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)
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Looking Back Ten Years: Financial Point Of View

January 15th, 2020 at 08:15 pm

I'll attempt to include a screenshot of my

Text is December 2009 post and Link is https://creditcardfree.savingadvice.com/2009/12/31/the-numbers-of-2009_56168/
December 2009 post, but the run down I posted then was that we contributed $14,147 to retirement, our retirement accounts had increased by $33,219, and the value had exceed $100K for the first time.



We had paid over $10K on a home equity loan, with total debt decreasing by $17K. Not sure our total debt amount, but we may have had a loan on my van and home debt. If I had to guess $160K to $175K in debt.

I also reported paying our daughter's braces in cash along with a trip to Disney World. We were also getting ready for my husband to deploy to the Middle East for the second time.

Ten years later:

Husband is cosigner on a car loan for our daughter which had a balance of $4,959 at the end of December 2019. Otherwise we have zero debt.

We do not own a home and live on a military installation. We pay rent equal to our housing allowance. At this point we have rented since June of 2015.

We have $95,327 in cash (most of it invested in high interest rate CDs.) Part of that, $72,083.93, is cash towards our Big Savings Goal of $200,000.

We saved $21,627.56 in 2019 towards retirement. Our retirement accounts increased $172,287.30 in one year, with an ending balance of $660,822.27.

In 2019 both of our daughters were in college full time for the first time. Tuition bills were paid in full, with our oldest daughter taking out her first loan in the fall for $2,750. No parent loans thus far!

Our 2007 Honda vehicles are still paid off. While they have lots of miles they still run and look fantastic.

In ten years there has been significant progress in retirement and we have mostly stayed out of debt (just a little help for our daughter).

It's fun to look back and I look forward to another ten years of financial progress. It should make for an interesting story!

Paying Ourselves Back: December

January 1st, 2020 at 03:12 pm

We are paying ourselves back for money we put down on our daughter's car in May. I am putting all sources of extra funds towards that goal. Here's what I found in December:

US Bank $13.00
Chase Rewards $13.77
Amex Rewards $57.06
Extra travel funds $58.40
USAA Rewards $9.14
USAA Subscriber Disbursement $193.20
Under Christmas Budget $17.75
Pinecone Surveys $6
Swagbucks (Paypal) $25
Ebay Sale $5.34
Discover reward $0.34
FB Sale $25

Total $424.00

Prior Payback Balance: $$1,299.75
New Payback Balance: $875.75

At one time I thought we could get this paid back by the end of the year, but it seems we had expenses I hadn't accounted for. But it feels great to get this under $1000! I feel really motivated to get this paid back as soon as possible.

End of Year Thoughts

December 31st, 2019 at 02:51 pm

On this last day of the year I thought I'd reflect on a few things, but expect more detailed financial posts in the coming days.

It was an unpredictable year.

I didn't plan for buying our daughter a car, yet the writing was on the wall. That lack of planning resulted in a loan in her name with my husband as cosigner. We are currently making the payment of $133.50 per month because our daughter has a very part time internship. She uses her earnings to cover groceries and gas on the vehicle. The balance is currently $4,949.50. We are not currently making extra payments. I'm mixed about this loan considering we have the cash on hand. But on some level this should be hers to complete once she has a full time job.

We did put $3000 cash down on the vehicle and are currently paying ourselves back for this. I will have an update in a couple days on our progress on this.

Our oldest daughter also has taken on two student loans, each $2750. One is just about to be disbursed for spring. This are the first and only loans she has had to take out. I'm also mixed on these because yes we have the cash, yet I think it is okay for her to have some skin in the game. On the other hand she double majored and we will have supported her for five years by the time!! It's still amazing to me that we were able to get her through school with this small amount of debt.

Our youngest daughter did not need to take out any loans. She still has ESA funds, a least a year of Post 911 GI bill eligibility. We currently save $500/mo (or $6000/yr) towards her tuition.

Our retirement balances have skyrocketed this year with returns exceeding 25%. It was a great year to be in the stock market. We increased my husband's Roth IRA contributions to account for his catch up eligibility since he turned 50 this year.

I'm still impressed with our ability to handle the travel costs associated with having our girls living over 1000 miles away. I think I'm making plane reservations every three months on average!

We did make progress on our Big Goal this year too, which I will report in detail in the next few days. It was an average year towards that goal. Sometimes the effort seems so slow, yet at the same time I'm grateful that we have this goal. I think this money would just slip away without it!

In non financial news, I lost about 15 pounds this year and have been able to keep most of it off all year. I did really well exercising at least 5 days week. I drink a good amount of water regularly. Healthy habits and progress towards a little more weight loss is the goal in the coming year too.

I'm going to count 2019 as a success! Happy New Year!!

Paying Ourselves Back: November

December 7th, 2019 at 03:01 pm

We are paying ourselves back for money we put down on our daughter's car in May. I am putting all sources of extra funds towards that goal. Here's what I found in November:

US Bank $13.00
Chase Rewards $1.80
Amex Rewards $55.26
Electric Rebates $82.99
Extra travel funds $105.34
USAA Reward $1.62
Total $260.01

Prior Payback Balance: $1,559.76
New Payback Balance: $1,299.75

At one time I thought we could get this paid back by the end of the year, but it seems we had expenses I hadn't accounted for. But I feel confident we can get this paid back by the end of next year...hopefully much sooner!

Paying Ourselves Back: October Update

November 5th, 2019 at 01:18 pm

We are paying ourselves back for money we put down on our daughter's car in May. I am putting all sources of extra funds towards that goal. Here's what I found in October:

US Bank $12.52
Chase Rewards $11.45
Amex Rewards $70.38
Boxed Amex Offer $15
ATM Rebate $3.00
Coop Rebate $8.99
eBay Sales $10.36
Pinecone Surveys $3.00
Extra travel funds $28.72
USAA Reward $1.00
Total $164.42

I think I earned a $25 Amazon gift card through Swagbucks, but it looks like I didn't add that to YNAB as a deposit. I will let that slide. I need to be a little more careful, making sure to put the equivalent into savings when I earn one of those!

Prior Payback Balance: $1,724.18
New Payback Balance: $1,559.76

Progress has been a little slower recently. Our auto and renters insurance is so high here and we had to adjust our sinking fund so that could get paid on time. Otherwise I might have had some extra funds to through at it.

Welcome Back!

October 1st, 2019 at 05:56 pm

Well, it seems the site may be up, but posts only updated through mid April 2019. I haven't looked around much to see what is missing.

I had about given up! Some of us have been connecting by email and Facebook to figure out a new plan. More work to do to figure out where our rendezvous point is if the site goes down permanently.

I had made a financial blog on Blogger quite a while back, called Our Money Blog. I put some posts up that may have even been duplicates from here. But over time I stopped. Today, I posted a revival post.

I'm just going to send you

Text is there and Link is https://ourmoneyblog.blogspot.com/2019/10/the-end-of-saving-advice-starting-over.html
there for an update on our interest, big goal and down payment repayment goals...check out how I was able to recreate the starting points without this blog available to help!

The Government Billed Us

February 22nd, 2019 at 08:21 pm

We finally received a bill from the government. Not many people say that! We were aware of and notified of VA overpayment of tuition benefits in early December because our daughter added then dropped a one hour class last semester. The school was overpaid, and they refunded us some money in October or November. So now the government is asking us for the cash to the tune of $487.

We are going to pay it at the beginning of March. I do have a little problem with the amount. My guess is it is right, but I am just not clear on how they figured the amount of the overpayment. It is not equal to what the school refunded us, which was around $400. I'll probably send an email to the school to see if they can explain. I think getting an answer from them would be faster!

I earned $3 for doing a Pinecone Survey. I found a penny on the ground when I went to the store. I've actually found quite a few coins on my walks here!

I've arranged for our cat to be boarded while we are on a three night trip in March. She will spend five nights at the kennel for a total of $75. They provide food and litter. I wish I didn't have to do board here, but our housing won't let us leave a pet overnight even if someone is watching her. She sleeps a lot anyway, so she will be fine!

It's about time to make flight reservations for our daughter's to come here for their spring breaks. More money out, but we will look forward to seeing them and doing some more exploring of our new town.

I've been watching Living on A Dime on YouTube. I've watched some of their videos before, but it had been awhile. Jill, the mother, has a series on the channel called Penny Pinching Mama, that explains her life when she was first diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and how she lived on $500 a month with two kids in late 1980s. She still only lives on $750 for social security. They are fantastic example of how people really can make it on low income. They don't deny that it's hard, but that it can be done! The are very conservative with what they use. Anyone else seen these ladies on YouTube?

Undebt It

December 10th, 2018 at 11:03 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

Text is here. and Link is https://undebt.it/how-undebt.it-works.php
here.

Life with zero debt is worth the effort!

$3,500 In Debt

October 30th, 2018 at 07:09 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 01:48 pm

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 03:22 pm

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?