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Cross-Stitch Project

September 21st, 2019 at 10:38 am

I have been meaning to share this. I did this project for my little great-niece, born earlier this year. At one time, I did a lot of cross-stitch. It had been years, but I wanted to make something for the long-awaited sweet baby girl of my grand-niece and her husband. I enjoyed doing it, and have already begun another project.


ReFi Loan is Done!

September 20th, 2019 at 04:11 pm

I signed the docs for my re-fi today. The new terms are as follows:

Principal 45k
Rate 4.58%
Term 12 years
Payment $407.58, to be automatically withdrawn from my checking account monthly beginning 11/03/19.

They waived the $399 fee, charging me only $15 to add their name as lienholder. My current lender gave a payoff number before I made my most recent payment, so they had the payoff as $44,985.00. I should receive a refund from my current lender for $500ish once all the dust settles.

Yay, it feels good. Smile

ReFi Loan Approved

September 12th, 2019 at 12:11 pm

Well, my loan has been approved. I do not need to pay down the principal at all. The rate has trickled down a bit more to 4.58%.

The new payment amount on a 12 year loan (so shortening the remaining time left on my current loan by 20 months) is estimated at $404.98. My current payment is $416.21. Total reduction in interest cost is $9941.32, but I will have to pay a funding fee of $399. That's a good trade, I think.

The loan should fund in 10 business days.

With my new rate below my expected return on investments, once again I am mulling over "prepay the loan or feed my Roth?".

Applied for ReFi Loan

September 10th, 2019 at 08:21 am

Yesterday's trip to the DMV was a success. So, with registration in hand, I submitted an application with Essex Credit to refinance my 5th wheel loan.

I expect that I may need to pay down the principal some. I bought the 5th wheel new and we all know what happens to the value as soon as it is used instead of new. I don't know the current value and I am not certain if they do 100% LTV or if it is less. Will just have to wait and see. What I do know is that I would much rather be paying 4.69% than 6.74%, so I will cough up whatever principal is needed to make it happen.

Next Step: Refinance

August 28th, 2019 at 02:04 pm

The next thing I want to focus on in my quest to pay off the 5th wheel is to get the loan refinanced to a lower rate. My current rate of 6.74% is not horrible for an RV loan, but I feel I can do better. Reducing the interest just gets me there that much faster.

I found a lender (Essex credit, a division of Bank of the West) who will refinance at 4.69%, but I need to submit my DMV paperwork along with my loan application. Uh-oh, obstacle.

The home mail delivery is very unreliable in our neighborhood. Mail shows up late, or your neighbor drops it by because it was delivered to their house, or the most common is that it never arrives at all. Complaints have been lodged with the local Postmaster for years and years, but nothing changes. So, most people just have a PO box. We do too, and the DMV has this information, but they continue to use my home address for my mail.

I have never received my license plates, registration, or other paperwork for my 5th wheel.

My car registration expired last February, and I still do not have my new tags. They mailed me a second set in June (requested via telephone), which also never arrived. I know the first set was mailed to my physical address because they told me so on the phone. I suspect (but have not confirmed) that they did the same with the second set.

So I need to go to the DMV in person to take care of both items. I made an appointment and it is a couple of weeks away.

5th Wheel Loan Payment #4

August 24th, 2019 at 08:24 pm

Everything is paid for August, so it was time to make an extra principal payment. It is my habit to keep 1k in checking, then "sweep" all else towards whatever goal I am working towards. This month I was able to sweep $566.96, of which $147 was from a refund for DMV fees, and the remaining $419.96 was from regular income.

So that was a good month, and I hope to manage paying a similar amount every month, until it is done.

Updated snips of the amortization table are on my "5th Wheel Amortization" page, link in my sidebar.

5th Wheel Loan Schemes

August 12th, 2019 at 04:17 pm

Now that I have decided to make paying off my 5th wheel loan a priority, I have been thinking about different strategies to get the job done.

One strategy I intend to pursue is to get a 0% no balance transfer fee credit card loan if I can. I have Googled a bit, and have found a couple of offers for 0% for 15 months, no balance transfer fee. If I were to borrow $4,200, that's a repayment of $300 per month for 14 months (I always plan to pay in full the month before the offer ends). It adds a bit more hassle to juggle both debts, but I would save an additional $334 in interest by paying a lump sum of $4,200 up front vs. paying $300 per month over 14 months.

So I will apply and see if I am approved or not.

A second item is that I have raided my Roth sinking fund. I had been depositing 5% of my gross pay to it each payday, with the intent to contribute the money in 2020 (I had already contributed the max for 2019). I am using part of the money for medical expenses (more on that later), and the remaining balance of $1,130.81 as an additional principal payment. I will schedule the payment as soon as the money hits my checking account.

UPDATE: Additional principal payment of $1,130.81 submitted.

Catching Up

August 11th, 2019 at 01:28 pm

So early this year, we lost our beloved Nala to laryngeal paralysis. This is a condition in which the nerve controlling the laryngeal flaps stops working, and so the flaps stop moving between the esophagus and the trachea. This was hard on everyone.

After grieving for a few months, SB and I adopted a female 2 year old English bulldog/pit mix. She was being fostered but was the property of the Bradshaw animial shelter in Sacramento. She has quite a personality and has successfully taken charge of SB and I, as we are both besotted with her. Her name was already Bella, and she knows it, so Bella it is.





We have had so much going on, and so much more is on the horizon. My brother and sister in law will be here in two weeks for an overnight visit. My birth mom is coming in late August/early September and will stay for a bit. And then my daughter and son-in-law will be here in late September for a visit.

This September also marks our 10th anniversary. We are planning to take a short trip, possibly to Lake Tahoe.

In financial matters, I have decided to make paying off the 5th wheel a priority. I have re-arranged my budget some and will begin paying the loan aggressively with my next payment. I have cut back my personal allowance, trimmed my travel budget, and will not contribute to my Roth. Instead, all of that money will go to the 5th wheel loan, along with every other dollar I can scrape up.

I will add a Page to my sidebar with the loan amortization to track my progress. I have already made a small amount of progress by making the first 3 payments before the due date (interest accrues daily). If you are interested, take a peak.

My Sinking Funds

May 21st, 2019 at 01:34 pm

I try to prepare for future expenses by saving a bit each payday in various sinking funds. With the recent purchase of a new 5th wheel, they needed some tweaking. I update the balances regularly, which you can view any time you please by clicking on the "Sinking Funds" page link in my sidebar. This is what I am currently doing:

Car Ins & Reg - This is now for both my CR-V and 5th wheel. I am budgeting $2,700 per year for insurance and registration for both. This breaks down to $103.84 per pay period.

Car R & M - This is now for both the CR-V and 5th wheel too. I am budgeting $1,500 per year, which breaks down to $57.69 per paycheck.

Car Replacement - To replace my CR-V when the time comes. I am budgeting $1,500 per year plus my "round out", which breaks down to $64.24 per paycheck. ("Round out") is the amount needed to give my sinking funds transfer a nice rounded number).

Clothing - Current budget is $600 per year. This will change once I am no longer dressing for work. This breaks down to $23.07 per paycheck.

Electronic Gadgets - To replace my phone, laptop, what have you. The budget is $300 per year which breaks down to $11.55 per paycheck.

Emergency Fund - Not a true sinking fund, but here it is. Currently no money is being regularly added.

Gifts/Xmas - The budget here is $1,000 per year, which breaks down to $38.46 per paycheck.

Planners & Goodies - For my fancypants planners and supplies. The budget is $100 per year, which breaks down to $3.85 per paycheck.

Roth - Saving up for next year's contribution as I've already contributed 7k for 2019. The amount is 5% of my gross pay, which works out to $103.15 per paycheck.

Travel/Vacation - I am budgeting $2,500 per year, which breaks down to $96.15 per paycheck.

All together, $500 per paycheck is automatically transferred into these funds a few days after each payday. This method works very well for me. Once set up, it is so very simple and requires no effort on my part.

Floor Plan Schematic

May 17th, 2019 at 08:36 am

Here is a floor plan schematic of my new 5th Wheel:

I'm In Debt Again!

May 15th, 2019 at 08:40 am

It would have been more practical to buy the 5th wheel our friends were selling, or some other used 5th wheel. But, I decided that I wanted the beautiful new 5th wheel with extended warranty.

So, I bought it. The same one in the pics I shared in my post "Tow Vehicle Purchased". We have not yet taken delivery. The dealer is installing a tankless hot water heater and slide out "toppers" (covers to protect the roof from leaves and dirt while the slide is out). Plus, we need to have a 5th wheel hitch installed in the truck bed. (Which of course can't happen until we get the truck back from the dealer. Grr!).

I am very pleased and looking forward to living in my new home. We will keep our current travel trailer as a "guest room" so that family & friends can come up and visit us.

My loan payments are $417 for 15 years; the interest rate is 6.74%. I have already found that a lender called Essex Credit, which is funded through Bank of the West, will refi me at 5.15%, dropping my monthly payments to $375. However, I will have to wait as they require copies of both a loan statement and DMV registration; I have not yet received either one. I had checked with Wells Fargo before taking the financing the dealer offered; WF's best rate on an RV loan is 11.59%, and goes up from there. I could not believe it. I think they must be wanting to get out of RV financing altogether.

I think I am just going to pay the loan one payment at a time and direct extra dollars into savings.

Overnight at Walmart

May 13th, 2019 at 07:54 pm

Well, this is fun. Tonight is our first overnight in a Walmart parking lot! Several circumstances converging have put us here tonight.

Early last week, a warning light came on in our new truck with only 400 odd miles on it. SB called the dealership and they told him to bring it in (last) Wednesday morning and to drive as little as possible in the meantime. Wednesday arrived, he took it in, and they have had it ever since. They cannot figure out what is wrong with it. They have provided a Ram 1500 rental truck while we wait.

Meanwhile, my grandniece had her baby last Wednesday. After 3 years of infertility, this baby has been much anticipated by my grand niece and her husband. When we heard the news, we took our travel trailer down to my mother's house on Thursday. We visited grandniece, her husband, and beautiful new great-grand niece in the hospital. She was born a little early, weighs 5 1/2 lbs, is healthy, and absolutely gorgeous. We stayed Thursday night in our trailer at my mother's house.

On Friday morning, I commuted two hours to work, then commuted two hours back afterwards. A long time friend was having a birthday party dinner Friday evening. I had not seen this friend in quite a while and had been communicating with another friend who was helping to plan the party. So SB and I strolled in to her party and surprised her. We had a very fun evening catching up with some old friends. Afterwards, we stayed Friday night in our trailer at my mother's house.

On Saturday, my son and daughter-in-law came to my mother's for a visit. My grand niece and her new little family were released from the hospital Saturday afternoon and came for a visit. I got to hold that beautiful baby again, cuddle her, and smell her sweet baby smell. My daughter-in-law said "I am afraid to hold her, I might want one". It was a very happy day. So we stayed Saturday night in our trailer at my mother's house.

Sunday of course was Mother's Day, so I was happy to spend it with my mother. My cousin who lives in San Mateo and her husband came for the day. My daughter called me. My brother called my mom. My cousin in Spokane called my mom. My nephew in Stockton call my mom. My niece in Willits called my mom. My niece in Seattle called my mom. Of course, I got to chat a little with each relative too. So it was a very full day, and we slept Sunday night in our trailer at my mother's house.

This morning, I left my mother's town at 5:30 a.m. to come to work. SB left some hours later, and learned the happy news that our truck is still not ready. In fact, they aren't even sure what to do next. They have been in contact with the factory and have tried multiple fixes. No luck so far. I am very disgruntled about this entire matter and I'm not really certain what is going to happen.

My office, the dealership, and Walmart are all within a mile or so of each other. SB does not want to take the trailer all the way home, and then turn around to come back and pick up the truck. He would rather just camp here at Walmart and wait. So that is what we are doing. My, but don't I have the most thrilling adventures?