Tag Archives: Budgeting

Rain, Rain, Go Away

In my last post I talked about using H’s money to get our driveway redone for $4200.  Well…..

I was wrong about the price, it was $5400.  The word “was” is key here.

The price has gone up.  I thought I was clever in tearing out the front porch ourselves and saving us some money.  Not so much.  It turns out I forgot to factor in the rain and the depressed earth underneath the porch.  Which has now cost us an additional $1500 so far and climbing.

On Tuesday of last week, I came home to find the carpet in the basement sopping wet.  The water now has easier access to the basement.  We spent several days and tons of money drying everything out, but can’t put the room back together until the driveway and grading against the house is complete (grading is a new expense).

The driveway can’t begin until it stops raining.  We have tarps and plastic all over the front of the house to keep the water at bay.  Granted, we live in Michigan so this is nothing compared to if we lived in NJ or NY.

In all, we are expecting to spend almost $10,000 not including the new porch.  Twice what we expected.  Oh, and if the driveway and grading don’t doesn’t work?  $7000 for a french drain……..is in our future.


Funding The Emergency Fund

H and I had a talk about emergency funds and paying off the debt.  He wanted to put any extra funds onto my credit card.  I balked at the idea, I wanted them to go into our savings.

I made a suggestion that we agree on a specific number that needs to remain in the Emergency Fund at all times and any extra goes onto the debt.  He agreed and we came up with the following plan:

1) We will bring the Emergency Fund up to $5000.  This should cover the majority of any major home problems, or at least a significant portion.  Given that we still have maintenance on two homes, I voted for the larger Emergency Fund. If we draw from the fund, then we need to bring it back up to the stated level before applying extra money to the debt.

2) After the Emergency Fund is at our goal, then all extra money goes to pay the credit card.

3) H has a minimum level he likes to keep his personal checking account, so he will maintain that level.  Since he never reconciles his accounts, I can’t blame him.  I don’t understand it, but it works for him.  All our utilities and the mortgage come out of his account.  We are not going to bother going through the hassle of switching everything over to our joint account right now.  We are creating a master password list, so if something happens to one of us, we can access the other’s information.

4) After the credit card is paid, we are bring the Emergency Fund up to $10,000 and focus on paying the student loan.  Technically, the car is a higher interest rate but the Student Loan interest payment is so much larger that we are going after that next.  The cars will be paid within reasonable time periods.

This is the plan…..Engage…


Giving Up My Smartphone

My contract ends this month for my iPhone with AT&T.  We are looking into adding me to my fiance’s plan with Verizon next month.  Depending on the overall costs, I may be giving up my smart phone.  I realize this is a luxury, but I really do use the internet features and apps a lot, more so than I use it to talk.  In fact I average about 150-200 minutes used in actual talk time a month.  I average 1GB of data usage and 250-300 texts.

As you can see, I use my phone for other things than to talk.  But, I need to cut my expenses so we will look into a different plan for me.  I had already decided to give up my iPhone for a cheaper android based model.  Some things I’ll miss if I give my phone up:

GPS Navigation
Word with friends (basically scrabble)
Constant access to my financial accounts

Email access

The following apps:
Kindle (I like to read if I am in a waiting room)
Endomondo (I track my walks and runs)
My Fitness Pal (diet tracker)
Buzz feed (news)
Huffington post (news)
Twitter (news)
Facebook (voyeurism)
Mint (budget)
YNAB (budget)
Pay off debt (debt snowball tracker)
Home Routine (Chore tracker)
CalenGoo (google calendar)

I realize I don’t need any of these things, but I sure do enjoy them.  I am hoping we come up with a reasonable joint plan that allows me to keep a smart phone.  My programmer fiance will keep his, I wouldn’t dream of asking him to go backwards technologically.  I might as well ask him to give up an arm……


Coming Off a Spending Spree

I don’t know why, but I went on a minor spending spree without realizing it.

I just reconciled my bank account and figured out I spent an extra $15o+ this month on miscellaneous items.  About half of the money spent was on business expenses and the other half was eating out and coffee.  I went on a Latte kick for two weeks.  I didn’t get one everyday, but way more than usual.

I really hate it when I go off plan.  Luckily,  I put money aside for such events, but it still makes me regretful.   Now that I’ve recognized what I’ve done, I can get back at it and stop spending money on unnecessary random items.

One step backwards, three steps forward.


Nearing the 100,000 Mark, again…

I missed my blog birthday.  *sniff*

Last year at this time I had passed the 100,000 mark.  This year?  I am nearing the 100,00 mark again.

I am a little sad that I went backwards this year and accumulated more debt.  However, I enjoy driving a nicer car.

That being said, it is what it is, and I am close to getting the debt under 100,000 again.  Happy Times!


I Can Finally Wash My Clothes!

The repairman just left and I have a washer that works!  So excited!

Our washer stopped spinning a month ago and my boyfriend didn’t want to spend the money to repair it.  I have been to the laundromat 5 times, spending on average $15 each time.  I just spent $135 to repair a broken coupling.  If we had just called them when it first broke, we would have saved at least $40-50 dollars.  The first time I went to the laundromat was when the washer actually broke so I am not counting that time.

Putting off calling the repairman cost us more than sucking it up and shelling out the money.  We thought about attempting to save the money and fix it ourselves, that is what cost us.  I suspected it was a broken coupling, but we didn’t consider the fact that we really didn’t have the right tools.

I also noticed that the water shut-offs are corroding and I think we will need to get them replaced before we have a problem.  One of our budget items is home repair and this home sure needs it. My boyfriend bought a bit of a money pit, it already sucked up $10,000 last year. Unfortunately, neither one of us is handy, so paying professionals is really the only option.  The bonus is that its more likely to be done well.  Well, hopefully!


The New Budget

Budgeting & Pizza night went well, but a little depressing.  We didn’t actually have pizza, I made dinner instead.  We did have a little ice cream half-way through the process as a pick me up.  My boyfriend has been sick for over a week where he completely lost his voice.  The ice cream was a leftover treat I had picked up for him.

To keep him engaged in the process I had him sit at the computer and do the manual entry into the spreadsheet.  I admit it was a painful process for me, he doesn’t normally use excel and I desperately wanted to take over to move things along.  Luckily for me, I can actually tell him how I am feeling and not worry that he’ll be upset.  I didn’t take over, except when we needed to add new categories that I forgot about when I put it together in the first place.  This process really worked, it kept him focused and engaged rather than me just telling him what I was doing.

We spent a few hours working on this, discussing everything as we went along.  The next time shouldn’t take as long, since it will be adjusting.  I think we captured most things, however, he feels something is missing as the spreadsheet says he has a larger end of the month surplus that he doesn’t feel is right.  He thinks he has much less, which tells me he spends more than he thinks he does.  I, on the other hand had a large negative after factoring in all the little things.  The new car and the increase I started paying toward the house coupled with tuition have hit me hard.  We made some adjustments and I am just squeaking by until August when my next two smallest debts will be paid.

It also made us reevaluate some of our future plans, but that is a post I can’t write quite yet.  I will present the budget soon.


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