Sunday, October 28, 2007

Weekend Update

Where is the World Headed?
Man, the media sure knows how to spread panic- don't they.

  • The cost per barrel went up to the highest it's been.
  • Predicted gas price increases make you want to cry!
  • We've got states that want to defect from the US Consitution and form there own goverment.
  • The crashing dollar.
  • MexiMeriCanada?
  • Neuros?
  • Should we be buying gold?
  • Credit card companies rumored to call cardholders for their balances because they are heading into dire staits.

The stress is amazing!!!! What to do? Who to believe?

This is Halloween.... This is Halloween!
Ahh, Tim Burton. I just love that movie Nightmare Before Christmas. They re-released it in 3-D. It was much more pleasant than a haunted house this year. I've got enough around to scare the daylights out of me!

Chelsie cashes in on another of her 9 lives:
Someone stepped in and saved our precious cat again! We had her pressures checked in her eyes and they are dropping!!! Of course, wrestling with her isn't getting a whole lot easier -- but the drops are working!!!! The vet is working on getting us a cheaper eye drop because we'll be using them LONG TERM! He said, "Long Term"!!! Looks like we eluded the reaper!

November Budget:
No major changes from before -- except adding a monthly VET envelope and making an extra payment to Citibank 1. We get an extra paycheck this month - however the trick is we have to keep everyone HEALTHY enough to WORK the hours to make it an extra paycheck rather than making up for partial paychecks because someone was sick.

Christmas Shopping & Nick's Birthday
Ahhh, well at least there won't be any stress for shopping this Christmas. In fact, I'd say I'm about half finished already. Nick's birthday is another story. It will be his Sweet 16. And no, he won't be getting a car! Tough to be going through a TMMO and give this kid the moon for his birthday. Anybody have any ideas??

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I guess I needed a new budget line - aka Poor Chelsie Part 2

With a 20 year old cat, a 19 year old cat and a 10 year old cat -- I should have already started a sinking fund for vet bills.
Shoulda, coulda, woulda....
My 20 year old cat went to vet yesterday:
She had a white film going across a good portion of her eye. I assumed she went blind in that eye, but the fact that it was weeping was bothering me so we took her in. Well they did a few tests including a glucoma puff/pressure test and what should be around 15 and danger level being 27 --- her bad eye was at 69-75 which caused her lens to "blow out" and move foward (that's the film we are seeing) and her other eye is at 36-37. Tried to do a blood pressure test on her, but the machine wasn't registering. We COULD remove the bad eye, however if the good eye is already this bad...the same thing could happen to it also. That's what the vet said. He gave me a prescription for glucoma eye drops:
that I have put in her eyes twice a day to bring down the pressure counts so that she can be comfortable in the bad eye and hopefully reverse the glucoma in the good eye. We go back again at the end of the week. Now giving the blind eye a drop is's in. However, try wrangling a cat who sees something SO close to their eye. There is a delay before the drip...and she has it timed to wait to freak right before the drop comes out! Smart cat!

Needless to say, we had to jack funds from the medical sinking funds envelope (and hope nobody needs to go to the doctor until Feb 1st), the remaining from our blow money, and some extra cash that I was supposed to deposit into the bank -- I'll rearrange next month's budget.

I have to prepare myself for the inevitable -- and although our plans for remains isn't frugal and doesn't fit into the Dave Ramsey plan we have, we will be cremating her and keeping her ashes (as we will all of our cats)I'm not sure you'd call this Murphy knocking or God calling for her. Either way, the family is devistated.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Weekend Update

Cell Phone Issues: Resolved. Nick paid to have his replacement phone relisted to him.

FPU: I just completed my Financial Peace University online course. It was worth everything they ask for it. There is tons of information on there.

  • Worksheets, budgets, calculators
  • message boards and journals
  • Down loadable MP3 in the lesson categories
  • Lessons are broken into 3 so you can view them more leisurely.
  • FPU workbook in either answered or unanswered so you can fill out as you go along.
  • End of lesson quizzes -- see what you retained.

Grocery Shopping: Yeah, I whined. I'm sorry. You caught me at a less than Gazelle moment at the time. It's Sunday... and I can say that although I shopped my brains out and spent 2 weeks budget at the store.... it was justifiably spent. I still have a lot of meals to prepare this week and I think my only stop at the store will be for 1. milk 2. pop 3. coffee creamers (with coupons!) Long story short. I did good!

Debts: I'm using this month's income to pay for next month's budget. This is a new thing I've been trying and with Mike working crazy amounts of overtime lately, it's been easy to get that ball rolling. He also got a bonus this week which goes into the debt payoff pool. It's fun watching the numbers drop like flies!! We are hoping to be debt free (except for the house) early enough that we can save up for a full tilt vacation to celebrate that and our 20 year anniversary! Watch the side bar for those numbers to drop next week. (end of month)

Random Ramblings: I finished reading Nikki Sixx's Heroin Diaries this week. What an intense read! No doubt that I love that man -- but I'm telling you it broke my heart to read that story. Note to self: Before you think you have problems in life - try taking a walk in another man's shoes. Second note to self: Thank Mom for being a good role model!

Sad Note: Poor Chelsie. Our 20 year old cat, bless her little heart, went blind in one eye over the weekend. I know it's probably from the cataracts and hopefully the other eye is fine. We move from a ranch house to a 2 story house with basement just in time for our cat to go blind. Nice family, huh? I've been reading things on this over the weekend, and will be bringing her to the vet to see what she says.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Disabled Cell Phone = End of the World

Well, Nick has officially killed his cell phone. It put up a heck of a fight, God knows --- but it the end the teenager was named the victor. So a 15 year old, months away from a drivers license, out with friends and NO CELL PHONE! Now, I have to wonder what MY mom thought 23 years ago when it was ME out there....and there was no such thing as a cell phone. We are so connected these days. My son didn't really put up to much of a stink about not having a cell phone. (one less thing he has to pay for) but it was ME who flipped out about his being "out there" and no way to be contacted. How backwards is that? How backwards is it that it was ME that was making FUN of people who were obviously ADDICTED to their cell phone about4 years ago (before I got mine). How backward is it that I used to say my mom was too over protective with me ... yet I feel the need to stay in communication with my kid like I do?

Needless to say, I used blow money to pay for a cheap $20 (shipped) used phone off of eBay. So my withdrawl will be short lived.

The Grocery Store - Meals Planned

What used to be a pleasant experience hasn't been so lately.

I'm used to saving a 50-54% at the store with sales, coupons and catalinas, but lately I have been saving only 35-45% at the store. Don't get me wrong, I realize this is still pretty good -- but I 'm just not getting the huge hauls like I'm used to. I think Meijer's little remodel really killed the prices. And stupid me, didn't make a price book so the price changes eluded me.

I spent $80 yesterday (which is $10 over budget as it was) but I still forgot items I needed - so I'm heading back today with next week's budget money and shopping ahead for next week. Good news. I can stay away from the stores next week.

Two Weeks Planned Meals: (in no particular order)

Chicken Bruchetta
Chicken Ala King
Chicken Kievs
Chicken & Mushroom Casserole
Chicken Pesto with Ravioli*
Honey Dijon Pork Chops
Salsa Pork Chops
BBQ Pork Chops*
Spaghetti and Garlic Bread
Baked Ziti
French Toast Bake
Italian Breakfast Bake
Sausage Casserole

*Why yes, pork loin and chicken WERE on sale! LOL

Monday, October 15, 2007

November's Monthly Budget (Draft One)

FOOD: 400.00
Groceries - 300.00
Dining Out - 50.00
School Lunches - 50.00

AUTOS: 333.00
Gasoline - 260.00
Insurance - 63.00
Registrations - 10.00

Elantra *
B of A

OTHER DEBT: 607.00
Citibank Card with smallest balance (not in snowball)

HOUSEHOLD: 804.00*
Mortgage - 791.00
Master Plumbers Club Membership - 12.00
*we escrow our own taxes - have enough in the savings account for the rest of the year to cover January's bill

MEDICAL/HEALTH: 70.00 (sinking funds)
Dentist - 25.00
Co Pays - 20.00
Prescriptions - 20.00

Cable/Internet/Phone - 123.00
Cell Phones x 3 - 117.00 (actual OOP is 91.00)
Electric - 89.00 (budget billing)
Gas - 63.00 (budget billing)
Water 92.00 (yes, we know... it's HIGH -- it's the town, not just US)

PERSONAL: 237.00
Family Blow Money - 20.00 (not typical)
Wendy Blow Money - 60.00 (not typical)
Life Insurance (2 monthly - 1 annual premium) 82.00
Subscriptions (son pays for 24.00) 43.00
Misc Household Stops - 32.00

May or may not need. Still have funds left in the envelope from August!

Christmas is already fully budgetted for. Now all I have to do is go SHOPPING.

Damages ...

We've done good actually paying off debts. Problem is I transfered debts from one card to another it was like a merry-go-round from hell. Looking at some of the following balances, I'm sure SOME of it was in the midst of rotation and I didn't actually OWE this much at once. The merry go round was a quick moving thing.

** Now remember - these numbers from 1/06 - 1/07 are a little sketchy. **

January 2006
Chase - 4100.00
Chase - 5000.00
MBNA -8400.00
AMEX - 12,269.00
Citibank - 890.00
Elantra - 9423.00
Citibank - 14,576.00
HELOC - 21,000.00

January 2007
Chase - 0.00 (transfered to new Chase card)
Chase - 1832.00
Chase - 9,900.00
MBNA- 0.00
AMEX - 0.00 (valiant effort remaining transfered to HELOC)
Citibank- 5,920 (the card we USED to be transfered in part to BofA)
Elantra - 6,885
Bank of America - 17,575.00 (tranfered $ plus a bit of stupid tax)
Citibank - 12,160.00
HELOC 30,000.00 (+/-)
Discover - 1031.00 (oh GREAT! Another new card!)

Introduce Dave Ramsey into our home July 2007
The Plan Begins.
The Budget is in Place.
The Envelope System Works.
Gazelle Intensity Starts.

Here's where we CURRENTLY stand:
October 2007
Chase - 0
Chase - 0
Chase - 8085.00
MBNA - 0
AMEX - 0
Citibank - 1730.00
Elantra - 3200.00
Bank of America - 16,311.00
Citibank - 10,492.00
HELOC - 30,000.00 (+/-)
Discover - 0

Sunday, October 14, 2007

How did we get so far behind?

I guess part of solving the problem is identifying the problem. You would look at our debt and figure we drive expensive cars, dress in the latest fashions and have a big house with luxury appliances and the latest sound system. Truth is, we don't. I have always cut coupons, used a budget, shopped clearance racks, driven used cars and just recently moved into a modest sized house. So where did all this debt come from? CREDIT CARDS! Hey, Wendy -- if you don't have the luxuries -- what do you have to show for the credit card debt?

I used a budget -- FOR BILLS. That's what our paychecks paid for. The rest of our LIFE was funded by the temptation of CREDIT CARDS. Ala groceries, dentist bills, entertainment, dining out, medical bills, prescriptions, school lunches, clothes, car repairs etc. etc. etc.

I had been paying our debts using the snowball plan, however never really getting anyplace because once I paid one off ... I'd need to replace it with a new card that I had racked up a balance on while paying off the other one.

The key was to teach myself to budget for LIFE as well as the BILLS.
The key was to figure out where my MONEY was GOING.
The key was to QUIT being a SLAVE to the LENDER (and quit using those darn cards!)

The answer to my prayers? Dave Ramsey!