Tag Archives: Planning

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 Wedding

When we decided to get married, we planned a wedding that we thought we could reasonably afford.  Granted, we could have gone cheaper, but I am glad we didn’t.  The wedding was exactly the way we wanted it.  Luckily, we ended up getting some help from my mom and H’s parents.  In the end it didn’t really cost us as much out-of-pocket as we had planned.

Good thing too, because we ended up having several unexpected house repairs that sucked up the money we originally set aside for the wedding.  We completely lucked out on the generosity of those who love us.

After it was all said and done I think we only ended up paying for our rings.  The rest came from our parents.

As we drove home the day after the wedding, we didn’t feel the pressure of impending wedding bills.  There was no post wedding blues.  While we put effort into planning the event, it didn’t take over our lives and become the focus.  We planned a wedding for us and included those we love.  We talked about how the world felt brighter, how much we enjoyed the wedding,  and having the people who mean so much to us attend.  There were people missing of course, people that we care about, but we set a specific limit and stayed with it.

Inviting people to our wedding rather than having a wedding for others made all the difference.

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……

Three More Payments

I only have three more payments (paychecks) until the 401K Loan is paid off.  I am excited to have the debt gone.  I won’t see much of that $174 per pay period, but at least the debt will be gone.

Why won’t I see much of it?  Starting September 10 I will be paying insurance for two and on October 1 my insurance premiums are tripling.  That eats up all the money, but at least my take home pay isn’t reducing.

I took out the loan to pay off a credit card, (I won’t go into how I added more debt to it after), for $10,100 in 2009.  Big mistake, won’t do that again.  I learned my lesson, my retirement money is now off-limits.

Three more payments and one less anchor around my neck……………………..

Merging Our Finances

Over the past year, my fiance and I have experimented with different methods of keeping track of our finances and sharing expenses.

We started with keeping everything separate and just paying each other our share of the bills.  Next, we started an envelope system for shared expenses and opened a joint savings account.  I kept diligent track of who put in what amount into the envelope system and the savings account. You know, “just in case” we needed to split the money back up.

Right about the time we got engaged we moved another step forward in merging our finances by opening a checking account together.  We still kept most of our income separate but deposited a set amount to cover household items, dog expenses, etc.  I still kept the majority of my income and paid him rent and half of the utilities.

This has been a slow merging of expenses, starting a couple of weeks ago I now only keep the amount I need to make my debt payments and a little extra for spending allowance into my own account and the rest goes into our joint account.  I thought it would take me longer to merge our finances, as I’ve been in control of my own money for decades.  As our relationship has progressed, I realized that when money goes into our joint account, I don’t feel I can spend it willy nilly.  That has helped a lot in allowing the money to grow.  My fiance isn’t quite there yet, he still puts in a set amount, but he is starting to consider the allowance thing.

The fact that he doesn’t just put most of his pay into our joint account doesn’t bother me.  I brought the debt, he didn’t, and he needs to get to the same place in his own time.

Our goals are merging; our goal being to get me out of debt.  It took me awhile to accept his help to accomplish this, but now I am on board.  I foolishly kept saying “no, this is my problem”, but it’s not it will soon be “our problem”.

From here on out “we are in debt” not “I am in debt”.  I am sorry I put him there, but happy he decided to climb aboard and help me bail.

My Wedding Dress is going to Suffocate Me

In my last post I mentioned my dismay at not getting my coveted sci-fi cake for the wedding. Even though I claim it was less important, I did manage to get the dress I wanted for free (sort of, my mom bought it for me).  Although, now that I think about it, it really wasn’t free seeing as I still pay $200 a month for her to live in my house.

The total ended up being $411 for the dress and an additional $133 for all the accessories.  I purchased it at David’s Bridal when I went to their $99 dress sale.  Of course I didn’t find a $99 dress, as they were all for skinny 24 year olds.  I myself am neither 24 nor skinny and certainly do not look as good in the dress as the model.  In fact, I barely fit into my dress and will either need to lose an inch of fat or have it altered, thus increasing the cost of said dress.  I am attempting to lose the inch of fat, but not doing a very good job at it.  Maybe I need to call and find our exactly how much it would cost me to alter the dress as motivation or keep trying the dress on to remind me how hard it is to breath.

Even $544 has been way too much money.  I had really hoped to spend under $300 total.  The problem was all those $99 dresses were too traditional and  princess like.  In the end I chose a tea-length gown that in the photo looks young and hip.  However, I have managed to make it look old-fashioned and 50’s-retro by pairing it with a gauzy shrug and pearl accessories.

At least I won’t look like a Disney princess, but it is costing cost me a fortune.


Cashing in a Roth IRA

I was close to cashing in a Roth IRA on Monday, fortunately a friend talked me down.  After going backwards in debt reduction this last month, that panicky feeling of failure started to set in and I focused in on the $5780 Roth that has just sat there doing nothing for the last six years.

I did some investigation and discovered that I could cash out the majority of the IRA without taxes and penalties.  In 2003 I converted $3450 from my former employer into a Roth and paid the taxes.  I made four more contributions of $50 each, totaling $200.  I have a 401(k) and a Roth 401(k) through my current employer that is in a bigger investment pool and makes more sense to contribute to those two accounts rather than this small Roth.

Apparently as long as the conversion was more than five years ago, I don’t have to pay the 10% penalty, at least that was my interpretation when I read the rules.  I would only have to pay the penalties and tax on the remaining $2130.  I desperately want to make a large dent in my debt and only have one credit card payment.  I have been putting $400 a month into a savings account to build up a small savings as I don’t feel comfortable with only a $1000 as my emergency fund.  Every time I have needed to use the emergency fund the entire amount seems to get wiped away at once, $1000 just isn’t enough.

My friend pointed out that my Roth is my true emergency fund.  I can get the money out if I desperately need it, so I should stop putting so much into the other savings and use it toward debt.  She is right, I feel much better knowing I can access the money, even if I never do.  So, with this in mind I readjusted my savings contributions and have an additional $200 a month I will now be putting on my debts.  I should be down to only one credit card and my student loan by next year!

Panic mode is over!

  • Single in Debt

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