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Archive for September, 2009

October goals

September 30th, 2009 at 09:54 pm

Brr, it feels like October all of a sudden this week! It'll be an exciting month--besides Halloween, we'll be seeing our lil' baby live on screen next week, and touring the birth center of the hospital we want to use. Also, we'll make our last mortgage payment at the 5.75% interest rate--starting Nov. 1 it goes down to 3.875% for a year!

October goals:

Debt: Pay off at least $2600 of debt.

Savings: Save at least $775 ($120 for AS's retirement; $655 for baby/EF)

Creative/crafts: Begin to brainstorm and plot novel idea for NaNoWriMo.

I'll still try and be conscious of the other areas--fitness, environmentalism, philanthropy and side hustles--but I'm not going to set any specific goals.

September goals wrap-up

September 30th, 2009 at 05:11 pm

The second half of the year has been rather lame in the goals department. Well, except for the money goals they were mainly to help me feel stimulated and challenged by life vs. coasting by. Being pregnant is very stimulating and challenging, so I don't really need other tasks to keep me happy! Smile I do need to get more exercise and eat healthy, but I'm going to see if I can do that on my own without a monthly challenge. So far I'm doing pretty well on the food front, but the exercise needs some work. AS and I went for walks after work yesterday and the day before, and I walk around with NT during lunch, so at least I get a bit.

Anyhoo, back to the rest of the goals. Did not catch up on posting food photos, but we have continued to take photos most days (except sometimes when we're eating out), so we could still collect and review them at the end of the year if we wanted.

NT's UK taxes are done, and we didn't owe any money. Nor were we anywhere close to making enough profit to hit the deductible (aka "personal allowance"), so as long as I can remember that there will be less stress each fall as I prep them. Smile

As a result of not owing, I was able to exceed the savings goal, which I'd made very modest in case I needed that flat-rental money to pay Her Majesty's Revenue Service. $780 saved instead of our $170 goal!

And our debt repayment did really well, thanks to some payments hitting this month that sometimes don't clear until the first of the next month. Paid off $2478 instead of our $2200 goal!

Although I didn't have any specific other goals:

I did take a couple extra walks, ate fairly healthy and gained the right amount of weight for my pregnancy, so I feel OK about fitness.

Environment-wise, I've continued to use more environmentally friendly toiletries, and AS now makes our laundry soap, dish detergent and surface cleaners, saving on packaging and cutting down on chemicals. We're still very good about taking reusable shopping bags everywhere, even on vacation. And we reuse containers for our bulk-food purchases whenever possible, so that's another waste eliminated. We're also doing the "if it's yellow, let it mellow" toilet system (when we don't have guests), so we're saving a bit of water that way. (This doesn't save us money because we just pay one lump sum to our condo association, but we like the environmental aspect.) Oh, and we've been taking all the baby-related hand-me-downs offered to us, so hopefully our baby will have a lower carbon footprint than most.

Creatively I've been a bit slack, but, you know, I'm creating life! Smile

I haven't done much philanthropy, but we've done some small things, like NT buying a homeless-sold newspaper in Wisconsin, and me buying a couple cans of tomatoes for the AIDS charity that sometimes collects outside our co-op. I have also been sending e-mails to my congressmen and the president about improving health care, which will probably help others much more than me (but I'm still all for it).

We've had a bit of profit from side hustles; sold some coats on eBay, and AS gets $10 per load to do laundry for this older lady in the building, and NT's been doing tons of Pinecone surveys. Oh, and AS and I both redeemed MyPoints for Old Navy gift cards.

I guess that's about it! October goals will come later when I need another break from this busy, busy day.

Final debt payment in September

September 30th, 2009 at 02:26 pm

My credit card hit as expected, with $193 going to principal, making my September total $2478. Stay tuned later today for my September goals wrap-up and then setting my October goals.

Prepaid plan cost update

September 29th, 2009 at 08:39 pm

Two posts in quick succession today! I completely forgot that I purchased more minutes for NT's cell phone last week, which means it's time to evaluate costs again.

RECAP: I switched to prepaid in late March, meaning it's been 6 months. We have 2 phones on T-Mobile prepaid and 1 on Net10 prepaid.

Initial layout: $241.63 to get us set up with phones and 2300 minutes.
NT's late-May Net10 fillup: $32.65 (He hadn't used up his previous 300, but they roll over as long as you re-up in time.)
AS's second 1000 minutes with T-Mobile (bought in June): $107.40. (We hope to get this batch to last longer than three months.)
NT's late-July Net10 fillup: $32.82
NT's late-September Net10 fillup: $32.82

So our total cost so far is $447.32.

So far, if I divide our total cost by 6, our new plan has cost us $74.55 per month (our monthly average is down from $103.63 per month as calculated in July). Woo hoo! That's a $10-per-month savings over our $85 average on the T-Mobile family plan.

AS will need to fill up in October, so that average will go up again, but not much. I've used about half of my 1000 minutes and I don't need to re-up until March 2010 unless I run out of minutes before then.

(Our cellphone bill, for three phones on a family plan, used to range from $80-$95, depending on texts, calls to 411, etc. Usually it was close to $85. My goal is to get my average cost below that, preferably to $50 per month, but any average number below $85 will be a savings.)

Another debt payment

September 29th, 2009 at 08:09 pm

AS's next student loan payment did hit today, with $54 going to principal. (Interest rate hasn't changed yet principal went down from last month. I never understand that.) $2285 paid off for the month. My credit card payment is pending, so we'll see if it hits tomorrow, in time to get added to this month's total.

Two of our coats on eBay sold (out of six); still trying to get that shipped. I decided on FedEx Home Delivery but it turns out you need the person's phone number, so I'm waiting to see if the buyer wants to provide that. Anyway, hoping to clear about $50 after shipping and fees. That'll put our laptop fund up over $100. We'll re-list the other coats in a month or so when it's colder.

Quite busy at work again this week, even with my boss back, but I'm feeling a bit headachey and run-down. Wish I had some mindless proofreading to do, but unfortunately most of my work today requires a bit more creative involvement (copy editing and writing). Just trying to make some progress and hoping tomorrow I'll have more energy and attention. I did get my flu shot today, so maybe I'm just having a mild reaction to that.

Reached September debt-repayment goal!

September 28th, 2009 at 02:29 pm

Well, I'm afraid my 365 Days of Dinner (at least the posting on here part) may be dead in the water, since I didn't even start to catch up on it this month. But at least I met the debt-repayment, savings and tax goals.

One of AS's student loans hit, with $116 going to principal. So I surpassed the September goal of paying off $2200 by $31. We may even have some more payments hit before the end of the month: a student loan and my credit card.

Sleepy Saturday morning

September 26th, 2009 at 05:06 pm

I'm sitting on the couch, wishing I could have a second cup of coffee, watching The Rachel Maddow Show. Watching that terrible story about the dead census worker with "FED" allegedly scrawled on his chest. I hope it doesn't turn out to be an anti-government hate crime. There's been lots of crazy treasonous talk in some parts of the media lately that really scares me.

I woke up several times last night, so even though I got 7 or 8 hours of sleep, I feel a bit out of it.

AS is sewing a dress for a (male) friend of ours who wants to dress up like Marilyn Monroe and sing happy birthday at his friend's party tonight. NT is off to hfavorite music store with a friend, and after that they're going to pick me and AS up so we can go over to his house, hang out with him + wife & kids, go out to lunch, and take a look at a kids dresser and crib they're willing to give us if we like them. (We've actually been offered at least three cribs by various people, but this will be the first one we look at.)

AS and I surprised NT with $40 of our spending money to buy CDs. We've been wishing he had more guy friends with similar interests, like he used to in England, so we were going to give him the money and suggest he go out with this guy. Lo and behold a couple days before, they made plans to go to the music store not even knowing about our plan! LOL. But the money still surprised him. He's also been going out for bike rides with another guy friend, so that's good.

I also spontaneously treated AS and NT to dinner and a drink out last night. $60 and worth every penny. I had some unspent money from past weeks, and on the way home from work I was just so glad these two weeks without my boss were over, and thinking how we won't be able to just spontaneously go out to a bar next year Smile, and thinking how we only ever go out to eat if other people invite us. So we went to a nice microbrewery/restaurant nearby. It was weird to be out in the city at night! So many people were out--the restaurant was packed--and I could remember when going out every weekend night, dropping a lot more than $60, was pretty much taken for granted. This was nicer because it felt special, and we really appreciated having food prepared and brought to us, and getting a chance to chat with each other for a couple hours without having chores, or cooking, or the distractions of TV or Internet.

I'm writing this on my little $150 netbook, which I bought a couple months ago because our laptop's been acting up. We've thought about getting the laptop repaired, but probably it'll be better to just get a new one. So we're slowly trying to raise $1000. NT's been doing Pinecone surveys, and we've got six coats listed on eBay. The auctions are up tomorrow. 2 don't have any watchers, so I'm not sure how we'll do, but we'll make a bit. We'll be going to the Mall of America in a couple weeks once AS gets an Old Navy gift card from MyPoints,so we'll take a necklace of hers with a tiny diamond and see if the pawn shop there will give us anything (our nearby pawn shop would only give us $30, so we want to check somewhere else first).

Our couch is now covered with a blanket because it's so threadbare and stained. AS's mom has bought us fabric, as well as some curtain fabric, but has been flaking out for 6+ months on actually mailing it. So we may buy a couch before a laptop once we raise the money; depends on which is driving us crazier. Oh, and one of the burners on our 16-year-old stove has stopped working, so that's on our radar too! LOL. Hard to know what to save up for first!

Got my first big bill from my doctor's office this week: $1012 for my first visit, blood testing and "OB contract"! Yowch! At this rate, I'll be cutting it close as to whether my remaining HSA funds plus the $100 extra I hold aside each month in checking will cover the remainder of 2009 expenses. But, we'll find the money elsewhere if we need to.

Well, I should go finish getting ready before NT and our friend come back to pick us up!

More money into savings

September 24th, 2009 at 06:42 pm

My biweekly deposit into savings hit, just $25 this time. That makes September savings $780.

I've almost but not quite written a few blog entries about various things; my supervisor has been out for two weeks and my workdays have all been constant. Usually I write my posts during down time at work. These past couple weeks I haven't had any, and when I get home I just want to turn my brain off and relax to gear up for the next day's work. But she's back Monday so some of the pressure will be off me, though I've volunteered for some writing assignments that might take up most of my downtime. The more work the better in this economy.

One bit of news is that my parents offered to pay for the three of us to visit my sister in Ohio for Thanksgiving; it will be a mini-family reunion with probably all of my sisters and most of their kids and spouses coming, as well as my parents. We decided renting a car was by far the cheapest, though NT couldn't fathom (as an Englishman) a 10-hour drive in one day, so we're also getting a hotel overnight each way. Still way cheaper than airfare. Not sure where we will all stay in my sister's house; there are three sisters plus four spouses (counting my two), 6 nieces and nephews, and my parents, and that's all in addition to my sister herself, her spouse and her four kids. Guessing some last-minute hotel arrangements are in order, but I'm not going to worry till we get closer to the time of the trip. My mom is pretty good about arranging some vegan dishes, so I'm not worried about that aspect, though I will remind her (it's been awhile since I've done Thanksgiving with extended family).

I reserved the car and hotel rooms on my credit card, and I'll just let my dad know the final cost later. I can pay off the hotel rooms before they start incurring interest; there's room in our checking account balance to float that until after Thanksgiving. The car expense won't hit the card until after we return the car.

We had a whole stupid incident where our condo association fees were seemingly processed in early September, then this week we got a mysterious direct deposit for that amount, then a couple days ago we got our October bill saying we hadn't paid September and owed a late fee! I'm still straightening that nonsense out, but the good news is our condo association management company removed the late charge without hesitation, even though part of the problem might have been that I sent the payment to an old address, not realizing they'd changed the payment address. (But then why did the check get cashed? And why the sudden re-deposit of funds in the same amount? These are the questions that drive me...crazy, so I probably will stil follow up with the mgmt place's bank to try and find out.)

Hmm...There may have been more, but I've gotta run to a dental appointment!

I have positive net worth!

September 21st, 2009 at 04:28 pm

I just updated the Individual Net Worth page and realized that my net worth is finally positive for the first time in my adult life! Yep folks, I'm worth $598 more than I owe. Woo hoo!

AS is the only one who still has negative individual net worth. The main reasons we're not making faster progress on hers are that all her debt is "better" debt than mine (meaning we at least get tax relief on the interest), and she doesn't have much of a retirement fund yet so it doesn't reflect the big ups and downs of the market. But we're chipping away at her debt and gradually building up some retirement savings, So her net worth has improved by $4K-$5K this year. But it'll be awhile before her net worth starts to grow by leaps and bounds. (She's also the youngest, which is another reason her retirement funds aren't as big.)

September net worth update

September 21st, 2009 at 02:23 pm

Assets:
NT's UK pensions: 7,250 pounds ($14,500)
10,725 pounds ($21,450)
NT's 401(k): $6,191
AS's 403(b): $2,888
AS's CD: $500
AS retirement savings: $605
CJ's 401(k): $29,296
NT's flat: 130,000 pounds ($260,000)
CJ & AS's condo: $160,000
Baby/emergency fund (shared asset): $6,177
---
Total Assets: $501,607

Total Debt: $389,562

Current Estimated Net Worth: $112,045

August 2009 estimate: $105,301

Change in net worth: +$6,744

Summary: Retirement funds were up up up, and debt went down down down. I'd have to check past entries but I think this is one of our best monthly gains ever!

Our total assets finally rose back above the half-million mark again, where they haven't been in a long time!

I will update my "Individual Net Worth" page shortly so you can see how it breaks out.

Notes on the numbers above: House value estimates are conservative. I don't have a way to check NT's UK pensions or flat value, so their values stay static for the purpose of this update. UK asset values and debt amounts are calculated figuring $2 for every British pound, which was the exchange rate when I started keeping track. I maintain that ratio for the purpose of tracking progress, even though the exchange rate is now closer to $1.50 per British pound.

Rough calculations look encouraging

September 20th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

So many things are up in the air about employment and leave next year that it's hard to make any intelligent assessment of our potential financial situation once the baby has come.

It's nerve-wracking, not knowing how our income and expenses are going to change, because obviously we want to be able to provide for our baby, and we don't want to dig our debt hole any deeper to do so (because that wouldn't benefit baby in the long run).

We have a good feeling that AS is going to get a job with a publisher she used to work for years ago. The job would start half-time in January and go full-time in July. But of course, a good feeling is not the same as a concrete job offer. And without a job offer, we don't know what the job will pay. But based on what AS knows about the publisher's finances (which is quite a lot since she was on their board for a couple years), she thinks the lowest salary would be $30K (or $15K during the half-time period).

I found out on Thursday that my job will give me 6 weeks of disability leave at 60% pay. After that, I can take the other 6 weeks (per the FMLA 12-week allowance) first with what PTO (vacation and sick) I've accumulated at the time of the birth (probably 10+ days) and the rest unpaid (four weeks or less).

I asked my HR rep whether I could possibly take some of the leave a few days at a time; in other words, once I've recovered enough to work, I'd like to start working three days a week. AS would be home two days a week, and NT will most likely be able to take one day a week financed by his sick leave (which he never uses any of).

She said she would check with our headquarters in D.C., but that she didn't see any problem with it personally. After I left the meeting, I noticed a statement on one of the forms she gave me that intermittent leave was not available for maternity leave. But on the other hand, the HR person did say that our company is somewhat flexible. So as long as that's company policy and not a legal limitation, there's still a chance that they can make an exception.

So it's difficult to foresee what my income is going to look like after the baby is born.

But I ran some numbers making certain assumptions: 1. that AS gets the job offer at $30K; 2. that I am not allowed to take the 12 weeks intermittently, but that I am able to take my PTO two days at a time once I use up the 6 weeks disability (that would allow me to take 6 weeks off and then two days a week for the next 5 to 6 weeks. So it would still be about 12 weeks before we had to give the baby over to childcare, taking us to the beginning of June); 3. that healthcare coverage for the baby would mean an additional $150 per month, and 4. that my personal loan will be gone by March.

When I calculated our income with me at 60% and the above conditions, our budget--with no reductions in discretionary spending--would have $700 per month surplus to put toward either debt or savings (or unexpected baby expenses). When I'm back to full income, we'll have $1800 surplus.

For the month of June we'd have to add childcare expenses, which we're putting at $1200 per month (while hoping to find a better deal), so our surplus would go down to $600. But in July AS would go full-time at her job in this scenario, bringing in another $1200 per month, so our surplus would go back up to $1800.

This is quite a relief, because even if I'm off by a good deal, there's a lot of wiggle room in the budget. I hope I'm right, because that would mean we could cashflow most baby expenses without depleting the baby/emergency fund, and then use the rest to continue saving and/or paying down debt.

Of course ideally I would be allowed to take the other 3-4 weeks unpaid and intermittently and keep our baby at home for another month or two. Given the above numbers, I'm confident that I could save up enough to absorb that unpaid leave. So if I'm given that opportunity, I'd concentrate on saving during the first few months.

There are still tons of unanswered questions and plenty of uncertainty, but I feel a lot better than I did before these calculations!

Big old awesome payment to personal loan

September 16th, 2009 at 02:22 pm

My personal loan payment hit! It felt like Christmas morning when I woke up, because I'm that lame. Smile

$1194 went to principal, making it $2115 down, $85 to go on my September debt goal. AS's student loan payment at the end of the month should wrap that up.

The personal loan is down to $4879. Barring any disasters, we should be able to pay this off by January! The worst-case scenario is that it would be paid off by May, which is still way ahead of schedule, but I really want it gone before baby gets here.

Another September debt payment and another goal reached

September 15th, 2009 at 02:23 pm

One of AS's student loans hit, with $78 going toward principal. (For a fixed-interest loan it sure seems to fluctuate, but maybe I'm checking at different times? Dunno.) $921 down, $1279 to go on the September debt goal, and we're $8 away from getting student loan debt down under $75K again, after shifting some personal-loan debt over to student loans.

Also, I finished NT's UK taxes last night! I don't know if I read them differently this year, or if it was because of changes to the tax code, but parts of it seemed a little easier. I still feel like I'm wading around in the dark, and I did have to scratch some things out when I realized I was filling in the wrong boxes, but NT pointed out that since most Brits don't file their taxes (the govt. will calculate it for them), our return was probably cleaner than a lot of the ones they get. We mail it out today.

Savings goal reached and then some!

September 14th, 2009 at 03:50 am

I did some preliminary calculations on NT's UK tax return. Although we need to gather some more info, I can already tell that we're well under the tax-free allowance, so we won't be owing any taxes this year (or for years to come, I suspect). So I can now transfer the money I'd been holding in NT's checking account into his UK savings account and count that toward the baby/EF, approximately US$610. I hadn't counted on this, so I've suddenly shot past our September savings goal. $755 saved, much more than our $170 goal.

That brings the baby/emergency fund to $6177!

Semi-depressing job stat; baby expenses so far

September 10th, 2009 at 10:14 pm

So I think I've whined on here before about how I've only had one raise in the three years I've been at my company, which was more than offset by changes to our healthcare and other insurance plans which have put more and more of the burden on me. Wah, wah, wah. I actually don't mind too much most of the time because I feel I get paid pretty well for just being an editor/proofreader; more than I did at my last job as a supervisor, and more than the other editor jobs I saw out there offered when I was looking for a position like this. But I've been getting my paycheck whittled down so gradually that I just now noticed a slightly irritating funfact about my pay compared to NT's.

My gross salary is $49K. NT's gross salary is $41K. We each have our own employer's health insurance because it works out slightly cheaper that way. We each get bus passes through our employer; I pay for mine but it gets deducted pretax from my paycheck, so it's a better deal. NT gets fully reimbursed for his bus pass each month. NT hardly ever needs to go to the doctor so we didn't put any money into his FSA this year; I'm prone to minor health inconveniences and plus my new high-deductible insurance is scary, so I put the maximum in my HSA (and due to my scary high-deductible insurance, it looks like I'll need every penny).

My twice-monthly paycheck nets $1,388.53. NT's twice-monthly paycheck nets $1,334.78. For those of you without a quick math brain or handy calculator, I get $53.75 more than NT twice a month, or $107.50 per month. My salary of $8,000 more per year gives me $1,290 more per year. And that's with me taking a married deduction and NT filing singly.

Let me tell you that if my job required additional hours or stress or responsibility in return for that $8K, I would be royally pissed right now. As it is, we have comparable jobs in terms of stress and hours; if anything, NT's job has more stress and stricter hours. So I'm overall pretty OK with this, but it was quite a blow to realize it just now.

Good reminder, too, to re-evaluate our healthcare options at the end of this year and make really, really sure that it wouldn't be cheaper for me to go on NT's insurance, and to look carefully into whose insurance would be cheaper to put our baby on.

***

On a different note, I've been tracking baby expenses and savings and just decided to make that a page of its own on my baby blog. While I was at it, I thought I would share my expenses so far with you guys, too. This is out-of-pocket, so I'm not counting what insurance covers, but I am counting what's reimbursed by my HSA, which is pretax so there's some savings there that I'm not calculating.

Date Type of (expense)/savings Amount
1/9/2009 Prenatal vitamins (16.10)
4/1/2009 No birth control $20.00
4/15/2009 Prenatal vitamins (24.69)
5/1/2009 No birth control $20.00
6/1/2009 No birth control $20.00
7/1/2009 No birth control $20.00
7/6/2009 Pregnancy test (6.99)
7/21/2009 Large pants (19.99)
7/30/2009 Dr. visit co-pay (10.00)
8/1/2009 No birth control $20.00
8/10/2009 Iron supplements (5.99)
8/11/2009 Iron supplements (5.49)
8/27/2009 UTI pills (10.00)
9/1/2009 No birth control $20.00
9/6/2009 Prenatal classes (155.00)
9/10/2009 OB contract pmt (127.04)

TOTAL (COST)/SAVINGS (261.29)

Small step toward September goal, etc.

September 10th, 2009 at 04:31 pm

My regular biweekly savings deposit hit, just $25 this time since we're focused on eliminating my personal loan. $145 saved, $25 to go on my savings goal for the month.

NT got another student-loan refund check, just $250 this time. Once again we shifted that money into paying down the personal loan, which is now down to $6,073, with another big payment (actually coming from cash, not debt shifting) coming next week. Unfortunately it did push our education debt back up over $75,000, but AS's student loan payments will bring it back under that number by the end of the month.

So far we've used $5301 of NT's student loans to pay down the personal loan. Since A) his loans are lower-interest, B) the interest is tax-deductible and C) we don't have regular payments on them (just interest a couple times a year), it makes sense for baby planning to work on this other loan first, which is higher-interest and has a fixed $623 monthly payment until it's paid off. And NT has by far the highest (i.e., positive) individual net worth of our household, so it can take the hit and he's still in a good place.

Had my 14.5-week appointment today and got to hear the heartbeat again! She didn't linger on it; just checking to make sure it was still there, but it was nice to hear for a second anyway. Our ultrasound is 4 weeks away and we're all going to that appointment for sure! The screening for potential issues is in two weeks, and I'm a little nervous about that, but so far I've had a better-than-textbook pregnancy, so I'm also optimistic.

Vacation spending and a couple pics

September 8th, 2009 at 09:38 pm

We did really well moneywise on our vacation. I allocated $138 for gas and $740 for misc. spending, so $878 total. We spent about $121 on gas, and upon coming home Saturday we found we'd spent about $687 of our spending money. Well, we were technically still on vacation until today, so we got takeout from our favorite Vietnamese restaurant for dinner Saturday ($37), and I also paid our State Fair entry fees on Monday from the money budgeted ($33). So we ended up spending $878, exactly what had been allocated for the gas and spending money! We also each spent most of our weekly spending money on vacation, so actual vacation spending was higher than that, but I'm only concerned whether we spent any money we didn't have. And we didn't, so hooray!

We had a great, relaxing time. Both areas were very pretty with lots to do. We ate out a few times, walked around Madison, went to an extremely odd tourist attraction called House on the Rock, (NT) went kayaking and snorkeling, toured a lighthouse, took a ferry, cooked out on a grill most nights, drove around looking at scenery, played minigolf a few times, bowled, read and played board games, and bought tons of souvenirs. Best of all, most of the souvenirs were food, so the enjoyment will continue as we slowly eat our way through them! Door County is known for its cherries and other fruit, so we bought fresh cherries, cherry pie filling, cherry salsa, cherry butter, cherry beer, a cherry pitter, cherry-nut bread mix, cherry cider, and possibly something I forget right now. We also bought fresh peaches and a spiced apple wine. One of the small towns in Door County had a store that sold only items imported from Britain, so we bought a number of NT's favorite snacks and foods that he can't find here. High prices but well worth it to us! Mostly candy and other treats, but we did get some vegetarian haggis that will form the basis for a meal.

Deck of 1st cottage (near Madison, Wis.):


One crazy image from House on the Rock (you have to go there to believe it, but wear comfy shoes--it takes 3 hours minimum to walk through it--and be prepared for the weirdest place on earth):


2nd cottage (Door County) (AS & me sitting out front):


Lighthouse (AS & me standing in front):


On a pier in Door County (NT & me looking over edge):


All our souvenirs (most of them edible):

Progress on September goals

September 7th, 2009 at 12:42 am

All our mortgage payments and my credit card payment hit while we were on vacation:
US: $283 to principal
UK1: $253
UK2: $53
UK3: $56
CC: $198

All told, we paid off $843 of debt, so we have $1357 still to go on the September goal.

I also transferred $120 into savings for AS's retirement. So just $50 still to go on our very modest September savings goal.

September 2009 goals

September 6th, 2009 at 11:52 pm

You probably wouldn't notice this, but my new current debt totals show a lower credit card/personal debt and higher student loan debt. That's because the remaining student loan money from last semester, which we were unable to apply to summer tuition, just came to us anyway in the form of a check! So I decided to apply it to my higher-interest personal loan, which I'm trying to pay off before the baby comes in order to eliminate that $623 monthly payment.

So I was able to transfer $1777 of personal debt over to education debt. It doesn't decrease our debt total, but it does take the personal loan down to $6323 and our technical CC/personal debt total to $24,107.

I already know some of my September payments have hit, so I want to get the goals written quickly so I can report progress!

1. Debt: Pay off at least $2200 of debt.
Balance as of 9/6: $391,677
Goal balance: $389,477
Progress: $0 down, $2200 to go

2. Savings: Save at least $170 ($120 for AS retirement; 50$ for EF)
Progress: $0 saved

3. Creative/crafts: Catch up on food photos.

4. Other: Do NT's UK taxes.

My savings goal is much lower than usual because I'm not going to put any of NT's flat-rental income into savings until I know whether we owe taxes in the UK. Hopefully not, but I'll have to see once I do his taxes.

August goals wrap-up (back from vacation!)

September 6th, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Well, I've got quite a lot of catching up to do! Since our vacation happened to land on the cusp of a new month, I wasn't able to post end-of-month results or September goals.

Our final August payment, one of AS's student loans, hit. $58 went to principal, so we exceeded our $1600 goal, paying down $1657 of debt.

Savings was the only other goal I succeeded at, saving $1251 total. I didn't get to NT's UK taxes, so I'll have to try again in September.

September goals entry coming up soon, and at some point I'll do an entry on vacation spending.