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Archive for December, 2013

$20K Update - Christmas Money

December 31st, 2013 at 01:24 am

I got $50 for Christmas from my Grandmother-in-law so stuck that into savings. DH got a bunch of cash from several relatives, he is still deciding if that will go to savings or be fun money for him.

New Focus = Sept 2014 $1265/$1800

Current Balance $27,925.00
+$50.00 Christmas Money to Sept 2014 Savings
New Balance $27,975.00

ING $24,535.00
Home Improvements(cash)$440.00
HSBC $3000.00
Total = $27,975.00

No Spend Challenge went out the window

December 31st, 2013 at 01:06 am

Well I made it 5 days on my 11 day No Spend Challenge. DH was in MT visiting family for the holidays, he wasn't supposed to come home till 1/1, but he called on 12/27 and asked me to meet him halfway to have a fun, little spontaneous getaway. So I drove to MT on Saturday and we stayed 2 nights and went to dinner, went gambling, hung out at the pool, slept in, watched football etc. It was a very nice, relaxing weekend away. So of course we had costs for gas, hotel, food and gambling. But somethings are more important then money. Smile We are both back home now and getting revved up for a wonderful 2014!

Checking in on Eleven Day No Spend Challenge

December 26th, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Today is day 4 of my Eleven Day No Spend Challenge. I haven't spent a penny! YEAH! I will have to fill gas before the eleven days are up, I have about 1/4 of a tank left and 7 days to go. Otherwise doing great, not eating out and been entertaining myself at home with internet, cleaning the house and a puzzle!

Reduce - Reuse - Recycle

December 26th, 2013 at 07:41 pm

I love finding new, useful ways to use something that would have otherwise been thrown away. For any of you that go to CVS and scan your card at their coupon machine, you know that you may get many coupons that you do not need/want. Then you have all of these little pieces of paper that you don't need, and no one else can use the coupons because they have to be used with your CVS card. I hate throwing them away, such a waste of paper.

For the past few months I have been keeping those coupons, waiting till I have a little stack of 10 or so (this usually only takes one trip to CVS to get this many) I then put them all upside down (there is nothing printed on the backs of the coupons) and I staple them all together, making a nice little notepad! I keep the little stacks on my desk and use them when I need to make a note or need scratch paper. They are very nice and conveniant because when I no longer need the top sheet, I can just rip it off since they are stapled together. I also let me coworkers know if they need any scratch paper I have lots.

**If anyone from CVS should ever read my blog** It would be awesome if you would let us view on the screen what coupons are available that day, and then we could just print out the ones we want. Save the Earth some trees and garbage, and save you some Dollars in the process!! Win for everyone! Smile

Working on tracking our "Problem" areas for 2014

December 26th, 2013 at 03:38 pm

DH and I definitely have 2 problem areas when it comes to spending. Eating out and gambling.

The eating out is mostly due to laziness. Neither one of us is a huge fan of cooking, DH cooks waaaaay more then I do. Eating out is easy, yummy, and a nice treat for us to do together...however in the last few years it has gone from a treat to a standard and we often eat out 3-4 times a week. And these are not McDonalds tabs, we usually go to sit down resterants and have beer with dinner, so the bill is normally around $25 - $35. We almost always have leftovers, which we ALWAYS eat at home or for lunch at work, so we aren't wasting that, but $100+ a week on eating out is crazyness...and bad for my waistline as well.

The gambling is our favorite hobby together. We like to go to the casino locally (about 45 min away), go on mini trip to other casinos in ND, MN and SD, and also go to Vegas once a year. We also play blackjack and bingo at the bar occasionally. We don't have kids or any debt other then the mortgage, so we can go whenever we want and don't have to worry about time/money that should be spent on other things. This is our leisure activity of choice, so I don't feel bad about spending money (and sometimes winning!) on gambling, but I also expect us to have and keep some limitations on it.

So I made some simple Excel sheets to help us get back on track with these 2 areas. I titled one Eating Out Spending/January 2014 (this one we will need to track monthly) and the other Gambling Spending 2014 (this one I should be able to track yearly). I set up columns for the date, the item (where we ate or where/what we gambled on), the amount, and a running total column. I already discussed this with DH and he is on board to track these items as well, so I will put the sheets on the fridge when I get home and I think this will really help us with our problem areas as we can see the exact amounts we are really spending.

$20K Update

December 24th, 2013 at 03:37 pm

New Focus = Sept 2014 $1215/$1800

Current Balance $28,550.00
+$100.00 to Retirement Hold Account
-$400.00 DH Continuing Education Classes
-$300.00 Christmas Shopping
-$28.00 to ROTH IRA
+$3.00 Even Out Amount
New Balance $27,925.00

ING $24,485.00
Home Improvements(cash)$440.00
HSBC $3000.00
Total = $27,925.00

I was sad to take this money out, but we just can't cover it out of checking right now with all the overspending we have been doing. I didn't have seperate savings accounts for these 2 items (Continuing Ed and Christmas Shopping) because normally we would be able to absorb those costs in the checking account, so I ended up taking it out of the Home Improvements Fund. We have talked a lot about how we need to reign this in for the new year and I excited about going back up in savings again!

Working on 2014 Goals

December 23rd, 2013 at 02:23 am

I have been working on my 2014 goals. Here is what I have so far:

2014 Goals

-Continue to live debt free other then mortgage
-Get mortgage from $98,300 to under $80,000

-Sept 2014 $1800 (add $585)
-Short Term EF $1000 (add $800)
-Long Term EF $2000 (add $850)
-Home Maintenance $7000 (add $2335)
-Vegas $3000 (Complete)
-New Car $10,000 (Complete)
-Anniversary Cruise $4000 (add $1000)
-Escrow $4650 (add $4200)
-Cushion $3600 (add $500)
-HSA $12,000 (add $3000)
-Any additional after goals are met will go to long term EF
-Total regular savings at the end of the year over $25K

-Continue to contribute 6% to 401K
-Continue to contribute $100 per paycheck to ROTH IRA
-Review ING ROTH IRA Investments and reallocate so a larger portion is being invested

-Lose 30 more lbs (Currently down 10)
-Work on being a better home owner (repairs, lawncare, gardening etc)
-Do quarterly review of progress on 2014 goals
-Live a positive life
-Continue working on decluttering house
-Track casino and eating out money monthly
-Be the best wife I can be

52 Week Dollar Challenge

December 22nd, 2013 at 06:10 pm

I have seen many on the blogs and on FB talking about the 52 Week Dollar Challenge. If you have never heard of it, it is a pretty simple concept to help you save a little money at a time and have a nice chunk at the end. Every week you save the amount of that week in dollars. So week 1 you save $1, week 2 you add $2, and continue on till week 52, you add $52. If you complete each week all year, you will have $1378 at the end of the year. I would like to try this with DH, and then use the funds at the end of the year to make a large principle payment at the beginning of 2015.
I love little games/strategies to help save money!!

Eleven Day No Spend Challenge

December 22nd, 2013 at 06:02 pm

DH is gone for eleven days, he went to visit his family for the holidays (we already did our Christmas with my family). I would have liked to go with him, but he has the time off since he is a teacher and I have to work so was not able to join him.
I went to the grocery store this morning and got some essentials (milk, cottage cheese, yogurt and cereal) and am going to try to spend $0 while he is gone. The only exceptions are if I need to fill gas (I might be able to make it the 11 days) or I have a few friends in town for the holidays that I rarely get to see, so may go to dinner or drinks with them. But other then that there should be no reason to spend any money while DH is gone. Have plenty of food in the house, and since I stockpile most household items I won't need anything that can't wait till he returns. Will be a nice change after all this Christmas spending!

Mortgage Deposit - Coin

December 22nd, 2013 at 03:27 pm

Counted my change today and added it to the mortgage checking account. Then paid the mortgage for January!

$10.00 Balance
+$50.00 Change
=$60.00 New Balance

$60.00 Balance
-$55.00 January 2014 Mortgage Principle
=$5.00 New Balance

January 2014 Mortgage Payment

December 22nd, 2013 at 03:08 pm

January 2014 Mortgage Payment

Balance $98,300.00
+$225.27 Interest
-$1218.88 Regular Payment
-$306.39 Principle Payment
-$55.00 Mortgage Checking Principle Payment
New Balance $96,945.00

Escrow Savings Account

$20K Update

December 16th, 2013 at 03:05 pm

YEAH! Met the Anniversary Cruise Goal for the year!!

New Focus = Sept 2014 $1215/$1800

Current Balance $28,450.00
+$100.00 to Anniversary Cruise
New Balance $28,550.00

ING $25,110.00
Home Improvements(cash)$440.00
HSBC $3000.00
Total = $28,550.00

Killing it on my $10 off $10 purchase coupons!

December 14th, 2013 at 05:13 pm

I got 3 separate coupons for $10 off a $10 purchase, one for Kohls, one for Aeropostale, and one for Herbergers! Between Christmas sales and the $10 coupon I killed it!

My total spent out of pocket was $12.72, and I got $106.50 worth of merchandise!!

1) Aeropostale

Regular Price $24.50
One day only sale price = $12.00!
-$10.00 Coupon
Final Price = $2.00!!

2) Kohls (Christmas presents for my brand new niece!)

"Sweetest of them All" Bodysuit
Regular Price $12.00
-$6.01 Sale Price (50% off)
-$5.00 Coupon
Final Price = .99!!

Baby Girl Jeans
Regular Price $12.00
-$6.01 Sale Price (50% off)
-$5.00 Coupon
Final Price = .99!!

White Flower Dress
Regular Price $30.00
-$27.00 Clearance (90% off)
Final Price = $3.00

Got $54.00 worth of clothes at Kohls for only $4.98!! Saved $49.02!!


Relativity Lacy Teal Tank
Regular Price $28.00
-$7.01 Marked Down Price
-$5.25 Additional 25% off
-$10.00 Coupon
Final Price = $5.74!!

$20K Update

December 4th, 2013 at 07:35 pm

New Focus = Sept 2014 $1215/$1800

Current Balance $28,360.00
-$112.00 to ROTH IRA
+$2.00 Even Out Amount
+$100.00 to Retirement Hold Account
+$100.00 to Sept 2014
New Balance $28,450.00

ING $25,110.00
Home Improvements(cash)$440.00
HSBC $2900.00
Total = $28,450.00

December 2013 Savings Update

December 1st, 2013 at 10:31 pm

December 2013 Savings Update

Regular Savings:
Home Maintenance ING $5365
Cushion $3090
HSA $10,580
New Patio Door (cash) $440
Escrow $2470
September 2014 $1115
Short Term Emergency Fund $200
Long Term Emergency Fund $1150 - Complete
New Car $10,250 - Complete
Vacation $3115 - Complete
Anniversary Cruise $2900
Total Regular Savings = $40,675.00

Retirement Savings:
Retirement Hold Account $1350
Roth IRA $8205
Rollover IRA $815
401K $30,200
403B $23,900 (est)
Total Retirement Savings = $64,470.00

Total Savings $105,145.00

Up $1385 from last month!

Regular savings hit $40K! Continuing to move up the ladder. I need to get my focus back on specific goals. Seeing goals met for different accounts really helps my motivation, so need to stop chucking random amounts to random accounts and focus on one goal at a time.

$20K Update - ING Interest

December 1st, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Usually on the first of the month I even out my savings accounts with a few dollars and cents to each account to get them to the next even $5 mark, this month my New Car Account was close to the next $1000 mark, so I put in an even out amount of $149.65 to get it to a nice even $14,000 (this includes $3750.00 that I am holding making interest on, so that is not actually included in our savings total).

Current Balance $28,210.00
+$10.00 Added cash to Home Improvements Jar
+$18.35 ING Interest
+$149.65 Even Out Amount
-$28.00 to ROTH IRA
New Balance $28,360.00

ING $25,020.00
Home Improvements(cash)$440.00
HSBC $2900.00
Total = $28,360.00