Friday, October 14, 2016

October 14, 2016

Payday today.

We are down from $38,509.30 as of today in our debt snowball to $37,949.35. We started this journey with $50,530.01.

The citi card is down now to $1,565.22.

Our plan is to have the citi card paid off by 11/25/26 if all goes according to plan.

Bry got a raise and once I know what that new check will look like each month I'll be able to figure out if the citi being paid off by 11/25 is a for sure or not.

I can't wait to have the citi card paid! Then comes my van!

~Have a blessed evening~

Friday, September 16, 2016

Pay Day 9/16/16

Today is Payday...

We are down from $39,367.30 to $38,509.30 as of today in our debt snowball. We started this journey with $50,530.01.

The citi balance is down to $1,898.28 now, yay! I will be so glad to see this hit zero! I can't wait.
I had misplaced  my citi card somewhere in the house (I hadn't cut this up as of yet unless I did and maybe forgot). It didn't matter until I tried logging into my account and couldn't get it so then I had to call them and explain that I lost my card. They sent a replacement which I needed to use to set up the online account again. Getting another credit card was a weird feeling.  We've got a stack of credit cards we are going to use to make some sort of decorative art project with, this one will go into that heap soon.

This week we had some extra from the grocery budget so I was able to use $50 that was left over toward the Citi card this paycheck, making the payment to Citi $500.

Last night Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze did a live stream from Texas on You Tube. I was able to "watch" which means listen while I was at work. Best part was my Dad actually watched and got to see Dave Speak. Hopefully planting tiny seeds of change for him and my Mom.

Citi had sent me some balance transfer checks for a zero interest rate. But in the past transferring one debt to a zero interest card didn't do anything except give us more credit cards to spend money on, and then allowed us to charge up the freed up balances on the cards we had been paying down (dumb I know). If we transfer over the AMEX it would save us $137 or so in interest per month but then we lose the excitement of having a debt wiped completely from our Snowball (as the AMEX balance is up about $15,000 and that citi card available credit is not that high).

We are canceling the Capital one card. Just finally got around to updating the payment info with the gym to a debit card we had created with a new account just for that purpose and for any Xbox live purchases we make. Some places I just don't want to have our "main" debit card.

Found some great recipes to make that are cheap and can be made ahead. I doubled or tripled them so that it would make for easy easy dinners. This Lo Mein recipe was a hit with the kids (sans carrots and peppers). And this one is like a chicken rice bowl with cilantro lime rice (two of my favorite things), again Sans peppers.
One of our other go to recipes these days is Italian hot dogs, which is basically grilled hot dogs with Potatos and peppers over top of them. You can do the same with sausage as well.

~Have a blessed evening~

Monday, September 5, 2016

Payday September 2, 2016

Today is Payday...

We are down from $40,562.41 to $39,367.30 as of 9/2/16 in our debt snowball. We started this journey with $50,530.01; so that's $11,162.71 paid off since we started in May 2016.

The citi balance is down to $2,398.28 now, which is super exciting to see. I really can't wait until we pay off the family van! I think my parents may be inspired by that too (as my Dad co-signed for us on it) - Dave Ramsey has a lot to say on co-signers and not doing so which we know now of course, but didn't think about that. But I think once my Dad sees that paid in full.. perhaps he might get bitten by the Dave Ramsey bug too. Here's hoping!

The process is going a bit slower than it could be as we want to save up for birthdays and Christmas. But once that is done, our momentum should increase I believe. January has my car registration so we will make sure we have that set aside in advance. And then also next year Summer, our 12 year old, wants to get Invisalign treatments, we do have a flex card (which is our flexible savings account that comes out of Bry's check pre-tax) but his employer only allows us to put $2,500 per calendar year in that, and this year I sort of burned through a bit of it because of my Emergency room visit and the related co-pays for that. So hopefully for Summer's treatment we can use $500 from our Flex that restarts in January 2017, and then cash flow the other $500 on that. She's got a baby tooth not yet in so her treatment has to wait until that comes in anyway, so we have some time to save up. Hopefully some tax refund money can contribute to this.. but I will make about $20,000 working part time this year and that may or may not effect us tax wise this year. Praying that we won't owe anything and if we break even that will be a blessing.

The family and I like to go walk around IKEA and the other day we saw a couch we would love to put in the family loft / gaming area, the Ektorp sectional (washable cover). But it's $999 so that's not in the budget right now. So we will keep the futon with the washable cover up there for now and maybe start a small couch fund down the line.. but it's not an emergency so it's okay for now. Not a need but it's a want. There is some stuff Bry and I would like to do to our room as well. I think as parents we always tend to put our room last on the design spectrum. We've had our same bedroom set for over 13 years now. But it's still kicking so no reason to replace it. I was thinking maybe of doing some painting though and giving it a bit of a make over or something just to make it feel new. We use chairs as side tables in our bedroom... I've seen it in design photos and it's not that it looks bad.... but I would eventually like something different, again not an emergency and just a want not a need, so I'm good with waiting. We could actually probably cut the backs off the chairs and then they would be true tables then, but someday we may need the extra seating haha, so I don't want to do that.

Well that's all for now.
Have a blessed evening.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Cutting Spending

Some of the ways we have been cutting spending money...

  • Not getting fast food very often unless there is money for it in the family spending money. 
  • Not getting Starbucks very often unless it's in the family spending money. 
  • Having at home Movie night (renting a movie from Amazon for $5 or from on DVD from Redbox $1.99). We do this with candy and popcorn (we have an air popper which makes some great popcorn too) and sodas at home. 
  • Instead of going to ice cream places.... taking the kids to pick out half gallons of ice cream which allows us to have ice cream many more times than just the one time at the ice cream place. Getting sundae fixins' to make sundaes at home too. 
  • For going to movies out... $5 movies... and not getting any drinks or snacks while there. A small popcorn cost more than the movie admission... no thank you movie theater. 
  • I got a library card for myself and have been using the overdrive app to borrow E-books on my kindle from the library. Reading a lot keeps me busy and keeps me from shopping too. 
  • Not buying bulk sizes just because we have a SAMs membership, instead buying what we need for that two week period. 
  • Finding things we can do that don't cost money... like walking around IKEA... I could walk around there a lot and am not tempted to buy anything... and there is always a few dollars in our pocket in case one of the kids or Bry wants a vanilla cone haha. 
  • Bowling... an affordable option for family fun. We haven't done this yet but it's in our plans. 
  • Think ahead... it's too late this year but for next year we want to make sure that in January we begin to put money aside for birthdays and holidays for the up coming year. And we want to set up a sinking fund category as Dave calls it, for the camping vacations we want to take.. tent camping... nothing fancy but we feel this would be a great thing to do with the kids and the dogs while being cost effective and budget friendly. 
  • For grocery shopping... keeping up with detailed menu planning and using a pen and pad to keep track of what we are spending as we shop to keep in budget. If you see a gal using a notebook to add up prices... yeah that's me haha. Please say "hi". 
  • Keep up with unschooling the kids... every once in a while I'm tempted to buy some fancy item for homeschooling... Yesterday I wrote out a list of what Skylar is doing for her 9th grade year using educational speak for the things she does in daily life. Let me say that kid covers a lot of college level stuff and beyond. So that was good. So just to keep on top of that list to help me avoid needless spending on supplies. 
  • Remember to ask myself if things are needs or wants before making a purchase. Old Melissa would have purchased all the camping stuff we want on a credit card and worried about it later. There is such power in waiting and planning and saving. 
  • Staying in God's word daily. I do some verse mapping each morning on the daily verse that the You version bible app shares each day. Praying daily that God will keep me steadfast in our budget and avoid the temptation to spend. And then I'm doing the 17:18 bible journaling, right now doing the book of John... So marinating a lot on God's word. 
  • Focusing on being content with what we have in the moment not what we wish we had. 
~Many blessings to you and yours~ 

Friday, August 19, 2016

August 19, 2016

Today is Payday... so we have made some payments today of course.

We paid down more of the citi card, $651 toward that bringing that balance down to $2,687.20.
We also paid some of the PSECU but that's not due until the 25th so I wait to update the balance after the payment is credited on that account, just because of the interest.

Bringing our total debt balance to $40,562.41 as of today.

Bry and I had sent my parents FPU for home study. In the mail yesterday I received a box, and when I opened it it contained the unopened FPU that I had sent them. They never opened it.
Bry and I decided to keep it and popped in the first DVD. What a great speaker Dave is... and he is so funny. I listed to his Podcast every day but seeing him and his facial expressions as he acts things out... well it's just great. So their loss is our gain in this instance for sure.
We watched two lessons last night. The first being Super Savers and the second (we accidentally skipped ahead to lesson 3 being Cash flow planning. So we are going back to watch lesson 2 the next time Bry is off.
Sparked lots of laughs and more importantly lots of thoughtful discussion on our debt and our dreams.

So even though I had felt prior that if someone read the books maybe they didn't need FPU. FPU is definitely well worth the expense just as it's so motivating!
I signed up for the online tools that comes with the membership, very cool!

~Have a blessed day~