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Archive for January, 2010

ING Bonus here too!

January 16th, 2010 at 04:13 pm

Oh, happy day! We received our $121 ING bonus today too. My first thought is to determine what to do with it. Should we put it toward debt, toward xmas savings, or just add it to the checking account to pay bills? But, I know what will probably happen. It will just sit in the ING account, and at some point I'll use the card that came with the account and spend it and it will just go away and have no specific purpose. I'm good at doing that!

Part of me wants to be very organized and spend a lot of time figuring out where to put every penny. But then I just leave things to deal with later "just in case" we need the money for something and nothing specific happens. I guess what I really need to do is take the card out of my wallet and put it up to remove the possibility of using it when I'm out and about and instead just try to add money here and there to the Electric Orange account.

My answer may change this afternoon. Someone is coming to look at one of our dogs that is for sale. If she buys, we'll have a bigger chunk of money to do something with.

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As I reread this before posting, I think the answer is right in front of me. We basically wiped out any real savings we had accumulated to keep up with bills since income went way down last year. We've also cashed in some savings bonds. The need to have money "just in case" strongly suggests that the answer is to designate some account as emergency use only and re-fund it. Not the xmas fund, and not the $20 challenge (which I haven't started yet), but a separate account or sub-account. That's what we'll do, at least in my book! DH sees it differently. He has not bought into the idea of any savings account, much less having separate accounts for separate things. My answer is that if I'm responsible for tracking the money, I need to do it my way. If he wants to take it over and put it all in one account, that's fine. I know he never will, but it's not exactly one of our stellar marriage moments when we discuss it.

Approved! and other tidbits

January 12th, 2010 at 01:43 pm

We've been approved for our refinance! Yippee! Wahoo! Smile Smile Smile

It should make things a little easier to handle financially. I think I mentioned before, but some of the cc debt will get rolled into this. Not nearly as exciting as if we were paying it OFF, but not having to juggle that many payments each month will be fantastic. We're going to attack any remaining debt to see if we can't get rid of it all.

I haven't made much progress on goals yet. I did walk for the first time yesterday in a long time. I mean, I do some physical activity mostly on the weekends, but I had been walking on my lunch hour frequently last spring & summer and just got out of the habit. I just went for 15 minutes yesterday. I'll aim for 20 minutes today.

Oprah had a show on yesterday about decluttering and tuning out of electronics in order to tune in to the family. I have been trying for a long time to spend some solid time on that, but it just gets pushed aside. Maybe the show will motivate me a little.

I've had a great week with mini-shopping trips. So far, I've gotten 5 Healthy Choice frozen meals, 3 cans Rotel tomatoes, and 2 packages of Halls cough drops completely free with coupons. It seems like there might have been something else too, but I can't remember now. I've also gotten some nice freebies in the mail. Yesterday it was 3 Atkins snack bars. A few days ago, it was 2 packets of Hellman's mayo, a 2-pack of poptarts, and the year started off with a full-size bottle of Suave shampoo in the mail. I sign up for these freebies, but don't keep track of what I'm "supposed to" get, so when it comes it's always a nice surprise!

One lonely penny

January 6th, 2010 at 06:21 am

I found my first change on the ground of 2010. One lonely penny, and it wasn't even heads up. I picked it up and put it in an open plastic container on the car seat and then proceeded to dump the container when something else slid off the seat and knocked the container when I stopped a little too quickly. Now it's lost in my car. I wonder if I'll find it 2 months from now, and think it's another "found on the ground" claim!

I signed up on a team for the heart association's Fit Friendly Challenge, so hopefully that will help with my exercise goal for the year. It doesn't officially start for another 2 weeks, but I'm not going to wait. As I write this, I realize I haven't done anything for 2 days, but that's just because I've been scheduled at both my full time & part time job both days. That leaves little time for exercise!

My report card for 2009

January 3rd, 2010 at 06:11 pm

I'm not at all proud of it, but here it is.

Goal #1 was to increase money paid to credit cards. My grade is an F. Instead of paying down credit card balances, our overall total is up by $4,035!!
Goal #2 was to lose weight. My grade is a D-. I didn't lose and I didn't gain. Well, more accurately, I lost a little and gained it back. Hmmph!
Goal #3 was to declutter. My grade is a C. There was at least some effort here, even if there wasn't much improvement. This is totally subjective, of course, but my instructor (me!) is tough and expects a lot.
Goal #4 (although it wasn't written) was to decrease grocery spending down to $100 per week. My grade is an A-. This one I am very proud of. I REALLY tried, but maybe that amount is too low for us. DH is frequently saying "We've been out of (fill-in-the-blank) for a few days now. When are you going to get more?" It's usually something that I knew we were out of but skipped it for a day just to stretch the budget. Things like milk or bacon. Other times, it's something that is over my personal max that I'll pay. Cheese goes on sale so often, and many times I'll have coupons, so I just wait....LOL. Anyhow, back to the report card. Although I didn't get us down to $100 per week, I did drop our overall grocery spending from $6,974 in 2008 to $5,820 in 2009. Coupon savings went from 31% in 2008 to just 26% in 2009, but the average per week dropped from $134.11 to $111.92. That is definitely something to be proud of!

The report card may be bad, but I'm not a quitter! I updated the sidebar with some 2010 goals that are a little more specific. #1 may be accomplished when we wrap up the refinancing process we're in the middle of, since part of the refinance is to lower our interest and payment, but some of the credit card debt will be part of the refi. So, technically, the debt will be reduced, but if it just increases our secured debt we haven't gained much. I'll worry about that when the time comes.

Just for fun, and for something for reference, my 2009 totals for odd things I track were:
Found on the ground: $2.34 and 11 forever stamps = total of $7.18 for 8 months
Rebates: $871.27, plus another $60 pending. This is a little misleading since it doesn't include the many gift cards I got from credit card rewards, and used for gift-giving. But it's still a nice chunk of change.

I haven't yet decided how I'll track the grocery & coupon savings. It's a little time-consuming how I do it now in Excel, so I may come up with another way by adding a category in Money since I already record everything there. I've been double entering, in effect, and that's not really efficient.

Wish me luck!!!

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My accomplishment for today so far (other than organizing info for this recap) has been entering 22 codes in mycokerewards, bringing my total points to 1566. Now if only I could find something I actually wanted from there!