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Tax Refund Arrived - EF is Fully Funded!!!

February 16th, 2008 at 10:34 am

WooHoo! I checked my ING checking and the IRS deposited our federal refund yesterday as promised. Big Grin

I now have $5,000 in our EF!!!!!!

There is some leftover from the refund which I have put aside in a separate ING savings. I'll wait until we get our state refund and then decide where to allocate the rest of the money. I am just thrilled to have a fully funded EF for right now. Smile

Filed Taxes & Another Rebate Received

February 6th, 2008 at 10:19 am

I lost my patience waiting for the college to send me the amount I paid in tuition/fees in 2007 - Actually they sent it and it was BLANK! I called and they said they can send me something else showing the amounts, but I just can't wait another day. I went online and multiplied the number of credits I took by the amount they charge per credit and used that for the taxes. It ended up having absolutely no effect on the taxes since even without it we were getting everything back plus the EIC since we were so "poor" this year. I should be posting a full EF in just a few weeks!!! Big Grin

I still have not made a decision about the rest of the refund money. We shall see.

I am adding $7.99 to the EF today for the last Free-bate from my contact lens solution which I received yesterday. I am over 1/3 of the way to my $5,000 goal now. Smile

New EF Balance: $1,701.67

Taxes & Refund Money Dilemma

February 1st, 2008 at 08:27 pm

I have all of our W-2s and 1099s ready to go, but am waiting on a statement from my school (tells how much I paid last year in tuition/fees so I can get a credit), and the statements from SallieMae for both of our student loans (tells how much we paid in interest on our loans and lowers our AGI).

We will definitely be getting a refund this year so I'd love to get moving and get the taxes filed. I started putting the information we do have into TaxSlayer (free federal and state filing for us this year), and found out that I also have to wait until after February 8th for a certain form that the IRS has not yet released for 2007 (I think it is the form to report the school tuition/fees actually). Frown

I am anxious to receive the money so I can put my plans into action. Between refunds from federal and state taxes, we should have enough to reach $6,000 in the EF and have some leftover.

The leftover amount will probably be about $800. Here is where I have been second-guessing myself. I intended to put the money over and above the EF towards the $8,800 credit card that is at 0% until Feb 2009, but now I am wondering if I should put it toward a trip to DisneyWorld for the 3 of us.

My daughter has never been and she will be 10 years old this year. I am feeling sad that we have not been able to take her and, while I know she is still a little girl, she is getting older. We have alot of plans (pay off debt, buy a house, save for her Bat Mitzvah, etc), and if we don't do it this year I am afraid we will not be able to do it for another 4-5 years or more...and then she really will miss the magic of seeing Disney through the eyes of a child. :'(

I guess I will talk it over with my husband and see what he thinks, but his eyes tend to glaze over whenever I try to crunch the numbers with him.

ING interest added for January

February 1st, 2008 at 07:37 pm

I just added the interest paid from our ING accounts to our EF. Between all the accounts we made $10.31 in interest. Smile

New EF Balance: $1,668.68

Edited to add: I also realized while looking at my YNAB program that I have an extra $25 to put into the EF. This is from an insurance premium that I had budgeted for in January but the policy did not go into effect until February. The other part of the money I used to spread a little love to some other budget items. Smile

New EF Total: $1,693.68

EF Update

January 31st, 2008 at 07:21 pm

Received my last paycheck for January today, so I put my standard $100 into EF plus the dollars and cents from the paycheck ($7.06).

New EF Balance: $1,558.37

BUT, this paycheck is also the first time I am getting 3 paychecks in one month for 2008. It will happen again in July. Smile
Because of this I have a bit of "extra" money that has not been allocated. Therefore, I will also be adding an additional $100 to the EF this month. WooHoo!!! Big Grin

New Total EF: $1,658.37

$3 added to EF

January 30th, 2008 at 01:58 pm

My husband sometimes plays the lottery but never wins. (Story of our lives, right) Wink

Anyway, back in December he tells me that one ticket has one number plus the special ball (Mega Ball or Super Ball...can you tell I don't play?), but he is going to throw out the ticket because it's probably only worth a dollar or two. *Picture my mouth hanging open in disbelief*

I took the ticket in today and got $3 to add to our EF. I was pretty happy about it too. Big Grin

New EF Total: 1,451.31

Playing the Balance Transfer Game

January 21st, 2008 at 06:13 pm

Yep, I'm back in the game after a 2 year hiatus. When I was in school it was just too much time and effort to keep a close enough eye on things to play the game, but now I am back and (hopefully) better than ever. Smile

I had 2 credit cards (my DH has 2 also but I keep them separate from mine...lesson learned the hard way not to put his debt in my name). Anyway, CC#1 was offering 0% through my January 2009 statement with a 3% transfer fee/maximum $75. CC#2 was offering "no-fee" transfers at a low rate. So I transferred my balance from CC#1 ($700)over to CC#2 to clear it of any balance (at no charge), then I transferred back the whole amount ($8800 = balances from both cards) to CC#1 at 0%.

I have been playing with the numbers, and if, once I reach $5,000 in my EF, I put all my future EF payments toward this debt plus part of our tax refund plus the usual payments I was already making it will be close to paid off before the 0% expires (about $1,000 left). After this is paid off I will resume $200/mo to EF and start $200/mo toward a down payment on a house and snowball the regular payments into our next debt.

I am just completely sick and tired of paying interest on this money. I have probably paid them 3 times over the balance in interest over the many years I have had this never-ending revolving debt. It is stopping NOW! I am definitely seeing what Dave Ramsey means by "gazelle intensity"! Wink

Received 2 rebates today

January 19th, 2008 at 06:29 pm

Mailman delivered 2 rebate checks for $8.99 each - it was a Free-bate offer for my contact lens solution. The beauty of this rebate was that it read "one per person", not "one per household", so I was able to send one in for me, my husband and my sister. The last one should be on its way to me soon. Smile

I also made my biweekly deposit of $100 from my paycheck to the EF so...

New EF Balance: $1,448.31

Extremely Upset about job

January 17th, 2008 at 06:57 pm

Today was payday so I am adding $4.44 to my EF bringing the new EF total to $1,330.33.

In other news, I spoke to the boss about the medical insurance and she assured me that it will be in effect as expected. I also called the insurance company to check and all seems to be in place now. While this is great news, I am very upset right now because of another thing that was said in the same conversation with the boss. When I was hired, it was stated that they would pay 50% of my insurance for the family. Now they are saying they are going to pay 50% of just my portion and I will have to pay 100% of the family portion. Frown I don't even know how much it will be yet as the boss said the bill was not clear so she has to call and talk to them again. I won't find out until I am paid in 2 weeks and there is some mystery amount withheld from my paycheck!

I am really feeling like I have been taken advantage of which sucks because I actually like my job, my coworkers, etc, and I did not speak up today like I probably should have (okay definitely should have). The problem is that I was told "X" when interviewed and offered the position and now it seems that almost every detail has been changed!!! Of course, this is my first job in the field, I am just starting to feel comfortable with my job and I don't want to have to go through looking for another position so soon! I am not even telling my husband because he would completely flip out and want me to quit this job and find another. *sigh* I guess I am feeling like at least this is the devil I know. Plus I really just need to work so we can have a healthy EF and get out of debt, especially with all this talk of recession/depression.

Any insights?

Nearly tripled my money!

January 12th, 2008 at 01:53 pm

Okay so it was a very small amount, but I was giddy with excitement last night. Smile

I took my hubby to Atlantic City to see Don Rickles for his birthday. We had dinner and had a little time to waste before the show, so we put a few dollars in the slot machines. He played (and lost) $5 on video poker, then I put in $1 on a very strange nickle slot that I could not understand so I lost that. Oops. We both rambled over to another section of nickle slots and put $1 apiece into different machines. He bet his whole dollar on one spin and lost. I bet 5 credits (still have no idea how much that actually was...maybe 25 cents) and WON! It kept adding more and more credits until I had a final total of $20.65! Seven of the $8 we spent was mine, so I nearly tripled my money. I cashed out, took my money and ran. Big Grin

After that we went straight to the show and really laughed and enjoyed ourselves. It was a great night...and I wound up with $13.65 to add to my EF.

I also received my check from ViewPoint Forums for $34 which will be deposited to my EF Wednesday (my next day off from work).

New CF Total: $1,325.89

Hold the phone!

January 9th, 2008 at 05:08 pm

I just opened my mail and found a check for 2 weeks ago when I filled in at a friend's office for the day. I am continuing to add the ones place and the change to the EF, so $7.50 added. WooHoo! Smile

New EF Balance: $1,278.08
plus $0.16 interest earned at my credit union last month...

Total EF Balance: $1,278.24

I think I can...I think I can...I think I can.... Wink

Reached a Milestone in my EF

January 8th, 2008 at 07:09 pm

I cashed in $40 from my Lightspeed survey account via PayPal last week.
It just showed up in my local bank so I will be transferring to the EF at ING today.

I am also waiting on a check for $34 from Viewpoint Forum (another survey site) so I will posting another EF deposit as soon as I receive that money. WooHoo! I am so excited that the EF is growing so rapidly now that I am really looking in every nook and cranny for extra cash to fund it. Smile

New EF Balance: $1,270.58
With this deposit I've surpassed 25% of my $5k goal!!!

Received a Rebate Check today

January 4th, 2008 at 05:45 pm

I received a "Try it Free" rebate check today from YoPlait YoPlus yogurt, so I have another $2.99 to add to our EF...and the yogurt was pretty tasty also! Smile

New EF total: $1,230.58

Thought of another way to save more $

January 3rd, 2008 at 08:15 pm

I got paid today and even though it is a very small paycheck (office was closed from 12/22 - 1/2) I had an idea. As I logged it into YNAB under Income:Primary I decided to automatically place the amount in the ones place and the change into my EF category. So, for example, if my check is for $548.44, I will budget $8.44 to the EF before allocating my other categories. I'll automatically have to live without that money so I shouldn't miss it. I get paid every 2 weeks so that should give me a good bit of extra money toward the EF each month. I really feel like I am getting the new year off on the right foot for once! Smile

Tomorrow's EF deposit will be: $4.55
Making my new EF total: $1,227.59

Earned Interest plus Cash Back go to EF

January 2nd, 2008 at 07:54 pm

I am so excited! I totally forgot about the interest we would earn on our ING accounts for December plus the 1% cash back promotion on the Electric Orange debit card. I just checked my accounts and we earned a total of $14.87 that I just moved into our EF!!! WooHoo!!! Big Grin

New EF total: $1,223.04

Changed my mind about the change

January 2nd, 2008 at 09:50 am

Last night I said I would put my "found money" - rolled coin and Pinecone check into my EF. This morning after looking over my YNAB budget I decided to put all bits of extra money such as this into my Roth IRA.
I added a new ticker to show the gold bars moving closer to the retirement treasure chest! Smile Right now I am aiming to contribute at least $2,500 toward the Roth this year, but in reality I'd love to save the maximum which is $5,000 for 2008. I'd love to have to go in and make a new ticker showing the extension from $2,500 to $5,000 before year end but we shall see.

Went to the Movies today

January 1st, 2008 at 08:26 pm

I am trying to post something almost everyday so that I keep myself on track so I apologize in advance if these posts are utterly inane or boring! Wink

My DH and I took our DD to see the newest Disney film "Enchanted" today. It was very cute - much better than the dread I felt watching the television ads for it. We saved about $8 by going to the matinee and about $5 by smuggling in a can of Pringles we bought for New Years Eve. We did buy 2 sodas and a pack of Reese's Pieces so the theatre still made out like bandits on us, but a little less than they usually would have.

I also rolled our coins today - $10 dimes, $8 nickles, and $2 pennies makes $20 to put toward our EF! I also have a $5 check from Pinecone to deposit as well. I haven't added this to my ticker yet since I have not deposited the coins or the check yet but it will bring my total EF to $1,233.17 so far. WooHoo! We're making headway! Smile

Saving for Emergencies & Retirement all at once?

December 29th, 2007 at 07:17 pm

It has been very difficult and frustrating starting over, knowing exactly where we need to be as far as saving, giving, and spending having studied financial books, websites and these boards for years, and realizing how very S-L-O-W it will be to get to that place we want to be.

On that note, as I look over our finances and all of the many directions our spending plan is pulling us, I am seriously considering splitting my monthly EF money (that currently goes to ING) so that 50% of it will go to my Roth IRA. The poor Roth has not had a penny added for the last 3 years while I was in school, and I am not getting any younger. My husband does not even have a retirement account of any kind so I am definitely feeling like I better get started saving something.

If worst case came about I could always take out my contributions from the Roth without penalty, but I would never do that unless it was the absolute last option. I would still be contributing half of the EF money to my ING that is available more easily if it is ever needed so I feel like this is a good plan. Hopefully, both the ING EF and the Roth will continue to grow with no misfortunes befalling us!

Back again

December 25th, 2007 at 06:58 pm

It's been awhile since I last posted, and I am very happy to say that I have *finally* graduated from my dental hygiene program, passed my board exams, received my license and am happily working at my first job as a Dental Hygienist!!! Smile

I have set up our new budget in Jesse's YNAB system (which I LOVE - Thanks Jesse!), and am diligently tracking our income and expenses as best I can. Never can get all the receipts from my dear husband, but we are working on it. Wink

We are essentially starting from scratch since we depleted nearly all our savings while I was waiting for my license/finding a job. My success right now is that, as of January 1, we have surpassed the $1,000 mark in our Emergency Fund. I just wish it was going faster. It never seems fast enough, but we are on the best path. We just need to stay the course.

Debt-Proof Your Kids

January 2nd, 2007 at 10:21 am

I just read this book last night, and found it both enjoyable and helpful. I am a big fan of Mary Hunt's original "Debt-Proof Living" book as it is the first book that I read and really got me on the debt-proof track so to speak.

DPYK is a book she wrote detailing how she and her husband put her sons on a monthly "salary" on the first day of sixth grade. They figured out how much they would normally spend on the child in a typical month (clothes, snacks, school lunches, videogames, etc) and instead of fighting over money with the child, they gave the child that month's "salary" on the first on each month to spend as he wished.

The only rules were that the child had to "give" 10% away (to charity or another needy individual, etc), "save" 10% (in a bank account or other interest-bearing acct), and the other 80% was his to "spend" (they did explain that the money had to be spent on items which were acceptable in the eyes of their family...so no porn magazine binges!) *LOL*

Mary mentions that her 2 sons (who are now in their early 30's) have very different personalities and yet both took to the program and came out financially confident and with an understanding that money must be well managed and respected. Both have no revolving debt and own their own homes.

I am planning on using this system with our DD in the coming years. Does anyone else use this type of system with their children? How has it worked for you?

No Fast Food in 2007

January 1st, 2007 at 05:24 pm

My DH, DD and I watched "Super Size Me" last night for the first time, and before the end credits rolled my DH and I both agreed to cut out fast food in 2007. This is the only resolution we have ever made together, and it is a big one.

By some definitions I am sure we are not being all that radical, as we have agreed to start with just the obvious fastfood places - McD, BK, KFC, Wendys, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Boston Market, etc. We are not including larger chains such as Applebees, TGIF, but we hardly ever eat at those places anyway since they are more expensive. It is the McD, et al that are way too convenient when we don't feel like cooking, so I think keeping this resolution will be very helpful to our family - both our health and our bank account!

Wish us luck! Smile

My rant on IRA contribution caps

December 26th, 2006 at 07:04 pm

I already commented on this post in Monkey Mama's blog but I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Am I the only shmoe who has worked for small/family-owned type companies with absolutely no 401(k) plan - stuck with having to put away a measly $4,000 maximum a year toward retirement?

Does this seem wrong to anyone else out there? I am already penalized because I work for a small company, probably struggling to make a decent wage and on top of that, the government tells me that I can not save more than $4000/year in the only retirement vehicle available to me!!! This steams me.

I can *almost* understand making a cap on IRA contributions if you already have a 401(k), but to tell people whose only retirement account is a Roth IRA that they're gonna have to suck it up and live on those $4,000/yr contributions come retirement age, well what might be the incentive to work for a small business at all...unless you happen to own it (then you can open a SIMPLE IRA or a SEP IRA and save more). But, if you are the jackass working for him you are completely screwed.

...or am I missing something? ???

Starting to worry

December 22nd, 2006 at 05:55 pm

I am officially starting to worry about how we are going to pay for the bills that come due in Feb/March. My life insurance is due (which is approximately $700) and I also have to pay $850 for my hygiene licensure exams. Frown Basically, I am only worried because the exam fees are an extra that I have not been saving for over the past months (unlike the life insurance which is in my spending plan). I just don't know where I am going to find the extra money as things are pretty tight already. I do know that one way or another I will find the money even if I have to borrow from a realative (which is an absolute last resort).

We shall see.

Thank goodness for student loans

October 30th, 2006 at 04:13 pm

I received my student loan check this week and was able to pay some bills that have been waiting patiently. Unfortunately, it all seems to go so fast. It is beyond depressing to have a $1400 check in your hand one day and nothing the next because it all went to pay the bills. Frown

I am looking forward to earning a real paycheck on a regular basis and being able to save and spend on fun stuff as well as paying the bills. Smile

It is also time to buy my holiday gifts since my Xmas Club money was just transferred to my savings account. I do alot of shopping at www.Lakeside.com for the holidays (especially for the kids and little things for teachers). I can also earn points thru MyPoints at Lakeside which I like.

Check them out - great prices but get your order in early because they tend to sell out fast. I have never had a problem with them, but if you wait to order when it is close to the holidays, I have heard complaints that shipping was too slow.

Saved $26 today at Eckerds

September 15th, 2006 at 11:13 am

A few items I bought today at Eckerds with my 50% off coupon with the price I paid (and saved!):

Digital thermometer: $4.50
Eckerd Sleeping Meds(Unisom): $3.50
Eckerd brand Lactaid: $3.20
Eckerd Zinc Lozenges(ColdEeze): $2.50
Facial wipes: $1.50

I saved $24 just with the Eckerd 50% off coupon - WooHoo!!! Smile

By the way, there are flyers next to the front door at the store with these coupons, so you can still take advantage of the sales even if you did not get the Sunday paper!

Eckerd Drug products 50% off this week

September 10th, 2006 at 06:29 pm

I haven't seen this sale in awhile. They used to do this every 6 months or so and I would stock up on Eckerd brand baby wipes and their brand of Pedialyte. They seem to have stopped doing the sale like they used to - where it would just be announced in their weekly flyer and you could buy as much as you wanted. This week's flyer has a coupon that is good for any 10 Eckerd brand items at 50% off (with some restrictions of course).

I plan on stocking up on sleeping pills for my husband (the insomniac), and will look around and see what other good Eckerd brand products I can buy now at such great savings.

They also had a coupon in this week's flyer for $1.00 off any 2 Suave products, and their Suave shampoo and conditioner is already on sale for 88 cents each. Hooray! After the coupon I will only pay 38 cents per bottle! Smile

School starts tomorrow

August 27th, 2006 at 07:53 pm

I should be asleep by now but I am still in denial. Maybe if I don't go to sleep I can make the summer vacation last longer! *grin* I guess it doesn't really work that way, huh?

I checked the oil in my car (a 1999 Saturn with 131k miles on it), and it looks good and full. It is a great car but since it is getting up in years/miles it does eat oil pretty regularly. I usually have to put a quart in every week-and-a-half to 2 weeks just to top it off. I have been using full synthetic motor oil for a few years now so I don't have to change the oil as often (saves a few dollars). I cleaned out as much stuff as I could from the trunk to help with gas mileage, and I have an almost full tank which should last me until Friday afternoon, I hope.

Nine more months of driving to school everyday - an hour there and an hour back. I am looking forward to saving money on gas once I graduate in May! I can't wait to get a job and start my new career...just think, money coming in, instead of going out! Wink

Saving on Textbooks

August 17th, 2006 at 04:57 pm

Great resource for getting the best price on textbooks www.bigwords.com.

You can search for all your textbooks for all your classes at the same time. They compare many different online stores including amazon, ebay, half.com, abesbooks, etc, then they tell you who would be the cheapest if you want to buy all your books from the same store, and also the lowest price at all the different stores on each book. They also show you all the shipping deals and coupons available at the different stores. Bigwords is a great website and saves time and money. Ya gotta love it! Smile


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