Once again I have fallen off the blogging bandwagon! Here are a few updates:
Master bath remodel. We have taken the plunge into another remodel project. If you remember, last October we remodeled/updated the girl's bathroom and our laundry room. DH really wanted to do our master bath so here we are. They started yesterday and this should take a total of about 3 weeks. The neat freak in me is full of anxiety. DD1's old bedroom is filled with stuff for the new bathroom (2 sinks, toilet, faucets for the sinks, tubs and shower, plus the new vanity we had made). The new bathtub is finally out of the garage. DD2's room is filled with everything from our closet and bathroom, plus the girl's old bathroom is filled with the stuff we use daily. It is all so disorganized. The upside? We will have a beautiful new bathroom and it will be a great opportunity to purge!
I am happy to say we have cash flowed a portion of this project. We agreed since we had 40K in savings, we would purchase everything we could on our Wells Fargo card (plus earn 1% back) and pay it off every month, which we have. The only thing we can't put on the card is the payment to our contractor. That is going on the credit line (via check to him), and depending on how things play out, we may pull a bit out of savings to pay it down, but not completely off. We are ok making payment on the credit line and paying it off as fast as we can...because....
Property taxes are due Nov 15th in our state....isn't that nice? Right before the holidays. Plus they went up a this year over $200.
DH's tires are paid off!
We took a quick trip to Vegas a few weeks ago for our anniversary. Saw Blue Man Group and KA (a Cirque show) Both were fantastic and the weather was great.
That's it for now.
I hope to be better about posting
Viewing the 'Budgeting' Category
Once again I have fallen off the blogging bandwagon! Here are a few updates:
A few months ago I upgraded to a smart phone. I wasn't really checking the bill (bad bad bad I know).
I discovered I was being charged for insurance and phone protection (which of course they never "told" me)
A few weeks ago, I was just browsing the bill and came upon these two charges. I immediately logged online and deleted those services.
This will save $9.99 a month. DH also downgraded his DISH movie package and that should save $20 to $30 a month. He had a special they offered him for 6 months and it has now expired. He decided it wasn't worth it anymore, except I am sure he will be missing Game of Thrones when that comes back on.
Our electric bill and water/sewer bill went down also. I imagine it is because both girls are now away at college and the usage has gone down. I am not spending as much on food either.
The natural gas bill however, did go up. Obviously that is because the weather has turned colder and we had to turn on the heat.. We have a programable thermostat which we feel really helps. We were also notified that our garbage bill will be going up also but I don't know how we could save anything there. If they offered every 2 week pick up we might be able to swing that, but I think it is either every week or once a month. I definately will check into that.
We are back from Kauai! Will try to post some pictures tomorrow.
We had a wonderful (but a bit spendy) time. We had reserved a compact car, but DH really wanted to get a convertible...sigh...men and their cars. I have to admit it was fun, but not so much when I stupidly failed to put sunscreen on the first morning...at least it was only my shoulders and the upper part of my neck that got burned. Now I just feel like a lizard! Peeling and itchy....yuck.
Most of the vacation was prepaid, but we still had a few expenses. Gas was at $4.50 to $4.60 per gallon, and food (if you have ever been to Hawaii) is very expensive.
Flossie stayed out of Kauai for the most part (just a bit of rain and wind on Tuesday am) and then it cleared up. It was very hot and humid the entire time we were there. The big island and Maui got hit pretty hard from what we heard.
Anyway, July was a super spendy month and we will try to make August a low spend month, with the exception of DH's birthday and a family get together to celebrate DH's b-day, his sister's DH, and our great newphew (who both had July b-days).
Other than that, it will be sticking to regular bills, and gas and groceries.
May was a bit of a spendy month. Other than regular expenses, this is what was spent.
1. Storage racks for garage $1100
2. 3 family b-days $75 (3 gc's at $25 each)
3. $140 for a gps for DD2 graduation gift
4. $220 for a new spring for the garage door opener that broke on Memorial Day.
5. $160 on Friday to have furnace and a/c unit cleaned and tuned up.
6. $156 for luau for upcoming vacation.
June is looking to be a little spendy also. DD2's 18th b-day is next Saturday. We are having a family lunch and still need to get her a gift. She wants to take 3 friends downtown for part of the day to Saturday market. We will give her money for lunch and also treat her friends. She is graduating on the 13th and we will also host a small graduation party for her soon after.
In July, my sister and I are hosting a 50th anniversary party for my parents. We already have the venue reserved and my sister has already paid me back for her half. We will have to pay for coffee and punch as they will not allow us to bring in our own. We will split the cost of that, plus a nice cake. She has purchased some decorations and such so I will owe her for that. Her bday is also in July, so we will need to get her a gift card for that (she prefers gift cards for b-day's and Christmas). Vacation is almost paid for (last payment due on the 7th), so we will just need to mainly worry about food and maybe a few small trinkets. We are thinking of doing a cave tubing excursion, but are not completely sure. If we do, we will book that online and pay with the Wells Fargo cc, which will give us points.
Luckily, most of this has been planned, and we have had the funds to cover it, but I try to always be aware of those surprises that seem to pop up!
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.
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!
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
Speaking of DD2, she is really enjoying her job at the theater! She is also enjoying the money 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.
Good news regarding DH's work shut down. Originally they were told 1 week in Jan and Feb...then told a couple of days each month...then told if they had projects to work on, they wouldn't have to take any time off. DH said he and his co-worker's in his department had plenty of things to work on..whew! Then he finds out today that it looks like for Jan, there is not going to be a shut down after all.
DH and I were also talking about vacation this year....we discussed many things (Alaska cruise, Carribean cruise, Cabo/Cancun, DC). For various reasons, none of these were working for us...so....we decided to go to Kauai! We have been to Maui and I have been to Ohau...DH thought it would be fun to go to an island we haven't been to.
We are in the early stages of planning it...air is high right now, but there is a possibility my parents might be giving us or selling us their air miles (for cheap). Trying to decided where to stay was so overwhelming, we decided to have our travel agent help us.
We will be going at the end of July....I can't go any earlier in the summer, as DD2 is graduating high school June 13th, and my co-worker (who does the same job as me), is going back to her home country for 4 weeks...she will be gone from 6/24 and coming back to work on 7/22, so I will be the only one in the billing department for that time period.
I think I will be more than ready to get away at that point!
Well I feel silly! Don't know how we ever managed to not have AOL free...lol...anyway, as soon as DD2 gets her contacts switched over tonight, it is goodbye AOL. And it was actually $17.95 a month...so saving closer to $18 now.
When DH was switching our DISH billing from Capital One over to Wells Fargo (might as well get that 1% rebate), he noticed that he still had Starz at $13 a month. A while back, he really wanted it, but now that we have streaming Netflix, it seems a waste of money. He canceleld it yesterday. So all in all, we are now saving an additional $31 a month.
We also received our statement from the credit union for DH's car loan. Turns out, it was lower than expected. We are now at $5665. If we can send $475 a month, we can have this paid off at the end of the year! That would mean being debt free except for our mortgage.
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
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.
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!
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 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.
As I mentioned in a previous post, DH's work is having a shutdown from the 24th through the 1st. We are not sure what will happen in the first quarter of the year...rumblings are happening that business will be slow.
So, we are preparing a bit for a possible furlough.....my bonus check of $1400 went directly into the savings account. DH's $750 bonus that will come sometime in January will also go into savings.
I have been slowing stocking up on things....mainly toiletries....we do not have a CVS so those awesome deals people get, well, they just don't happen here. However, I have been keeping my eye out for sales and when they happen, if I have a coupon, I am buying things such as bodywash, toothpaste, make-up, toothbruhes and the like. This way, if anything does happen, we will not have to run to the store if we run out of something like that. Spending can be kept to a minimum. I always have a small stockpile of these things, but it will be nice to have a bit extra just in case.
And hey, if it doesn't happen, well, all the better...we will still be able to use that stockpile...it certainly won't go to waste
Yipee! DH and I have a week off.
We plan to spend the time doing local things with the exception of an overnighter at the beach on Thursday.
We decided to do a staycation for this week as we had the big cruise in April and we decided to go to VEGAS for a couple of nights in October for our actual anniversary!
Some of the things we have planned:
1. Portland Saturday Market and Chinese Classical Gardens (coupon for that)on Saturday
2. Tour college dd2 is interested in (Tues) and hopefully see dd1 and her boyfriends duplex they will be living in for college this year (they are transferring from previous college and it is the same one dd2 is interested in).
3. DD2 takes her driver's test...Wed...yikes! Prayers would be appreciated....for the parents and the would be driver!
4. Overnight trip to the beach (Thurs).
5. Dinner out on Friday...dh's b-day
6. Family barbeque next Sat for 3 b-days.
We might see a movie on Sunday. Possible zoo trip on either Mon or after driver's test on Wed and/or a visit to Pittock Mansion (coupon). Other possible day trip through the Columbia River Gorge.
There will definately be some eating out, but not every night...though I am not planning elaborate meals for the nights we eat in....after all...we are on vacation!
That is the one thing I hate about this time of year. Not nearly as many coupons in the inserts around the holidays. There were some in Sunday's paper, but honestly, there was hardly anything in there I needed or would use. Since I live in the land of no doubles or CVS, coupons are precious to me, they really help to keep the budget on track. I would use more internet coupons but Winco will not take them....something about too much fraud. So I use those at Fred Meyer for things I can't get at Winco.
I did manage to save $9.00 between Fred Meyer (Kroger) and Winco this weekend using my coupons.
Bought pizza this weekend with gift cards and saved $5.00 on top of that.
Took DD1 back to college today....DH, DD2, and I stopped for lunch at a favorite deli and saved $5.00 there.
Both coupons came from our Entertainment Book. That book has just about paid for itself already.
Hey there is another goal......tracking down more coupons!