Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy New Years... a few days late :)

Wow. It has been quite a while since I have even thought about money. So how have I been doing? Well let’s see. There were several things I was working on.
My crisis plan
My emergency fund
Staying out of debt
Paying off existing debt

Well, let’s begin with my crisis plan. Not too bad, but not as great as it could be right now. I used about $100 extra for Christmas from my emergency fund and also $100 for things that had to do with the baby and some issues that have come up from my pregnancy. (I feel SOME of that money was well spent) So right now, I am about $100 below the $500 mark I promised I would stay at. I will be replenishing all of that this month. I am happy that I am able to do that this month, but still upset because if I had not overspent that would have been EXTRA money.

So I guess that killed two birds with one stone, but really that is not my entire emergency fund. I have two other accounts that I absolutely never touch and the combination of all three equals about one month’s salary right now. That is good, but seeing as I will be out of work for almost two months with the added expenses of the hospital bills means that I need at least three months saved up.

Staying out of debt. Well…. I have not added ONE PENNY to my debt since I cut up those credit cards!!! I did use a card in December to buy some groceries, but I immediately paid it back as soon as I got paid and did not owe any finance charges. How did I get a credit card you ask? Well, the old one expired and they had sent me a new one. It was kind of an emergency due to a little mix up on the finances so I used the card knowing it would be paid back only days later.

Paying off existing debt. Well, I am still paying, and paying and paying, but there is not much to say on this front. For the last two months to have a little extra cash for Christmas I paid only the minimums on my cards. However I just paid them for the month of January and I bumped them back up to the original amount I was paying before.

I wanted to write about my progress because I remember a time last year when I thought that it was impossible for my husband and I to not use credit cards. I thought that we really needed the extra help. However, I have been going without for several months and so far so good. I can’t stress how scared I was to cut up my cards and quit using them but when I did it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. The choice to make more debt was taken away from me. It was no longer an option. Before I found out I was pregnant I had a plan that was going to have my card paid off and pretty much all of my other debt in just 5 years. It is now going to take me 2 years just to pay what I owe on my credit card. However, since I am no longer adding to it I can see the end in sight!! My husband has also started chipping in. He has agreed to sell his motorcycle… if we can find a buyer and next January we will purchase his truck when the lease is up making our payments on that considerably less.

This year will be an interesting one. It is going to be tough to scrape together enough cash to have two kids in daycare. At first the baby will probably have to go to a center that takes babies and that will cost more. When she is old enough to go to daycare with our other daughter we will get a discount for having two kids in the same center. I plan on changing my deductions with my payroll department when this baby is born. We currently get a pretty fat refund each year, but I need that money throughout the year now. I have another 8 months before I will get another raise so until then it will be very tight. Luckily we have made some room for ourselves. For example the money that I pay extra on my credit cards “could” be cut back if absolutely necessary. I am also saving $50 a month in the Suze Orman Save Yourself Plan with TD ameritrade. In March it will mark one year I have been saving and I will get the $100 bonus. After that the money can go towards bills instead of savings if need be. We also have two other loans that will be paid off this year. We currently have direct deposit paying them so the direct deposit will continue going into the bank and that money will be there when we need it.

Whew, so that is how it has been going with me. How are all of you?

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