Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Well It is Done :(

I blew every bit of my snowball this month. It was not ALL due to the budget mess up. Actually half was due to the budget screw up and the other half was because we are SICK around here. I have a pretty severe case of bronchitis that apparently required 4 different medications and my daughter was put on a prescription decongestant. All together those 5 scripts were $103!!! Yes that is with insurance... two actually. I haven't gotten the bill for the visit yet. I think it should be less than usual because we shared a room.... that is not going to happen though.

Anyway, I probably could have found a way to pull this money from some other little sub account I have somewhere, but I thought it was important that it came from a place that matters to me the most. I want it to SINK in that I HAVE to be more careful. I still haven't figured out exactly what I did though. I was wrong about it being something with the daycare checks. They have all cleared as normal. So it was something else. However we took a vacation this month and had a money saved specifically for that and we made a lot of purchases while on vacation so it is almost impossible for me to go back and find out exactly what happened.

I guess all I can do now is try to do better this month and from here on out. I am also considering going back to contributing to my 403b again. I have not been since the baby was born due to the high cost of daycare, but I think it is about time to start up again just not quite as much as before. I get so sick now when I those chart showing what would happen if you were to save so much for say 5 years and then quit early on in life... like say around 20 years old. I WISH I had done that then.... if you are 18-20 and reading this PLEASE put that money away for yourself!!! On a good note my retirement account is beginning to recover quite a bit. I knew it would happen which is why I WISH like heck I had been able to contribute these down months, but what can I do now?

I will probably wait to make a decision on my contributions until the end of August which is when I will see my raise for this year. I have decided that as soon as my car is paid off I am going to start another auto withdrawl into my emergency fund account to start a kind of car replacement fund. Lots up plans for the upcoming months!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

No Snowball this month!

I messed up somewhere. My checking account does not have enough money in it to cover what is left to come out this month. I don't know what I did, but I have a feeling it has to do with daycare. My daycare checks generally come out of my account the Monday after I write them. However this last week nothing came out on Monday. So that means I have 3 weeks left to go and not nearly the money to cover it.

Now, I DO have money to cover it, but I will have to take it out of our Annual expenses account which must be paid back. So my car which should have been paid off two months from now will probably take a little longer.

This has made me realize that I need to pay my daycare differently. Instead of just leaving the money in there I will transfer it after writing each check. When the check clears I will mark it off. I also need to keep better tabs on the checks. Since this is the only thing I write a check for, I don't pay attention to the numbers or the dates, but this is obviously an issue that I didn't realize.

What most likely happened was one month a check had not cleared and I thought it had so I started my budget over at zero instead of holding that money out. That is a little hard to believe though because that would leave a lot of extra money in my account.... so I am not quite sure what is going on. But, I now see this as an area where I need to make some changes.

So now I have to go back and see what is left to be paid in all categories this month and subtract how much is left in checking to see how much I owe back to my checking account. I will have take that amount out of the savings account and put it back when I get paid next week. I am really frustrated with myself over this, but it just goes to show that I am getting to comfortable with things and not paying attention.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What Order Should These Go In?

Dave Ramsey has a good plan with his baby steps, but I almost wish he would write a follow up book for some variations on the plan. For example, here are his steps:

$1,000 to start an Emergency Fund

Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball

3 to 6 months of expenses in savings

Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement

College funding for children

Pay off home early

Build wealth and give! Invest in mutual funds and real estate

Okay, so I am getting close to finishing step 2, and I have a little more than $1000 in savings but no where near my 3 to 6 months worth. However, I need to do some other things as well, for example:

Get my Master's Degree

Possibly get Board Certified (will cost me $2000 which is paid back to me whether I pass or not and if I pass I get $6000 a year for so many years... don't remember exactly how many)

Buy a home

I will have a child in college in 7 years.

So, in what order do I put these things? Getting my Master's will earn more income for me and will help me put other plans into effect. We have really outgrown our living space and need a slightly bigger house (we do not own currently) Board Certification is probably something I should use my next tax refund money on.... And, we have $500 in an account for my oldest child's college right now. The good thing about her though is that I only have to include my income on her FASFA because my husband is her step dad. That will probably help her get grants. BUT, I also need to start putting away for retirement too.

My thought is this....
Use tax refund to get Board Certified next year

Save 3 to 6 months living expenses and tap it each semester to pay Master's Degree tuition, BUT pay it back just like when we were debt snowballing

Invest the 15% of income in IRA

And, with what is left we should know how much we have to go toward a home.

Pray that my oldest child qualifies for grants because she will probably be in college at this point.

And, start saving for the other two because they likely won't qualify.

What are your thoughts on this plan? What order would you place them in?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

So, I Made Some Decisions

I can't believe it has been four months since I have posted anything. I am a bad bad blogger!!

What I decided about the car...
I am paying on the car as soon as I get the money. I found that it doesn't really matter when I pay it, the interest does not change, except that I pay a little less each time I pay on the car because the principle is going down. Also, this keeps me from saying... well, I guess I can tap into that cash in the car snowball fund. If I just go ahead and pay it toward the car it is gone and can't be spent on anything else... more about that at the bottom.

On summer school....
I DID teach it this summer and it was so awesome! I was expecting to teach English to younger kids, but ended up teacher Algebra to older kids and I LOVED it. I have never taught math to that age. I loved the subject matter and the kids were really cool and fun. Last year I had a group of hellions!!! The only problem came when I got paid... Over 1/3 of the money went to taxes, etc.!!!!!!!!!!! It honestly was NOT worth my time for the amount I got paid, but I learned some things about myself and will probably get it all back in a tax refund in January. Which by the way, WHERE is this year going??

Ok, so some other "info". My spending is OUT OF CONTROL. I guess it is not SO bad as I am not using credit. It is just that I am spending money that I should be using to pay off debt. And, I am not doing that. This is such a big deal to me for us to get out of debt so we can build up our big emergency fund and then buy a house, but I just can't seem to do it! Then I think maybe I am just beating myself up because there has not been a month that has passed since my last post that I have not paid $500 extra on my car. And most of the time it is MORE than that. All my summer school money went toward the car and after my next regular payment I will owe less than 1000 dollars on it. So, I am not sure what the deal is here.... On one hand, I am doing pretty well, but on the other hand it is getting to the point where things are REALLY tight at the end of the month. BUT, they are not getting put on credit and we somehow pull through every month.

Another decision I have made is that I am going to start saving a little each month starting now AND once the car is paid off I will add to that. Here are the reasons. I want to open an IRA at Vanguard which takes $3000 down. I have not been saving towards retirement since the baby was born due to the extra cost of daycare. But, now I see I have an extra $100 per month. So, my plan is to save up for the $3000 deposit then use $100 per month to pay toward retirment until my debt is gone in which case I will pay more into that. (Please remember I DO pay into manditory retirement every month so I am not doing NOTHING in that area.) Once my car is paid off I am going to put another $100 towards savings for a car replacement fund. It is eventually going to happen so I may as well start planning for it. Once my car is paid off we have two debts left both are under 5% interest so I feel okay doing this.

And finally, see when I don't post I have to do these long stupid ones, I am going to try to start posting monthly about my progress on everything. Hopefully this will help me be more accountable for my spending and financial decisions.