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Posts tagged with: income

November!

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I’ve updated the numbers.  Although you won’t see a huge drop I am very relieved that I did not add new debt.  October was expensive.  I used the debit card WAY too much and went WAY off budget…..BUT not so far off that I used a credit card.  Whew.

Beginning today, I am back on the strict cash only and updating the budget spreadsheet.  You’ll notice that my emergency fund is back down again.  I ended up filing taxes “married, filing separately” and it cost me more money than anticipated.  I took it from the Emergency Fund.  I now have a new challenge in front of me because I adjusted my federal tax withholding to be better prepared for 2012 taxes than I was for 2011 taxes so my monthly income has been reduced by $300.  I’m making adjustments in the budget but am a bit frustrated that this means less money can go toward debt.  On the upside, I am making extra income pretty consistently with the side business.  I remain optimistic that it will always work out!

And so we head into the month of thankfulness!   If my divorce is indeed finalized this month, I will be most thankful!


More Info About Me

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There’s so much to share! We’ll get there with time but after reading some comments today I do want to let everyone know a little bit more about who…and where…I am! I live in the San Antonio, Texas area…so urban to answer that question…even though it IS Texas and many people think that Texas is synonymous with rural. 🙂

My husband and I both work outside the home and make a very good combined income. I don’t know that I am ready to share the number just based on what milk and ramen created in the comments! If some of you see our combined income I really may have to go into hiding for a few weeks while the cyber-tomatoes are thrown at me!!! I’ll get there….I promise.   I am battling through some shame on that front at this time.

Thank you for the cell phone comments and insurance queries b/c these are two areas that I can stand up and say we are getting the best possible deal out there! My husband works for a major telecom company so our cell phones cannot get any cheaper courtesy of his employee discount. Yay! Thanks for the reminder that this is a big area to give thanks in! I tell my hubby that his employer was absolutely in the top 10 reasons I fell in love with him…because I never have to deal with a cell phone customer service rep again! I have horror stories of battling them on billing errors or a malfunctioning phone and I am thrilled that now I can just hand the phone to hubby and not deal with that mess! As for insurance–that’s my industry so we are good on that front too! I don’t sell insurance mind you–I am employed by a major insurance carrier so I am confident in my understanding in this area and confidence creates better decisions, doesn’t it?

That’s it for now–while I can’t respond to each and every post, I am definitely reading them and thought these issues warranted this post!


Save Money by Staying at Home?

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The question has come up a few times about staying at home with my son rather than working and paying for daycare. There are books about the true costs of working rather than staying at home and admittedly, they are high. Daycare, work clothes, gasoline, car maintenance – they all add up. Anyone who files an online tax return knows that there are lots of deductions that can be taken for work-related expenses but still, they aren’t always enough. So why don’t I stay home?

Our mortgage is more than 50% of our income.

My husband and I make nearly the same salary. The math is pretty easy on that one.

Would I stay home if we lived in an apartment? Unlikely. We wouldn’t have daycare expenses, but we’d have to squeeze out rent and healthcare from our current budget and it’s tight as is.

Once we finish paying off debt, we’re looking at two options: 1 – Hubby finds better employment or 2 – We move out of state.

Being debt free has always been so far in the future, we never had to think too seriously on either front. Now that we’re two months away, we are starting to consider both options. Once we save up our 3 – 6 months of expenses, we’ll make the leap.


Mortgage Ratios…

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I was listening to Dave Ramsey last night while taking Hutch for a run and was flabbergasted as a man told Dave he couldn’t survive on what he was making. The man was pulling in just over $6,000 net each month and was carrying a $2,400 mortgage.

Dave said it was a tight budget but he should be able to survive on it.

‘Are you absolutely kidding me?!?!?’ I shouted as I ran.

I can’t imagine these kinds of outbursts make me popular with the neighbors – nor does it give them any sort of confidence in my sanity… but what else is new?

Without giving away too much about our income or mortgage amount, I’ll just put it this way, my husband and I make less than $6,000 net a month and our payment on the first mortgage alone is more than $2,400 a month. Not only do we survive on this, we reduce debt – and we’ve been doing it for two years.

Forgive me for being callus, but if you can’t survive on $3,600 a month after paying a mortgage, there’s a bigger problem than the mortgage.

BUT, I’m trying to change my paradigm and reduce the judgmental side of my personality. Do you need more than $3,600 to survive after your mortgage is paid? If so, why? (Not counting any medical problems or child care. The guy didn’t have medical problems and didn’t pay for child care)


Harassed by HAMP?

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Bank of America left a flurry of voicemail messages over the weekend.

*Beep* Rebekah, this is Bank of America calling about the HAMP program…
*Beep* Hi, this is Bank of America. We’re calling about the paperwork…
*Beep* Rebekah, please return our call at 877…

If Bank of America were an ex-boyfriend, I’d have a restraining order by now.

On Saturday, after the third phone call, I finally picked up.

“Hello Rebekah. This is Carol from Bank of America. I’d like to walk you through the application package we mailed to you last week. Have you had a chance to complete it and mail it to us?”

‘Carol’ kept me on the phone for nearly 30 minutes explaining what I had to do to get approved for the program. I find it incredibly odd that two years after my first application, they are ‘coming to my rescue’.

Did they come to my rescue when I lost my job? Did they help when I had to take a job making more than 30% less? How about when my husband lost his job and our mortgage payment was 115% of our income?

Not a peep.

The came to ‘save’ me now…two years later. Two years of not one late payment despite everything.

To add insult to injury, I received another copy of the package yesterday as a ‘back-up copy’ in case the first copy didn’t get to me.

I don’t understand why B of A is suddenly taking an interest in me – and only after I got my head above water.

I didn’t think it was possible to lose more respect for Bank of America.

Turns out…

It is.

Is Bank of America saving me? Or am I saving them?


The Goodwill Experiment…

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Around once every other month, I purchase an article of clothing for work. I don’t spend more than $20 or $30 and this purchase cycle generally keeps up with the speed I wear out clothing. I would likely be tempted to purchase more but my husband and I share an 8 foot wide closet. There is only so much clothing I can squeeze into 4 feet of space – trust me, I’ve tried.

This cycle has always worked for me… until now.

My washer stained a huge load of clothing. When all you own is three pairs of business slacks and the washer wipes one out, your wardrobe is suddenly reduced by 33%.

I think my washer is out to get me.

My budget is slim this month thanks to Hutch’s aftercare (we’re paying cash for all his aftercare to avoid financing it) and I robbed my clothing budget. Not exactly the best time for my washer to be vengeful.

My husband would have understood if I asked to take some money from our debt payment this month so I could buy new clothes but based on the ratio of income to spending this month, that’s not a good idea. So… I decided to go to Goodwill and shop for clothes.

I have never shopped for clothing at a thrift store. Why? Because thrift store shopping requires a huge dose of patience mixed with equal parts humility.

I have neither.

I won’t lie to you and say it was just like shopping at Macy’s. But the staff was sweet and kind (definitely not Macy’s!) and helped me locate the sections I should start looking in. I found two skirts I can wear to work and a cute Hawaiian skirt for $2.99! My total bill? $12.97.

As weird as it is to say… I’m going to rotate Goodwill into my shopping. Check out my goods!

Have you shopped at a thrift store? What’d you think?



On a side note – Hutch is getting a little better each day. He still sleeps on his back to keep the pressure off his poor tummy but the swelling has gone down drastically in the last 2 days. Whew!


Let’s talk about life insurance…

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I’ve never looked in to life insurance before but I’m at the point in my life that an unexpected death could ruin the finances of those I love. After a few months of nagging from my husband, I finally made the call to our agent.

If you haven’t searched for life insurance before, here’s a quickie…

My insurance agent now knows more about me than my husband. Yup, it can be that personal.

They asked questions about medications, smoking habits, age, height, and weight. When I answered the weight question, my agent replied, ‘According to our system, you are 13 pounds underweight.’

‘I’ll buy it!’ I shouted.

Hmm. Perhaps computer generated flattery isn’t the best reason to purchase insurance…but I won’t judge you if you consider it part of the equation.

Once we sign the paperwork later this week, our agent will send a nurse to our home to ensure the accuracy of the information submitted and to run tests on cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. While my blood pressure has always run very low, I’ve never had my cholesterol or blood sugar measured. I guess this means I will be eating spinach and blueberries while running for the next 5 days.

Things you should consider before getting life insurance:

1. Have a goal – it will help you figure out how much you need. Know what you want to fund with your insurance proceeds. Do you want to pay off your mortgage? Fund your kid’s college? Provide income replacement for your spouse?
2. Buy it sooner rather than later. Life insurance makes significant jumps in five year blocks. If you are about to hit 30, 35, 40, 45, etc, get it before you do.

3. Research the type of insurance you need. My husband and I settled on Term life insurance with a fixed premium for 30 years. It’s cheap, especially for those in good health, and will provide the peace of mind we need while we are trying to reduce debt.

4. Quit smoking. You should quit smoking for lots of reasons, but smokers pay exceptionally high premiums.


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