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Undebt It

December 10th, 2018 at 03:03 pm

As you all know we do not have any debt. No mortgage debt either as we move frequently with the military and have found it make sense to rent for the time being.

I came across a site that is free and allows you to track your way out of debt. I'd try it myself and review it for you, but again zero debt to track. I do see it links to YNAB! And it has a 52 Week Savings Option.

If you have goals to pay off debt in 2019, you might want to check out this free tracking option. I'm sure many of us here would love to watch your journey and hear how you like Undebt It.

You can find the online tracking tool here.

Life with zero debt is worth the effort!

$3,500 In Debt

October 30th, 2018 at 12:09 pm

Moving is expensive!

We didn't have to put a deposit down on this townhome on base and rent is paid in arrears, but despite those positives, we have $3,498.26 in expenses charged on our credit cards! Hotels, fuel, restaurants, and extra needs to purchase after move (such as toilet brushes, cleaners, ect) add up fast!

Some of those charges are for our regular bills, such as Verizon, Hulu, Netflix and things we just needed because you know life has expenses, too.

I'm looking forward to payday on Thursday and eventually receiving our deposit from the rental home, and all of our moving entitlements. I'm not sure exactly when we will receive the latter payments, but likely in the next three weeks.

Technically, I do have the funds in our accounts that I could pay those credit cards in full and likely will pay many of them on pay day. I will float some of the money until we receive our reimbursements.

Cancelled Another Credit Card

November 28th, 2016 at 05:48 am

I cancelled another credit card last night. It was my Citi Thank You Preferred card. I've had it for awhile, and noticed we had added new cards and were using those more. Why keep extra cards if they are never used, right?

I simply sent a message through our account requesting the cancellation. I had a super quick response and when I logged back on the account had been closed. Easy!

The next step is to record in my notes that I cancelled the card and cut the cards up. I kind of like the finality of cutting up a card. I also moved the card account on YNAB to the closed account list. Smile

We still have TEN credit cards open. Want to know what they are? Sure you do!

Target Red Card (5% off Target purchases)
US Bank Visa (5% off cell phone bill)
Chase Freedom (rotating 5% cash back categories)
Kohl's (various discounts)
Discover (rotating 5% cash back categories)
Southwest Visa (miles to fly on Southwest)
USAA (1% cash back)
American Express Blue Cash Everyday (various cash back, plus 3% grocery stores, 2% gas stations) (we have two of these)
Marriott Rewards Visa (hotel rewards)

I'm considering getting rid of Chase Freedom, although I've had it for a long time. I also probably don't need the USAA either, but currently we are using it for most of our expenses. I'm liking how quickly USAA is adding the cash back to our rewards account. And there is no minimum!

The cards that I'm finding most difficult to actually use are the Southwest and Marriott cards as their rewards are miles and hotel points. We pay annual fees for these cards! I'm NOT getting rid of Southwest though, because I do charge airline tickets at least four times a year. I am getting benefit from it. I haven't decided on the Marriott card yet. I think I need more time to decide and figure out how fast I could accumulate points if I used it more regularly.

How many cards do you have?

We have credit cards, but never pay any interest on our charges. All balances are paid in full by the due date, or before!

Cancelled A Credit Card

November 18th, 2016 at 07:22 am

I think the last credit card we opened was the American Express Gold Rewards card. It was less than a year ago. We met the spending requirement and received our bonus reward in gift cards earlier this year.

Yesterday, I had my husband call to cancel. It was in his name, and sending an email wasn't an option. He told me the woman did try to keep him as a customer by offering a $75 credit on travel expenses. We are traveling soon, but tickets and hotel are already covered. I'm glad to have it cancelled. It would have had a big annual fee had we kept it.

I'm getting close to wanting to cancel a Citi Thank You Rewards card I have. I did have some points, that I just redeemed on Amazon towards a Christmas gift. Those points amounted to $6.18. Happy to use, but we aren't using the card as we have other rewards cards we are using more regularly. I hope to get this one cancelled once I see the payment was recorded. I think I can probably sent a online message to get that done.

Have you opened or cancelled a credit card recently?

Europe Trip Charge Paid In Full

November 16th, 2016 at 04:17 am

I had charged my daughter's summer trip to Europe on our Southwest Visa early in October. I needed to pay it off by November 23 to avoid interest charges. And I did just that yesterday. The balance is now zero.

We were able to cash flow all but $1400. That amount I took from savings. I expect I will be able to cover most of that next month, and have paid ourselves back.

I feel really good about how it turned out. I could have been making monthly payments of nearly $600 for eight months, but I feel much better having it just done and paid for. My focus now is to accumulate another $4000 for February tuition.

We also need to set aside money for passports in December. We decided my husband and I should have them also, especially if something were to happen and we would need to fly overseas.

Random Money Thoughts

October 23rd, 2016 at 08:04 am

First, I don't shop much at all any more. I don't want to acquire more stuff! However, we were out of town yesterday. And I wanted to stop into World Market. I haven't lived in a town with that store for 4 years! Boy, I was amazed at how different it seemed. The styles of the merchandise, while similar, was different. I think we spent at least 45 minutes in there. Luckily, I only left spending $16. Half the cost was for Christmas ornaments for my daughter's (a traditions) and the other half a fun gift for my youngest daughter (she had a stressful week at school). I think it may be a good thing I don't live by that store any more though. I was very tempted to buy other things!

I just made the $1800 payment on the credit card for the Europe trip. I mentioned this plan in my last post. Not sure why the ticker isn't updating...maybe a delay. New balance is $2895. Goal is to have it paid off the card one month from today, November 23. I'd love it to be from current cash, but I'm pretty sure some will come from savings and we will pay it back.

My husband received his birthday check from my parents for $100. I've added it to the birthday fund. This year we are skipping giving gifts for our birthday's, but hope to buy some bigger needs (and sort of wants) for Christmas. My birthday is next month, and I expect I will get a check from my parents also.

Our water bill arrived in my inbox. Next month the bill is $57. Last month it was $71, and the month before that $110. Definitely using less water now that the lawn growing season has slowed down. Electric bill was also down by $55!

I'm grocery shopping later today. I think the bill will be a little larger as my parents are going to be in town, so a little different style of food and more of it. But they are easy to please, so it shouldn't be too much extra. Smile

And finally, we are about to book our flights home for Thanksgiving. Three of us flying on Southwest round trip is going to be between $1200 and $1300. We are flying on some less busy days so that helps the cost. I had this money in the vacation fund. I expect we will easily have enough points to cover my oldest daughter's flight home for Christmas. If not Christmas, definitely for Spring Break.

$1800 Saved & Spent

October 19th, 2016 at 05:48 pm

Even after our recent van air conditioning repair (just under $200), we put away $1800 in our emergency fund this month. That is assuming we can stay within the budget we planned in YNAB, of course.

And realistically, that money is spent. I need to put it towards the Europe trip. I expect to do just that very soon. That will put the balance of that payoff at $2895. And that is a number so much easier on the eyes!

There are two more paydays before the full payment is due on the credit card I charged it on. It would be great if I could come up with another $1800 by then. Fingers crossed!!


October 14th, 2016 at 05:38 am

I have some snowflakes to report. And they all go to pay down the Europe trip.

$17, USAA Visa Rewards
$3, Pinecone survey
$2.32, Ebay sale
$1.08, Discover Rewards
$0.07, Checking account interest
$23.47, TOTAL

Now under $4,700, with a payoff total of $4,695.53.

Today is payday, but we won't do our budget until Sunday most likely. I expect we will have some funds to throw at this.

Paying off Europe

October 11th, 2016 at 09:35 am

I want to make a conscious effort to pay ourselves back for this trip to Europe we have purchased for our daughter. The total cost upfront is $4719. We put it on a credit card. We will pay off in full by the due date, November 23.

The plan is to keep track of paying ourselves back, since most of the cost is coming from savings. If I set up a tracker here we can all follow my progress in making this happen. It would be great if we could make it happen by the time of the trip in late June. However, I have another tuition payment in February, that I need to pay out of pocket as well.

So the ticker is set up on the side bar and I will update it as we go along! I expect to cash Pinecone survey points and some other rewards soon. I also need to add some things to eBay for sale soon also!

CD Maturing

July 25th, 2016 at 07:23 am

We have a $7,500 CD maturing next month. It's been earning 3.5% for the last 14 months. I'm thinking of rolling it into a 1.05% 12 month CD, but if I could find something better I would jump on it.

I noticed I have an offer on my American Express account to open a Gold card. Spend $2000, get 50K reward points. We did this for my husband earlier this year. We haven't even redeemed the points yet! I will probably open it, but I've been wanting to reduce cards, so this flies in the face of that idea!

Kohls Fraud

July 5th, 2016 at 01:57 pm

This would be the second time that someone has used my Kohls.com account to buy things and charge them to my Kohl's card. Ugh! After talking to the fraud department, that account (in which they changed the email address) has been cancelled. I put a password on my card (that I have to take off each time I want to use the card). I had one on there before, but forgot to put it back on one time apparently! I do have noted that I took it off.

This is prompting me to clean up our credit cards that we have open. I think we have several that are unnecessary to keep any longer. I haven't quite firmed up which ones, but this is a must do project. I also need to clean out a lot credit card mailing junk from my desk as well while I'm in the process.

Our youngest daughter just turned 16. (Not interested in learning to drive yet, so no insurance changes yet). She received checks in the mail and it made me think we need to get her set up with a checking account now, so she can get used to handling that before she leaves for college. We did this a little late with our oldest daughter (although she's done just fine).

I did make a small change to our Verizon cell phone bill. I changed us from the Large data plan to the Medium. We have used over 3GB in the past, but not very often. This will save us about $12 a month. I have notifications set up if we get close to the 3GB. I'm still not sure if Ting is right for us. I would love to make it work, but I'm still not convinced.

It's super hot and humid where we live. I can only imagine the electric bill. Although the water bill is getting a small break because of the rain we have had.

Paid ALL Credit Card Balances & More

June 14th, 2016 at 07:20 am

We use our credit cards for all purchases that we can. Yes, at one time we stopped using credit cards (thus the name Creditcardfree). But we are super good about paying them off on time. In fact, I effectively make at least two payments a month when payday comes around.

Tomorrow is payday. All transactions since the last paycheck were posted on YNAB, thus the money is set aside to make the payments. Today, I logged on to each account we had a balance with and paid them in full. Easy!

I should mention that we don't really use YNAB the right way. We don't 'Live on Last Month's Income'. Part of the reason for this is we have more in our checking account than we spend each month. The other is we have an emergency fund in other places to count as a buffer. And finally, because we use credit cards and generally pay them off within two weeks of the transaction, we have a buffer with the due date of those transactions if needed.

What we do is count each paycheck as income for current month. In our case two paychecks each month. We then budget that money into categories to cover us until the next payday. We do fund variable accounts like car maintenance, vacation and other various savings at the same time. These accounts slow build up, and yes at times get depleted.

In YNAB we can still see how much we budgeted for monthly expenses and how much we have left. Usually we have plenty. I can also adjust the amount in each category if I didn't guess/estimate right at the beginning of the pay period. After several months, it gets easier to see how much you are spending in each area and the amount to budget.

I Won!

May 2nd, 2016 at 06:02 am

I won my Diet Bet. I bet $30, so I get that money back! The final winnings are still in the process of being verified, so I will know in a couple days what the return on my financial investment was.

I lost 9.4 pounds! I can see the difference and my husband can too. This was exactly what I needed to get moving in the right direction. I wasn't even sure yesterday if I would make it, as the scale was still .2 pounds away from the Diet Bet goal. I ate right, exercised and drank a lot of water. I also got eight hours of sleep. And today when I stepped on the scale I was down even more than I expected and with plenty of room to spare!

I'm now in decision mode about doing another bet. I feel like I really need to do another one to keep me moving in the right direction. Even during this last month I had some bad days where I didn't exercise AT ALL and several days where I was eating more than necessary. So without the bet, and the risk of losing money, I feel I may get complacent, which is definitely not what I want!

I think the only thing that is really getting in my way of deciding is knowing that I have family visiting two different times in May for a total of 12 days. That will mess with my routines and meal plans. And I don't want to fail!!

I think I need to do another Kickstarter and maybe start a Transformer(which is a six month bet) at the same time. If I don't try the odds are more stacked against me mentally, right? If we don't try, we don't get where we are going!

I did post about my hesitancy on the Diet Bet forum, and someone has suggested that I start a Transformer now, and then in month three do a Kickstarter. I think there is some validity to that idea. The Transformer would only require me to lose 3% of my body weight in May, rather than the 4% required if I did a Kickstarter in May. That gives me a little more wiggle room with guests, but would still get me to my ultimate goal by November.

I'm sharing all of this and realizing there is some similarities to paying off debt. If we don't have a goal we can't get where we want to go. If there isn't a consequence for failing it is much easier to give up. The consequence for holding on to debt, is less freedom, more interest paid, and if you haven't stopped the excess spending you'll have more debt! Gosh, you could say the say thing about holding on to excess weight...more health issues and likely more weight gain if we don't stop our bad habits.

I'll let you know what I decide to do. If any other Diet Betters have thoughts on how to plan my next bets let me know. I like to hear the ideas of others.


April 13th, 2016 at 11:24 am

I did reconcile our accounts on YNAB yesterday. I did find an error in a payment I recorded for our credit card. I showed us making a payment for $36 more than we actually did. That was because I transposed the numbers. Luckily, I did make the right payment and it's not a big deal in the end. No bounced checks or anything. I was also missing the recording of two transactions. Both were from the last week or so. All up to date now.

On Friday I will make payments on the all the outstanding credit card bills we have. Believe it or not, I have six with balances. The biggest one is Marriott Rewards, since that is the primary card we have been using. Three other cards have regular payments made on them, thus the balances until payday. I used the Southwest Visa to charge the airline tickets purchased for my niece and mother in law. And finally, I used my American Express card for a Amazon purchase that was around $30. I have enough points to redeem for $25 statement credit reducing that purchase to about $5. YNAB make it really easy to see what needs to be paid. And we always have the cash to cover our expenses! Yea.

I checked our retirement balances as of yesterday and we are looking much better than we were at the end of last year. I suppose most of that the contributions we've put in since the market isn't up much since the end of the year. I have a mental goal of where I'd like to see us end up, but it depends on how the markets go really!

I redeemed $6 from Pinecone recently. It was in my PayPal account. I made sure to transfer it to our savings account yesterday so it won't melt. Smile

If you think you have...

April 4th, 2016 at 09:43 am

money problems. You do!

I just saw a interview on the local news with a man who just said that. I think he's right, especially when it comes to debt.

What do you think?

8 Years of Blogging!

March 12th, 2016 at 09:03 am

I've been blogging here at SA for 8 years! I was reading for a couple years prior. I'm definitely glad I started. I know that blogging helps me focus on our financial goals with much more clarity than if I didn't. And the encouragement from others helps tremendously too!

Since we are now renters, we have zero debt. I'm sure we will own a home again once my husband retires. Our retirement accounts are just a little more than four times the balance they were in 2008 (of course, the market was way down then).

The next several years will be about handling college tuition and housing. After one full year, we can say we have met that obligation without debt. And we are thankful for the scholarships and our savings for making that happen.

A lot can happen in eight years! Let's see if we can do just as good in the next eight. Smile

American Express Premier

January 16th, 2016 at 06:15 am

My husband received a credit card offer in the mail from American Express. Apply for their Premier card, spend $1000 and earn 50,000 membership points, which can be redeemed for travel or gift cards. Worth $500.

We have to apply before month end, but we would sure have no trouble spending $1000 within three months. Likely it would only take a month for us.

It does have an annual fee of $195, but it is waived for the first year. The card also provides a $100 credit each year towards travel incidentals (such as baggage fees).

I think this may be the year we jump back into applying for cards. We have received some pretty good offers in the mail. One expired before we responded to it. And with more air travel in our budget it could really help!

Anyone else have the American Express Premier or receive an offer from them?

Paid and Paid

January 15th, 2016 at 11:04 am

It's pay day! Everyone likes those right?

My husband is home today, so we did the budget together. We added money to our vacation fund, emergency fund, and some of our other short term accounts (Christmas, birthday, and car repairs).

And because most of our spending is done on credit cards for the rewards, I also went online and paid off all of our balances. No interest paid, as usual. It's always nice to see those zero balances.

Now to get through until the end of January on the money we budgeted. It seems possible, especially if I do the meal planning right.

End of Month Budget

October 31st, 2015 at 07:42 am

We have $231 left in our everyday budget categories on this last day of October. My husband is going to get gas today. And after that I really don't expect any spending today. We have $35 in our wallets that should cover the admission to the final band competition this evening.

I would guess YNAB users would be encouraged to roll those numbers into the next month. I think this is how living on last months income is suppose to be built up. However, I'm playing a little catch up with some recent spending for airline and college football tickets. I'm going to move the rest into the Vacation Fund which is where I put those expenses. As a result the vacation category is negative right now. I think I can get most of it funded by the time the charge for airline tickets is due in late November.

I can at least make payments on all the other cards we have been spending money on because the money is already there in the budget to pay them. I love it! So easy to know we haven't overspent on those.

No spending on Halloween Candy this year. Or costumes. The owner of this house we are renting said to expect 200 trick or treaters! I guess since it is a nicer neighborhood people bring their kids here to get candy. I'm actually glad we have somewhere else to be!

Today is the last day of my 31 Days of Decluttering and Organizing on Your Organized Friend. If you are looking for some ideas to tackle while you hand out candy tonight be sure to check out the entire series. Starting tomorrow I'm going to write about Christmas planning.

Bits and Pieces

October 27th, 2015 at 07:29 am

After making the meal plan yesterday, I need to start working on the grocery list. I will start with ingredients needed for the meals and add on other items we need closer to my actual shopping trip.

My daughter lost the end cap to her flute head joint at the football game on Friday night. We looked it for it, but she was all over the school grounds that night. I found one on Amazon for this specific brand of flute. It is $8.98 with shipping. I had Citi Thank You Reward points and a gift card from Bing Rewards that I applied to it to make it zero out of pocket.

My husband received $100 from my parents for his birthday. He's applying those funds to his birthday gift(a sound bar) purchase which was over $200 after we used gift cards. My parents didn't send cash last year, so I thought they were done after sending us cash for many, many years. I need to go back to Best Buy and see if I can get them to apply a 10% off coupon. I tried when we bought it, but because they were price matching they wouldn't accept it. Now the item is on sale on their website for that amount we price matched for. So if I bought it this, we should be able to use the coupon. That coupon amounts to $37 and worth the effort I think! I let you know how that goes.

We currently have $20 worth of Kohl's cash because my husband and I bought running shoes earlier this month. A pair of jeans were also purchased. So now I need to decided how to spend our Kohl's cash. I even have a 25% off coupon and another $10 off a $10 purchase coupon I should be able to stack with the Kohl's cash. Right now I'm think of practical items: gloves, long underwear, shirts for my daughter. It seems I could get a couple of those for free or very little out of pocket.

I ordered an item from Amazon last week only to realize a day later we didn't need it. So I wrote refused on the package. Amazon has it and after I emailed said they would credit our credit card. It's only about $6, but I can put that back in the budget!

I was happy to learn from my daughter we don't owe any money to the University for this billing period. I do know she needs to put down $200 for her sophomore housing contract sometime in November.

I've already started talking to my kids about what they want for Christmas. Luckily they both have ideas! This helped me so much last year with shopping to ask early and get it done early! I'll be sharing a lot of my Christmas planning in November and December on Your Organized Friend. You might want to follow along for ideas if you want to get a head start on your holiday list.

We also made a purchase of college football tickets for the three of us. We want to see our daughter's marching band performance. And we do like the games, too. Other family members are going also. Tickets cost us $255! I charged them to our Discover card. The most recent statement closed just prior so we have quite awhile before we would actually HAVE to pay the balance. I noticed there is just over $9 in rewards I can use towards the balance, too. Smile

I took two library books my daughter checked out. We kind of think they may be overdue. Library wasn't open when I dropped off. Usually we would get an email reminder. Not sure if it went to spam or what. And we are having issues logging into her library account to check. So I'm planning we owe a few dollars to the library.

I'm excited about the end of the month. We get to budget again...and pay off all these cards we have been making purchases on. The cool thing is the money is already set aside! I love YNAB!

Thanks for reading my random post!


October 15th, 2015 at 07:47 am

My husband and I sat down and did our budget last night in YNAB. This is our third budget of income and it seems like it is getting easier. I expect it will keep getting better too.

One neat thing about YNAB is that you can click on a category and see the transactions that flowed out of it. For example in our Household category we had spent about $122 during the first two weeks of the October. We talked about doubling it, but then when we looked at the transactions we recorded there we realized that $42 was an Amazon purchase that I had but actually had snowflakes that covered it and the YNAB cost of $54 was in that category. These were unique expenses that we don't need to be part our budget for the remainder of the month. So we simply added $35 to cover the remainder of October.

We paid off all transaction that occurred on credit cards since the beginning of the month. And I paid off the Citi Thank You card IN FULL that I mentioned needed to paid by the end of the month to avoid interest!! That feels so much better to have that off our plate.

The next 'bill' we need to be aware of and budget in is our airline tickets we purchased earlier this month for Thanksgiving. I believe this is due in the last part of November. The charges were $882. I already found about $25 to apply to it. If we can stay under budget this month then I will send the extra in to start working on that charge.

Moving right along!

Credit Card Rewards = Snowflakes

October 13th, 2015 at 01:46 pm

I redeemed some credit card rewards today for cash! I had $20.47 from our Chase Freedom card. And found out that our USAA Rewards has changed to redeem for cash in $1 increments. I've avoided using this card for sometime because of other rewards and how long it seemed to take to accumulate. I had $18 worth of points to redeem!

I'd really like to save these for my next Amazon 'want' which is a book shelf at the right price and style. However, we do have a lot of expenses coming up and I want to pay off the Citi card by the end of the month or at least by the early November due date. If I don't pay in full by then we will be charged interest. I can't let that happen!

The current Citi balance is $633 before these rewards. A majority of the payment will easily be paid off on payday in two days. Basically we are going to budget for as much as we can predict for the rest of the month, and then send the rest to the card. If not paid in full by month end we will finish on November 1.

We do have plenty of cash in savings, but I know this was accumulated from the extra spending. We need to tighten our belts and make it happen with current income if we can. And that will include the rewards for this month.

Random Stuff

October 1st, 2015 at 07:33 am

I feel so far behind here on this blog!

I have paid off all of the transactions we put on credit cards in the last two weeks off. It's so nice how YNAB just keeps setting that money aside and the money is there to pay it. I'm going to continue paying credit cards every pay day. I don't wait for due dates usually. Oh, and I will need to buy YNAB in the next two days. I did put the cost in the budget, of course.

I was able to make a $336 payment to our Citi card that we've had a monthly balance on, but no interest. The new balance is $650. I'm pretty sure I need to pay this by the end of the month so I'm not charged any interest! I think that will be no problem. We have over 20K points that we need to redeem too. Probably for gift cards. Once that is all complete I think I'm closing this one. Along with a few others that really aren't being used.

I accumulated quite a few snowflakes. I was hoarding Amazon gift cards in hopes of buying something I wanted. I did get there, but now the item is back ordered and won't arrive for a few weeks. Today I used $30 worth of gift cards to buy Tenzi, a dice game my daughter wanted. I paid extra to make sure it arrived tomorrow. We have company coming and may get stuck in the house while Joaquin goes by our area later this weekend. So my earnings for my want became earnings for my daughter's want. Smile

We have made airline reservations for the Thanksgiving holiday. I paid $882.18 for three of us to fly. The deal wouldn't have been as great if it weren't for that Southwest Companion Pass that my daughter has through the end of the year. So far we have only used it twice, but it sure has been a bonus! We also used hotel reward points to secure a hotel before and after the flights because one is super early and the other arrives pretty late in the evening and we have a drive to get back home since this airport isn't in our town.

I made sure to make a payment to ourselves for the tuition we covered from our savings account. This extra is really coming from the savings in changing our W2 withholding. It sure helps to have a plan!

In other expense news, my youngest daughter has been invited to go on a trip to Europe the summer of 2017. We have to pay for it, as it is two teachers going that are getting the tour together. It is definitely educational in nature. My daughter wants to go and other than the cost there is no reason she shouldn't go. The cost is $4345 for 14 days. We don't have to sign up yet...the latest we can decide is February 2016. Decisions, decisions.

I'll try to get a tally of my snowflakes posted in the next few days.

My 31 Days of Decluttering and Organizing has begun today. Go here to view.

More Debt Paid and YNAB Update

September 24th, 2015 at 06:08 pm

Sooo...we have been tracking all of our expenses on YNAB. My husband seems to have more transactions than I do! His are smaller though usually. We didn't actually budget categories until tonight. Yep. About nine days after pay day. But this was good for us, because we could see how much we had already spent in the categories and were able to determine/guess how much we would need for the remainder of the month.

As a result of us finally getting our budget in YNAB we decided we did have plenty to put towards our Citi credit card balance which I mentioned yesterday. After making a $1084 payment yesterday and then a $1432 payment tonight, our new Citi balance is $986.75. Ah, so much better to get that paid down to a much more reasonable level.

I also did a little tweak to our normally scheduled payments. I usually charge our Verizon bill to our US Bank Visa at this time of the month and then pay it in full with our paycheck on the first of the month. I decided to change that to the 15 of the month paycheck, since the US Bank Visa bill isn't due until the 7th of the following month (or in the case of the current bill, Nov 7). Making this change allowed me to change when I will pay our electric bill. I was going to pay it now with current funds, but realized it isn't due until Oct 10 and if I moved the Verizon payment I could pay it with our paycheck on the 1st of Oct. This freed up nearly $260, which I promptly sent to the Citi card. I like it when I can find extra cash.

We technically have $409 budgeted that we have not spent yet. And there are just six days left to go in the month. It feels we have finally turned a corner. It is possible some of it could be related to YNAB, but I think primarily it is just that our spending has come to more reasonable levels again after the move and college beginning. Whew! Feels so much better to have things under control.

I will add a little caveat...more spending is coming. We will be taking at least one trip by airplane this fall, maybe two. And then there is still a possibility of some new furniture. It does help to be caught up...or close to it at least. It helps make the trip(s) and furniture seem possible without pulling from the savings we have worked hard for.

I need to remember to budget to pay for YNAB next pay period. Smile

Debt Paid and Bills

September 23rd, 2015 at 07:18 pm

The balance on our Citi credit card is just over $3K. Today, I made a payment of $1084 to cover the treadmill purchase earlier this month as well as travel expenses my husband made on the card. I probably have another $1,200 to put on it leaving us with about $1200 left to pay. I think I'm finally seeing the end of the tunnel on this most recent debt accumulation!

I do have some more items I could list on eBay to bring in some cash. It's a matter of getting the time to get the items listed. Maybe Sunday this week would be best...before company arrives the first weekend in October. The cash from these sales would definitely go to pay down the last of the Citi card.

I did get paid from the eBay buyer that was having problems. I sent that item in the mail today. The item being returned should arrive tomorrow. If it looks in good order I will refund that buyer. I think I may just donate this item since I don't have any way to check if it is really faulty or not. Last I knew, just weeks ago, it was working. It is very possible it just didn't work with the buyers version.

We have another bill from the University. The expenses are primarily due to marching band. We needed to purchase shirt, shoes, gloves and a few other items for a total of $114. She moved in five days early (not included in main housing contract) for $160, but a $40 credit was given to those members that were selected. And then there was another $73 and change from book purchases. Our next bill of $307 is due Oct 12. I do have money set aside at least.

I did get paid from the eBay buyer that was having problems. I sent that item in the mail today. The item being returned should arrive tomorrow. If it looks in good order I will refund that buyer. I think I may just donate this item since I don't have any way to check if it is really faulty or not. Last I knew, just weeks ago, it was working. It is very possible it just didn't work with the buyers version.

Still going along well with YNAB. Pointed out to my husband that he recorded one of his expenses on a credit card that I know he didn't have in his wallet! He made the changes.

I still have not purchased sheets. I decided to buy myself new workout pants, as one of the three pair I own also decided to get a hole in them. I decided working out and not having to do laundry as frequently was more desirable then having matching sheets for the moment. I'm guessing I'll be spending nearly $50+ on sheets when the time comes. I think it just may go in the budget for next month! Smile

University Bill & YNAB

September 9th, 2015 at 02:55 pm

I paid the big fat University bill today in full. I had the money in savings. It was $7,198.55. I have not yet pulled any money from her ESA, since the market is down. It was looking good for a very little while this morning. Not that I planned to make a sell order today. We have time. Smile

You will be glad to hear that I did some entering of things into YNAB. I watched another tutorial which was helpful. I entered in all the credit cards we use regularly, with their current (PreYNAB balances). I entered only the $X I set aside at the beginning of this month to spend on the irregular purchases of the first half of the month. I budgeted that money into categories...starting with guesses really. Got to start somewhere though!

After that I went back and recorded actual purchases, most of which were on one credit card. There were a couple others on the Discover card and one in cash. I did have to adjust the budget. Originally I had no money for car repairs, but we did have a $129 expense for car maintenance. I had at least two other categories like this as well. The budget still shows $325 left, but I see it is assuming I want to pay all the card balances with this current income, which isn't exactly what I normally do. So, when I have a little more time I will look at that closer.

I'm feel better than I'm working on it. It does take time, but I do hope the investment is more clarity in how we spend some of our money.

August Snowflakes

September 2nd, 2015 at 05:57 pm

August went super fast! But the snowflakes rolled in despite the business. I can thank credit card rewards for many of the snowflakes. All of them have gone to debt on the credit cards. It all helps!

Total was $183.62, which was far better than July when I only pulled in $29.17!

I will attempt to add a picture of my spreadsheet below, but just in case here is where the snowflakes came from:

Interest & Rebates $14.72
Pinecone Surveys $15.00
US Bank Visa Rewards $145.13
Discover Cash Back $8.77

How did you do collecting extra funds in August? What did you do with yours?

In September, I have some snowflakes I plan to put towards some purchases that would be considered wants over needs. I also plan use some for debt and a little for a gift for my college daughter. Do you have a plan for this month?

Paid Off More Debt

September 1st, 2015 at 08:56 am

It's payday so I paid off more debt that has been sitting on credit cards (no interest is being charged). I feel better than it is starting to dwindle down. Smile

Specifically paid:
$704.38 American Express (Orlando trip expenses)
$3.20 American Express (movie rental)
$360.44 Target Red Card (dorm & school expenses)
$166.58 Discover (online school expenses)

We still have just over $2,184.79 on credit cards. Considering it was over $3K when my husband and I were discussing things a few nights ago we have made some progress. The goal will be to keep spending as low as possible to try to use some extra income toward expenses.

At the same time we are working on debt, we are discussing flying to see family and college daughter at Thanksgiving. I have a Companion Pass earned with Southwest that lets my youngest daughter fly for free with me through the end of the year. This means we only need to pay for two tickets. One scenario has our flights costing $911. Which when you divide by three people flying is pretty good!! I really dislike the idea of flying during the holiday simply because it is so busy, but that is when most of us have time off work and school.

Paid More Debt

August 18th, 2015 at 07:41 pm

We use our credit cards all the time and then pay balances off in full if on a interest bearing card. We have been rolling some over lately on a 0% card. I made some more payments and feeling much more current than I did last week.

Last week our balance was over $4K. Tonight after more payments were made we are down to $2,942.25. So progress! Found $14.11 in snowflakes to apply to debt in the process.

I have cash set aside to pay another $1,383 on the credit cards, but I'm waiting for a couple statements to close. There may be rewards I can apply, so I'm waiting for now. It does seem the revolving balance I don't seem to get paid off is about $1600! Ugh. Of course, I won't let them charge me a penny of interest. I will have to pay it in full by the end of October. Or the statement due date right after. I need to look back at my notes on that one.

In other news, I've lost about 6 pounds in the last two weeks. I'm watching my calories as best I can, cut back on diet soda (only one or none). I did a ton of campus walking this weekend in addition to all that walking while we were in Orlando earlier in the month. I still need to get into some sort of fitness routine. We are actually considering a treadmill...but I need this debt paid off first.

Do you own an exercise machine? Do you use it?

Due Dates

August 12th, 2015 at 05:50 am

We have quite a few credit cards that we now use for various types of rewards. Specifically I have balances on ten, ranging from $13.43 to $1,549.07. The total balance of those ten all together is $4,155.65. These are all current and not charging us any interest. And you might notice that is less than the last time I reported our total. Smile

Today I made a list of the balances of each card in order of due date. I usually don't pay much attention because I just pay off the balances when we get paid. If you are paying on current charges twice a month you are always ahead of the statement closing. That's why I haven't paid attention.

As I said in the other post about our credit card debt, I plan to pay all of these off without any interest. But I also want to keep as much in savings as I can. So I'm going to aware of the due date so I'm paying the debts due first FIRST with current paycheck money rather than those due a month out or the next paycheck.

This probably isn't a big relation to anyone, or me for that matter, but I'm just taking a different approach for a bit. A little more awareness to get on an even footing again and hopefully with a nice healthy savings account.

Of course, there is the college expenses. I'm going to try to cash flow as much as I can. However, whatever I can't can be paid with funds saved for college. At least for this year. We have tuition mostly covered, but the dorm will be our biggest expense. Along with some miscellaneous band expenses which seems to be extra time in the dorm and food before the housing contract starts. Next year, I will plan to save up for this little extra cost.

Are you aware of your debt due dates, or do you pay more attention to which paycheck you pay your debt from?

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