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Archive for December, 2008

Another Year Older and Youtube videos about America's Cheapest Family

December 28th, 2008 at 05:53 pm

Yes, ladies and gents. I am another year older, but that's okay. I feel better and am in better shape than I was ten years ago.

I was cruising around on youtube today and wondered if there were any videos about saving money. There are several videos about a family named Economides (supposely their real name), but these are only a couple of them. They also have their own website where they produce a newsletter.

America's Cheapest Family Saving Money

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Recession Proof Your Groceries with America's Cheapest Family
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America's Cheapest Family
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Well, this afternoon, hubby and I are off to the mail, but not to buy stuff. We are celebrating my birthday by going to see The Spirit. Happy Birthday to me!

Money Spent Today

December 27th, 2008 at 08:16 pm

Well, today I went grocery shopping. I bought the usual grocery stuff and cat food.

Dillons $43.69
Big Lots $11.16
Dollar Tree $6.44
Aldi $9.17

Total spent: $79.63

My ususal spent lately has been around $90.00. So, hooray for me. I think the difference was that I went to Aldi to check out what they have. For produce, bread, and oatmeal, they beat Dillons hands down. At Dillons, the type of bread I buy is $2.99 normally, $2.29 if it is on sale. At Aldi, a similar loaf was $1.79. Wow. I am well on my way to not feeling so stressed. I also update my net worth based on today's purchases.

Conference Challenge Addition

December 27th, 2008 at 01:51 am

I realized I had $10.00 cash in my purse that I had not used. My rule is that any money left at the end of the week must go in my Conference Challenge.

I have a savings account!

December 27th, 2008 at 12:13 am

Yes, I have a savings account! The balance over on the left side says $0.00 because the $5.00 has to stay in the account.

My 403b Account

December 25th, 2008 at 11:17 pm

I had not checked me my retirement account in about 6 months. I was sort of afraid to do so with the way the economy has been going, but I had to do it today to rebalance my account. It actually only went down by a small amount. The value is currently $13007.65.

So, I updated the figure for that account at Networth IQ and it turns out my net worth is $10485!! How is that possible?? I sure don't feel like I have a net worth of $10485, but of course, most of it is in the retirement account not where I can't use it. That's probably a good thing. ;P


December 25th, 2008 at 02:16 am

Do any of you have a spouse who is not completely on board with debt payment? Or how about expecting you to shoulder the debt and other bills while they do not work? My dh and I have been together for over 10 years and married for over 8 years. During that time, he has had a few jobs, mostly labor or simple office work. He is disable from when he was in the military and so there are certain kinds of work he cannot do. But a friend of his is starting a publishing company and has asked him to write a book. So far, he says he is doing "research." I myself have written about 4 articles for professional journals in the time that he is still doing "research." If he did successfully publish a book, he could completely pay off our debt, but he does not seem motivated. What do you do about a spouse who is not motivated to help achieve financial freedom? He tells me that I worry too much, but I am the one with no money in savings who has to pay for the "surprises" that occur once in awhile.

Spending Today

December 24th, 2008 at 11:29 pm

I had to buy some household items (washing soda for laundry, bleach, and toilet paper) for $10.15. While I was out, I also mailed bills, bought stamps, and treated dh with a cup of Starbucks.

Total spending $21.88.

Payday, More Debt Paid Off, and Other Stuff

December 24th, 2008 at 05:58 pm

Well, I have several good pieces of news. Last Saturday afternoon, I looked at my calendar and went into a panic when I realized that I did not have enough money in my checking to cover both my car insurance and Netflix. (Yes, I know Netflix is a ridiculous service to subscribe to if you are in debt, but I cannot convince my dh to drop it.) I took care of that. Anyway, I also had a dental visit coming up on Monday. After taking a couple of deep breaths, I came up with a solution. I would use my cc to pay for the visit and as soon as I could get to a computer after the appointment, schedule a payment for the exact amount to the cc to occur after my payday. (I fully realize this is not an optimal solution, but I had put off this dental visit for over two months, rescheduling several times.)

Yes, I did get paid today. I normally get paid every other week on Friday, but I guess they let us have out pay early because of the holidays. This morning, after reconciling my checking account, I paid the cell phone bill and Hospital Bill #1 for this month.

After reading through my email, I answered surveys. (Aren't holidays great? You can get so much done in so little time.) One of my survey places allowed me to cash in points for $7.20. I will get that check in about a month. It will be added to my $20 challenge (Conference Challenge).

Progress on Overall Goals in 2008

December 14th, 2008 at 04:44 am

1. 1 Medical Bill Paid Off in March.

2. Hospital Bill #1 Paid Down $200 in 2008

3. Hospital Bill #2 Paid Down $750 in 2008

4. My goal of eliminating cc debt has not succeeded. It's been going up and down like a yo-yo.

5. My goals of establishing savings to buy a car and house have not succeeded. I think I may have to pay off all debt before attempting this again.

6. In my quest to not get further into cc debt, I have managed to accumulate money to go to a conference next summer.

7. I have continued to contribute to my 403b account. I haven't checked it in several months, though.

Another Update

December 13th, 2008 at 11:27 pm

I forgot to mention in my previous post the two biggest blessings of the previous two days.

Yesterday, while on my lunch hour, I went to deposit a check into my account. While I was there, I mentioned that I needed to order checks, but that I had moved since I last ordered checks. Could I still do that online and have the correct address on them? The teller said, "I can do that for you right now. Do you get the free checks, or do you get ones you have to pay for?" My jaw probably about dropped to the floor. "Free checks? As in free?" I asked. She said that they are free, but not fancy. I told her that I don't care. I just use them to pay bills, so they don't need to be fancy. Wow. I didn't think that banks did anything for free anymore.

Also, today I got my water and sewer bill from the city where I live. I don't know how it happened, but somehow I had some kind of credit or something on my account and my current bill is only $5.74. I quickly paid it without question. No need to question the blessings of the universe.

I feel so blessed when stuff like this happens to me.

Debt Payment and Spending Update

December 13th, 2008 at 10:04 pm

Well, I got paid yesterday, so I took $80 from the atm. $60 goes towards the Conference Challenge and $20 is for snacks when I am at work. I usually take enough trail mix and fruit with me to work that it is not a big deal to have only $20 cash for that for one week.

My dh had to use the cc to upgrade antivirus software on his computer, so he gave me a $30.00 check to pay to the cc. I deposited the check yesterday and promptly paid $50.00 to the cc.

I also paid $75.00 on Hospital Bill #2, bringing the balance to $2002.60. Yahoo!

I have also been putting any change I get back into a separate little change purse which I then empty out into a little can when I get home.

2009 Goals

December 7th, 2008 at 10:05 pm

1. Use 1/2 of tax refund to help pay for my conference trip to avoid using cc as much as possible.

2. Work very hard to get a roommate to share a hotel room with at the conference, cutting my hotel costs by a significant amount.

3. Answer as many surveys as possible in order to cash points in for cash or restaurant cards prior to leaving on trip.

4. Set aside $80.00 per pay period to go to the conference in order to avoid as much as possible not using the cc.

4. Get Hospital Debt #1 paid off. Estimated Payoff Debt June 30. After I get back from my conference trip on about June 7th, I will turn in all my receipts. The total cost for the trip will be close to $2000 and I should get back around $1500. I will use however much it takes to pay off Hospital Debt #1.

5. Continue to make payments on Hospital Debt #2.

6. Begin contributing to a savings account again, setting aside $5.00 a pay period.

I know that it sounds crazy, and even stupid, to go on a trip for work when I have so much cc debt. I am required to do a certain amount of that type of activity for my job.

Budgeting in 2009

December 7th, 2008 at 07:47 pm

Hello, everyone. I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to find an inexpensive and easy to use method of tracking how much money I have spent. I also need to be able to keep track of how much I will need to spend from now until next payday. I have tried Excel spreadsheets, tiny little notebooks where I write down my purchases, a PDA software program, handwritten budgets, handwritten ledgers, etc. Nothing seemed to really work because it takes so much time to deal with it. I was in Big Lots on Saturday and noticed those monthly planners that are about $2.00. I began to realize if I could just keep a simple running total of how much I spent each and how much is left, that would help a lot. I can also make notes on the dates that bills are due. I won't actually start this because the calendar starts with January. Here's 3 cheers for my success!

AAA Credit Card Offer

December 7th, 2008 at 07:11 pm

I have a AAA membership and have had for years. It has saved my butt more than once. I just got a AAA credit card offer for a balance transfer with a 0-2.9% rate on the transfer and 7.99-19.99% on purchases. I currrently have a card with a 14.85% APR. The 0-2.9% rate would make it significantly easier for me to pay it off faster, but I worry about the temptation of having another card. I don't want to close the old card, because I want to buy a house in a couple of years and that is my only open line of credit. I have never done this before. Is it worth it or better to stick it out and pay on the card I have. So, I am taking votes here: Have you done this before? Do you think it was worth it? Would you do it again?