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Archive for June, 2010

2010 Goals: Update

June 30th, 2010 at 06:51 am

I'm reposting this since there is so much blog spam right now:

Shall we all post our progress on our 2010 Financial Goals? The year is half over!

1) Max out our Roth IRA's = $10,000
On autopilot!

2) Save 7% of basic pay in TSP
On autopilot!

3) Pay off home equity loan
Completed March 11, 2010!

4) Save money for college = $3,340
On autopilot, as of March 2010

5) Add money to emergency fund = $7,000
Currently at $1,861.63 and adding $430 per month for the next 6 months. I will add cash from the sale of our car when that happens, too. This goal is on track!!

6) Pay off van beginning balance = $19,444
Current balance is $16,823.47. So far we have not made extra payments but hope to make a major dent in this loan by the end of the year.

7) Convert IRA's to Roth IRA's

Overall, I'd say we are doing great. Some items are complete, many will be taken care of automatically, and only two major ones to focus on.

How are your 2010 financial (and non financial) goals coming along?

How are You Doing on Your 2010 Goals?

June 29th, 2010 at 03:24 pm

Shall we all post our progress on our 2010 Financial Goals? The year is almost half over!

1) Max out our Roth IRA's = $10,000
On autopilot!

2) Save 7% of basic pay in TSP
On autopilot!

3) Pay off home equity loan
Completed March 11, 2010!

4) Save money for college = $3,340
On autopilot, as of March 2010

5) Add money to emergency fund = $7,000
Currently at $1,861.63 and adding $430 per month for the next 6 months. I will add cash from the sale of our car when that happens, too. This goal is on track!!

6) Pay off van beginning balance = $19,444
Current balance is $16,823.47. So far we have not made extra payments but hope to make a major dent in this loan by the end of the year.

7) Convert IRA's to Roth IRA's

Overall, I'd say we are doing great. Some items are complete, many will be taken care of automatically, and only two major ones to focus on.

How are your 2010 financial (and non financial) goals coming along?

A Big FAT Zero

June 28th, 2010 at 08:23 am

In my quest to earn $100 per month selling our stuff on ebay and craigslist, I completely failed to sell one item during the month of June. I'm not really upset about this. It was a month of transition for our family with the deployment beginning and the school year ending. I just didn't have it in me to try to sell anything.

Maybe in July.

For now, my average has dropped from approximately $114/mo to nearly $96. I'm okay with that.

2010 Ebay Challenge Totals
January: $201.89
February: $46.40
March: $55.50
April: $4.74
May: $265.99
June: $0

Monthly average: $95.75

Communication Breakdown

June 27th, 2010 at 09:02 am

My husband and I are relying on Skype and email to communicate. So far it is mostly email. Skype was working great in the states and at his first stop in the desert. However, this final location is giving us problems with dropped calls using a broadband connection. It is hard to communicate in 15 seconds!!

He is working on getting a satellite connection which should improve our ability to use Skype. The cost to us $85 per month. It seems a bit steep, but it will be worth it to us. He will also be able to get on the internet in his free time.

The broadband connection is $60 per month and since it is not working he should be able to get that refunded. In the meantime, the man needs more money. I sure hope the spending slows down soon. It is hard to make progress when we keep dipping in to the extra funds.

The Extra in Next Week's Paycheck

June 26th, 2010 at 09:26 am

I did find out how much DH's paycheck will be next week. We are getting $533.73 more than we usually do. No complaints here.

I now need to figure out what the plan is for that money and the other extra we usually have at the beginning of the month. I believe a big portion will go to finish paying ourselves back for the painting we did on the house. After that, I have about $471.

I'm planning on contributing $430 to the EF goal each month, which I could split in half and make a contribution each pay period. That would be $215 this week, leaving $256 to decide if I hold for a little extra cushion or send to the van loan.

Decisions, decisions. I need to think through what expenses I might have coming up for the first two weeks of July that might require those extra funds.

$90 Left

June 25th, 2010 at 08:00 pm

I only have $90 left of my allowance. DH already spent $400, which is double his allowance. He did buy some used furniture over there, so that is a one time investment. Still his spending seems a bit out of control. I haven't said anything to him yet.

Furniture is desk, chair, fridge, several power strips, iron, ironing board, and a scale. There might have been a few other things in that list for about $100. Not bad.

I think I can make it through Wednesday with my funds. I only really need gas. Maybe some different sun screen since I burned a bit today with the stuff I was using. I do need to buy a birthday item for my youngest, but that could wait until payday. Groceries are set.

How is your month going?

Our Military Kids

June 24th, 2010 at 05:43 pm

If you or someone you know is a deployed service member with children and in the reserves or national guard of any branch, please check out this website. This non profit organization provides grants for extracurricular activities up to $500 per child.

I'm in the processing of filling out an application for my girls. They will be taking dance and tumbling in the fall costing us about $800 for the two of them. It would be wonderful to have all or a portion of those fees paid for. They sacrifice quite a bit in order for their father to serve our country.

My understanding is that checks are processed pretty quickly and sent directly to the organization. I will report back about our experience once the funds have been paid.

$17 Spent on Dollhouse

June 23rd, 2010 at 04:53 pm

Below are two pictures of the dollhouse we are constructing. This is just the walls and floors. We have much more to do. Tonight we went to Lowe's and spent about $17, for paint and liquid nails. The paint is for the trim that won't be very easy to spray paint. The liquid nails is to adhere the nearly 1000 shingles to the roof!! I still have yet to dye them, and I just might attempt that tonight.

Oh yes, we do have some doll furniture that seems to work very nicely. It's pretty old handed down to my girls from a friend of their grandma. Perfect since it is free!!

Converted More to Roth IRA

June 22nd, 2010 at 06:47 am

I converted more money from DH's Rollover IRA to a Roth. $5,650 to be exact, bringing our total conversion amount for 2010 to $18,882.

This year is the perfect year to get most of our Rollover money converted to Roth's because most of our income will be tax free because of the deployment. We have another $5K that is eligible to be converted, but I'm electing to do that in 2011.

Mystery Paychecks

June 21st, 2010 at 08:49 am

Prior to deployment, I knew to the penny how much our paychecks were going to be. This works great for budgeting!! And I'm the type of person who likes to know these things.

Now...as deployment has begun, I find that the paychecks are a bit of a mystery. DH was paid on the 15th and I was able to see the amount a week prior, but not the details. The amount was about $850 more than normal. So what exactly is that $850 for? I won't get to see the details until later this week. And it's bugging me!!

We are expecting more funds during the deployment, but I don't yet know the particulars. I expect in another month the paycheck amounts will become stable again. This will help tremendously with my planning. And we know how I love to do that!

Right now, I'll just keep operating under the assumption that the paychecks will be at least what we are used to getting. All the extras will be a bonus!

Toy Story 3

June 18th, 2010 at 05:38 pm

I took the girls to see Toy Story 3 today. We all really enjoyed the movie. There were a couple of parts with Mr. Potato Head that just cracked me up!

It was pricey. We probably could have skipped the popcorn and pop that we shared since we had just eaten lunch. I will remember that for next time. I spent $19.50 just for matinee admission and another $12.75 for the snacks. Luckily, I have the money for this outing.

I used to work in a movie theater as a teen. In fact my husband worked in one as a manager and eventually ran projectors as a part time job. Up until three years ago when we moved here, we were able to see free movies for the entire time we have been together!
We love to watch movies, but I just cringe when I pay those prices!!

I've definitely done my share of sneaking in water and a snack in recent years. I'm not sure why I didn't do that today. Oh well...just a reminder to do that in the future.

How many of you regularly see first run movies in the theater?

Under $17,000

June 17th, 2010 at 02:17 pm

Our van loan balanced dropped below $17,000 today when I made our regular payment of $496. With $438.82 going to principal our new balance is: $16,823.47.


In other news: my mother purchased a doll house for my daughters that has to be painted and put together with glue. It's like a construction project!! It is a bit overwhelming especially when they would like it done NOW. We now have zero excuses for being bored this summer. Smile

Emergency Fund Addition...Finally!!

June 15th, 2010 at 07:26 am

Finally after a couple of months of nearly zero progress on our emergency fund I was able to add $430 today.

New Balance: $1861.63

My plan going forward is to add $430 each month for the next 6 months of the year. This will push us to $4,441.63. Sometime late summer or fall we will sell our car for $2500. (This is a planned sale to our neice.) This puts us about $60 shy of our goal, but I expect with interest earnigs to meet the $7K by the end of 2010!

All of our other extra funds will go towards paying off the van loan. I'm looking forward to that!

Spending Spree

June 14th, 2010 at 08:31 am

I went on a little spending spree yesterday. We bought two pairs of capris and a pair of flip flops for my youngest at Old Navy. Spent about $25. She's been wearing last years capris...and the are just too small!

I bought a gift for MIL and a friend. Spend another $25. I also bought a cherry tomato plant as well as three knockout rose bushes that were on clearance for $5 each. Again, another $25 including the Miracle Grow that I threw in at the end. I probably don't need that stuff since mother nature has been providing lots of rain lately. Anything and everything is spouting quickly!! Now things need to dry out a bit so I can get things planted.

Payday is tomorrow. I'm looking forward to getting the finances in order and maybe make a little progress on the goals.

We Are Behind

June 13th, 2010 at 07:02 am

We are behind on our goals. It is a bit frustrating. I know by the end of the year we will be close to meeting them, but it is hard not to see progress. Right now, I'm seeing the most progress on the van loan simply because I'm making our regular payments!

We have plans to sell our car to a relative as soon as August for $2500. That money will go to our emergency fund goal. If I count that right now, we would have close to $4000 of the $7000 that is our goal. I would need to put about $430 towards that goal each month, for 7 months, to meet the goal by the end of the year. That is definitely possible with the cash that will be coming in from deployment.

The emergency fund goal is really our first goal, even though a part of me really wants to get going on that van loan debt. I just need to face the fact that the loan won't be paid off by the end of 2010, but early 2011.

Well, just writing it out makes me feel better. We are so blessed to be able to make such great progress on these goals in such a short period of time. I need to remember that, right?

Swim for Six

June 11th, 2010 at 10:06 am

We're going swimming today!! It's going to be near 90 degrees and crazy humid. I'm even getting in half price with a coupon from our Entertainment book. The total admission for the three of us will be $6!! I will probably splurge a bit and get a snack while we are there.

After it cools down a bit later, I HAVE to get out and mow. It's a jungle out there and we are getting rain nearly every day. And thanks to the fertilizer DH put on a couple weeks ago, it is growing crazy fast!!

Skyping From Starbucks

June 10th, 2010 at 05:49 pm

I've been able to have two video phone calls with my husband via Skype. He was calling from Starbucks after having purchased himself a cold Frappuccino! Weird war.

It appears the extra pays are about to start kicking in next week when he gets paid. That's probably the only thing I really like about this deployment. Those extra funds will help us to meet some of the big goals we want to accomplish this year. I will hash out the particulars on payday and see if there really any extra to put towards those goals. It has still be a very expensive month.

How is your June working out so far?


June 9th, 2010 at 05:37 am

My 13 year old daughter has her dad's cell phone for the next year while he is away. In the last two days, over 100 texts have either been sent or received now that school is out for the summer.

Late yesterday, I added an unlimited text to her phone for $10 per month. Unlimited to Verizon customers, plus 500 to others. So far the friends she is texting with are with Verizon. I was hoping to go with the $5 plan, but that was only for 250 texts, which didn't seem like enough.

Joys of a teenager with a phone!

He's In The Desert

June 7th, 2010 at 11:52 am

I finally got word that my husband is in the desert where it is 120 degrees. I received an email from him letting me know he arrived safely. Thank goodness for technology!

I've been doing pretty good after having quite a few rough days before he arrived home on a pass and then a terrible time saying goodbye. Who wouldn't? I think once we get into a communication schedule, hopefully by phone or skype, I'll be much better.

One day at a time. Hmm...just like finances! Oh, and he seems to be on some sort of crazy spending spree this month having already spent $260. I hope that is it until next week, I'm having a hard time keeping up.

Planted Our Garden

June 6th, 2010 at 10:52 am

The girls and I planted our garden today. It is a little later than I would like to have started it, but it is in.

We planted tomatoes, bush beans, sugar snap peas, onions, a strawberry plant. The tomatoe plants seem to have come from last years tomatoes that I composted. The beans and peas were started from seeds that I actually had leftover from last year. Do you think they will grow? When I was at Home Depot yesterday they didn't have the seeds I wanted, so I decided to try the leftovers. The onions are also from leftover seeds from the year before.

The only thing I have bought new was the strawberry plant. We had one last year that spread quite a bit, but it is struggling to come back. I bought the new one to please my older daughter who loves strawberries. We'll see how many we get?!

We also have a little bit of a mystery plant. A pumpkin, squash or goard also started itself from the seeds of one we composted in the garden last year. It will be fun to see what it turns out to be! We kept two of those that sprouted. We didn't want those to take over our small 8 foot by 8 foot garden.

We are schedule to get quite a bit of rain over the next week or so. This should give our garden a good start. How many of you plant fruits or vegetables?

One Less Driver

June 5th, 2010 at 08:42 am

Two vehicles. And now only one driver for awhile. It's really hard to drive two cars, when you don't really like the other one! It is the one we are selling to my neice later this summer. She's working hard to save her money for the car.

In the meantime, I notified our insurance company that only one of us needs to be insured for now. I received a $22 credit. Obviously, an extra driver doesn't add too much to the premium! I just paid for six months in April. Once we sell the car the premium will drop much more, at least until we replace it.

To Cheer Myself Up

June 3rd, 2010 at 04:47 pm

I went shopping at Walmart today. I bought annual flowers to put in the pots on my porch and deck. Flowers always make me happy when I see them. I will put one near my kitchen window where I can see them while I wash dishes.

I bought 5 six packs, two accent plants and a bag of potting soil. I had a $5 gift card that I received in the mail from Walmart, because they remodeled the store. I spent $11! I figure money well spent since it will be a nice treat all summer long.

I also received a $3 payment from Pinecone Research today as well. Yipee for extra cash!

Interest Added to Emergency Fund

June 2nd, 2010 at 08:54 am

We earned a pathetic $12.11 on our money market account last month. I am adding this to the emergency fund goal.

New Balance: $1,431.63

We are paying quite a few big bills in cash this month so there likely won't be any additions to this goal in June.

Not Focused

June 1st, 2010 at 08:48 am

I'm not focused on finances right now. Yes, the bills are getting paid. I'm just not spending much time calculating all the inflows and outflows. Or whatever.

I have said my final 'see you later' to DH yesterday. Within the next 10 days he should be in another country working. Many tears had been shed. Even the girls.

Now we wait for communication from him. This is likely to be one of the hardest parts. The not knowing where he is or when we will hear from him.

I will try to keep myself busy, but it may not be with finances. I have plenty of cleaning that could be done. A lawn to mow. A garden and flowers to plant. Things to sew. Or I may just sit and relax with a good book.