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Archive for August, 2011

Some other bits of progress + September goal

August 31st, 2011 at 09:32 pm

Some automatic savings & interest ($25.45) went into the EF, so 2011 progress is at $2808.51, with total EF of $11,320.46. Still woefully behind on our $7000/$15,511.95 goal, but it sounds like NT's flat will have new renters as soon as it's redecorated, so we should start pulling in regular money again (though probably not enough to meet our goal; if we get close I'll be tempted to divert some US debt-repayment funds into EF before the end of the year!)

Charitable contributions are on track, up to $1115!

I did really well on creative & bookreading goals this month. I finished two books I'd started, an Agatha Christie and a true-crime book. I also read another Agatha novel on our vacation and got about 450 pages into The Count of Monte Cristo (1240 pages total). I also made a deck of flash cards for AA by printing out clip art and public domain photos, pasting them on index cards and covering them with laminating paper. Then I punched holes in the corners and strung them together on a metal ring. For me, pretty creative!

Anyway, for September I want to pay off at least $2000 of debt, and chip away at all my other goals.

Surpassed debt goal! Plus nice weight progress and mini-update

August 31st, 2011 at 05:07 am

We got in from our vacation last night and had today off. I didn't do too much other than work on my finances a bit, and catch up on Facebook and your blogs (it was a voluntary no-internet-use trip). Lots to read, so I didn't make comments! Anyway, I need to make sure there are no charges on the credit cards that I don't have a receipt for, but I believe we spent $100 less than our allotted vacation money! I was pretty sure we would go over, so I'm really pleased.

AS's two student loan payments hit the accounts while we were away. Between the two payments, $184 went to principal. That means we paid off $2241 of debt in August, surpassing the $2075 goal!

We weighed in last night, and I was expecting a bit of weight gain since I hadn't been able to stick to my dietary guidelines and only worked out once. But I guess the walking around and not overdoing it on most meals paid off; I had lost one pound! I'm now at 145 lbs., with only 6 lbs. to go on my 2011 weight loss goal.

The trip was short, but great. I'll try to do a more in-depth report (with pics) later, but it's getting late here. We seem to have come back to a number of obligations, some of which are going to cost money, others that just need time and attention:
- Wedding this Saturday. We need to find a sitter and a wedding gift, both of which will cost us.
- Wedding NEXT Saturday, with the same requirements. One of the brides (it's two women) graciously said we could bring AA and that there would be other kids, but she's not at the best age for it. Too mobile and independent to just sit there with us, but too young to let run around without constant supervision. So we're going to lean on NT's and AS's recent influx of money to try and get sitters and gifts for both weddings. At least both weddings are convenient by bus! We really lucked out there.
- UK taxes. They aren't due until October, but it always takes me a while to collect all the papers, sigh and groan a lot, fill out the forms, and get them sent off. At least most of the rental statements were sent to us via email; it's a LOT easier for me to search my cluttered inbox than our disaster of a closet. I would be a lot better off if I could settle on a good paper organization system, but I'm so electronically focused that, even though I'm required to keep hard copies of certain things, they're so disorganized that it's torture trying to find anything. I take full responsibility; AS and NT do try to help me on this front but I'm just hopeless.

Well, I've been sitting blankly for a couple minutes, so I think that's all I can write tonight. Glad to be back and if it's not too busy at work tomorrow, I'll try to write my goals for September!

Nice weight progress!

August 22nd, 2011 at 10:15 pm

I weighed in last night, and I was back down to 146! This time it feels "real" because I weighed in at my usual time, after dinner on a Sunday. I think the first time I hit 146 it was somewhat of a false reading.

I was really good on my diet and only cheated on my one designated cheat day. I missed one exercise day and didn't always hit the workout goals exactly, but I did work out in some capacity 4 of the 7 days (5 days was the goal last week).

This means I have just 7 lbs. to go on my weight-loss goal!

(Of course, I do realize I'm going on vacation in two days, where I usually tend to pack on a pound or two. I'm hoping that bringing exercise clothes, and continuing to track my meals and activity, will keep me a bit more honest on this trip.)

Prepaid phone plan costs update

August 22nd, 2011 at 08:22 pm

NT bought another 2 months of service for $33.38.

FY2011 spending so far:

NT's April Net10 fillup (300 minutes): $32.87
AS's May T-Mobile fillup (1000 minutes): $107.78
NT's June Net10 fillup (300 minutes): $33.38
NT's August Net10 fillup (300 minutes): $33.38

FY2011 total: $207.41

We're nearing the end of the fifth month of our prepaid "fiscal year," so that means our average monthly cost so far is $41.48. For maybe the first time, we're below our ideal $50-per-month average!

RECAP: I switched to prepaid in late March 2009, so our phone "fiscal year" begins each April. We have 2 phones on T-Mobile prepaid and 1 on Net10 prepaid. AS and I refill in 1000-minute increments and only need to refill when we run out or when it's been a year since our last fillup to stay active. NT needs to buy 300 more minutes every 60 days to keep his phone activated.

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 ideal goal is to get my average cost to $50 per month, but any average number below $85 is a savings.

August 2011 net worth update

August 18th, 2011 at 04:41 pm

Assets:
NT's UK pensions:
#1: 13,753 pounds ($27,506)
#2: 16,005 pounds ($32,010)
#3: 3,709 pounds ($7,418)
NT's 401(k): $12,966
NT's Roth IRA: $3,333
AS's 401(k): $5,524
AS's trad. IRA: $1,682
AS's Roth IRA: $4,456
CJ's 401(k): $37,804
CJ's Roth IRA: $3,333
NT's flat: 130,000 pounds ($260,000)
CJ & AS's condo: $160,000
Baby/emergency fund (shared asset): $11,295
---
Total Assets: $567,327

Total Debt: $335,594

Current Estimated Net Worth: $231,733

July 2011 estimate: $235,435

Change in net worth: -$3,702

Summary: Ugh, I knew I wasn't going to like this month's results. Despite over $2K of debt payoff, our retirement accounts lost so much value that we're down for the month. I imagine we've lost progress on AS's net worth goal as well. I think all this market volatility is just shortsighted silliness that will clear up in a month or two, so I think we'll gain it back soon. But I don't really know.

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

Notes on the numbers above: House value estimates are fairly 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 (unless I happen to get some info by chance). 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 $1.60 per British pound.

Terrible dream; CC, pregnancy, vacation and random updates

August 18th, 2011 at 03:08 pm

I had a long awful dream last night. (I could tell it was long because I'd wake up out of it, go back to sleep and get right back into the same dream.) I dreamt that AS suddenly revealed/remembered/discovered that she had more student loans from her first college she went to. $400,000 more, in fact.

It was the worst dream, and it just went on and on. I kept going over calculations in my head and trying to figure out how we were going to be able to do any of the other things we wanted. I also kept questioning whether it was a mistake, but the answer always came back that it was real.

I was SO relieved to wake up for good, and realize it was not only not true, but also impossible for one college to cost that much for 2 years of attendance in the 1990s! :P

***

I saw MonkeyMama's update and realized I hadn't written about our CC rewards schemes in a while.

I'm annoyed with my cards too. The Amex that I'm supposed to get $100 reward on, plus 6% on groceries, we've been using for almost a month, and there's still only one transaction showing up online! Do you think I should call?

The Mastercard that we'll get $150 reward from has posted all of our transactions, but the reward hasn't come through. At least I feel like their online account site is functional!

We've gotten $1540 from Chase Sapphire so far and AS just finished spending her $3000, so we'll get another $530 once the billing cycle ends! I wrote back to them that I was slightly mollified and would only close 2 of the 3 Chase cards I have. I kept the one I wanted to keep anyway! Big Grin

So now I have open a Chase Visa, an Amex and a Discover card, all joint w/NT. I also have a Citi Mastercard joint w/AS. AS has her Chase Sapphire that she'll close as soon as she gets the rewards check. Makes me realize I should add AS to another card, since the Mastercard doesn't have a very high limit! I should also close another card or two, but I'm waiting to see if the Amex grocery rewards are worth the annoying delay on their website. Chase and Discover have about the same rewards; Mastercard has only decent rewards after the bonus, so I'll probably close that one. Even more reason to get AS on another card, because once that and Chase Sapphire are gone she wouldn't have any!

***

Had an irritating session with Comcast yesterday. I'd recently downgraded and expected to save about $20, so when a bill came for $50 less I was pleased and surprised. Then I realized I'd manually paid at the beginning of the month forgetting I'd signed up for autopay with my credit card. The autopay had taken $62 in addition to my full $88 payment, so the $35 they were charging me would take this coming month's payment up to $97, almost $10 more than before I downgraded!

Since my condo assocation pays part of the cable bill, it was super confusing for the rep to go through all the transactions and try to figure out why I was getting charged more. But he told me the prorated bill I was supposed to get for the end of this month was about $71, so I said look, I've paid $62 already with my autopay, that means I should only owe $9. Can't you just make my account reflect that? So he said he would; I just have to check today and make sure it's reflected in my account.

He said my regular bill should be about $62 or $63, so that means we'll save about $25 compared with our old rate. Better than I hoped!

***

I keep forgetting to mention this, but AS was going to be on TV! Well, she probably still will, a bit, but today her best friend is getting ambushed by "What Not to Wear," a style makeover show. AS was supposed to go, but it would be an hour bus ride each way, and the filming was meant to end at 1:30, but her first real doctor's appointment starts at 2 today. So she backed out. They did a taped interview with her a couple weeks ago where she talked about how terrible her best friend dresses, so she'll probably still show up on the episode. I think it'll air this fall or winter; I'll be sure to let you all know!

AS has been hit with the morning sickness pretty hard. Today she couldn't come into daycare because they were cooking breakfast and the smells were too much. Then she spit up a bit (not much to vomit) in the gutter on the way to the bus stop. So she was extra glad she didn't have to go for 4 hours of preparation and filming!

***

Vacation is coming up and we couldn't be more pleased! AS obviously needs to get away from the daily grind, and NT has a cough/cold that's been dragging on for weeks, and I'm just really sick of work. My job had summer hours, but as a one-person department, I only got to take it once or twice, and I got attitude from the project managers even for that.

We fly to St. Louis next Wednesday night. We're staying Wednesday and Thursday night at a really nice hotel and will relax and maybe do a bit of sightseeing on Thursday. We really just flew down there so we could take a train trip to Chicago on Friday. We'll be in Chicago Friday, Saturday and Sunday, leaving Monday around noon on another train back to the Twin Cities.

Usually NT and I plan a ton of activities for our vacations, but this time we're really trying to resist, because we know we're all exhausted, and that AS especially needs a lot of downtime. We've even agreed to have a somewhat "unplugged" vacation and only check the internet if we need directions or other travel info. We'll bring lots of books and try to be as lazy as possible. (Of course we'll need to entertain AA, but she's not much bother at this age; she just likes you to be around while she runs around doing her own thing.)

***

Speaking of AA, I crossed a couple things off the wish list related to her. I ordered some toys that should be good for traveling, and I applied for a Pax World Balanced mutual fund for her! I opened it with $500, but I may add to it if I like it.

I wasn't sure the toys would get here in time, so I signed up for a one-month free trial of Amazon Prime, where you get free 2-day shipping on everything. I put a line item in my budget spreadsheet to cancel it a month from now so I don't get charged! I ordered a cute little critter with a variety of plastic buckles that she can practice opening and closing, and a puzzle where the pieces are attached to the board with ribbons so they won't get lost, and a magnetic tablet with a stylus so she can practice doodling without making a mess.

If today is slow at work, I'm going to look up clip art to print out and make flash cards with. I want to do a deck of various educational cards, laminate them and put them on a metal ring so AA has another fun thing to do on the trip. If I don't get a chance to finish, I may just bring a deck of playing cards, because a friend of ours said that kept his son occupied on trips when we was younger.

***

I think that's it! I'm still keeping up on my diet and exercise; I missed working out yesterday, but today was going to be a day off, so if I work out today it will balance out. I made an amazingly delicious corn soup with roasted corn-avocado guacamole last night; I'll post the recipe link if anyone is interested.

EDIT: Found the recipe link! I followed this to a T except I mashed the avocado instead of chopping because it was overripe. I'm sure it would be great chopped as well, but mashing worked great.
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Fresh-Corn-Soup...

Big fat debt payment!

August 16th, 2011 at 02:38 pm

Thanks to Chase Sapphire, I was able to put a nice chunk of change toward debt! My extra payment to NT's student loan hit, with $1270 going to principal. That makes our August debt progress to $2057, with just $18 to go on our goal. AS's student loan payments will easily take us over the top at the end of the month.

We're getting close to having education debt under $60,000! For some reason that's an exciting milestone for me. Less than $20,000 per person sounds less insane somehow.

I made another couple of wish-list purchases (the stuff we agreed we could buy before we start throwing NT's raise straight toward debt and savings). We ordered new padding and cover for this beloved but worn-out butterfly rocking chair, and I got a padded cover for my uncomfortable bike seat. Today I might cross another item off the wish list: adding $250 to the $250 I have sitting in the checking account for lil' AA, and finally opening that mutual fund in her name.

Savings good, weight bad, NT's first paycheck at new level

August 15th, 2011 at 02:31 am

I was fairly good at my diet and exercise plan this week, considering my knee is still pretty messed up. But at my weigh-in I had gained 3 lbs., back up to 149 (and back into "overweight" territory per Wii Fit). I missed one day of planned exercise and ate one off-plan meal that I hadn't scheduled. I think the real killer was that the cheat meal I did plan, I really overdid it--got to remember to be moderate even on my diet day off.

So, 10 lbs. to go again. Looks like I'm going to be on this plan a bit longer than I thought I would.

Anyway, on to savings: Our regular biweekly $25 deposit went in, bringing 2011 progress to $2783.06, and our total EF to $11,295.01. Slowly clawing our way back up after the big loss to redecorate NT's flat.

Now to the really good news: NT's first paycheck with raise hit our account on Saturday, and it was $265 more. I was hoping for $250 at best, so I'm happy! I forgot to mention in my last post that this officially knocks me out of my position as top breadwinner, by $1100 per year. I would love my job to give me a raise someday, but after 4+ years I don't really see it happening anytime soon. I did apply for another job, but I don't think they'll be able to match my current pay, so unless it sounds really exciting I don't know if I'd take it.

We talked over how to balance wanting to spend the raise with wanting to put it toward future goals, and AS came up with the idea of making a list of our wants. As we're writing them down, it really isn't that much; we should be able to knock them all out in a couple months of salary and be able to put the raise toward debt or savings soon.

We already ticked two off our list; one was a celebration dinner (we got delivery from one of our favorite gourmet pizza places) and the other was a new professional wardrobe for NT. He did really well with sales and got a bunch of good-quality clothes for just over $300.

NT's big news

August 11th, 2011 at 02:50 pm

Yesterday NT had his meeting with HR and supervisor to talk about the new role they want him to assume. We knew he would probably also get a firm salary offer, so he came in armed with some information about his current salary, ready to argue for higher if they offered him something that would actually be a downgrade from his current pay.

His official base salary was $41,200, but with all the overtime he works (which he'd no longer get paid for in the new position), he makes close to $45,000.

So he came home telling us of his meeting in a very offhand voice, throwing out some numbers that didn't quite make sense, and then handed us the offer letter.

$50,000! He didn't even have to bargain; they offered him effectively $5,000 more than he makes with overtime. Of course his rambling confusing account was purposeful so he could see our surprise when we looked at the letter.

So exciting; I was starting to think none of us would ever get a raise again, and then we get this big one! It's about $733 more per month gross; I'm hoping we'll net about $500 of that. I'm so proud of him for sticking with this job; it did look like a dead end for a while there, just getting overworked with no gain for him, but the wait was well worth it. When the second baby has to go into daycare, this will go a long way!

That wouldn't be until probably July or August of next year, so the next 11 months will probably be made up of me trying to put all the money toward debt repayment and savings, while NT advocates for using it for other things. But we're both aware of that, and I'm sure we can find a middle ground! Big Grin

Some healthy progress; quick updates

August 10th, 2011 at 02:23 am

August is 1/3 over? You've got to be kidding me. It's felt like a whirlwind for the past few days.

One good piece of news: I weighed in Monday night (couldn't Sunday night because I was out of town) and had lost 4 lbs.! I'm cautiously optimistic about this number; I'd just gotten back from my business trip and hadn't eaten dinner yet, so I feel the number is a bit skewed. But if I'm good this week, maybe I can at least hold onto that loss.

The loss brings me to 146 lbs., and according to my Wii Fit, that takes me out of "Overweight" BMI and into "Normal"! That's even more motivation to try and keep going.

My fitness goal for tonight is just 20 minutes of yoga, so I'll try to fit that in. I'm so exhausted, though. Even though it was my turn to go to trivia, I let NT and AS go because I just feel like sitting quietly.

So, let's see if I can rush through my updates:

Looks like NT is finally getting his promotion and raise! He'll get the official job description and hopefully salary offer tomorrow. I spent some time figuring out what he actually made this year, because with the promotion he'll no longer be eligible for overtime pay, and we want to make sure he's not actually getting a pay cut! His base salary is $41,200, and we figured out he made nearly $45,000 over the past 12 months. That will be good info for him to take to the meeting tomorrow.

If NT gets a raise, I've promised he can get a few nice work outfits to upgrade his image a bit. Smile

Saturday's dinner party went smashingly. Our vegan chef was a great guy, and we had a really fun crowd of people that got along well. Among them was kashi and her husband! She's awesome, of course. Smile Fun to meet my first SA blogger, even if she's a latent one. Smile I'll try to post some photos of the food.

Sunday was not so fun. We slept in and didn't have much time to hang out before I had to leave for my Memphis business trip. AS was hungry and out of sorts and there was a minor squabble between me and NT over money. But I got to the airport in plenty of time and had a pretty good time with my co-worker; we went to a restaurant and listened to a blues-rock band while we ate, then got a nice early night at the hotel. I spoke with NT and AS that night and felt much better.

Monday was an all-day meeting with my company's biggest client, a huge company. I think I comported myself well, asked smart questions etc. I'm not so great at the socializing during breaks, but it's not like I'm an account manager or anything. I learned a lot and have some hopes that my co-worker will be able to become an equal partner on my biggest (and least desirable) role at work, taking some of the pressure off me. (Once it became clear I wasn't going to get a raise, promotion or office with the extra responsibility, I lost any interest in taking ownership of this onerous task.)

Monday night I got home about 9:30 pm, had my successful weigh-in and a late dinner. Now I'm back on my diet program and hopefully my exercising too (the main reason I want to work out today is to not break my chain of working out every day it's been scheduled, even if I don't do exactly what's on the calendar).

AS's pregnancy seems to be going along. She's having normal symptoms such as food aversions, food cravings, nausea, irritability and tiredness. Today she had some cramps, but that's not an indicator either way; I had terrible cramps in my first trimester and had a perfectly healthy pregnancy. These early weeks I just feel like we're in a holding pattern; I don't want to do too much planning until she sees the OB. Hearing the heartbeat will go a long way toward allaying my nervousness. But I feel pretty optimistic. Just waiting to really unleash my excitement and adoration. But we already have a nickname for the embryo: Bunny.

I did draw up a rough calculation of what our budget might look like with $1000 more in child care, assuming a certain amount for NT's raise and a few other likely adjustments. It doesn't look too bad; we'd either have to cut down on spending money or extra debt repayment (or some from each). I figure whichever we cut back, we'll still probably bring in extra money here and there, and we could put it toward whichever budget item is lacking.

I was worried about the S&P downgrade affecting our mortgage when it readjusts in November, but the Fed has promised to keep interest rates low, so hopefully that will translate to a low rate on our ARM.

We have about $700 in extra money so far this month, and we may get more if NT gets OT pay next week, and if my Chase Sapphire rewards come. (That reminds me, I've got to get AS to get her spending up to $3000 before the 3-month period ends this month, or else we'll lose that $500. It would be a shame since she's got less than $500 to go! I think she still has to buy plane tickets for her business trip coming up, so that will push her over the edge if she does it in time. I can't remember when we got the cards but I believe it was mid-May.)

Anyway, much of this extra money will probably get put aside for NT's work wardrobe, AS's maternity wardrobe, and possibly so I can start a food website as I've been talking about for months. Oh, and maybe we'll set some money aside for baby-related purchases, though I'm hopeful we can get lots of hand-me-downs like we did with AA!

OK, I gotta go do yoga before I lose all motivation!

Unexpected Chase turnaround!

August 5th, 2011 at 06:03 pm

Ha! Miracles do happen.

As soon as I'd redeemed my 50,000 points and paid off all my Chase cards, I sent them this message:

"To Chase Customer Service,

"As my account no doubt reflects, I had an incident last month where one customer service representative promised me something (see message below), but when I tried to get what I was promised, subsequent customer service agents refused to honor this promise.

"As a result, the trust of my long relationship with Chase has been broken. I no longer feel I can do business with you.

"Please cancel all three of my accounts immediately.

"Ceejay74"

***

That was yesterday. I got a message they'd forwarded my message to the appropriate department and would get back to me soon.

Today, got this message:

"Dear Ceejay74,

"Let me begin by apologizing for any error that may have occurred.

"I am pleased to confirm the promised 50,000 additional rewards have been added to the account and are avaialble for immediate redemption.

"If you are still wanting to close your accounts please letus know.

"If you have any further questions, please reply using the Secure Message Center.

"Thank you,

"CM
E-mail Customer Service Representative"

***

Checked my account and, what do you know? The extra 50,000 points were in there!

Now I'm a bit tempted to at least keep my Chase Freedom card, which gets good rewards regularly. I do have a Discover card that gets the same type of rewards, so I could close Chase if I was still mad. But I gotta say, $500 goes a long way toward smoothing my ruffled feathers!

I'll redeem the points first and decide later. Big Grin

Day nine of diet & exercise regimen

August 3rd, 2011 at 03:49 am

Despite my knee still feeling messed up, I did pretty well getting back into diet and exercise after the trip. Last night I did 45 min. of relaxing yoga as my workout, feeling it would be easier on my knee than any aerobic exercise. I didn't break a sweat, but today I did feel some soreness in my muscles, so I think I got an OK workout.

Tonight I did 15 min. of free weights and 12 min. stretching. Again, not as much of a workout as I had on my goals list, but I feel good doing something instead of completely cutting out exercise until my knee heals up.

Foodwise I've been really good. Yesterday I was going to go out and get tabouli for lunch, but there was a huge storm with torrential downpour. I went downstairs to the convenience store and got raisins, cashews, almonds, peanuts and a banana. Not exciting, but got me through. For dinner we had salad, chickpeas in marinara sauce and sauteed greens (everyone else had pasta with their chickpeas marinara).

Today had the usual oatmeal with almond milk for breakfast, and leftover chickpeas marinara and salad. (I forgot dressing so I ate bits of the salad on the same fork as the chickpeas, which ended up being a really delicious combination!)

Dinner tonight I tried some new recipes for a baked Asian-flavored tofu and Chinese eggplant in garlic sauce, with brown rice. They were awesome, especially the eggplant. (Surprising since none of us are crazy about that veggie.)

I've started to think that AS's first-trimester food issues are going to be the exact opposite of mine. She can no longer stand creamy, melty things or sweet foods, whereas she loves garlic, onion and veggies. I was the opposite; couldn't stand Italian or Asian food or anything that smelled spicy or garlicky, but could eat tofu cream cheese in practically every meal. And Honey Nut Cheerios.

Poor NT now has two people with very strict and/or specific food needs, so he's said we should be in charge of the menu for the foreseeable future. Easier than trying to find meals that somehow satisfy both of us! LOL.

August debt repayment progress; EF savings goal setback

August 2nd, 2011 at 06:32 pm

All our mortgage payments hit:
US: $417 to principal
UK1: $260
UK2: $54
UK3: $56

All told, $787 down, $1288 to go on the August debt goal.

As for EF savings, we got a 750-pounds-plus-VAT estimate on the redecorating that needs to happen on our UK flat before they can find new renters. NT reckons VAT might be 17.5%, bringing our little paint job to 881.25 pounds. We have 319.45 in the UK checking account that I would have put into EF savings but must now go into this. We get 573.74 in rental income from our current renters next month, but we need 254.29 for next month's mortgage payments, meaning we're 245.35 short ... and that's assuming the VAT is still comparable to what it was when NT lived in England years ago.

Long story short, I have to transfer 300 pounds (US$600 per the exchange ratio I use for my calculations) from the EF into checking to make sure we can cover both September mortgage and redecoration charges. We earned a small droplet of interest (a few pence), but we're still losing $599.72 of our EF. That takes our 2011 progress backward to $2758.06, and our total EF to $11,270.01. Ouch. That $7000 goal is looking more and more unrealistic, unless I slow debt repayments (which I really don't want to do). Hopefully the redecoration plus VAT won't come to 881.25 and we'll be able to put a bit of this back into the EF.

Between this and the recent medical/vet bills, it's been a spendy couple months. Makes all the difference to have this money set aside, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt at all to see the money going out.

August debt repayment goal

August 2nd, 2011 at 02:37 pm

We'll be able to put a goodly amount toward extra debt repay this month, so I'm setting my goal at $2075. I haven't checked our mortgage accounts yet, but I'm sure those payments have hit so I should have another entry soon.

One thing I was contemplating is paying off AS's super low interest, low balance student loan early, to free up cash flow for the baby-to-be. Then I realized that just paying the minimum, that loan will be paid off in 10 months anyway! So I think I'll keep paying the minimum for now.

Couple of quick goal-progress updates, then on to the big news!

August 1st, 2011 at 07:23 pm

I deliberately gave myself three days off from exercising (Fri.-Sun.) and two diet cheat days (Sat.-Sun.) instead of one. My cheats over the two days included toast, hash browns, battered fried veggies, a Reese's peanut butter cup, sweet tea, Honey Nut Cheerios, sweetener in my oatmeal, tortilla chips, pita bread, a peanut butter-cornflake cookie, black bean burger that probably contained wheat, a wheat bun, and french fries. Whew! Despite all that and three days without exercise, I lost 3 lbs. at my weigh-in last night, so I'm back down to 150 lbs. Kind of winging it with food today but I'm sticking to my dietary rules, because I want the progress to keep on coming! I somehow messed up my knee on the trip and am having another unrelated health complaint, so I don't know if I'll be able to do a regular workout tonight, but I may look on Netflix and try to find a basic yoga routine or something lower-impact.

On the charitable donations front, we've added $60 here and there and are up to $970 of contributions for 2011.

The debt repayment is going strong with $13,969 paid down in 2011. I need to figure out my August goal and get that up sometime today or tomorrow.

***

OK, that's all out of the way. Now for the big news. (Real-life friends who may be reading this, it's way off the record!) While NT, lil' AA and I were in Ohio for the reunion, AS called with some very interesting news.

Some interesting, fabulous, hopefully family-expanding news.

She took a home pregnancy test and it came back positive!!!

Well of course it's VERY early in the game, too early to count on anything, but we're all just over the moon. We don't want to blab to a bunch of friends like we did with my pregnancy, because then we were worried about having to break it to everyone if something went wrong. But I got permission from AS to blog about it. I have to get it out of my system somewhere!

She's in contact with her doctors (OB and heart doctor) and we'll know more in a few weeks, when she can go in for an appointment. The nurse's rough estimate over the phone was due date of April 6. That may change, but I like that date because it's two years, one month and one day after AA's birth!

After much celebrating, NT said that I was probably looking forward to all the financial calculations and forecasts that I'll now need to do in preparation for having a second kid. Aw, he knows me so well! Smile

Anyway, that combined with my health complaints today equal me getting virtually nothing done at work. I know I'll pay tomorrow, but I can't help it!