Monday, March 23, 2009

Emotional Roller Coaster

Do I blame it on midlife crazies?
My fortieth birthday is right around the corner. I think that although I'm looking forward to the benchmark occasion, it's playing hell with me. Some days I'm the same as I always was, some days I'm just a mess of anxiety and other days I just want to bury my head in the sand. I'm forty. I'm still in debt - I don't have much on the lines of retirement savings to speak of- I'm bored but I'm broke. I need to do something ... but what?

Insurance Update
While I can't fully explain it to you because I don't quite understand it myself - the new insurance at my husband's workplace isn't as it was explained to me at first. It's better. I swear when it comes to important things like this they should invite the family in so more than one person hears the story because, love the husband - he only half hears things and if he doesn't like what he's hearing he either quarter hears or mutes all together. :)

Economy in a tourist town
It's not funny, but amazing that even in times of financial struggle that people will come to our tourist town for entertainment. We've had a busy week at work and while sales may be down (like everywhere else) they could be so much worse! I start a training class today (I play teacher for those who are new to my blog). It's a good sign when we are looking through applications to hire a full summer's worth of employees. That means we are planning for a good summer regardless. That helps the budget - and may even jumpstart the snowball. I'm looking forward to it.

When Dave Ramsey's plan gets boring
Man, for awhile there we were hacking away at the debt. So much money towards the snowball, balances were dropping fast and it was FUN! It was mindblowingly fun! We haven't made any extra payments towards anything for awhile because of the cut hours we both sustained and I'm telling you - Dave Ramsey's plan just doesn't have the fire in it that it did when you are acting like mad person just paying down and paying off things! I haven't even listened to his show, or visited his site or even really visit the message boards that I used to live on. I'm just following the motions and making sure that I stick to the budget --- that I stick to cash --- and we don't fall backwards!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mid-month Update

Looking up?
Some hours are coming back. My son is back to work. (and working more shifts than normal for this time of year) My hours should start picking up a little bit - training will be starting soon, so it's inevitable. And my husband looks to have picked up a side gig for the summer. We are still holding tight and stashing money until we feel comfortable releasing it against our debt. The budget was so tight there it screamed. A few of our sinking fund envelopes need to be refilled too, so I think I will wind up doing that before I press "GO" on the snowball button.

Insurance Blues
My husband has complained about the cost of health insurance from his company forever - and last week's company meeting made it all the worse as they rolled out the bad word - "DEDUCTABLE". We've never had a deductable, just Co-Pays and a prescription card. The company went away from Co-Pay and Cards to this high deductable plan - which will save us a whole whopping $6.00 a week. Basically, it will be for major medical - because I can't imagine we'd ever hit the deductable. That's going to hit the budget because what went from a $55 sinus infection (co-pay and script card) to a $225.00 sinus infection. (more or less)

Spring .... really? You're not kidding this time?
The midwest has seen one long winter. I'm so thankful to get the car cleaned up and drive with the windows down! The backyard is going to need a little work this spring because we didn't do too much last year because I didn't budget much for flowers, goodies and the grill's propane tank refill. I've got to pull that rabbit out of a hat. :)

Happy Spring Everyone!!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Updates for March -

Temporary Transfer Rates Bite you in the Butt
I had transferred a balance to a low rate card for a specific time frame that I thought would have been no problem paying off before. Of course, that was prior to the latest changes in our financial situation.

I thought with the hours we were pulling I would have had it paid off in a couple of months. I thought with the extra money coming in that I would have killed off two of the small debts by mid year. What's the lesson learned? Don't think? NO! I guess, it's to plan for the worst case scenario and if you are able to do best case instead at least your backside is covered.

I wound up taking some savings and paying off the smallest credit card of $1,900. The new finance charges were a joke. Here's how the credit card companies get rich (in case you haven't noticed already) - Min payment due: $35.00, Finance charges added to the account: $26.00. Paying $9.00 towards principle will keep that card there FOREVER. Dumb. I can't wait until these cards are paid for!

March Budget - Back to the Basics
I started Dave Ramsey in July of 2007, prior to that I had built a budget - but it was for bills - not for life spending (doctors, clothes, groceries, hair cuts, etc). I found some of my old "budgets" and realized all of what I had learned since I found Dave. I have been credit card free since July of 2007 also as a result.

So my husband and I are on shortened hours. Actually, my husband has been using his vacation days to "fill" the missing hours of his paycheck. Sooner or later that will run out, so I am hoping we get back on track. I have built the March budget to be as lean as lean can be. I'm trying to exhaust all options before I do any panicking. There's discussions of mortgage adjustments and crazy things like 40 year mortgages. I don't want to do anything drastic that doesn't need to be done.

Obviously, we are still on minimum payments on our debts. The Snowball has been stuck on the hill for quite some time now and it's pretty depressing to just see it hover there. It was so much more fun to be paying these down rapidly. Looking at the new numbers monthly was exciting as well as rewarding.

Finding Happiness in a Gloomy Time:
In what would be a depressing time in my life, I have found some perks. I have been reuniting with old friends from a simpler time in my life and while some of them are doing so much better than I am, a bunch are living the same life I am. It's been a good distraction and has kept me from staring at numbers that don't change and beating my head against the wall for things that aren't changing fast enough. Thank God for those minor distractions!