• I just did mine

    I did my budget. Our month starts tomorrow. I paid all the bills and made my grocery plan. Tomorrow I do all the monthly errands. Transmission is fixed btw. My cousin helped us fix it for free. He is too sweet !

  • Yes sort of

    We get paid every other Friday and the second Friday payday is always what I call a shortfall payday. Technically we are VERY short to cover our budgeted expenses on that payday each month. So I keep the equivalent to that much money in my bef at all times just in case we don’t cover the shortfall by rolling “excess” money from the proceeding payday to cover. I’ve only had to hit it twice this year, but there is a definite feeling of security knowing it is there.

  • We kind of do this

    Our monthly bills come out of my husband’s paycheck, every 2 weeks. I average the utilities. Let’s say electricity: it’s about $1200/year, so I divided that by 26 (paychecks per year), which is about $46/paycheck. I put $60 into it’s own little savings account in Cap1-360, so it covers those big summer (A/C) bills and the big winter (electric heat) bills and plenty of wiggle room. The smaller bills, like Netflix, I don’t really save ahead on it. On my water bill, I just auto-send them $60/month and they apply extra to the next month, and I have at least a month credit there. Including our sinking funds and our $1k emergency fund, we have anywhere between $3k-4k in savings. It makes it VERY simple!! It took a while to set it all up, but it’s been worth it

  • We’ve been working so hard on getting our finances back on track:

    first with my own debts, right after FPU, and then with the revelation this summer that DH had some spending issues of his own. It just seemed …….. a step in the wrong direction. Yet it would definitely be equipment that we’ll end up buying anyway, at some point. And a sale is a sale is a sale. I’ve been going back and forth today a lot. Didn’t help that I talked to Dad about it (Dad being a big fan of old iron and old farms and a rare cheerleader for me when I’m down), and his pronouncement was “geez, honey, you’re not talking about that much money you know. I blow that much taking your mother to Vegas. And you’d get a working tractor out of it.” Gosh, Dad, that’s……..um, not helpful. We won’t be discussing it tonight, so I’ll just let it lie another day or two and see if anything changes on this, either in terms of my own thoughts or DH’s preferences. Y’all will of course be the first ones to know how it all shakes out. Gotta love Monday morning homework reports.

  • Sometimes you do have to spend money to make money

    If you can move money around and see where spending money on this auction can help bring you money in the future, then you should go forward, especially if you think you’ll be paying pennies on the dollar. THAT BEING SAID, I’m more like you, Kathryn, and would just stay home, but knowing my husband, he would want to go, and as much as I hate to admit it, sometimes you do have to spend money as uncomfortable as it is….This has been a particularly touchy subject in our household recently so I do understand where both of you are coming from.

  • I vote for putting your money into your bowling expenses

    This is where the winnings came from, and quite frankly, this gives you a tremendous amount of pleasure and you’re not going to stop playing. Why not just think of it as a lovely gift that’s been offered to you to offset future expenses? This way you can allocate your normal paycheck towards your every day bills and sinking funds, and still work on replenishing your BEF. You still have to have a life, Eldred! Consider it to be a wonderful present…

  • Well, the good news is that we did pretty well with Feb under our “new normal” budgeting process.

    I was very proud of us and DH in particular, because our instances of eating out (a particular weakness for him) went from “every day” to only three times, and one of those three times was our wedding anniversary. The other two times were a cafeteria meal for him when bringing his lunch didn’t happen for a variety of reasons. Some folks will recall that I hit the roof a few months back when I learned he was spending amazing amounts of money somewhere. It turned out that most of that was spending on food, so last month’s challenge was to eat from home, every single day. I think we did pretty well given it was our first month on that new plan. I’m also pleased that we hit most of the rest of our goals too – I nailed all my categories in terms of expected vs actual spending, so that feels pretty good. Even came in under by a smidgen in a few. Haven’t seen DH’s numbers yet but at least now we’re starting to share information back and forth. As recently as early August I wasn’t sure that was ever going to happen.
    The bad news is that we have a major blowup brewing this very morning, and the ridiculous part is that it’s unnecessary. At least I think it is. The couple from whom we bought our combine, is liquidating their entire collection of farm equipment, along with a bunch of other shop tools, household furniture, gun collection, hardware supplies, etc. That auction is this coming Saturday. If money were no object, DH and I could easily each spend several thousand $$$$ during that auction and come home feeling like it was Christmas morning. Ahh, but we can’t and we won’t and we’re already trying to figure out if we can spend anything there at all. The disagreement right now is two-fold; 1) whether to go to the auction at all, and 2) if we go, how much are we going to spend? Given our fragile financial situation, I’ve been tending to think we shouldn’t go at all. The thought of buying some really useful pieces of equipment, at pennies on the dollar, is certainly appealing. Appealing enough that I went ahead and prepared a “spending plan” just to see what the opportunities were, and if the long-term savings would justify the unexpected short-term expense. I should clarify here that this money would come out of a general savings fund which was earmarked for other stuff. So if we spent money on this auction, it won’t be available for those other anticipated future needs. (note to self; should start some kind of “liquidation/auction/estate sale sinking fund” for this type of situation!). After working the numbers, I’m actually OK with simply not going. Keep us from temptation, and we can buy the equipment we need, when money isn’t so scarce. DH, on the other hand, is stuck in the very uncomfortable place of knowing we shouldn’t spend money, yet wanting to anyway. More specifically, I can tell after being married for 12 years, that his inner kid very much wants to go that morning, with no plan in hand, and just spend whatever he wants to spend. He also wants to be able to spend for me, sweetheart that he is, particularly since it’s two days before my birthday. But that’s exactly the type of spending which has gotten us both into trouble in the past.
    As prep for our planned meeting on this topic this weekend, I had a list of the items I’d be bidding on if we went, along with the minimum/maximum market values, and how high my bid price would go before I’d stop. His “plan” was to not have a plan – to just go that morning and see what he felt like. When we talked about it yesterday, I presented my plan, and said clearly several times that if we fundamentally don’t want to spend the money, then let’s just not go. He said maybe three sentences during the whole meeting, and they were all asking me to clarify some part of my own spending plan. But he didn’t say a darn thing about what he wanted, what his priorities were, what his concerns were, none of it. He just got more and more mad, and we ended up not making a decision. So, that’s hanging over us for the week. We’ll talk about it in our weekly marriage counseling session this Wednesday. I guess he has more to work out on this topic than I do, so I’ll just be the watch-n-wait person on this one. I just hope he arrives at a decision he can live with. I guess next Monday we’ll have our answers.
    I was frustrated with this situation last night after the meeting, and again this morning. But I think now these are “growing pains” as we move away from who we used to be, towards who we want to be. Yea, there’s going to be some squirm factor as we run up against situations where our old selves are so sorely tempted to just “give in” and spend whatever we want. Hopefully this will be a good exercise in choosing not to go that route again, and instead making well-considered decisions, then sticking with them. So, perhaps folks can send us warm fuzzies of “resist temptation!” all week this week. We may need them.

  • Just some suggestions!

    When my kids were little, we let them know that Santa’s stuff isn’t free. If your parents have jobs, then Santa expects them to pay; it helps Santa have some things to give the kids whose parents don’t have jobs. And we had a limit per child of what we could give Santa.
    It helped hem get the concept. I remember explaining to my eldest–with the ADHD–that if he got everything on his list, the other 2 wouldn’t get anything, so how fair was that? He figured it out, and pared down the list. he was 7.

    As for allowance, we tried a dollar a week for each year of age, when we could afford it, but it really didn’t work; I’m sure we didn’t do something right!

    Birthday and Christmas money was easy: they had savings accounts at the credit union. Half of any gift money went into savings, and the rest was theirs. the idea was that when they were 16, they would have a good start for buying their first car. It was a worthy goal, and one that they could see as a good thing in the future. we did allow them to take money out for spending money the year we went to Disney World, and we matched that amount. And one of my sons wanted a drum kit, which we let him buy with his car money; later he didn’t have enough money for the car he wanted, and had to buy something that cost a little less. Certain items, we paid half and they paid half.

  • I absolutely love it

    We will be contributing some, but we have not worked out all of the details yet. And, we have not yet established an allowance for the kids. We are working on figuring out the best way to do that so that we can establish financial responsibility with them.

    What we have done is give him some spending money for a field trip at daycare and he gets to choose whether to spend it or save it. So, he has birthday money and he has a few dollars here and there from choosing to save. Of course, now that summer is over, so are the field trips.

    Right now, his concept of money is quite immature. He has a bunch of coins and he thought that he’d have enough to buy a whole new video game. When we counted it, it was less than 2 dollars, but he still didn’t understand that it wasn’t enough. His birthday money was 20 dollars from the grandparents and he has about 6 dollars from the tooth fairy. Add that to a few dollars here and there and he does have some money. I just feel bad about asking him to pay for the whole thing.

    So, I think that this idea might help him get the concept of what things actually cost. He does understand that we are trying to save money, but that’s about it.

    The next obstacle is that he still believes in Santa. When we say that we are saving money so something is too expensive for Christmas, his solution is that he’ll ask Santa to get it for him.

  • Why not make a goal thermometer, such as the one attached, to chart his progress?

    Matter of fact, I would find a picture of a DS and make my own chart out of the DS image with tick marks to denote his progress toward saving for a repair.

    Is he to save up/cut out items for the entire amount? Or will there be some parental contribution of money versus in-kind contributions such as the money you didn’t spend on snacks at the grocery store? I ask because I would use different colors to denote where the money comes from. Red might be his birthday money contribution, Green might be a certain percentage of his allowance (I forget the word Dave Ramsey uses), Purple might be the money he saved by not buying snacks and blue might be the money mom and dad contributed because you want to see him progress toward his goals. He can tell by the percentage of color, where his money is coming from.

    If he’s not paying for his snacks now, he won’t get the full concept of you not paying for the snacks unless you put the money in his hand so he can save it for the repair. I would probably take him to the grocery store, have cash on hand and when he doesn’t get an item he usually gets, put the cash for that item in his hand right in the grocery store. Then he can count up that money when he gets home, and color in his chart for that much money saved.

  • So, my son’s DS broke

    We originally purchased it used on Ebay for Christmas last year. The parts got wet. He had it in a bag for a field trip for daycare and the water bottle leaked. So, it is not like he was irresponsible, but it is broken. We have attempted a few thngs ourselves, but nothing has worked so we contacted the company. We can get it fixed for 85 dollars.

    We’d like to use this as a teaching lesson for my son. He is 7. We want to show him the process of saving up for the repair. We’ll talk to him about cutting out some things like sweats etc. from the grocery bill and have him pitch in 20 dollars of his birthday money. But, I’d really like him to understand the process and the importance of not paying for something unless you cut out costs elsewhere.

    Anyone have any child friendly ideas for getting this across. My son does have ADHD and so his understand of some common sense things (like time) is behind a typical child. So, maybe think of a 5 year old.

    I’m thinking of a chart and maybe an envelope and having him count and chart it, but I can’t quite visualize the best kind of chart to use.

  • Good catch!

    Yes, Hal is saying the right stuff. I hope you didn’t sign up for membership, but if you did call the main company, not just your upline and cancel it. If you get any products in the mail, call for an RMA return number immediately and return them asap. If you get any biz aids that maybe charged for, return it to the main company not your upline. If it’s just a catalog or spam stuff throw them in the trash. These guys are sneaky at best. Don’t give them too many reasons why you quit. They will try to get you back and are so brain washed they think what they do is nothing wrong. They can’t handle to much information. Be short and sweet and to the point.

    Good luck and thanks for your military support! I married into an army family so I know what it can be like.

  • I was almost recruited by an ACN rep too

    I think ACN is among the most likely to catch people, because as you say, it does seem legit. Indeed, their service IS legit – reselling telecommunications. Then you find out the whole thing is one big MLM. Their legality has been (unsuccessfully) challenged by the Australian and Canadian governments. They slip through because they claim that the product is the focus, and the residuals are the main source of income, when in fact the major money is made (by very few) by relentless recruiting.

  • Be careful

    Make sure you didn’t sign up for autoship – you need to cancel that seperately. I have known some situations(gym memberships) where cancelling the credit card is not sufficient. They can still ding your credit if the payment does not go through. Make sure your membership with ACN is cancelled.

  • almost got me!!

    i am a san diego resident currently serving in the u.s. navy. i signed up for the acn mlm. i thought this was my big break because i have seen alot of marketing scemes throughout my days but this one seemed legit. i signed for the enrollment fee of 499. and when i got home i decided to do research because it was kinda odd that they wanted my cr3dit card numbers and the numbers on the back of my credit card!! no one ever asked for the number on the back unless i were purchasing something online. so when i did my research i found that acn isnt all that its cracked up to be. so i immediately canceled my credit card!!
    thanks google!! lol

  • This probably has absolutely nothing to do with finances

    but it was enough of a “wow” story that I figured I’d share. I was driving along home from the field, and had just turned onto Bunk Foss Road from Hwy 9. I saw a Snohomish County sheriff’s cruiser coming towards me, normal speeds, no lights or anything. My first thought (of course) was to glance down to make sure I wasn’t speeding. But when I looked up, I saw something horrible – I saw the silhouette of a handgun being held to the officer’s ear as he drove past me. Holy Crap?!?!?! It was just a split second but the shape was very distinctive. And then he’d gone past me.

    My first thought was “hmmm, maybe they simply carry a spare handgun on that plexiglass panel between front and back seats……” I thought about that for just a moment and it seemed very implausible to me. I thought another second or two, and thought was there anything else that shape could have been? And I started to get a sick feeling that there really weren’t too many other things it might have been. So I pulled over and called 911.

    The guy on the phone was very good, he got as much detail as he could, what I’d seen, what I hadn’t seen, what the cruiser looked like, which agency, etc etc. And within about two minutes, I heard sirens screaming towards me from two different directions. I said “I can hear sirens. Are they coming for me?” And the guy said yes, they’re coming to check this out and they’re going to want to talk to you. So when they get there, tell me and I’ll get off the phone and let you talk to them.” Alrighty then.

    In the next two minutes, I had no fewer than a dozen cars show up and surround my truck. When I heard the first one coming I thought I’d just go ahead and get out of the truck, with empty hands, so that there was absolutely no question what my intentions were. The first guy on the scene came up to me and started to ask me, very nicely but intently, to repeat what I’d told the 911 guy. So I did. As I told the story again, more cruisers and SUVs and other LE vehicles continued to pour in, and a police helicopter appeared overhead and just parked there. Several other officers came up and they started talking about various rollcalls, and whether I was SURE it was a Snoho County car, or perhaps another black/white car. I said I was sure it was black and white, but I didn’t see the city/town/county on the side. A King County car, with very similar markings, showed up and the guy was on the radio the whole time. The officer who had first talked to me stayed with me as folks continued to report to him.

    I’m glad to report that we think we know what happened, and it has a happy ending. A Snoho county sheriff’s deputy, in his car, was on Bunk Foss Road at the time of the “incident”, and he was on his CELL PHONE talking to the guy who was actually talking to me, at the approximate time of what I saw. He was definitely on that road, at that moment, and we would have crossed. And here’s the kicker. For whatever reason, police officers tend to hold the phone away from their heads while driving, and most agencies have folding phones. So if the phone was held at the right angle, at the right distance, with the right back lighting, it would have looked a heckuva lot like a handgun being held to the ear. PBCLoans Inc. payday loans, bad credit OK! All said and done, I was there for about 10 minutes as we sorted out what happened. Most of the cars drove off as the roll call continued, but by the time I left we were pretty sure everyone was accounted for. My new BFF, Deputy Poole, was a very nice guy and he thanked me repeatedly for calling it in. He said they’d always rather that folks call in something like that, and have it be a false alarm, than have someone not go home that night.

    So, I have a new friend. Heck, I think right now most of the sheriff’s dept is pretty pleased with me. Perhaps I interrupted their normal afternoon, but they were pleased I thought enough of them to call in a possible officer in distress. As he was leaving, I told Dept Poole to make sure to tell that guy, DON”T DRIVE AND TALK ON THE CELL PHONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • In answer to your question –

    1. Corruption is not the issue as much as the odds being stacked against you. Its more an issue with the MLM model itself.

    2. If you google around, you will find some anti-mlm sites that have developed a 5 red flag test you can apply to your particular MLM. The rest depends on you – who you choose to believe.

  • My standard policy is that you can use my work as long as

    1) I’m given due credit, including contact info (I prefer hal@…), 2) that what I write, or part of what I write, is not taken out of context, and 3) That it is in NO WAY used to support an MLM.

    So if I read you correctly, that you are using it as an anti-MLM post/blog, that’s fine with me. I’m just greedy enough to want credit for it.

    I have a lot of other posts where I’ve taken apart or commented on various things in MLM and you’re welcome to use them if you feel like dredging through the archives.

    After thinking about it, I realize I also forgot the context. If they’re trying to put on a good show and have worn shoes or signs of wear on their suit or good clothes, then yes, that’s a sure give-away.
    I’m so rarely in such situations (and like to avoid them) that I tend to forget about such settings. Heck, I don’t think I even wore a tie to my Father’s funeral. (He knew how much I hated them!)

  • If you’re savy with that?

    It was primarily to talk about my thoughts on Amway, but lately, I’ve focussed my critical eye on TEAM.

    I wouldn’t want to do it without your permission though.

    I agree that someone’s shoes are NOT a good benchmark as to someone’s level of success. I know some folk who don’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of wearing designer custom shoes.

    I also know one millionaire in particular who wears consistently what some would refer to as $hit kickers.

  • My first goal is to get this karate school going

    we finally have the keys. We need to get it cleaned up, painted and everything we have been collecting will go there and get out of my house and storage—DH has taken over the house and I can’t find anything or do any productive cleaning.

    then, I want to do a good declutter of what is left in the house and clean. That will improve everyone’s health and decrease the stress levels.

  • Question of the day

    What change can you make right now that will improve your life next week? Next month? Next year?

    Actually had to mull this one over a bit. Don’t laugh, but I think it would be get the office and basement completely cleaned and organized. If those two were done I could pretty well go about my day to day activities unhindered by having to stop and look for stuff and be far more creative for our business.

  • On the subject of change

    A very wise man told me when I started using the internet all those years ago to NEVER forget that there is a real live human being on the other end and to be sure I didn’t say or do anything that I wouldn’t do if I were face to face with them.

    I’ve tried, not always succeeded since emails lose context – however, I’ve tried – and never put anything in writing that you don’t want to come right back at you!

  • Last year

    I bought a 20 year old mini-van and a 11 year old car for my son. We paid $1600 for each of them. The van hasn’t needed anything other than a brake job. The car needed some body-work and recently got a brake job too. We’ve put $3000 in the car total. The car does not have the original motor, so I don’t know how many miles it has on it, but the body has almost 190k and the van is just behind it at 187k. If I were in your shoes, I’d drive the van every mile that it has left in it because it’s going to be a $500 trade-in, no matter if it has 215k miles or 315k miles and on 4 bald tires and no clear coat and the windshield wipers don’t work.
    If you have $5k in savings, keep it and when the transmission goes (it will), you’ll be ready to have it rebuilt for $1500. Hopefully later than sooner. If you can add $50-100/month to this fund, when you’re debt-free or the van gives it’s final mile, you might not have to buy another beater to replace it.

  • I need to figure out how to pay for a car

    I have five kids, and one is graduating high school this year, and another a year later. One have two vehicles, one is a mini-van that has 215,000 miles on it, the other is a full size van that has 86,000 miles on it. Both are paid for. But the mini-van is showing its age.While I can handle doing maintenance, the costs are soon going to outweigh the benefits of keeping it, and I need to replace it, or at least get another on hand for when it gives out.

    We try to put all the miles on the mini van, and save the full size van for family outings and vacations to keep the miles low on it, and reduce out fuel bill a bit. So my daughter uses the mini-van for school and work, and since I work third shift I use it for work as well since it is opposite hours.

    She is working to save up for a car, and we are not sure what strategy we want to use to purchase one. I am counseling her that a loan can cost more money than it is worth. So I am thinking that she can save up and pay cash for a cheap car, then save up to pay cash for a nicer car later on. The challenge for her will be college costs. We are working on financing strategies for college from scholarship awards, to less expensive colleges, or even going to school on line.

    But the challenge is going to be for me to get a car to replace the mini-van. I don’t have the cash saved up to pay cash for one, and I really don’t want to stop, or reduce my snowball to get a car. I am wondering what some others have done to pay for a more reliable, less mileage car for everyday use. We don’t want luxury, but we don’t want a piece of crap that needs a lot of maintenance and is worn out either. I was thinking about maybe a higher mileage (but under 150,000 miles) Honda accord or Civic. I think the target price is in the $5,000-$10,000 range. So I am open to suggestions on how to do this. Maybe I will have to take a set back on my debt paydown?

  • If a home’s taxes are based on

    it’s value and not on whether it’s paid off this does not make sense. In Louisiana taxes are based on the home’s assessment (value). I am very pumped about getting the stinkin’ mortgage paid more than anything else. That will certainly make our shovel bigger to throw at retirement and a little bit of fun.

  • On the ARM is there a restriction on

    how often they could bump it or the percentage points they are allowed to increase? What would the costs be for the re-fi, were you going to be able to pay those costs up-front or fold it into the loan? Think when I started on this house it was something like 8.25 or 8.75, did refinance it but never got to the low, low rates that have been available, 6 was about the best I ever had. Paid for now and Jan is right, makes a major difference when you retire if you don’t have that payment.

  • We switched to a 15 year in 2014

    when rates dropped after 9/11 and are most thankful we did now. Not only did it at that time drop our interest by 3% and saved us a minimum of $110,000 by just doing that it also put us at being finished with the mortgage one way or another by the time dh is going to retire. Do you plan on working another 30 year? lets try www.essaydig.com – write my essay online service. I can tell you even with all we’ve put back in 401K, IRA and ha-ha social security if we had to make a house payment dh couldn’t retire.

  • My interest rate with the fixed 15-year would be 4%

    On a 30 year it would be almost 5%. So that’s another thing to think about. The benefit with Churchill that I might not get with others is they wouldn’t need to do an appraisal. Since I’m borderline underwater, the lack of an appraisal is a good thing. Although I think she mentioned it was through the HARP program, which might be available through another lender as well…

  • I will tell you what we have done

    We did a 30 fixed when we moved to our town about 14 years ago but ALWAYS paid extra, about 10% of the whole payment (principle, interest, escrow) got added every month. We treated that increased amount as our house payment. We refi-ed a couple of years in because interest rates had dropped so much and got a 15 year fixed for about the same amount as the original 30 year fixed. We continued paying extra, same format, as before.

    When we bought our current home in Sept. of 2011 we went with a 15 year fixed. We pay extra on this in the same manner.

    All this paying extra was already in place long before we started DR. We are in a different place than you. Find out what is available. Check rates other places. When we bought in ‘11 our “home” bank where we had had a mortgage for 11 years could not TOUCH what we got at another bank where we have part of our FFEF. It pays to check around.

  • I switched from a 30 year to a 15 year in 2008

    2023 still seems a long way off – hopefully the Farm and sheep will help me pay it off before then. In my case, my payment went up by $50 so I pay 750.00 but I got behind last year with my divorce shenanigans so I have to pay an additional $312 until August 1st. Its rough going, but I’ll get there. Then when I’ve paid off the CCs, I will use that money for the mortgage and hope to be able to make between 2 – 3 extra full payments a year. It IS nice to see the amount owed coming down nicely.

  • Possible refinance

    I’m on an ARM with a current interest rate of 3%. I spoke to a lady from Churchill Mortgage yesterday and I can get a 15-year fixed at about $1070. My current payment is $805. So that’s a big jump, comparatively. My other alternative would be to get a 30-year with a payment of about $740. The lady said that if I got the 30-year, I could always pay more. But I know the tendency is NOT to do that, so I’m leaning towards stretching to make the 15-year payment. Opinions, suggestions?

  • I used TaxAct online last year and I’m going with it again this year

    It’s as good as TurboTax and the basic version is free (this includes the ability to file electronically). The premium version is $13. I paid for it this year because it will pull last year’s data into this year’s filing. I don’t know anything about filing state income taxes because we don’t have that in Texas.

    Last year I used the two side-by-side and they came up with the same answers, but I found TaxAct to be slightly less tedious to use.
    TurboTax online is free, but to file electronically with it costs money, so once I was convinced that TaxAct had done its job, I used it to do the filing and kissed TurboTax goodbye.

    My one complaint is that it will import electronic W2’s from just one source, and that’s not what our employers use. So I had to type it all in (it’s not that much typing but I like to eliminate human error where I can).