Thursday, June 07, 2012

Not Quite Gazelle, but ......

We're Still At It

So much has changed about our lives since we started this process and while we are still one easy to pay off debt away from being DEBT FREE, we are changing gears.  Our last credit card debt  is incurring a 0% finance charge for the life of the loan - so I haven't been in a gigantic hurry to pay it off.  Instead, I've been saving for future issues, such as a replacement car, paying medical bills, house repairs and yes, frivolous spending such as a vacation and replacement wardrobe after losing weight.  

Diets and Emeals
I <3 eMeals
Great Deal: Enter the Emeals Coupon Code: DAVE at checkout to SAVE BIG!

Recent trip to the doctor didn't go very well, as my blood tests came back with red flags and a warning from the doctor - YOU NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT!  Long story short, I dropped 50 pounds over the last year, by using portion control, drinking a ton of water, watching labels, and counting calories.  Thankfully eMeals added a BUNCH of new categories for me to pick from:  Low Carb, Low Fat, Portion Control .... Simple recipes for  busy me!  Good recipes too.  In my new diet adventure, I was hunting through recipe books and turning up my nose to a lot of the ICK that's out there in the diet world.  Looking and feeling a lot better this year than I was at this time last year!  I guess all you need is a good diet and a good plan!

Income - Expenses
It's nice to see that we are finally getting to a point where our income is over what our expenses are.  So many changes in our titles at work and the salaries to go along with those changes.  We are slowly getting ahead in areas that I never thought we would.  Regardless of that - I'm still clipping those coupons, watching sales flyers and clearance racks.  I swear, I don't think I'd ever change back after being what we've been through.  Cash is still King.  Envelopes get stuffed every month.  We are watching what we spend.  We still have a plan.  Most importantly ---- LIFE IS GOOD!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Independence Month 2011


Well, things didn't go as I had planned from my last post.  You know what they say about storm clouds?  That came in the form of a February 2011 Blizzard and an injury that kept my husband sidelined for 3 months.  I have one thing to say about that, short term disability isn't extremely helpful in budgeting.  We did get through it without incurring any new debt, so I will call that a battle won. So what did that mean for our plans?  The good news - WE PAID OFF THE MAZDA!  The okay news - we've had some altered schedules and smaller paychecks but the budget is still working.  The bad news - we skipped our anniversary trip AND I still have that one nagging little debt left.  No call to Dave yet. 


Is it just me?
I'm just not finding the incredible deals at the grocery store anymore.  I mean, don't get me wrong.  My stockpile is still functioning, but I think my DOOMSDAY husband may be right, and an increase to our grocery budget is inevitable.  Either that, or I really just have to get back into the mode of planning meals according to sales, and spending more time scouring ads and coupons. 

You can maintain it a lot cheaper than buying a new one!
The Hyundai went into the shop for some maintenance.  I have to say, $500 is sooo much cheaper than buying a new car!!  Going no payments for awhile is just what our budget needs right now. :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

End of Year Round Up

Almost there
I always spoke of my husband as "Mr. Doomsday".  Y2K?  Oh, yeah... he expected the world to close down. The Gas Crisis, The Economy is Tanking, Buy Gold, The Banks are all Going to Close Down, I've heard everything.  I try to stay positive minded even if it does mean that I'm ignoring the inevitable.  I refuse to live in a negative mindset waiting for something bad to happen.  Unfortunately, even though the worst hasn't happened - it's the media that can make or break my happy joy joy concept.  I'm about a month away from having enough money to pay off my car.... VERY EARLY!  Shortly after that, I should have enough to pay off my final debt and that would have me screaming, "I'M DEBT FREE" - but hold the phone.  If the economy tanks. If my husband's hours get cut back again like they did on 2008. If. If. If.... we'll need that money to make the ends meet.  I'm in a rock and a hard place.  Of course, paying the car and that last credit card would free up about $425 a month from our budget, but will that be enough?  I'm chomping at the bit.  It's every Dave Ramsey follower's dream to make the call to tell Dave that I'm debt free!   Long story short - we're almost there!

Debt Free Christmas
What do you know - we paid cash AGAIN for Christmas this year!  We stayed under $1000 for everyone (and that includes my son's 19th birthday which falls in there too)  $1000 is probably about $200 more than we spent last year I think, so it felt like we hit the lottery and betcha believe that I used coupons, hit sales, comparison shopped via Internet like you wouldn't believe. My motto - NEVER PAY FULL PRICE!!

Goals for 2011
Oh, I will be debt free this year.  That's not even a question.  We have our 20th anniversary and we WILL be celebrating that ....with CASH someplace nice, romantic and not HERE!   If all bodes well, I will be well into BS3 by the end of the year.

Baby Steps
Baby Step Four - Retirement.     That one's got a big "YEAH RIGHT" attached to it.  We're so far behind in saving for retirement, and with the markets the way they are - I'm not too gung ho for this step at all...
Baby Step Five - College.   My son just decided to go to school.  He'll be starting his freshman year at a state college.  Very proud of him.  Very happy to see that a lot of what money he has been gifted through his life will come close to paying for it, and he will be coming up with the rest. Or such is the game plan currently.

Where do you put this?
Is there a Baby Step Sub Category for this or is it just a budget line. Once this debt is gone, Once BS3 is complete, I want to save money for another car.  Husband's car is going on 7 years.  Not bad for a Hyundai. It could last for several more years {God willing}, but his inner child went looking at cars and is somehow figuring that 2012 is the death date of the Elantra.  We have a difference of opinion on that - but having a nest egg would be nice. 

The more things change the more they stay the same
Cash. Coupons. Envelopes. Budgets.  - the plan works if you stick to it!  Looking back at the debt we've paid off - well over $45k, I'm quite proud of how far we've come, HOWEVER - I don't feel comfortable trusting myself without our plan, without a budget -we'd fail.  by allowing the use of credit cards - we'd fail miserably.  Stick to the plan, Stan and have a Happy 2011! 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Been a long long time ....

Looks like I haven't posted on my blog in over a year.  Wow, that's REALLY good, Wendy!  It's been a whirlwind year, that I can promise you.  So let's backtrack just a touch.  Rewind to July 2010.

Gazelle?  No.  Steady?  Yes.  We entered our third year of getting out of debt by STILL using envelopes, STILL sticking to a monthly written budget, STILL paying cash, NO new debt and plugging away at that last credit card with the almost 0% for life APR and the loan on the Mazda. Monetarily, life was steadily moving forward.  Should we be out of debt by now?  Sure.  Could we have been?  Possibly.  Three envelopes got a little extra money than they had in the past:  Dining, Grocery and ENTERTAINMENT and the additional money placed in those envelopes could have helped out the debt.  To that I add: "ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES WENDY A DULL GIRL"

Not the best of news but with a definite silver lining -
Writing on the wall:  Felt it coming.  Oh boy, did I ever feel it coming.  So much so that I was actually relieved to hear the words: "We're going to lay you off, Wendy."  It came at a good time.  While monetarily everything was working right, so many more aspects of life were not.  This time off is giving me the ability to work on getting everything on an even keel.  Meanwhile, on DH's workfront - several raises and a promotion since I last posted.  Our "storm cloud savings" has us set with a pretty good buffer for my off time. So much so that I could actually pay off the credit card, but with the cloud still looming. I'm waiting it out.  Quick thinking had me save for Christmas PRIOR to the layoff, so I had my 3rd Debt Free Christmas.

Have had a lot more time to play the coupon game a little more, and have been on so many great blogs and message boards so I am back to saving some serious coin on groceries.  My stockpile has increased again.  It's amazing what a comfort it is having that stockpile.  It's like a safety net. 

Here's a few of the great places that I've been hanging out lately:

A Full Cup - Message Boards for just about ANY store you'd go to!
Couponers Welcome - Message Boards like above
Jill Cataldo - OMG! She's amazing!

So all in all, would Dave Ramsey be proud of me?  Not entirely.  He'd probably yank my ear and tell me we're dragging our feet and it shouldn't take this long to become debt free and that doesn't even begin to talk about retirement savings. I'm proud of how far out of the pit we've climbed, but there's always someone to tell me I'm doing it wrong. ;) 

Thursday, August 27, 2009

End of August - Start of September Update

What we're doing - How we're doing
Summer is a hard time to stick to the budget. Isn't it? There's always something to do and only so much in the Entertainment Envelope to do it with. What to do when the itch isn't satisfied when the money runs out? We re-established our Netflix account and filled up our queue with movies we missed all summer.

Despite playing catch up with our slow months we had this year, we were able to take a real healthy bite out of the Chase credit card. The 0% teaser rate is over and I was really hoping to have knocked that out before that happened - but I also wanted to throw some of this extra money into the Gifts Fund because alas .... Christmas is coming! Don't shoot the messenger! The remaining balance will be under a grand and I'm hoping that my hours for fall won't change too much that it will accommodate saying "Zippee-dee-doo-da" to the Chase Disney Card AND fun the rest of my Christmas shopping.

Budget Lines that Need Help
We have to sit down and look at the budget really hard. We've been running with a strapped budget and using the extra summertime wealth to try to kill that Chase card. There are a few budget lines that got cut that I really need to start funding....and fast!!! House Maintenance and Vet Fund. I'm down to my last $100 in the House account and although we have a newer house, I'm not too terribly comfortable going into the winter months with a mere hundo in that account! We adopted two kittens (brother and sister) and the entry vet bills are a little more than I had anticipated or planned for. I've got a couple months to come up with Spay and Neuter money before little Miss Nala goes into her first heat!

No Credit Cards
Still no NEW DEBT on the credit cards! The credit card companies have been sending transfer checks like demons. I haven't cancelled any of my cards - but I did find that Sears closed my account due to inactivity. I'm not sure if I got a letter on that or not. I didn't pay attention to it.
I should probably pull my credit report and see what the dealio is with that and other cards. I wonder how that effects the credit score.