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Archive for December, 2006

Christmas Shopping and 2006 Wrapup

December 22nd, 2006 at 03:37 pm

I finally tallied up my total spending on Christmas this year... it came out to be about $1,000 - not bad considering we have a fairly large family and this does include buying for co-workers, etc. We spent about $225 of that amount just for our kids (Santa gifts and everything) so I don't think we did too bad at all.

I found out that DH's parents got him an iPod for Christmas... he'll be so excited as that was exactly what he wanted. His mom was hesitant in getting it for him but I talked her into it. Smile I asked for a digital camera (ours is about 8 years old and doesn't hold a charge anymore) from my parents but I doubt that I'll get one. They don't normally buy me what I want each year for some reason. I never expect too much from my side of the family but that's okay. I was able to send my sister $100 cash to help buy diapers/formula, etc. She has 2 kids 10months apart and the oldest is just one year old! I know money is very tight for them. She was very grateful. Of course, I still bought them gifts for Christmas morning. I like being able to send them some cash when I can as I feel fortunate to have a good job and so forth - their finances are horrible and I wish I could set them straight but they only let me in so far concerning all that. So, giving my sis a few dollars here and there is what I consider my "charity" giving throughout the year... that's why I don't donate to real charities much. If anything, it's my way of giving to my niece and nephew too.

DH and I have so much to be thankful for this year. In 2006, we picked up our family and moved 4 hours back toward our parents' homes. We sold our house, bought a new house, both started new jobs, the kids started a new school, got rid of all credit card debt, paid off a car loan, and with all that, everything went so smoothly. This is so different than a lady I work with... this past year, her dad, with whom she was very close to, passed on, her husband got diagnosed with cancer and underwent surgery, both her vehicles don't run very well, and her back is killing her. Her year was anything but spectacular. So, I do not take our good fortune for granted at all.

I hope all of you can think of things to be thankful for that happened in 2006. I listed out our goals for 2007 in the right column and I can only hope that next year will go as smoothly as this past year... Here's to having a super 2007!

Today's mail - stats update - random thoughts

December 21st, 2006 at 09:30 pm

*received $5 PineCone check
*received $20 gift card to local restaurant from the bank that our company deals with - nice surprise
*DH received $5 gift certificate to a fast food restaurant from one of his students
*got paid travel reimbursement of $40

And, DH's parents are taking us out to dinner tonight for his birthday... yeah!

Savings Update for 12/21/06:
DisneyWorld fund $ 603.76
Emergency fund $1,080.23
DH's fund (2nd job income and ebay sales) $1,831.56

Upcoming items: I have to order books to start class in Jan. Can get them on Amazon for much cheaper than the bookstore but will still add up to around $150. Life insurance premiums for the new year will be due in Jan/Feb which is $772 total due. Ugh. Yes, I get a discount for paying the annual amount vs. a monthly payment schedule but it sure does hurt to pay it each year.

A good day.

December 20th, 2006 at 08:51 pm

Today is a good day because:

1. ... it is DH's birthday.

2. ... it is payday for DH and myself.

3. ... DH got his yearly bonus (see last post).

4. ... we had our Christmas party at work - lots of good food!

5. ... my DD did great in her school play.

6. ... it's only 5 more days until Christmas and I'm finally done Christmas shopping! Smile

It's worth it to stay on top of everything.

December 19th, 2006 at 02:49 pm

Ok, I'm pretty Type A when it comes to anything financial. I have paystubs for both me and DH dating back 12+ years. As we both work in the public sector field, we get a bonus annually after 10 years of employment. I recently realized that DH was supposed to start getting his bonus this year. In reviewing the paystub file and and calculating his years of service, I realized that he was actually supposed to start getting the bonus last year... so long story short, because I raised questions with the payroll dept, DH now is getting this year's bonus tomorrow and cross your fingers that he'll get last year's bonus soon... He was with a different employer last year so there is a bit of a delay in trying to sort out their mess... all in all, he should NET out about $1,000... not a ton of money but a nice amount. When I told DH all this, he got so excited that this extra money is coming. He made sure to verify that it was HIS money, to do what HE wants, and I agreed. I don't mind giving this money to him as sometimes it helps the mind to have money of your own... He's doing so much better this month curbing his personal spending so I'm proud of him. He's starting to save for something - not decided yet as to what - so I'm sure he'll deposit this money into that account and let it sit for a while until he decides what to do with it.

So, it does pay to keep up with things. DH doesn't and if I didn't, then we'd be out a well-deserved bonus.

Hubby surprises me -

December 13th, 2006 at 01:21 pm

Last night, I was wrapping up a lot of clothes to ship out that I sold on ebay... went upstairs to get more packing tape and saw my DH packing up one of his bigger collectible items. I asked him what he was doing and he told me that he was getting it ready to ship out because he sold it on ebay.... now, mind you, my DH LOVED this particular item and it shocked me that he would let go of it. He got $900 for it which is a good price. He said that he loved the item but realized that he was the only one who did... ergo, no one else in our family would consider it an heirloom to pass on generations later sort of thing. So, to finance another bigger purchase, i.e. plasma tv or something like that, he decided to let this one item go. I was very proud of him. Smile

Now, one collectible down, only 500 more to go... if he were to sell even half of what he owns, he could do so much more with that money. Of course, I don't know how much he'll let go of and everything he makes will be his to do with as he chooses, but I'm all for it!

Financing Grad School

December 11th, 2006 at 07:34 pm

As I posted before, I just got accepted to grad school. I spoke with my advisor just now, and it looks like I'll need 15 classes to get my MBA. I got some classes waived due to my undergrad program, but not as many as I would've liked...Based on current 2007-08 tuition rates, 15 classes would be an equivalent of $9,630 for the entire program. Of course, year after year, tuition goes up so it'll likely be more than that. At least I don't have to fork over the entire amount at once. I signed on for 2 classes for my first semester which is $1,284 due by Dec 20! Ick. That's going to blow my Dec budget a little as I really didn't think I was starting school until next summer so I didn't have it in my budget for Dec. Oh, well... we'll make due. I'm just a tad disappointed that I didn't get more credit than that for my undergrad work because I really wanted my MBA within a year... but I just don't think I could handle more than 2 classes a semester and work full time too. Darn.

Christmas gift ideas for co-workers?

December 8th, 2006 at 07:54 pm

What is everyone else getting for their boss and co-workers? I need ideas for my boss as well as the ladies that work for me.... help! I can't think of a thing... I don't want to do candles - that's just too generic. Maybe gift cards? This is my first year here and would like to get them something semi-special as I feel very fortunate to work with each of them... any ideas?

Rethinking 2007 savings goal

December 5th, 2006 at 07:05 pm

Ok, so at first I was ambitious at thinking that I could save an extra $750 each month in our regular savings account. Realistically, I think a more attainable, and therefore more achievable goal would be to reduce that to $500. I am already taking out $200 each month for Roth IRAs and another $50 each month for our mutual funds... so that's $250 in savings already each month. If we try for $500 on top of that to go just into a liquid savings account, I think that might be more doable. Just thinking out loud here... Smile

Grad school

December 4th, 2006 at 08:08 pm

Just got an email telling me that I've been accepted to grad school! I had missed the deadline to apply for the Spring 2007 semester so I had indicated that I wanted to start in the summer... but they are wanting me to start in the Spring. Yea! I'm stoked. Smile

Well, to continue with DH's new car saga... I've finally convinced him to go with a used car. We found a car we both want but the dealer is asking way too much for it. Kelley Blue Book says the retail value is $16k and the dealer is asking $20k. Of course, we know that they always mark them up so that haggling can occur... but you think they'll come down $4k? We usually buy our used vehicles from CarMax where there is no haggling so we are unsure as to how much regular dealers will negotiate. Also, has anyone ever bought a car with a credit card? We have a credit card at a fixed 4.9% interest rate for purchases, zero balance that we'd rather put some of the expense on vs. getting a car loan, etc. We'll probably need to borrow $10k. Are dealers okay with buyers using credit cards? If we do end up borrowing the $10k, believe me, we'll have it paid off relatively soon as I don't like the idea of having anymore debt than necessary.

Dec & fast forward to 2007 - goals...

December 1st, 2006 at 06:24 pm

It's time to set those all important money goals...I've already sent off $174 extra for the Dec mortgage payment and $627 extra for the Dec auto loan payment. I've also transferred $550 into our e-fund savings account. So, just the first day of December and I've already "spent" $1,351 right off the bat. Depending on how well our Christmas shopping comes under budget, I'm sure I'll be able to put more money toward the car loan by the end of the month.

Ok, so goals for 2007 in order:

Continue paying $2,088 extra toward principal on mortgage (174/mo)
Pay off car loan bal of $8,300 (373/mo payment + 320 extra)
Save $9,000 to bring e-fund bal to $10,000 (750/mo)

That totals $1,244 extra each month on top of the "normal" budget expenditures like utilities, etc. I will need to work hard on this, but it's definitely attainable... especially since I'm expecting a $5,000 raise in April that I'm not considering at this time... and we (both DH and I) normally get standard cost of living increases in July. Of course there are a ton of variables that could pop up to veer us off track but we'll handle those as they come along.

DH and I have sort of come to an understanding based on our conversation last night. He said that it would be tough, but he's changed his mindset to first save for what he wants vs. going out and charging it and figuring out where the money comes from later... monumental statement coming from him. I just hope he's committed to it. It sure would help us out.

So far, so good! Smile