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Focus Loan

May 23rd, 2013 at 07:32 pm

Another $500 to the Focus loan...that takes us down to $3475.00.

It's exciting to think next month we will be under 3K!

It's looking good to have this paid off in December Smile

Under 4K!

May 8th, 2013 at 08:15 am

On the Focus loan...barely...but still under at $3975.00. It's so great to see that balance go down! We continue to pay $500 a month and that means it will be paid off in December as planned. It also means that this loan will have been paid off in under 2 years.

We are also just under $125K on the mortgage too!

Love seeing the numbers go DOWN Smile

Another $25 rebate

May 1st, 2013 at 08:22 am

Towards the mortgage principal. This is the 2nd rebate we have earned!

It's funny, because we have never been "big" credit card users. This is mainly the result of Christmas spending and pre-paying our July vacation. We also have our Dish bill on there. Any time we do want to use credit, we are using that card, rather than the Capital One. We also pay it off every month.

Might as well get something out of it!

Focus loan

April 18th, 2013 at 08:25 pm

Sent $500 to the Focus loan yesterday...that will take us below $4K!

Also sent some receipts to FSA...$45 (misc: co-pay, prescriptions, and a small lab bill) and $160 for contacts. Now I wish I would have done more. I will be done soon with my FSA as I only did $300 this year....now I wish I would have done more. It always seems to work like that....one year I almost didn't use it all up as expenses were low. This year isn't particularly expensive, but I just realized I have been wanting a new pair of glasses and I should have planned better as I could have put what wasn't covered by the insurance towards that. Bummer

Money going out.....

April 14th, 2013 at 08:11 pm

Paid the dreaded (and unexpected) taxes yesterday to the tune of almost $2000.

Tomorrow I will be sending $500 to the Focus loan...that will take us under $5000!

The Visa bill will be due on Friday (which I pay online) of about $800. That is the payment I had our travel agent charge at the beginning of the month. One more $800 charge and payment and our Kauai trip will be paid for in full (air, resort-including breakfast everyday, car, and trip insurance).

Even though it is money going OUT, it is a good feeling knowing that car loan will be paid off in December, and that our trip is also paid for. Paying the bulk of the trip expenses AHEAD of time, definately makes for a more enjoyable vacation in my opinion.

The good, the bad, and the ugly

April 2nd, 2013 at 05:45 pm

I will start with the ugly....we owe taxes...to the tune of approx $2000 between federal and state. The main reason is we lost DD1 as a dependent, due to accounts she has to pay her college expenses....a UGTMA and a trust....we also lost the education credit and the american opportunity act credit. Add to the fact our with-holdings were out of whack. This is the first time in years we have owed. Bummer.

The bad....the savings account will take a hit Frown

The good.....we have the money to pay for it!

To avoid this in the future....we have adjusted our with-holdings and increased our 401K/SEP IRA's.

We may get a couple of those credits back next year (for 2013) as DD2 will be entering college this fall.

We will see.

Another very important reason to have an emergency fund.....I am thankful we do!

1st quarter progress

April 1st, 2013 at 07:59 pm

CC Free got me thinking after she posted her 1st quarter progress.

I didn't have a lot of financial goals for 2013, but, for the ones we do have, here's how we have been doing:

Paid off SUV loan
Increased DH's 401 contribution to 14%
Increased my SEP IRA contribution also (although that doesn't appear on my sidebar).

Already thinking ahead to 2014. Our house will be 16 years old this June.

We imagine next year and in the next few years, needing a new roof, possibly replacing the hot water tank, and possibly replacing the furnace and air conditioner. Our house has been painted...that will not need to be done.

Also, we will need to replace the carpets at some point. All 4 bedrooms have carpet, as well as the family room, and living/dining room. We will hold off on this for a while though, mainly because the carpets are in pretty darn good shape for being 16 years old. We don't wear shoes in the house, and I think that helps. We also want to wait as our cat (who is 14) vomits sometimes, and almost always on the carpets instead of the hardwoods...go figure. We used to get the carpets professionally cleaned once a year, but last year, decided to invest in our own carpet cleaner. I think it has been well worth the cost (a couple of hundred bucks). We also have a hand held smaller carpet cleaner for spot cleaning. I also think that was a good investment.

So another goal, I think, is to start a seperate account for the household maintenance that is going to be coming up. I really don't want to tap into the home equity line. To me, that is just too tempting to go hog wild and just get it all done at once and be done with it.

No thanks, think we will try to save cash for it!

Mortage payment and mortgage rebate

March 1st, 2013 at 06:32 pm

Made the regular payment of $918 to the mortgage today and did an extra $82 towards the principal for a total of $1000.

We also received notice from our Wells Fargo credit card that our first $25 rebate will be applied to the principal payment in about 4 weeks.

We applied for this card when we refinanced back in Sept. They give us 1% of every purchase and when you reach $25, they will make a principal payment to your loan.

We have reached this first rebate rather quickly as we have a few re-occuring bills on the card, bought DD2 her graduation present at Christmas time (holding it until graduation)and we have charged our airline tickets, rental car, travel insurance, and a partial deposit for our Kauai trip in July. We will continue to charge a bit of the remaining vacation balance on it each month until June (when any remaining balance will be due in full).

We figure why not use the card when we want to charge something and get something back? As long as we pay it off in full each month, I think it is great!

Focus loan under 5K

February 20th, 2013 at 08:16 am

The check I sent last week cleared last night....we are now at $4957.91.

The plan is to send $500 a month and have it paid off in December.

Fingers crossed we can do it!

SUV loan paid off!

February 19th, 2013 at 02:33 pm

Yipee! The check finally shows online as pending...should clear tonight!

I did it!

February 13th, 2013 at 08:08 am

Sent the remaining $500 on Tuesday to the SUV loan...hopefully by the end of the week it will post....and then I can post the loan is actually paid off! Yahoo!

Exciting week ahead SA friends....

February 10th, 2013 at 08:37 pm

Yes...it will be very exciting as we are paying my car off! I plan to send the payment on Tuesday and it should take just a couple of days for it to process.

Then...on to DH's car loan! For Feb, I plan to send about $350. This will put us at just under $5000. Then the plan is to send $500 per month and that should have the car paid off at the end of 2013.

With the extra money we will be saving, we plan to send extra on the mortgage...our current payment is $918, so we will make additional principal payment starting in March that will make it an even $1000 per month for now. Perhaps in 2014 after DH's car is paid off, we can send even more.

We would also like to increase retirement savings. We will be evaluating that too.

It's my birthday today!

February 7th, 2013 at 08:19 am

My gift to myself? Better health this year....AND.... being debt free except for the mortgage by the end of the year...I am so excited for next week. We will be paying my car off!

Oh...and we had a no spend day yesterday!


February 3rd, 2013 at 05:49 pm

Had a nice and relaxing weekend. We saw 2 movies...Impossible...highly recommend this one! We also saw Silver Linings Playbook....got into this one free since DD2 was working Smile

Speaking of DD2, she is really enjoying her job at the theater! She is also enjoying the money Smile A proud mom moment....DD said her friend (who has worked there for a while now), overheard the managers talking about DD and how much they liked her. Warms my heart. She is pretty much getting 10-13 hours a week...mostly weekends, but that is how it is when you are low man on the totem pole.

Working on planning our Kauai trip...we have paid the air fare, rental car, trip insurance, and a deposit. We are now just trying to narrow down where we want to stay. Pretty much think we are going to do a condo. There is one "resort" type place we are considering, where if you pay extra, you can get a buffet breakfast every morning. However, that is an extra $160 than if you don't get it... a condo has always been in the running, and I am quite sure we can do breakfast for 7 days cheaper than $160! Hoping there will be a cooler in the condo so we can pack a lunch everyday while we are out exploring, or just eating at the condo if we want pool time. I'm not going to cook dinner...that's my one thing I put my foot down on. I don't however, mind getting a pizza one night, or even doing fast food one night...that will help cut the cost down too. Trying to stay frugal while planning a spendy vacation is going to take a little planning...I don't mind though...I'm up for it! Just happy and blessed we are able to go.

On track to being debt free by the end of 2013

January 27th, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Except for the mortgage!

My car will be paid off in the middle of February.

We have been paying extra every month on DH's car, but, in February, will start sending $500 a month. This is more than double the actual payment required per month.

With my car being paid off, we are pondering what to do with the extra money every month.

Some idea's

More to savings
Extra to mortgage
Increase contributions to DH's 401K and/or my SEP IRA through work.

More than likely we will do a combo of these.

We will however, need to be thinking ahead about our vacation to Kauai at the end of July. We will put the vacation expenses on our Wells Fargo card to earn points towards principal mortgage rewards, but will definately want to pay the card off as we are booking hotel/condo, air, and car rental in the next few months.

Small raise & DH bonus

January 18th, 2013 at 07:49 pm

Today I had my annual review. It went well. I was surprised to receive a raise....only 1%....I wasn't expecting anything, especially since they put a freeze on raises for everyone last year.

We had a lot of changes at the office last year, most of which was good, but are still feeling things out and I think they are just being careful. Dr felt bad he couldn't offer more and said it just didn't seem right (I've been there 14 years)...in this day and age, I am just happy to have a job...a job that I get to go to every day with NO drama what so ever and no backstabbing co-workers...I count myself blessed!

We did receive a bonus at Christmas (which we always do) and it was $200 more than 2011...that certainly helps a bit to make up for the small raise.

DH also received his $750 perfect attendance bonus. That went straight into savings for now.

Almost a no spend day....spent $1.00

January 7th, 2013 at 06:06 pm

On a tip at my coffee drive through .I had filled my punch card up and was due a free drink, so I put a $1 into the tip jar.

$11.50 and now saving $17/month

January 4th, 2013 at 02:46 pm

The $11.50 is the current "rebate" balance on our new Wells Fargo credit card. We only have one other credit card...Capital One of which we have no problems with. When we refinanced last year, Wells Fargo offered up their credit card. They give you 1% on every purchase and after you reach $25, it is credited to the principal balance of your mortgage. Since we don't do credit card rewards, this seemed ideal. We are moving back from Capital One and using the WF card when we charge something....why not, I say? Every bit helps! We are uncertain if we will keep Capital One. We don't carry credit card balance so I am not sure that we need 2. Just don't want our credit scores to take a hit if we cancel...currently we are around 850 for both of us. I wonder how much of a hit we would take? Any thoughts? The only reason I can think to keep it would be that the credit limit is a little over double what the WF card is.

Also, FINALLY getting rid of AOL to the tune of $17 a month...this has been on my list of things to do for far too long....DH finally got on me last night and asked me to switch to either yahoo or gmail. He will then cancel AOL saving us $17 a month. Should have done this sooner as there was really no reason not too other than the fact it seemed too daunting....in the end, it really wasn't. Again...every little bit helps!

And so it "might" begin

January 3rd, 2013 at 01:51 pm

I had a day off today as I needed to use 1 vacation day before 1/4/2013....we are allowed to carry over 40 hours of unused PTO to our anniversary date. Nice that it is not the new year instead. With the holidays and other co-workers schedules, today was the only day that worked....no big deal...I worked Monday, off Tuesday, worked Wednesday, off Thursday, and half day Friday...not a bad week Smile

DH called from work today....it is his second day back after his company shut down for the holidays. It looks like some kind of time off and/or furloughs are going to happen. At this point it is not exactly clear when....could happen at the end of the month. He said they are talking about a week off every month through possibly April...it could end up being a couple of days every month. Hopefully we will hear soon.

Spending will definately be watched! Luckily with the holiday's over, we really don't have any needs (material wise that is). It was actually hard to come up with what was wanted and needed for Christmas presents when asked anyway.

We still plan on paying off my car in February....no question about that. What we send (extra) to DH's car will be discussed as we hear further information about any time off.

2013 Goals

January 1st, 2013 at 05:34 pm


Pay off SUV loan of $1000. Should be able to accomplish by mid February.

Pay off Ford Focus loan: $6000.00.

Savings to $30,000

Pay before we leave: A trip to Washington DC this summer (July or Aug)

Increase DH's contribution to his 401K from 12% to 15%

I think these are all attainable....we will have to see what the early months bring in terms of DH's work....since work has been closed since 12/24, DH goes back tomorrow....who knows if and when they might announce a slow down....you never know with this company...it may not even happen at all.

More on personal goals in a seperate post

Happy New Year everyone!

DD2 got her 1st job!

December 28th, 2012 at 11:29 am

DH and I are very excited for her...as well as she is! She will be working at a movie chain. She had paperwork and some training on Thursday and today (Friday) is her first day!

There are some perks too....when she see's a movie, she can get 1 person in free....we also found out that her manager decided that if your child is working on a particular day, the parents can get in free! She says that extra perk seems to really help the kids (high school I imagine) really focus and are great workers...she wants to thank the parents for being supportive....I've never met her, but I think I really like her Smile She also gets a discount on concessions.

She also gave everyone 2 free guest passes....we hope to use these this weekend to see Les Meserables....with the 2 free passes, and DD2 being able to get one of us in free...DD1 can come with us.

Once she gets her first paycheck, we will go to the bank and have her open up a student account.

Excitement tampered by disbelief

December 14th, 2012 at 08:51 pm

Today was our office Christmas party....we also received our bonus's....I was really happy and excited to receive $1400! $200 more than last year.

Our festivities were dampened by the tragedy in CT. I am in just such disbelief. You may have heard about the shooting in the mall in Portland, earlier this week? That's one of "my" malls. A day later, my great newphew's high school (across the river in the Vancouver WA area) went into lockdown due to a gun scare.

I can hardly watch the news or read the articles on the internet...it just makes me so sad.

$1.04 plus $6000

December 13th, 2012 at 08:03 am

That is how much we owe on DH's new car that was purchased in March....I sent a large payment last month to DH's car loan and thought we would be under $6K....well....guess I was close!

Only 2 more payments on the SUV loan and we are done! Can't wait for that day.

Then we hit DH's big time (as long as things are well with his work). We will at least, send $350 which is still more than the actual payment, but hope to send $500.


Rumblings at DH's work

December 11th, 2012 at 07:53 pm

I blogged a while back about rumors at DH's work. So far, it appears some of it may be true. For the immediate, they are having a shut-down from the 24th through the 1st. DH will be paid for the 24th and 25th, and also the 1st as holiday pay. He is planning on taking only 1 vacation day (the 31st) and unpaid the rest. He wants to hold onto his vacation, in case there are lay-off's...that way they have to pay that out to him if he was let go. There are also rumors of a slow down for the 1st and 2nd quarters of next year. No idea if there will be furlough's and/or lay-off's. For now, we wait. To be honest, I am not too worried at this point. You may wonder why? Well, we have a very healthy emergency fund. We are 2 payments away from paying my car off (Yay!)and we are ahead on payments for DH's car. Plus, he would get unemployment. With my paycheck, we would be just fine.

In other news, our office Christmas party is on Friday...fingers crossed for a bonus! The past 2 years it has been $1200.00....of course, anything is nice.

If DH can make it to the end of year with no sick time, he will receive a bonus sometime in January of $750....this is to reward people for not calling in sick...years ago, if you had all of your 80 hours (different than vacation)saved, you would receive the equivilant of 2 weeks pay...those days are gone, but again, anything extra sure is nice.

For now, these checks will go into savings....if everything ends up ok, DH and I will be planning a trip to Washington DC next year...that money will go towards that, and should help offset the cost.

2 Christmas presents purchased

November 25th, 2012 at 03:23 pm

DH and I went out today and ran a few errands. We headed to Kohl's as we had a 15% off coupon. He had a leftover gift card from his b-day in Aug so he put that towards a new pair of jeans. I got a sweater and we also purchased a Vera Wang "Princess" perfume set for DD1 for Christmas....it was on sale and we were also able to use the 15% off coupon on that too.

We then headed to Fred Meyer and got DD1 a pair of yoga pants that was on her wish list. We got a terrific deal! Originally $38.00....40% off sale, 20% off employee discount card (from my mom) and an extra 15% off coupon from the paper....ended up paying $16.18....not too bad I say!

New info on the SUV loan

November 4th, 2012 at 02:33 pm

We have decided to just continue to pay the $500 we have been paying on the SUV loan and just pay it off in Feb 2013.

This still puts us paying the loan off in under 3 years.

Due to some rumours at DH's work (possible slow down/shut down over Christmas), we think it is best to hang onto the cash and just continue as normal. It would have been nice to start the year off with only 1 debt left, but that's ok....I think we have done pretty good so far.

If I end up getting a good Christmas bonus as I have in the past, we may consider putting that towards the loan. It wouldn't completely pay it off, but it would be close. Our office has gone through some changes this past summer, so we are not sure what to expect as far as a bonus. Hoping it will be the same as last year ($1200), but not going to put the cart before the horse.

Busy.....and spendy

October 5th, 2012 at 03:03 pm

September was a busy and spendy month. October looks to be the same. It will be nice to skip the October house payment as the refi closed at the end of Sept.

The big Sept expenses were:

$2100 to pre-pay property taxes for closing
$1300 for drainage work in the yard
$1000 to the SUV loan...so close to paying it off

October is bringing a very busy schedule and money will be spent. Here is what is on tap:

Oct 15th-17th Vegas! For our 25th anniversary...we already took the anniversary cruise in April but thought it would be fun to be somewhere on our actual anniversary (the 16th)...we found a great deal through SW Airlines for airfare and hotel. We will be staying at Paris....very excited...we have only been to Vegas once....when our kids were 4 and 7 1/2, we drove to Vegas and spent 4 nights there and had a blast...we are excited to go back and see how much it has changed. We booked 2 shows to see....Mystere by Cirque du Soleil (my pick) and Jersey Boys (dh's pick). For the most part, we plan to keep it low key and just sightsee...no real spending...we are also not gamblers to no temptation there. Just hoping for good weather.

Oct 23rd....DD2's senior night for varsity soccer.

Oct 24th....DD1's 21st b-day! Gifts still to be purchased.

Oct 27th...family b-day party for DD1

Oct 28th....another Cirque show with my sister

DD2 also brought home the catalogue for senior stuff...cap and gown and such....have to go through that this weekend as it is due back Tuesday.

We have nothing planned this weekend so it will be nice to relax and catch up!

We closed!

September 28th, 2012 at 02:29 pm


Actually, all we had to do was sign the paper to close the credit line and bring in the cashier's check for the property taxes.

We weren't going to close the credit line, but, US Bank wanted $250 to keep it open...basically to sign a piece of paper (the subordination) and lower it.... can you believe it? I bet you can! Yes, to sign one piece of paper and lower our available credit costs $250...ugh.

So we asked mortgage guy if we could get a credit line through Wells Fargo and he said yes....for no charge.

So that is what we are going to do....DH tried to get US Bank to waive the fee but they would not budge...stinkers!

This was done on Thursday afternoon and should close today....will be nice to be able to skip Oct's payment....we had a spendy Sept!

Refi back on!

September 24th, 2012 at 08:33 pm

Oh the saga continues.

I called our mortgage guy at 8:00 to confirmed he received dh's email and voice mail.

He said he did....I then mentioned that it was too bad we couldn't just lower our credit limit if that would take care of the issue we were having....well guess what?

No problem...that is what we did last time...it is called a subordination (not subrogation...I knew that wasn't what it was called...just couldn't remember)!

So he says that apparently the credit line didn't show up on our credit report so he didn't even know we had it anymore....sounds like even he didn't know it would be in the papers from the title company (or so he says)....I do remember that when we refinanced a few years ago, the same thing happened.

So, I certainly don't mind it being lowered....we definately do not need as much as it is....we are totally fine with it being lowered....all of about $6000 lol, but we are not going to put the effort out to go to the bank and lower it even more.

He is going to have his assistant work on getting that paper to us to sign and hopefully we can "re-close" in approximately a week.

I also confirmed that the interest rate is going to be the ORIGINAL amount he quoted and that those fee's that somehow ended up on our side of the paper will be removed and the only thing showing that we had to pay for was the appraisal and credit report. I also requested he let me know the amount we need for property taxes so I can have the certified check at the time of closing this time.

No more surprises please! Let's just get this done Smile

Cancelling our refinance (long post)!

September 23rd, 2012 at 08:35 pm

Yep.....we are

About 3 months ago, we decided to refinance to a 15 year fixed....we contact the mortgage guy we used before at Wells Fargo.

It was suppose to be a no fee (except appraisal) refinance at 3.5%.

So on Friday, when we went to sign papers....there were several problems that left us extremely annoyed.

The first one was that there were some fee's that "accidentally" got put on....he said something to the effect that they were put on accidentally and we would receive a credit and then a check.

The second problem was that I was told on Thursday, that since we are within 60 days of property taxes being due (in our state they are due Nov 15th), we would have to bring money to closing (approx $2100)Now, I get why they do it...basically then our taxes wouldn't be due in Nov, they would be paying them in Oct when they are certified....they also collect 115% to adjust (in case they go up from the previous year)and we receive back any overage, but since we had already made house payments, it wasn't the full amount....again, no problem, we have the money, but to be told the day before was rather irritating...on top of that, when they asked me how we were paying (on Friday at 4:00) I was like....uh a check?? No can do, it must be a cashiers check...again never told this...so I am told I can do it Monday which means I would have to leave work early...I get off at 4:15 Monday through Thursday, but in order to get to the bank in time and do all that I would need to leave early as there is not a branch close enough to do it on my lunch or anything.

The third and final issue was that they told us we had to close our credit line (through our bank). This happend the last time we did a refinance...we said no way so we were able to sign some paper (I think it is a subrogation or something) and were able to keep the line of credit. We were rather surprised as nothing had been said ahead of time. This time they said we couldn't keep it open as it has something to do with the value of the house, the amount of the credit line limit and 80% of something....it is a rather large credit line, which we haven't used in years, but we want to keep it open, just in case anything really bad happened...I certainly wouldn't mind lowering the limit at all though. We declined to sign the paper on Friday and figured we would work it out on Monday. Unfortunately, DH was 45 min late to signing due to getting out of work late and our mortgage guy had to leave due to a doctor's appt...he would have stayed the entire time, but we didn't count on DH being so late...anyway, DH called our mortgage guy on Sat and left him a message stating we were not going to close the line of credit....he called back when we were on an outing and left a message saying that was fine but they were going to raise our interest rate then.

So, I guess we will find out tomorrow if he can do anything...by anything, I mean let us keep our credit line and not rasie the rate. If not, we exercise our right to cancel.

Again, it's not that we don't understand why they want us to do it....it is the fact, that NONE of this was told to us ahead of time....extremely annoying to find out the day of signing...on a Friday at 4:00 no less. We have credit scores in the 800's, excellent payment history, and virtually no other debt, except the car loans which now total approx $11,000 total.

I wish he would have warned us this could have been a possibility from the start, or at least early on so we could have discussed it then...now we may be out $445 for the appraisal.


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