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Archive for August, 2010

Progress on August debt-repayment goal, but may be too little too late!

August 28th, 2010 at 04:13 pm

Oh noes! I think I got my credit card bill too late to pay it in the month of August. This may be the first month that I don't reach my debt-repayment goal since I started this journey.

I blame my job; it's so hectic and overwhelming that I haven't been able to sit down with my payment schedule and really see that I'd need to make an extra payment early in order to meet my goal. I mean, little AA does take some time and energy, but she's such an easy baby that I don't think I'd be having any trouble if my job were normal again. She's in bed by 9:30 and sleeps through the night, but I'm equally exhausted and seldom get anything done, and then at work I don't even get breaks of more than 5 minutes to heat up some food or vent my frustration on Facebook! LOL. I even proofread while I'm pumping, and I've had to start supplementing with formula because I seldom get to pump as frequently as I should, so my milk supply is decreasing.

Ugh. Whatever. Anyway, one of AS's student loan payments hit; $119 to principal, so that's $1872 down, $128 to go on the August goal. I may have one more student loan payment to record on Monday, but my CC payment will be going out Monday, so it won't hit until Tuesday or Wednesday. I checked to see if I could make some sort of instant payment, but I couldn't figure it out. Darn.

And the spending continues

August 28th, 2010 at 12:54 am

I feel like I'm in the same boat with a few of you who seem to be leaking more money than usual this summer. Smile

We had a party a couple weeks ago. It actually wasn't that expensive. We made our own food (tons of it) and bought some wine and beer, but other people brought wine and beer too, as we knew they would. We probably spent about $30 or $40 for alcohol and $20 or $30 for food ingredients (total guess).

We've also had a couple of babysitters this summer, at $40 a pop. I was just kind of cashflowing it in the budget, but we can't keep doing that, so the next one we're going to have to pay for with our spending money.

We rented a car and spent last weekend at some friends' vacation. With gas and insurance, less than $200.

Then AS needed money put aside for her dreadlock maintenance: $120. She only gets it about once a year, so it's not that big a deal. Besides, we're paying for it with freelance income of hers, which she typically just donates to the common good. She deserves to use some of it for herself once in a while. Smile I also bought 3 dresses for her with part of the money, because I knew she needed dresses and would never get around to getting them for herself: about $80 total.

NT also wanted us to donate to Pakistan flood relief, so we sent $100 to UNICEF.

On the other side of the equation, I have a furlough day coming up, but NT's job has started paying OT because they can't afford to give him comp time anymore (plus I think it's illegal for an hourly employee...though he didn't mind getting time off instead of money). And AS has been getting some freelance work as well. So we're doing OK on the income side despite my stupid job. (I'm kind of over my job right now, because since my boss left I have twice the work with absolutely no reward. Add in the furloughs, the fact I haven't had a raise in three years, and the ever-rising cost of my health insurance plans, and I'm really getting diminishing returns for harder and more intense work. Bleh.)

I think that's about it...we're pretty behind in our grocery budget (meaning I keep taking money from the next month's line item to pay for this month's) but I think that'll be pretty easy to rectify this winter. We've been buying tons of fresh greens and fruits and lots of ice cream; winter comfort-food meals are actually a lot cheaper than summery cooking for us. Smile

August 2010 net worth update

August 24th, 2010 at 02:26 am

NT's UK pensions:
#1: 12,663 pounds ($25,326)
#2: 14,721 pounds ($29,442)
#3: 3,709 pounds ($7,418)
NT's 401(k): $9,397
AS's 403(b): $3,300
AS's IRA: $1,682
AS's 401(k): $741
CJ's 401(k): $31,772
NT's flat: 130,000 pounds ($260,000)
CJ & AS's condo: $160,000
Baby/emergency fund (shared asset): $8,532
Total Assets: $537,610

Total Debt: $361,995

Current Estimated Net Worth: $175,615

July 2010 estimate: $173,902

Change in net worth: +$1,713

Summary: My 401(k) lost a few hundred bucks, but we paid off enough debt to still see a small gain in net worth. Nothing like when NT discovers forgotten pension plans, though! Smile

AS and I hit an exciting milestone: positive combined net worth. Our finances have been tied together since she was 18 and I was 23, so I kind of consider them to still be combined. Well, my net worth hit $24,612 and hers is negative $24,547, so together we're at positive $65! Woo hoo, we're not dragging NT's down anymore. It's all uphill from here, I hope!

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 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.

Good progress on August debt goal

August 23rd, 2010 at 03:56 am

I did manage to make an extra principal payment to my credit card: $925 to principal. So $1753 down, $247 to go on the August goal. It also brings my credit card balance (and thus our total credit-card debt) down to $3740! We seem to be on track to pay this off by the end of the year as planned.

It's already time to calculate net worth again, which I'll try to do tomorrow. This payment will give that a nice boost.

Work and social life are still crazy, so I've barely had time to do the bare minimum for both my financial planning and this blog. Hopefully things will calm down in the fall!

Prepaid plan 2010 costs update

August 20th, 2010 at 04:06 am

Time for an ever-exciting prepaid cost update! I just bought AS 1000 more minutes. Our spending so far:

CJ 1000 minutes late-March T-Mobile fillup: $107.78
NT 300 minutes late-March Net10 fillup: $32.82
NT 300 minutes late-May Net10 fillup: $32.82
NT 500 minutes + new phone late June: $21.56
AS 1000 minutes late-August fillup: $107.78
Total cost for the year: $302.76

This is the end of the fifth month of our cellphone "fiscal year," so our average monthly cost for this year is $60.55. Not too shabby so far!

RECAP: I switched to prepaid in late March 2009. 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 goal for this year is to get my average cost to $50 per month, but any average number below $85 will be a savings.

Progress on August debt-repayment goal

August 18th, 2010 at 11:51 pm

One of AS's student loan payments hit, with $79 going to principal. That's $828 down, $1172 to go.

I'm hoping I'm at a good place to put a large extra payment to my credit card debt soon, but I've been so busy at work -- and so drained once I get home -- that I haven't been able to pay much attention to my finances. NT got some overtime pay, so I think it'll be OK, but I'll have to sit down and really take a look at the next couple weeks.

Overall, I need to make sure I'm on track to pay off my last credit card by the end of the year. It's been a fun summer, and there's more spendy fun to come, but I can't lose sight of my big goals for the year!

August progress on debt plus pics (while they last)

August 6th, 2010 at 02:30 am

Wowee, it's never been this long past the first of the month before I was able to post our mortgage payments! Work is still crazy and I never seem to have the time or energy at home. I still read most people's entries but rarely comment, because I'm always trying to catch up on old ones.

Anyway, luckily my bills are all on autopilot. I even figured out a way to automate my checks to the daycare lady. So my mortgage payments hit, of course:
US: $383
UK#1: $256
UK#2: $54
UK#3: $56

So all told, $749 down, $1251 to go on the August debt goal.

I also put $100 into the medical fund (which is sort of like my emergency fund, except it's more likely to be spent someday) and saved some more UK money for the England trip (which is coming up -- just nine weeks away!)

I know it will probably disappear in a couple hours, but I'm posting some baby pics anyway. Maybe I'll try BA's technique if the old way doesn't work...

July result wrap-up, August debt-repayment goal

August 1st, 2010 at 09:41 pm

I surpassed my July debt repayment goal of $1100, putting $1,352 toward principal. I got our total debt down to $363,748.

For August, I'm going to go out on a limb and try to pay off $2,000 of debt. We'll pay nearly $1100 with just our minimum payments. I have what looks like a $1250 surplus in the August budget, so I'm going to try and put at least $900 of that toward my credit-card debt. It feels a little risky to say that, since we keep having unexpected expenses. But there's also a chance AS will get some freelance money in August, so on the other hand I might be able to pay even more than $2,000 this month.