is the one we’re making extra payments towards. Everything else is getting the minimum payment.

  • Credit Card #1: $25.00
  • Credit Card #2: $603.34
  • Car Loan: $321.66
  • Line of Credit: $50.00
  • Student Loan: $0.00 (remember, my aunt told us to stop paying this in order to put that money towards our interest bearing debts. Thanks, Auntie!)
  • Total: $1,000.00

Goals

  • Pay off $1,100 worth of debt. This will require me making an extra $100 this month and putting it towards paying off debt. Last month my math got a little messed up, so hopefully April will be a better month! I safeguarded by doing my math with an actual calculator and some coffee this time, instead of relying on mental math and decaf tea.
  • Re-evaluate our debt payment plan with Hubby’s new pay information. We won’t have access to this until sometime in April, so we’re kind of flying blind this month as we adjust to a new salary. This goal may get pushed back to May just so we can wait for MyPay to update.
  • Re-evaluate our month-to-month budget based on Hubby’s new pay information. I also cut some expenses last month to save even more money, so we’ll see how things work out! We might be able to put more towards paying off debt. This also might get pushed back to May.
  • Sell our boat. We bought our boat with every intention of using it to go fishing, but as it turns out, it’s a pain in the butt to go boating here in Southern California between the traffic, fees, and inspections. This gets filed under “stupid money decisions we made when we were young”, and also under “Ways Wyoming is better than SoCal”. I want the space in my garage, and the money in our pockets (or in one of my snowball columns!).
  • Complete a pantry challenge. For the month of April, we’re going to be eating exclusively out of our pantry, fridge, and freezer. I will go to the grocery store for a few perishable things, like milk and eggs, and to spend our WIC checks, but our grocery budget is $50 each week for the three (sometimes four) of us, which will allow us to still indulge a little in our Thursday dinners out and my group of toddler mothers babbling like maniacs about grownup topics coffee date with friends. This will include a week-long visit from my in-laws. I’m hoping to have a clear pantry and freezer by the end of this. I’ll then start filling our freezer with meals for after Baby is born in early July!
  • Post 5 items on Bookoo every day. Like I said, we’re moving in November and I’m hoping to clear out our crap long before we actually have to move. Posting 5 items each day should help a lot.
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March Finances and Goals

Last month, Hubby and I were very successful in paying down our debt. This was largely due to a big fat tax refund, and some yard sale income. We reduced our debt by more than $6,000 last month alone! We’re hoping to do well this month as well.

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March’s pay periods are from Feb 27- March 12, and March 13- March 31st. This second pay period is one of the longest this year, so our budget will be stretched a little more than normal. March is the second month in our snowball debt reduction! So far we’ve paid off $6,150.66!

Our total income this month (which does not include any extra money I make from various side ventures) is $3,519.

We have these bills (all amounts are rounded up to the nearest dollar):

  • Insurance (because of the pay periods, we’ll have two insurance bills:              $338.00
  • Internet                                                                                                                   $65.00
  • Cell Phones                                                                                                           $42.00
  • Disneyland Tickets                                                                                                $99.00
  • Netflix                                                                                                                     $8.00
  • Savings (We’ll have an extra $100 start up on a new CD)                                   $200.00
  • Citrus Lane                                                                                                            $17.00
  • Haircuts                                                                                                                 $50.00
  • TOTAL:                                                                                                                  $819.00

And these budgets:

  • Gas:                                                                                                                       $200.00
  • Food and Dining:                                                                                                   $500.00
  • Miscellaneous:                                                                                                       $100.00
  • TOTAL:                                                                                                                  $800.00

We Owe:

  • Credit Card #1:                                                                                                        $1,163.74
  • Credit Card #2:                                                                                                        $2,508.67
  • Car Loan:                                                                                                                 $9,975.51
  • Truck Loan:                                                                                                             $1,210.85
  • Line of Credit:                                                                                                           $499.65
  • Student Loan:                                                                                                          $9,000.00
  • TOTAL:                                                                                                                    $24,358.42

This month, our snowball payment plan looks like this. It includes $1000 from a maturing CD. Payments that are over the minimum are in bold:

  • Credit Card #1:                                                                                                        $25.00
  • Credit Card #2:                                                                                                        $51.00
  • Car Loan:                                                                                                                $321.66
  • Truck Loan (This will be paid off this month!!):                                                     $1,210.85
  • Line of Credit:                                                                                                          $192.34
  • Student Loan:                                                                                                           $100.00
  • TOTAL:                                                                                                                    $1,900.00

Goals

  • Pay off $2000 of debt. Our normal month-to-month debt payment is $900, and we have an extra $1,000 to put towards our debt from a maturing CD. I will have to make $100 from yard sales, side jobs, and Textbroker in order to meet this goal!
  • Pay off Hubby’s truck! It’ll be nice to have one vehicle’s title in hand.
  • Deal with our maturing CD. Last month, one of our goals was to come up with a plan for this money, and this month we’ll execute this plan. We have decided to take $100 and use it to open a new 1-year CD at 4% interest. This is the minimum amount allowed to open a CD. We will take $1000 and put it towards paying off debt, and any remaining money will go into our emergency account at 4% interest. We debated investing the entire amount, but saving money at +4% interest doesn’t make sense when we’re paying -14.5% interest on a loan.
  • Revise our debt payoff plan. Since Hubby might not be able to re-enlist, we want to have some savings built up for when he gets out, but we also want to have as little debt as possible. We’re going to compromise on this goal by continuing to snowball all our debt that has a higher interest rate than our holiday club savings account (+4%), then making minimum payments on the remaining debts with a lower than 4% interest rate and putting the money we were snowballing into savings. This way, our money will work for us. We will make one extra payment to each debt so we’re one month ahead, which looks better on a credit report. We’ll pay off the truck loan, line of credit, and both credit cards, but keep the student loan and car loan.
  • Review and adjust our retirement account. We have my husband’s TSA divided between C funds, I funds, and S funds. Our goal this month is to review how it’s doing and make adjustments as needed. We’re taking more risk now, and at age 30 we’ll start shifting to a more conservative portfolio.
  • Have two yard sales. I’m aiming to have one on March 1st and one on March 15th, since those are the weekends closest to payday. On base, selling secondhand items depends heavily on payday, because most people live paycheck to paycheck. I’m hoping to make at least $200 at each sale, and rid our house of some items we don’t want to move in the process.
  • Discuss our job options post-military. We’re getting very close to Hubby’s separation date, and we’re a little conflicted as to our future. We’ll sit down and have a good discussion about our options, and hopefully decide on career paths for Hubby and I.
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February Goal Recap

At the start of this month, I wrote a post about our finances and goals, with the aim of keeping our family accountable for paying back our debt. Here’s a look back at how we did:

Goals

  • File our taxes and put the refund towards our highest interest debt.  We filed, and got back around $5730. We put $5000 of that into our highest interest rate debt (the truck payment), and kept $700 as fun money. The extra $30 went into our emergency account, which earns us 4% interest.
  • Come up with a plan for our maturing CD. Our 3% interest CD matures early in March, and we needed a plan for the money. Unfortunately, we were not able to roll it over into another CD to avoid capital gains taxes, so it will be deposited into our savings account. We have decided to take $100 of it to start a new 4% CD, put $1000 towards our debts (highest interest rate first!), and put anything that’s left over into our emergency account at 4% interest.
  • Reduce our debt by either $1000 or $6000. Each month we budget $900 worth of debt reduction income, and my goal this month was to pay off an extra $100 worth of debt, plus our tax refund if it came in on time. In February, we paid off $6,150.66. We blew past our goal by $150.66!
  • Remain in the green this month. We stayed in the green, but ended the month with $0 in our main checking and savings accounts (I do not count our emergency account as a savings account). We would have gone into the red if I had not made an extra $160 towards the end of the month from selling items on Bookoo. If we had any money left in our accounts the day before payday, I would put it towards our highest interest rate debt (even if it was only 50 cents!)

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We completed all our goals this month! I’m proud of us. Hopefully we can do this well next month. One step at a time, that’s all it is!

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February Finances and Goals

This is my first finance post, and I’m super excited to start this journey. I’m ready to be out from under this debt, and I’m excited to see our debt reduced.

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February’s pay periods are from Jan 30-Feb 12, and Feb 13-Feb 27. This is our first month of our snowball debt reduction!

Our total income this month (which does not include extra money I make from selling curb finds) is $2,749.

We have these bills (all amounts are rounded up to the nearest dollar):

  • Insurance (This includes both cars and life)                   $178.00
  • Truck Registration                                                           $45.00
  • Internet                                                                             $65.00 (this is a little higher than most months, but we had to get a replacement box)
  • Cell Phones                                                                     $42.00
  • Disneyland Tickets                                                          $99.00
  • Netflix                                                                               $8.00
  • Savings                                                                            $100.00
  • Citrus Lane                                                                      $17.00
  • Haircuts                                                                           $40.00
  • TOTAL:                                                                           $594.00

And these budgets (notice I use very broad categories… more on that later)

  • Gas                                                                                   $300.00
  • Food and Dining                                                               $400.00
  • Miscellaneous (Literally everything else)                          $200.00
  • TOTAL:                                                                             $900.00

We Owe:

  • Credit Card #1                                               $1188.74
  • Credit Card #2                                               $2516.92
  • Car Loan                                                        $10281.11
  • Truck Loan                                                     $6882.45
  • Line of Credit                                                  $466.48
  • Student Loan                                                  $9000.00 (Payments on this don’t start until March)
  • TOTAL:                                                          $30,335.70 (Ouch)

This month, our snowball payment plan looks like this:

  • Credit Card #1                                                $25.00
  • Credit Card #2                                                $44.00
  • Car Loan                                                         $321.66
  • Truck Loan                                                      $459.34
  • Line of Credit                                                   $50.00
  • Student Loan                                                   $0.00 (Like I said, payments on this don’t start until March)
  • Total:                                                               $900.00

The debt with the highest interest, in our case, is our truck loan, at a whopping 14.25% (I’m very embarrassed about that one). Following the interest snowball, we’re flinging all our extra money towards whittling away that debt first. Every other debt is currently getting the minimum payment. Once our truck is paid off, we’ll take all the money we were putting towards paying off the truck and put it towards the next highest interest debt, which is our line of credit.

Goals

  • File our taxes and put the refund towards our highest interest debt. Our taxes are filed, and we’ll be getting back around $5700. We’re planning on keeping the $700 as fun money (we’ll each get $350 to play with), and using the $5000 to pay down our truck loan. This will bring the amount we owe on the truck to less than $1500, and will reduce the amount of time we’ll be paying off our debt by almost 8 months! Woohoo!
  • Come up with a plan for our maturing CD. We have a CD that will be maturing in March, and we need to decide what to do with it. We’re debating between rolling it over into another 1-year CD at 3% interest, investing it in one of the companies we already own stock with, investing it with a company we don’t currently hold any stock with, and using part of it to pay off some of the truck. I think we’ll probably use at least half of it as a principal only truck payment, but what to do with that other half?
  • Reduce our debt by either $1,000 or $6,000. This depends largely on when our refund check comes in. Either way, it’ll also require me to make an extra $100 by selling curb finds, writing articles on Textbroker, and doing odd jobs.
  • Remain in the green this month! One thing I like about Mint is that it tells you if you’re staying within budget each month using colors. Basic, easy peasy colors. If you’re green, you’re good to go! If you’re red, you f$*&ed up somewhere and need to make some extra moolah. My goal is to stay green this month.